KernCCD stories of our people

This is a sad week. Hundreds of individuals have lost their lives in Ukraine, with many more to follow. I have been heartbroken by the stories and images coming from the region.

Journalist Tim O’Brien shared a series of photos last night as cities across the globe showed their support for the people of Ukraine.

While it may seem small, these symbols of peace and solidarity strive to be beacons of hope and peace, reinforcing that across the globe, across borders, across ethnicities or religions or beliefs, at our core we are all connected and must show love and compassion to one another.

Good morning, friends…
It is February 26, 2022.
The sun shines bright over KernCCD.

This week, the Pirates, the Coyotes, and the Renegades continue to 

Porterville College

PC Breaks ground on Allied Health Building

This past Thursday, Porterville College held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on a new building that will significantly expand the school’s ability to provide health education to meet the growing community need.

The $21 million building will be the on-campus home for PC’s Nursing, Psych Tech, and EMT programs. Once completed, it will allow PC to move those programs from small portable classrooms to a state-of-the-art facility.

The project is being funding by bond measures G and J, approved by the voters for facility improvements.

In her opening remarks to the crowd gathered for the ceremony, PC President Dr. Claudia Habib stated, “There will be more than enough room to increase the size of these programs to meet the growing need for health care and emergency response professionals in Tulare and Kern Counties.”

Trustee John Corkins offered comments in his usual casual and humorous style.

Kim Behrens, Associate Dean of Health Careers for PC said, “I’m most excited about growing our current programs and adding new programs. When we brought Nursing to Porterville in 2003, we moved from the administrative building into the temporary classrooms with the hope of [eventually] being able to build a new building. That dream is finally coming true 20 years later.”

Afterwards, guests were able to view plans and see a “walkthrough” video from the architect showing off the ambitious designs for the building. Immediately following the program, the ceremonial “first shovels” of dirt were dug to kick off the construction phase of this project.

The building will be 23,000 square feet with classrooms, offices, and support spaces.

Pirates surge to No. 15 in state rankings with second-place CVC finish

Porterville’s impressive play under new head coach Amaurys Fermin isn’t going unnoticed. On Monday, the Pirates climbed five spots to finish out the season in second place in the Conference, at No. 15 in the latest California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association (CCCMBCA) State Rankings.  The Pirates finished the year with an impressive 20-7 overall record.

Alberto Laureano scored a season-high 26 points to help lead Porterville College to an 88-82 win at Reedley College in its Central Valley Conference finale on Friday.

The Pirates faced a must-win game at Reedley last Friday to ensure its second-place Central Valley Conference showing. PC held a slim 41-40 lead at halftime and was able to pull out the victory.

The Pirates secured the second-place finish just before their eighth straight win (vs. LA Harbor on Wednesday). This was a make-up of an earlier non-conference game that was originally scheduled for late December. The Pirates can now focus their attention on the postseason as PC will likely earn an at-large bid into the Northern California Regional Playoffs.

Men’s Basketball Makes the Most of Closure on the Grapevine

This week, after being named number 15 in the state in the CCMBCA Coaches Poll, the Pirates men’s basketball team took a well-deserved snow break during a detour on the way to their game with LA Harbor. 

After being unavoidably redirected because of a closure on the Grapevine, the Pirates took the opportunity to do some team building and spent time playing in the snow.  It’s this team spirit and ability to get through challenging situations that makes these men so great at what they do.  We can’t wait to see what they do in the playoffs. Go Pirates!

Check out these great photos:

Cerro Coso Community College

CCCC Covid Update

The changing regulations of California’s approach to the pandemic are again evolving. Last week Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the expiration of the statewide indoor mask requirements for vaccinated individuals.

Management and staff are monitoring the situation and will make adjustments upon careful consideration of additional information, health organization announcements, and positivity rates. Since the original order for Californians to wear face coverings went into effect in 2020, the mask requirement has changed multiple times in response to rising and falling COVID case rates.

The American College Health Association (ACHA) has stated that comprehensive COVID-19 vaccination is the most effective way to return to a safe, robust on-campus experience in fall 2022.

Tread safely, Coyotes.

Coyote Softball Looked to Bounce Back at Home

Emily Curtis up to bat

On Thursday 2/17/22, the Lady Coyotes took on regional rival, the Porterville Pirates in CCCAA softball play. The game, a non-conference contest, still was a significant piece of the developmental puzzle for the Coyote 2022 spring season.

The Coyotes dropped two difficult losses earlier in the week to Santa Barbara City College during a double header where the team just wasn’t able to keep the momentum rolling. The Coyotes showed a lot of grit as Emilia DeSanctis pitched 14 complete innings and the team battled through difficult weather to stay focused through the end, but ultimately could not string enough runs together to keep up with the Vaqueros.

The team has had a bit of the injury bug early in the season forcing Coach Gray to shuffle players around the field, but he believes that as the early season develops, frustration will pay off  as the schedule unfolds leading into conference play. As the Coyote Softball team continues to heal and players hit their stride there will be much to cheer about, as the team has shown signs of progress with Kyla Collins hitting .433/13 H/1 2B/1 3B/1 HR. Defensively Sara Calderas has held down outfield play, and in the circle, Emilia DeSanctis has 47 IP with 36 Ks.

Celebrating Five Decades of Student Success

In 2023, Cerro Coso Community College will celebrate 50 years of helping thousands to realize the dreams of a college degree, transfer preparation, career, new skills, and personal development.  

The College officially opened in the fall of 1973, and within the year began expanding its service area to include the present region. CCCC now serves the largest geographic area of any community college in the state of California. 

The 50th Anniversary of the college’s founding, provides the school with an opportunity to reflect on the last five decades and to honor the staff, faculty, and students who have helped shape the institution.  It will also be a time to celebrate what lies ahead as the college looks forward to the next 50 years as the leading provider of an accessible, affordable, and high quality.

A 50th Anniversary Task Force is being formed to establish a 50th Anniversary theme and logo; and plan year-long activities that increase the awareness of the people, history, and impact of CCCC.  All current students, faculty, staff, retirees, alumni, trustees, donors, foundation members, corporate partners, and friends are encouraged to participate in the planning process. 

For more information, or to share ideas, please email

Bakersfield College

BC has a SMARTER Strategy

In statewide news, last week Governor Gavin Newsom announced California’s new “endemic” strategy to combat COVID-19, marking a shift away from the pandemic approach. The new strategy is summarized in the acronym:  “SMARTER”: Shots, Masks, Awareness, Readiness, Testing, Education, and Rx (pharmaceutical treatments). Charles Collom, BC’s Director of Student Health and Wellness, shared that BC has been using the SMARTER strategy for more than a year to keep our community safe:

S: Vaccinations (“Shots”) have been provided at no cost to students, faculty, staff, and our local community since early 2021.

M: “Mask” wearing has been part of our campus protocol since the Spring 2021 academic semester.

A: Contact tracing and completing the Daily Health Checker (“Awareness”) has been a part of our campus community response to drive awareness since the implementation of the KCCD Campus Pass app in January 2021. Awareness also leads to understanding various prevention strategies, such as social-distancing, symptom checking, and our shared responsibility to care for one another on campus.

R: Cleaning supplies and PPE (“Readiness”) continue to be ordered, stocked, and distributed by our M&O team, who continue to provide sanitization and safe filtration of indoor spaces. Additionally, our intentional sanitization protocol and cleaning efforts continue to ensure a safe and healthy working environment.

T: Free COVID-19 PCR testing (“Testing”) continues to be available at no cost to the campus and community in our Fireside Room and drive-through testing facility.

E: Information sharing (“Education”) is facilitated by BC’s COVID Response Team to scale down broad epidemiological trends and information into readily available and easily digestible information which is relevant to our campus community. Campus-wide presentations and quick turn-around on data ensures that our community is well informed and up to date.

R: Any student who believes they are at risk from COVID-19 or may be infected, can contact BC’s Student Health and Wellness Center for evaluation and treatment (“Rx”). Employees may contact Human Resources for similar resources as needed.

Congratulations to the Newly Tenured Renegade Faculty

Reaching tenure is a major milestone in a faculty members’ career. The following Bakersfield College faculty members received tenure and were recognized at last week’s KCCD Trustees Board Meeting: Allison Ament, Radiologic Technology; Fabiola Butcher, Communication; Ashley Choate, Biological Science; Jeffrey Eagan, English; Bonnie Hammond, Electronics; Christina Howell, Behavioral Science; Maryam Jalalifarahani, Engineering; Francisco Llamas, Social Science; Rudy Menjivar, Business Management; William Rockey, Biological Science; David Rohac, Behavioral Science; Kellie Smith, Radiologic Technology; Sara Wallace, English; Emily Wilson, Biological Science; and Jamal Wright, Social Science.

Bakersfield College Alumni Hall of Fame Nominations

The BC Foundation, in conjunction with the BC Alumni Association, are excited to announce that nominations are open for the 2022 Bakersfield College Alumni Hall of Fame!  

We all know BC alums who have gone out in the world and achieved great things. We’re looking for your help in identifying these examples of Renegade excellence! Nominees may include alums who earned their associate’s degree, those who transferred directly to a four-year university, or alums who attended classes for continued education (without earning a degree).  Posthumous nominees are also welcomed. If you would like to submit a nomination, please visit the BC Alumni Hall of Fame Nomination form.

Nominations are open until 5:00PM on Friday, March 18th. Selected individuals will be honored at a gala set for June 23rd at Seven Oaks.

BC’s ENCORE Program Sets Students on Path to Success

BC’s ENCORE program has been up and running with student-participants since last year, giving disadvantaged youth the opportunity to receive a career-focused education. The program is still open to eligible candidates for the 2022 academic year and any interested and eligible youth are welcome to still apply.

One of the successful graduates of the ENCORE program, Mariana Jimenez, is currently preparing to take the NREMT state certification exam after completing the Emergency Medical Technician Certificate program through Bakersfield College’s ENCORE program.

“When I came across the advertisement for the ENCORE program, I thought this is my chance for having a good career I can rely on. I was stuck in a hard place working in the grape fields and feeling hopeless, switching jobs out of high school. I could not figure out how I could make it into college without any help or assistance” she said.

Learn more about BC’s ENCORE Program.

Celebrating the Life of Jack Hernandez

In November 2021, the Bakersfield College campus community lost a legend – Jack Hernandez.

Check out this 3:23-min video from the Board of Trustees meeting in November 2021

It is hard to put into words how tremendous his impact on Bakersfield College and our Bakersfield community has been over the past 60 years. He joined Bakersfield College as a faculty member in 1961, and served the academic community at BC in several prominent roles until his retirement in 2017. He was also a prolific writer, penning Community Voices pieces for the Bakersfield Californian or writing one of his many poems which have been published in this blog. He will be greatly missed.

Please join us April 1st, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.  in celebrating the life and legacy of Jack Hernandez.

Sonya and Jack Hernandez.

BC, CCCC Team Up to Offer Clinical Medical Assistant Courses

Multiple courses necessary to earn a Clinical Medical Assistant certificate are now open for registration and will be held at Bakersfield College’s Delano campus and at BC Southwest. The courses are being made available in cooperation with Cerro Coso Community College through the Kern Community College District.

These core courses also satisfy requirements for the Administrative Medical Assisting Certificate. 

Courses start March 14th, 2022. More information about the courses is on the Cerro Coso website. Online registration workshops will be held to assist new or returning students with enrolling or learning more about the certificate. Interested individuals should register for one of the Zoom workshops.

Black History Month Breakfast

On Monday, February 28, at 8 am, the Kern CCD will be hosting a breakfast event to celebrate Black History Month.

The event will be livestreamed at – please tune in!

Getting to Know: Amaurys Fermin

The best way to build the spirit of collaboration and partnership across Kern CCD is to get to know one another. So, working with the communications teams at the three colleges, I am launching a series called “Getting to Know” where we will profile an employee of the district.   #KernStories

Let’s #gettoknow Amaurys Fermin, the Head Men’s Basketball Coach and a kinesiology instructor at Porterville College. 

As I shared earlier in this blog post, the Porterville College Pirates have had an incredibly successful season. Amaurys joined the team in July, and has put together an amazing group of young men who are headed to the playoffs – PC Men’s Basketball’s first playoff appearance since 2003!

You can read more about Amaurys Fermin on the KernCCD website. #KernStories #Gettoknow our people.

Thank you, Roger Perez, for organizing this profile.  Thank you, Stacey Shepherd, for the write up.

In the News

Community Voices: BC expands opportunities for students to become more worldly

BC adjunct faculty member Yuki Takeuchi-Chan penned this piece in The Bakersfield Californian about the new AA degree in Japanese that BC offers – the program graduated its first student in May 2021.

“Learning a new language is a special and life-changing opportunity. Sometimes, these opportunities can take you to unexpected places. A Rotary international scholarship placement brought me from my hometown of Nagano, Japan to Bakersfield in 2003.

Women lead charge in latest BC production

I enjoyed this piece from Stefani Dias in The Bakersfield Californian about BC’s spring production of “The House of Bernarda Alba.”

Director Cody Ganger shared how she changed her original show plans after seeing “so many fantastic young women audition.”

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Bakersfield College’s Industrial Automation partnered up with The World Famous Harlem Globetrotters last Friday to keep SPOT’s Kern County Tour momentum going. SPOT is the robotic dog and newest addition to the Industrial Automation Lab’s robots I have written about in previous blogs. Industrial Automation students had the opportunity to meet the Globetrotters team prior to the game and coordinated a special Bakersfield script for the evening show. The INDA team had the privilege to sit courtside with the Globetrotters and participate as part of the show to introduce SPOT to the community.

I spotted this fun video on Krista Moreland’s Facebook – check out this screenshot:

Cerro Coso’s Caitlin Fabel got her first college home run this week!

Sondra Keckley shared that she and her husband Kurt had paid off their house, 20 years to the month they moved in. She shared these great side-by-side pics recreating their move in:


That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future is bright at KCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


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