After graduation – a week of gatherings, fellowship, and celebrations

This week we were able to come together and celebrate the amazing people who keep the Kern Community College District. Kern CCD #DaringMightyThings

Each of our campuses – and the district office – held events to honor our classified employees. We also held the inaugural Kern CCD Management Association Symposium at the BC Conference Room, and closed out the week with a potluck at my home.

It was truly special to have colleagues from across the district join together in person, a wonderful celebration to cap off the academic year.

California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley shared a video message for our district

And Kern CCD Management Association President Manny Mourtzanos had a video message for Eloy. its quite funny, so watch it to the very end.

I’ve enjoyed clicking through the photos from the event

And I just had to share this – Dr. Hancock receives the award for having the best sense of fashion at the conference (as determined by Manny Mourtzanos). Notice the similarities?

On Thursday, I also hosted my Chancellor’s end-of-year potluck. It was so much fun.

Good morning, friends.
It is May 21, 2022.
The sun shines bright over KernCCD.

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

Porterville College

PC Holds 94th Commencement Ceremony at a packed Jamison Stadium

It was a wonderful evening of celebration as thousands joined the Porterville College faculty, staff, administration, and this year’s graduating students at Jamison Stadium. They gathered to celebrate the class of 2022 on Friday, May 13th during PC’s 94th commencement ceremony.

Gaduates entered to the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance, played by the Porterville College band (conducted by PC Instructor Tianna Hepner). Instructor Sarah Rector conducted the Porterville College Chorale as they sang the National Anthem. Primavera Arvizu, PC Vice President of Student Services, served as the mistress of ceremonies for the evening. 

During her commencement address, Porterville College President Dr. Claudia Habib spoke of her commitment to the students, and the college community.

She gave her remarks in both English and Spanish, she offered some words of encouragement about the next step in the graduates’ lives.

Keynote speaker Lt. Col. Frederick Dohnke, a PC Graduate and the Commandant of the Porterville Military Academy, spoke about his history and how he overcame language barriers and learned to use passion as a key to growth. He was born in Brazil and came to the U.S. as a young child with his family, where he had to learn English quickly despite some obstacles.

Alexis Ramirez, the evening’s student speaker, spoke of the struggles each graduate has overcome to be at this moment, especially with all the challenges of the pandemic. “We had to say no to many things. We faced many challenges. The pandemic being one of the biggest challenges. The pandemic changed everything, and students had to adapt to [the] new teaching environment. Still, we were successful with the support we got from our professors, family, friends, and staff – who did an incredible job of providing the resources needed to succeed. Class of 2022, its time to start something new. Congratulations!”

Thank you to Kern CCD Trustees John Corkins, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Yovani Jimenez for taking time out of your busy schedule to help celebrate the graduates.

I was so pleased to read this article The Porterville Recorder about Porterville College’s commencement ceremony.

And be sure to check out this video by Roger Perez of the sights and sounds from Porterville College’s Commencement:

Classified Staff Celebrated

This past week was Classified School Employee Week (CSEW).  To celebrate and to honor the amazing work and skill shown by all our Classified Professionals, PC Administration provided breakfast and an afternoon snack to our amazing staff. 

Nearly 60 employees gathered before work on Monday for breakfast burritos and later in the day on Tuesday for ice cream sandwiches and fellowship.

Thank you to all our classified personnel.  Your hard work is crucial to each and every one of our students’ successes. 

24 Summit Collegiate H.S. Students earn their PC degree before their H.S. Diploma

Twenty-four Summit Collegiate High School students received their associate degrees from Porterville College on May 13th — 20 days before they will graduate from high school.

“I feel like a proud father,” said Summit’s vice principal Eric Anthony. “Especially to hear how hard they worked and now graduating from Porterville College.”

The school has had an approximately 22 students graduate from PC in the past nine years. But now, they have 24 graduates in 2022 alone.

Porterville College instructors travel to Summit to offer the college-level courses on their campus. Older students who drive also have the option of going to PC for the classes.

Franco said the opportunity to graduate early has changed her life dramatically. “It’s opened new doors and brought in what I envisioned in my life,” Franco said. “I’ll be attending Arizona State University for Biomedical Science and I will be practicing medicine at age 22.”

ASB — associated student body — President Ruby Uribe, said she started taking college courses the fall semester of her freshman year. And after obtaining her Associate of Arts from Porterville College, and graduating from Summit on June 2, Uribe will attend Cal State Northridge and major in biology and radiology. “It’s a sense of another accomplishment and I will finish faster,” she said.

She will also save on the cost of college. “I can go straight into my major,” she said.

Demaree Lewis also started college classes as a freshman. “I started with one or two college classes then after that, I became so determined,” Lewis said. “I started taking the maximum amount allowed, including summer courses and courses every semester, every year.”

Ray Marenco, Summit’s ASB Spirit Crew Vice President, echoed his classmates sentiment. “My parents encouraged me,” Marenco said. I started with taking two and then just continued with one per semester and I decided to keep going.”

Summit counselor Danielle Aguilar said the college-credits program continues to grow. Currently, she said, there’s a freshman cohort of 68 students — who in three more years can also graduate from college the same year as they graduate from high school.

Cerro Coso Community College

Cerro Coso Commencement

Here are some photos from Cerro Coso Community College’s Commencement ceremony last week:

The Daily Independent published an article on their front page – check it out at

CCCC Receives Awards for Equitable Course Placement

Psychology Professor Nakysha Cummings (holding award) received the Campaign for College Opportunity award for Cerro Coso Community College at the Inaugural Excellence in Placement Awards Ceremony on May 12. 

Community college campuses were honored for implementing landmark placement policy AB 705, championed by Assembly member Jacqui Irwin and signed into law in 2017. Additionally, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis was honored for championing equitable course placement.

Assembly member Jacqui Irwin (second from left) joined the celebration and remarks to award colleges for their achievements. Prior to AB 705, the vast majority of incoming community college students were being placed into remedial math and English courses that ultimately discouraged and derailed students on their college journeys. Over a decade of research has shown that students’ likelihood of earning a degree decreases when they start college in remedial courses.

“At a time when community colleges have seen serious declines in student enrollment, we should be supporting students on the best pathway to achieve success and earn a degree. When our colleges enroll students in transfer-level English and math within their first year, they’re making progress toward their degree from the start! The result is that students save time and money, have fewer obstacles to earning a degree, and the economic standing of our communities and California is strengthened,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Cerro Coso was proud to be among the many colleges being recognized with equity designations for supporting Black and Latinx students to access and success in transfer-level math and English.

Classified Appreciation Week at CCCC

This week was Classified Appreciation Week.

This celebration reaches back to 1969 when Governor Ronald Reagan made the first proclamation stating, “The classified employee is proud of his status and the integral part he plays in the total field of education throughout the state of California.”

In 1986, SB 1552 (Campbell) passed, permanently carving out Classified School Employee Week to be celebrated annually across California beginning the third week in May, with the work week designated Sunday through Saturday.

This year the official CSEA Appreciation Week is May 15-20. 

Classified at the Ridgecrest campus were greeted with a catered breakfast served up by administrators with great appreciation for the work they do.  The administrators then piled into a school van and drove to the Tehachapi campus for a barbecue lunch and games.  Tuesday administrators traveled to the Bishop campus for dinner with the classified.

Happy classified School Employee Appreciation Week and thank you for all you do for CCCC.

Employees Celebrate Student Success at CC

For Cerro Coso, graduation is a time of celebration, a rite of passage that opens up the road of the future for our students.  We recognize and delight in their achievements during their time with us at the Commencement Ceremony, and we look forward to their future accomplishments. 

After graduation is a time to celebrate our employees and the vital roles they play in the success of our students.  These are the people who have spent hours working on curricula to light that spark.  The staff keep the college running smoothly, from our Information Technology team, Maintenance and Operations that look after our infrastructure,  to those making payroll.   We could not accomplish all that we do without their hard work and commitment.  Together we shape our students’ experience to meet our success strategies. 

Dr. Sean Hancock held an after Commencement Open House at his home for Cerro Coso employees as a heart-felt appreciation for all that they do.  

Dr. Hancock and husband Eric, opened their home to CCCC employees for a welcoming afternoon of great food, music, libations, and conversation.

Saturday, CTE Dean Nicole Griffin and husband Professor Griffin hosted a similar event at their home in Tehachapi.  

A festive time of relaxation and reflection on the positive impact our team has made on the lives of every student we serve.

Bakersfield College

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Bakersfield College’s Arvin Campus

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held May 25th at 9:00 am to commemorate the start of construction on the new Bakersfield College Arvin Campus. The much-anticipated Arvin Educational Center has been in the planning stages for a few years, and is finally ready for construction to begin.  When completed, the 27,000 square-foot center will feature classrooms, a library, a tutoring center, writing center, two computer labs, a bookstore, staff offices and a room for the student government association.

The Arvin Education Center is an incredible opportunity for Bakersfield College to reach new students and bring high-quality education and career training to another community in Kern County. We are so excited to open this new facility for the residents of Arvin and the surrounding areas.

BC Chamber Singers Hosting “Something’s Coming” Broadway Dinner

The BC Chamber Singers will be hosting “Something’s Coming: An Evening with the BC Chamber Singers and Friends” at Stars Theatre on June 10th and 11th. The 11th will include a catered dinner, silent and live auction, and performances by the BC Chamber Singers and other incredible community members from local theaters in Bakersfield. The 10th will be a half price preview night featuring a nice dessert instead of the catered dinner. 

Both evenings will include a live band featuring some of our own BC professors and student alumni. This is an event you do not want to miss, as it will be packed full of some of the finest talent in Bakersfield. The proceeds of the two evenings will support the fundraising efforts of the BC Chamber Singers as they represent our College and community in Vienna, Prague, and Berlin in June of 2023. This will be one of the largest fundraisers the Chamber Singers will do for the tour and they could really use your support. Tickets are available through the BC Foundation. We hope to see you there–something truly amazing is coming to Bakersfield!

Renegade Spotlight:  Vikki Coffee

Vikki Coffee is an Educational Advisor for the ENCORE Program at Bakersfield College and has worked extremely hard to engage students in the program and build relationships that will benefit current students, and be instrumental in opening future opportunities.

Earlier this year, Vikki was recognized by the Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Service and was presented with a certificate which states: “In recognition of your important contribution and commitment in assisting clients in the Individual Placement Support Program Achieve their educational goals.”

Vikki was also recognized by the Transitional Age Youth Collaborative.  The certificate states: “For your hard work and dedication in providing and linking youth to educational-vocational services through Bakersfield College and for supporting independent placement services for youth wanting to pursue a higher degree of education. 

Congratulations Vikki for the well deserved recognition for your hard work and dedication to the students and administrators of Bakersfield College.

Career Education Collaboration

The most amazing things happen when departments come together and create opportunities for our students. The Agriculture Farm was in need of a new fence and who better to make one except our very own BC welding students. Under the guidance of welding instructor Jeremy Staat, students participated in the work experience program and were able to use this project to show off their skills learned from the classroom. This opportunity goes to show the confidence we have in our own programs and we look forward to other collaborative efforts from our Career Education programs.

BC Auto Tech at the 8th Annual Electric Vehicle Test Drive Event

The San Joaquin Valley EV Partnership is hosting a Best Drive EVer event today – May 21st – in Bakersfield. The dealerships do not have a lot of cars on the lots, so this is more of a test-drive which will also offer food and prizes. More-and-more, new cars are ordered online or at the dealership. Therefore opportunities such as this to test drive cars are important. Come out to see BC’s Career Education Booth and support all that BC is doing to help train the Auto Tech workforce of the future. 

May 21, 2022 from 10:00AM to 3:00PM
EV Hub, 5400 Gasoline Alley Drive
Bakersfield, Ca

BC Commencement

Here are just a few photos from BC’s commencement ceremony last week:

In the News

BC Rodeo Club Featured in Valley Ag Voice Magazine

This year, Bakersfield College has started a Rodeo Club that is competing in the West Coast Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA). As a new member of the NIRA, Bakersfield College is able to offer their students more ways to participate in the farm and ranch lifestyle that helped build our great community.

Bakersfield and the surrounding areas hold a rich history in cowboy and rodeo culture. The first official Bakersfield Rodeo was held during the Bakersfield Homecoming Week in April 1914 and drew in crowds and competitors from around the country including cowboy poet and competitor “Skeeter Bill” Robbins and National Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee bronc rider Dorothy Morrell. Ranching families that settled the area still run cattle on the hillsides and mountain tops that surround Bakersfield.

Read more about the BC Rodeo Club in the Valley Ag Voice

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

On Thursday, I was able to join the appreciation lunch that CSEA hosted for district office employees as Kern CCD recognized Classified School Employees Week.

In this photo with me are:

  • Nancy Lopez, Accounting Technician, Business Services 
  • Bernadette Martinez, Officer Manager, BC Facilities and CSEA Chapter #336 Vice President
  • Tina Johnson, DAIII, BC Counseling and CSEA Chapter #336 President
  • Chris Glaser, Executive Secretary, BC Public Safety and CSEA Chapter #336 Job Steward
  • Karen Mattox, Executive Secretary, Public Safety Training Programs
  • Lee Osthimer, DAIII Public Safety Training Programs 
  • Mayra Reyes, DAIII Information Technology 


Jo Ellen Barnes sent me this photo from BC’s Classified Employees Appreciation Luncheon:

Cerro Coso Community College President Sean Hancock shared these photos from Classified Appreciation Week:

Cerro Coso’s Classified Professionals are AWESOME! Thank you for everything you do to support the success of your colleagues and our students!!!

Porterville College President Claudia Habib celebrated this year’s Nursing cohort:

Robert Simpkins shared a post from Porterville College’s commencement:

And I received this great note from Dena Rhoades:

I am beyond proud of these two.  Graduating with their MA Human Resources! Amalia Calderon – HR manager at BC and Johanna Fisher-HR Manager at PC


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

The future is bright at KernCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


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