A Tolkien for our times

Tolkien once remarked that one of his objects in writing The Lord of the Rings was
“the elucidation of truth, and the encouragement of good morals in this real world, by the ancient device of
exemplifying them in unfamiliar embodiments, that may tend to ‘bring them home.’”

From the Tolkien Letters

Are you a J.R.R. Tolkien fan?  I recently rewatched the three Lord of the Rings movies and thoroughly enjoyed them.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (Ronald, to his friends) was a major scholar of the English language, and from an early age shared remarkable linguistic gifts – mastering Latin and Greek and a number of other languages while also making up his own languages for fun.

He eventually became a professor at Oxford. He said that one day as he was grading exam papers, one student had left a page blank. Inspired, he wrote on the page, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

Tolkien then decided he needed to take that thought further – what is a hobbit, why does it live in a hole, what kind of hole? In creating answers to these questions, he wove a tale he told to his younger children. Eventually he wrote it down, with additional details, and it became The Hobbit, published in 1937.

After the success of The Hobbit, he was persuaded to write another story. He began in December 1937, but the first book – The Fellowship of the Ring – would not be published until 1954.

The Hobbit was not originally part of Tolkien’s larger mythology – his Legendarium, with origins dating back to 1914 when he began writing poems and story sketches, drawing maps, and inventing languages to create a unique mythology.

Do you like Gollum?  Check this out:

Who is your favorite Lord of the Rings character? Drop a comment with your answer.

Good morning, friends.
It is November 19, 2022.
The sun shines bright over Kern CCD.

Porterville College

Advisors use beautiful days and lunch as incentives

In a unique effort to get more students into advising appointments, the counseling and advising office began offering weekly appointments in the quad for students.  Each Monday of the month, students are invited to join their counselor or advisor in the quad for an “open air” advising appointment. 

Not only does this provide a refreshing new atmosphere for advisors and students to meet (especially on a beautiful fall day like this past week), but it also provides a unique incentive for students to create their all-important educational plan.  Each student who creates a comprehensive educational plan during these weekly appointments will receive a free lunch as well. 

These appointments are offered each Monday from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm. For more information, contact the advising office at 559-791-2939. 

The return of PC RegFest marks the start of open enrollment for Spring

Open enrollment for the Spring 2023 semester began this past Wednesday.  In an attempt to remove barriers for students, the student services department is offering PC RegFest for three additional days this week. 

RegFest offers support for ANYONE looking for help with registration at PC with on hand counselors, educational advisors and other support staff to assist new and returning students with registration, applying for support resources, etc. for the Spring 2023 Semester.

PC Regfest was available to the public from 9am to 4pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this past week on the PC campus.

Club Fundraisers kick off the holiday season at PC

Tis the season for fundraisers on the PC Campus.  It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays as several student clubs have begun sharing their holiday spirit by kicking-off their annual fundraisers in support of different causes. New club “Together We Can” and the PC Rotaract club started off the season with the first fundraisers of the year this week. 

Together We Can, which is a club devoted to assisting the families of those who are incarcerated in our local prisons, held a professional photography fundraiser this week with the help of professional photographer, and wife of club faculty advisor Jeff Jacobs, Lindy Jacobs.  Ms. Jacobs donated her time and talent and offered to take professional photos for students in their first “Campus Photo Booth”.  The booth was a hit and many students sat for holiday portraits, headshots, or just fun photos with their friends in the campus quad.   

Later in the week the Rotaract club started it’s annual winter food drive to support St. Anne’s food pantry in Porterville.  They are asking for non-perishable food donations to be dropped off at various food box locations around campus.  They will continue accepting donations through December 9th at various locations on campus. 

Cerro Coso Community College

Hospital Connects with Nursing Students Over Tea

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital nursing administrators hosted a tea for Cerro Coso nursing students on November 16th to encourage partnership and build connections.

A nursing shortage is currently challenging the healthcare systems across the country that will continue to impact hospitals for years to come.  An aging population, increased demand for services,  expanded insurance coverage, as well as rising rates of chronic disease are fueling the growing need for nursing staff.  “We need our LVN’s,” said  Celia Mills, MSN, VSN, RN, PHN, RRH Administrator of Care Coordination and Community Health.

Partnerships between hospitals and colleges help to grow prospective hiring pools. 

“We have all been right where you all are,” encouraged Mills.  “This is truly the hardest level of nursing.  As you move into the profession your passions take you in different directions, and you will seek additional education, because your desire to help others only grows stronger.”

The tea served many purposes: to encourage nursing students in their studies, to inspire passion in the chosen profession, and to share success stories that motivate and help build important connections with future nurses. 

“It was very kind of the nursing administrator’s to take the time out of their busy schedules to recognize and meet one on one with our nursing students offering encouragement and building meaningful and lasting relationships that will meet local workforce needs,” said Dr. Sean Hancock

Spring Open Houses at Cerro Coso

Cerro Coso Community College (CCCC) held Open House’s at all of it’s campuses this week. 

“This event offers a perfect opportunity for anyone interested in Cerro Coso to come and see what the College has to offer, ask questions, and get all their early registration and financial aid completed in one day,” said Christine Small, Director of Counseling Services at Cerro Coso.

In-person events were held at the Bishop campus on Monday, Mammoth Lakes Campus on Tuesday, Ridgecrest Campus on Wednesday, and at the Tehachapi Campus on Thursday.  Participants were give the chance to Learn about Cerro Coso Community College, Connect with the education counseling team, Explore the campus with campus tours, Apply for Financial Aid with a trained technician, and Enroll in spring 2023 courses.

Take flight at Cerro Coso Community College this spring.  Registration is now open for spring 2023 classes.  Call the Education Counseling Department today at 760-384-6219 for more information.   

Shropshire New DAII in M&O

Meet Constance Shropshire, who goes by Connie, the new Department Assistant II in the Maintenance & Operations department.

For CC Ridgecrest employees, Connie is a familiar face from M&O 😊.

A Ridgecrest native, Connie spent a number of years living in Montana but eventually returned to her hometown to be with family!

Connie has taken several BSOT courses at Cerro Coso and holds many certificates in this field of study.

For fun, Connie and her husband Tyler enjoy camping, fishing, and the great outdoors! She also loves to spend as much time as she can with her three granddaughters.

“I enjoy my work and this campus immensely!” she says, and is excited to bring her knowledge of the maintenance and construction field into her new role as DA II for Maintenance & Operations.

A motto Connie lives by is “always remember to fall asleep with a dream and wake up with a purpose.” She finds “happiness in what is put in front of [her] and tries to show others kindness, acceptance, support, and love in all things.”

Congratulations Connie! You are a valued employee at Cerro Coso and we look forward to helping you achieve your goals!

CC Welcomes Barry to Counseling

Amanda Barry is the new Department Assistant II in the Counseling department.

Amanda is another familiar face around the Ridgecrest Campus we see often at the “One-Stop.” 😊

Born and raised here in Ridgecrest, Amanda moved to South Carolina to live for 12 years.

She relocated back to Ridgecrest last year and is currently one semester away from graduating with her A.A. in Business Office Technology from Cerro Coso Community College. She also holds an A.S. in Criminal Justice from Tri-County Technical College.

Amanda loves to color! She states she has several shelves of Disney coloring books and supplies… “it’s a very serious hobby LOL!”  Coloring promotes mindfulness and relieves stress.  She also enjoys hiking and playing racquetball.

Amanda’s motto in life is “Don’t wait until you have reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal.”

Welcome to the Cerro Coso team Amanda.

Bakersfield College

Entree to Employment Dinner

On November 8th, the BC Career Education Department hosted the Biannual Entrée to Employment dinner. Packing the Renegade Room with guests, Vocational Nursing students and industry partners showed up for a fine dining experience served by our very own culinary students.

This event is designed to highlight social etiquette, professional experiences, workforce expectations, and many other industry-related conversations. Students complete an etiquette workshop preparing them for this opportunity to boost their confidence in situations combining professional dining and networking.

Partners from Adventist Health, Bakersfield Behavioral Health, Encompass Health, Kern Medical, Kern Health Systems, and Kern County Human Resources were in attendance. We are so fortunate to have collaborative opportunities with these leaders to help develop a skilled workforce.

Pathway Preview Event Hosted by Outreach and Career Ed Departments

The Outreach and Career Education Department hosted over 1,000 local High School seniors for our first-ever Pathway Preview event on November 4th. Students were given a campus tour of pathway programs and labs, and new pathway programs were debuted as well.

Counseling and advising representatives as well as faculty from each pathway were available to talk with students about their prospective majors and how to begin their journey.

The event also featured a resource fair that offered students opportunities to interact with various student services. 

A Cozy Christmas Fundraiser for BC Chamber Singers

For the first time since COVID-19, the BC Chamber Singers are hosting their holiday fundraising event on Saturday, December 10th! Attendees will enjoy yummy food, pictures with Santa, and a silent and live auction with incredible items to purchase before the holidays.

This year’s event is called “A Cozy Christmas” and the Chamber Singers hope you will feel right at home in the BC Conference Room with family and friends as they perform solos, small group numbers, and full choir pieces that will fill your heart with holiday spirit.

The 2:00PM show will feature cookies and cocoa, and the 6:00PM show will  include dinner.

Ticket sales end on December 2nd, so purchase your ticket here today.

2022 Ag Career Expo

On October 28th, the Agriculture department held its annual Agriculture Career Expo hosting over 220 high school students. Agriculture faculty and industry professionals including Grimmway Farms, The Wonderful Company, and Tasteful Selections partnered to coach students on how to pursue an education tailored to the field.

Students participated in several different breakout sessions in disciplines such as Mechanized Ag, Plant Science, Animal Science, Veterinary Technology, Agriculture Business, Agriculture Education, Occupational Safety, and Natural Resources.

These events are critical in linking our students with real connections to the industry.


Last week, Craig Hayward, Steve Watkin, and Kylie Campbell represented Kern CCD at the National Alliance of Concurrent/Dual Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) National Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The team was joined by Naomi Castro from Career Ladders Project and was able to get to know fellow dual enrollment leaders from our state and across the country. 

Craig, Kylie, and Noami were recognized for the research grant they were awarded by NACEP’s Research Commission in 2021 to complete a study titled “Where Are They Now? A Study of Dual Enrollment Students in the Kern Community College District”. The team was invited to be on a panel at this year’s conference with other research grant recipients and also to lead a packed breakout session to share their research methods and findings. You can check out the research brief for yourself here

This piece is a great representation of the transformative work that our colleges are doing through Early College. The brief highlights some great findings, including that the percentage of Black and Latinx students who participate in dual enrollment through Kern CCD going to college right after high school is higher than state and national average and that dual enrollment is having intergenerational influence on the families in our community. 


Check out the latest post from the Kern CCD TALE Blog – “Opening Doors with Open Educational Resources” from Porterville College’s Clara Hodges Zimmerman.

“In April 2021, I responded to a call from a colleague at Berkeley City College for collaborators on a project funded by ASCCC Open Educational Resource Initiative (OERI) to write a textbook-style advanced-level OER for students who were learners of English. It was a year into the pandemic and I was back to teaching after having a baby in October. To be honest, I was feeling a little isolated and disconnected from my vocation (although maybe that was just the sleep deprivation!). So, I eagerly emailed back my enthusiastic response and joined eight other community college ESL instructors from around the state interested in filling a gap in the OER/ESL world.

Read it at Opening Doors with Open Educational Resources – The TALE Blog (kernccdtaleblog.org).

In the News

Bakersfield College’s Renegade Pantry provides more than food for BC students

23ABC did a piece on BC’s Renegade Pantry. Check it out at https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/bakersfield-colleges-renegade-pantry-provides-more-than-food-for-bc-students.

“Our numbers are astronomical right now,” said (BC Assistant Director of Student Life Leonardo) Ayala. “Right now, every week right behind me here in the pantry, we have a thousand unique students who are coming through at least once.”

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Pink Ladies Auxiliary Gives Scholarships to Nursing Students

June Wasserman, Scholarship Committee Chairwoman of the Pink Ladies Auxiliary at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, presented Jan Hoagland Vocational Nursing Scholarships to Cerro Coso nursing students (pictured l to r) Tamara Williams and Valerie Lucero.

These graduating Cerro Coso Community College vocational nursing students each received a $500 check from the Pink Ladies Auxiliary. “We only wish we could have awarded one to every nursing student,” said Wasserman.

Founded by Jan Hoagland in 1958, the Pink Ladies Auxiliary raises money to fund these scholarships. Their efforts support Ridgecrest Regional Hospital’s mission to provide outstanding healthcare in our community. 

Kern County Women in STEM visit BC

Kern County Women in STEM visited the Bakersfield College campus this week and toured the new Science & Engineering building.  Afterward, they enjoyed a networking lunch sponsored by the BC Foundation. 

You can find out more about the group on their LinkedIn page, or sign up for the group at this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfUbabDqhEvZ1mfDRLJrcF-OPX5P0TE8KZHQc7fPT8tWrWfmw/viewform

Mayor’s Ball

Here are a few photos from Steven Watkin at the Mayor’s Ball:

BC Nursing Students

Bakersfield College Nursing students volunteered at Golden Empire Gleaners food bank warehouse this week:

KernCCD at Community College League of California Conference

Here’s Kern CCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Porterville College President Claudia Habib:


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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5 thoughts on “A Tolkien for our times

  1. Nicky Damania November 19, 2022 at 7:48 am Reply

    Samwise Gamgee.

  2. Chris Glaser November 21, 2022 at 7:59 am Reply

    It’s close between Gandalf the Grey and Frodo Baggins…but Gandalf wins out.

  3. Craig Hayward November 25, 2022 at 10:56 am Reply

    Love the Tolkien references, Sonya. There are so many great characters in the Lord of the Rings, it’s hard to pick a favorite. While I love Aragorn, Gandalf, Treebeard, Merry, Pippin, Frodo and the rest of the heroes, I also find Gollum to be a really compelling character. His character arc from creepy, scary villain to near redemption is critical to the story (spoiler alert). While he is not a true hero, without him Sauron would have certainly won in the struggle for Middle Earth. His flawed character also helps us understand what separates good from evil and how thin the line between the two can be, at times. Even though Gollum is despised by nearly everyone, Frodo has empathy for him and pities him. Frodo’s tenderness towards Gollum is incomprehensible to good ol’ Samwise who sees it as a weakness. That empathy, while apparently a weak thing, is a subtle source of strength for the side of good–and one of the most important ways that the forces of good differ from the forces of evil. Without empathy, those who are good can be corrupted by their own power and arrogantly pass judgement on those they deem less than themselves. This is the case with Saruman of the Many Colors who is corrupted by power and by despair. While there are clearly cooler characters and more powerful characters, few are as memorable as Gollum. His plight is a very human one: once a simple fisherman, content with his life and with his friends before he was corrupted by power and its illusory glitter and golden gleam. His corruption dramatizes our own dual natures and the seductive power of addiction, as well. Tolkien’s inclusion of Gollum as an essential ingredient of the story helps give it the depth and pathos that make The Lord of the Rings a true classic.

  4. Shannon Musser November 25, 2022 at 4:56 pm Reply

    I like Gimli and Pippin

  5. Kylie Campbell November 26, 2022 at 10:40 am Reply

    Bilbo Baggins is my favorite character. In fact, I just watched “An Unexpected Journey” last night. I relate to the brave little hobbit who lived in a hole in the ground. He was safe and content, but when the opportunity presented itself he made a decision that would change his life, and the lives of others, forever. I love the scene when he runs from the shire and shouts “I’m going on an adventure!” After Bilbo catches the pack of Dwarfs Gandalf tells him “Home is now behind you, the world is ahead!” I love Bilbo’s combination of anxiety that is outweighed by bravery and logical thinking that doesn’t stop him from being rash and saving the day.
    Excited to watch the next movie today!

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