Stayin’ in and staying connected

This past week had its doses of difficulties and its doses of sparkles… it made me realize just how glad I am to be at the Home of the Renegades not just when times are energetic and exciting, but also and especially during the difficult times.  The clouds certainly bring us the rain and the rainbow. Talking about clouds – let me drop the concluding stanza of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s The Cloud as we wrap up the National Poetry Month.

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.

For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,

I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 25, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.

BCSGA Prez Samantha Gonzalez Pulido takes CA by storm

Dapper Day with the Gerholds

Disneyland’s Dapper Day was canceled this Spring, but that did not stop the Gerhold family from bringing joy to all! Our own Performing Arts Faculty member Dr. John Gerhold along with his wife, Wendy, and daughter, History adjunct professor Kelly Gerhold, shared a song that is sure to put a smile on every face. 

Celebrating Earth Day

On Wednesday, April 22, people all over the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which is recognized once a year on April 22 to bring awareness to challenges facing Earth and its natural resources.

At BC, we offer all kinds of programs to encourage sustainability and environmental studies. Our Forestry and Natural Resources program gives students the chance to work at some of the most beautiful places in California while protecting our environment. If you love growing plants, consider a degree in Environmental Horticulture.

Happy Earth Day, BC Renegades! I hope you were able to spend time marveling and enjoying the beauty Earth provides. 

Virtual Seminars

Here are some of the videos from our student panel on March 31, 2020. Karen Cid Ibanez, Emma McNelllis, and Maria James

Karen Cid Ibanez

Emma McNelllis

Maria James

#BCGoesOnline

The MPR department has been tracking via social media how our BC community is reacting and adapting to remote working in the COVID-19 environment. While we are not able to be physically close to each other, we are still maintaining our social relationships and continuing to work together, interacting virtually as one Renegade community.

Our Student Health and Wellness Center is offering a slate of physical, mental, and COVID-19 related telehealth support services. Students have access to one-on-one or group sessions with mental health providers who offer services on a flexible schedule.

Thank you to the Student Health and Wellness Center for providing this important resource to our students. Read more about our telehealth services, or access services on the BC Telehealth page.

On April 22nd, The Career Education Department Hosted its Virtual Recruitment Day. Close to 150 registered attendees had the chance to meet with 16 different employers.

A big thanks to Freddie Rodriguez, Job Development Specialist, for coordinating the event.

Looking ahead, on April 29, the Office of Outreach and School Relations is offering a chance for members of the community to complete their enrollment at BC in just one day. For more information about Virtual Express Enrollment, visit the Registration Rocks website. You can also sign up for the event.

I also want to share a roundup of some of the social media posts our students, faculty and staff have shared this week:

Umoja Students Learn the Healing Power of Music

Students in Dr. Paula Parks’ Umoja community had the chance to access the healing power of music during a Zoom presentation with Dr. Terence Elliot, a professor of music at Diablo Valley College and founder of the college’s African American Male Leadership Program. Dr. Elliot beat a djembe drum while demonstrating the ways that music encourages ourselves and others.

Dr. Parks put together a wonderful write-up about Dr. Eliot’s appearance that you can read for more information. Thank you, Dr. Parks, for all you do to support our students. For more information about Umoja, visit the Umoja website.

Our California Story

History professor Oliver Rosales is continuing to explore local history on his tv show, “Our California Story,” airing Sundays at 12 pm on Bakersfield CW 12.

This week, he talks with Mika Thornburg and Francisco Beltrand. Mika is a UCSB public humanities fellow working with the Digital Delano project at Bakersfield College. Francisco is a visiting assistant professor of history at San Francisco State University, and our former UCSB IHC public humanities fellow.

If you missed last week’s episode, you can watch it on the Our California Story website.

Archives Throwback

In 1965, Bakersfield College students got together to tutor disadvantaged elementary and junior high children. The Bakersfield College Tutorial Project is mentioned briefly in the 1966 Raconteur, and you can read a full survey and case study about the program through the Educational Resources Information Center archive.

Earl Parsons compiled the passage from the 1966 Raconteur, which shows how the Renegade passion for giving back to our community continues to this day.

Today, we have our Renegade Pantry to make sure our students have the nutrition they need to stay on the path to finishing their education, and our Foster Kinship and Care Education program works with our foster students and their resource parents to support them in their future.

Some fun pictures

Athletics

Remembering longtime BC team doctor Bob Sheldon

I was honored to present Dr. Robert Sheldon with our 100 Stars medal in 2013.

One of Bakersfield Colleges most faithful fans, Dr. Robert Sheldon, has passed away at the age of 91. Bob’s association with BC goes back to 1936 when he was an All-Conference tackle for Bakersfield Junior College. He was in medical school at Stanford in 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He promptly joined the US Navy and was assigned to Oak Knolls Hospital in San Francisco. In 1946 he was released and returned to Bakersfield where he offered to help his old friend Dr. Romain Clerou, who was the team physician for BJC. In the next year, however, Bob moved on for further medical training at Harvard, Sloan-Kettering Hospital, and St.Louis, before returning to Bakersfield in 1953, only to soon be called back into service for three more years, this time in Guam.

In 1957 finally back in Bakersfield to establish his medical practice, Bob Sheldon volunteered to assist Dr. Clerou as team doctor for the Renegades, now playing in the beautiful Memorial Stadium on the new campus.  Those two doctors, Sheldon and Clerou, attended all home games and many away games, provided medical exams and medical help for all BC athletes. In 1979 Dr. Bill Baker became the official team doctor, but Dr. Sheldon and Dr. Clerou remained and continued to help him. In 2012, Dr. Clerou at age ninety-eight and Dr. Sheldon at ninety-three were still sitting at field level with Dr. Baker at Renegade home football games.

Dr. Bill Baker was honored at the 2020 Sterling Silver.

Sharon Baker, Bill Baker
Sonya Christian sits with Sterling Silver dinner attendees.

In 2013, at Bakersfield College’s Centennial Celebration, Dr. Robert Sheldon was named one of Bakersfield College’s One Hundred Stars.

Thank you to Coach Bob Covey and Jerry Ludeke for providing information about Dr. Sheldon’s long career with Bakersfield College.

BC Athletics is Grateful for Our Local Sports Media

Now is as good a time as any to recognize our local sports media who dedicate so much time and coverage to our Renegade Athletics teams. There is no other community college in our country who receives as much attention from the local sports media as do our student athletes and coaches and for that we are extremely grateful. Special thanks to the following reporters and media outlets that give us so much coverage:

  • Gregg Kerr, ESPN Radio & KBAK
  • Jon Singh, KBAK
  • Clay Cunningham, The Bakersfield Californian
  • Ron Stapp, The Bakersfield Californian
  • Kari Osep, 23ABC
  • Matt Lively, 23ABC
  • KUZZ Radio
  • American General Media
  • Bakersfield Sports News

Lastly, we’d like to give a huge thank you to Nick James, formerly of KGET, who just took a new job in his hometown of San Diego this last month. We will miss him and his humor in covering Renegade Athletics, but we wish him all the best in his new position.

Next Level Gades

It’s that time of year when we continue to see our student athletes commit to further their education and athletics careers at four-year colleges and universities. This week was no different as we saw Janaye Herron from Women’s Basketball and Zach Lockwood from Men’s Soccer announce their next move.

Janaye is headed to the University of St. Katherine in San Marcos, CA and Zach is headed to Kansas Wesleyan University in Salinas, KS.

Janaye, a sophomore from Highland High School, played just the last season as a bounce-back for Coach Paula Dahl. She finished the 2019-20 season averaging 220 total points (7.9/game), 146 total rebounds (5.2/game), 68 total assists and 43 total steals.

Zach, a sophomore forward from Bakersfield Christian HS, played just the 2019 season at BC, appearing in eight games. We know these two will go on to great things and represent BC well into the future!

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

A week of roses speaks Hope

With the month of March having unseasonably high temperatures, some of us worried that the cooler wetter weather was left behind and we could be in for an early brutal summer with the potential for another CA drought. And then April surprisingly brought us rains with beautiful clouds and burst of flowers, with roses all around our neighborhood. Enjoy the sprinkling of roses throughout this blog post that I captured for you during my Neo-Bessie walks.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 17, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

A Birthday

Here is another great poem by Jack Hernandez

Photo by Earl Parsons

As I turn into a new year
I feel the cycle narrowing,
the road to the ocean shorter
where I will sit on a rock
and see the expanse before me,
I do not walk on water
only the earth behind me
with its soft snow fallen winters
and rising green springs,
I could spread tears on the rock,
instead I will enfold myself
in memories as the waves
embrace me.

Continuing to celebrate National Poetry month with youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s Words of Hope

I thought I’d awaken to a world in mourning.
Heavy clouds crowding, a society storming.
But there’s something different on this golden morning.
Something magical in the sunlight, wide and warming.

I see a dad with a stroller taking a jog.
Across the street, a bright-eyed girl chases her dog.
A grandma on a porch fingers her rosaries.
She grins as her young neighbor brings her groceries.

While we might feel small, separate, and all alone,
Our people have never been more closely tethered.
The question isn’t if we will weather this unknown,
But how we will weather this unknown together.

So on this meaningful morn, we mourn and we mend.
Like light, we can’t be broken, even when we bend.

As one, we will defeat both despair and disease.
We stand with healthcare heroes and all employees;
With families, libraries, schools, waiters, artists;
Businesses, restaurants, and hospitals hit hardest.

We ignite not in the light, but in lack thereof,
For it is in loss that we truly learn to love.
In this chaos, we will discover clarity.
In suffering, we must find solidarity.

For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude,
Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it.
So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain:
Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.

Read children’s books, dance alone to DJ music.
Know that this distance will make our hearts grow fonder.
From a wave of woes our world will emerge stronger.

We’ll observe how the burdens braved by humankind
Are also the moments that make us humans kind;
Let every dawn find us courageous, brought closer;
Heeding the light before the fight is over.


When this ends, we’ll smile sweetly, finally seeing
In testing times, we became the best of beings.

California History on Bakersfield’s CW 12

Tomorrow, April 19, Bakersfield College History Professor Oliver Rosales will be hosting a new series on Bakersfield’s CW at 12:00 noon about California history. The show, “Our California Story: Community Stories and Digital Preservation in the San Joaquin Valley,” is a community engagement forum connected to the California History course students will enroll in through Bakersfield College. 

Oliver will be interviewing experts on local history and archiving. This week, he interviews Javier Llamas and Olivia Garcia from our own history department.

This is an opportunity for viewers to learn more about Central Valley history and become a part of developing our California story. Many thanks to Manny De Los Santos and Shannon Musser for helping put together this television experience to our local community.

BC’s Distinguished Speaker Series Presents: Dr. Tony Iton

Our final Distinguished Speaker for the semester was our first to lead their discussion through a webinar presentation. Dr. Tony Iton, the Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities at the California Endowment, delivered a presentation via Zoom on Wednesday titled “Zip Code vs. Genetic Code: Which is a Better Predictor of Health?”

Dr. Iton’s presentation on health in rural communities was hosted by Public Health Professor Charles Daramola and Office of Student Life Director Nicky Damania.

If you want to keep engaged with BC’s health equity and rural health work, please follow the Health, Equity, and Learning (HEAL) page, events, and HEAL Twitter account. Thank you, Dr. Tony Iton, for presenting and engaging with BC students, faculty, and staff. And, thank you to Dr. Charles Daramola, Nicky Damania, Benny Balderrama, and the Office of Student Life for coordinating such an informative webinar.

Spring Fling

Our talented group of representatives in the Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA) have been very busy with moving our annual Spring Fling festival online. The BCSGA team brilliantly organized a fun group of activities through Discord, Zoom and other virtual platforms.

Thank you to our BCSGA representatives and their supporters in the Office of Student Life for keeping Spring Fling Week fun for our campus community. Read more about all of the activities below, and follow BCSGA on Discord.

Escape the Room: Report Back from Valerie

Let’s check out the text-based Escape the Room challenge through the virtual chat service Discord. Valerie Urso, a Web Content Editor in the Marketing Department, describes her experience of solving the elaborate puzzle:

“This Monday, I played the BCSGA’s Escape the Room challenge as part of the Spring Fling week slate of virtual events. Once I got through the hurdle of signing up for Discord and figuring out how it works (like Slack, but cooler-looking), I was ready to begin. 

The game was cleverly constructed using a Google form, a Powerpoint and finally, a website with a secret challenge. I had been expecting to click around on a single screen, in an environment that looked pulled straight out of Clue, looking under lamps and behind bookcases. Instead, I found myself on a quest to solve riddles with a unique story customized to being a student at Bakersfield College. I was impressed with the work and creativity that went into putting together a game from the ground up. 

As a bit of a puzzle nerd who in their youth racked up an unseemly number of hours playing Myst, I have to congratulate the BCSGA team for making something original that was both fun and challenging. Whenever I got stuck, there was a clue to help me along, but nothing that made the quest too easy. I’m pleased to report I did, in fact, “Escape the Room” and made it through the final stage to claim my prize.”

For more, check out: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/event/virtual-spring-fling-renegades-surf-the-web. Thank you to Benny Balderrama for leading this event and helping out with Spring Fling. I can’t wait to see what you have in store next.

All-Campus Virtual Forum Videos

I have been doing a virtual seminar series via zoom and you can find these videos by visiting the COVID-19 Response page . Here are a few videos.

April 6, 2020 line up — Fong, Fuller, Chapman, Agbalog

Vince Fong gave us an update on how the State Assembly is operating to serve Californians during the unprecedented times.

Retired California Senator Jean Fuller offered her perspective on the impact that COVID-19 is having on schools across the country. In her 48-year career as a public servant, only natural disasters compare to the level of response that this situation requires.

Richard Chapman, CEO of the Kern Economic Development Corporation, gave his prognosis for how COVID-19 will affect the Kern County’s business climate.

Romeo Agbalog spoke on behalf of Kern Citizens For Sustainable Government to talk about how Bakersfield College is establishing the model for other colleges to efficiently move their programs online.

April 7

Radiologic Technology student Sara Navidad shared the challenges she had with moving to an online environment.

Computer Science and Engineering major Krissy Coggshall talked about what she’s learned about learning and working as a Child Development tutor online.

Commercial Music student Izzy Foster misses the opportunity to perform live with her peers, but she’s still getting ready to transfer to the Berklee College of Music in Boston next year. She also performed a song at the end of the All-Campus Virtual Forum.

BC “Do Good, Feel Good” Campaign

The BC “Do Good, Feel Good” campaign is still in motion! This week, we’re reaching out to the Mission at Kern County, which is in dire need of supplies for babies and children, including hand sanitizer, wipes, diapers, and toiletries. These supplies would greatly benefit those in need, including BC’s very own Project HireUp students.

For questions or donations please reach out to Endee Grijalva directly at endee.grijalva@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Thank you to all who have donated or supported the BC “Do Good, Feel Good” Series, and thank you to Endee Grijalva for leading this wonderful campaign!

Thank You to Our Essential Workers

Thank you Valerie for putting together this photo display to recognize our Essential Workers

Photos submitted by Bill Potter in M&O and Shelley Casteneda in Public Safety with messages from their staff. 

Thank you to all our essential workers who are going in every day to make sure our campus is kept safe and secure. I deeply appreciate your commitment to the health and safety of our BC community. 

Fun Photos: Everything Is Going to Be Okay

Veronica Hathaway, a Department Assistant with the Office of Instruction, shared this great photo of her dog Bella Marie. Thanks, Veronica!

And here is Bessie…growing up fast.

BC Nursing Students Join Battle Against COVID-19

Our third-semester students joined the battle last week and began working as COVID-19 screeners at Bakersfield Heart Hospital. Thank you to all our nursing students who are working on the front lines of the pandemic to protect us all. 

Another big thank you to our classified staff and their families, who have been making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of cloth face masks and caps. Thank you to BC staff Venessa Reyes and Robin Patterson, and their mothers Corrine Reyes and Vivian Patterson, for working hard to meet the national shortage of PPE. Over 170 masks have been distributed to students and faculty to keep them safe as they provide patient care.

#BCGoesOnline

Thank you to everyone who is continuing to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #BCGoesOnline. Here are some of the responses that came through this week: BC librarian Allison Burch and her pup Mr. Unicorn are eager to help and support students online!

Kalina Hill shared a message of encouragement following the “Lean On BC” video message.

She also took this photo of her screen during our All-Campus Forum with political and community leaders.

BC’s Career and Technical Education Department sent a creative message to BC’s student employees wishing them a Happy National Student Employee Appreciation Week!

Marbella Avalos shared a photo of Dr. Iton’s fantastic presentation for the BC Distinguished Speaker Series. 

Dolores Huerta’s 90th Birthday

Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta turned 90 this past weekend! I enjoyed watching community members celebrate her special day with a birthday car parade

Huerta was born on April 10, 1930, in Dawson, New Mexico, but at the age of three, she moved to Stockton, California.

In 1988, Huerta was a recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, and in 2012, President Barack Obama awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor in our nation.

See the coverage of this amazing woman in my March 17, 2018 blog post when she visited BC. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2018/03/17/bc-is-booming-with-activities/

Emails Worth Sharing: In Memoriam – Ron Dethlefson

Ron Dethlefson (Photo by Jill Wettersten)

Jerry Ludeke at the BC Archives sent this email commemorating Ron Dethlefson, who taught at BC for 27 years in the Communication Department. He was the advisor to our student radio station KBCC for 14 years and published expert work about early records and phonographs. Read the full email below:

Dear BC family:

The normal cycles of life go on even as Covid 19 surrounds and constricts us.  We’re grateful for the technology that still lets us keep in touch.

Easter morning Ron Dethlefson, 82, died peacefully in a nursing home after several years living with Alzheimer’s disease.  Ron retired in 1996 as a full professor after teaching for 27 years at BC. He started in 1969 teaching speech in the Communication Department.  Then in 1972 he became advisor/instructor for the fledgling radio broadcasting station KBCC which he guided until 1986, when he returned to teaching speech.  

Ron was always known for his outstanding radio voice and a good sense of wry humor.  Few people knew, however, of his outside interest. Ron was considered an expert consultant in the area of early records and phonographs which he began collecting and writing about in 1953.  His books and other writings on Edison Blue Amberol Recordings are highly regarded. In 2012 the ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collection) awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award. He also volunteered as a consultant while he did research at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.  

At Bakersfield College, Ron was active in the Academic Senate and his wife Barbara, who survives him, was active in Faculty Wives and served in the very first volunteer tutoring program offered to BC students.  The Dethlefson family is planning a celebration of Ron’s life in July at Wesley United Methodist Church where they have been active participants for many years.

If you go to the BC Archives website, you will see two changes.  First, it is my personal pleasure to call your attention to the listing which shows Mindy Wilmot as the new Director.  She is ready for the challenge, and we on the staff are all excited to have her. (I will continue as an archives assistant, so you will still hear from me once in a while.)  Our second change is that photos, which were once visible on the website, disappeared after January. They are only temporarily in hiding while arrangements are being made to let them move to a happy little cloud.  It may be summertime before that changeover is completed.

Meanwhile……Stay well….and let us hear from you.
Jerry Ludeke, for the Archives

Archives Throwback: Hispanic Culture – An Energetic Group in the BC Tradition

Let’s hear from Earl Parsons as he digs into our archives

For the third part in our series looking back at the Panorama Campus in the mid-60s, we turn to the 1966 Raconteur for a feature on the first Hispanic Culture Club in Renegade History. The club was founded by Spanish professor Ray Gonzales, who would go on to become the first Latino ever to represent Kern County in the State Assembly, as well as a diplomat for the US State Department in Central America.

Ray Gonzales passed away in 2018 at the age of 80, and many of our Renegade faculty regarded him as one of their greatest friends and mentors, including Dean Corny Rodriguez and History Professor Octavio Barajas, who organized a roundtable discussion about Gonzales during last year’s Jess Nieto Memorial Conference.

Artist Jorge Guillen and Oliver Rosales stand next to a painting of Ray Gonzales that Guillen created for the 2019 Jess Nieto Memorial Conference
Left to right: Dr. Mark Martinez, Steve Barber and Emily Gonzales speak on a panel about the life of Ray Gonzales, the first Chicano elected to state office in Kern County.

Read the article below, and stay tuned next week for more glimpses into Renegade life during the mid-60s.

Hispanic Culture: An Energetic Group in the BC Tradition

One of the newest clubs on campus, the Hispanic Culture Club, did not lag in getting organized or active. Under the advisorship of Ray Gonzales, a BC alumnus and Spanish instructor, the club had its constitution accepted early in the fall semester. 

At Christmas, the 26 members sponsored a canned food drive for needy Bakersfield families. In addition, they chipped in Christmas trees and much-needed clothing for the underprivileged. During the spring semester, they planned a dance and Spanish fiesta and also participated in the annual Spring Carnival with a taco booth.

Athletics: Resilience II Workouts Released This Week

Thank you Brandon Urry for the Athletics Roundup

As we continue our social distancing protocol in an effort to flatten the curve and protect our at-risk population and frontline workers, BC Athletics has your training covered! Our fantastic Renegade Kinesiology faculty including Zack Peters, Konrad Dahl and Matt Moon have put together the next phase of at-home workouts for our student athletes. Like the first phase, all exercises require nothing more than a chair, a towel, and your own bodyweight. Visit the GoGades website to get started with Resilience II.

Next Level Gades!

This week, we saw another group of Renegades commit to the next level while continuing their academic and athletic careers. First, from Renegade Baseball, Alejandro Murillo (pitcher) is headed to the University of Nevada, and Rich Garcia (infielder) is headed to the University of Antelope Valley. Both of these student athletes were key players for Coach Tim Painton and were great examples to their teammates of hard work and dedication.

Secondly, from Renegade Football, Paxton Winders announced he is headed to further his education and football career at Western Illinois University. We want to wish all three of these the very best in the future.

Renegade Student Athletes Will Receive “Make-Up” Year of Eligibility

23ABC sports reporter Matt Lively put together a story this week on the fact the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) has granted another season of eligibility to spring sports student athletes due to their seasons being cut short this spring. He talked with our Men’s Golf Coach Wes Coble and men’s golf student athlete Blake Keesey on the topic. Blake is one of about 9,500 student athletes that will be affected state-wide by this new policy.

Jackie Robinson Day

Wednesday was National Jackie Robinson Day. The day is celebrated because Jackie Robinson (a four-sport star at both Pasadena City College and UCLA) first stepped on the field in the Major Leagues as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, effectively breaking the color barrier in professional sports. 

In 1997, Major League Baseball (MLB) officially retired his jersey number ‘42’ across all MLB teams. On April 15, 2005 MLB declared April 15th as Jackie Robinson Day and on this day every player wears the number 42 to honor his legacy. Although Jackie faced much persecution personally and to his family, he never wavered and stood fast in his resolve to be viewed not by his skin color but by his ability to compete on the field. The movie ‘42’ which came out in 2013 perfectly portrays the hardships he endured in his plight breaking the color barrier. As we are all at home staying safe, now is a great time to watch (or re-watch) this film.

===

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Lean on BC

BC Students, lean on BC.

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow.
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on (Bill Withers)

Good morning, Bakersfield. Happy Easter
It is Saturday, April 11, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.

Bill Withers

I was saddened to hear that the legendary soul singer Bill Withers, passed away at the age of 81 last week. Withers is a three-time Grammy Award winner best known for the songs “Lean On Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine”, which are both on Rolling Stone’s List of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, and John Legend perform “Lean on Me”.
Bill Withers performs “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

Jon Pareles wrote a moving piece in the New York Times about how Bill Withers used his music as a tool to express his compassion and selflessness. Withers was in his early 30s when his recording career started, and his real-life experiences serving in the Navy and working in factories brought an authenticity to his songs about people and their everyday lives. A 2009 documentary about Withers’ life titled “Still Bill” traces the influential singer’s life from his childhood in West Virginia to his retirement from the music industry in 1985.

Enjoying spring with national poetry month

Jack Hernandez emailed me about April being National Poetry Month. His email triggered me dusting off an old book of poems that was part of my high school curriculum. Here are a few verses from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s The Cloud

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.

From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
As she dances about the sun.

I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

Here is another lovely poem by Jack Hearnandez

Rain hits a budding flower on the Panorama Campus.
Photos by Earl Parsons

Waiting
By Jack Hernandez

When dawn brings
the darkness,
and light confounds
the day,
we are given
the gift of waiting,
which must be opened
to show the way
of breathing

Rain hits a blooming tree on the Panorama Campus

without a calendar
whose hours
are trained to run,
We must hold silence
like a bowl
receiving rain,
a leaf shining
in the sun,
We must feel
in stillness
the caress of hope.

Thank you Jack!

============================

Thank you Greg and Mary Bynum

Of Bakersfield College’s 40,000 students, 80% are First Generation, approximately 80% are low income, and many rely on campus WiFi and computer labs to access the internet in order to complete their assignments.  Students’ responses to a March 20 survey revealed that about one in 10 students do not have adequate off-campus internet access while nearly a quarter of students use their cell phones as their primary device to access their courses. In response to student high student need for technology as Bakersfield College moved instruction online, BC developed a laptop loan program with a generous donation from Greg and Mary Bynum.

Ema Sasic covered this story in the April 10th issue of The Bakersfield Californian. https://tinyurl.com/r4jskk8

Joseph Luiz covered it on KGET https://tinyurl.com/sqpcsx7

Back to College

Unemployment Rates during COVID-19.

In my virtual forums, I have been sharing an article from Politico on April 2 highlighting the 10 million workers nationwide who filed jobless claims over the previous 2 weeks. Yet another surge has brought the total of new jobless claims during this pandemic to over 17 million. I have also been sharing this chart showing how the current unemployment claims compare with unemployment data from the Great Recession. One key difference is how quickly the jobless claims have spiked.

I have previously mentioned the Back to College program our team has created to help combat rising unemployment in Kern County. It is my hope that our community can continue to Lean on BC in this time of need and difficulty.

Our team held four sessions last week and two additional sessions this week to answer student questions and get students registered for these courses. Thank you to Victor Diaz, Erineo Garcia, Jo Ann Acosta, Heather Skibinski, Ashlea Ward and Armando Trujillo for leading these sessions and getting our students registered.

Outreach and Financial Aid work together on Back to College.
The Back to College Team meets on Zoom.

I also want to thank Joseph Tipay, David Moton, Oliver Rosales, Isaias Hernandez, Sylvia Reyes, Beenne Anglin and Jonathan Ward for agreeing to take on this important work and teach these courses to our students. This 5-week program will help jumpstart students’ educational journeys and put them on a path that can lead to new associates degrees or transfer options. Online classes begin on Monday.

Levan Institute Moves Online

#NeverStopLearning
The Levan Institute is offering 7 classes to help our community #NeverStopLearning.

On Monday, the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning announced seven online classes starting the week of April 20. Enroll in these fun classes as you shelter in place.

Visit the Levan Institute Registration page to apply now!  If you have any questions about the online classes hosted by the BC Levan Institute, please email Miriam Valenzuela at mvalenzu@bakersfieldcollege.edu.To follow the Levan Institute’s posts regarding online classes, please follow them on Facebook. A full list of classes includes:

  • What’s Streaming?: Find out everything you need to know about popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more.
  • Self Massage for Stress and Tension Relief – Learn massage techniques that you can apply to your whole body and understand the benefits and precautions of massage.
  • Massage for Headache Relief – In this course, you will learn about the causes of headaches and practice massage, acupressure and Reflexology techniques for headache relief.
  • Tai Chi – Tai Chi is a form of martial arts in which slow, gentle movements are made in the air to improve balance, coordination, joint mobility, and blood circulation.
  • Gentle Mat Pilates – In this class, you will learn about Pilates, a blend of exercises to increase core strength, flexibility, breath control, and alignment correction to improve balance and posture.
  • Creative Writing: Creating Characters and Their Stories – In this course, you can expect to learn the elements of fictional writing, such as creating memorable characters, descriptive scenes, and realistic dialogue.
  • Gentle Yoga – This class is designed to promote increased mobility, flexibility, and balance. Yoga is practiced by people of all ages. Each class is an hour of relaxation and gentle movement.

Thank you to Norma Rojas-Mora, Susan Pinza, Miriam Valenzuela, and the BC Levan Institute staff for leading this online classes initiative.

Community Voices: Jeff Newby

Jeff Newby wrote a piece for the Community Voices section.
Jeff Newby

History Professor Jeff Newby wrote a great Community Voices piece for the Californian on Tuesday with tips to help our neighbors and ourselves in small ways.

Jeff’s tips include donating food or money to food banks, donating blood, writing letters to people in isolation, supporting local businesses, and daily neighborhood cleanups. Thank you, Jeff!

All-Campus Forum with Community Leaders

Our All-Campus Virtual Forum last Monday focused on community and political leaders sharing their passion for higher education, as well as their plans to improve the job market during the COVID-19 crisis. I will have their videos for you next week.

On Monday, April 13th, we have another great line up of speakers — Rudy Salas, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and David Bynum. Tune in at 3:00 p.m.

Thank you to Nicky Damania and Todd Coston for moderating the virtual forum, Shannon Musser and Lesley Bonds for facilitating the forum behind the scenes, and all of our participants for keeping the valley strong during these uncertain times.

Virtual Forums from the previous week

You can find the videos on the COVID-19 website at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/covid19

Here are a few short videos of some of our presenters

Abel Guzman on Rural BC.

Diane Allen — Faculty Counselor supporting DSPS

Jackie Lau — Assistant Director, Enrollment Services

Matt Jones — Faculty, Academic Technology

Fun Photos: IT Provides Laptops Before Physical Campus Closure

Before we shut down the physical campus, Manny De Los Santos got some great photos of the Technology Support Team getting laptops ready for Renegades to move online. Thank you to our whole Information Technology Department for helping us manage this transition.

Renegade Nurses Help Fight COVID-19

Graduating Registered Nursing speak at BC’s 100 th Nursing Ceremony in 2017.

Bakersfield College nursing students have stepped up to meet the need for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only eight weeks from graduation, our Level 4 nursing students were thrown into uncertainty as we shifted to a virtual learning environment. But our Associate Dean of Nursing, Carla Gard, playing to “where the puck was going to be,” coordinated externship opportunities with our community health partners: Kern Medical, Dignity Health Systems and Bakersfield Heart Hospital. 

Working in paid positions at these facilities, these 69 senior students will be paired with nurses so they can complete their education by providing hands-on patient care.

Nursing student Shantelle Rubio and Cindy Collier were interviewed by Valley Public Radio last week, and Fresno Univision affiliate KFTV-21 featured our nursing students in a piece for Spanish-language media.

Here’s a salute and prayer for all healthcare workers who are on the front lines of this epidemic.

Renegades on the Front Lines

Kaitlin and Bonnie Hulsy

English faculty member Kaitlin Hulsy wrote a beautiful piece about the importance of nursing and her late mother’s 35-year career in nursing, which started right here at Bakersfield College. Thank you, Kaitlin!

Before I existed in this world, my mother was a student in the nursing program at Bakersfield College. At the time, she was a single mother who was working multiple jobs to raise two young boys and pay her way through college. My mother was always glamorous, but during her days hitting the books, she had a little more grit as opposed to glitter.

Bonny Lou Hulsy walked across the stage at graduation with a smile on her face. She had done it! She went on to have a 35-year career in nursing. This started with cleaning bedpans, and eventually morphed into assisting doctors in diagnosing kiddos with autism at Kern Regional Center. She eventually co-founded one of the top schools in the nation for children with autism and autistic spectrum disorders. Her sons are now grown, one of them the CAO of Kern County.

Bonnie Hulsy’s photo from her Nursing graduation at BC.

We know that nurses can do anything. More importantly, we know how needed they are at this uncertain time. It is in the spirit that I have an ask for the sixty-nine nursing students who are about to be on the front lines in the time of COVID-19: What do you need? How may we help each and every one of you as you begin your journey?

It is my desire to put together a wish list of items for our 69 Renegade nurses to bring them comfort as they confront a still very much unknown dragon. Please email Endee Grijalva to request any items you need. We will do our best to accommodate you.

In the meantime, please know that my mother is looking down from Heaven on BC nursing and bubbling with pride. As a faculty number, I join countless others who are so incredibly proud of you. We Are BC!

Until next time,

Kaitlin Hulsy

Emails Worth Sharing: Castle In the Storm

Cover illustration for Castle in the Storm.

Kaitlin is also spearheading an important creative outlet for Renegades as they shelter in place. In Kaitlin’s most recent column on the website, she shares her thoughts about teaching being the best job in the world. Read her email below about Castle In the Storm.

Good Afternoon, Colleagues:

I wanted to humbly direct your attention to a project I’m working on, namely Castle In the Storm.

Castle in the Storm is a place for Renegade students who need a creative outlet in the time of Covid-19. The website functions both as a place to showcase student work, in addition to being a repository for professional advice and published pieces from established authors. Our logo was created by BC alumnus and local comedienne Margaret Haggard, and original student work is appearing daily. Submissions of flash fiction/poetry/nonfiction from any Bakersfield College students are always welcome. Students may email me directly, or submit to the website via the Contact page.

At this time, our featured author is acclaimed nonfiction writer Deanne Stillman. Her works include Mustang: the Saga of Wild Horses in the American West, among many others. Deanne has written for Rolling Stone Magazine, and her work Twenty Nine Palms: A True Story of Murder was referred to by the great Hunter S. Thompson as “a strange and brilliant story by an important American writer.” She is part of the core faculty at UC Riverside Palm-desert-MFA. Thank you very much for your time, and please enjoy your weekend.

Regards,
Kaitlin Hulsy

#BCGoesOnline

We got a ton of great content this week through the #BCGoesOnline hashtag on social media. Keep sharing your photos and posts with #BCGoesOnline on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and we’ll feature you in next week’s blog!

Carlos Medina tweeted about supporting CSUB with virtual career events, like the virtual career expo for Industrial Technology last week:

Tweet from Carlos Medina.

Kalina Hill shared about how inspired she felt after hearing our students speak at the All-Campus Virtual Forum on Tuesday:

Tweet from Kalina Hill.

Jaime Lopez shared a screenshot from Abel Guzman’s presentation at last week’s Virtual Forum:

Tweet from Jaime Lopez

Finally, Chris Glaser is staying engaged with all of our virtual forums on Twitter:

Virtual Vacations for Spring Break

decorative image.

Although Spring Break is happening at home this year, here are some tips from our marketing department….

Museums and Attractions

Art Collections

Architecture

Nature

Animals

Archives Throwback: Thomas Takes Over New Position

Thomas Takes Over New Position.
Bill Thomas from the 1967 Raconteur

Our look at Bakersfield College in the mid-60s continues with this article from the 1967 Raconteur yearbook about Bill Thomas accepting a position as the student government advisor. Bill Thomas would continue to be a champion for Bakersfield College over the next half-century as a BC professor, KCCD Trustee, and US Congressman representing the Southern San Joaquin Valley. Check the article out below, and stay tuned for more glimpses at Renegade life in the 1960s.

During the last meeting of the Board of Representatives, Fall Semester, a motion was made without proper parliamentary procedures; this mistake was corrected by a member of the Board with the supervision of an interested teacher who had come into the meeting for a few minutes. Noticing this teacher’s interest in student government, Mr. Ronald McMasters, Advisor, appointed him as the Spring Semester Advisor to student government, knowing there was a vacancy for that position.

“Mr. William Thomas has taught at Bakersfield College for the last two years. Previous to this he attended Santa Ana Junior College, where he received his A.A. degree, after which he transferred to San Francisco State College. After four years with a year of student teaching, he obtained his B.A. and M.A. degrees.

Bill Thomas is animated during a student government meeting.

“Besides being Advisor to Student Government, Mr. Thomas is a member of the Board of Publications. He teachers the Parliamentary Procedures Class, Political Science 1, and Social Science 53A and B. Previous to his new appointment, he was advisor to the Tutorial Project and the Young Republicans Club.

“Mr. Thomas enjoys many extra-curricular activities but is not interested in any special activity. He enjoys sports very much, such as handball and basketball, and he also rides a motorcycle occasionally. To pass the time, he reads and listens to music. Most of his weekends in the past two years have been spent chaperoning the college dances.

“Mr. Thomas is very active and is interested in helping the Bakersfield College students whenever he can through his active life in Student Government and campus life.”

More recent photos of Bill Thomas.

Athletics

Watch this week’s edition of the Renegade Report on the Bakersfield College Athletics Facebook page featuring our Renegade Men’s Tennis Coach Noel Dalton and Head Football Coach R. Todd Littlejohn. Both Coaches talked to Kenny Calvin, the radio host of the Renegade Report, about leading young student-athletes through this unprecedented time. The three also talked about how student-athletes and coaches are facing the stoppage of sports. Click the link to listen to the conversation on Facebook:

National Student-Athlete Day

National Student Athlete Day

Monday, April 6th, was National Student-Athlete Day! With all of our sports teams at a standstill, it’s a unique time for athletic staff and coaches, and in particular, for student-athletes. On top of going to class and studying hard, they put in many hours in practice and competition every week. Even now, as we are all sheltering in place, our athletes are hard at work at home, pushing themselves to stay in shape so that they are ready to compete once again. Happy National Student-Athlete Day Renegades, you’re doing fantastic training at home!

Brett Clark Named BVarsity Coach of the Year

Brett Clark
Brett Clark.

Brett Clark, BC’s head wrestling coach and the head girls wrestling coach at Frontier High School, was named the BVarsity All-Area Girls Wrestling Coach of the Year this week. Congrats go out to Coach Clark for this accomplishment! We are lucky to have a coach who is so devoted to developing young talent within our community.

Special Edition: “I Miss Sports Because…”

I Miss Sports Because..
.

We asked our student-athletes on social media this week to finish this sentence, “I miss sports because…” Here are  a few of their responses

Blake Keesey, from Men’s Golf: “I miss the pressure of needing to hit the shot at the right moment. I miss the early morning drives with the team. I miss the nerves of the opening shot. I miss fighting for each other.”

Brooklyn Walsh, from Women’s Golf: “My team is my family.”

Caleb Jameson, from Men’s Golf: “I miss sports because I miss my team, I miss my brothers, and I miss the pressure and expectations that come with sports.”

Carlos Estrada, from the Football team: “The family environment.”

President Sonya Christian in front of a Bakersfield College wall.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

It’s Still a Beautiful World

We do live in a beautiful world.

The weather in Bakersfield has been perfect. The sound of the birds and the smell of the flowers intoxicating. My morning starts with a Neo walk as dawn is breaking but still relatively dark and the neighborhood quiet. Every morning, a sentinel owl who is perched high up on the cypress that fills our neighborhood calls out … who goes there.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 4, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.

Beauty

Here is Jack Hernandez on Beauty

Jack Hernandez at church

Beauty

By Jack Hernandez 

From my window
azaleas blush,
a white cloud
lingers above,
rain has come
and gone,
the dawn begins
a week of waiting
for another kiss
of passing beauty.

Jack also had a beautiful essay in the April 1, 2020 Californian. Poetry is felt, not analyzed. A poem is not an argument; it is an experience, a revelation. check it out https://tinyurl.com/tzye3ja

#JonesGalleryGoesOnline

Ronnie Wrest and Jeffrey Huston from the Jones Gallery created a virtual exhibition of student art projects. The 2020 Bakersfield College Student Exhibition went live on the web on Thursday afternoon, and features art projects in a variety of mediums. The annual student art exhibition usually takes place at the Jones Gallery inside the Grace Van Dyke Byrd Library, but our art students and staff #LettheTimesGuidetheirCreativity to move this year’s exhibition online.

Invitation with an image of a wild horse running.

See the fabulous art at one or all of the following:

Talking about the art faculty and their creativity, I spotted this wonderful tweet from their dean bragging about them.

Career Education’s First Virtual Career Expo

The Career Education Department hosted their first ever virtual career expo for the Industrial Technology & Transportation pathway on Wednesday April 1st. This innovative platform successfully connected employers with students giving them virtual facetime through Zoom. Our Employer participants included; Berry Petroleum Company, LLC, Sierra School Equipment, Crown Lift Trucks, US Army, AppleOne, JTI Electrical & Instrumentation, LLC, and Westec. As in the many things we do BC is setting the trend as our regional partners have reached out to see how they can duplicate and adapt the event to their campuses. Check out our video recapping the event.

Thank you Carlos Medina and the staff in CTE for thinking outside the box and finding another modality to bring this important event to our students and the community. #BCGoesOnline

Leslie Aldridge Making the World Beautiful

Mrs. Bakersfield and 2 ladies.

Professor of Performing, Leslie Aldridge is still finding incredible ways to serve our community even though we currently find ourselves in challenging times. Leslie is Mrs. Bakersfield 2020 pageant queen, led a senior donation drive to bring food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and gift cards to needy seniors, and she hosted Donate Life to increase the number of vital organs and tissues to save lives. 

Donations for Seniors notice.

She has also used her creativity to bring joy to our community. Her art work at the “Chalk Your Walk” was breathtaking! 

Laying next to chalk drawing of flowers.

BC “Do Good, Feel Good” Campaign

Image of Do Good Feel Good poster.

Now, for some more positive initiatives at BC! Endee Grijalva, the Program Manager of Rural Initiatives, and the BC Office of Student Life staff members came together to assist BC students through the “BC Do Good, Feel Good” campaign. On April 1, 2020 (no April Fools on this one), began a campaign that provides opportunities and encourages BC employees to continue to “do good and feel good” in continuing to serve and provide much-needed resources to students, all while social distancing. We are keeping our spirits up by continuing to support our students in this difficult time and feeling good about it.

Thank you, BC staff and faculty, for your generosity during this time, and thank you, Endee Grijalva and the BC Office of Student Life staff members, for leading this fantastic campaign. 

Cesar Chavez Day 

Cesar Chavez Speaking

Did you know that Tuesday, March 31st, was César Chávez Day in the United States? In California, César Chávez Day is a state holiday that celebrates the birthday of César E. Chávez, paying tribute to his life as a labor leader and champion of civil rights.

Chávez’s life as a community organizer and activist began in 1952 when he joined the Community Service Organization (CSO), a Latino civil rights group. He coordinated voter registration drives and conducted campaigns against racial and ethnic discrimination. He eventually became CSO’s national director, but his dream was to create an organization that protected and served farmworkers. In the early 1960s, he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America), along with Dolores Huerta (who spoke at BC just last year) and Philip Vera Cruz. Chávez remained president of the United Farm Workers of American until he passed away on April 23rd, 1993. 

Today, his life motto, “sí se puede” (it can be done),” encourages organizers around the nation to come together and advance civil rights and different causes. Additionally, many schools, parks, streets, libraries, and other public buildings named or renamed after César Chávez to commemorate his work and commitment to social justice. In 1994, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the U.S. president can grant an American. In 2006, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Here at BC, we hope Chávez’s legacy continues to inspire us to serve others and the greater good.

David Villarino has organized a large community celebration each year but could not do so this year because of COVID-19 stay-at-home executive order from the Governor. Here are links to the three previous years.

Third annual Cesar Chavez Breakfast. April 24, 2019. Corny Rodriguez was honored. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2019/04/27/spring-is-heating-up-at-bc/

Second annual Cesar Chavez Breakfast in March 2018. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was honored. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2018/03/24/a-beautiful-rainy-week-at-bc/

Inaugural Cesar Chavez Breakfast in March 2017. Sandra Serrano was honored. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/04/01/an-absolutely-uplifting-week-at-bc/

#BCGoesOnline 

Thank you to everyone who continues to share their experiences sheltering in place using the hashtag #BCGoesOnline on social media. Here are some highlights from this week:

Librarian Mindy Wilmot hosted her first ConferZoom meeting and had a furry friend joining her, as well.

Isabel Castaneda joins a Zoom meeting to move the Summer Bridge to BC program online.

Lesley Bonds’ dog Luna was listening intently to the All-Campus Virtual Forum on Tuesday.

Finally, Kalina Hill from Testing and Placement responds to a message of hope from Manuel Rosas.

Screen shot of Nobody is Alone in this, We are here to help!

This Week at BC: Nursing and Allied Health 

Marketing student workers Ramon Carreido and Juan Reyes made one last video before BC transitioned to a virtual environment, which happened to be about the important work of our Nursing and Allied Health Departments. Thank you, Juan and Ramon!

BC in the News: Back to College Program on KGET

Local station KGET covered BC’s five-week Back to College in a video piece last weekend, explaining to the community how our program will assist workers who are displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, KGET

For more information about this program, visit the Back to College website.

Reflections From Inside 

Caption from Sara Wallace’s blog: “This is my mobile office. I have office supplies for the students (left) and my clear backpack (right) to bring in supplies (office supplies, graded work, handouts, dry erase markers, etc). It makes it easier for security if I have a clear backpack, and one of the facilities we work in requires it.”

Sara Wallace, an English faculty at Bakersfield College, has published her second blog entry titled “Reflections from Inside: Teaching in the Inmate Scholars Program”. She has been working as a full-time instructor at a total of five different prisons since the Fall. This blog is her reflection about doing this important work. This program is only a few years old, but it has expanded to include ten prisons and a thousand students. It is expected to grow more in the future. This was written before the recent CoronaVirus Outbreak, and some of the lessons and experiences with teaching inside have already changed dramatically.

Lessons Learned so far: I am teaching composition. There are some real differences between teaching on campus and teaching inside, so it has not been a seamless transition, which was not surprising. 

Pro-tip: Do not put anything in the supply cabinet. It will be gone when you get back. The inmates do not have access to this cabinet, so it is probably not them. It is probably another educator. We are all office supply thieves at heart. I am a hardened pen thief myself. There is a real run on office supplies inside.

Something that I take for granted like having a pen or paper to do homework with is really valuable. Bring it in with you and take it with you when you leave. That is a pain, but in some facilities the inmates do not have paper, or they have to buy the paper on their own, which is hard when they are using some of their available time to take my class. I am trying to teach writing. Paper and pens are pretty necessary. I just threw bundles of papers into the recycler the other day because the printer messed up a little bit. It really makes you think about the things we take for granted. 

In addition to supply issues, there are some differences in the way I run my class. For example, I have had to limit the amount of call and response kinds of questions I ask. The inmates are very excited to participate, so it can get a little loud. It requires a little bit more management partly because of their excitement for us to be there. It makes it harder to manage, but it also makes me feel more enthusiastic as well. I have only been working in this program for a month, so there is still plenty to learn and different techniques to try out.

A few months ago, the program had its first graduation. Since I am new, none of the new graduates were students of mine. I am looking forward to future graduations so that I get the chance to hear about what some of our students do with this opportunity as it will continue to inform my response to the question of why I am doing what I am doing.

Language of Power: One of my students asked me why I was making them write in this way. I have been asked this question on campus as well, though not as frequently. I had a more precise answer for my students on the inside. I am teaching you the language of power. People who have control over your lives write like this and speak like this. If you do not know how to communicate like them then you are at a disadvantage. Another student asked: like how the lawyers talk? Yes, and everyone else you talk with who has power. That seemed to motivate some of the students who were not as motivated before though I have less trouble with a lack of motivation inside than I do on the outside.

Lessons Learned: “It is all your fault” one of my students said as he stuck his head in the door during their break. They are not really supposed to come back into the classroom until the break is over. The private facility is more strict about this than the government facilities. I have a hard time saying no to students when they want or need help, so I end up spending our entire break answering questions most days. After all, they do not have the opportunity to come to my office hours. This time, my student did not have a question, but he did want to tell me something.

Me: “Oh? What is my fault?”

Student: “The conversation is still going on out there!”

Me: “Fantastic! That is so great!”

We had a discussion before break about the reading, and they were so engaged with the topic that they continued the discussion. We did have to move on to working on the research essay, so I am glad I gave them the break first. Sometimes they can get a little loud because everyone wants to say something. Last week one of the Correctional Officers came into the classroom to see what was going on because we were so loud. We do eventually have to get back to the writing, but it is nice to talk with students who have something to say, and lots of questions.

At first I was finding it hard to maintain control over the students with all of their questions and comments. It led to a conversation with the director of education, correctional officers, and with the class itself. The solution offered by employees of the prison was to just press the emergency button and have the guards come in and crack some heads.

Me: Because they were a little too loud and were a bit rude? That seems like an overreaction.

Them: They would not do it again.

True. If I pressed the emergency button, the students would not do it again, but they also would not say anything in class anymore, and it would hinder their learning. I am not an employee of the prison system, and my purpose in being there is not to control them or to punish them or even to rehabilitate them; it is to teach them. I have dealt with boisterous classes before, and I have never felt the need to call in a bruiser to deal with them. So I did what I usually do, I changed their seating arrangement every week. They could not form little groups of people chatting to themselves if they were not by their friends. Educators can find other ways to manage a class. We do not always have to drop the hammer.

The interactions with the students in the prison setting are really rewarding for the instructors and hopefully the students as well. The coronavirus outbreak has put a stop to all face-to-face teaching in the prison system. My next blog post will be about the effect it has had on our teaching. We are trying to make the best out of this situation, but all of us want to eventually go back inside. Having interactions with someone who is communicating with these students about something other than their behavior or the past mistakes they have made is really important and means a lot to them. I was evaluated by the students last semester as part of the normal evaluation process. I have not had a chance to read all my evaluations (which I cannot read until after the grades are submitted for the semester), but during my meeting with my committee, one of my committee members read a comment to me from one of my students. He said: she never looks at me like I am a level four criminal. She said there were a lot of comments like that and if I am ever feeling low, I should go and read through them. As soon as this is over, I will, and I hope we can go back in soon because besides teaching the Inmate Scholars the content of the course, personal interaction is important too.

Archives Throwback: Highlights from 1965-1967

Homecoming float with Bakersfield College wall.

Earl Parsons took a deep dive into the Bakersfield College Archives last weekend to find any information available about Lupe Hernandez, the Bakersfield nursing student rumored to have invented hand sanitizer in 1966. After digging through two Raconteur yearbooks and countless volumes of the Renegade Rip, however, nothing came up. If you have any information about a Bakersfield nursing student from the mid-60s named Lupe Hernandez, please email web@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

In his search, he managed to find all kinds of resources that paint a picture of life for Renegades in the mid-60s. We’ll be focusing on a few of those major highlights over the next coming weeks, but let’s just take a look at some of the best photos from those years, including this picture of donkey basketball in the gym:

Donkeys on a basketball court.

Renegade Athletics were alive and well during this time, with diving, water polo and men’s soccer all being played on the Panorama Campus.

In 1966 just like now, construction projects were happening around the Panorama Campus.

4 images on a yearbook page of campus construction.

In the coming weeks, look forward to a glimpse of Bill Thomas during his time as a Renegade faculty member, Ray Gonzales founding the first Hispanic Cultural Club in BC history, and a closer look at the era of on-campus student housing.

Fun Photos Coffee Cup Collection

Every weekday morning at 7:30 (8 on Fridays) the Marketing team greets one another on Slack. Lori Ortiz also adds a photo of her coffee cup. She has quite the collection. It’s just one of the fun things the MPR team does to stay connected and have some fun in our work from home environment. Here are a few the team shared with me: