Tag Archives: Bill Thomas

Beautiful Bakersfield. Beautiful BC.

Halloween morning at 6:00 a.m. check out the Blue Moon

Happy Halloween, Renegades!

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, October 31, 2020, a Blue Moon Halloween … and a great day to be a Renegade.

Chancellor Oakley & CCC Board of Governors Visit Bakersfield College

On Monday, Chancellor Eloy Oakley, senior administrators from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, and members of the Board of Governors made a virtual visit to BC to meet with students, faculty, staff, and members of the community.

Chancellor Oakley, Chancellor Burke, President Christian

The event started with an internal meeting highlighting BC students in Umoja, MESA, Early College, and more. Visit the CCCCO Virtual Listening Tour page for more details about the Chancellor’s Office meeting.

The Chancellor’s Office concluded their visit with a virtual town hall. Chancellor Oakley shared about his office’s Vision for Success, outlining goals to help us hold ourselves accountable for student performance. Chancellor Oakley answered questions about adult education, his personal history as an administrator at Long Beach City College, technology infrastructure at community colleges, and more.

He then presented BC with a Certificate of Recognition and a $5000 donation to the food pantry.

I enjoyed seeing Eloy’s tweet after this event:

Finish Line Scholars

Before Chancellor Oakley’s visit, the Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges announced that BC was one of the recipients of the Finish Line Scholars fund, a $100 million pledge distributed to 34 community colleges over 20 years. The Finish Line Scholars program provides scholarships to students who are halfway through their education plan of completing a degree or transferring to a 4-year university. Funding for the program was provided through a gift from the Jay Pritzker Foundation.

Beautiful Bakersfield Awards

Last Saturday night, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber announced the winners of the 3oth Annual Beautiful Bakersfield Awards.

Congressman William M. Thomas received the Harvey L. Hall Lifetime Achievement award.

William M. Thoams

While William M. Thomas is known nationally for having spent 14 terms in D.C. from 1979 to 2007, and as Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee in his final 6 years before retirement. Those of us in Bakersfield know Bill for the ways he has fundamentally changed the landscape of the city we call home.

His life’s work – tending to the daily details of navigating the intricacies of sometimes very obscure legislative matters – has been regularly punctuated by major wins in service to the community. Consistently ranked among the brainiest in Washington, Thomas strategically used his influence to improve the lives of the residents of Bakersfield.  As one drives the streets of Bakersfield, walks the Bakersfield College campus, or flies into Bakersfield Airport, it is impossible to miss his contributions.

Bill Thomas, Sharon Thomas

Through his coalition-building skills Congressman Thomas secured nearly a billion dollars in congressional funds for Bakersfield:

  • Successfully earmarking $722 million in federal transportation funding for Kern County roads, single-handedly connecting the I5 to the Sierras, and opening access to education and employment for some of the region’s most isolated communities
  • Garnering $40 million in congressional funding for the Valley Fever Vaccine Project
  • Obtaining $14.7 million for improvements to Bakersfield’s Meadows Field Airport

Yet, his service to the community didn’t end upon retirement.  In 2016, he joined the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees. During his tenure, the district secured half a billion-dollar bond measure to support facilities and infrastructure improvements for the next fifty years.  During his time as chair of the district’s Board Accreditation Committee, each of KCCD’s three colleges’ fully accredited status was reaffirmed.

Bill Thomas speaking

With these contributions, it is no surprise that as we fly into the William M. Thomas Terminal, we are greeted by a bust of a man who has done so much for this community. And while Bakersfield will forever associate “The Congressman” with Bill Thomas, we remember Bill first as a young Bakersfield College professor.  The first in his family to go to college, Bill paved the way for thousands of community college students, residents in our rural communities, and local leaders.

Congressman Thomas remains committed to Bakersfield’s residents, and only recently retired from public service as a KCCD Trustee. 

Other winners included:

CityServe, which won the Chairman’s Award. CityServe distributed goods through 109 chuches of all denominations to help 20,000 households, as well as distributing backpacks, sleeping bags and other goods to area homeless. CityServe is also partnering with Bakersfield College and County of Kern to provide job skills training to those who are living in our local shelters.

John P. Lake, who was named Business Person of the Year. JP created the Kern Venture Group, the first angel investor fund for local entrepreneurs. He is also one of the founders of the Kern Initiative for Talent and Entrepreneurship (KITE).

Give Big Kern – One Day to Celebrate the Giving Spirit of Kern County, which received the A Better Bakersfield award. In 2019, this event raised nearly $430,000 from 2,800 donors and secured more than 88,000 volunteer pledged hours for 114 participating charities.

You can view a list of all winners online.

Thank you Nick Ortiz and the Chamber for this fabulous event. A special shout out to Hillary Hanes – the lead staff for this event.

Padrinos de Bakersfield College

Abel Guzman shared an email this week announcing the relaunch of Padrinos de Bakersfield College:

“Padrinos was an initiative led by our now retired dean, Cornelio “Corny” Rodriguez for many years. Our hope is to honor his years of service by relaunching and continuing the group’s work.

This week, the group celebrated their relaunch by hosting a Dia de Los Muertos curbside pan dulce pick-up event on Friday.

Check out these photos from the event:

Corny Rodriguez
Olivia Garcia dressed up for the event

At the end of the last academic year, Corny won a lifetime achievement award. Check out these two videos.

Video Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I asked the Women’s History Month Faculty Leads and the BC Pre-Law Club to put together a tribute to the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that premiered on Thursday, October 29, live at 5:30 p.m on BC’s YouTube channel and Facebook live. The video features Kern County Superior Court Judges Robert Tafoya and Susan Gill, Commissioner Cynthia Loo,  and District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer.

Today, I am sharing my introduction from the tribute.

You can view the full 36 minute tribute video at https://youtu.be/yHWGakqaLZc. I will continue sharing pieces from this production in the coming weeks.

Thank you to Olivia Garcia, Maria Wright, Pearl Urena, Norma Rojas-Mora for their work in coordinating this tribute, and thank you to Valerie Urso and Manny de Los Santos for the video production and content editing.

The Effects of Colorism on Latina and Black Youth Panel

Bakersfield College’s Latinas Unidas and Latina Leaders of Kern County bring another discussion panel to discuss the sensitive topic of discrimination. According to the Pew Research Center, Latino and Black youth with darker skin tones are six times more likely to face discrimination due to the color of their skin. Panelists will speak about colorism in the Latinx and Black community. Register now for the panel taking place on Wednesday, 11/4/2020 – 5:30PM.

This is the third in the webinar series; webinars were also held on October 22 and October 29.

During the October 22 webinar, Sandy Woo-Cater, Co-director for the Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking, shared some of her experiences with racism – particularly in a bi-racial relationship:

Registration for Spring 2021

Early Registration begins Wednesday November 4, 2020 for Spring 2021 classes! This semester has flown by, midterms are over, and it is time to start planning your Spring classes. Remember to complete your update form in order to get your Registration Date. If you have any questions or problems, visit the Student Information Desk Monday – Thursday 9AM – 6PM. Looking forward to the Spring!

November is Veterans Month

November 11 is the Veterans Day holiday to honor those who have served our country both in war and peace. At BC, we celebrate and honor our veteran students for the whole month. This year, celebrations include the Distinguished Speaker David French, the invitation-only 30 Unit Coining Ceremony & Touch Point and the Success Pack distribution. Get details on the BC website at Veterans Month.

Last year in November we celebrated the month with the opening of the VRC. See other highlights of our celebration in my November 10, 2019 blog. Here are a few pictures from previous events:

  • A garden of American flags in the grass.

Art on PBS

BC Art Adjunct Faculty Diego Gutierrez Monterubio was featured on Valley PBS this week with a 5-minute film “Pintor Diego.” The film, along with 9 other local films, was part of this year’s #TheBigTell.

Thank you Diego Gutiérrez Monterrubio for sharing your story with the Central Valley.

You can check out the film online.

#ABetterBC Update

Chemistry professor Deb Rosenthal sent me this photo of construction of sthe new Science building. Even while we are not able to be on campus, work continues to create #ABetterBC.

Archives Throwback

“Dasein”, a poem by Jim Lynn (1971)

The following poem by Jim Lynn was published in the May 26, 1971 edition of the Renegade Rip. Loosely translated from German, the word “dasein” equates to the English word “existence” and was a frequent expression used by the philosopher Martin Heidegger.

Dasein

Yonder, in the Panhandle,
My thoughts are hiding
Until after the sun
Has paled the horizon
Then shall we meet
In mortal union
Within corpse of lilac corpse
And pass the image of a friend.
The basking tombstone.
We shall nurse the choking
Of a Sophist pond
But we know she cannot smile,
For the clandestine curse
Of time, in stealthy stalking,
Muses our isolation.
And after the variegate cliffs
Are clothed in peignoir
Of twilight shadow
We shall wait for
Soliloquies of crickets
To die in solitude,
Leaving us alone
With the pond,
Wherein we weep
For the passing
Of Spring

– Jim Lynn

Spotted on Social Media

Anthropology Professor Krista Moreland shared these photos of her cat, Pepper:

Maria Wright, Director of Student Support Services, shared a picture of her son getting into the Halloween spirit:

Athletics

New Renegade Themed Zoom Backdrops Are Here

Step-up your Zoom game on your next video conference call with these official Renegade themed backgrounds! Right-click each image to save the background.

Click Here to learn how to use custom backgrounds on Zoom.

=======

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

Feb 29, 2020 Celebrating Leap Year & showcasing Sterling Silver 2020

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 29, 2020…A Leap Year… A great day to be a Renegade.

Sterling Silver

Liz Rozell, John Petre, Sonya Christian, Kay Meek
Liz Rozell, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian
left to right: Zav Dadabhoy, Sandi Taylor, Liz Rozell, Dr. William F. Baker, Jr., Sonya Christian, and Romeo Agbalog.
Liz Rozell, Rick Kreiser, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder

We had a beautiful reception at the Seven Oaks Country Club last weekend as part of our 12th-annual Sterling Silver Dinner, which the BC Foundation puts together to honor and recognize the exceptional support that members of our community provide to BC every day. Proceeds from the Sterling Silver Dinner help fund scholarships for students, providing vital opportunities to make higher education a reality for thousands of Renegades.

Kris Tiner

The evening brought together Renegade alumni and supporters, generous donors, and friends of the college to celebrate this year’s honorees. Under the direction of Kris Tiner, the BC Jazz Ensemble masterfully entertained the crowd as they entered the event. Seven Oaks chef Paul Burzlaff prepared a wonderful variety of culinary delights with help from BC Culinary Arts students.

Several notable Renegade supporters were on hand to celebrate our honorees, including Mayor Karen Goh, Assemblymember Vince Fong, State Senator Shannon Grove, County Supervisor Zack Scrivner, and City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales. Other notable community partners included S.C. Anderson, Diane Lake, and AECOM/Parsons.

Corporate Philanthropist of the Year – Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association

We started off the reception by recognizing the Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association for their long-standing support of BC. The Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association was founded in 1945 and has held several golf tournaments to promote education in Kern County.

Individual Philanthropist of the Year – Mr. Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly receives the Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award
Bill Kelly receives the Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award

Bill Kelly taught agriculture at BC for 37 years. In addition to being selected Professor of the Year in 2014, he has won accolades across the state for his influence on agriculture education. Mr. Kelly retired in 2019, but he loves what he does so much he is back on campus as an adjunct instructor. However, we honored Bill because he and his family have provided substantial financial assistance to generations of BC students through the Verna L. Kelly Memorial and Kelly Family scholarships, set up to honor his family and strengthen ag education.

Bakersfield College Foundation Service Medal – Dr. William F. “Bill” Baker, Jr.

Dr. William Baker receives the Foundation Service Medal.
Dr. William Baker receives the Foundation Service Medal.

Dr. William Baker has served as the Team Physician for Bakersfield College athletics since 1978 and has provided expert medical care to generations of athletes, witnessing milestones such as the 1988 State Championship and the 1990 Potato Bowl. Dr. Baker’s contributions continue in the scholarship that he and Dr. Michael Tivnon established and award annually through the Bakersfield College Foundation. Dr. Baker has a successful practice in town and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the International Academy of Thrombosis, Hemostasis and Vascular Medicine. The Bakersfield College Foundation Service Medal recognizes extraordinary service to the Bakersfield College community for fifty-two years of commitment to Bakersfield College and Bakersfield College Athletics, and a lifetime of service to the good health of Bakersfield and Kern County.

Bakersfield College Foundation Service Medal – Rick Kreiser

Rick Kreiser receives the Foundation Service Medal.
Rick Kreiser receives the Foundation Service Medal.

Rick Kreiser is a Bakersfield College alum who has served on the Bakersfield College Foundation since 2001, even serving a stint as chair of the Foundation from 2005 to 2007. Over the years, Rick and his company, Carney’s, have helped numerous local charities raise money, especially to fight cancer. There is a scholarship benefiting Bakersfield College students in the name of his late wife, Kris Kreiser.

Thank Yous

Heather Pennella and Norma Rojas-Mora
Heather Pennella and Norma Rojas-Mora

Thank you KGET for covering the event and for producing the honoree videos. I’d also like to thank Norma Rojas-Mora, Monika Scott, Dylan Wang, Manny De Los Santos and Brandon Urry from BC’s Marketing and Public Relations team for the promotion and social media coverage of this year’s Sterling Silver Dinner.

Sterling Silver is the signature event for the Bakersfield College Foundation, and it wouldn’t be possible without the tireless planning and work of Heather Pennella, our Alumni and Donor Relations Manager. Thank you Heather, as well as the rest of the Foundation team, for coordinating another successful night. A special thanks also goes out to Liz Rozell for stepping in as Executive Director of the Foundation after Tom Gelder’s retirement.

Check out more photos from the Sterling Silver Dinner below, captured with the brilliant photography of April Massirio.

Karen Gohn, Sonya Christian, Christina Scrivner, Shannon Grove
Sonya Christian sits with Sterling Silver dinner attendees.
Seated: Dr. Michael Tivnon, Gerry Collis
Standing: Lorenzo Alvarez, Duane Damron, Carl Bowser, Dr. Bill Baker, Dallas Grider, Carl Dean, R. Todd Littlejohn, Bob Covey, Harvel Pollard.
front row: John Turner, Joi Turner, Patrick Beck; back row: Vince Fong, Julia Turner, Kay Meek, Sonya Christian, Lauraine Cook, Jerry Cook.
Front row: John Turner, Joi Turner, Patrick Beck;
Back row: Vince Fong, Julia Turner, Kay Meek, Sonya Christian, Lauraine Cook, Jerry Cook.

African-American Community Leadership Breakfast

Mayor Karen Goh with the Buffalo Soldiers.
Mayor Karen Goh with the Buffalo Soldiers.

BC is recognized nationwide for the work of our African-American Initiatives team with the John W. Rice Award and other accolades, and their success has been aided by the support of leaders in the African-American community who believe in our vision for closing equity gaps in Kern County. We held a special breakfast for African-American leaders in the Levan Center on Wednesday to thank them and show how that support is transforming thousands of lives every day.

Steve Watkin receives a standing ovation.
Steve Watkin receives a standing ovation.

I always look forward to the African-American Community Leadership Breakfast every year, and I’m glad that we could bring it back for 2020. Our Food Services Department provided another lovely meal for all our attendees, and Steve Watkin organized and emceed the event.

Mayor Karen Goh was in attendance at the event, and she gave a beautiful speech about the power of unity to create systemic change.

Umoja Coordinator Paula Parks.
Paula Parks

The keynote speaker for the African-American Community Leadership Breakfast was BC’s own Paula Parks to talk about the success of our Umoja Community chapter. The audience erupted in applause when Paula announced an increase of 133 percent for African-American student completion of English at BC, which is a direct result of the leadership and community promoted through Umoja. Listening to Paula’s presentation, even I was surprised at how much the program had grown in the last few years, expanding to cohort courses in English, math, astronomy, biology and more. We now have a sister student organization called the Umoja Club, and the program will begin to offer students internships through Dignity Health.

After Paula’s presentation, representatives from several important community organizations spoke to promote their education initiatives, as well as partnerships with BC and other schools. I loved hearing from Dee Slade of the African-American Network of Kern County, Charles Everly from the Buffalo Soldiers, Dr. Bradford Anderson of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Essie Davis from The Links, Incorporated, Linda McKnight from Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and LaMeka Ross from the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

BC culinary arts student Edwin Peterson.
Edwin Peterson

We closed out the morning with a powerful student testimonial from Edwin Peterson, a young man who has turned his back on the mire of the streets to pursue a Culinary Arts degree right here at BC. He credits Steve Watkin and the African-American Initiatives team for motivating him to continue his education.

Thank you to the African-American Initiatives team, Food Services, the Levan Center, and everyone who attended this event to show their love and support for our African-American students.

Steve Watkin, Mayor Karen Goh, Sonya Christian and Charles Everly.
Steve Watkin, Mayor Karen Goh, Sonya Christian and Charles Everly.
Steve Watkin, Sonya Christian, Rev. Ralph Anthony, Doc Ervin, Dr. Oscar Anthony
Steve Watkin, Sonya Christian, Rev. Ralph Anthony, Doc Ervin, Dr. Oscar Anthony

Levan Center and Levan Institute on KGET

Reggie Williams and Susan Pinza visited the KGET studios early Thursday morning to talk about the Levan Center and the Levan Institute, two important institutions that provide community enrichment and lifelong learning to everyone in Kern County. Thanks, Reggie and Susan! Check out the video above or visit the KGET website.

Art, Architecture and Archetypes: Art as Ritual

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Ronnie Wrest, Rae Ann Kumelos, and Krista Moreland.
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Ronnie Wrest, Rae Ann Kumelos, and Krista Moreland.

A panel of current and former BC professors engaged in an informative discussion about how art is used in sacred rituals and ceremonies around the world. The Levan Center’s first Art, Architecture, and Archetypes panel of the Spring semester brought together Ronnie Wrest, Rae Ann Kumelos, Krista Moreland and KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg around the theme of ritual as art.

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Wrest talked about Navajo sand painting and German performance artist Joseph Beuys, whose interpretive piece “I Like America and America Likes Me” portrayed the story of being healed by an indigenous tribe in the Crimea after a plane crash. Kumelos shared Stephen King’s ritual of “intentional dreaming” before sitting down to write his novels, which helps his mind enter a higher level of imagination. Krista Moreland offered a deeper understanding behind the symbolism of the sand mandala, which uses symbolic colors, shapes, figures and object to represent the interconnectedness of life. Finally, Trustee Heitzeberg explained the influences of devotional art in the Catholic faith.

Thank you to the Levan Center, all of our panelists, and everyone who attended this interesting discussion.

Renegade Roundtable on Homelessness

A group of five brilliant BC faculty members shared their views on the homeless crisis at the Levan Center as part of the first Renegade Roundtable of the Spring 2020 semester last week.

Erin Miller.
Erin Miller

This edition of the Renegade Roundtable featured Michael Harvath, Jack Hernandez, Steve Holmes, Erin Miller and Neal Stanifer. Each of these educators brought their years of scholarship to the table to approach this important issue from different perspectives. Hernandez, the former director of the Levan Center, encouraged audience members to think of the homeless as individuals instead of statistics. Stanifer and Horvath proposed solutions to getting people off the streets and into homes, and Erin Miller took a closer look at how mental health affects the ways that homeless people tend to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.

While the panelists had different ideas about how to deal with homelessness, all agreed that we can’t keep ignoring the problem any longer. Thank you to all of the panelists, as well as Reggie Williams and the Levan Center, for offering a space to encourage insight into this ongoing problem. Events like these are important for fulfilling BC’s core value of community, honoring our obligation to “build an environment in which all members participate as a community through democratic engagement”.

BC's Core Value of Community
BC’s Core Value of Community

Community Voices: Michele Bresso

Michele Bresso

In a Community Voices column earlier this week, Michele Bresso shared a story from one of her communication classes that brings home the impact of homelessness on the lives of our students and the power of education to change it.

When she assigned her small groups communication class to volunteer at the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter as part of a class project, she found out that one of her students used to be a resident of the shelter before she became a Renegade. The student vowed never to return to the shelter once she got back on her feet, but her experience as a volunteer for Michele’s class convinced her to have a change of heart:

She met a young woman living at the center who was much like herself years before. My student committed to a weekly volunteer schedule at the center so that she could mentor this young woman and model a way to achieve independence.”

Grounds for Dreaming

Lori Flores speaks in the Levan Center.
Lori Flores speaks in the Levan Center

Stony Brook University professor Lori Flores visited the Home of the Renegades to host an enlightening discussion on the agriculture labor rights movement in California during the early 20th Century.

Lori Flores
Lori Flores

As an historian of agricultural labor in the United States, Flores was excited to come to the Central Valley for the first time. After all, this is the place where so much of that history was and continues to be made. The Social Justice Institute invited Flores to the Levan Center last week to share from her book “Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican-Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement”. “Grounds for Dreaming” is a deeply researched account of how immigrant laborers from the Bracero program and Mexican-Americans came together to organize for better working conditions in the 40s and 50s, decades before Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta founded the UFW.

Thank you to Lori Flores for sharing her years of scholarship with our students, and thank you to Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond for organizing the event.

This Week at BC: Financial Aid

For the newest edition of This Week at BC, marketing student workers Ramon Carreido and Juan Reyes take a closer look at the Financial Aid office ahead of the March 2 deadline for filling out the FAFSA.

I love seeing our student workers get more comfortable with their video skills while spreading the word about all of the awesome programs and initiatives here at BC. Great job, Juan and Ramon!

Renegade Athletics

Watch this week’s edition of the Renegade Report on the Bakersfield College Athletics Facebook page featuring our Renegade Men’s Golf Team out at Stockdale Country Club. Head Coach Wes Coble and student athletes Blake Keesey, Caleb Jameson and Quinn Walker sat down with host Kenny Calvin to discuss their season so far. On Monday the team will host a conference match out at Stockdale Country Club and we know they will represent us well!

Coach Goodman Reaches 100 Career Victories

100 Career Victories! Casey Goodman, BC Head Softball Coach
Congrats, Coach Goodman!

A special congratulations go out to Renegade Softball Head Coach Casey Goodman, who just collected her 100th victory as a head coach. In her third season at BC she has collected 66 victories and the other 34 came from her time as the head softball coach at Louisiana State University, Alexandria. As a Renegade Casey has captured back-to-back Western State Conference Championships and the team looks to make that three in a row this spring. Congrats Casey – we are lucky to have you!

BC Football at the Mission

Coach Littlejohn at the Mission of Kern County

This last Saturday our new football coach R. Todd Littlejohn and a number of our Renegade football student athletes spent the morning serving our community at the Mission of Kern County. We are glad to have the relationship with the Mission that allows our students to give back!

Men’s and Women’s Basketball All-Conference Renegades

With basketball season coming to a close we had multiple men’s and women’s basketball student athletes who were awarded post-season conference awards. From Men’s Basketball Tyrell Coleman (1st-Team), Michael Guillory (Co-Defensive MVP and Honorable Mention) and Isayas Aris (Honorable Mention) all received recognition. From the Women’s team Dasia Wandick was named All-Conference for the second year in a row, along with teammate Alyssa Gonzalez.

Next Level Gades – Eamon Sullivan

Next Level Gades - Eamon Sullivan, Football
Eamon Sullivan signs to the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

Eamon Sullivan from Renegade Football has signed to continue his academic and athletic career at University of Virginia’s College at Wise located in Wise, VA. Eeamon played the last two season at BC and is excited to continue his career at UVA Wise. We wish him the best and know he will always represent BC!

Valley Strong Credit Union Renegades of the Week: Feb. 16 – Feb. 22

BC Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (2/16-2/22) Valley Strong Credit Union Renegades of the Week:

Dasia Wandick, Women’s Basketball – Dasia matched a career high and had a season-high total of 30 points in the women’s basketball season finale against Canyons. She also received WSC South All-Conference honors for the second straight year.

Esteban Robles, Men’s Swimming – Esteban was the only individual with an event win for BC (100 Free and 50 Fly) at the 2020 Ram Crush this last weekend at Clovis College. He was part of the 200 Free Relay team who took 1st  where he put up big anchor leg for the win. He was also part of 3 other relays all placing in the top 4 at the meet. For his efforts he was named the Sprint Master and Butterfly Master of the meet. To win the award one must have competed in the 50/100/200 of the strokes and score the highest cumulative points in the events. He swam in all 6 races and took the title in both strokes.

Athletics Photos From The Week

Renegade Athletics Updates From This Past Week

Renegade Track

Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ this coming week

Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Events include:

  • Mon. 3/2 – Men’s Golf hosts WSC #4 at 9am, Stockdale CC
  • Tues. 3/3 – Women’s Tennis vs Bakersfield at 2pm
  • Tues. 3/3 – Baseball vs LA Mission at 2:30pm
  • Sat. 3/7 – Softball vs. Fullerton at 12pm
  • Sat. 3/7 – Softball vs. Pasadena City at 4pm
  • Sat. 3/7 – Baseball vs LA Mission at 1pm

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Thank you for voting Yes on J!

The transformation of our campus for the next 50 years has begun! Major changes will be taking place over the next 10 years ranging from construction of new buildings, renovations of buildings, and major repairs to our campus infrastructure. The grand opening of our first building, the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, was on December 10, 2019

Thank you for voting Yes on J!

Sonya Christian voting Yes on J on Oct 30, 2016
Sonya Christian thanking Kern County for voting Yes on J. Nov 12, 2016

The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center

Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center. Dec 10, 2019

After years of preparation and development, our community gathered on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 for a historic milestone in Renegade history. With college and district leaders, community members, students, supporters, family, and friends, BC officially opened the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, a space dedicated to student veterans and the first completed Measure J building.

Thank you KCCD Trustees
Sonya Christian, President of Board John Corkins, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Kyle Carter, Jack Connell, Tom Burke, Paul Beckworth

I could not be more proud of everyone who helped bring this grand vision into reality. Attendees who came from across the country were greeted with a massive American flag that billowed proudly, flying above the newly christened building from an extending ladder on a Kern County Fire Department truck. Dignitaries on the dais outside of the center included Chancellor Tom Burke, Mayor Karen Goh and Congressman Bill Thomas, as well as KCCD Trustees Jack Connell (a Navy veteran), Romeo Agbalog, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and President of the KCCD Board John Corkins. There were also representatives from about 40 student organizations on campus. Trustee Kay Meek was viewing the live stream, unable to attend the ceremony in-person. She was one of the most vocal supporters for the construction of the new center as the first Measure J project, and her presence was missed. 

Ricardo Del Hoyo, Joseph Lopez, Nick Ortiz, Tommy Tunson, Mayor Goh, Trustee Corkins, President Christian, Chancellor Burke, Perry Finzel & Monica Martin

This new 4,700 square foot facility is dedicated to student veterans and includes a tutoring room, conference room with whiteboards and television, a lounge area with two televisions, coffee bar, fridge, microwave, computer area and outdoor patio area.

Diego Ross from JTS Construction and Armando Trujillo

This space is dedicated to the education, wellness, and transformation of our students, therefore it’s only fitting that this place is named after Vernon Valenzuela. Vernon was a Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient. He was a Bakersfield College student in the 1970s and later became a licensed counselor who spent the rest of his life working with veterans and their families; his legacy will live on forever in its walls.

Former student Wesley Barrientos cuts the ribbon with help from current SGA President Samantha Pullido and President of the Vets Club Ilene Garcia
The VRC Challenge Coin
Study area in the new VRC
Lise Valenzuela in the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center

This center would not be possible without the leadership of Paul Beckworth, who opened the ceremony by thanking Armando Trujillo and his team for all they do to help our Renegade veterans. Armando was a protégé of Vernon Valenzuela, the founder of the first veterans’ clubs at BC and CSUB, and I could think of no one else who is better suited to extend Vernon’s love and empathy to a new generation of Renegade vets. Armando also announced an annual scholarship that will be offered through the VRC for years to come.

Armando Trujillo addressing the audience

When our local veterans are returning home, this new center will be the place they can come to to find support, comfort, and comradery with fellow Renegades. For over 100 years Renegades have put on the uniform, and when they were ready to trade in their boots for books, BC knew its responsibility. BC’s mission continues to be to educate our veterans, mind body, and soul, and to celebrate the impact that veterans have had on BC.

I surprised Paul Beckworth by presenting him with the President’s Leadership Award during the ceremony. Over these last seven years, Paul has advocated on behalf of our student veterans here on campus, in the community, and in the state. He and a group of student veterans were fearless in “occupying” a vacant room adjacent to their existing cramped space, quietly doing the necessary remodeling work.  He has written public letters to our student veterans, to our faculty veterans, to our staff veterans.   He is brave, kind, funny, open, tender, with a passion to respect, honor and support his fellow brothers and sisters from the military.

Zav Dadabhoy, Armando Trujillo, Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian
Zav Dadabhoy, Armando Trujillo, Paul Beckworth, President Christian & Jenny Frank

I also introduced incoming manager Jenny Frank, who comes to us from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This special facility is the first of many made possible by the tremendous community support of Measure J. There is a very, very long list of individuals to thank, but Trustee Kay Meek deserves special recognition for her constant focus and dedication.

Bill Thomas, Kay Meek, Tom Burke, Steven Holmes

The impact of Trustee Meek’s work was evident in the words of student veteran and Veteran Club President Ilene Garcia during the grand opening, who said, “As soon as I walked in, I felt that camradery and bond that I had been missing that you instantly obtain when you join the military. Finding that comfort zone in civilian life is essential for veterans returning home. We crave the structure and sense of belonging that the military instills in us. The Veterans Resource Center at BC provides this.”

Veterans Club President Ilene Garcia and fellow veterans

BC Veterans Club President Ilene Garcia took a moment to explain how the team at BC creates a structure and a sense of belonging that helps soldiers readjust to civilian life. She also thanked all of us at BC for making this center a priority with the funding from Measure J.

Vernon’s wife Lise Valenzuela offered some personal anecdotes about how BC changed her husband’s life. After serving a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, Vernon found his confidence and his calling as a student at BC, and he dedicated the rest of his life to helping other veterans like him find their calling through higher education.

Lise Valenzuela

Former Trustee Bill Thomas talked about how Vernon’s imposing physical presence, and his empathy and talent for listening, inspired respect from anyone who had a conversation with him. Bill highlighted Kay Meek’s work and her emphatic message to all that she wanted this to be the very first project of Measure J. He also previewed the ribbon cutting ceremonies to come as more Measure J projects finish construction.

Former Congressman & Trustee Bill Thomas
Tom Burke, Ilene Garcia, Paul Beckworth, Bill Thomas, Sonya Christian, Kyle Carter, Karen Goh

Attendees were treated to the beautiful music of BC’s Chamber Singers. led by the talented Dr. Jennifer Garrett. I’m happy that Brandon Urry captured these videos so that I can share then with you.

Award-winning photojournalist Max Becherer started his career right here at BC as a student of Kris Stallworth, and he took pictures of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for publications like the Washington Post and Time Magazine before becoming the Photo Editor of the New Orleans Advocate. He donated several of his most famous photographs from those conflicts to the VRC and attended the groundbreaking alongside his family.

Photographer Max Becherer sharing his photography.

As Paul described in his closing address, the VRC is more than just a place of learning. It is a place where our veteran students can heal from the physical and psychological wounds of combat, supporting each other through all of their struggles. Thank you Paul, Armando and our Veterans Affairs team for dreaming of this safe space for healing, and thank you to our Measure J team for making that dream a reality. I would also like to thank Tamara Baker for organizing the ribbon cutting and open house, as well as everyone who contributed to making this event such a success.

Here are some of the elected officials or their reps in the photo below. Left to right:
1.     Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Monica Martin, rep)
2.      Congressman T.J. Cox (Joseph Lopez, rep)
3.      Assemblyman Vince Fong (Lauren Skidmore, rep)
4.      Mayor Karen Goh
5.      Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Perry Finzel, rep)
6.      Senator Melissa Hurtado (Ricardo Del Hoyo, rep)
7.      City Councilman Willie Rivera, Ward 1
8.      Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, District 5 (Nicole Villaruz,
rep)
9.      Assemblyman Rudy Salas (Athena Skapinakis, rep)

I would like to recognize those who actually built the facility, taking it from plans to a reality: local companies IBI Group, Inc. and JTS Construction. Also, I would like to thank AECOM/Parsons for all of their hard work on this project (and the other 14 Measure J projects), for finishing the job ahead of time and under budget. AECOM/Parsons joined our team in 2017 to design the Measure J master plan, and have been managing all of the projects from the very first meeting until the last. All of the above groups not only met our expectations, but went well above. The bar has been set high!

2019 Sterling Silver with the AECOM-Parsons team

We had much love from our local media and press. Thank you to the Bakersfield Californians Robert Price and Ema Sasic, Reyna Harvey, Tyrah Majors, Jacueline Gutierrez of the Renegade RIP and more!

Reyna Harvey interviews Sonya Christian on Tuesday Morning

Most importantly, I’d like to thank the community of Kern County for supporting Renegades today and for the next 50 years through Measure J.

And in closing, I will quote the words of Paul Beckworth, BC’s Faculty Director of Veteran Services as he addressed BC’s students… “Thank you for your courage, for believing in yourself and for pursing an education. Thank you for choosing Bakersfield College. This place is for you.”

Love these “behind the scenes” pictures.

BSO-BC Home for the Holidays Concert

Here is my promised weekly Christmas music from our Chamber Singers during the month of December

Rick Kreiser narrating the Night Before Christmas
Hallelujah

Led by the amazing, Dr. Jennifer Garrett, the BC Chamber Singers are an absolutely stunning group who shares their voices with the world. They performed a fun version of Jingle Bells and the Renegade Mens Chorus- sang “The 12 Days of Christmas” mixed with various other Christmas carols.

The evening included sing-alongs with the audience and it was really fun to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends.

Adventist Health was a sponsor of the evening and I saw Sharlet Briggs, CEO of Adventist, who referred to Mary Poppins and a “spoon of sugar makes the medicine go down”. She went on to observe how a teaspoon of music can make the medicine go down too!

BCSGA Attends the Kern Tax Annual Meeting

BCSGA President Samantha Pulido, BCSGA Student Activities Manager Perla Villegas, KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke, KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzberg, KCCD Director Dave Teasdale, and BC Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damania attended the Kern Tax 80th Annual Meeting at the Bakersfield Country Club. Kern Tax is the county’s leader on reviewing and educating about taxpayer issues and dollars. The keynote speaker was founding chief executive and Senior Fellow, President Emeritus of California Forward, Jim Mayer who presented “Transforming California.” His presentation focused on performance-oriented government, society-oriented business, and entrepreneurial civic organizations working together to engage in community resolutions. 

Mike Turnipseed with Perla and Samantha

Before the speaker, there was a video montage of various Kern leaders thanking Kern Tax for their 80 years of service to Kern County, and especially highlighting the leadership and work of Mike Turnupseed for the association and our community. What a pleasure to have two of our strong student leaders in attendance at this engaging community event.