Tag Archives: Congressman Bill Thomas

Thank you Kern County!

Measure J Passes! Thank you Kern County

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With a vote of 96,589 to 58,155, Kern County supported Measure J with 62.42% of the vote. Measure J also received 59.99% of the vote in Tulare County, and 63.6% of the vote in San Bernardino County. After months of hard work, I am so grateful to our voters for supporting our community colleges! And I am grateful to the many volunteers who turned out over the past few months to get out the vote and spread the word about the great things that this bond will do for Bakersfield College and all of the college in the Kern Community College District.

And a special thank you to my friend who reminds me everyday to Keep the Faith!

And thank you Tom Moran who responded to my early morning call on Saturday and taught me how to sign my thank you message to the voters.

We had an amazing group of volunteers that came out to assist in our final push on Election Day. It was a busy day that began around 6 am and lasted until midnight! The guy behind me in the picture is Dave Mason who worked with us through the campaign.  He drove in from Oakland to spend election night with us.  Thank you Dave!

Here are two great pictures of Nick Strobel on November 8th.  One was taken when he was relentless in phone banking to get out the vote.  The picture was taken at 7:30 p.m., 30 minutes before the polls closed.  And the picture on the left is when we had a table give way, sending an ice bucket and the melted water in it crashing to the floor. (I guess you could say the election center took the ice bucket challenge…) Nick, true to himself, we the first one up and helping to clean the floor.

A few of our volunteers shared some memorable moments from the campaign:

 

The weekend leading up to Election Day was hectic at campaign headquarters.  Here are pictures of Nov 5th (Saturday) and Nov 6th (Sun) including the half-time show that Congressman Bill Thomas (or should I say KCCD Trustee Bill Thomas) did with Vance Palm on the Damron Deck with a great view of the city and the valley.  Vance Palm, you do a real nice job with Renegade Football and the half-time show with the congressman was fantastic.

November 5th;  Here is Rick Kreiser, owner of Carney’s saving the day and saving the campaign by replacing the toner Saturday late evening so that we could continue printing materials for our GOTV (Get Out the Vote) campaign.  Thank you Rick Kreiser for all of the donations and all of your time in support of passing Measure J.

 

I love this picture of Chief Counts and his beautiful daughter Faith who volunteered their time through the entire Measure J campaign.

And pets were also part of the campaign. Here’s Tom Gelder with canine friend Lexy and Bruce our election dog on November 10th helping clean up Campaign HQ.

Measure J was a “whole family affair.”  Andrea Thorson and her son James.  Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg holding Lily Ann (Grace’s baby girl), who was sleeping peacefully while Nan phone banked.  I love both these pictures.

Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Dr. Janet Fulks, Bruce Meyer all phone banking on Nov 7 2016

Grace Commiso and Sue Vaughn.

I loved the cookies Bill Moseley baked using a 3D printed cookie cuttter.  Yes on J!

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On November 7th night, I was trying to get these folks out of the office and get them to go to bed before the big day.  It was a hard task! Lesley Bonds, Nicky Damania, Chris Glaser, Nicole Para.

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The Election Day 6:00 a.m. pictures

On the right, our fabulous campaign manager Nicole Parra. In the group picture on the left: Chris Glaser, Lesley Bonds, Sue Vaughn, Ashley Ward, Todd Coston, Bill Potter, Liz Rozell, Asha Chandy, Nicole Parra.

Polling location teams at Aera Energy and at Delano

Polling location team at the Kern County Fair and first-time voters who were so excited. Thank you Olivia Garcia for the photo.

 

Polling location teams in South East Bakersfield and at Wasco.

 

Veterans Day. Nov 11, 2016

On Veterans Day, our BC Veterans Club took part in the annual Bakersfield Veterans Day parade. It was such an honor to meet with them at the parade. We are truly grateful for their service, and for the service of all this great nation’s veterans. Thank you!

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doug-and-martha-miller-and-sonya-christian-nov-11-2016-vets-paradeThank you Karen Goh for some great pictures.

It was also a treat running into Martha Miller nee McCuen at the Vets Parade.  Martha is the daughter of Theron McCuen who was the Superintendent of Kern High and Bakersfield College when BC was on the Kern High campus. Martha’s husband Doug Miller retired as Superintendent of the Panama Buena Vista School District in 2007.  I am so glad Martha recognized me and called out as I was dashing towards my car.  With the work we undertook related to campaigning for Measure J, I was always fully aware of BC’s past, particularly 1956 when the campus moved from Kern High (Now BHS) to the Panorama Bluffs, while we were forging BC’s future.  So to run into the daughter of Theron McCuen whose name is on the Administration Building where I have my office felt like an auspicious moment.

So, of course, I went searching in BC’s archives.  Thank you Jerry Ludeke for your commitment to the archives.

 

Here is a 1958 photo that includes Theron McCuen at Ralph Prator’s retirement dinner. From Left: Ralph Prator (outgoing BC President), Ed Simonsen (incoming BC President), Marvene Simonsen, Theron McCuen (Superintendent), Hazel McCuen. 1958.

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Also from the archives this newspaper clipping from the Bakersfield Californian.  From Left to Right: H.E. Woodworth, Ralph Prator, Ed Simonsen, Dorothy Donohoe, Theron McCuen.  This is the first time that I have seen a picture of Dorothy Donohoe, who as Assemblywoman was responsible for the development of the California Higher Education Master Plan.  It seems appropriate to have her picture in my post Measure J blog to recognize the leaders from our community who had the vision for what we are today.

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BC Veterans

Let’s salute our faculty, staff and students who are veterans.

Bernadette Martinez in the counseling department put out a call to our faculty & staff to share out who on our BC campus is a veteran, which I’d like to repeat here:

United States Marines

  • Jeremy Staat, 2005-2009, Corporal (E-4). — Welding
  • Armando Trujillo, Marine Corps –Veterans Educational Advisor
  • Felix Ramirez from 1980-1985.  1985-2002 Army National Guard (E-7) —Public Safety Officer
  • Juan Torres, United State Marine Corps from 1988-1994—Site Operations  (Delano)

United States Navy

  • Lieutenant Manuel Fernandez, 11 years—Electronics
  • Jahnea Palfrey, 1999-2003, Law Enforcement—Department Assistant
  • Di Hoffman,  1992-2001 – Nursing
  • Eddie Rangel, 1998-2001 (E-4) –Information Technology
  • Diana Alcala, 2002-2008—Human Resources Assistant
  • Paul Beckworth, 1989-1993, Guard 1997-2003—History
  • Richard McCrow, 30 years –Director Delano Campus

United States Army

  • Pat Smith, 5 yrs —Criminal Justice
  • Patrick Fulks, 1969-1971,(E-5) Biology

United States Air Force

  • Bernadette Martinez, 1993-1997 (E-4)—Office Supervisor
  • Christine Dunn 1995-1998 (Captain) Nursing

Veterans Celebration at Porterville College

On November 10th we had the KCCD Board meeting at Porterville College.  They had their Veterans event on the same day and it was wonderful wandering the campus hearing from student veterans and visiting the Veterans Resource Center.  Steve Schutlz has done a real nice job with the facility and I was warmly greeted by the counselor for PC’s student veterans Maria Roman.

I learned from the keynote speaker, a Vietnam Vet, that it was important to remember our history…particularly the local history.  He shared that there was a former airport and military airfield located in the area that conducted flying training during World War II.

During our lunch with the Board, Dr. Carlson had organized a presentation on the Pathways work undertaken by the community over the last decade; a large scale collaboration with business and industry and K-12 partners.  Both Trustee John Corkins and President Rosa Carlson have worked in leadership roles to advance this work on student success. Pretty cool stuff.  Great results!

At the Board meeting, I enjoyed the presentation by Jay Rosenlieb on behalf of the Measure J Honorary Committee.  Jay reviewed the work done by hundreds of volunteers that resulted in the successful passing of Measure J.  Board members too commented about this great accomplishment.  YesOnJ!

 

vets-parade-2016-with-glenn-porterWounded Heroes Fund

The Kern County Wounded Heroes Fund is a local nonprofit that supports veterans and their families with a focus to help ease the transition back to civilian life through ongoing support and appreciation. When veterans come home, sometimes they’re unsure of what to do, not knowing what’s next – that’s where Wounded Heroes comes in, offering everything from a cup of coffee and good conversation to marriage retreats, couples counseling, financial counseling, and even housing.

On November 5th at the Kern County Fairgrounds, a BBQ Steak Lunch helped raise money for these great causes.  At the Veterans Parade on November 11th, Paul Beckworth introduced me to Glenn Porter who is on the Board of Directors for the Wounded Heroes fund and he talked about this event and that it was sold out this year.  It was wonderful getting to know Glenn.

To learn more about the Wounded Heroes Fund, check out http://thewoundedheroesfund.org/.

BC was out at the Fairgrounds for the Wounded Heroes Fund event.  Here are three pictures..the first with our nursing students and the second with Paul Beckworth’s family (Andy Lopez, Eileen Lopez, Adam Lopez, Sandra Beckworth, Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian) who came out to support the event and the last one, a selfie with Wesley Barrientos.  Wesley, I am so happy to see you!

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Renegade RIP covers Driven by Art

The Renegade RIP, BC’s student newspaper recently highlighted the unique and individually painted trucks you’ve spotted around town. J.R. Hensley, the RIP Reporter notes, “the trucks will be in their current locations until the January 6, 2017, at which time the businesses that purchased the models will take possession of them or they can donate them to the city, which will put them on permanent display on the Westside Parkway.”  I hope you’ll have a chance to spot them all – many are in various places throughout Downtown Bakersfield.

The RIP has been around for over 85 years at Bakersfield College reporting on news and events across campus and our community. To learn more about The RIP, visit www.therip.com and to see my previous blog about the BMOA’s Driven by Art Trucks, see https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/10/08/so-many-reasons-to-celebrate-we-are-bc/.

EOP&S Takes Off to Museum of Tolerance

eopsI found this draft blog entry from March 2016.  Enjoy!

A group of 42 EOP&S students and staff gathered before sunrise on March 18, 2016 and boarded a bus headed southbound to the Museum of Tolerance. During the drive, the movie Anne Frank was played to get an insight of the holocaust.

Her spirit was felt on the bus and students were left thinking about the horrific events that happened in the early 1930s.

The Museum of Tolerance provided an interactive experience for students ranging from digital storytelling, films, artifacts, personal testimonies and thought provoking questions. Students were also guided to the Tolerance center exhibit where they were exposed to major issues of intolerance that happen on a local and global level. Topics on contemporary events such as bullying, hate speech, discrimination, human rights exploitation, and terrorism were covered, all which affect our community. “Don’t be a standby” was a phrase that the docent kept repeating as he challenged us to think what we can do to work to end injustices, discrimination, hateful behaviors and concluded with “History has a tendency to repeat itself.”

After the tour, a few students shared this was an eye-opening experience. One student expressed “this education[al] excursion [taught] me a lesson about the power of words.” Another student said “every minute was filled with learning about history” and others shared this was just not a visit “but also an educational trip, it teaches us about what we should do about eliminating discrimination.” When students were asked to identify steps to be more personally responsible for positive change, many responded to “speak up, help others, and care more.” One student summed it up and said “Speak up because someone needs to take initiative. Be the change I want to see.”

Their visit to the Museum of Tolerance was impactful. Over 85 percent of the group had never visited the museum. In the evaluation of their learning experience at the Museum of Tolerance, only about 26 percent indicated they had a great deal of understanding of the Holocaust prior to visiting the museum — after visiting the museum, 75 percent of the students indicated they gained a greater understanding of the Holocaust. Overall there was a 77 percent student consensus that visiting the Museum of Tolerance increased their awareness of past social injustices and the different types of prejudice and discrimination that exist in the world we live in.

Academic Senate

Its been a while since I visited with our Academic Senate.  BC has a great group of faculty serving on the senate with exceptional leadership from President Steven Holmes, VP Andrea Thorson and the Exec Board of the Senate.  I stopped by on Wednesday, November 9th, after the election to thank the faculty members from the senate who helped with the Measure J work.  One of my colleagues took these pictures and I so enjoyed seeing them that I thought I would share them with you. We Are BC!

 

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That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — signing off with a picture of Bruce and reminding everyone that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

Providing pathways to the future and building a better BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, July 23rd and I woke up to a wonderful piece by Jeff Evans in The Bakersfield Californian above the fold.  Indeed, a wonderful day to be a Renegade.

Here is an fuzzy image of the article taken on my iphone.  For the entire web version check out http://tinyurl.com/h2f79wy.  There is also a 15-minute video segment of Louis Amestoy interviewing Jeff Evans on the gymnasium and other athletics facilities that are on the BC facilities needs list.  Note this is a “needs list” not a “wish list”.  I particularly appreciated the comment that these facilities serve all of our students and not just our student athletes.

Jeff Evans Californian July 23 2016

 

The “Athletics facilities” is only one project of the numerous facilities needs on this 60 year old campus on 153 acres with over 30 buildings.  80% of the projects are capital improvements focusing on buildings where we have instruction in Math, Science, Agriculture, Humanities, etc. For the entire project list check out www.abetterbc.com.

The college faculty and staff have been focused on student success for over a century, and in the last three years have particularly focused on connecting with students when they are still in high school and gearing them up for college and the workforce.  Approximately 80% of BC’s students are first in their families to go to college, so the faculty and staff take the time to be their guides and their coaches as these first-time students learn to navigate college and learn how to be learners and gain the skills to enter the workforce.  Nick Strobel describes it well in about 500 words in his Community Voices piece on Wednesday, July 20th in The Bakersfield Californian.

Nick compared our new pathways initiative to the GPS in a car. Just as a GPS will help you get back on track if you make a wrong turn, the pathways we are creating can help guide students through life events that may “knock them off the college path.”

Nick Strobel July 20 2016

This is such an exciting initiative, and I am so happy that BC was one of just 30 colleges chosen to be part of the AACC Pathways Project.

Nick’s piece is online at http://www.bakersfield.com/news/opinion/2016/07/20/a-road-for-community-college-students-bc-s-gps.html.

So you see dear community members, BC meets students where they are and provides incredible opportunities for them to find their calling, whether in athletics, the arts and humanities, social sciences or in math and science.  What our faculty do for our students is nothing short of incredible.

Eisenhower Fellowship

Here’s a note I received from a talented Bakersfield College student:

My name is Rey Fernandez, a mechanical engineering major. From Fall 2015 to early Spring 2016, I had the opportunity to be one of the Dwight Eisenhower recipients because of the MESA program. This research opportunity exposed me to the transportation field, and taught me the role of engineers in the Transportation Research Board. Attending this TRB Conference in Washington D.C. gave me a lot of professional experiences.

I just want to thank you for bringing this research opportunity to MESA students last year, and again, for this upcoming year.

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Former BC student featured on SiriusXM

Brandon McNaughton—who is from Bakersfield, attended BC, and received his BS in Physics from CSUB—was featured on SiriusXM in February.

He was interviewed for 30 minutes by Steve Blank on “Entrepreneurs Are Everywhere” about his biotech company, and the importance of understanding customer needs when developing a product or solution. The episode can be heard via SiriusXM on Demand.  Here is a link http://tinyurl.com/jyvzg9l

His company, Akadeum Life Sciences, is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has developed a new method to separate individual cells from biological samples, such as blood. He is also one of the 100 stars of Bakersfield College. A proud Renegade!

Here are some previous blog posts highlighting our faculty and staff and what they do to create a wonderful learning environment for our students.

April 3, 2015: Levan Center: St. John’s Lecture. Greg Schneider and The Brothers Karamazov

https://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/04/03/levan-center-st-johns-lecture-greg-schneider-and-the-brothers-karamazov/

September 1, 2014: Arts and Humanities:

https://bcpresidentblog.com/2014/09/01/arts-and-humanities/

June 22, 2015: BC faculty and staff are rock stars

https://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/06/22/middle-schoolers-lead-the-way/

Speaking of our amazing faculty and staff,  let me tell you about a project that has surfaced this summer among a small group.  The idea is to get students to do their homework at the college in a structured environment so that they develop the habits of learning.  Being disciplined, persevering with their school work etc.  Just amazing dedication and commitment from the faculty!  I got to hang out with some of them.  Here are photos to prove it 🙂

 

Thank you all for your work.  A special shout out to Eileen Pierce, Kim Arbolante, Maria Wright, Kate Pluta, Stephen Waller, and Isabel Castaneda as well as Kimberly Bligh and Erica Menchacha who piloted Ac Dev 72 in the spring.

Political Leaders and their connections to BC.

kevin-mccarthy-sonya-christian-art-gentry-may-6-2016Regardless of your political views and affiliation, it is truly inspirational to consider what leadership and strength blossoms from our own backyard – Bakersfield, Kern County, and of course, at Bakersfield College. House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, took the stand on Tuesday evening to address the convention attendees and the nation, but Mr. McCarthy’s road to becoming the successful and influential political figure he is today, is one that began in our hometown.

He enrolled at BC after high school, opened a little local sandwich shop named Kevin O’s Deli, and earned a degree from CSUB. As his interest in politics peaked, he volunteered to clip newspapers in the office of Rep. Bill Thomas, to gain insight and learn from a fantastic role model.

Congressman Bill Thomas also has roots at BC – from beginnings as a political science faculty at BC to chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, there is so much to say about Bill that’s inspirational. We are so fortunate to have him as the senior advisor to our Blue Ribbon Committee and as a friend and supporter of Bakersfield College.

Mayor Harvey Hall is not shy to share his love of BC and he details his relationship in an article published on Bakersfield.com regarding the recent bond measure announcement.

Senator Jean Fuller, another political leader, earned her AA degree at Bakersfield College in 1970. After more than 30 years as an educator and Superintendent of Bakersfield City School District, sh e was elected in 2006 and “immediately recognized as a leader by her colleagues and has used her administrative experience to make impactful decisions that focus on increased efficiency and accountability.” (Source)

Our first female mayor, Mary K. Shell, also attended BC and continues to support Bakersfield College today. During the time of her retirement, the Bakersfield Californian even referred to her as “the most popular politician in Kern County history.” We are so lucky to have insightful and influential political leaders likes these and many others, including Rudy Salas, Andy Vidak, and Shannon Grove.

The people of Bakersfield and BC students, past and present, continue to make a difference in our community, state, and nation. I can’t wait to see what our current students have in store for the future of our country.

Latina Leaders

Last Saturday, July 16th, BC was present in full force at the Latina Leaders banquet.

This is my second year attending the event and I am even more impressed by the work they do. For more information check out their website at http://kernlatinas.com/.  Congratulations to ISABEL BRAVO, LOURDES VARGAS NILON, and GABRIELA MELLO on their recognition.

 

Norma Rojas Mora the president of Latina Leaders is a remarkable woman who in on our Bakersfield College Foundation Board of Directors and she is also the co-chair of the Community Connections group and the Blue Ribbon Committee on the Bakersfield College bond measure.

Here are the Bakersfield College folks who attended: Isabel Casteneda, Evette Lara, Janet Tarjan, Maria Wright, Paul Beckworth.  Thank you Karen Goh for the photos.  You are a good friend of Bakersfield College.

Check out my post from last year’s Latina Leaders banquet when Lisa Kent and Camilla Chavez were among the recipients of the leadership award.
https://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/07/12/somos-el-colegio-de-bakersfield/ 

 

Staff Retreats

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Summers at Bakersfield College involve less instructional time, which gives the staff and administrators an opportunity to meet for one-day on-campus retreats. These provide a foundation for fostering positive connections, critical planning, and preparing our teams to better support the needs of the faculty and students.

Entertaining themes for these retreats keep everyone refreshed as group activities, informational talks, and fun competitions re-energize and re-focus everyone for a new academic year.

Check out more photos from our summer retreats at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2016-Retreats/.

It’s hard to believe – we are beginning to count down the days until opening day of Fall 2016!

Here is a picture of my Cabinet during our retreat in June.

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Sonya and Maggie July 23 2016

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya ….. with Maggie who is visiting for two days.

Building A Better BC

At approximately 1:45 p.m. on July 14, 2016 the KCCD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to have a $503 M bond measure on the November ballot. A historic moment!

Board Meeting July 14 2016

The next day, Friday, July 15th, Bakersfield woke up to an amazing coverage of this decision on TV and in The Bakersfield Californian.

Enjoy the two pieces in the Californian — An article by Harold Pierce on page 2 and an endorsement opinion piece by Mayor Harvey Hall.

You can read Harold Pierce‘s article  here: http://tinyurl.com/zu6r7l6

 

I also want to  thank Mayor Harvey Hall, for his endorsement of the bond measure published here http://tinyurl.com/hdvx7b4

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Mayor Hall also spoke in support of the bond at Thursday’s meeting. In his speech, he strongly encouraged the KCCD Board of Trustees to “Dream big for future students” and “be bold in our decisions.”  

One moment in his speech that stood out to me was when he requested that Board members pause to think about the number of lives that have been changed because of attending Bakersfield College… And again to think about the number of families who have been impacted because someone in that family earned a degree or certificate at BC. He said, “Bakersfield College IS a return on investment!”

Following Mayor Harvey Hall, BC Student Government Association President Matthew Frazer took the stand.

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Matthew Frazer addresses the Board of Trustees – and a packed crowd of BC supporters!

He opened by sharing memories and experiences he’s had “…growing up in a city where everyone can call Bakersfield College home.”

He made almost everyone in the room smile or chuckle when he spoke of our campus by saying…  “The 1950s look is simply not cutting it for me anymore.”

Wesley Lyons, one of our student veterans, also shared his thoughts.

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Wesley Lyons returns to his seat after his speech.

A statistic some of you may have heard, is that 22 veterans commit suicide per day. Their suicides are damaging to our community and opened my eyes that we need more direct services dedicated to these brothers and sisters. And while the campus community can help to Band-Aid it together, there are still lingering effects. The new Veteran Recourse Center will have a larger dedicated space for Veterans to come together to share, support, and most importantly to decompress. The space will also have dedicated tutors for soldiers who have not been dedicated learners in four plus years, and increased administrative support such as additional advisors to cope with an increasing demand for veteran specific knowledge. As a veteran I can tell you, that sometimes I need to know there is a space I can rely on that will help me calm my nerves and where like-minded support will be there for me to relate to.”

The room was packed and the message was clear: Dream Big – our future and the future of the students who attend BC depend on it. The support thus far has been overwhelming and the excitement bursts around us.

BC’s Bond Blue Ribbon Committee came out in full force to support the Board in taking this action.  I was sitting up front, so could not see everyone who was in the packed room.  So let me mention a few: Mayor Harvey Hall, Congressman Bill Thomas, Norma Rojas-Mora, Jay Rosenlieb, Karen Thompson, Michael Bowers, Jay Tamsi, Keith Wolaridge, Michael O’Doherty, Michael Turnipseed and others.

Arvin was present and attendees distributed shirts that said #BCinArvin and many supporters put them on instantly. City Manager Al Noyola addressed the Board along with Jennifer Wood the Director of Building Healthy Communities.  City Council Member Jose Gurrola, an alum of BC, was also present.

You can see more photos online at http://tinyurl.com/z2n6cj3

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Arvin

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Last weekend, I shared a bit about a recent visit to Shafter, but today I’d like to explore our neighbor to the southeast, Arvin – and the good things happening there with BC.

Arvin is a beautiful city with a long history of crops, cattle, and oil. Located about 15 miles to the southeast, this Garden in the Sun was named after a land owner’s son from Ohio named Arvin Richardson. The city is frammed by mountains along three sides and surrounded by fertile farmlands so it’s not surprising this small town boomed throughout the decades into a major center of agriculture.

Many families relocated to Arvin during the dust bowl period or “the dirty thirties,” including Dr. Jim Young’s family. Arvin has been his home ever since, even commuting daily to Bakersfield during his time at the KHSD AND KCCD. It was mentioned in an article on Bakersfield.com that he “loved making the drive each morning and afternoon” until his retirement in 1999.  (http://tinyurl.com/zb3coc3)

bc_pres_arvinLike cities across Kern County, Arvin is growing and so are the educational needs of the city. BC first offered 6-8 courses at Arvin High School in 2010-11 increasing the number of courses to 23 by 2014-15. We began implementing 1+1+2 Game Changer this year resulting in an even further increasing number of courses for fall 2016. (Take a moment to check out my August 5, 2015 blog about the Game Changer program http://tinyurl.com/hkm2p6y. A big thank you to Michael Turnipseed and Supervisor Leticia Perez for making this happen.)  With limited space at the current Arvin High School location, BC is investigating alternative facilities to offer classes and services for the rising Arvin student body.

This plan has great urgency as we discovered Arvin High School is preparing for a 16% increase in freshman this fall. This makes AHS the second largest school in the KCCD service area. Arvin and Lamont are among the most densely populated townships in Kern County ranging from 3,500 to 4000 citizens per square mile and have a thirty-percent poverty rate that challenges any in our nation. The education needs of this underprivileged community are an equity issue that has our immediate focus.

BC’s Drumline and Bugle Corps

Saturday, July 16th, night at the Memorial Stadium was magical.  The crescent moon was brilliant on this clear night as the seven Drum Corps teams from across California competed at Bakersfield College with over 2000 spectators in the stands.

Impulse – Buena Park, CA; Incognito – Garden Grove, CA; Watchmen – Riverside, CA; Blue Devils C – Concord, CA; Blue Devils B – Concord, CA; Vanguard Cadets – Santa Clara, CA; Golden Empire – Bakersfield, CA

Check out 16 seconds of the BC Drumline sound:

A group of us attended the event and it was so much fun.  With the hectic pace of work for everyone, I cannot remember the last time I did something social with a group.  Was wonderful seeing my good friend Karen Goh and catching up with her after such a long time.  It was an evening of great music, lots of laughter and tons of selfies. Thank you for coming out and celebrating BC — Kimberly Bligh, Bobby Bligh, Janet Tarjan, Nick Strobel, Lisa Strobel, Jay Rosenlieb, and Karen Goh.

 

For more pictures check out Karen Goh’s Facebook photos at http://tinyurl.com/zt33hqj

Tim Heasley has done an amazing job starting up Bakersfield College’s Gold Empire Drum and Bugle Corps. His passion and expertise has taken grown the group to 323 member, brass, percussion  and visual performers. Last night BC’s Corps competed in the DCI ‘Resound” and placed third. That is quite an accomplishment for a group in their third year.  Check out a video tribute to Tim Heasley from a high school classmate from West High who was sitting right behind us.

Mary Jo July 16 2016And what can I say about Mary Jo Pasek.  She works hard, she is everywhere, she is dedicated to BC and she is dedicated to this community.  Mary Jo tirelessly promotes the community and BC on social media.  She tirelessly works events even if it means giving our community members rides from their cars to the event in 102 degree temperatures.  She tirelessly volunteers her services for numerous good causes across the community.  Mary Jo, thank you for all that you do.  I am so glad you are at BC. #WeAreBC.

Also a special thanks to our stellar maintenance and public safety staff for making this event happen last night in our Memorial Stadium.  Chief Counts and Bill Potter please say a big thank you from me to your staff.

Chevron Retirees

On Friday, I really enjoyed presenting to the Chevron Retirees Association along with Karen Thompson.  It was a great great group with a lot of stories about Bakersfield College. I enjoyed visiting with both Betty Bean and Janice Meek.  Janice grew up in Lamont, attended Arvin High School and then came to BC where she was a Chamber singer. Janice retired this December as an Area Manager at Chevron and worked at Chevron for a total of 25 years.  

[Talking about Chamber Singers, did you see the July 6, 2016  article by Stefani Dias in the Californian about the play Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Stars Theater? http://www.bakersfield.com/entertainment/2016/07/06/technicolor-dreams-at-stars.html.  There was a shout out the BC’s Chamber Singers.  Here is the line:  “The show is a mix of seasoned performers and new faces, Forzetting said, including members of Bakersfield College’s chamber choir.”]

Chevron was the recipient of the Bakersfield College Foundation award for philanthropy.

Here are some previous blog posts about Chevron:

Feb 4, 2013: Thank you Chevron:
https://bcpresidentblog.com/2013/02/04/thank-you-chevron/

April 9, 2016: BC and the Community –Relationship Runs Deep:
https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/04/09/bc-and-the-community-relationship-runs-deep/

May 28, 2016: It Is The Best of Times
https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/05/28/it-is-the-best-of-times/

June 25, 2016: Celebrating Our People:
https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/06/25/celebrating-our-people/

Rocky, the Raccoon

An unexpected guest made his way to the north side of the Admin building on Thursday morning. Officer Marco Sifuentes and Ramon Puga worked simultaneously to get our little Raccoon the help he needed and by that afternoon, a team from the Animal Capture Wildlife Control came to help our little friend.

Rocky.jpg

And good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday July 16, 2016 and a good day to be a Renegade.

sonya at Rotary April 30 2015

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya ….. the luckiest and happiest college president in the whole world

Daily Inspiration from all things BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Sunday, July 3rd and here I am blogging from Eugene, Oregon and thinking that it is truly a wonderful day to be a  Renegade.  

cropped sonya ken woody july 2 2016Apologies for the late blog post… I was travelling and taking care of work related activities and could not get to my Saturday morning ritual.  I did feel sorry missing my exercise class this weekend and instead made up with long walks by the Willamette with two of my favorites — Woody and Ken Murdoff.  Eugene at this time of the year is like a botanical garden with the trees a vibrant green and bursts of colors everywhere.  The daisies, in particular, were crowding the bike paths competing for space with lavenders.  A good friend told me about how spectacular the Willamette Valley is when the lavenders are in full bloom. The high temperature here is around 82 and the low 58.  Hence the sweatshirt for the morning walk.  Check out this 27-sec video of Woody fetching his tennis ball from the water.

Yesterday, July 2 2016, Elie Wiesel, A-7713 his number in Auschwitz, passed away at 87.  A survivor of the holocaust Wiesel was a prolific writer and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.  I was first introduced to him through his book Night.  A powerful story from a young boy who had it all and then lost it all.  Here is an excerpt.

Elie Wiesel with his mother and sisters

Elie Wiesel with his mother and sisters. Source: http://www.achievement.org

Men to the left! Women to the right!

Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight short, simple words. … For a part of a second I glimpsed my mother and my sisters moving away to the right. Tzipora held Mother’s hand. I saw them disappear into the distance; my mother was stroking my sister’s fair hair …and I did not know that in that place, at that moment, I was parting from my mother and Tzipora forever.

So yesterday, carrying the words of Wiesel and the horrors we inflict on each other I was especially sensitive to all of the slightest movements and colors, subtle or bright, as I experienced the sheer beauty of nature in the Northwest part of this great country.  Talking about this great country, tomorrow is July 4th — Happy Independence Day all!

The NY Times has an in-depth article on Wiesel at http://tinyurl.com/jblvgf2

Now, back to BC…… I must say inspiration is all around us each and every day at the college. Often caught up in the business of life, the little things, can be missed and with that, sometimes we miss an opportunity for enormous inspiration, but this week was especially motivating. From the fantastic people who work with their minds and hearts at Bakersfield College, to the current and former students who are accomplishing things beyond their dreams, all the way to the nitty gritty of the hard work we’re doing at BC – It never ceases to motivate and inspire me to continue to do what I do.

PaulBeckworth

A Beckworth selfie

The first example of inspiration came to me on Monday afternoon. I received a fantastic text from Paul Beckworth.

I am in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans, in an air conditioned office, writing up veteran stuff, and getting ready to teach about the gold rush. And you pay me to do it! What a life! It’s a good time to be at BC!

This just reminds me that when you’re doing a job you love, it’s hardly feels like work at all. Our dedicated staff and faculty, bring so much passion to BC which inspires us all.

And then there was the email titled Out with the Old, In with the New that Tom Moran, long standing chair of the Foreign Language Department sent his staff as his farewell email.  Tom Moran, who has given his all to BC and our students and given his all to his family and loved ones.  Let’s toast Tom.

Here are excerpts from his July 1st email:

Dear Colleagues,

As has recently so often been the case, this email is a day late. Yesterday was my final day as chair of the Foreign Language Department. It has been my pleasure to serve in this capacity for the past seven years. It has been challenging, gratifying, fun, rewarding, often intense and always interesting. Each of you has been supportive of my efforts for which I will always be grateful, particularly this last year, which has been enormously challenging for my family. Together we have accomplished much: the Spanish ADT, uniform ASL curriculum, hiring more adjunct instructors, including five full- and part-time Deaf ASL instructors, several successful and on-time program reviews, numerous successful and on-time assessments, more, remodeled, and technology-enhanced classrooms, priority room scheduling, and a host of other projects and initiatives too numerous to list. The programs in our department have grown, improved, and expanded, and that is thanks to you.

I’m grateful to David Neville who threw his hat into the ring to serve as chair. I’m grateful to each of you for offering him your vote of confidence. I know that he will do a good job and I anticipate that you will support him in his new role. I intend to offer him the same support that he offered me, which was considerable.

I’m also immensely grateful to our dean, Manny, whose support of our department has been nothing short of steadfast. We’re so lucky to have him. I’m also grateful beyond words to Patt Davis for all her work—particularly with evaluations—and to my dear Camilla, who has always kept me on task and anticipated our needs, even when I was so frequently rolling off the rails. We’re tremendously fortunate to have our administrative support in FA-69: They’re the finest on campus. I want to thank Sonya for entrusting us with two new positions and to Nan and Manny for helping us to structure our new interpreter education program.

Had I sent this email yesterday, it would have been my final act as chair to offer you wonderful news: With the support of our president, we have been successful in hiring two, new full-time faculty members, bring our total FT pool to eight. What a great time to be in Foreign Language and what a great time to be at BC!

Both of our new hires will be familiar to you, as they have both served as adjunct instructors. Please allow me to formally introduce Jaclyn Krause, ASL, and Sara Palasch, Spanish. Jaclyn has been hired to spearhead our new sign language interpreting program. Sara has been hired to develop the infrastructure that will allow us to begin offering online courses in Spanish and our other disciplines.

This summer, I begin my fourteenth year at BC. It has been a busy one for me, teaching a summer course, participating in our writer’s bureau, serving on a hiring committee, revising curriculum, developing tests, and meeting with students. Although summer is a time for rest and rejuvenation, now is such an exciting time at BC that it’s a bit hard to stay away. Enjoy the remainder of your summers, and I look forward to seeing you all in the fall.

In Gratitude,

Tom Moran

And then on June 15th there was this wonderful piece written by Paula Parks published on the front page of the Bakersfield News Observer.  Here it is

Paula Parks in the News Observer.jpg

Then on Saturday, July 2nd, I get this excited message from Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg with a series of text messages that our year-long planning way-finding project is being implemented. See Photos below.

Nan’s txt:

Our new ‘way finding’ project. Finally ! Over a year in planning they are being installed. New maps also. Love the vintage Renegade Red. Let’s push this color this year. I am a happy Renegade 👍

There are several layers of excitement here. The first, gosh darn it, this project should have happened months ago.  Then there is the color.  Note that Nan does not say just Red, nor does she say just “Renegade Red” but rather “vintage Renegade Red.”  You have got to be in the room when Nan and David Koeth are together.  I swear they speak a different language altogether — the language of colors….the language of design.  And they can keep it up for a looooong time.  I must say that Kris Stallworth, Chair of the Art department, totally speaks this language as well.  He recently sent me this link to the Harvard Library of Color. Check it out.

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3058058/the-harvard-vault-that-protects-the-worlds-rarest-colors/8

You would think that things slow down at an academic institution in the summer.  This past week certainly did not reflect that.  Let me highlight just a few items.

Fire Technology Program

Last Saturday, June 25th, right after publishing my weekend blog and rushing to my exercise class I drove over to meet Tim Capehart, Director of BC’s Fire Tech Program, at the Kern County Fire Facility on Olive drive.  The whole field trip was a real treat and I so enjoyed getting to know Tim.

In light of the recent and tragic nearby fires, I couldn’t help by think about how many of these courageous men and women graduated from our Fire Technology Program. The program began in 1956 as a partnership between BC and the Bakersfield Fire Department. Students in the fire science program were hired as paid on-call firefighters by the city and earned $30 a month. They could sleep and study at the fire station south of the college on University, and performed routine station duties such as meal prep, mopping floors, making beds, fire prevention and suppression training.

Bakersfield FD and Kern County FD built a joint fire training center called “The Olive Drive Fire Training Facility” in 1984. Shortly after its completion, BC entered into an in-service agreement with both agencies. [Check out the logo in the picture above Tim Capehart and Mike Lencioni.  It embodies the collaboration between Bakersfield FD, Kern County FD and Bakersfield College].  In the years that followed, the program was run by some awesome coordinators including, Jacki Fisher, Ray Soto, Frank Ramos, and our current Director of Fire/EMS, Tim Capehart.

In 1993, the program produced 51,304 student contract hours and since our programs continue to expand and grow, over the past three years, our students have generated over 200,000 hours of training.

Training schedule June 25 2016 rotated

The students have a training schedule which is pretty intense. Here is a picture I quickly snapped as Mike Lencioni was reviewing the curriculum and training schedule with me.  We offer an AA Degree in Fire Technology, an AS Degree in Wildland Firefighting and an AS Degree in Paramedic studies. We also provide the accredited State Fire Marshal Firefighter 1 & 2 Academies. Both these academies run nine hours a day, forty hours a week, and include night and weekend academies. Both academies run for six months, and cover over 400 hours of training. The training is provided by city and county firefighters.

The academy is run in a para-military style very structured and requiring the students to be extremely disciplined. If students are not performing up to par, they may receive “gigs” and have to run up to the top of the six story tower and ring a bell.  Whew, I got exhausted just looking at the stairs in this tall tower [see picture with Tim and Mike] so can only imagine that this “gig” quickly disciplines these students.  My hats off to them!  The entire academy is intended to instill self-discipline and teamwork, which is essential when they are out working on real fire situations. The cadets are divided up into squads the first night of the academy. If one cadet messes up the whole squad gets the gig, so they learn quickly to help build up, or assist teach other in their squad. They always give 100%.

A program this large and successful could not happen without the support of our industry partners (Bakersfield Fire Chief, Doug Greener, and Kern County Fire Chief, Brian Marshal). Our fire technology advisory board is made up of two Chiefs from each department, they are Deputy Chief Tyler Hartley, Training Battalion Chief Trever Martinusen ‎ from the City, and Deputy Chief Benny Wofford, and Training Battalion Chief Derik Davis, from the Kern County Fire Department.  Vice President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Dean Cindy Collier, and Director of Fire/EMS Tim Capehart provide staffing support for the advisory committee.

PSmeeting

The picture above was taken when Tim, Nan and I presented to a group of stellar Public Safety individuals — Bakersfield Fire, Kern County Fire, Bakersfield Police Department, and Kern County Sheriff’s Office.  The conversation was about meeting future workforce needs and to see if we could collaborate to extend the dollar in meeting needs.  Specifically we were talking about facilities and how to leverage the resources to fund this vision for future generations.

With a heart full of gratitude, thanks to our local firefighters, especially with current fires so close to home, up near the mountains of Kernville. With more than 200 structures destroyed and 43,360 acres burned, our more than 1,700 firefighters work non-stop to keep us safe. Your courage, strength, and dedication is inspiring to everyone.

Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHHC)

The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHHC) Business Education Foundation is giving a “thumbs up” after one of our faculty, Sarah Baron presented “A Better BC,” which highlights our plans to improve our facilities for the future to address the growth in enrollment, the new expansion into baccalaureate programs as well as antiquated spaces. With several hundreds of members, the Chamber represents over 410,000 Hispanics, and is composed of a cross-section of professionals and business people, who in turn represent corporations as well as large and small businesses. The KCHHC is on a roll doing awesome things! BC can’t be more excited about the ongoing partnership and future opportunities that lie ahead.  Don’t forget to keep in touch with our plans to take care of our facilities by checking out the website at www.abetterbc.com

Business Ed Foundation June 2016

BC’s Blue Ribbon Committee:

BC’s Blue Ribbon Committee met this week on Tuesday, June 28th and members of the Blue Ribbon Committee attended and spoke at the Board of Trustees meeting on June 30th to discuss a potential 2016 bond measure.  The Board took the first of two steps to set the stage for the 2016 ballot.  July 14th will be the Board meeting when they will consider whether KCCD should go out for a measure. Mayor Harvey Hall is the Chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee and Congressman Bill Thomas the Senior Advisor.  Norma Rojas-Mora and Jay Rosenlieb co-chair the community connections group and Michael O’Doherty the Oversight and Accountability group.

California Guided Pathways Project

“As long as we keep asking, ‘Is it good for students?’ we will stay on the right track”
John Nixon, former Mt. SAC President

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or keep up with Bakersfield College, you know we are among 3 community colleges in California participating in a national project designed to implement guided academic and career pathways at scale. The 3-year project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is led by the American Association of Community Colleges.

On June 29th, Bakersfield College hosted the first California Guided Pathways Project Planning Meeting funded by the College Futures Foundation at the LAX Marriott in Los Angeles. The convening connected national scholars, including Kay McClenney, Rob Johnstone, and Davis Jenkins, with California leaders including Brad Phillips in higher education in order to begin the crafting of a guided pathways initiative suited for California’s unique regulatory and social environment.

Representatives from Bakersfield College were joined by administrators and faculty from the two other participating California community colleges, Mt. San Antonio College and Irvine Valley College, as well as representatives from the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Achieving the Dream, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), California Acceleration Project, California Community College Chancellor’s Office, Campaign for College Opportunity, Career Ladders Project, Community College Research Center, Educational Results Partnership, Foundation for California Community Colleges, Institute for Evidence Based Change, Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative, and the National Center for Inquiry & Improvement, Research & Planning (RP) Group.

The event was made possible through the generous support of the College Futures Foundation.  Thank you Shawn Whalen and College Futures.

IMG_3050

CSU Chancellor’s Office partners

We were so fortunate to have two CSU Chancellor’s Office representatives, Dawn Digrius and Ken O’Donnell, collaborate with us on this work.  It is partnerships like this that will be critical in ensuring success for our students across educational sectors and in alignment with industry needs.

Our website has more information on the dozens of partners committed to making this happen. In the days to follow, we will also add photos from the event, so be sure to check out:
https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/projects/ca-guided-pathways-planning

 Check out some of the quotes noted by Lesley Bonds:

  • In California, the barriers are common and known.  As we set the table for a project like this one, let’s go after them as a collective. –Irene Malmgren, VP of Instruction at Mt. San Antonio College
  • How do we ensure success for students through California’s current river delta of transfer pathways? –Craig Hayward, IVC
  • It is becoming more clear to me that we must create conditions so that students don’t have to be heroes in order to be successful –Rob Johnstone, Founder & Director of National Center for Inquiry & Improvement
  • As long as we keep asking, ‘Is it good for students?’ we will stay on the right track –John Nixon, former Mt. SAC president says he left behind a plaque with this question engraved for current president Bill Scroggins
  • It should be written on June 29, 2016 –in three years, California will be the model for transformation nationally – Sonya Christian
  • The manifestation of leadership is institutional organization.  In this work, we need organizational elegance –John Nixon, AACC and ATD Leadership Coach
  • This isn’t another project someone in an office on the south side of campus leads, this is an institutional transformation and will require broad and deep engagement from all –Bill Scroggins, Mt. SAC President

Thank you Lesley Bonds and Jessica Wojtysiak for working side-by-side with me to make this happen.

Lesley and Jessica June 29 2016

 

Jorge Santos

Kris4

This week, recent Bakersfield College graduate, Jorge Santos, led an 8-piece Latin Jazz ensemble at The Mark in downtown Bakersfield, paying tribute to the music of legendary Cuban saxophonist and composer, Paquito D’Rivera.

The band was composed of fellow BC alumni along with several local pros, and they played for a packed, enthusiastic crowd. Jorge, who is part of the first graduating class from our new Applied Music program, studied trumpet at BC with Kris Tiner and has played lead trumpet in the BC Jazz Ensemble for the past several years. He has quickly become one of the busiest musicians in town, working regularly with groups including La Marcha, the Mentorship Big Band, and his own combos. His concert was part of the ongoing Bakersfield Jazz Workshop series, which presents a different featured artist every Tuesday night at The Mark. Talk about inspiring!

sonya july 2 2016

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya ….. the luckiest and happiest college president in the whole world