Tag Archives: David Torres

BC — Beat Covid

BC stands for Beat Covid — David Torres

David Torres, Centric Health Foundation Chairman, put it best “BC may stand for Bakersfield College, but to all of us here in this community, for us, BC stands for Beats Covid.”

I loved his energy and excitement at the clinic:

We also celebrated Community Relations Director Norma Rojas-Mora’s birthday with a drive-through singalong:

On Friday, March 26, Bakersfield College hosted our second big drive-through vaccination event – vaccinating 1,025 people!

I am grateful to everyone whose hard work and dedication helped make BC’s second drive-through Covid vaccination clinic an absolute success.

Check out more pictures from the March 26 clinic on BC’s SmugMug site.

I’m continuing to share pictures of our vaccinated Renegades. If you’d like to share your vaccination photo, please email it to president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

BC supporter Nicole Parra got her vaccination at our first drive-thru clinic:

Nicole Parra getting vaccinated

Program Manager for Counseling & Student Success Isabel Castaneda tweeted about her Johnson&Johnson vaccination:

Food Services Manager Fidel Cabuena got his second Pfizer shot:

Department Assistant Cheryl Caswell-Fairbanks got the shot with her husband and Shawn Newsom from the History Department:

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 3, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

This Easter weekend, I wanted to share a few photos of spring flowers:

And the rose season is getting started:

First Lady comes to Central Valley

This week, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited the Central Valley to meet with farmworkers at The Forty Acres. She was joined by Gov. Gavin Newsom in touring The Forty Acres, which was created by Cesar Chavez and became the headquarters for the United Farmworkers of America, and in thanking farmworkers for their hard work during the pandemic. Connie Perez-Andreeson from the BC Foundation Board introduced Dr. Jill Biden…. so cool!

And here is an Instagram post by FLOTUS; the picture is of Connie introducing her.

Sonya Christian, Dolores Huerta, Norma Rojas-Mora

Young Mothers for Peace

Mothers for Peace, the first in a series of seminars through the Bakersfield College Peace Initiative, kicked off on Tuesday this week with a Zoom webinar where panelists reflected on their experiences and concerns as they raise their children, as well as their visions for a peaceful future. Norma Rojas-Mora, served as emcee. Our panelists were Sandy Woo-Cater, Anti-Trafficking Expert; Lauren Skidmore, District Director for Assembly Member Vince Fong; Pawan Gill, Director of HR and Community Development for the City of Arvin; and Antrenette Carr, Human Resources Manager at Amazon.

Here are my opening remarks:

Then, our panelists each gave a short introduction of themselves and their families:

Norma then asked our panelists to reflect on a series of questions.

As a mother, what do you see as the threat?

Let’s fast forward to 2035, your child is now an adult. As you envision that world what do you want it look like? 

What do you want to do to reach that vision for a peaceful society  in 2035?  What is your call to action?

Norma wrapped up the seminar with a few closing comments:

Please stay tuned to the BC Peace Initiative website for information about upcoming seminars, events, and other projects.

Early College Info Night at Valley Oaks Charter

Last Thursday the Early College team hosted a virtual student & parent information night for Valley Oaks Charter School. The session was focused on incoming 9th graders and their parents, but was open for all Valley Oaks students. The student testimonials were the highlight of the event. Two graduating seniors shared their experiences with taking Early College classes through Valley Oaks. They also participated in a question and answer session for the parents and students.

Here are some quotes from our Early College students:


“It’s a really good experience… If you do start, I would start with 1-2 classes.” – Jaxon Young


“I was nervous too. It’s ok to be nervous. It puts a little bit of pressure on you but don’t be afraid to ask your professors for help.” – Elise Mayer

Inmate Scholars Update

Jennifer Craig, an assistant professor of English and the Inmate Scholars Program, sent out the latest edition of the Inmate Scholars Newsletter on March 26.

You can check it out below:

She also shared two links – Success Stories (Roberto Luca’s story), and Professor Sara Wallace’s Reflections from Outside blog.

Spotted on Social Media

BC Cheer shared a throwback photo from the 1994-1995 squad:

The Kern Exceptional Family Center shared some pictures from their vaccination clinic in partnership with the Kern Regional Center and Bakersfield College:

History Professor Olivia Garcia spotted some Easter cheer on a trail:

One of our Culinary Arts students was preparing pastry boxes for Nixtamal Cafe:

Job Development Specialist Carlos Medina’s family took a bike ride through the bluffs:

The Story of Kitty

Before I wrap up with the Athletics Corner that Brandon sends my way, I wanted you to enjoy this story written by one of my regular contributors to the blog, Dr. Jack Hernandez, aka “Grandpa Jack” who wrote a delightful short story for his seven year old granddaughter who is a terrific gymnast…she was cartwheeling and flipping when he was visiting in Williamstown.

        Kitty was a small, grey fluffy cat. Her older sister, Kiki, loved to musically meow and dance, waving her paws in the air like flags. Her big brother, Cosmic, was a superstar mouse chaser.

        But one morning as Kitty watched them from her high breakfast perch she wondered what she could do to be happy like them. She remembered all the things she had tried to do, but hadn’t worked.

        First she had tried swimming, but didn’t like her fur all wet, soggy, and heavy. So that didn’t work.

        Next she had played catball, but didn’t like waiting for her turn, plus she missed too many. So that didn’t work.

        Then she had gone outside on the grass to race snails, but that was too easy. Like even an ant can beat a snail. So that didn’t work.

        Finally she had tried tooting a horn, but didn’t like her lips all tired and worn. So that didn’t work.

        O me, o my, she thought, what can I do? And as she sat and wondered, she suddenly fell from her perch and without thinking landed upright on her paws! Wow, she said, I can do this, can do tricks in the air!

        So when her mama cat, Lipsi, brought her a pancake, she asked her how she could learn to leap and turn, leap and circle in the air.

        He mom answered, “I know a place, Kitty, that teaches kiddy cats to do catnastics, and after breakfast I’ll take you there.”

        “Thank you, mom,” Kitty purred as she put some syrup on her pancake.

        So that very afternoon Kitty began her catnastics lessons. And she practiced and practiced.

        Then one day, not too long after, she was cartwheeling her way! Here and there! Everywhere!

        O how she could flip and dip! Backward and forward! Up and down! Cat flips to the ceiling, to the floor. Tricks, tricks, and tricks galore!

        She was no longer just watching other cats in their jazzy fur. She was now cool, cool Kitty. Jumping. Pumping. Swinging and zinging. Every day.  Every way.

        And that is how she became Kitty–The Cartwheeling Cat.

Athletics

Volleyball End Spring I Season With Perfect Record

Even though they were not playing competitively for over a year, the Renegade Women’s Volleyball squad is playing like they haven’t skipped a beat. They recently wrapped up play in the abbreviated California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) Spring I sports season with a perfect 9-0 record. In the process they swept seven of the nine opponents and only gave up two sets in those nine games. While there will be no conference or state championship for them to play at the end of this season, we are proud of the what they accomplished and how they represented BC!

Coach Littlejohn on KGET Coaches Corner

Be sure to catch our very own Renegade Head Football Coach R. Todd Littlejohn as he joins KGET sports reporter Taylor Schaub to dissect the local high school football games each week. Watch last week’s segment of the first week of Kern High District games by clicking below:

https://www.kget.com/sports/ffx/ffx-week-one-coaches-corner/?fbclid=IwAR3svyQOQZXFYFbV76l5gO-6j12HgZw0fv4YtareC3PPx1ijyg3uiIdRueA

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Bakersfield College – Bakersfield’s Disneyland

I woke up on Monday, March 22, to this headline in The Bakersfield Californian, written by its executive editor, Christine L. Peterson:

Christine L. Peterson

‘Today is a victory’: BC hosts first mass drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Kern

“They’re not celebrating at Disneyland quite yet, but you might have thought those at Bakersfield College on Sunday had already arrived at the happiest place on earth.

Cars and trucks lined up to make their way into the parking lot abutting University Avenue for a poke in the arm in the form of one of 1,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses.


The event was dubbed the first mass drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Kern County, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wasn’t smiling.”

Beautiful writing….. beautiful words…..

We kicked off the clinic with a press conference with some wonderful speakers:

Norma Rojas-Mora, BC Director of Communication and Community Relations:

Assemblyman Rudy Salas:

KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog:

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez:

David Torres, Centric Health Foundation Chairman:

Imelda Ceja-Butkiewicz, President of the Kern Inyo Mono Central Labor Council:

Jay Tamsi, Co-founder of Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force:

Joseph Lopez, on behalf of State Senator Melissa Hurtado:

The entire day had an air of celebration and collaboration as so many different people and groups worked together to get 1,000 vaccine shots-in-arms for the clinic. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together toward a common goal.

Check out more photos from our first mass drive through clinic on BC’s SmugMug website.

And be sure to check the BC Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic web page for information about future clinics!

I also wanted to share a few of the vaccination photos I’ve received this week.

Our KCCD Chancellor, Tom Burke:

Chancellor Tom Burke

Trustee Kyle Carter, who was vaccinated by Miss Yen from the BC Nursing Program:

Astronomy Professor Nick Strobel:

History Professor Olivia Garcia:

Instructional Technology Instructor Alex Rockey & Biology Professor William Rockey:

If you have a photo of your COVID-19 vaccination, please send it to president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

And be sure to check out our gallery of vaccinations.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 27, 2021, my dad’s b’day … a great day to be a Renegade.

Paul Christian, Sonya Christian

Photos & Poetry

This week, a friend sent me this amazing photo…the heavens have opened:

Arvin, CA

I thought of this photo – these gray skies broken up by a few rays of radiant sunshine – when I read this poem that Jack Hernandez sent to me:

Exit Road

The little yellow flowers
along the freeway exit road
smile as I wait for the light
to give me permission to go.

Some sunless days though,
eager winds sowing dust,
they stay tightly closed,
I drive on unsure and cold.

Another friend of mine, who lost her partner, shared this poem from Khalil Gibran:

Fear

It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.

She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.

And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.

But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.

Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.

The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.

Magnificent sunset photos at BC taken by Janet Tarjan on March 25th

Morning walk celebration of dad’s birthday.

Jess Nieto Conference

The 3rd Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference was held this past week. Professor Jess Nieto established the Chicano Studies program and Chicano Cultural Center at Bakersfield College. He was an entrepreneur, civil rights activist, educational leader and mentor to countless students. 

The conference this year included a wonderful mix of education, entertainment and celebration. Contributions from student organizations, professors, community leaders and partners make this a truly special event. Panels include “Unraveling Latina Stereotypes: Latinas Unidas in Conversation”, “Celebrating the Legacy of Cesar Chavez, the Farmworker Movement, and the Ongoing Work of the UFW and Cesar Chavez Foundation” and many more.

Check out this video from Abel Guzman, Executive Director of Rural Initiatives, which was part of the opening day programming:

You can see all the Opening Day programming in a YouTube playlist.

A Conversation with Dolores Huerta

On Thursday, the Jones Art Gallery exhibit Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos officially kicked off with a Conversation with Dolores Huerta.

Dolores Huerta spoke via Zoom with Dr. Taína Caragol, Curator of Latino Art & History at the Smithsonian Institution. The event was co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the Wylie and May Louise Jones Art Gallery at Bakersfield College, and the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities at Bakersfield College.

Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. See the virtual tour and get more information at the Jones Art Gallery.

Measure J – Thank You Nicole!

I love this photo of Nicole Parra and her dog, Bailey, sitting in front of our first Measure J Project – the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.

Thank you, Nicole, for managing our Measure J campaign. We could not have done it without you, and I’m so glad you were able to enjoy the fruits of your labor 5 years later!

Dual Enroll

Gone are the days of receiving thousands of paper application submissions! We are excited to announce the launch of our new online program, dualenroll.com, that has replaced the paper form submissions for Dual Enrollment and Concurrent Enrollment. Students from all high schools can now use Dual Enroll to register for Summer 2021 and Fall 2021. This transition will streamline services for students and will make these opportunities more accessible in distance and online learning environments.

Dual Enroll is a win-win! Check it out at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/earlycollege/how-to-enroll.

In the News

Community Voices: Building a peaceful future

Kara McDonald, program manager for Student Success & Equity, wrote this piece about the importance of embracing peace instead of conflict – and highlighting the new Peace Initiative that Bakersfield College will be embarking on over the next 18 months.

“This initiative includes the Peace Garden that will soon begin construction on BC’s campus, as well as a series of projects done in partnership with other community groups working toward peace. Finally, the Peace Initiative includes a seminar series designed to engage small groups of women, veterans, educators and police in conversations about what peace looks like here in Kern County and how we build it.”

On Tuesday, we will kick off the Peace Initiative with the first installment of the Peace Initiative Seminar Series, “Mothers for Peace.” For more information, or to register for the Zoom event, visit the Bakersfield College website.

Community Voices: Our lives, our stories

Jack Hernandez, retired director of the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, wrote a piece about how our lives live on in the stories, minds and memories of those who know us.

“But we all have an afterlife on this earth. An afterlife of our stories remembered by those who have known us for many years. Many live on in my mind: the stories of dad working two jobs to send me to college, of mom sending me off every morning to school, filled with breakfast and secure in her love. My Bakersfield College students, friends and colleagues during my many years here after I drove to Bakersfield from Detroit, not knowing what to expect when I came down Edison Highway in my own “Grapes of Wrath.””

Bakersfield College Ranks 3rd in State

Check out this video & article on KGET – BC ranks 3rd in degrees awarded among California Hispanic serving institutions!

“Bakersfield College said in recent years they have worked on improving student outcomes, reducing achievement gaps and increasing access for students using a Guided Pathways approach. Since BC first started its Guided Pathways program in 2014, the college has seen growth and improvement across multiple student success metrics.”

Spotted on Social Media

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh shared this post about our vaccination clinic:

Bill Moseley shared his delicious weekend plans:

Jessica Wojtysiak also had a delicious night, courtesy of BC’s culinary arts students:

And Kristin Rabe shared the daisies outside her porch:

Athletics

Alyson Dees Named CCCWVCA State Player of the Week

Women’s Volleyball are undefeated thus far in the abbreviated Spring I season and to top it off, sophomore Alyson Dees was named the California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCWVCA) State Player of the Week for her performance against Cerro Coso the week prior. Alyson embodies the spirit of the team and as her coach Carl Ferreira said “one of the most amazing things about Aly is how much selfless energy she gives to her teammates. If that’s not enough, she’s an even better person.” Congrats Alyson!

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

One Week Left in Spring 2017!!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 6, 2017….a great day to be a Renegade

View from Room May 6 2017 Tahoe.JPG

That’s the view from my room as I start my blog in Tahoe attending the CCLC Annual Trustees Conference in Lake Tahoe.  Just beautiful! And the coffee is perfect.

Here is photo of Lake Tahoe.  Beautiful…serene.  Crater Lake in Oregon (a must see as well) is the deepest lake in the United States and Lake Tahoe the second.

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I drove to Tahoe via I-5 and I-80 but returned via Nevada Hwy 50 and Route 395.  The drive back went back and forth between rain and sunshine and I captured this brilliant rainbow ….of course, my iphone photo does not do it justice.

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It was fun presenting with the statewide Vice Chancellor Theresa Tena on Guided Pathways.  Here is a tweet from Miles Nevin from Long Beach right after the presentation.  Was real happy to see Tom Burke, Chancellor of KCCD, in the audience.

Miles Nevin Tweet on Theresa Tena and Sonya Christian May 6 2017

I was also happy to see Doug Otto, Chair of the CCLC Board attend our session.

Sonya Christian Doug Otto Theresa Tena May 7 2017

Sonya Christian, Doug Otto, Theresa Tena

Pre-Law Day at BC

Pre-Law Mayor GohThis year Bakersfield College held its second annual Law Day Conference on Friday, April 28, 2017 which was open to both high school and college students.  Included in the program were several distinguished attorneys and judges from the Bakersfield legal community in addition to BC Professors: Christian Zoller, Charles Kim, Oliver Rosales, and Ed Borgens. Adjunct Professor Marilyn Sanchez and Pre Law Advisor, Pearl Urena, were also instrumental in the preparation and success of the event.

Sonya Christian and Karen Goh Law Conf April 30 2017Mayor Karen Goh opened the conference after making very poignant remarks by reading a proclamation.

 

I am so happy Lesley Bonds snapped this picture of me receiving the proclamation from the mayor.

 

The panel topics dealt with the 150th anniversary of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the challenges of the Law School path.  At the conclusion of the morning presentation,  discussion sessions took place and the audience received lunch in the Performance Arts Center courtyard. They then had the opportunity to participate in the Internship Fair held by various law schools at BC. As the BC Pre-Law Program continues to grow, future Law Day Conferences will also grow in order to accommodate the increased interest in the legal field. I can’t wait for next year’s conference!

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Congratulations Pre-Law Students!

Bakersfield College is one of 24 community colleges in the state of California participating in the Pre-Law pathway. This program is designed to help students matriculate more easily from Bakersfield College to a four-year university and on to a participating law school. We are happy to report that this year our first graduating class of 11 students has completed the recommended courses for our Pre-Law Program. We have students transferring to CSUB, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Best of luck to our Pre-Law graduates!

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Graduates present at the graduation (left to right): Diana Alvarez, Elaina Barker, Princess Herrera, Raquel Fuentes, ShaQuia Jones, Lucelle Irven, and Raul Munoz.

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Advisory Council and Leadership Team present at the celebration (front to back, left to right): Cynthia Loo, Christian Zoller, Yinka Glover, Pearl Urena, Steve Katz, David Torres, Courtney Lewis, Rebecca Murillo, Bethany Peak, Robert Tafoya, Charles Kim, and Ed Borgens.

 

 

 

Sonya Christian and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg May 3 2017“A Little Knight Music”

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, and I found the perfect way to wind down after a busy Wednesday.

“A Little Knight Music” took place at the Outdoor Theater and featured all of BC’s performing ensembles and programs, including jazz ensemble, choir and chamber singers, orchestra, concert band, and commercial music ensemble (performing Bohemian Rhapsody!).  The evening also showcased some of our soon-to-be AA-T in Music graduates performing solos.

Linda Snoddy opened the evening.

Linda Snoddy May 3 2017

The Jazz Band directed by Kris Tiner was spectacular.  Loved Little Rootie Tootie.  Wish I captured a video clip for you to enjoy.

The Commercial Music Ensemble directed by Josh Ottum was a lot of fun.  I totally enjoyed Radioactive (Imagine Dragons) and The Scientist (Coldplay) and Nan was in ecstasy with Locked Out of Heaven (Bruno Mars)

Here I captured Nan in action dancing to Bruno Mars as we walked to the car at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night.  She said: “Bruno Mars Carpool Karaoke. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Mark Ronson, (featuring Bruno Mars). Now that is my favorite song.” Don’t you love it!

Well, back to the program…

The BC Combined Choirs directed by Jen Garrett performed Baba Yetu a powerful Swahili adaptation of The Lord’s Prayer.

The Combined Band and Orchestra directed by Dr. Kathryn Kuby did a great job with all their  pieces and in particular, the Pirates of the Caribbean.

The grand finale was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s You’ll Never Walk Alone/Climb Every Mountain by the BC Combined Band and Orchestra and Combined Choirs.

What a night!

Now listen to the Bohemian Rhapsody by our students:

 

 

2017 Leadership Academy

Congratulations to all the graduates from this year’s KCCD Leadership Academy!  From Bakersfield College: Victor Diaz, Chris Dison, Gustavo Enriquez, Raquel Lopez, Tracy Lovelace, Christine Morales, Tarina Perry, Zenaida Tutop, and Reese Weltman. From Cerro Coso Community College, there are two graduates: Rebecca Rock and Matthew Wanta. From Porterville College, there are also two graduates: Elmer Aguilar and Patricia Serrato. And our District Office has one graduate: Cathi Jacob

Congratulations to you all from everyone at Bakersfield College!

LA 2017 Group

Thank you Genevieve Graber for the photos.  Here are the individual graduates.

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Give Big Kern

GiveBigKern (2)The 2nd annual Give Big Kern took place on May 2nd. The day of county-wide giving was coordinated by the Kern Community Foundation and had 101 different non-profits from Kern County participating in this year’s event!  Money raised will go directly toward students realizing their goals of higher education. Bakersfield is such a generous community and thanks to all that supported Bakersfield College. #WeAreBC

Public Health

Bakersfield College is always striving to improve the lives and future careers of our community by staying agile concerning the growing needs and demands. On April 24, many eager students in the Levan Center listened to the exciting information regarding the new programs that Bakersfield College will be implementing in the near future.

Sarah Baron Public Health Hackathon March 2017

Sarah Baron

With staggering statistics that show Kern County having the highest rates of STI’s in ages 18-24 year olds, highest teen pregnancy rates, as well as prediabetes affecting one in every 3 people, the need for those who obtain their degree in Public Health Science is on the rise. Part of the new program that is being put in place will allow students to obtain their Associate in Science in Public Health Science for Transfer and will also allow them to be a part of a Certificate of Achievement program that will require four specific classes. Students will have the opportunity to intern so that they will obtain experience to back up their degree.

Special thanks to Sarah Baron for making this information session possible.

Automotive Open House

Automotive Open House (2).jpgCTE in partnership with the Automotive Department Faculty hosted an open house on April 27th. It was a great event that welcomed both current BC students and current Kern County High School Juniors and Seniors. The evening included an informative presentation of the new program pathways, a student panel, and a tour of the automotive labs.

Thank you to the Automotive Faculty, Justin Flint, Andrew Haney & Dan Johnson; Dominica Rivera-Dominguez, CTE Educational Advisor & Stephanie Baltazar, CTE Job Development Specialist; and the Auto Student Panel, Morgan Langston, Javier Chavez, Mark Gildez, Derek Karns & Noe Cantu. Special thanks to Leticia Garza, Director K-14 Pathways, for allocating CTE Transition funding to support the event.

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Ceramic Sale

Professor Darrin Ekern, who has been practicing ceramics and pottery for 20 years, showcased and sold the pieces that students in Ceramics I, II, and III crafted this semester. The ceramics classes at Bakersfield College teach students how to make pottery, sculpture out of ceramics, and about the materials and process. “Ceramics is a highly process oriented medium. They learn about the clay and how to fire it and cook it in the kilns. As well as the actual crafting on the wheel for pottery and hand building which are more sculptural conceptual pieces.”

Like all things beautiful, Ceramics requires a lot of patience. Once you get the technique down this can become a soothing yet exciting and fun way of creating art.

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Separation of Church and State

IMG_8180Eddie Tabash delivered a presentation on the First Amendment and the separation of church and state on Thursday evening. Mr.  Tabash is chair of the legal committee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He is also a Los Angeles area constitutional lawyer and chairs the board of directors for the Center for Inquiry Transnational/Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

The talk provided history of the religion clauses of the First Amendment that demonstrate that the Framers really intended for believers and nonbelievers to be equal before the law. This means that no branch of government can favor belief over nonbelief and that everyone, regardless of their views on religious topics, is to have equal rights in American society. Professor Olivia Garcia, described the evening as “powerful.”  Thank you to all who attended and thank you to Jack Hernandez for coordinating such fantastic programs for our students and the community.

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Retirement Reception

Old friends got a chance to catch up and share stories about working for BC at the Archives Association’s annual Retirement Reception on Thursday morning in the Fireside Room. Former Renegades such as Dr. Greg Chamberlain relished the opportunity to chat with faculty and staff over a beautiful selection of cheeses, fried cauliflower and other hors d’oeuvres provided by the Food Services department. Thank you Chef Eric Sabella. Some current faculty and staff members took time out of their busy end-of-the-year schedules to reminisce with some of their former coworkers. Thank you Archives staff – Jerry, Rosalee, Daniel, and Helen – for putting together this reception and all of the tireless work you do to keep the retired members of our Renegade family close.

Our 2016-2017 Honored Retirees:

Anna Agenjo, Edwin Barton, Richard Brantley, Carroll Brown, Elizabeth Cancio, Deborah Carmona, Nancy Coyle, Daniel Edwards, Marsha Eggman, Elizabeth Elms, Jana Fidler-Wiggers, Kathryn Goehring, Kathleen Howarth, Daniel Johnson, Odella Johnson, Joyce Kirst, Michael Komin, Janet Lewis, Connie Maranda, Tom Moehnke, Bill Parker, Katherine Pluta, Kathleen Rosellini, Rachel Vickrey, Scott Wayland, Melanie Wheeler-Hayes, Rita White, and Becki Whitson.

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Renegades Out and About

Luis HernandezI ran into Luis Hernandez at Vons a few weeks ago.

He’s a Renegade Alum who is now studying Engineering at CSUB. He was in the Energy Academy and loved his time at BC.

I love any and every opportunity to quickly chat with our community and reminisce about their time at BC. I loved that Luis specifically mentioned how the classes at BC prepared him well for his upper division courses at CSUB.

Emails Worth Sharing

Eileen Pierce tagged me in an email this week where the title was “You all are amazing!” and it was a personal note from her to her SI Instructors. The Supplemental Instruction program at BC is essentially group tutoring led by a fellow student, known as an SI Leader or SI Instructor. The SI Leaders attend classes with you so they know what the pace of the class is and what is being expected of the students. More details can be found on the Supplemental Instruction Page on BC’s website.

Back to the email, I was struck by how impactful these programs are and how valuable our students are when they serve one another. Eileen said, “Just now, I shut my office door so that I could read through all 45 of the SI Leader evaluations that you all have returned to me so far via Survey Monkey.  And I am wiping away tears.  Thank you so much for giving of yourselves to mentor and encourage these SI Leaders.  As you all know already, they don’t come to us perfectly formed and are still in need of a great deal of nurturing.  On the other hand, they are positively bursting with potential, and with each day that goes by, we catch more and more of a glimpse of the gems they are becoming.

Every mark and every comment you indicated on these evals is so valuable to your SI Leader (and, of course, I will only share those that you want to have shared).   You are the ones closest to your Leaders in the network of SI relationships, so you have the unique ability to impact them for a lifetime.I couldn’t feel more honored and blessed to work with each and every one of you.  You have gone above and beyond the mere call of duty as faculty.  From my heart, I thank you for choosing to be involved with SI.”

Here are some photos of our SI Leaders in action.

SI Leaders

Superheroes Behind the Scenes

Have I mentioned yet that I’m the luckiest college president in the world? I get to work with the most incredible team of administrators, staff, faculty, and students. I’d like to highlight a couple of them!

Keri Kennedy

Speaking of amazing students on campus – we have amazing staff as well.

KeriI’m still smiling and thinking about last Friday, our commitment day to The Kern Promise. If you haven’t seen last Saturday’s blog, check it out here! It’s an incredible program which will greatly improve the future success of our students and the community.

There is so much detailed work that goes on behind the scenes to make exciting events and programs a reality at BC. Keri Kennedy is a dedicated completion coach who makes herself available to every single promise student. She reviews each and every application and transcript, she individually follows up with each of them, she oversees the multiple measures placement to insure students are placed appropriately, and she does everything she can to help every student reach their maximum potential. Thank you Keri for everything you do!

Mary Jo Pasek

Mary Jo is everywhere on the BC campus! As our Community Relations and Event and Scheduling Manager, almost everyone who attends an event on campus will see MJ out and about. She sent an email recently highlighting all the busy happenings in her department over the course of two weeks and WOW! From the Health Fair with a record number of vendors to Gardenfest, retirement celebrations, community events, student events like career day, Presidents Breakfast, The Kern Promise –  oh and booking the U.S. Air Force Band for an outdoor concert this summer! So many exciting happenings on campus are touched by the work of Mary Jo Pasek and her crew!

 

Here is a great photo of Mary Jo Pasek and Susan Hopkins, Event Specialist.  Thank you for all that you do.  #WeAreBC

Nick Strobel

Did you see Nick Strobel’s newest stargazing article?

Check it out at

http://www.bakersfield.com/entertainment/nick-strobel-cassini-delivers-on-images-from-saturn-pass/article_248bd401-c9ab-514a-ade6-a3c5b30a5678.html

The Kern Promise

As I just mentioned, I’m still smiling thinking about last Friday and this week Kern Promise Program Manager, Shanell Tyus, met with Bakersfield City School District Superintendent, Doc Ervin, to get his signature on The Kern Promise commitment. What a great photo!

Doc Ervin

Superintendent Doc Ervin, Shanell Tyus

 

Did you know?

https://twitter.com/CalCommColleges/status/860212618350346241

It’s always a great day to learn something new. Thursday was “May the Fourth be with You” and  I saw on Twitter this week that George Lucas attended a California Community College! Did you know that?! Know any other cool CA Community College facts? I’d love to read them in the comments.

Renegade Athletics Roundup from Francis Mayer

While the 2016-2017 athletic season is winding to a close, there are still a few teams out of our 20 that are still competing!

The BC Swim team is competing in the CCCAA State Championships at East Los Angeles College. Brian Bender and Jennifer Quan are still competing as individuals, while the men’s relay team of Bender, Kenneth Rodriguez, Cameron Reeves, and Steve Santana are hoping to make a mark for the Renegades after a grueling season in the pool. The competition will be the last of Santana’s intercollegiate career before he transfers to UC Santa Barbara and concentrates his efforts on getting a Chemistry degree. Good luck, Steven!

Renegade Track & Field is competing at the Southern Californian Prelims this weekend at Cerritos College, and then they’ll compete at the SoCal Finals next weekend (also at Cerritos) before wrapping up their season with the CCCAA State Championships at American River College. We’ve followed Jacob Bookout’s incredible High Jump season as he seems poised to break a record or jump right out of the stadium every time he approaches the bar! But his teammate Cesar Patino has put together a pretty amazing season in the 1500. He just clinched the conference championship by two seconds, and Coach Pam Kelley says that isn’t very close when it comes to a race like the 1500.

“It was a very strategic race; it started slow, and that played right into his trap,” Coach Kelley told Sports Information Director Francis Mayer, “The other runners were saving themselves for the 5000, or maybe they didn’t think they needed to exert themselves to win, so Cesar went for it and he won.”

Coach Kelley feels like Cesar could win a state title for BC in the 1500, as long as he keeps doing what he’s done all season…as Cesar hasn’t lost a single 1500 meter race ALL SEASON! Fingers crossed, Cesar!

Our athletes aren’t the only ones winning competitions! Wrestling Coach Brett Clark competed in the Master’s Nationals and won both the Greco and Freestyle National Championships! Coach Clark competed in the Class B (for athletes with birthdays from 1974 to 1982) 130kg bracket for “Team Fluffy”, and the wins were the third consecutive time he’s “doubled up” and swept his division.

“The team is something (BC Assistant Coach and former state champion) Ryan Meloche put together with comedian Gabriel Iglesias a few years ago,” Coach Clark explained, “We do this to remind us older guys to stay in shape, and that fitness doesn’t need to end when our collegiate careers are over. We have families that need us, and friends that we need to be there for, so we have to stay in shape.”

Way to go, Coach Clark!

Coach Brett Clark

There is so much more to blog about… The end of year event in my backyard for the leadership of BC and KCCD, the Board meeting at Cerro Coso Community College.  But alas due to my travels and needing to turn my attention to another important event I must stop for now. But will pick up where I left off on May 13th. Until then……

Sonya Christian Creekside Inn Bishop May 7 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

 

Every Day is Something to Celebrate

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, February 11, 2017 and a good day to be a Renegade.

heidi-scottIt seemed as it all of Bakersfield packed St. Francis on Thursday, 2/9, at 12:00 noon to honor Trice Harvey.

It was a very nice service with beautiful music.  And Heidi Scott…..Have you heard her sing?  What emotion…what a voice!  She moved me to tears.

I so wanted to capture her version of Here I am Lord and Precious Lord Take my Hand on my iphone, but felt it was not appropriate.

So you get youtube instead

Precious Lord Take My Hand

 

 

There were many wonderful Trice Harvey stories. The first speaker told one about beating Bakersfield College when he was the Quarterback at Taft College. (I thought “What! ….. I’m sorry that I never got the opportunity to speak with Trice about that to set the record straight.”)

KCCD was well represented.  I spotted Trustee Kay Meek, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Bill Thomas, and Chancellor Tom Burke.

Check out the piece by James Burger in The Bakersfield Californian
http://tinyurl.com/hatv6h9

Here is a photo by Henry Barrios of The Bakersfield Californian.

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Summer Bridge

BC is already gearing up for our Summer Bridge 2017 which kicks off with Saturday sessions starting April 29th.  Here is the cover photo with faculty, staff, and peer mentors along with  BC SUMMER Bridge students 2016.  Information for 2017 is available now
https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/sse/bridge-to-BC.  Make sure you “like” the Summer Bridge page on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/summerbridgeBC/?hc_ref=SEARCH

Kimberly Bligh with students.jpg

BC Athletics

womenbeatlapierceBC Athletics home games will always energize you before a busy week.  Last weekend’s Basketball game did not disappoint! BC had come out to support our students, Coach Hughes and Coach Dahl. It’s a great time to be at BC and it’s a great time to support our Renegades! Miss coming to the game? Check out the recap written by Francis Mayer at
http://gogades.com/sports/wbkb/2016-17/releases/20170207l29t01.

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Napa Valley IEPI PRT Visit

By Monday, I was in Napa chairing a Tuesday event on strengthening program and institutional planning processes. It was raining hard, but boy… Napa is beautiful and the work we accomplished was great. IEPI (Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative) is a statewide collaborative effort to help advance the practices of the California Community Colleges. This is a great team: Kristina Whalen (City College of San Francisco), Randy Beach (Southwestern College), Mandy Lang (City College of San Francisco), Stephen Eaton (Barstow College)

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Sonya Christian, Kristina Whalen, Randy Beach, Mandy Liang, Stephen Eaton

Campaign for College Opportunity Visits BC

sonya-pillars-2partsOn February 8th, Audrey Dow, Senior Vice President for the Campaign for College Opportunity, brought a group to campus to learn about Bakersfield College’s guided pathways efforts. The group met with faculty, administrators, staff, and students in the Fireside Room.  The Campaign for College Opportunity is an organization that works tirelessly on issues of equity.  They were a powerful voice behind SB 1440 the legislation that provided the 60-credit Associate Degree Transfer (ADT) pathways to the CSU system.  This single legislation has tremendously improved the transfer rates of students from BC to CSUB.  The Campaign for College Opportunity CEO, Michele Siqueiros, is wonderful and committed to making things happen.  For more http://collegecampaign.org/

 

We offered a short presentation: Janet Fulks, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, provided background information, preliminary data describing the college’s initial results after the implementation of multiple measures, and a discussion of the learning and career pathways. Dr. Paula Parks discussed the success of the ASTEP-Umoja program, and Kimberly Bligh introduced the group to our Summer Bridge Program.  Kimberly invited one of our students Kenneth Mireles to talk about the student experience.  Maria Wright, our new Director of Academic Support Services, discussed peer support, and Jessica Wojtysiak, who organized the event, closed our presentation with a discussion of Extend the Classroom and Completion Coaching Communities.

The presentations provided a great opportunity to consider some of the excellent progress being made at BC, and we all enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared by Chef Eric.  I Must say that BC has the very best Culinary Program and our Food Services rocks!

Thank you to all who participated and attended, including Congressman and Trustee Bill Thomas! Here are some photos!

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I was so proud to hear about the work the college has been doing to advance student success and student learning.  What a talented group of faculty and staff at BC….Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Guided Pathways:

eloy-oakley-uciThe Guided Pathways conversation continues in high gear across the state.  Here is a recent email from our statewide Chancellor for the 114 community colleges, Eloy Oakley

CA Guided Pathways Project: I am pleased to report that on December 6, the College Futures Foundation approved funding for the CA Guided Pathways Project. The CA Guided Pathways Project will create a framework for colleges to integrate their planning and resources in order to focus on improving student outcomes and reimagining the student experience. This is an important initiative for the system, as it will create a foundation for comprehensive professional learning and tools for colleges to better use data to improve student outcomes. The model helps colleges clarify paths to student end goals, helps students select a program and stay on path, and ensure quality learning. By creating structured educational experiences that support each student from point of entry to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and employment in a chosen field, the project is intended to increase the number of students earning community college credentials, while closing equity gaps. In early 2017, 15 to 20 community colleges will be selected to implement the California Guided Pathways Model from a competitive application and interview process. Colleges will participate in six two-day institutes, which will focus on key elements required to implement a fully-scaled pathway model which serves all students at a community college, plus receive support on the change process from expert coaches. Each college will commit to have implemented guided pathways for all incoming students by 2019. You can find the press release on the website of the Foundation for California Community Colleges.

Celebrating at the Kern Co. Bar Association Dinner

img_8760Bakersfield College has the incredible honor of being involved with partnerships and initiatives which bring our young people closer to their dreams and enhance opportunities for our community to grow. The Kern County Superintendent of Schools do amazing work with local high school students in conjunction with the Kern County Bar Association. Among this work, events such as the Mock Trial, We the People programs, and Constitution Day are making an impact on our young people.

Steve Sanders from KCSOS was at the February 9th event which was organized by Judge Robert Tafoya to

1) recognize and celebrate past collaborations between the legal community, the educational community and the community at large and

2) To present two new student oriented legal programs.  The Bakersfield College Pathway to Law Initiative  (Two years in a community college, two years in a four-year institution to earn a BA or BS and three years in law school).  The other program is the Young Writers of Kern Essay Contest, a collaborative effort  of the Writers of Kern, many school districts, the Kern County Bar Association and the Bakersfield College Pre-Law Program and BC’s ASTEP Program founded by Professor Paula Parks.  This year’s essay contest is on social media and whether it is a relevant news source. Our advisory council members are mentoring pre-law students and internships are in place with David Wolf and Steven Katz.

president-thuy-thi-nguyenMoving forward, I can’t wait for our next Law Day event on Friday, April 28th.

I was disappointed that Thuy Thi Nguyen, President of Foothill College was not there to receive her award.  Cynthia Loo described Thuy’s work in starting the pre-law program.  Let’s toast President Thuy Thi Nguyen for her leadership and dedication to student success!

Judge Robert Tafoya was incredibly inspirational and I asked him to send me his remarks for my weekly blog.  Here they are – please sit back and enjoy Judge Tafoya.

David Brooks in his book “The Social Animal” reminds us that

We humans are social animals. When trying to figure who we are or the essence of any person we start from the supposition that we are born in to relationships-with parents and ancestors-and that those relationships possess certain qualities, good and bad. We surmise that a person grows through interaction within his or her relationships. Our habits, beliefs, attitudes, values, goals, assumptions, personalities emerge from relationships. First with mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins and as one matures with folks outside the immediate family like neighbors, teachers, classmates, roommates, co-workers, employers and spouses and friends we make throughout a lifetime.  Through the interaction of these relationships we learn about our world and how to navigate its trials and tribulations.

I prop0se that these truisms about humans and relationships  also  apply to the development of  communities and nations in that a community is established, develops and evolves within the context of individual and institutional relationships.  A community through a networking process among individuals and groups creates systems of governance that allows for cohesion and stability. For example, one can assess the essence or the lifeblood of the health of a community by examining the quality of its educational systems, its healthcare systems, its police-citizen relationships, its legal and judicial systems, its economic systems and the the governing institutions that respond to the needs of  its poor, its children, it’s disabled.

robert-tafoya-feb-9-2017The purpose of today’s reception is to honor the  significance of relationships, or partnerships or collaborations that have been established and maintained over the years by and between Kern county students, parents, educators, lawyers, judges and business folk. Specifically the kcba and the kcsc want to acknowledge all of those persons and institutions responsible for the establishment and development of the mock trial program, the we the people program, the constitution day program and now the creation of three new education/legal collaborations: namely, the bakersfield college’s pathway to law initiative, the bc and csub’s prelaw programs and the young writers of kern essay competition.

Why is this important one may ask. Consider the common themes promoted through these student, teacher, lawyer, judicial and business collaborations. 1) pursuing a legal career is a worthwhile goal, 2) learning understanding the particulars of a liberal democracy like the bill of rights is essential to its survival  3) that the work of responsible citizenship requires commitment and the development of critical thinking  and learning skills and 4) that the overriding goal of our government is to promote the rights and welfare  of  the individual as defined in our constitution . A free and open democratic election does not guarantee the enjoyment of our basic liberties like freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of association.  Our constitutional rights are secured  by creating a culture that includes norms, practices, and traditions that honor and promote the rule of law, respect for an independent judiciary, reverence  for the separation of church and state and deference to the dynamic relationship between the three branches of our government that forms the basis of our system of checks and balances that in turn prevents the abuse of our constitutional rights.

By continuing to support the collaboration of the programs i mention here today, for example by acting as a mentor, a mock trial judge, an advisor,  a student coach, a  role model or financial donor we recognize the elementary notion that our basic liberties as Americans are not birthrights are not entitlements but are  fragile  freedoms gifted to us by prior generations going back to september 17, 1787 with the expectation that we,  as stewards of these liberties, remain vigilant to their sustainability by defending them when challenged and by teaching them to younger generations. To remain true to the oaths we took as lawyers, judges and elected officials to  support and defend the constitution  we must assume responsibility for teaching, guiding, inspiring, and encouraging that irrepressible life force we call  our children to truly appreciate the necessity of being good citizens. Participating in mock trial or we the people or constitution day, or being mentors to college students or promoting the development of critical thinking, writing and research skills  we are engaged in the hard work of democracy.  We are collaborating in the difficult task of promoting responsible citizenship.   Today we are here to honor this collaborative  process and by acknowledging its importance and the relationships that buttress this process we keep our country strong.

It was great to also see H.A. Sala at the event – a great supporter of BC and our students! What an inspiration to our young people.  And thank you David Torres for your support with Measure J.

It was wonderful running into Mary Copeland who encouraged me to restart BC’s debate program.

Thank you to our Advisory Commmittee, Judge Tafoya, Bethany Peak, David Torres, Yinka Glover, Steven Katz, James Maddox, Alexia Torres Stallings, and Cynthia Loo.

And thank you Dr. Manny Mourtzanos and Pearl Urena for your commitment to the program.  BC has so many amazing faculty and staff so committed to our students.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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Garden Pathways Garden Party

Thursday night was packed with events…after the KC bar Association event, I rushed over to the the 8th annual Garden Pathways Garden Party on Thursday evening. Garden Pathways motto is “Building community from the inside out” and what a wonderful message that is!  Karen Goh, our new mayor and CEO of Garden Pathways, has done a nice job in raising the profile of this important community organization.

Garden Pathways is a community based nonprofit mentoring children, youth, and adults to build productive lives. The official website says, “Diverse mentoring and education programs lead families to educational advancement, employment, family stability, self-sufficiency, healthy living, and improved quality of life. The programs of Garden Pathways provide a wide range of life-building services to the Kern County community.”

pathways

Sonya Christian with Board Member Darlene Mohlke and Executive Director Louis Gill from the Bakersfield Homeless Center

I saw Louis Gill, the CEO of the homeless center and snapped a photo. Seeing him reminds me that we may not always know the struggles or life stumbles people may have been through [or are going through] to get to where they are, but there are such tremendous resources in our community for people to take advantage of.

The work in particular that the Kern Homeless Center is doing for individuals and families in crisis is truly inspiring.  We should all remember organizations like this when we think about how we may give of our time.  Thank you Louis Gill for the amazing job you’ve done for women and families in Kern County.

Check out the Homeless Center’s volunteer information and their current needs at http://bakhc.org/volunteer/

The evening was full of familiar faces, laughter, wonderful food, and support for our community. The evening’s co-hosts were Brad and Brooke Antonioni, Joan Dezember, Robert and Beckie Diltz, Rick and Shannon Grove, Darcy Marshall and Barbara Grimm-Marshall, Maureen Napier, Kevin and Tuesdy Small, and Ray and Marlene Watson.

If you missed attending this year’s event, don’t miss the chance to learn more about Garden Pathways. Check out their website at http://www.gardenpathways.org/

I really enjoyed hanging out with the BC folks who were there.  Nicky Damania and Jennifer Achan are two relatively new administrators at BC, extremely smart, dedicated, work long hours and real fun to be with.  And of course, Mary Jo Pasek who tirelessly works to get the information about BC out there in the community.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

gardenpathwaysgardenparty

Jennifer Achan, Nicky Damania, Sonya Christian, Mary Jo Pasek

 

Throughout the Week in the World of Athletics

It was an eventful Thursday with women’s Tennis, softball and baseball playing at BC.

Coach Nick Loudermilk and the tennis team have really done a great job this season. On a recent road trip to San Diego, the team had some time on their hands to take advantage of the ‘Escape Room’ an attraction that forces groups to use teamwork to solve smaller challenges on the way to unfolding a larger mystery that will allow them to escape the locked room they are in. They were successful and their team’s creative drive and focus also showed on Thursday when the Renegades had a big win over Glendale College to move to 7-0 on the season.  Paige Darstein and Chloe Moreno clinched the victory with a win at #1 doubles.

Softball, 2-3 on the season had a successful home opener with a 7-0 win over Taft College.  Coach Hill “we hit the ball well, and we played solid in the field. It was nice to have it come together.”

Alexis Solis and Naizemare Ubay led the Renegades with two hits apiece. Starting pitcher McKenna Valencia picked up the win.

Coach Painton’s baseball team had a great outing by starting pitcher Taylor Burns against El Camino, unfortunately the offense got blocked by their opposing pitcher and the team moved to 4-4 on the season. The good news is this was the first of a three game series so they have two more chances at El Camino Friday at 6pm (weather permitting) or Saturday at  noon.

Coach Paula Dahl posted on Facebook, “Great time with the team after beating Santa Monica. Only two more chances to watch this amazing team play. Saturday at 5:00 and Wednesday the 15th at 7:00 pm. Come and join the fun!”

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Doug Grimsley and BC’s Inmate Education Program

SonyaChristian_DouglasGrimsleyOne of our adjunct professors, Doug Grimsley, is teaching Political Science in the North Kern State Prison as part of an ongoing Inmate Education program.  Doug has received high praise for his passion and “captivating” teaching style.

Here are a couple of hand-written responses from students in the program.

I am compelled to share with the administration that Mr. Grimsley is an asset to your staff.  He came to North Kern State Prison and completely captured our attention as he subjected us to a lecture only course.  Not only was it very informative and inspiring, but he engaged the class throughout the Fall 2016 semester.  I personally think he deserves recognition for his determined success in educating men unacquainted with the political arena.  We have definitely obtained higher educational status.

“Best part of the program: The acquisition of knowledge has always been a big draw for me.  It is the people, however, that I believe can be accurately be described as “The best part of the program.”  Hands down, Mr. Grimsley, Chelsea, Alma and the other BC volunteers will forever be seared in my memory bank as incredible human beings.  They are, once more, “The best part of the program.”

As Chelsea Esquibias has told me, every time she brings Doug’s courses into the prisons, the students “rave about his teaching style and commitment to their learning.”

I couldn’t be more proud to know such dedicated teachers who are truly passionate about learning and the importance of character-building through education.  Great work Doug Grimsley! And great work Chelsea Esquibias.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

grimsleyletters

Celebrating Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, Patrick Jackson, Bakersfield NAACP President, presented at the February 10th African American Mentoring Program. He spoke on racism and encouraged AAMP students to understand how to overcome racism and be successful in their lives. Over twenty BC students were in attendance. Thank you to Julian West, Reggie Bolton, and Mandelyn Hobbs.patrick-jackson

The Simple Joys

starbucks

By Friday morning, I needed a tiny pick-me-up and stopped by Starbucks for my morning coffee. Kasey, my barista, knew my name and my order. A tall soy latte. How cool is that?

It felt like Cheers where everyone knows your name! Thank you Kasey!

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And I have a message worth sharing that came in via our Bakersfield College Facebook.

John Cohrs said, “My wife, son and I enjoy walking on campus on the BC weekends. Our son, Jack, who will soon be 12 and has autism, decided today that he wanted to help keep the campus clean. So he took a trash bag along and was happy to pick up as much as he could. We love BC; my wife is a student there and I have been an adjunct faculty in the past (along with being a student a LONG time ago).”

Thank you sharing, John. I absolutely love the photo of your wife, Kelley and son, Jack.

Happy Birthday June!

June Charles, Administrative Assistant for the Vice President of Student Services started as a temp and has been at BC now for 18 years! Happy Birthday June!  We love you!

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Sonya cropped June 24 2016

 

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Thank you Bakersfield, for a great 2016!

2016 — a year of great friendships, great love, great partnerships, great collaboration. 

Thank you Bakersfield, thank you Kern County for a great 2016! My blog post from January 2, 2016 (https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/01/02/2016-the-force-awakens/) ends with

Warm wishes to each and every one of you in this amazing community from all faculty, staff and students of Bakersfield College.  Here’s to a glorious 2016!

And what a year it has been. A year when the force was definitely with BC.

A year when BC:

  • produced an increase in student numbers that far exceeds the statewide trends
  • improved student success outcomes
  • created efficiencies that save both time and money for students and taxpayers
  • broadened outreach to Kern county residents, particularly in rural Kern
  • engaged throughout the community, connecting with business and industry leaders, other educational sectors, and community organizations
  • positioned the college for even more opportunities in grant funding.

And thank you for passing Measure J!

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Bruce our campaign dog

The campus is closed during the week between Christmas and New Year BC.  So things have been relatively quiet on the work front with faculty, staff and students spending time with friends, family and loved ones.  A few of us have been periodically connecting on grant applications that are due in early February.  Most meetings have been via 7:30 a.m. conference calls or meetings at Panera Bread, since offices are not heated to conserve energy during this week.

I published my last blog as I was on a plane from LAX to Toronto.  The few days in Toronto with Eisha were perfect — walks, talks, netflix, friends, and good food.  The buildings are so well insulated and heated that you can practically walk around inside in a t-shirt, and Eisha taught me how to dress for the cold during our walks.  She let me use her ear muffs, which worked wonders in keeping me warm.  I did not take many photos this week (I am regretting it now), but here are a few.

What a difference in attire….July 2016 in Canada and Dec 2016 in Canada

Mom was with us last Christmas and joined us in Toronto when we visited in July, but she did not want to face Toronto in December. Here is a picture of three generations on Christmas 2015 which popped up on Facebook.

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Kwanzaa Celebration Dec 28, 2016

It was a lot of fun attending the Kwanzaa celebration for the second year in a row.  I found myself being inspired by the music and the storytelling.  I walked away with much joy and a renewed commitment to spend time with loved ones.  Met up with my friends Karen Goh and NaTesha Kindred at the event.  Here are a few pictures from both of them.

It was fun talking to the group from the Cain Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church Young People’s Department.  David Sandles  standing to my left in the photo, is a Freshman at Bakersfield College and a Biochemistry major.  So cool!

Photo on the left: NaTesha Kindred Johnson, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian

Photo on the right: The Kwanzaa 2016 organizer Bakari Sanyu.

 

Cathy Abernathy Nov 19 2015

Cathy Abernathy, Rotary, Nov 19 2015

On December 29th I had a series of meetings and joined Cathy Abernathy who was hosting the Ralph Bailey show, and had invited me to be a guest and talk about the happenings at BC.  Of course I said yes.  It is truly an honor to share the wonderful things happening at BC and also wonderful to hang out with Cathy.

We talked about the work BC is doing with KHSD, about the Career Technical Education programs, the new Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation etc. We ended with the spectacular event of having an outdoor ice rink in the magnificent Memorial Stadium– 2016 Winterfest!  If you have not purchased your tickets yet, you should!  January 6th is the celebrity game with Wayne Gretzky(!), and January 7th the Condors play.

I wish I had taken a picture when I was in the studio with Cathy,  but I did not do much of that this week.  Maybe it is because I am so irritated with myself for having dropped my iphone yet again and widened the crack on the glass…

December 30th, a group of us watched the Bakersfield College Basketball team win yet another game under the leadership of the fabulous coach Paula Dahl. Our students are such a treat and Coach Dahl rocks.  It was great to meet Paula’s brother David and his wife who came in from Utah to spend New Years.  The young women you see behind David Dahl are students from Stockdale High School, who I am hoping will be future Renegades, and here’s a picture of Sandi Taylor, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and me having a great time at the game.

I also connected with Christy Haycock at an exercise class session and Wayne Cooper at CALM’s Holiday Lights.

Here is the LA Times article about the Holiday Lights at CALM.

http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-christmas-lights-20161218-story.html

Bakersfield Life today:

Saw this great piece on our Dean of Allied Health, Cindy Collier

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bakersfield-life-2-dec-31-2016

 

I spent much of this morning reading previous blog posts and enjoying thinking about all that happened at Bakersfield College and in our community.  Here are a few in case you have time to click through:

March 25, 2016 post: The State of Kern County is Strong

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/03/25/the-state-of-kern-county-is-strong/

 

April 2, 2016: Life at BC is about living life fully.

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/04/02/life-at-bc-is-all-about-living-life-fully/

 

April 9, 2016: BC and the community — relationships run deep

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/04/09/bc-and-the-community-relationship-runs-deep/

Calla Lily June 4 2016

 

June 4, 2016: A community together

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/06/04/a-community-together/

An excerpt from the post

So here is a calla lily for you, my community, for all that you do on a daily basis to support each other and support the students at BC.

Thank you Fred Misono for making my visit to Bakersfield West Rotary so memorable.

And let’s remember Tharrell Ming — a community leader.

 

June 9, 2016: We are Bakersfield….We are BC

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/06/19/we-are-bakersfield-and-we-are-bc/

This blog covers two presentations on the bond measure during the educational phase of the campaign to the Hispanic Chamber and Kerntax.  A quick note here on Donna Carpenter — we miss you!

 

July 16, 2016: Building a Better BC

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/07/16/building-a-better-bc/

This blog covers the July 14th board meeting when the trustees voted to put Measure J on the ballot.

Let’s remember Mayor Harvey Hall’s words on Measure J. Thank you Mayor Hall for all that you have done for BC and for Bakersfield.

TBC_HarveyHall_7.15.2016

 

August 26, 2016: Launching Fall 2016 to Build a Better BC

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/08/20/launching-fall-2016-to-build-a-better-bc/

This post is about BC’s Fall Opening Day.  I typically do my State of the College address once a year during Fall Opening.  Here is an excerpt:

We live in an era of viral soundbites and tweets rather than one of comprehensive and detailed discussion. But let us not be reluctant to tell our story, openly and honestly; boldly in all its detail; and in all its glory.

Let’s joyfully shout out the BC story from the roof tops for the next 82 days and beyond.

Let us use Twitter….Facebook… Instagram and Snapchat.

Can we get 82 pieces of writing in the community voices section of the Californian? Every day from now until November 8th. We are BC and we are a Jewel of Kern County.

 We will continue to balance bold new directions with elegance and poise. We will continue to encourage punctual completion with gentle compassion and strong support. We see the face, heart, and brilliant mind of each individual student in the crowd of thousands and our mission is as important as it’s ever been.

I’m proud to say the state of Bakersfield College has never been stronger

Just like in 1913 – Just like in the 50s –

Now, in 2016, we stand together to write the next chapter of BC’s story….

Together, let’s build…A Better BC

WE are BC!

 

September 24, 2016: Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future; Faith is the courage to dance to it today.

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/09/24/hope-is-the-ability-to-hear-the-music-of-the-future-faith-is-the-courage-to-dance-to-it-today/

 

October 8, 2016: So many reasons to celebrate. We are BC!

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/10/08/so-many-reasons-to-celebrate-we-are-bc/

This is a great one.  A must watch.  Many video of community leaders talking about BC.  This includes Mayor Harvey Hall, Congressman Bill Thomas, Mike Turnipseed, Wayne Kress, David Torres, Fred Prince …..

 

 

Wishing all of you a wonderful 2017.  Another year of great friendships, great love, great partnerships and great collaborations.

Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future;
Faith is the courage to dance to it today.

 

sonya-dec-25-2016

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever