Tag Archives: Eloy Oakley

April 2022 — Here we come

While clear blue sunny skies are lovely, it’s always nice to take the time to appreciate the beauty when the clouds roll in as well:

On Tuesday, I was so excited to announce at our 6th AWE Webinar that our community was selected for two US Department of Energy grants through the Communities Local Energy Action Program (LEAP) — on Carbon Capture and Sequestration and Microgrids. Kern CCD partnered with the county for one and with the city for the other along with numerous other partners.

Here is my announcement from Tuesday:

Once again, the Kern Community College District is at the forefront of innovation as we work toward sustainability and securing a better economic future for all in our region.

Check out this article from John Cox in The Bakersfield Californian about the grant.

This week I was invited to meet US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

It was wonderful hanging out with Chancellor Eloy Oakley and other CA higher ed leaders – UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sanchez Munoz, Compton College President Keith Curry, Cerritos College President Jose Fierro, University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman, and Long Beach City College President Mike Munoz, as we discussed ways the US Department of Education can support our most disadvantaged students.

Women in Leadership Panel

On Tuesday, the Kern Community College District hosted the 3rd Annual Women in Leadership Panel. Moderator Jean Fuller led a discussion featuring Martha Flores, Porterville Mayor; Wendy Avila, Kern County Superior Court Judge; and Brenda Lewis, CA Board of Education Member and former Kern High School District Superintendent.

It was so inspiring to hear these accomplished women speak about their roles and how their histories led them to where they are now.

And the panel discussion:

Here are some fun photos.

Good morning, friends…
It is April 2, 2022.
The sun shines bright over KernCCD.

This week, the Pirates, the Coyotes, and the Renegades continue to 
#DareMightyThings


Porterville College

PC Hires New Gear Up Manager, Begins to move program to the community

PC welcomes the new Gear Up Program Manager, Gloriann Garza.

Gloriann migrated with her family to the central valley from the island of Puerto Rico when she was just 7 years old and has lived in the area ever since.

She is a first-generation student who earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Educational Counseling from CSU Bakersfield.

For the past 10 years, she has worked for her Alma mater as a Financial Aid Counselor, and most recently as a University Outreach Counselor.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federally funded program designed to elevate the academic achievement, college attendance, and graduation rates of first-generation, low-income, underrepresented, and underserved students.

GEAR UP works in partnership with educational and community institutions to provide students and families with individual and group advising, academic and tutoring support, college and career exploration opportunities, skill building workshops, enrichment programs, college visits, and educational field trips. Porterville College was awarded the GEAR UP Grant in the Fall of 2021.

The Porterville College GEAR UP program is partnered with Porterville Unified School District and Earlimart School District to provide exclusive services to the Class of 2028.

Two PC students Qualify for Phi Theta Kappa All-California Community College Academic Team

Porterville College Students, Erica Coon and Javier Corona-Rosas have all been selected to be a part of the 2022 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) All-California Academic Team. This year, 114 students were selected out of the millions of community college students enrolled in California schools.

Ms. Coon was ranked among the top 75 community college students in California which put her onto the All-California 2nd Academic Team. Mr. Corona-Rosas was ranked among the top 100 students, placing him on the 3rd team. They join two students from Bakersfield College, to represent the Kern Community College District in the All-California Teams this year.

The purpose of the Phi Theta Kappa All-State Academic Team Program is to provide recognition at the state level for our top community college students.

Grades, leadership, and community service determine selection to the All-California First, Second and Third Teams. The students selected represent some of the best of over two million students enrolled in California’s 116 community colleges. Students have undoubtedly faced many additional and unprecedented challenges over the last two years. The 2022 winners should be exceptionally proud of their achievements during these difficult times.

To view the team selections and rankings, click here. Please join us in congratulating these fine students for this outstanding collegiate achievement.

Sandra Cisneros will discuss recent works for PC Writer & Poet Speaker Series

Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist whose work explores the lives of the working-class. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, the PEN/Nabokov Award for International Literature and the National Medal of the Arts, awarded to her by President Obama in 2016.

Ms. Cisneros will discuss her work with the Porterville College community as the next guest speaker in our PC Writer and Poet Speaker Series on April 21st from 12pm to 1pm.

Her novel, The House on Mango Street has sold over seven million copies, has been translated into over twenty-five languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation.

She will be discussing her new book, Martita, I Remember You/Martita, te recuerdo, a story in English and in Spanish, that was published in 2021. In the fall of 2022, a new collection of her poetry, Woman Without Shame, her first in 28 years, will be published by Knopf Publishing.

Cisneros is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico who earns her living by her pen. You can register for this upcoming event at via zoom at https://tinyurl.com/3v8m6xnr. It is open to everyone.


Cerro Coso Community College

CC Garden Club – Seed Planting Success

Alan Esparza and Elajae Lee

Many students participate in college clubs to extend their learning opportunities and make new friendships.  The Cerro Coso Garden Club provides a great way for students to learn about gardening and gain hands-on experience growing their own food, and tasting the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. 

A successful garden club experience requires planning and patience, and most of all, a spirit of adventure. 

Novice and experienced gardeners know that no matter how well you plan, Mother Nature will add her own variables like scorching hot days, cabbage worms, and even freezing rain. 

The Cerro Coso Garden Club is experiencing great success with their garden.  Promise student Alan Esparza and PTK President Elajae Lee are actively involved in the garden club project. Professors Guck Ooi, Claudia Sellers, and Sarah King, all have been working very hard to bring the club to life and produce food items like carrots, onions, arugula, and so much more.  The idea is to provide fresh produce for students, faculty and staff on a regular basis and continue to work closely with the Coyote Cupboard.  Fresh produce days are coming and will be available campus wide very soon.  Donations will be helpful when anyone takes an item — all donations will go back to support the Garden Club and Coyote Cupboard.

Gardening is a wonderful learning experience. It is also an exercise in patience, trial and error, and working with uncontrollable variables like the weather.  Whatever they cultivate will be a worthwhile learning experience for CC students. 

Take Control of Your Future – Register for Summer and Fall Classes at Cerro Coso

No matter where you are on your educational journey, Cerro Coso Community College has a program designed to meet you where you are. 

This is the time to focus on your future and take steps toward achieving your goals.

Open registration for summer and fall classes will begin April 13, 2022.  The new student registration process delivers a fresh user experience with a modern look and feel.  Features include: increased efficiencies, new tools, and improved capabilities.  The upgrade launched March 1, 2022 and those registering for classes will notice changes to the registration process, and there are lots of resources available to help understand how to use the system. 

On campus offerings this summer include Kinesiology and Welding.  Online classes include Administration of Justice, Paralegal, Web Management, Art, Spanish, Sociology, and a lot more.  A complete listing of summer and fall classes is available online at www.cerrocoso.edu .  Plan today to secure a class schedule that works best for you. 

Summer is a great time to get a head start on your college journey.  For more information contact the Cerro Coso Counseling Department at 760-384-6219 or email them at counseling_forms@cerrocoso.edu.

Need help paying for college?  Cerro Coso has lots of resources to help pay for college.  Contact the college Financial Aid Office for assistance with FASFA, State Financial Aid, Scholarships, Finish Line Scholars, Promise and more at 760-384-6221 or email at cc_faid@cerrocoso.edu.   Summer classes begin June 6, 2022 and Fall classes begin August 22, 2022.  There is something for everyone at Cerro Coso Community College.  Your hometown college.      

Find Out How Your Student Can Earn College Credit While In High School

Getting a head start on college credits during high school will save money, impress college admissions departments, and offer greater degree flexibility. Earning college credits in high school is a great way for students to take initiative, strengthen their chances of admissions, explore their interests, or try something new.  By gaining credits towards a degree while still in high school, students can graduate faster, spend less money, and position themselves for success. 

Cerro Coso Community College is hosting a virtual Dual and Concurrent Enrollment Programs Workshop for parents of high school students on Tuesday, April 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

If you are the parent of a junior or senior in high school, find out how your student can get a head start in earning college credits before they leave high school, ultimately making their college experience more affordable, efficient, and enriching.

Cerro Coso Community College offers dual and concurrent enrollment classes for high school students throughout its service area.

Parents are being asked to pre-register for the Zoom workshop at www.cerrocoso.edu.

For more information contact the College Outreach Office at 760-384-6150 or email outreach@cerrocoso.edu.

Registration for summer and fall 2022 classes begins April 13. 


Bakersfield College

Bakersfield College Honored with Shafter Education Award

Bakersfield College was honored with the education award at the annual Shafter Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet last week for our work with the City of Shafter to reopen the community library in January. The library was closed at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, when it was part of the Kern County Library system.

The City of Shafter has since taken over the operation of the library and has partnered with Bakersfield College to staff and operate the facility. In preparation for the re-opening, a significant investment has been made in new books, with a focus on children. The city also provides classes, tutoring and access to computers at Shafter Learning Center, co-located at library, and Bakersfield College also offers classes, registration events and counselor support at the center through our Rural Initiatives program. Bakersfield College is proud to help provide our rural communities with the same access to educational resources as their big city counterparts.

Thank you to Kern CCD Trustee President Romeo Agbalog, who accepted the award.

Industrial Automation’s Robotic Dog SPOT Continues Tour of Kern County

It has been a busy couple of weeks for Industrial Automation’s robotic dog SPOT as he continued his tour of Kern County.

On March 9th, SPOT along with Industrial Automation program manager Carlos Medina and faculty Dr. Paul Murray, were interviewed on a local TV show “Do The Math.” On the show, they discussed how SPOT ended up at BC, other robots in the program, how SPOT enhances the programming learning experience in BC classrooms, and more. It was a wonderful time showcasing SPOT’s features and functions.

On March 22nd, SPOT joined the Agriculture Department at Farm Day in the City at the Kern County Fair where he was able to interact with elementary students and challenge them in a push up competition.

It is amazing to see young students in Kern County having the opportunity to interact with BC faculty and staff, and to see first hand how education and creativity can produce amazing designs like SPOT.

BC Alumni Association to Host Fundraising Event

The BC Alumni Association will be hosting the “Kern County Premium (KCP)” Fest at the Temblor Brewing Company on Saturday, April 23rd, 6:00PM – 10:30PM. The event will feature live performances by Mento Buru and DJ Mikey, and will feature drink specials for attendees. The event is open to all ages and is 5 dollars to attend.

The KCP Fest will benefit the Bakersfield College Alumni Association. It will be a great opportunity to reconnect with BC friends and family, while raising funds that will benefit future Renegade students and alumni. We hope to see you there. For more information visit the BC Alumni Association Facebook page.

BC Hosts Grad Fair

Bakersfield College’s 108th Commencement is quickly approaching.  To help eligible students prepare for the ceremony, BC hosted a Grad Fair on the main campus this week. Students had the opportunity to get all of their graduation materials including regalia, invitations, mementos, rings, portraits, and more.

It truly is an exciting time for our students as they have the opportunity to participate in the first in-person commencement celebration in several years.


In the News

PC orchestra director to perform at Grammys

The Porterville Recorder published this piece about Dr. Tianna Heppner Smith, the Director of Band and Orchestra at Porterville College, who will perform at this weekend’s Grammys, taking place on Sunday at 5pm.

“Music has been a passion of mine since I began in my local program in sixth grade and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she said. “I love performing, I love being a pedagogue and helping students and novice string instrumentalists improve on their instruments.”

New 150-tree arboretum beginning to take root at Bakersfield College campus

Steven Mayer wrote this article in The Bakersfield Californian about a new arboretum on BC’s campus.

“One of the concepts behind the Bakersfield College Arboretum is to create an outdoor living laboratory for the students of horticulture, forestry and plant science to have an eyes- and hands-on learning experience,” said Melissa Iger, a certified arborist who heads the Tree Foundation of Kern.

Fun Photo and Spotted on Social Media

PC President Claudia Habib shared this from the Porterville College Plant Sale:

Cerro Coso President Sean Hancock was also spending time with his college’s garden:

Vice Chancellor of Educational Services John Means was recognized at the Kern Education Pledge Convening. This was his last KEP meeting and he was honored with a very nice resolution on a plaque presented by Mary Barlow

Cheryl Scott shared these photos from the KernCounty STEMposium & Career Expo:

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That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future is bright at KernCCD.

-sonya
a joyful and grateful Chancellor

#KCCDDaringMightyThings

KCCD Colleges faculty and staff are ready for you. Enroll today at BC, PC, CCC!

My first full week as KCCD Chancellor has been a busy one.

On Wednesday, I was honored to speak at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office webinar in my role as ACCJC chair. Enjoyed hanging out with some of my faves — Chancellor Eloy Oakley, Deputy Chancellor Daisy Gonzales, Stephanie Droker, Anne Marie Gable, Willy Duncan, Lizette Navarette, John Hetts.

On Thursday, KCCD held its monthly Board of Trustees meeting – my first as Chancellor. Starting this month, our meetings are back to being in-person, and it was wonderful to be able to meet face to face again. I’m grateful to everyone who was able to attend, and to everyone who made the technology possible so those unable to attend in person could stay informed as well.

I have been loving seeing all our physical campuses come alive again, as we welcome back our faculty, staff, and students to our in-person spaces full time. While all three colleges will continue to offer flexible choices for those that cannot yet return to full-time in-person learning, I’m grateful to see the vibrant holistic student life on campus at the colleges coming back.

Good morning, friends…
It is July 10, 2021.
The sun shines bright over KCCD.

This week, the Coyotes, the Pirates and the Renegades continue to Dare Mighty Things:

Sonya Christian with President Dadabhoy, President Habib, President Hancock

Cerro Coso Community College

Cerro Coso Library to reopen this week

Two years ago, on July 4th and 5th, 2019, Ridgecrest was shaken by major 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes. This caused some damage to the Cerro Coso LRC at the IWV campus, which remained under construction for nearly a year.

During that time, library services moved to the East Wing and we waited with anticipation for the LRC’s scheduled reopening in April 2020. Those plans were, of course, quickly derailed by the pandemic, and our services were moved once again – this time fully online. We have been primarily working from home for the past year, with the exception of our curbside pickup service

Now that vaccinations are on the rise, we are looking forward to being able to reopen the library at long last. (Knock on wood!) To start with we will be open for limited hours during the summer: Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 3pm, starting on July 15th, 2021

We’ve missed you, and we look forward to seeing you back in the physical library!

Alumni Spotlight: Letia Bogan

A real cool Alumni Spotlight from the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation:

Meet Letia Bogan, a Cerro Coso graduate in both 2019 AND 2020. Letia received her Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Humanities in 2019, and then went on to complete a certificate in Information Technology in 2020. After graduation plans last year got disrupted due to COVID restrictions, Letia was finally able to walk across the stage at Cerro Coso’s May 2021 graduation ceremony!

Letia has been a proud member of the UMOJA Club at Cerro Coso, a community dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. She has met so many new people and learned a great deal about the significance of HBCU’s (historically black colleges & universities). These experiences have greatly enriched her academic journey. She is also grateful for Cerro Coso employees Penny Talley and Heather Ostash, both of whom have supported Letia in her endeavors over the past few years.

Remarking on her academic journey so far, Letia says, “It’s been a joy going to this college because I have learned so much. The counselors are great with helping me whenever I need it. UMOJA is such a good way to learn new things about HBCU’s. I got my first Degree in Liberal Arts and Humanities. I did get my certificate in IT and am about to get my degree as well!”

CC to host admissions workshop

On Wednesday, from 4-6 pm, Cerro Coso will hold a Zoom workshop on admissions with a step-by-step demonstration on how to apply to Cerro Coso Community College. An Admissions & Records Technician will be available to answer questions, provide guidance, and share best practices.

A Financial Aid Technician will review the Cerro Coso Promise scholarships, outside scholarships, and more! The Cerro Coso Promise is a scholarship intended for dedicated students focused on getting an education, regardless of financial or personal status. Students meeting basic criteria may qualify for up to $1,000 per semester for 2 years to help with tuition, books, and fees.

You can register for this Zoom workshop or find more information at https://www.cerrocoso.edu/event/college-admissions-workshop-july-14.

Porterville College

PC helps to “Grow Futures” in the farm community with new partnership program

In a new effort to reach out to the many farm communities within the Porterville College service area, PC is partnering with the California Farmworker Foundation to offer new services to farm workers throughout the Greater Porterville Area.  The program offers free classes and multiple benefits to local farm workers in an effort to increase their access to educational attainment and advancement within their respective organizations. “PC Growing Futures”, as the program is called, offers free access to classes, laptops, free textbooks, and free access to Rosetta Stone Software to help them achieve student success.

Meet Jasmin Quiñones

Porterville College has hired its first Student Life & Leadership Program Manager with the goal of strengthening the student life experience. 

Jasmin Quiñones grew up in Exeter, CA, and comes to PC from the University of the Pacific where she served as the Orientation Coordinator and Intercultural Student Success Coordinator. She holds both a Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education from University of the Pacific.

Ms. Quiñones has a passion for “working with students and helping them reach for their highest dreams,” and is excited to be returning to the area to give back to her community. 

We look forward to all she will do to strengthen the Porterville College student experience through activities, events and programs. 

Welcome Jasmin!

PC to Hold next “Pirate in a Day” Event on July 15th

On July 15th, PC will be hosting its next “Pirate in a Day” event, designed to improve student access and provide one-on-one help to students and potential students as they become a Pirate.

“Pirate in a Day” is held to increase access and ease of registration. During each event, new, returning and transfer students can complete the enrollment process in just one day.

PC staff will be on hand to help students complete a FAFSA, develop a student education plan, register for classes, and apply for other support services on campus.  

To sign up for an in-person appointment on campus, visit https://pcpio.wufoo.com/forms/r7lyzuo1tg0yct/

Bakersfield College

BC receives donations from Phillips 66

The BC and BC Foundation team hosted representatives from Phillips 66 this week, and the college was the grateful recipient of two large donations. One contribution is funding this summer’s Early College Industrial Automation Academy for high school students. Our guests had the chance to watch an Academy class in action before answering students’ questions about working in the energy industry. The other donation is providing continued funding for BC’s scholarship program. Thank you, Phillips 66, for your constant support!

Earl Parsons marries Rachel Pori

I have worked with Earl Parsons for many years at BC and he is often the person behind the photos that you see or the mind behind the writing on Measure J and COVID briefings. I was delighted to receive an email from another one of my favorite people, Kim Arbolante, who is Earl’s friend. Enjoy a glimpse of his wedding day … a few excerpts from kim’s email.

By Kim Arbolante, Writing Center Lead, Bakersfield College
Photos credit Anston Crane Photography

I am filled with joy for my dear friends who recently afforded me the privilege of being the maid of honor in their wedding, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Fourth of July weekend 2020, Earl Parsons along with his girlfriend Rachel Pori, myself, and another close friend, all headed to a cabin in the hills above San Bernardino to watch the cityscape erupt in a glow of fireworks—while maintaining social distance of course. Inspired by the moment, Earl popped the question to Rachel!

One year later, we came together at The Gardens at Mill Creek, surrounded by their loved ones and friends—maskless, vaccinated and smiling—to witness Earl and Rachel’s marriage. It was truly the most beautiful event! Their wedding colors were lilac and black. Rachel’s dress was custom made, and I have never seen Earl more excited than when he gazed upon her beauty as she walked down the aisle towards him.

Rachel Pori & Earl Parsons exchanging vows with guidance from officiant and friend Jay Varvel


The happy couple & their wedding party. What wedding is complete without a Writing Center Lead?

It is no secret that Earl is a great writer, and there was not a dry eye to be found as he read his marriage vows to Rachel. Always a Renegade, I think I even caught a bit of our BC spirit in those vows as he proclaimed, “we’ve accomplished so much together, and I know that we have so much more to do. Tonight, we are planting the seeds of a tree whose fruits will be determined by our actions and the way we treat each other going forward.” To which part of Rachel’s vows replied, “your cup will never be empty for I will be your wine. I will spark the fire when it dulls. We will be abundantly blessed.” Having known these two friends for years, I have no doubts that they will keep the promises they made to each other that day.

Poetry Corner

Please enjoy this poem from Jack Hernandez:

A Fragile Spring Day

When anger threw him
to the floor,
shattered the window
he held sacred,
looked through
for light and love,
he wondered how
to put its pieces
together again
in a pattern
strong enough
to remove anger’s
pressing arms,
so he could stand
fragile as a spring day,
storms pushed away,
roses brightly waving
at unimagined possibility.

In the News

The Sun-Gazette published this feature about Richard Torrez, Jr., who will represent the United States at the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo in boxing. The 2017 graduate of Mission Oak High School in Tulare is the son of Kimberly Torrez, an adjunct faculty member in the ESL department at Porterville College.

Spotted on Social Media

Kim McAbee shared this photo of KCCD Trustee Kyle Carter at the Westchester 4th of July Parade:

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh shared a few pictures of the Golden Empire Drum & Bugle Corps and their director, Tim Heasley, from the Westchester parade. Members get college credit at BC for marching:

I loved this post from Cerro Coso – I hope you’re keeping cool this weekend!

Kern Country Farm Bureau shared that bureau president John Moore was interviewed on America’s Newsroom to discuss the impacts of the California drought:

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That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future remains bright at KCCD.

-sonya
a joyful and grateful Chancellor

Closing the chapter of 2019

January 2016 2:35-minute video by Manny de Los Santos

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 28, 2019…My last blog entry for 2019. A great day to be a Renegade.

Take a look at the highlights from 2019. Each header is a link to a featured blog post from that month. So don’t forget to click on the header.

Sonya Christian
The Luckiest and Happiest College President

Happy New Year

Happy New Decade

January: Welcome to Spring ‘19

BC hit the ground running in the first month of 2019 with the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Campus Center and the first announcement about Early College. Food Services moved their operation over to the Gym Huddle area, and BC students opened a time capsule from 1955. We also launched an ITV pilot program for our Music B2 class at North High school, and our three Vice Presidents spoke with students at the first BCSGA Power Lunch of the year.

Some photos from January.

February: The Dawn of a New Era in Education

In February BC showed our love for students in rural Kern County with the historic launch of the Early College program in McFarland.

Congressman TJ Cox visited BC as part of his first trip home from Capitol Hill, and Paula Parks participated in a Black History Month panel hosted by the Chevron Black Employees Association. Legendary agricultural scientist and autism advocate Temple Grandin was our Distinguished Speaker for the month, and the Adult Education team brought a new learning center to Wasco.

Photos from February

March: Women Who Create Ripples In Our Community

We celebrated International Women’s Day with Senator Jean Fuller moderating a panel of women leaders throughout Kern County, which included Shannon Grove, Blanca Carvazos, Rosalina Rivera, and Cynthia Giumarra.

Women in Leadership with Trustees
Women in Leadership with Trustees

The Wonderful Ag Prep Renegades were the first Early College graduates in BC history, and KCCD Trustee Jack Connell toured our robotics and nursing facilities. The students in our LUPE and Project Conexiones groups reached out to students at BHS, and the CTE Team represented our campus at the Kern County Career Expo.

Tom Gelder, Christina Sistrunk of Aera Energy, and Sonya Christian
Tom Gelder, Christina Sistrunk of Aera Energy, and Sonya Christian

April: Spring is Heating Up at BC

BC’s award winning Drumline Crew

In April, I introduced Shannon Doherty at the Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference, which was chaired by BC’s Director of Community Relations, Norma Rojas-Mora. For the first time, dual enrollment students were included in our annual SGA Student Leadership Dinner, and the MEChA club hosted the second annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference in honor of the late Chicano Studies pioneer. We also hosted the Business Pathway Career Expo in front of the library and celebrated our drumline winning a gold medal in the WGI World Championships.

Some photos from April

May: BC’s 105th Commencement

Everything we do at the home of the Renegades is for our students, and we celebrated a record-breaking graduation at Rabobank Arena. Before the main ceremony, we also had pre-Commencement celebrations for Delano Campus graduates, veterans, Early College, African-American students, LGBTQ, and the second graduating class of the Baccalaureate in Industrial Automation program.

More photos from my May blog posts

June: Summer Has Arrived!

Summer is supposed to be a time when the campus slows down, but that wasn’t the case for 2019, as our Dual Enrollment team led by Steve Watkin celebrated its Beautiful Bakersfield Award in Education. Pedro Ramirez presented on AB 40 at the Board of Governors meeting, Steve Flores recruited me for the Media Music Jam, and two of our students were selected as Student Wellness Ambassadors for the California Community College system’s Health and Wellness/Each Mind Matters program.

July: Recognition and Gratitude

Assemblyman Rudy Salas presented BC with a $1 million check for the second year in a row, making for $2 million brought in for BC students. BC was honored to receive the Student Success Award for our Guided Pathways at the John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award ceremony hosted by the Board of Governors. Our team joined community leaders at the State of the City Luncheon, and the Golden Empire Drum and Bugle Corps rehearsed all over campus.

Photos from July

August: BC Building Bridges

BC’s first group of Inmate Scholars graduates

We kicked off the 2019-20 academic year with an inspiring set of Opening Day and New Student Convocation events that featured a performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by the BC Chamber Singers.

Tom Rush and Michael Larson worked diligently to bring Industrial Automation classes to the Delano Campus, and BC hosted the Project Next Step Conference for new and continuing high school students. Later in the month, BC hosted a graduation ceremony for the first group of Inmate Scholars graduates.

More photos from my August blog posts

September: BC: Creating Partnerships to Better Kern

In September, we unveiled the BC Launch Pad located at the Weill Institute to support local entrepreneurs, small business owners, and inspired students. The center is a free hub of resources and support for all kinds of practical small businesses needed in Kern County.

Also in September, BC’s AB 540 Team attended the Catalyst Fund Convening in Long Beach, and the Rural Initiatives team updated the Board of Supervisors on the Game Changer grant which establish Early College pathways for Arvin High students.

Some photos from my September posts.

October: Live simply…so others can simply live

BC was honored to bring Arun Gandhi to Delano to speak to Early College students and the community. A video below was created by one of BC’s video students, Mario Esquer. Our second Distinguished Speaker for October was Erin Gruwell, an inspirational educator who founded the Freedom Writers’ Diary to help inner-city students see themselves reflected in the classroom. BC also hosted an important conversation about Valley Fever during a symposium by TJ Cox in the Indoor Theater, and the Early College program got special recognition at the Renegade football game against Golden West College.

Some photos from October.

November: BC: Advancing Education in our Community and State

Educational leaders from across the state convened at the downtown Bakersfield Marriott for the Intersegmental Pathways Symposium, engaging in important conversations about closing the gaps between K-12 education, community colleges and universities to bring 1.1 million new bachelor’s degree graduates to California. The sold out event featured 18 panelists, additional speakers, and our keynote guests Assemblymember Rudy Salas, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Newsome, Lande Ajose, and Chief Deputy to State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, Lupita Alcala.

Group of Intersegmental Pathways Symposium attendees
Sonya Christian, Lande Ajose, Eloy Oakley, Lupita Alcala, Rudy Salas, Mary Barlow

This blog entry also covers BC’s Veteran Services held a care package drop zone for the troops, and BC men’s soccer won its first ever conference championship.

December: Thank You For Voting Yes on J!

This month we cut the ribbon for the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, the first project funded by Measure J. I recapped this in full in the blog post so please check it out if you missed it earlier this month!

And BC’s Chamber Singers performed with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra as part of the Home for the Holidays Concert… one of my favorite parts of the season.

Blog Bonus: Some All-Time Favs

When looking back at only one post a month from 2019, it sparked my interest to see what other gems I could discover as I flipped through the older pages of my blog. Let’s take a look at some of these all time favorites…

Working on my blog at the Marketplace in 2013

January 3, 2013: First Blog Post

When my blog first started, I didn’t have the slightest clue how it would turn out. Now, here we are about to be in January 2020 with a blog that features the activity and energy on the BC campus weekly. Thank you for following along on the Renegade journey.

January 9, 2013: Second Blog Post

Media Frenzy
Dr. Sonya Christian at her announcement press conference

My second ever blog post was titled “So… What’s it like being BC’s President?” Well, back then I said…

Being president of Bakersfield College is like being strapped to a rocket at the speed of light.

Sonya Christian, Jan. 9, 2013

I don’t think I can say that part has changed, but being the president of Bakersfield College is a joy and a gift as well. The commitment of BC’s faculty, the passion of our staff, and the overwhelming dedication by BC’s students make me the happiest and luckiest college president ever.

January 1, 2014: BC’s Centennial Gala

Celebrating BC’s 100th anniversary will live among my highlights at Bakersfield College. So many details went into making the evening one to remember. I fondly remember the many friends of BC who came out to support that evening, even Jean Fuller.

February 11, 2013: My first Sterling Silver

My first Sterling Silver was a fabulous evening showcasing the talent of BC’s culinary arts and agriculture students. Tom Moran took some great photos that night and I still love this one of Jerry Ludeke, Jack Hernandez, and me.

Sterling Silver
Jack Hernandez, Me, and Jerry Ludeke at Sterling Silver

November 12, 2016: Thank you Kern County

2016 was a yeah full of anticipation, “dreaming big” as mayor Harvey Hall asked us to do, and celebration. Kern County with a vote of 96,589 to 58,155, supported Measure J with 62.42%! Thank you for supporting KCCD and Bakersfield College with the necessary funding to renovate and update our facilities to serve students for the next 50 years.

It would not have been possible without countless volunteers who worked tirelessly on the campaign. Too many names to list individually but each and everyone of you knows who you are. Thank you thank you thank you.

A look back at Measure J

May 13, 2017 – Neo’s First Blog Appearance

Neo was a handful as a puppy… and who am I kidding? He still is! On May 13, 2017, Neo made his first appearance in my blog and I asked readers to guess his name. To my surprise, Theresa McAllister guessed it the very next day on May 14th in the comments.

Christmas Tree Recyling

With the holidays now in our rear view mirror, I wanted to remind everyone that they can come to BC to get their Christmas trees recycled.

Image courtesy of KBAK 29/58

Your Christmas pines are made of organic material that can be easily recycled …. so do your part for the planet and drop your Christmas tree off at the corner of University and Haley before January 17. For a list of all Christmas Tree recycling locations in Kern County, read Stacey Shepard’s article in the Bakersfield Californian.

Fun Photos from Social Media: BC’s TPAC Team

Kalina Hill posted this fun photo of the testing and placement team at BC wishing you a Merry Christmas!