Tag Archives: Jack Connell

Veterans Day 2022 – Honoring our veterans today and everyday

Honoring and recognizing our veterans today and everyday.
We don’t know them all, but we owe them all – Unknown   Our student veterans at KCCD  

Yesterday was Veterans Day, a day on which we honor our nation’s veterans. It originally commemorated the end of World War I – major hostilities were formally ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

Over the last 8 years KCCD Colleges have enrolled 3,538 Veterans, 1,151 Active Military, and 6,155 Children of Veterans or Active Military.  Some of these students have been registered as both when they were active military and then afterwards when they were veterans.  
Gender wise, 55% of this group are Men, which flips the traditional gender distribution at our colleges.  This distribution is even more pronounced among African American and Hispanic Veterans/Active Military/Children of Veterans, where there are even fewer men than women enrolled in the general student population.   
Over fifty percent of this group are first-generation students whose parents highest level of education is less than an associate’s degree.   Our Veteran/Active Military/Children of Veterans or Active Military have loftier educational goals as 57% of students have transfer to a 4-year university as an ed goal.  
During this time, KCCD has awarded 1,402 degrees to 663 veterans, 425 degrees to 194 Active Military servicepersons, and 3,068 degrees to 1,447 children of veterans/Active military.

Let’s look back at past blog posts as we again honor and thank our veterans for their service.

2021: Veterans thank you for your service

“Through their service, they have been honed into warriors and possess a warrior spirit. A veteran’s experiences and their duty to protect our country can create challenges to finding the sometimes-elusive peace they seek, beyond those of the average citizen.”Jenny Frank, manager of Veteran Services and Programs at Bakersfield College

From Cerro Coso Community College’s 2021 flag raising ceremony

2020: On Eagle’s Wings

From Jenny Frank’s message to the BC community:

Veterans, on this day, we pay tribute to you for your selfless service to our nation. While this is the day set aside in celebration of your service, know that each and every day we are eternally grateful for the sacrifices you have made. While some of you may have seen war in foreign lands, others might have stayed closer to home. Each of you raised your right hand and took the oath of enlistment. For that, there are no words that would be sufficient to express our profound gratitude.

2019: BC Celebrates our Veterans

From Paul Beckworth’s message to the BC community:

On behalf of all the student-veterans, Thank you. While we veterans are honored every November 11th, I want to take this opportunity to honor you.

Faculty, I honor you.  Your emails and phone calls to me due to grave concerns about veterans in your class, fearful for their safety, show your humanity.  You have taken their PTSD, and/or TBI into account when you felt it necessary or appropriate.  Your patience with them, your listening ears, are lifesavers, figuratively and literally. 

Classified staff, I honor you.  Your willingness to jump in and help never wanes.  You are always so helpful, knowing that when we ask for something, it is to assist a veteran.  You are professional when veterans are upset and act out in Financial Aid, or A&R or you name it.  You cut through red tape like a hot knife through butter. As far as I am concerned there need not be any contract negotiation because you have earned all that you are asking for, and more, period.

Administration, I honor you.  Your concern for all students is fundamental to your leadership. Your passion for the success of our veterans is second to none.  Other veteran service departments are literally jealous over the support we get from our administration.  I can text Sonya and get a response rather quickly. Others schools cannot fathom that my president gave me her cell phone number in the first place.  It is all because our administrators care, not just through words but actions.

There could be no veteran student success, no veteran completion, without people like you all. So, on this Veterans Day, on behalf of our student-veterans, I thank you for your service to our veterans.

In the photo booth with balloons We heart our BC Vets.

2018: BC Loves our Vets!

Patriotism was on full display this past Wednesday, November 7, as Bakersfield College celebrated Vetfest.  The festival, which honored and showed appreciation to all active and former members of the military, was well-attended by students, community members, and veterans.It is events like this that remind us how important it is to never forget the sacrifices our veterans have made.  I am humbled at how this campus has come together to take care of those who have given so much in the name of freedom.

President Sonya Christian, VPs Zav Dadabhoy and Mike Giacomini, with keynote speaker Lt. Col. Dr. Tommy Tunson.

2017: Celebrating Veterans All Week Long

In 1955 when the Panorama Campus at Bakersfield College was being built, the first structure completed was Memorial Stadium. It was named to honor our fallen heroes of World War I and World War II and a plaque at the finish line commemorates its dedication to the bravery and sacrifice of our brothers and sisters. Over sixty years later, those who serve our country continue to be an inspiration to this campus, and our student veterans are an important part of the Renegade family.

BC Vets Club
BC Vets Club

2016: Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2016

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

2015: Veterans Day, Vet Fest and Remembering America’s Best

U.S. armed forces veterans made the conscious decision to step up and serve their nation. And as the nation pauses today to honor Veterans Day, I think it’s important to not only thank veterans for their service, but to thank them for making the decision to do so in the first place. Since we did away with the draft more than 40 years ago, the decision to join the military has been a complex one and a responsibility that no one takes lightly.  It’s a choice born of courage that so many of us couldn’t or wouldn’t make.

2014: Student Veterans and BC’s 2nd Annual Vet Fest

BC celebrated the second annual vet fest, five days ago, on Nov 6, 2014. This event was initiated last year by Wesley Barrientos, President of our student Vet Club, and Paul Beckworth, Associate Dean of Counseling.  This year the team was joined by our new Education Advisor, Tina Mendoza, a vet herself.

Student veterans, BC’s faculty and staff salute you and thank you for your service!

Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Armando Trujillo and me.

Good morning, friends.
It is November 12, 2022.
The sun shines bright over Kern CCD.


Porterville College

Celebrating First-Gen Students

On November 8th, colleges and universities across the country celebrated the success of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff on their campuses.  PC extended this celebration to a full week of events and panels to celebrate those First Generation Students, Faculty & Staff among us.  The event began on Monday with a pancake mixer for students and continued with various panels and discussion events. 

This celebration for students who were the first to attend college from each of their families was started in 2017 with National First-Generation Day. “As a first-generation college student, I can attest to the power of higher education in transforming lives and increasing opportunities for socioeconomic upper mobility.” Roger Perez, PC Director of Communications and Community Relations, said, “We are excited to celebrate first-generation students in particular because they are so close to the core of our mission to provide educational opportunities to those who wouldn’t otherwise have the resources or support to get an education or continue with their education.”

Board meeting held at Porterville College, emeritus recipients recognized

On Thursday, November 10th, the Kern CCD Board of Trustees held their yearly campus visit with Board meeting at Porterville College.

This was Trustee Jack Connell‘s last meeting. President of the Board, Trustee Romeo Agbalog recognized Jack for his service on the Board.

Today we are bidding a fond farewell to one of our Board members. It saddens me to say that this will be the last meeting for our Area 2 Trustee, Mr. Jack Connell. We will miss him and are thankful for the four years we’ve had getting to know him and work with him in serving our students and our colleges.

Mr. Connell was elected in November of 2018 and has been the member representing Area 2, which spans eastern Kern County, and includes Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino counties. He represented the service area for our Ridgecrest college and satellite sites, Jack and always well represented the interests of all our colleges in the Kern Community College District. When Jack first became a board member in 2018, he made a point of visiting each of our main campuses and spending time learning about those campuses in pursuit of doing his job well as a Trustee.

Jack served on several of our board subcommittees. For example, in 2021, Jack served on the Board Legislation subcommittee, the Accreditation subcommittee, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion subcommittee. More recently, in 2022 Jack served on the Accreditation subcommittee, the Legislation subcommittee, and the Redistricting Ad-hoc committee. Jack has always taken his role on the Board seriously and has made a point of keeping our students as the focus.

Jack, we are going to miss you and our work together. We know that wherever you go or whatever you do next will be in service to your community. Thank you again for everything you’ve done and we wish you the all the best.

One of the agenda items was the recognition of the following Porterville College retirees for Emeritus Status:

Craig Britton

During the two decades Craig spent at PC, he was a fierce advocate for his department, his colleagues, classified staff, and students. He demonstrated his support for students by ensuring that he offered early morning and late-night classes every semester to accommodate students’ work schedules. He would often provide students monetary support when they needed help. During the pandemic, he worked long hours to learn how to move his classes online. He created videos, took classes, and worked tirelessly to prepare his classes for online delivery, despite the fact he despised teaching online.

Craig’s devotion to his department and PC is best demonstrated by the fact that he only took one day off during his cancer treatment. Even during great physical weakness, he showed up every day and delivered what his students needed. Additionally, Craig assisted in the implementation of the annual PC BBQ for classified staff. This meant he contributed money, meat, and hours of cook time just to let classified staff know they were valued. His contributions to PC cannot be overlooked and are sorely missed.

Kathryn Benander

When one thinks of faculty emeriti, none fits the bill better than Kathryn “Kathy” Benander, who has served as an exceptional member of the Language Arts Department over a 35-year career.  Retiring in Spring 2022, Kathy has left a rich legacy and path for others in English to follow, and we wish to honor her with Emeritus status.

Kathy began her association with Porterville College in 1983, as a student. She worked as a tutor and as a student counselor and recruiter at EOPS. She also wrote the EOPS newsletter for two years.

Creating new and timely ways to teach reading, writing, logic, MLA style, academic writing, and so many works and types of literature is a significant gift that Kathy gave and that she viewed as an incredible opportunity. She very often taught an overload. She has noted that her most important accomplishment at PC has been inspiring and facilitating the education of her students, who have gone out into the local area and beyond as poets, teachers, speakers, artists, researchers, nurses, business owners, educational administrators, and most importantly, active and informed citizens.  

Beyond the PC classroom, Kathy wrote the original charter for Phi Theta Kappa and was an adviser for 10 years, hosting a PC Foundation breakfast, fundraisers, conducting mini-workshops, and attending many state conferences.  In Porterville, Kathy volunteered at local schools, teaching reading, assisted in K-12 classrooms, and served in local dance, sports, literature, and cultural events programs. She was often a liaison to the Porterville community for current and potential students. 

Not Present, but also selected for emeritus recognition were Jay Hargis and Beverly Ward from the Social Science and Health Careers divisions respectively

Thank you to all the staff at PC for a wonderful Board meeting at the Home of the Pirates.

PC Women’s BBall Split opener

Sophomore Jazlynne Medrano posted a double-double, scoring a career-high 31 points to go with 10 rebounds, to help lead the Porterville College women’s basketball team to an 82-61 win over visiting Palo Verde College on Friday.

The victory came two days after the Pirates opened the season with a 58-39 loss to Allan Hancock College in their 2022-23 season opener on Wednesday at home.

Medrano nearly had a triple-double against Palo Verde, as she added 6 assists and 4 steals to her impressive night.

Porterville held a narrow 15-14 lead after the opening quarter on Friday but put the game out of reach in the second thanks to 15 points by Medrano as PC went on to outscore Palo Verde 26-13 in the quarter. A 24-point burst in the third by the Pirates gave them a commanding 65-39 lead.

Sophomore Kaija Ambriz also put up big numbers as she scored a career-high 23 points to go along with 7 rebounds, 4 assist, and 3 steals.

Freshman Gracie Magana chipped in with 7 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals while freshman Assyria Murrietta came off the bench to contribute 7 points and 8 rebounds. Sophomore Jenna Holder added 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.

Opening-night jitters likely contributed to the loss to Allan Hancock on Wednesday. PC made just 15 of 58 shots and couldn’t get a rhythm going on offense.

Ambriz opened the season with a double-double, scoring 11 points while grabbing 12 rebounds. Magana led the Pirates with 12 points and Medrano totaled 5 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals.

Porterville, now 1-1 overall, returns to action on Tuesday (Nov. 8) when they travel to Salinas to take on Hartnell College in a 6 p.m. non-conference game.


Cerro Coso Community College

Veterans Celebration at Cerro Coso

SCPO Matthew Kreamalmyer, Mayor Eric Bruen, Juliette and World War II Veteran CPO Victor Monacelli (retired);
Kern CCD Trustee Jack Connell (Retired  Naval Officer); and Dr. Sean Hancock, President of CCCC

Presentation of flag presentation to veterans Monacelli and Connell.

Honor Guards – HM2 Walker E. Garrett, AC2 Edward Prida.
War War II Veteran Victor Monacelli (retired), AE3 Noah Sloan, and AT3 Vegas Monroe.

Honor Guards prepare to march to National Anthem for presentation of colors.

Cerro Coso Community College Veterans Services kicked off Veterans week with a presentation of colors and 13 Folds ceremony by SCPO Matthew Kreamalmyer, Naval Air Station, China Lake; AC2 Edward Prida, Naval Air Station, China Lake; HM2 Walker E. Garrett, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit (NMRRTU), China Lake;  AT3 Vegas Monroe, Airtevron 9 (VX-9); and AE3 Noah Sloan, Airtevron 9 (VX-9); around the fountain at the Ridgecrest campus on Monday, November 7, 2022. 

“This is the first of a week of activities here at Cerro Coso, to celebrate with gratitude the sacrifices made by our military and veterans,” said Dr. Sean Hancock, President.

Speakers and guests of honor for the event included: Cerro Coso President Dr. Sean Hancock; Kern CCD Trustee and retired officer Jack Connell, Ridgecrest Mayor Eric Bruen, World War II Veteran Chief Petty Officer Victor Monacelli (Retired, October 1942 – October 1961) and his wife Juliette; and SCPO Matthew Kreamalmyer, Naval Air Station, China Lake.

The college Veterans Services department presented veterans Monacelli and Connell with folded flags and certificates of appreciation for their service to our country. 

Wall of Courage

Cerro Coso take pride in its military tribute and Wall of Courage in honor of veterans and active duty military of all eras. 

The Wall of Courage was on display at the One Stop with complimentary donuts and coffee, and in the College Library with cupcakes. 

“This is one of many ways we show our respect for those who have served in our armed forces,” says Jessica Kawelmacher,  Director of Veterans Services at the college.

The Wall of Courage was a part of a week of recognition of the important contributions that our veterans and active-duty military make to our nation, community, and college.

A special veterans luncheon was held on Wednesday. 

“Thank you to our veterans and active duty military for their service to this great nation,” he concluded.

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.  It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost! 

Transforming Communities through the Act of Giving

Today’s college students face financial challenges with the rising cost of food, gas, housing, and utilities creating financial hardship for many students.  The demand on Cerro Coso’s food pantry the Coyote Cupboard has tripled this fall. 

Flight Line Tap Room and Cerro Coso Community College teamed up to help restock the pantry by offering discounts on flights during a 3-hour period for anyone bringing a non-perishable items on November 5 between 3 and 6 p.m.  CCCC student Julianna Gorduyn coordinated the efforts.   

The event was well attended and helped to fill gaps in the pantry. 

The Coyote Cupboard provides college students reliable access to sufficient, nutritious food to address food insecurities.  Not just at the college but in the community too.    

Sharing the love, the College is hosting a Thanksgiving Food Drive with the Desert Dog Pet Store on Balsam Street to distribute non-perishable food items for those in need, on Friday, November 18th from 10 am to 1 pm.

Helping our community understand the complexities of the problem that so many of our neighbors face can help increase the understanding of how hard it is to live with food insecurities. 

We encourage anyone who is interested in helping provide food and basic necessities for college students or community members to donate to the Cerro Coso Coyote Cupboard. 

Girl Scout Troop Helps Fight Hunger

Left to right back row:  Linda Eberhart, Addyson Kelly, Natalie Manjarrez, and Lynn Speer. 
Front row left to right:  Brittnay Eberhart , Megan Eberhart, and Olivia Eberhart.

Girl Scout Troop #3312  in Ridgecrest is being recognized for their effort to help abolish food insecurities of college students. 

The girls collected non-perishable food items and made a very generous donation to Cerro Coso’s Coyote Cupboard. 

Transforming the community and renewing hope in 2022, Girl Scout Troop #3312, was presented with a gift certificate of appreciation and Cerro Coso Coyote t-shirts.

Meet the Coyotes

The Cerro Coso basketball program held a Meet the Coyotes event on November 3.  The event was a chance for local basketball fans to meet this year’s Coyote’s basketball team in the Cerro Coso gymnasium. 

Activities began with a small basketball clinic for all the kids in attendance with Coach Chris Dugan.  He along with the players worked with the kinds on learning how to dribble the ball with both hands, how to shoot the ball, perform a pump fake, and more.  A shortened version from the summer camp, the clinic ended when the Coyotes took to the court. 

Special guest judges were on hand to score a three player three-point contest and a dunk contest for the audience’s enjoyment. 

This year’s Coyotes Men’s basketball team is a competitive team and Coach Dugan wants to get more people to come out to the home games, and enjoy all the basketball action. 

The Coyotes open the season on Veterans Day at home on November 11 at 5 pm in the CCCC gymnasium. 

Catch the Coyote spirit and join them for some basketball fun. 


Bakersfield College

VetFest 2022

BC’s VetFest was back in person this year and was a great success. The event celebrated and honored the men and women who have served and continue to serve our Country, and featured music, food, and vendors for student veterans to enjoy. Attendees heard from President Zav Dadabhoy, Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzberg, Jenny Frank, and featured veteran speakers Sgt. Nathan McCauley and Professor Paul Beckworth.

Check out news coverage from The Bakersfield Californian and 23ABC!

Edible Garden Ribbon Cutting

The Grimm Family Education Foundation, Adventist Health, Memorial Hospital/Dignity Health, and Kaiser Permanente partnered with the Kern Community College District and Bakersfield College to celebrate the opening of the College’s first edible garden.

It is the area well known by the community as the location of Garden Fest, the college’s annual springtime gardening event. The space has been transformed to include an upper-terrace garden and a mid-terrace garden featuring different varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and plants. The 18,000 square foot garden will be tended by students in the Agriculture and Culinary departments as they learn to cultivate and harvest fresh foods and contribute to the students on campus by providing food security. 

Delano Campus Selected to Receive Education Award

Bakersfield College Delano Campus was selected by the Delano Chamber of Commerce and the City of Delano to receive the Education Award during their inaugural State of the City ceremony on October 21st. The Delano Campus was recognized for its contributions to the Delano and surrounding rural communities in advancing educational opportunities. The award was received by our Rural Initiatives Program Director, Jaime Lopez, and members of the Delano Campus team. We are so proud to see our rural campuses thriving!

Women’s Cross Country takes 3rd at the Southern California Championships

On November 4th the BC Cross Country team hosted the 2022 Southern California Regional Cross Country Championships at Hart Park. The women’s team finished 3rd out of 18, and the men’s team finished in 4th out of 28, and both teams qualified for State Championships. BC women’s Cross Country will travel to Fresno on November 19th to take on the top teams from Northern and Southern California.


In the News

Check it out: Shafter’s city-run library becomes its own success story

The Bakersfield Californian ran a piece by Steven Mayer about the Shafter Library & Learning Center – a successful partnership with Bakersfield College.

“Workforce development is part of the district’s mission,” (Kern CCD Trustee Romeo) Agbalog added. Helping to open pathways to educational opportunities for rural students remains consistent with that mission.

“When I learned the library in Shafter was shuttered, I saw that as a threat,” he said.

Cerro Coso honors local veterans at Morning Colors Ceremony

The Daily Independent published this article about the Morning Colors Ceremony at Cerro Coso Community College.

We should never forget the sacrifices that the families have made when their veteran is deployed. Or the sacrifices and adjustments that they make when they come home – Kern CCD Trustee & retired naval officer Jack Connell .

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Porterville College President Claudia Habib shared this photo with members of the new soccer team:

Aimee Arreygue from CSU Long Beach shared this photo of California representing at the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships National Conference in Minneapolis – I see Kern CCD’s own Steven Watkin & Kylie Campbell!

And check out this video from the L.E.T.S. Teach Future Teacher Conference – Kimberly Bligh sent me this message:

The Bakersfield College Education department hosted a huge L.E.T.S Teach Future Teachers Conference sponsored by the BC TRIO SSS Teacher Preparation Grant and the KCSOS Local Solutions Grant. Over 130 future teachers from both local and rural high schools  along with current BC students participated  in five breakout sessions including financial literacy, transfer options,  teaching from the heart,  careers in special education, and a huge vendor fair with University Partners along with other local educational organizations from throughout Kern County. We ended the day with an amazing lunch catered by our own Bakersfield College Food Services! It was a beautiful day and a great day to celebrate and encourage teaching careers in Kern County..

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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

#KernCCDDaringMightyThing