What a week…. a week of highs and lows. SpaceX launches astronauts from American soil into space for the first time in a decade, we crossed the milestone worldwide of 6 million reported COVID-19 cases, we passed a milestone exceeding 100,00 COVID-19 deaths here in the US, we celebrated Memorial Day even though we were sheltering in place, and George Floyd stopped moving at 8:24 p.m. on Memorial Day on the streets of Minneapolis.
Good morning Bakersfield It is Saturday, May 30, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade
Lift ev’ry voice and sing ‘Til earth and heaven ring Ring with the harmonies of Liberty Let our rejoicing rise High as the list’ning skies Let it resound loud as the rolling sea Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us Facing the rising sun of our new day begun Let us march on ’til victory is won
The SpaceX launch was certainly a historic moment…check out the video if you did not get a chance to watch the launch live on Saturday, May 30th.
Memorial Day Message from Jenny Frank
Jenny Frank, manager of Veteran Services and Programs, sent out a Memorial Day message to our Renegade Community, and I wanted to share it with all of you:
“Dear friends, colleagues and fellow Renegades,
Although technical difficulties prevented this message from reaching each of you yesterday, the sentiment remains.
As the sun sets on another beautiful day in America, we are all acutely aware that this Memorial Day is vastly different than most others. While navigating our lives during these uncertain times, it may be easy to focus on the freedoms that have been disrupted. We must not lose sight of all that we do have and of those who have sacrificed to ensure our way of life.
The brave Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and women and Coast Guardsmen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and its values came from all different walks of life. Yet, they stood side-by-side, united in their cause. I can think of no better way to honor them than to live our lives in the same manner they stood; united.
So, my friends, colleagues, fellow Renegades, as you lay your heads down tonight, remember these brave men and women, today and always. Tomorrow, as we rise, let us all strive to live our lives in a way that would honor their them. It is together that we will overcome any difficulties that face us. Together we will soon enjoy all the freedoms that have been gifted to us.“
Please also enjoy Taps played by the Minnesota Orchestra Trumpet Section:
Here is a great poem from Jack Hernandez:
The body ages steps hesitant hair ghostly white the memory cabinet filling up, But love knows nothing of slowing only of growing wider in delight.
Virtual Immigration Clinics
Bakersfield College is partnering with the California Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the California Department of Social Services and the UFW Foundation to provide Immigration Clinics for Bakersfield College students, staff and faculty. The services will include general immigration consultations as well as assistance on DACA renewals, citizenship, family petitions, FBI and background checks, adjustment of status, and visas.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all immigration clinics will be held virtually via Zoom or telephone until further notice. These virtual Immigration Clinics will be held every 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday of the month from 9 AM to 6 PM.
Last March, Kris Tiner from our Jazz department presented during my Virtual Seminar Series about how he changed his teaching methods when classes moved online. He said we must “let the times guide our creativity.”
“BC’s performing arts programs have shared these positive attributes with the Bakersfield community for generations and focusing on them can guide us all through these challenging times. The BC performing arts faculty will continue to let the times guide their creativity, offering BC students the best experiences possible.“
BC Foundation announces new Executive Director
This past Thursday marked the last BC Foundation Board of Directors meeting of the 2019-20 academic year. In spite of the challenges presented by the impact of COVID-19, the BC Foundation finished strong.
Almost 550 scholarships worth over $500,000 were awarded to our students, an Emergency Student Fund was established to financially help students during unexpected hardships, and over $60,000 was used to support innovative programmatic activities proposed by faculty. In the midst of reflecting on all the good work done during unusual circumstances, we took opportunity to express appreciation for the contributions made by the staff, board leadership, and college administration.
However, the highlight of the meeting was welcoming the new Foundation Executive Director, Cheryl Scott, who will fully come on board July 6th. There was great excitement among the directors, for most have known Cheryl for many years and are acquainted with her community service and economic development work in Kern County.
Kern Valley Sun announced the Rotary Club of the Kern River Valley’s scholarship recipients including incoming Renegade, Joey Moyer. The article states Joey will pursue a teaching credential and plans to transfer to a four-year university. Welcome to BC Joey!
Videos from Closing Week
I’m continuing to highlight a few videos from our Closing Week celebration. All our videos are available on our Closing Week 2020 website.
BC’s Summer Bridge program is one of our secret student success strategies. Dr. Kimberly Bligh has moved this program to an online format for Summer 2020. Check out these two uplifting videos from our incoming Bridgers
Thank you Kimberly!
Construction on Campus
While we are not able to be on campus, construction is continuing. Check out this photo from Manny De Los Santos:
Sandi Taylor Officially Announces Retirement After 30 Years As A Renegade
This week our fearless Athletic Director Sandi Taylor officially announced her retirement to the community bringing to a close a 30 years career as a Renegade – 23 years as head softball coach and seven as athletic director. As a leader Sandi has consistently kept the Renegade athletics ship on a steady course in the right direction. While she’s ever a kind and gentle soul, she’s also fiercely competitive and was just what Renegade Athletics needed in a leader for the past seven years.
As news of her retirement hit the community, she was immediately was recognized with multiple TV interviews and a front page above the fold article on the sports section of the Bakersfield Californian on Wednesday. The social media posts on her retirement have been swarmed with overwhelming congratulations and well-wishes from former student athletes, coaches, friends and community members. We are glad to have had Sandi for so long and will miss her!
Click below for the stories from our local media on Sandi’s retirement:
The transformation of our campus for the next 50 years has begun! Major changes will be taking place over the next 10 years ranging from construction of new buildings, renovations of buildings, and major repairs to our campus infrastructure. The grand opening of our first building, the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, was on December 10, 2019
Thank you for voting Yes on J!
The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center
After years of preparation and development, our community gathered on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 for a historic milestone in Renegade history. With college and district leaders, community members, students, supporters, family, and friends, BC officially opened the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, a space dedicated to student veterans and the first completed Measure J building.
Thank you KCCD Trustees
I could not be more proud of everyone who helped bring this grand vision into reality. Attendees who came from across the country were greeted with a massive American flag that billowed proudly, flying above the newly christened building from an extending ladder on a Kern County Fire Department truck. Dignitaries on the dais outside of the center included Chancellor Tom Burke, Mayor Karen Goh and Congressman Bill Thomas, as well as KCCD Trustees Jack Connell (a Navy veteran), Romeo Agbalog, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and President of the KCCD Board John Corkins. There were also representatives from about 40 student organizations on campus. Trustee Kay Meek was viewing the live stream, unable to attend the ceremony in-person. She was one of the most vocal supporters for the construction of the new center as the first Measure J project, and her presence was missed.
This new 4,700 square foot facility is dedicated to student veterans and includes a tutoring room, conference room with whiteboards and television, a lounge area with two televisions, coffee bar, fridge, microwave, computer area and outdoor patio area.
This space is dedicated to the education, wellness, and transformation of our students, therefore it’s only fitting that this place is named after Vernon Valenzuela. Vernon was a Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient. He was a Bakersfield College student in the 1970s and later became a licensed counselor who spent the rest of his life working with veterans and their families; his legacy will live on forever in its walls.
This center would not be possible without the leadership of Paul Beckworth, who opened the ceremony by thanking Armando Trujillo and his team for all they do to help our Renegade veterans. Armando was a protégé of Vernon Valenzuela, the founder of the first veterans’ clubs at BC and CSUB, and I could think of no one else who is better suited to extend Vernon’s love and empathy to a new generation of Renegade vets. Armando also announced an annual scholarship that will be offered through the VRC for years to come.
When our local veterans are returning home, this new center will be the place they can come to to find support, comfort, and comradery with fellow Renegades. For over 100 years Renegades have put on the uniform, and when they were ready to trade in their boots for books, BC knew its responsibility. BC’s mission continues to be to educate our veterans, mind body, and soul, and to celebrate the impact that veterans have had on BC.
I surprised Paul Beckworth by presenting him with the President’s Leadership Award during the ceremony. Over these last seven years, Paul has advocated on behalf of our student veterans here on campus, in the community, and in the state. He and a group of student veterans were fearless in “occupying” a vacant room adjacent to their existing cramped space, quietly doing the necessary remodeling work. He has written public letters to our student veterans, to our faculty veterans, to our staff veterans. He is brave, kind, funny, open, tender, with a passion to respect, honor and support his fellow brothers and sisters from the military.
I also introduced incoming manager Jenny Frank, who comes to us from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This special facility is the first of many made possible by the tremendous community support of Measure J. There is a very, very long list of individuals to thank, but Trustee Kay Meek deserves special recognition for her constant focus and dedication.
The impact of Trustee Meek’s work was evident in the words of student veteran and Veteran Club President Ilene Garcia during the grand opening, who said, “As soon as I walked in, I felt that camradery and bond that I had been missing that you instantly obtain when you join the military. Finding that comfort zone in civilian life is essential for veterans returning home. We crave the structure and sense of belonging that the military instills in us. The Veterans Resource Center at BC provides this.”
BC Veterans Club President Ilene Garcia took a moment to explain how the team at BC creates a structure and a sense of belonging that helps soldiers readjust to civilian life. She also thanked all of us at BC for making this center a priority with the funding from Measure J.
Vernon’s wife Lise Valenzuela offered some personal anecdotes about how BC changed her husband’s life. After serving a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, Vernon found his confidence and his calling as a student at BC, and he dedicated the rest of his life to helping other veterans like him find their calling through higher education.
Former Trustee Bill Thomas talked about how Vernon’s imposing physical presence, and his empathy and talent for listening, inspired respect from anyone who had a conversation with him. Bill highlighted Kay Meek’s work and her emphatic message to all that she wanted this to be the very first project of Measure J. He also previewed the ribbon cutting ceremonies to come as more Measure J projects finish construction.
Attendees were treated to the beautiful music of BC’s Chamber Singers. led by the talented Dr. Jennifer Garrett. I’m happy that Brandon Urry captured these videos so that I can share then with you.
Award-winning photojournalist Max Becherer started his career right here at BC as a student of Kris Stallworth, and he took pictures of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for publications like the Washington Post and Time Magazine before becoming the Photo Editor of the New Orleans Advocate. He donated several of his most famous photographs from those conflicts to the VRC and attended the groundbreaking alongside his family.
As Paul described in his closing address, the VRC is more than just a place of learning. It is a place where our veteran students can heal from the physical and psychological wounds of combat, supporting each other through all of their struggles. Thank you Paul, Armando and our Veterans Affairs team for dreaming of this safe space for healing, and thank you to our Measure J team for making that dream a reality. I would also like to thank Tamara Baker for organizing the ribbon cutting and open house, as well as everyone who contributed to making this event such a success.
Here are some of the elected officials or their reps in the photo below. Left to right: 1. Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Monica Martin, rep) 2. Congressman T.J. Cox (Joseph Lopez, rep) 3. Assemblyman Vince Fong (Lauren Skidmore, rep) 4. Mayor Karen Goh 5. Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Perry Finzel, rep) 6. Senator Melissa Hurtado (Ricardo Del Hoyo, rep) 7. City Councilman Willie Rivera, Ward 1 8. Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, District 5 (Nicole Villaruz, rep) 9. Assemblyman Rudy Salas (Athena Skapinakis, rep)
I would like to recognize those who actually built the facility, taking it from plans to a reality: local companies IBI Group, Inc. and JTS Construction. Also, I would like to thank AECOM/Parsons for all of their hard work on this project (and the other 14 Measure J projects), for finishing the job ahead of time and under budget. AECOM/Parsons joined our team in 2017 to design the Measure J master plan, and have been managing all of the projects from the very first meeting until the last. All of the above groups not only met our expectations, but went well above. The bar has been set high!
Most importantly, I’d like to thank the community of Kern County for supporting Renegades today and for the next 50 years through Measure J.
And in closing, I will quote the words of Paul Beckworth, BC’s Faculty Director of Veteran Services as he addressed BC’s students… “Thank you for your courage, for believing in yourself and for pursing an education. Thank you for choosing Bakersfield College. This place is for you.”
Love these “behind the scenes” pictures.
BSO-BC Home for the Holidays Concert
Here is my promised weekly Christmas music from our Chamber Singers during the month of December
Led by the amazing, Dr. Jennifer Garrett, the BC Chamber Singers are an absolutely stunning group who shares their voices with the world. They performed a fun version of Jingle Bells and the Renegade Mens Chorus- sang “The 12 Days of Christmas” mixed with various other Christmas carols.
The evening included sing-alongs with the audience and it was really fun to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends.
Adventist Health was a sponsor of the evening and I saw Sharlet Briggs, CEO of Adventist, who referred to Mary Poppins and a “spoon of sugar makes the medicine go down”. She went on to observe how a teaspoon of music can make the medicine go down too!
BCSGA Attends the Kern Tax Annual Meeting
BCSGA President Samantha Pulido, BCSGA Student Activities Manager Perla Villegas, KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke, KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzberg, KCCD Director Dave Teasdale, and BC Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damania attended the Kern Tax 80th Annual Meeting at the Bakersfield Country Club. Kern Tax is the county’s leader on reviewing and educating about taxpayer issues and dollars. The keynote speaker was founding chief executive and Senior Fellow, President Emeritus of California Forward, Jim Mayer who presented “Transforming California.” His presentation focused on performance-oriented government, society-oriented business, and entrepreneurial civic organizations working together to engage in community resolutions.
Before the speaker, there was a video montage of various Kern leaders thanking Kern Tax for their 80 years of service to Kern County, and especially highlighting the leadership and work of Mike Turnupseed for the association and our community. What a pleasure to have two of our strong student leaders in attendance at this engaging community event.
Human Rights Day Social Justice Student Conversation Event
Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on December 10th each year. At Bakersfield College, student organization YES (Youth Empowered Success) brought two NFL players to campus for a student centered event to bring awareness to various social justice topics. Student organization YES president, Jose Bello, was the emcee of the event and encouraged his fellow Renegades to pay close attention, listen, respect one another, and use their voice for the good of humankind. Jose also took the mic to say a few words in Spanish to thank his mom who was in attendance, for all her support.
Two special guests who took the stage were Joshua Norman and Demario Davis, two NFL players who take pride in their activist roles for human rights. They encouraged students to be sources of support for one another and to give words to the voiceless.
In the early morning before the speaker presentations began, students in attendance participated in a cultural dance outside in the courtyard. This collaborative dance was a symbol of cultivating community, peace, and social responsibility.
And once again, Reyna Harvey is everywhere! Spotted her interviewing Joshua Norman and Demario Davis outside the event.
Renegades Finish Finals!
This week was also finals week so the library began offering their Extended Study Hours last week, which will run through Wednesday.
The lobby portion of the library is the busiest and loudest section with check-in, food, tables, and chairs for group studying. BCSGA Officers and Office of Student Life help ensure everything runs smoothly with the help of volunteers.
As a result of the efforts this semester of Todd Coston and Kirk Russell, the entire first floor of the library is a place for students to spread out and study. Students need to feel supported now more than ever as they attempt to cross the finish line this semester.
Campus Safety at Porterville College
Our colleagues at Porterville College planned a day of safety drills and invited BC’s Dr. Nicky Damania and Monika Scott to observe the activity. It was a great opportunity and a good experience. Both Nicky and Monika are involved with the planning of BC’s full-scale active shooter scenario and response drill taking place next year. This activity planned for April 8, 2020, will be a cross county, multi-agency drill to test our preparations and enhance our collaboration and response. Special thanks to Todd Dearmore, Safety and Security Manager at Porterville College for a successful drill and for the invitation to observe.
Networking and Nursing
Bakersfield College’s Nursing Department held its 1st annual Entrée to Employment for the graduating Vocational Nursing Program students. A number of health care agencies within Kern County were present at BC to recruit our stellar vocational nursing students and to discuss future career opportunities.
A gourmet dinner was provided by the Renegade Room as the students and staff networked with industry partners. Carla Gard, Director of Nursing Programs and Associate Dean of Instruction, highlighted the program objectives, rigor, and faculty’s dedication to developing skilled and competent nurses.The Vocational Nursing Entrée to Employment was such a success that students had several employment options by the end of the event! So proud!
Crane Visit for OSRM Students
Students in OSRM B10 Occupational Safety had an opportunity to see safety in action when they viewed campus construction up close as part of a class module on crane safety. Bill Campe from SC Anderson, and Kurt Hettinger from SL Shaw Company hosted the students, providing an overview of crane operations. The crane was operated by Trent Gardner.
The large crane is just the right tool to hoist steel beams into place for the new building. Workers deftly navigate the structure, guide steel beams into position and rivet them into place. Following established safety procedures is essential to ensure that they are not injured on the job.
Lifting heavy loads safely takes more than a big crane. The operator relies on detailed lift charts that specify how much the crane can lift at a specific angle. Need more horizontal distance? That reduces capacity. Wind? Reduce capacity or stop work if gusts are too strong. Want to watch the crane work? Stand clear of the swing radius or risk being hit or crushed by the crane’s big back end. This quick visit provided a view of safety in action.
Students enjoyed the “field trip” and the opportunity to watch two world-class companies safely work to build the future of BC. Measure J — a learning lab for our construction students.
Fun Photos: College Council
I’m always proud of the work that College Council does. The presentations are rigorous and focus on our performance metrics.
The last College Council meeting for the semester was on Friday, December 6th. The council received updates on various institutional topics ranging from Early College to Meta Major Pathways and more. Just a reminder to the reader….This group is a collegial, consultative, and oversight body designed to serve the good of the entire College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters.
Giving Thanks: CARE & CalWORKs Workshop
The Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) programs hosted a Thanksgiving Workshop, providing a bonding opportunity for parents and their children and to build a network of support at Bakersfield College.
The Thanksgiving Workshop provided the students a break from studying for finals while their children engaged in fun-filled arts and crafts activities. Additionally, students received a turkey donated by Costco to help them celebrate Thanksgiving with their families.
CARE and CalWORKS are programs under the EOPS Department, serving BC students who are also parents, with CARE parents being single head of household. Both programs are designed to promote student educational success by offering specialized services to parents receiving public assistance (CalWORKs/TANF/Tribal TANF) with a primary goal to increase wage earning power, leading to self-sufficiency.
Fun Photos: Executive Office Holiday Potluck
Fun Photos: Renegade Road
William Velasquez from BC’s IT department is a talented photographer and often will share the beautiful pictures he captures on campus. He shared an email earlier this week the following photo and said…
“As I was driving away and looked at the banners on the fence, I ponder on the thousands of student athletes that walked this same road. They found the road to success. So I parked my car and took my phone out and took a few pics. This is one of them. The Renegades Road.”
William Velasquez, 2019
Renegade Athletics Volleyball vs. Chaffey
Enjoy these highlights from Renegade Volleyball’s first round playoff win at home over Chaffey back on Nov. 26th. Renegade Volleyball enjoyed another terrific season this year. They captured a fourth consecutive conference championship and finished the season with a 21-3 overall record. Way to go Coach Carl Ferreira and team!
Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week
Alyssa Gonzalez, Women’s Basketball – Alyssa was a driving force in helping the Renegades to an 86-29 victory over Taft on Friday (12/6). She totaled 17 points going 5/9 from 3-point and adding 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 rebounds. Jonathan Hunter, Wrestling – Jonathan pinned all of his opponents at the Southern Regionals this last Saturday at Santa Ana College to place first in the 174 lb. weight class and qualify for the CCCAA State Finals this coming weekend.
Renegade Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ this coming week
Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Join us on 12/20 at 5pm – Men’s Basketball vs El Camino
The Jobs Demand Education blog shares approaches to workforce and economic development, with a goal of supporting economic mobility for our community while staying committed to the health of our people and the health of our environment.