Tag Archives: June Charles

Celebrating MLK & Spring Kickoff

Good morning Bakersfield…it is Saturday, January 20, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.

Steve Watkin leading the MLK event Jan 15 2018The week started on Martin Luther King day with the campus closed and Bakersfield coming together at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center on South Owens for a morning of honoring Reverend King.  The emcee for the event was our very own Steve Watkin or Pastor Steve Watkin as he was introduced.  Steve did a great job keeping the program moving along.  Watching Steve in this leadership role in our community made all of us at BC very proud.  And there were many of us there that Monday morning….two tables full of faculty, staff and students.  #WeAreBC

Martin Luther King Jr.

Nationwide, we remembered the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, which is why the Spring 2018 semester started on a Tuesday. Dr. King’s civil rights activism laid the groundwork for realizing the voting rights of millions of people, opened the way to the promise of American democracy. In this work he saw education as the key to helping people understand shared struggles, and developing empathy for struggles that are not shared.

BC Gang MLK event Jan 15 2018

In his essay “The Purpose of Education,” Dr. King wrote,

The function of education… is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.

As we look back on Dr. King this week, we should reflect on the responsibility we have as educators to ensure that we’re not leaving any of our students behind in providing a quality education for all, regardless of ethnic background, socioeconomic status or political affiliation. We can’t grow complacent and say that the work we’ve done so far is good enough—we must push forward and continue to find where we’re falling short of advancing BC’s educational mission of BC to everyone with the drive to be successful and achieve their dreams.

Mayor Karen Goh with Sonya Christian and BC gang MLK event

Debra Strong, Paula Parks, Mayor Karen Goh, Gilbert Ayuk, Sonya Christian, Julian West, June Charles, Kim Evanson

I was honored to attend the annual MLK Community Awards Breakfast which recognizes prominent African American leaders for their achievements. I was so glad to see this picture by Felix Amado of The Bakersfield Californian on the front of Tuesdays paper.

TBC with Steve Watkin

It was so much fun catching us with friends and colleagues in the community.  Here I am with Assembly Member Rudy Salas and the two vice presidents, Zav Dadabhoy and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.

I was sitting next to June Charles and the event and we had a great time enjoying the emceeing of Steven Watkin and the many honorees.  I was delighted to run into my daughter’s high school friend Roopa Raman.

Here are the Umoja students Kim Evanson and Jordan Taylor with their faculty Paula Parks and Jonathan Ward.  When Jordan told me he was transferring to CSUB, I walked him over to meet President Horace Mitchell.

At this year’s breakfast, those being honored included Horace Mitchell, retiring president of Cal State Bakersfield; Essie Davis, retired high school vice principal; Odella Johnson,  retired Bakersfield College administrator; Lisa Green, the departing Kern County District Attorney; Ramon Hendrix, superintendent of the Greenfield Union School District; Harry “Doc” Ervin, the superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District; Darryl Johnson, director of human resources at Panama-Buena Vista Union School District; Karyn Bostick, dance director at The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center; and Bakari Sanyu, who has spent 20 years as a volunteer tutor at the MLK Community Center.

Sonya Christian, Odella Johnson, Valerie Robinson

In his remarks, Dr. Horace Mitchell quoted Dr. King… “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Keynote speaker, Chief Lyle Martin shared that we need to be “constructively kind” and that tough love with high expectations is the way to success. This made me think of our completion coaching communities and their coaches at Bakersfield College who work tirelessly to inspire and keep our students on the path to graduation and beyond.

BC was well represented at the event and I loved seeing our UMOJA students there with Dr. Paula Parks.

Umoja Students

Back row- Professor Jonathan Ward,  Mr. Julian West, and Professor Gilbert Ayuk Front row – Dr. Paula Parks, Dr. Sonya Christian, and Umoja students Kim Evans and Jordan Thomas

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Welcome to Spring Semester 2018!

The BC campus came back to life this week, as students returned to school on Tuesday to start classes for the Spring 2018 semester.

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Debi Anderson from Outreach hosting a Welcome Tent

The Welcome Center and Counseling area were busy with students trying to register into classes at the last minute, and students were lined up in the bookstore to get their materials for the semester.

The Office of Student Life gave away hot cocoa and cookies in front of the Campus Center, and staff held court outside of the Administration building, helping new students find their classes in the fog. The start of the semester is always a busy time, but we all look forward to helping our students leap forward into their educational future.

Mentalist Richard Aimes gave a presentation to students on Wednesday in the cafeteria, and the Office of Student Life aired a movie on Thursday in the Fireside Room. Next week, the festivities only get bigger with our Spring Involvement festival, jousting in the center of campus, our Tunes and Tie Dye event and a comedy show by Steve Hofstettler, so come on out and help us in our goal of “Conquering the Road Ahead”, the motto for our Spring 2018 Welcome Week. Photos from this week are available at BC’s Smugmug.

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Students at the Welcome Center

Dolores O’Riordan

Irish singer Dolores O’Riordan of ’90s group The Cranberries passed away in London on Monday at the age of 46.

The Cranberries–known primarily for the song “Zombie”, which was about a Irish Republican Army terrorist bombing during The Troubles conflict in 1993–reached the Billboard Top 20 with four of their albums before disbanding in 2003, according to an article by The New York Times Christine Hauser. O’Riordan’s publicist did not specify the cause of death, but it’s not currently being treated as suspicious.

Writing about O’Riordan, Hauser said that “her unmistakable Irish accent and the Celtic inflection of her melodies gave her singing a plaintive individuality and a flinty core.”

I love the song Zombie …. here they are performing on the David Letterman show.

Sweet Treat Delivery

The President’s Office had a surprise visit on Wednesday from Chef Alex Gomez and his Advanced Food Practicum B55E students, Joshua Crews, Tammy Brannon, Alma Herrera, Lora Penaloza, and Ana Mendez. Josh prepared chocolate brownies with peanut butter frosting topped with popcorn and pretzel. They were delicious. The class that Chef Gomez was teaching is Advanced Food Practicum B55E

Chef Alex Gomez and Students

Joshua Crews, Tammy Brannon, Alma Herrera, Lora Penaloza, and Ana Mendez with Chef Alex Gomez

I brought a piece back from my mom who loved it and wanted more.  When i told her that this was part of the culinary program and not a regular item in our cafeteria, mom responded..well aren’t you president…. 🙂

GET Bus Report to the Community

Golden Empire Transit (GET), Bakersfield’s bus system, highlighted BC student Ian Kennedy in its 2017 Report to the Community newsletter. Ian, who is legally blind, rides the GET bus to BC every day to pursue a degree in music. His service dog Dominic helps him navigate his bus routes and get around the campus. Ian has aspirations of being a vocal coach after earning his associate’s degree. “Being able to travel independently is important and GET makes that possible”, Kennedy said. “GET brings me closer to my goals.”

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Thank you to our friends at the GET Bus for highlighting Ian and providing transportation for all of our 31,000 students. Without GET, many of our students would be unable to make it to class every day

eLumen Training

On top of all the activity going on during Welcome Week, Bill Moseley and the Academic Technology Department held several workshops training faculty on eLumen, the new Curricular and Assessment software we’re rolling out for Spring 2018.

We also invited over 100 adjunct faculty — from first-semester adjuncts to a 24-year veteran instructor — to eat together and learn about all of the exciting new developments on the campus.

Renegade Basketball

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Renegade Basketball

On Wednesday night, the Renegades women’s basketball team opened conference play by beating Los Angeles Pierce College by 40 points at home. The Renegades forced 35 turnovers using a 1-3-1 half-court trap defense, and Octavia Croney scored 21 points in 23 minutes on the field to lead the Renegades to a much needed win after starting 7-11 for the season, according to an article by the Bakersfield Californian’s Jon Mettus.

The Renegades open their competition in the Western State-South Conference of the CCCAA tied with West LA College, and they enter into tonight’s game against College of the Canyons with a two-game winning streak. A full season schedule for the women’s basketball team is available at GoGades.com.

Familiar Faces in Bakersfield

This week, I had the chance to meet with Dr. Jeet Singh and the fabulous Michael Bowers.  Dr. Singh is a remarkable man and co-owner of the Bakersfield Heart Hospital. This Bakersfield Californian article from 2016 shares that at the time Dr. Singh had performed the TAVR, an alternative to open heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai, but will now also be offering it in Bakersfield. “It’s a good moment for Kern County” he said, as quoted in the article.

Dr.Singh and Michael Bowers

And Michael Bowers is a fantastic friend and supporter of Bakersfield College. He is a field representative for Andy Vidak and was instrumental with his endless support in helping with the Measure J campaign at BC.

Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Board Installation and Awards Luncheon

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Carla Musser at the Luncheon Photo by April & Co.

Celebrating the past accomplishments and looking forward to new opportunities was the theme of the Chamber’s 2018 Board Installation & Awards Luncheon on Jan. 11, 2018. More than 300 people attended. The event served as the installation of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, including Carla Musser, of Chevron, as the 2018 Chairwoman of the Board. Carla is actively involved in the community and serves on several boards in Bakersfield. She is the Manager of Policy, Government, and Public Affairs for Chevron and is responsible for communications and community engagement function for major global upstream business unit covering exploration and production activities California. Carla and Chevron are great supporters of Bakersfield College and I’m so proud she is the Chamber’s new Chairwoman of the Board for 2018.

Karen Goh, Nick Ortiz, Carla Musser Jan 2018.jpg

April & Co. has provided photos from the event.  They are available here.  One of my favorites features BC’s own Mary Jo Pasek with Michael Chertok and Nancy Pollard.

Michael Chertok, Mary Jo Pasek, and Nancy Pollard

Michael Chertok, Mary Jo Pasek, and Nancy Pollard. Photo by April & Co

I was photographed with Carla during our Sterling Silver in 2016 – check the photo on my blog post here.

College Council

On Friday, Abel Guzman, Faculty Chris Cruz-Boone, and counselor Jesse Oropeza presented to College Council on Rural Initiatives. College Council is a collegial, consultative, oversight body designed to serve the good of the College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters.

Choir and Chamber Singers Rehearsing at BC

I love to see the activities at BC that just never stop, and our talented performing arts students are so inspiring. Here is a post from Dr. Jen Garrett — she says “There’s some seriously good Choral music happening in Bakersfield”  It’s true.  If you haven’t been to a concert recently, keep your eyes on BakersfieldCollege.edu for details on the upcoming shows.

Chamber Singers

Talking about the choir, this week we had our second meeting with Trustee Kyle Carter who is spearheading the fundraising for the dollars that are needed to send our students to Australia to perform at the Sydney Opera House.  Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was there and snapped this picture.

Concert fo Choir Trip to Australia March 10 2018

Mark your calendars for March 10, 2018.  Two celebrities in our area have stepped up to help the choir –Lydia Ranger and Monty Byrum.

Here is Lydia Ranger singing the national anthem at a Lakers game

Here is Monty Byrom singing with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

We are trying to sell two shows of 251 tickets each.

And here is a great video put together by Mason Edwards and other students wishing Jennifer Garrett happy birthday.  It is awesome!

On Friday I presented on Guided Pathways to the North Orange Community College District.  Here I am with the Chancellor and two presidents or North Orange.  And Amita Suhrid who organized the event.

Greg Schultz, Joanna Schilling, Sonya Christian, Cheryl Marshall, Amita Suhrid

President Greg Schultz, President Joanna Schilling, President Sonya Christian, Chancellor Cheryl Marshall, Amita Suhrid

I remembered my friend Dr. Ken Meehan, a great researcher from Fullerton College, who passed away several years ago.  Here is a photo with Ken on May 7, 2005.

meehan

 

And Neo turned 10 months old on Jan 17, 2018.  He is 78 pounds

January 1 2018.jpg

Sonya Christian Jan 12 2018 San Jose cropped

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Another Inspiring and Packed Week at BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, December 1, 2017 and a fabulous day to be a Renegade.  Why would it not be, when I wake up and see Dr. Nick Strobel’s stargazing piece in the Californian.  Here is the opener as a teaser for you to read more The Bakersfield Californian.

Stargazing TBC Dec 1 2017

 

On Thursday night, the faculty cohort for our National Endowment of the Humanities grant including Andrew Bond, Oliver Rosales and Josh Ottum hosted local author Gerald Haslam to talk about how he is able to tap into the energy of the Central Valley in his work.

Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, Josh Ottum

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Andrew Bond was teaching in Arvin and he and his students were watching the live stream from their classroom.  How cool is that!

Oliver RosalesOliver Rosales read Andrew’s write up

When we first began writing this grant, we decided that we wanted to focus on programming that put the Central Valley, its cultures, and its people at the fore. Drawing on our respective backgrounds in literature, history, and music, Oliver Rosales, Josh Ottum, and I put together a roster of scholars and authors whose work represents and examines the diverse yet interconnected cultures of the southern San Joaquin Valley. We are honored to have Dr. Gerald Haslam as our first speaker because his life and his work best embody the diversity of the region and the interdisciplinary nature of our grant program. A native of Oildale, Gerald Haslam grew up in the Bakersfield area in a family that is “culturally braided,” rooted in a mix of Hispanic and European heritages that were taught to him through family stories. As an author, he has written  biographies, autobiographies, short stories, novels, and essays that cover a wide range of topics, but the majority share the common thread of being based in, or somehow connected to, the home he knew in this region. His interdisciplinary curiosity has produced books like Workin’ Man’s Blues, a historical study of California country music that looks to the Bakersfield Sound for its inspiration while staying rooted in love of writing and storytelling. It is the connections that he makes between the importance of place, narrative, and history that, from our perspectives, made him an ideal candidate to inaugurate our grant programming. We are happy, then, to introduce to you Dr. Gerald Haslam.

Gerald Haslam and Jack Hernandez Nov 30 2017During the evening, Haslam, who grew up in post-World War II Oildale, talked about his slow but steady evolution as a writer in the 50s and 60s. After briefly attending Bakersfield College, Haslam worked as a military journalist and roughneck before getting a teaching position at Sonoma State University, where he was able to hone his craft, using the Central Valley as the thread that would weave the tapestry of his award-winning novels, essays and biographies. While many of his contemporaries saw Central California as boring and uncultured, Haslam recognized the potential of the Valley as a literary setting.

“It seemed crazy to me that educated people in California or elsewhere should know so little about this remarkable place,” Haslam said. “This place had never been empty.”

Gerald HaslamIn Haslam’s time, the literary, historical and cultural contributions of the Central Valley were not even being taught in Kern County schools, but through his work and the writing of Joan Didion, Maxine Hong Kingston and others, as well as the elusively complex songwriting of Merle Haggard and other members of the Bakersfield sound, that history started getting recognized.

Haslam had some very useful advice about the value of perseverance in order to become an established writer, using his own struggles as a reference. “I failed many, many, many times,” Haslam said. “I started communicating with other writers on the backs of rejection letters. Don’t quit, learn from the mistakes, and learn if the mistakes are really mistakes,” he added.

Haslam’s connection to Oildale and the Central Valley made him one of the first contributors that members of the “Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley” cohort looked to as an important voice for their project.

Photo by Oliver Rosales of the Gerald Haslam event

“It is the connections he makes between the importance of place, narrative and history, that from our perspective as faculty, make him an ideal candidate to inaugurate our programming,” Oliver Rosales said.

I’d like to thank Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, Josh Ottum, Jack Hernandez for organizing the event, and I’m looking forward to more developments on the Digital Delano project and all of the other work that the group has planned.

The Other California: The Great Central Valley in Life and Letters by Gerald Haslam is available on Amazon.com here.

Thank you to Manny De Los Santos who also helped with the evening. Here is Manny in action.

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Gerald Haslam, Manny de Los Santos

Chicano/Latino Community Leader Breakfast

Kern County leaders from government representatives, philanthropists, industry, and education came together at the Fireside Room on Thursday morning to hear about what BC and the community is doing to support our Latino community.

Rudy Salas, Olivia Garcia, Sonya Christian, Lisa Kent, Jay Tamsi, Corny Rodriguez

Sonya Christian Latino Leaders Breakfast Nov 30 2017.jpg

Corny Rodriguez opened by welcoming everyone to the event, recounting his work over the last 20 years to support and expand our Latino student body. I have to share a photo straight from the presentation that shows Corny then and now.

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We discussed BC’s focus on meeting students where they are through high school outreach, rural initiatives, outreach efforts in Arvin, Delano, McFarland, Shafter, and more. Our goal is to keep students on the path once they arrive through co-curricular activities, programs, and unique completion communities. We want long term sucess through industry advisory boards and through strengthening community partnerships.

Student representatives Dezi Von Manos and Emmanuel Limaco from BC’s M.E.Ch.A and Tania Bernal from Latinos Unidos por Educacion (LUPE) spoke briefly about their organizations

Dezi Von Manos

Dezi Von Manos, Emmanuel Limaco

Victor Diaz moderated a panel about expanding education and job opportunities for Latinos in Kern County with Beatris Espericueta, Kern County Farm Bureau, Jorge Barrientos, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Russell Judd, Kern Medical Center.

Beatris Espericueta

We also had three elected official address the audience.

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Thank you Lauren Skidmore, field representative for Vince Fong and Ariana Joven, field representative for David Valadao.

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To see all our photos from the morning, check out BC’s SmugMug gallery.

It was a treat walking into the Fireside Room in the morning prior to the event and hear Zach Quiroz playing on the piano.  Just beautiful.

De-Stress Week

 

The BC Library and Student Health Center partnered to present their third biannual De-Stress Fest this week before finals. The goal of this pre-finals event is to provide students with a space to take a break from their academic stress through calming activities, and to give them access to the mental health resources they have available to them at BC and in the Bakersfield community.

De-Stress events started on Monday with a visit from the Miracle Mutts therapy dogs to the library lobby, and continued throughout the week with puzzles and yoga in the library.

 

 

De-Stress Week Puppy

The final event was a large De-Stress Fest at the Renegade Crossroads, put together by the Student Health Center. Here, different health and mental health resources at BC and the Bakersfield community came together with information such as suicide prevention and HIV testing, as well as free massages from the Milan Institute and coloring with librarians.

Thank you to Faith Bradham , Raymond Purcell, and Debra Strong at the Student Health Center for brainstorming and planning these events and SGA for creating the flyer and promotions.

Future Renegades Visit BC for Field Trip

We welcomed some special guests to campus this week. Second Graders from Centennial Elementary in the Rosedale Union School District were at “Harvard on the Hill” visiting our Planetarium for their class field trip. The group was too large to all fit in the planetarium at once, so they split up in two groups. While one group was experiencing the planetarium show, the other group was given a tour of the campus.

I heard a few of the kids even said that it was “The best field trip ever!!” Coach Carl Dean led one of the tours and I ran into the group right outside the Administration Building. Coach Dean explained that I was “like their Principal” for us here at BC. After the exciting day, Coach Dean also let me know that everyone on campus throughout the different buildings and departments were amazing and very enthusiastic about the 2nd graders being on campus!!! Thank you to everyone who welcomed them to our place of hope, dreams, and education. Here’s to our future generation of Renegades!!!!

Centennial Elementary Field Trip

Bryon Schaefer at North High Basketball Game

Bryon Schaefer and Casey GoodmanKHSD Superintendent, Bryon Schaefer took this picture and texted it to me when he was at the North High Basketball game. While at the game, he took a selfie with BC Softball Coach and North High alumni, Casey Goodman. She returns to cheer on her alma mater and join the festivities of the opening of Lloyd Williams Court. Coach Goodman was a stellar athlete at North High playing basketball and ultimately received a scholarship to University of Louisiana-Monroe to play softball. Coach Goodman’s roots are in Bakersfield and she is proud to return home.

 

Rudy Salas on Campus

Jose Cortes and Dezi Von Manos

On Monday, BCSGA hosted the Power Lunch with Assemblymember Rudy Salas where he encouraged students to get involved with their community and work toward a better brighter future. SGA President, Dezi Von Manos and SGA Director of Legislative Affairs, Jose Cortez opened the morning and posted a great photo on Instagram.

It was great to see the post on twitter as well from @Rudysalasjr.

Rudy Salas Twitter

The Renegade RIP also covered the morning at https://www.therip.com/news/2017/11/28/californian-assemblyman-rudy-salas-visits-bakersfield-college/

IEPI Event

Our Professional Resource Team (PRT) arrived for their second visit on Wednesday, 11/29, full of enthusiasm, helpful advice, and praise for BC’s Institutional Effectiveness Improvement Plan. The plan focuses on integrating Canvas and eLumen in order to streamline faculty workload and increase the value of student learning outcomes assessment. After a two-hour meeting, the PRT approved BC’s plan and cleared the way for the release of $200,000 in funding from the Institutional Effective Partnership Initiative (IEPI).

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From left to right in the photo above is:
Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness
Di Hoffman, Co-Chair of the Assessment Committee/Allied Health
Bill Moseley, Dean of Academic Technology, Co-Chair of the Assessment Committee
Kevin Walthers PRT lead, President, Allan Hancock
President Sonya Christian
Rebecca Eikey, Academic Senate President/Chemistry, College of the Canyons
Rick Fillman, Director of Institutional Research (ret.), CCSF
Paul Hert, Program Review & Assessment Coordinator/Math, Mt. San Jacinto College

Accreditation Forum

On December 1st, the Accreditation team held the fourth accreditation forum in the Fireside Room. The forum focused upon Standard IV, which focuses on leadership. The forum was sponsored by our own College Council, and the forum was also zoomed to our Delano campus.

Accreditation Forum 4 Dec 1 2017

Forum 4 Accreditation ISER Dec 1 2017.jpg

stratton moseley forum 4Professor Jason Stratton, the faculty lead of the ISER team, welcomed the guests and discussed Standard IV.A. Professor Stratton emphasized the terminology of the “institution,” which includes the incorporation of voices from the college’s different constituent groups. Our history professor emphasized the democratic nature of our campus-wide dialogues, transparency, and openness, and our ongoing promotion of the inclusion of voices. Jason closed with a powerful idea: accreditation reflects the values of education.

krista lesley forum 4Lesley Bonds and Krista Moreland presented their work on Standard VI B, which focuses on the Bakersfield College CEO! Standard IV.B. 3 requires the CEO to guide “institutional improvement of the teaching and learning environment’ and Professor Moreland emphasized the establishment of procedures to evaluate overall institutional planning and implementation efforts to achieve the mission of the institution.

steven zav forum 4Steven Holmes, our Academic Senate President, and Zav Dadabhoy, Vice President of Student Affairs, discussed their work on Standard IV.C, and Dr. Nick Strobel, professor of astronomy and editor of our ISER report, then joined Zav to discuss the draft of Standard IV.D, which deals with multi-college districts.

nick zav forum 4

Jason Stratton closed with a paraphrase of Winston Churchill: “This isn’t the end, or the beginning, but this is the end of the beginning.” Accreditation is supposed to be a continuous process, and as we move into the Spring, we will shift our focus from the collection of evidence to the refinement of our story within the ISER.

Shafter Christmas Parade

BC Group Picture at Shafter Christmas Parade

Thank you Steve Watkin, Ashlea Ward, Debi Andreson and all the outreach staff for organizing the BC presence at the Shafter Christmas Parade.  It was a lot of fun even though I did not have my walking shoes.  The Shafter crowd was very responsive to BC as  we walked along chanting “We are BC.”

It was a treat when we heard and then saw Danny Morrison of the NEW 103.9 The Beat – “The Beat of Bakersfield.”  Danny is a big believer in education and a supporter of what we do at Bakersfield College.  When we passed him he certainly was effusive in recognizing BC.  Thank you Danny.  And I love your email signature tagline “Don’t wait for opportunity… Create it.”

Danny Morrison

Thank you to all of the BC employees who showed up for this event on a Friday night.

Debi Anderson, Ashlea Ward, Steve Watkin, Savannah, June Charles

Thank you Abel Guzman and the Delano and Rural Initiatives gang.  Thank you Heather Pennela for bring there and representing the BC Foundation.  Thank you to Financial Aid to coming out.  Here I am with Kevin Ott and Victoria Koiyan.

Thank you students Emmanuel Limaco and Christian Bravo who were there in the Renegade Knight outfit.  And the fabulous June Charles whom I love very much.

Eammanuel Limaco, June Charles

Emmanuel Limaco, June Charles, Christian Bravo

Thank you to our cheerleaders who were there.

Thank you all who took the time to come out.  
We are BC!

CA Guided Pathways Institute 2 in Bakersfield

We hosted the statewide CA Guided Pathways Institute 2 at the Bakersfield Marriott.  It was a treat seeing colleagues from all across the state converge in Bakersfield.

Kay McClenney, Sonya Christian, Laura Hope, Janet Fulks Dec 1 2017

Kay McClenney, Sonya Christian, Laura Hope, Janet Fulks

And thank you Shawn Whalen of the College Futures Foundation for advancing higher education attainment levels in California.

Sonya Christian, Shawn Whalen Nov 29 2017

Our students were the opening speakers as they presented Guided Pathways from a student’s perspective.  The audience jumped to their feet in a standing ovation when they were done.  I’m so proud of our students!

BC Students at CA Guided Pathways Institute 2 Nov 30 2017.jpg

We also had Manny Mourtzanos, dean of instruction, and Eleanora Hicks, faculty member and data coach, present right before the students.

In addition, Dr. Janet Fulks, Dr. Craig Hayward, and I did various presentations.

We Are BC!

From Social Media:

Loved this post from Nick Strobel.

Nick Strobel Facebook Nov 2017 about the tree

Sonya and Neo Nov 10 2017

 

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Week One of the Summer Semester!

Lily June 16 2017

Calla Lily. June 17 2017

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, June 17, 2017 and a wonderful day to be a Renegade.

Here’s this year’s garden Calla Lily for you.

You can see last year’s on my June 4, 2016 blog post: https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/06/04/a-community-together/ .

A typical summer week at Bakersfield College — several department retreats where employees get to evaluate last year and then plan for 2017-2018, BC’s incredible Summer Bridge program, and then an underground line from our chiller tanks broke causing the air conditioning to go out.

We had several events planned on campus including Summer Bridge for High School students entering as freshman in Fall 2017 and a high school basketball camp that is hosted by Coach Rich Hughes.  Imaging 200 high school students playing basketball in our gym with no air conditioning and the  temperature forecast to spike to 100 degrees.  Our BC facilities and maintenance group went into action immediately, with alternate plans getting large coolers in the gym so that the event could continue without disruption.

Here is a picture Kimberly Bligh snapped of the Summer Bridge event as they dealt with changes in their plans with the air conditioning down and the high expected to be 96 degrees.

June 16 2017 Summer Bridge

And then our Athletics Director Sandi Taylor, who was worried about the heat in the gym sent me this photo

2017 Summer High School Showcase June 16 2017

This is the email I received from Bill Potter.  BC’s M&O staff rock!  Do you see why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever…

BillPotter_Sonya

Bill Potter

We have been able to isolate the broken water line to only 4 buildings on campus. We are still working to uncover the lines and see the extent of the damage before we can determine how long the repair will take.  Until the repairs can be made these buildings will not have Air Conditioning.

  1. Business Services/Bookstore
  2. LA Building
  3. Forums
  4. Gymnasium
  • Air Conditioning is being restored to the remainder of the campus and all scheduled activities will not be affected.
  • We rented 4 portable swamp coolers and paced them in the Gym for the Basketball Tournament. Coach Hughes has been informed throughout the entire process.
  • I will send another update when we have a timeline for repairs. Our plumbing contractor has assured us they can stay onsite until repairs can be made.  We will do our best to get it restored over the weekend so we can resume Monday morning as normal.

The following team members played an important role in keeping us going today:

Bill Garrett, Landon Webb, Tim Hernandez, Aaron Kidwell, Martin Ramirez, Dennis Spencer, Frank Tinoco, Gilbert Merjil, Jason Brown, David Branson, Dalia Garcia

The rest of the M&O team picked up the slack and kept the campus functioning and other project going.

It was a great team effort.

I love this picture with Charlie, Bill Potter’s son (see below).  This is how we roll at BC.  I remember for Measure J, employees brought out their families to 1675 Chester, our campaign headquarters, to help with phone banking, precinct walking and all other campaign chores. A whole family endeavor.  #WeAreBC!

Thank you to the plumbers from J Noble Binns to helping us fix this major issue that resulted in us shutting down the air conditioning system

So thank you for passing Measure J.  
BC absolutely needs to upgrade its 60-year-old facilities and infrastructure.

sonya-christian-measure-j-oct-1-2016

Neo

Neo June 15 2017 at 8 30 pm

Sonya Christian and Neo June 10 2017

 

I continue to be distracted by Neo’s new mannerisms and pranks. He is sweet, smart and learning fast, but he can be fierce with toys and petunias… In three weeks, he has gone from 10 lbs to 24 lbs.  You see him here being sweet while he plays with me and then his stubborn streak sets in when I am attempting to get his attention at 8:30 p.m. to come in and he just sits by the pool and calmly looks at me without budging an inch.  But I must confess that the Golden Retriever sweetness emerges again and he relents and comes in.

The only reason friends now ping me is to discuss the latest and greatest with Neo.  Here is a sample.

Set 1:

Friend: Were you up at 5:00 a.m. to let Neo out for a potty break.

Me: Lol. That was at 3:20 a.m.

Friend: You need a doggy door.

Set 2:

Friend: Is it true that you have to chase Neo around in the wee hours of the morning in damp grass to get back inside the house after he goes potty outside?

Me: emoji of laughter with tears

Friend: And isn’t it true that he will sit and wait for you to get near him, and after  you give chase, just to get up and run away again….and he will do this repeatedly?

 

Enough about Neo.

BC produces leaders

What a powerful picture of leadership!

BCSGA Presidents with Nicky Damania June 16 2017

President Matthew Frazer, President Dezi Von Manos, President Alex Dominguez, President Clayton Fowler, Dr. Nicky Damania

Loved receiving this photo from Dr. Nicky Damania who hosts an annual dinner which he cooks at his house with all the previous presidents of the Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA).

 

The group met and reminisced about their years while giving advice to the incoming president.

President Alex Dominguez, 2014-15, is going to the University of Mississippi for law school.

President Clayton Fowler, 2015-2016, will finish his Political Science and Public Service degrees is at UC Davis.

President Matthew Frazer, 2016-17 will be starting at CSUB in Political Science.

President Dezi Von Manos, 2017-18, is working on a double degree in Criminal Justice and Communication.

And Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life, is starting his fourth year at Bakersfield College and is excited for the next year of student leaders

Start of Summer School

On Monday morning, campus felt alive with energy. Students filled the halls in preparation for the first day of summer class and the Welcome Center was full of student activities. The first day of class is always exciting because it marks another new step in the educational journey towards completion. The week, however, was just as exciting for faculty who welcomed new students into their classes and for BC’s Administration, who came together to plan, strategize, and work on the future of BC and student success.

It’s always great to see students on campus and I loved this photo on Instagram!

Instagram

Admin Council Retreat

The Admin Council at BC is BC’s entire management team. Administrative Council is a forum for communication on issues and trends affecting Bakersfield College, and communicates directly with the president. Each summer, we gather for retreats which help us recap our accomplishments so far, but more importantly work on our plans for moving the college forward.

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Earl Parsons and Manny De Los Santos took the group photos and luckily the weather on Tuesday was not too hot to be outside. Group photography always presents a unique set of challenges, but I think the photo turned out great. Earl later said in an email, “it’s an honor that I am trusted to capture all kinds of important moments for such a historic and life-changing institution as Bakersfield College.”  What a great team of people we have at BC! Can you see why I’m the happiest and luckiest college president ever?

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Sonya Christian addressing the management team

When I walked in the second day of the retreat, there was our new manager Zach Quiroz tapping the ivories on the piano.  Just beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was great panel discussion that left the group with practical take-aways and tools they can use to manage their roles while also creating urgency to implement and improve strategies that work.

Lesley Bonds moderated a fantastic panel which included Tom Gelder on strategic thinking and clarity on priorities, Jennifer Aachan on action orientated communication, Shanell Tyus on clarity in decision making, and Alyse Braaten on starting on the right path and communication.

Team 2

Alyse Braaten, Shanell Tyus, Tom Gelder, Lesley Bonds

They shared “8 Things Really Efficient People Do” which is an article by @KevinJDaum. The author points out that focus is vital in his first point that suggests we should stop multitasking. The article goes on to discuss proper planning, appropriate communication, and delegating items that others can do better than we can, especially given our workload. It was a beneficial discussion as we all have the goal to be able to achieve our objectives in record time at BC.

Jennifer Marden, Liz Rozell, and Eric Sabella led a session on recognizing stressors in our lives in order to cope with them,  staying well.  Both Liz Rozell and Eric Sabella did a deep dive when they presented their personal stories, the stressors in their lives and how they cope.  They were open in their descriptions, smart in their thinking and sensitive in their delivery.  Have I told you recently that I am the luckiest and happiest college president…..I get to work with these amazing individuals every day.

Team 1.JPG

Here is an excerpt from Jennfier Marden’s opening comments:

As the spring semester came to a close, Sonya and I started talking about the various retreats.  Of course at that time there was a lot of energy at BC centered around the Leadership Matters Summit: Reimagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change to Advance Student Success & Equity.  The website describes the summit as “three sessions immersed in the theory and practice of change, how to navigate change, how to lead change, how to deal with the friction points, conflicts that arise due to change and above all how to sustain change.”

Sonya and I talked about the amount of change the college is undergoing—from Curriculum to Facilities.  In particular, those of us in this room, the 65 people that comprise the management team of BC, have experienced a substantial amount of change this past academic year.

This seems like a good time to pause and to celebrate the resiliency of the Bakersfield College management team in accomplishing so many things 2016-17!!

From this conversation, and true to form, Sonya asked me to get a team together to facilitate this discussion.  The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory that we all completed will frame this session, “Wellness Strategies by Being Aware of Stressors in Our Lives”

Change is inevitable and change isn’t always negative.  Often change is a positive experience… buying a new house, welcoming a new baby to the family, a promotion—all examples of positive change.  But regardless of this, change causes stress… increased responsibility, sleepless nights, and unfamiliar territory.

It is how we manage the stress of change in our lives that is important as this has a direct impact to our overall well-being. If our wellness is compromised, will are not able to give our best to our work or our loved ones.

So in the next 28 minutes, Liz, Eric and I will each share thoughts about our personal results from the stress inventory, and Liz will give us a 50,000ft level look at our group scores.  Be thinking about…  How you navigate change, lead others through change, deal with the friction points and conflicts that arise due to change, and above all… how do you sustain change?  Eric will be asking five of you to share your personal reflections. (373 words)

Bill Moseley, Ramon Puga and Imelda Valdez led a session focused on how to stay organized in moving large quantities of work with quality. Ramon shared with the management team that in his line was work, his goal every morning is to come to work and expect the unexpected.  He also talked about how he has been attempting to delegate more.  Imelda, one of our new managers talked about the power of planning.  She is the Director of our EOP&S program and is right now planning the retreat with her team.  I was really impressed with her clarity and focus.  Bill discussed the tech tools he uses to maximize productivity and keep the work moving.  He reviewed his own strategy, which involves dividing his time into three areas; triage, light work, and deep work.  In triage, the work is focused on guiding input, responding to emails, and completing tasks that can be done in under two minutes.  Triage can be done almost anywhere, and isn’t vulnerable to distraction.  Light work consists of planning, reviewing, researching, and organizing.  This can be done in a mildly distracting environment and is perfect for “open door” times in the office.  Deep work takes uninterrupted time and deep concentration.  Bill described creating his environment for deep work as, “door closed, email turned off, and music with no words playing in the background.  By using these three phases of work, anyone can take control of their inputs and outputs, and increase their productivity.

Janet Fulks and Craig Hayward did a great presentation about BC’s students.  Through data, video and story telling the two of them grounded the discussions on the “why” our work matters…..Our students.  and how education transforms lives.

Here are a few highlights from the powerpoint that Janet and Craig used for their presentation.

Pie Chart Student Demographics June 14 2017

When you think about the “needs” of the BC students think about their background

  • Proportion on Financial Aid 69.6%   (that’s 19,228 students)
  • Proportion First Gen 53.9% (that’s 14,891 students)

This picture captures the need being right now!

Need circle

Here is a powerful bar graph that shows increase in wages with specific skill building cluster classes.  Check out Automotive Technology.

Wage Growth related to Skills Builder

Grace Commiso did brief presentations on both days about how BC is developing 18 completion coaching communities among faculty and staff to coach students through their 15-credits in their first semester and successfully completing their English and math requirements in the first year.  The 18 completion coaching communities are comprised of 10 metamajors and 8 affinity groups.

On Wednesday morning, the team was back at it and Dena Rhoades snapped photos of the beautiful breakfast that fueled us through the morning. Thank you chef Eric Sabella and BC Food Services.

AdminCouncil_Breakfast

I loved this tweet from Nicky Damania:

Executive Office Photo

Executive Office - Getting Set-1

The Executive Office is comprised of the President, the three Vice Presidents and the staff.  Here is the team.  and thank you John Farrand for this fun photo.  We retreated for half a day on Thursday.  Thank you Chris Glaser, Somaly Boles, June Charles, Tracy Hall and Jennifer Marden for organizing the different sessions for the retreat.

 

Saluting Keith Wolaridge

Keith WoolaridgeOn Monday, Tom Gelder met with Keith Wolaridge to present him his plaque from Sterling Silver at Uricchio’s Trattoria. Passing a bond initiative is like raising a child…it takes a village. Keith is one of those people who did whatever was needed to get the word out, to ask for the right endorsements, to write the opinion pieces, to make the phone calls, to bolster people’s spirits. Thank you Keith!

To check out all the recipients of awards at Sterling Silver, check out my blog post: Moments that make up Life.

IT’S POSSIBLE

The Outreach team at BC is gearing up for one of the best express enrollment events yet. Coming up on June 20th, anyone and everyone is invited to attend IT’S POSSIBLE – a one-day express event starting at 8:00AM that will help future and current students, no matter where they are in the enrollment or registration process so they can leave with their class schedule in hand, knowing exactly what classes they’ll be attending in Fall. Thank you to everyone on campus who is preparing for this fantastic day!

Check out the event on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1941376366135105  or RSVP on the website at: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/itspossible

Its Possible

Come out for the Air Force Band

Exciting things are coming to the campus on the hill. On June 28th, at 7:00PM, the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West will perform a free concert at the Simonsen Outdoor Theater at our beautiful campus. This is FREE to the public so I hope you’ll gather your friends and family and visit the campus to enjoy the music.

The United States Air Force Band of the Golden West is stationed in the San Francisco Bay area at Travis Air Force Base and their goal is to foster positive, long lasting impressions of the Air Force and the United States of America using the power of music. They are headed to the Hollywood Bowl and will perform the entire set for everyone at BC. Let’s show them the warmest Bakersfield welcome by packing the theater. See you there!

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Recycling Event at BC

Bakersfield College is partnering with Happy Recyclers to help our community dispose of any unwanted electronics the right way.

Last year, over 500 people participated, giving away over one million pounds of electronics to be efficiently recycled instead of ending up in a landfill. This year, our event will even accept those heavy outdated televisions, which many recyclers aren’t able to process.

BC cares for our surrounding neighborhoods and the ecological well-being of our planet, so come out for an opportunity to clear out your electronic clutter and help the environment on June 24th and 25th from 8:00AM to 5:00PM.

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Student Success During the Summer

Along with eager-to-learn students on campus, our student services have also reopened their doors for the summer! Staff and faculty at BC encourage all students to take advantage of the everything BC has to offer to ensure that all students will succeed with the tools and help they need!

 

This Summer, there is an array of services provided that can help all students achieve their academic goals. Located in the Student Services Center Building, there is an abundance of free academic help. I’d like to spotlight a few:

  • ItsPOSSIBLE_3Dec16-12There is the Math lab where students are able to work on online math classes, get math help for on-campus classes, and even the Extend The Classroom for Math B72.
  • The Writing Center is a gem, where students can make an appointment and speak to an extremely knowledgeable and supportive coach who will guide students through the entire process of writing a solid paper. Amber Smithson, a BC student, offered a great tip. She said, “make sure to take in your assignment sheet, so you can go through each step for you to obtain the best grade!”
  • The Tutoring center is also located upstairs overlooking the math and writing labs. That’s where students can obtain free peer tutoring in 50-minute sessions for most courses and 15-minute drop-in sessions for English and Math only. These peer tutors are amazing because they’re students who have taken these classes and they’re knowledgeable on the material, but they can also relate to the student needing help.  The tutors not only have a passion for learning, but also for teaching and sharing that knowledge with their fellow students. All of these services are offered throughout the Summer and start right away. During the Fall session, they start a week into the semester.

The staff and faculty care so much about student success…

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Superheroes behind the Scenes

David WhalenLike I mentioned earlier, the faculty at BC ALWAYS have student success in their heart and on their mind. When a physics class was left without a professor due to an emergency, Dr. David Whalen stepped in to save the semester. It’s incredible that he has volunteered to change his summer and vacation plans to put BC students first.  Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president?

Jonathan Schultz introduces us to Prof. Joe Saldivar

Sonya Christian Manhatten Beach day before CA Guided Pathways Advisory Committee

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

There’s so much to be thankful for!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend, November 26th, and as I write this morning I feel so alive and my heart is full and thankful.  How can I describe it?  Life right now is like peanut butter and jelly. Or perhaps let me use the words of Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music:

My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds
That rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies
From a church on a breeze
To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over
Stones on its way
To sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray

It is the best job in the world — being President of Bakersfield College…..great colleagues and friends.

 

I woke up this morning to find the cover of the Bakersfield Life Magazine featuring the Condors playing at Memorial Stadium on January 7th. How cool is that!  Matt Riley, thank you for being a phenomenal partnership.  Let’s  support Riley and pack the stadium for the Condors Dec 21st through Jan 7th.  I plan on being there.  Will I see you there?

Bakersfield Life Nov  26 2016.jpg

 

On Thursday, we headed to San Francisco…just a quick overnight trip.  Staying by the waterfront is a treat that always reminds me of growing up close to the beach in Quilon, although of course a much much warmer beach than the one by SFO!  (Even if he didn’t really say it, my favorite quote attributed to Mark Twain is “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”). In the collage below, the picture on the left was taken in May 2013 at the breakwaters in Quilon with a temperature of 80 degrees and the two pictures on the right at San Francisco on Nov 25, 2016, early morning when it was 40 degrees.

Yesterday, Friday, after getting back from San Francisco, I headed to campus to check out the scene since Mary Jo Pasek and Sandi Taylor worked hard to bring back Friday Night Football at Memorial Stadium with the BHS vs Liberty game.  It was wonderful seeing the crowd having a good time.  Thank you Stan Greene for partnering with BC.

And at the Gil Bishop Sports Center the Bakersfield College Men’s Basketball Team won by 51 points to open the 2016 Thanksgiving Tournament.

This is what Francis Mayer had to say:

Shane Christie and Jamar Hammonds led BC in scoring with 19 points each, but were just two of five Renegades who scored in double digits.

Stockdale product Tucker Eenigenburg had the second-highest scoring total with 16 points and was a perfect three for three from beyond the arc, but picked up a double-double by also pulling down 11 rebounds for BC.

The college was relatively quiet during the short Thanksgiving week, although the office was buzzing and churning out work. These women in my office all work so hard, and so smart! At one point I walked around and persuaded them to do selfies with me. Here are the fabulous Tracy Hall, Somaly Boles, June Charles and Tarina Perry. (There should be selfies with Chris and Jennifer but they happened to be out of the office at the moment I got inspired to take photos…)

And here is the wonderful gang from the Outreach Office on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving — Ashley Ward, Debi Anderson, and Rosanne Lewis.  I remember three years ago when we started this department with just the Director Steve Watkin.  And he built what we currently have, a comprehensive outreach program, to our 46 feeder high schools.

outreach-nov-22-2016

And on Tuesday, Sandi Taylor and I spent 4 hours in traffic to catch the last part of Coach Carl Ferreira‘s Volleyball team at El Camino in the post season playoff.  Our students were just great and we are so lucky to have Coach Ferreira at BC.

I hope you’ve all had a happy and restful Thanksgiving. When I take a step back and look around, I see incredible beauty and so many things to be thankful for…

And on Monday, November 21, 2016, the Bakersfield College Jazz Ensemble directed by Kris Tiner presents a program exploring the intersections of jazz, gospel, and soul, featuring music by Cannonball Adderley, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Thad Jones and others.

Check out Mason Edwards singing Hallelujah, I Love Her So by Ray Charles. He was the first to bring together gospel and rhythm and blues. All of the songs in the Soul Jazz Concert focused on jass influenced by gospel music. Kris Tiner said Ray Charles defined soul music when Saturday night got mixed up with Sunday morning 🙂

wow…. Ray Charles.  I just love his music.  Check him out in these two songs

Hallelujah, I Love Her So

and here he is with Georgia on my mind

Kris Tiner, thank you for bringing beautiful music to us!

Good morning again! I am thankful for Bakersfield. Each morning, the sun rises and shines brightly casting warmth upon our vibrant city. We accomplish so much when we work together, and this year, I’ve had uncountable daily reminders of how truly blessed I am to be a part of BC and our larger Kern County community.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where to start and the list of “little things” that make my heart full of gratitude is a list which could never be complete… it keeps growing and growing. But, I’m thankful for life and the people who make life worth living… I’m thankful for people like you. I’m thankful for the journey, the pursuit of knowledge, and for hope. I’m thankful for endless possibilities made possible through higher education and a community that believes in and supports their college students. I’m thankful for the arts, humanities, and sciences… for subjects that span the imagination and talented and focused students who are dedicating their lives to their interests and field. I’m thankful for doing work that matters with leaders, friends, volunteers and partners who share similar goals of supporting our students, and for doing everything possible to make our future better. I’m thankful for Measure J, I’m thankful for our students today and for our students of the future.

Sometimes, pictures can say what words cannot, so I’d like to share a bit of what I’m thankful for today:

 

 

Thank you President’s Cabinet

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Thank you College Council

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KIT/CSUB “Electronic Bookworm” Library Tech Hackathon

Last weekend, our BC students participated in the KIT Community / CSUB “Electronic Bookworm” Library Tech Hackathon — innovation competition to develop the best technology tool for library efficiency and patron access in Kern County. Pictured here is 1st place Team Goat for “Roomly” with Cristian Gutierrez and Karen Goh always posts the best pictures on her Facebook, so if you have the time, check them all out at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154675259069174.1073742226.645844173&type=1&l=e4f01e990d

To learn more about the hackathon, check out the article from KGET at http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/library-management-hackathon-at-csub-begins-friday.

C.H.A.P. in Delano

The Bakersfield College Delano Campus Cultural and Historical Awareness Program (C.H.A.P.) concluded its Fall 2016 semester events with two exciting and well-attended presentations dealing broadly with the topics of civic engagement and social justice.  These events represent a partnership with the Bakersfield College Social Justice Institute, the Bakersfield College Office of Student Life, and Student Government Association Campus Collaborative Action (CCA) grant.chap-3

On Monday, Nov 21st,  the Delano Campus hosted a series of speakers promoting civic participation and a voter education forum.  Manuel Barrera, Director of Programs and Planning for the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF), spoke to a packed room about the importance of voter education and civic engagement.  A non-profit organization based in downtown Bakersfield, the DHF works locally and more broadly at the state and national levels, “creating networks of healthy, organized communities pursuing social justice through systemic and structural transformation.”  Mr. Barrera was accompanied by his colleague, Mr. Moises Duran, who you can also learn more about below.  Following Mr. Barrera’s talk, Anjelica Perez and Alexa Rivera, representing Bakersfield College Students in Support of Measure J., spoke broadly about the potential impact of the bond.

 

The final C.H.A.P. event began featuring two speakers who work broadly within the field of social justice.  Gustavo Aguirre, Jr., Project Coordinator for the Central California Environmental Justice Network and Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz, Ph.D. Candidate at Cornell University, spoke to a packed house about the importance of civic engagement and promoting healthy communities in rural California.  Aguirre, a BC alumni and graduate of Foothill high school, comes from a family of farm labor activism.  His father, Gustavo Aguirre, Sr., was a leader within the United Farm Workers of America for more than a decade.  Alatriste-Diaz is completing his Ph.D. at Cornell University in New York in the Department of Sociology.  He spoke to the students about his research on public health in Central Valley and the unique challenges facing residents to achieving healthy communities.  He highlighted a number of examples and strategies residents, especially in Tulare County, have been using to promote equity in food access, particularly community gardens and work associated with the organization, Be Healthy Tulare.   You can learn more online at http://www.behealthytulare.org/.

C.H.A.P. organizers Michelle Hart and Oliver Rosales and I want to thank everyone who helped make our events successful this semester and for your continued support for expanding cultural enrichment opportunities for our rural students.  We look forward to bringing you new and exciting speakers and events next semester!

fromjayroseblieb_-fatherfrankrosenliebg_gradbc1947BC Family Memories

Tuesday morning I received a photo from Jay Rosenlieb. BC connects our community and is a common bond among many of our families. Jay’s father, Frank Rosenlieb, graduated from Bakersfield College in 1947. This handwritten note from “Junior College Graduation” is still in the family today.  Just wonderful!

What family mementos from BC are in your family history? Or maybe you’re one of our current students who will be first-generation college graduates. I hope you will keep special mementos from graduation day and pass them down to the next generation.

Thank you Kern County! Thank you Bakersfield! Thank you Bakersfield College!

We are BC! Todos somos BC!

 

sfo-nov-25-2016-thanksgiving-in-sfo

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

 

 

Life at BC is all about living life fully

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 2, 2016.  Just a wonderful day to be a Renegade!

I have been awake the last two hours just reading and thinking about the week, and as I started working on this blog I realized that maybe I needed to break it into two posts.  Certainly a good problem to have….

Let me start with a memorial service I attended during the week where the remarks of several speakers have stayed with me, and I suspect will continue to stay with me for a long time.  The service was held in a beautiful hilly area and there was a strong breeze that rustled thought the tent-like pavilion as the story was told of the one who had passed.  A story of courage, love, beauty, resilience, commitment and action. Not one of indifference. During the service,  one of the speakers introduced the Old Testament story of Ester, considering the question of who is the real villain of the story.  The speaker explained that the traditional response to this question is Haman, guilty of genocide. However, one could argue that the “indifferent” Ahasuerus was probably more of a villain than Haman. The collective damage of indifference is greater.( This reminded me of Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” where he says of racism that “Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection” of racism.) The speaker concluded that the person who passed was the antithesis of Ahasuerus, for she had lived her life fully in action, overcoming her difficulties to fight for the right thing.

I experienced that one hour as if I were cocooned in another world, and the story of her life has inspired me to shift and live life just a little bit more.  Here is a poem that I received from a friend on Monday, 3/28, that epitomizes her life.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.

Speaking of living life fully, BC has a magnificent choir and choir director, Jen Garrett.

Jen Garrett April 1 2016.JPG

Friday night I attended the our choir’s spring concert A Celebration of Folk Songs.  The evening was magnificent. The concert was sold out and ended with a standing ovation from the audience.  Jen had included guest performers, the West High School Chamber Singers and the group Wrenwood Sessions.  Now Wrenwood Sessions has been a great partner and has performed with the BC choir on more than one occasion.  Thank you Wrenwood Sessions.  Check them out at http://www.wrenwoodsessions.com/.  Here is a blurb from their website:

Wrenwood Sessions was formed in 2010 when five musicians playing in church discovered their mutual love for Irish and Scottish folk music – the traditional “Celtic” music of the Isles. Today, the group consists of six members: David Barringer (keys, accordion, vocals), Jeff Cram (whistles, bodhran), Anne Grogan (vocals, fiddle), Valerie Lewis (harp), Steve Lewis (guitars, octave mandolin), and Jeremy Swanson (fiddle, mandola). Based in Bakersfield, California, the ensemble performs at festivals, gatherings, private functions, weddings, churches, and restaurants.

Jen Garret and choir April 1 2016.JPG

The concert featured folk songs from around the world and each piece was introduced with a little bit of history and culture.  I loved all the pieces and here is one:

Tshotsholoza a traditional South African song that featured soloists Christian Caraveo, Mason Edwards, George Gutierres; and percussionists Maria Albares, Michael Juarez, and Ron Kean.  Sample the song from this video excerpt from my iphone.

And this morning I read a Facebook post from Jen Garret.

I am constantly amazed by the power of prayer and priesthood blessings. Yesterday I had a terrible flare up and by last night I was a mess. It was the worst flare I’ve had in over a year. I came home and got a blessing from Matt and my Dad asked Chamber Singers to pray and/or send happy thoughts. I do not ever bounce back this fast so I know it was a miracle. I am so grateful to everyone that was so supportive. What a concert!

Miracles happen every day!  Jen, BC is fortunate to have you.

Two events bookended March 31st — breakfast with pastors from our community, and the Sterling Silver appreciation dinner.

Pastors Breakfast March 31 2016

Hayward Cox, Oscar Anthony, David McGee, Marisa Banks, Martha Johnson, Steve Watkin, Sonya Christian, June Charles, Toure Tyler, Anthony Culpepper, Zav Dadabhoy

We had a great breakfast discussion with the pastors on how BC could partner with them and their churches to promote the value of higher education to our community.  The ideas circled around, starting early with getting students to think about college, creating a path for students that has guides along the way to make sure that they are moving along and not getting stuck or dropping off, and reaching out to families to include them in this network of support.  Pastor Hayward Cox, Pastor Oscar Anthony, Pastor David McGee, Pastor Toure Tyler, Pastor Martha Johnson, and Marisa Banks, thank you for taking the time to connect with us at BC.

Here is a sneak peak at BC’s eight annual Sterling Silver.  I am waiting to get the photos and will publish a dedicated Sterling Silver blog in the next few days.  So stay tuned.  Two posts in one week!

MaryPrezMrsMusser March 31 2016

Mary Trichell, Sonya Christian, Carla Musser

Some additional highlights from the week.

This week Nicky Damania was awarded the  Outstanding Professional Award from ACPA.  Way to go Nicky!  I am so glad you are at BC.  Working hard and doing wonderful things for our students, our campus, our community.

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BC’s Drumline Shines:

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Bakersfield College Drumline at WGI

Our Drumline students took First Place this past Sunday, March 27th, at the WGI competition. The Western Guard International (WGI) Sport of the Arts is the world’s premier organization producing indoor color guard, percussion, and wind ensemble competitions. It is called the Sport of the Arts because it brings music to life through performance in a competitive format. Last year, there were more than 36,000 participants at the regional level, and more than 12,000 participants at the Sport of the Arts World Championships.  The numbers for this year are not yet posted on the website.

BC took 1st place in prelims, advancing us to finals on Sunday where we were again awarded 1st place by an entirely new (double) panel of judges with a score of 88.425. Winning this show is a milestone for our program, and with nearly a 10-point jump from last year.

https://www.wgi.org/events/static_scores/2016/scores_Western_Perc_Finals.php

First-Look-Tim-Heasley-and-Francis-Mayer

Tim Heasley and Francis Mayer with Scott Cox

The weekend overall was a success, from our outreach performance and clinic with students from the California City HS band followed by a productive rehearsal, to our prelims and finals performances at CSU San Bernardino. But it’s icing on the cake that we can also say that we’re the number one open class drumline in the western states!

 

Informally ranked number one overall in our division right now, the focus is on WGI World Championships coming up this April 14-16. Time Heasley and the coaching staff are maximizing the show and their remaining practice time, as well as  working on the logistics of getting the drumline and the equipment to Dayton, OH and back.   The entire group is working hard both on and off the court to prepare for this huge opportunity.

https://goo.gl/photos/1g5CeTPn4jxQVaMK7

 

Thank you Tim Heasley for setting the bar high for our students and for dedicating countless hours to BC’s drumline students.

BC’s Prelaw Program

Commissioner Cynthia Loo

BC’s Pre-Law students with Commissioner Cynthia Loo

Lisa Green, District Attorney

BC Pre-LAw students with Lisa Green, District Attorney

The Multi-Cultural Bar Alliance of Kern County invited our Pre-Law students to their Women’s History Month event on March 21st. Four students attended the event; Princess Herrera, ShaQuia Jones, Brian Prieto, and Amritpal Kaur. The students were  treated as special guests of Cynthia Loo, Commissioner for the Superior Court of California County of Kern.  They had the opportunity to meet and network with local attorneys, judges and other individuals in the legal system. They were all inspired by the panelist and their stories.

Thank you Manny Mourtzanos for leading this program pathway and Pearl Urena our Pre-Law Educational Advisor.  BC is celebrating a milestone this year…our first graduates from the BC Pre-Law pathway! We are hosting our first annual reception in honor of our students’ accomplishments on April 25th at 5:30 p.m.

Life at BC is living life fully.  It is a good time to be at BC!