The eastern sky, friday morning, was unusually soft given that it was bringing in a scorching hot day of triple digit temperatures. Here is a photo gallery from 5:00 a.m. friday morning to 5:40 a.m.
Softness is what I seem to be seeking these days in every context of my life. So, I enjoyed getting this Dalai Lama quote in a text from a colleague. Yes, we need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers.
Good morning Bakersfield It is Saturday, July 11, 2020 … a great day to be a Renegade
I finally watched the musical Hamilton on Disney Plus yesterday. Whoa! Lin-Manuel Miranda… what a genius! I read Ron Chernow’s Hamilton in preparation to watch the show on stage. Then COVID happened and what a delight it was to be able to watch the original cast with Miranda himself playing Hamilton. Check out this one-minute youtube clip from Hamilton with Aaron Burr performing Room Where it Happens.
A Message About International Students
As someone who came to the United States as an international student, I wanted to take a moment and talk about how important the F1 Student Visa program is for our country’s economic strength and the holistic wellbeing of our world.
Important political leaders from around the world came here to study. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, two former UN secretaries-general, and many world leaders have studied at our universities. This is the best way to build global understanding and fellowship and also to inspire communities around the world on the value of democracy and a free society.
Within the next few weeks, I hope that we can find some common ground to keep our international students in the US while safely preventing the spread of COVID-19.
This issue has really gotten to me so much it has put me in the space of the Hamilton inspired phrase #ImmigrantsWegettheJobDone.
Check out Lin-Manuel Miranda at the White House in 2009 (yes, several years prior to the play premiering off-Broadway) while he was working on the lyrics and music for Hamilton based on Ron Chernow’s book. A key line for me was “Another immigrant coming up from the bottom.” Check it out.
Commencement & Paint the Town Red
Our 106th Commencement will be broadcast tonight, July 11, at 6 p.m. on KGET Channel 17, or at 7 p.m. on Telemundo Valle Central Channel 13 (with antennae, 17.3). This event will also be live-streamed on social media as well.
I look forward to sharing snippets from this broadcast with you in future blog posts – our team has done a phenomenal job putting together a great show to celebrate our amazing graduates! Thank you Norma Rojas-Mora for leading this work along with Nicky Damania.
This week, we celebrated our Early College graduates from Wasco High School and the Wonderful College Prep Academy. I will be sharing videos from that celebration starting in next week’s blog as well.
Also this week we were very busy delivering yard signs and flags to Paint the Town Red in support of our graduating class of 2020.
On Memorial Hospital Facebook: The sun is shining on the graduating class of 2020! We’re excited to congratulate this year’s Bakersfield College graduates! We wish you the best and know your futures will be bright!
And here is Adventist Health celebrating the class of 2020
“I want to thank each and every person from BC — from the department assistantwho answered all my questions, to each faculty member, each counselor and all the individuals who made sure I was set up for success and on the path to achieving my goals. While I am going to miss my BC family, I know I have been equipped with the skills and educational foundation I will need to succeed on the next step in my journey. Why? Because BC is the best college.”
Thank you for your kind words, Samantha. And I want to wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors at Cal State Berkeley – I look forward to seeing what amazing things you will do during your time there and beyond.
This week, I am sharing three videos from strong women that were part of our June 15 program.
Jennifer Achan, BC Financial Aid Director:
Kimberly Mallory, Medical Administrator:
And this video of Maya Angelou‘s poem “Still I Rise.” Thank you, Valerie Urso, for your work in putting together this wonderful video:
Please visit our Juneteenth website for all the videos from each day of programming, as well as additional information and resources, and testimonials from Bakersfield community members and BC faculty, staff and administration.
Celebrating Corny & Sandi
I wanted to share a few more videos from our retirement celebration for Corny Rodriguez and Sandi Taylor.
The Office of Outreach helped approximately 300 students with registering in classes at BC during our express enrollment event on Wednesday. Thank you to Ashlea Ward for helping organize the event, the Marketing team for helping promote the express enrollment on social, and all of the counselors and ed advisors who got our students ready for classes in the fall.
Be Red Cross Ready
The Levan Institute’s series of lectures with the American Red Cross was a huge success this week. The American Red Cross spent three days teaching people in the community some survival essentials for COVID-19, earthquakes, wildfires and extreme heat.
The Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning provides essential courses for all members in the community to enrich their understanding of the world. The Levan Institute course offerings for Fall 2020 will be announced on Sunday, July 19th. For more information, visit the Levan Institute website.
Thank you to the Red Cross and Suzan Pinza of the Levan Institute for putting together these important workshops.
Measure J Update
This week, I was elated to find out that one of the interns working with AECOM on Measure J construction projects is a former BC student.
Bryson Zuspan, a senior at San Jose State studying civil engineering, will be one of two interns helping AECOM on the new Campus Center, Science and Engineering building and other renovation projects. Diana Johnson, a Vice President with AECOM, shared this message from Bryson:
“Before transferring to SJSU, I spent a great deal of time at Bakersfield College figuring the right path for my career. As luck would have it, I have the opportunity to work at AECOM and be a part of a project for my old community college. It feels great to give back to the institution that taught me so much and gave me the resources to become successful in university.”
Thank you to Bryson and AECOM for giving back to the Home of the Renegades!
I also wanted to share these photos that our Astronomy faculty Dr. Nick Strobel took of some of the construction on campus:
Renegade Student Experience
Ramon Carreido, a student worker in the BC Marketing Department, has launched a new podcast offering a student perspective on everything that’s going on at BC. For the first episode of the Renegade Student Experience, Ramon talked to his swim coach Matthew Moon about the swim team’s recruitment process and how they reacted to the season being shortened by COVID-19.
Thank you Ramon and Coach Moon for sitting down to have this conversation. I look forward to more conversations between Ramon and other BC faculty and staff in the future.
Fun Social Media
Our Director of Rural Initiatives and the Delano Center, Abel Guzman, had a nice July 4th holiday with his family:
Dean of Instruction Billie Jo Rice walked the Golden Gate Bridge with her mom. Good job, ladies!
On Monday of Closing Week, we looked back at all of our past Presidential Leadership Award winners:
On Tuesday, we heard from Academic Senate President Steven Holmes:
Also on Tuesday, we shared a message for our students from BC Faculty and Staff:
Blake van Uden Headed to New Mexico Highlands University
Blake van Uden from Renegade Men’s Basketball announced this week that he is headed to play basketball and continue his academic career at New Mexico Highlands University located in Las Vegas, NM. Blake played the last two seasons for Coach Rich Hughes, coming all the way from New Zealand to become a Renegade. Blake’s father also played basketball at BC, making the van Uden’s a multi-generational Renegade family. We are excited for Blake and thank him for his contributions to Renegade basketball and our campus this last few years.
Keep Your Zoom Game Updated with New Backgrounds
Elevate your Zoom game on your next video conference call with these official Renegade themed backgrounds! You may also click here to save them to your desktop.
Click Here to learn how to use custom backgrounds on Zoom.
That’s all for now. Until next time. With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality. sonya – the luckiest and happiest college president ever
What a great week…. the campus was alive with activity from the BCSGA screening of the Ironed Jawed Angels, to the production of the Pillowman, to Baseball and Softball, to our tiny Cougar Renegades Lighting up the Night with the grand opening of the McFarland High Stadium, to the monitoring and ongoing education about the coronavirus and promoting healthy habits. Another routine week at the Home of the Renegades! This is how we roll…..
Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 7, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California this week to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. At BC, we’ve been monitoring the evolving news and remain in close communication with Kern County Public Health.
There are currently no known cases of Coronavirus in our community.
When news first emerged of the coronavirus, I tasked a special advisory team on this matter to keep me informed with daily updates and status reports from Kern County Public Health. I activated the Incident Command Center on February 27th and started my direct communication to the campus.
In the best efforts to keep our community informed, BCSGA President Samantha Pulido and Academic Senate President, Steven Holmes joined Cindy Collier and me in a video message to the campus this past Monday to share procedures like frequent and correct hand washing techniques.
Various teams around campus have been working around the clock to keep hand sanitizers filled, put out communications and posters to bulletin boards and the website, and keep surfaces and door handles disinfected on a routine schedule. Thank you Bill Potter and our M&O staff. Thank you Dr. Nicky Damania, Cindy Collier and Shelly Casteneda
Bakersfield College will continue to closely monitor the global and and local development and BC’s COVID-19 Advisory Team will provide regular updates to the campus. I am proud of the efforts and leadership displayed by our community thus far. As educators, we continue to be role models for our students and for our community.
Earlier this week, BC’s Office of Student Life, the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, and Women’s History and More Committee hosted a screening of the 2004 American historical film Iron Jawed Angels at the Levan Center, in honor of the National Women’s History month. The film portrayed the American women’s suffrage movement, during the 1910s, which defined a historical revolution of women’s right to vote.
American women’s suffrage leaders, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, dedicated their lives to the women’s suffrage movement and formed the National Women’s Party which was committed to grant women the right to vote. Our BC History faculty, Jennifer Grohol, led the screening of the film and described how the women’s suffrage movement granted women the right to vote with the enactment of the U.S. 19th Amendment.
The Performing Arts Department staged a riveting rendition of the dramatic play “The Pillowman” this week, bringing this dark, dystopian tale to life on the Indoor Theater stage.
“Pillowman”, created by Irish playright Martin McDonagh, tells the story of a fiction writer being interrogated by police for the murder of three children. The details of the crimes are very similar to several short stories that he wrote, and the audience was at the edge of their seats as the narrative of the play unfolded to reveal the truth.
The cast and crew masterfully rotated the set designs for each scene, and all of the actors did an amazing job. There were two separate casts for “the Pillowman”, and both were fabulous.
Thank you to director Brian J. Sivesind, BC Performing Arts, and all of the cast and crew for bringing this psychological thriller to the stage. If you’re reading this on March 7, you still have a chance to catch three more performances of “The Pillowman” at at 2 p.m. on March 8.
The Inmate Scholars Program Shows Support for Females Achieving Change Together
Females Achieving Change Together (F.A.C.T.) is a gender responsive collaboration that focuses on the unique issues that previously incarcerated women face. On February 27th, The Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) partnered with local community organizations and educational institutions for the first annual resource event. At the event, attendees learned about dressing for success, overcoming life obstacles, maintaining health and sobriety, and gathered information on next steps necessary for successful reintegration.
2020 Panorama Invitational
The Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery inside the library is acknowledging the creativity of our local high school students as part of BC’s annual Panorama Invitational. You can visit the Jones Gallery Monday through Thursday between 3 and 6 p.m. to check out all of the beautiful artwork, which was curated from 13 high schools throughout Kern County.
The gallery runs until March 12, so be sure to check out all the great art on display. The gallery held an opening reception for the exhibition on January 30, giving the artists, their families, and members of the community the chance to celebrate their work. The pieces in this year’s Panorama Invitational show off the full range of creative expression that these young artists are capable of. For instance, “Chaos Through Angel Tears”, created by a senior from Golden Valley High School, depicts an angel in a state of ponderous melancholy, while “Stressed Patience”, created by a senior from Independence High School, is a visual representation of how time ebbs and flows.
Thank you to Ronnie Wrest, Jeffrey Huston and all of the staff at the Jones Gallery for giving young artists their first opportunity at having work displayed in an exhibition. On March 26, we will be honoring artists at the Home of the Renegades with the opening reception for the Bakersfield College Student Art Exhibition.
Fun photos from the CISOA conf
UC Merced Trip with STEM Students
A group of 25 STEM students and five STEM faculty took off from Bakersfield on Friday, February 21th on the Amtrak train to visit UC Merced. It was a new adventure for many BC students, and some of them had have never been a train before. The group took CatTracks, the campus shuttle, to and from the train station to UC’s newest campus nestled in the rolling hills outside of Merced, mingling with current UC Merced students and staff. Once on campus they met with Professor Chistopher Viney, one of the twelve founding faculty of the University and chair of the Material Science and Engineering Department. Professor Viney greeted us and gave the students an overview of material science and engineering at UC Merced. His department is a refreshing departure from the stereotypical view of the engineering profession, the faculty is 75% female from four different continents.
The students were impressed with the tour of the Chemistry Department which included their nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometery lab and their super computer facility used for computational chemistry. UC Merced faculty member Prof. Hratchian was excited to tell us that ALL students, undergraduates included, had free access to the super-computer regardless of major. Many students commented on the train ride back that lunch in the The Pavilion (the newest dinning hall) was a great experience. UC Merced is guided by a long-range vision of sustainable design, and waste reduction. In the cafeteria recycling and composting is a part of the dining experience, and the UC Merced student helped make sure that the compostable food waste and recycling was separated correctly. BC faculty, Professors Rosenthal, McGarrah, Vaughan, Daniel and Saldivar accompanied the students on the trip.
Writing Center team at UCLA
The Writing Center team spent leap day attending the Southern California Writing Centers Association Tutor Conference on Saturday, February 29, 2020. Writing centers across So. Ca. gathered at the beautiful UCLA campus to hear presentations and a keynote on this year’s theme: “Equity in the Center.” Public and private two- and four-year colleges along with other types of institutions hosted workshops dedicated to addressing embedding an equity framework in writing centers.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Director of the Metropolitan University of Denver Writing Center, whom our own Writing Center Lead, Kim Arbolante, had the pleasure of meeting at the North American IWCA conference last October. Dr. Kleinfeld delivered an enlightening presentation on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and participants were invited to “participate in a little anarchy” by pretending our centers burned to the ground and needed to be completely redesigned physically and conceptually with UDL in mind.
On the BC team’s scenic walk back to the van, there were plenty of photo opportunities. Kim was even able to make time for a quick Byrd scooter ride along the way. Look at her go!
Archives Throwback: Renegade Pantry
Looking back through our archive of Renegade Rip issues on the BC website, we discovered that this year marks the tenth anniversary of the Renegade Pantry, a resource center that provides our students with food, hygiene items and other essentials to support them through their educational journey.
In the February 3, 2010, issue of the Renegade Rip, reporter Brian N. Willhite and photographer David Karnowski covered the opening ceremony that took place on January 28 of that year. Former BC President Greg Chamberlain cut the ribbon for the new facility inside the John Collins Campus Center, and one of the speakers for the event was a BCSGA senator named Shawn Newsom, who is now one of our history professors. His wife Kristi Newsom served as BCSGA President at the time.
Today, you can find the Renegade Pantry inside Levinson Hall, and an expanded pantry is a big part of our plans for the new Campus Center that is slated to open before the end of this year.
Check out an excerpt from the article below:
“The Student Government Association at Bakersfield College has started a new program that hopes to eliminate hunger among the student body. The SGA will be offering a variety of canned goods and other food staples by providing a food bank to assist students in need. The Renegade Pantry officially opened its doors Jan. 28 with multiple news media organizations on hand to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony and commencement speeches given by SGA senator and assistant to the dean Shawn Newsom and BC president Greg Chamberlain.
Together they expressed their desires and vision for the program and its success. “If we can provide the opportunity for one student to stay in school, then it is all worth it,” said Chamberlain as he spoke about the needs of the student body reaching their educational pursuits. With budgets being cut from community college special-needs programs such as CalWorks and EOPS, SGA board members sought opportunities to better serve BC students in need. The decision to start a student run food bank began over the winter break with hopes to provide relief to students who may be affected by budget cuts or other circumstances hindering their educational goals. “It is our goal that no student will have to choose between books or groceries,” said Newsom.
Renegades in the News: Shelly Castaneda
The magazine “Diversity: Issues in Higher Education” wrote a blurb highlighting Bakersfield College’s appointment of Shelly Castaneda as Executive Director of Public Safety. Shelly worked for the Kern County Sheriff’s office for 28 years and was the second woman in the history of the department to serve as Chief Deputy Sheriff. She is also an award-winning body builder and two-time survivor of breast cancer. I speak for everyone at BC when I say that we’re so proud to have Shelly on our team!
STEM & MESA Students Unite
On Monday, March 2nd, the STEM Pathway and MESA Program hosted Jaimi Paschal, Jenny Ezpeleta, and Melissa Mayfield, CSUB Advisors, to the AERA STEM Center. The advisors provided a brief presentation on STEM opportunities at CSUB.
Wendale Davis Foundation
On February 28, 2020, Bakersfield College hosted the Wendale Davis foundation’s 12th annual Youth Leadership Conference.
Since the murder of 16-year-old Wendale in 2006, his father Wesley Davis has worked to prevent Bakersfield’s youth from turning to violent lifestyles.
Over 300 students from the Bakersfield area were on campus Friday to learn about gang prevention and AIDS awareness and heard from Bakersfield Police Officers and current prison inmates. The keynote speaker Andrew “Dance Fever 3-D” Jones, shared his personal story on how he overcame early childhood adversity to become a professional dancer and motivational speaker.
The purpose of the conference is to give youth skills to get through challenging situations.
Community Voices: Endee Grijalva
Endee Grijalva, the Program Manager for Adult Education, wrote her piece about the Homeless HireUp Project, an exciting new project we’re launching to provide 24 individuals with career preparation and a job within six months. One quote at the end of Endee’s article crystallizes why this initiative, which is in its pilot phase, is so important.
“The ultimate goal of Project HireUp is to shift the conversation on the nationwide homelessness crisis by demonstrating that in order to work towards the eradication of homeless, we must come together as a community to invest in the resources that will ensure the safety, health and overall well-being of all.”
“BC SGA set me on a path of purpose to help students while working cohesively as a team from very different walks of life. I participated in making a survey for all students at BC to optimize our events on campus, see the issues being presented to us and to understand students on a deeper level. I sit on committees such as Student Health and Wellness and Accreditation and Institutional Quality to provide a student perspective. I have finally hit my stride and found my purpose to better BC.“
“To understand solitude is to understand its purpose, which is to be with, discover, and grow our inner self, our soul, as some would say. Solitude is more than being by ourselves, perhaps reading, listening to music, thinking and letting our minds wander. It is planned and structured attention, introspection and reflection at a regular time and place. As we set aside this regular time and place to be alone in solitude, our inner self begins to anticipate it.”
McFarland Athletic Field Ribbon Cutting
Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Abel Guzman attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for McFarland Unified School District’s Petersen Athletic Field Complex. Superintendent Aaron Resendez introduced and thanked Petersen family matriarch, Geneva Petersen, for her family’s generosity and support of the school district. One of the highlights of the event was the performance by Browning Road STEAM Academy’s cheer squad who were wearing Future Early College Cougar t-shirts.
This Week at BC
This week at BC, our marketing students Juan and Ramon focus on BC Athletics!
Men’s Basketball Spring 2020 Camp
Renegade Men’s Basketball is offering a spring basketball camp on April 6th-7th from 9am-2pm each day. The camps emphasize the fundamentals of basketball and are co-ed, open to children ages 5-17. The cost will be $60/person. Pre-registration is encouraged through the form linked here. For more information, call Rich Hughes at 395-4553 or email at email@example.com.
Swimming Offers Private Swimming Lessons
Renegade Swimming is now offering private swimming lesson for anyone ages 3 to adult. The price for four, 30 minutes lessons is $80. Available lesson times are Monday-Friday 2:30pm & 7:00pm and on Saturdays between 9am-11am.
Adult lap swim is also available at the below times. It is free for BC faculty, staff and students and a $5 drop-in fee for community members.
This last Saturday our Men’s and Women’s Bakersfield College Golf Team’s headed over to provide service at the Kern County Mission. Our athletic department has consistently provided weekly service at the Mission for the past year. On top of school, practice, work and other obligations our student athletes are always finding ways to serve in our community. Way to represent BC!
Next Level Gades!
Renegade Football’s Angel Baez has committed to play with the Kansas Wesleyan University Coyotes this next fall. Angel, who attended East HS, played the last two seasons at BC as a defensive lineman. Congrats, Angel!
Also, Christian Gonzalez and Edgar Gonzalez are both headed taking their soccer talents to the next level. Christian (Ridgeview HS) is headed to Humboldt State and Edgar (Bakersfield HS) is staying in Bakersfield and will be at CSUB. Both were exceptional soccer players for Coach Vayron Martinez the past two years and played huge roles in the team winning the men’s soccer teams first conference championship this last fall. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.
Valley Strong Credit Union Renegades of the Week
Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (2/23-2/29) Valley Strong Credit Union Renegades of the Week:
Amaya Williams, Women’s Track and Field – Amaya won the 100 hurdles (16.49) and 400 hurdles (1:09.25) at the Santa Monica College West Coast Classic. She is currently ranked first in SoCal in the 400 hurdles and ranked third in the 100 hurdles.
Cody Hartsfield, Men’s Track and Field – Cody won the discus (42.43m) and placed fourth in the hammer (41.03m) and seventh in the shot put (11.72m) at the Santa Monica College West Coast Classic.
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 tune that has been in my head this week… Imagine Dragons Believer
Last week was BC’s Homecoming week, and our Renegades played a hard-fought game! Thank you for coming out and showing your Renegade pride. Here are some photos and videos from last week’s game.
The Energy that’s BC!
The 16-sec ending to the Chamber singers doing the National Anthem at the game.
BC SouthWest Has Officially Moved!
The move has happened! We officially moved our classes to the new BC SouthWest campus, which will be held in modulars while construction for the new building is underway. It was a busy and exciting week, but we are ecstatic to begin our journey at our new home in Southwest Bakersfield! Make sure to check out this great video on the new BC SouthWest center!