Tag Archives: Odella Johnson

An Absolutely Uplifting Week at BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 1, 2017 and just a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

This past week the campus has been abuzz with activities…..an absolutely uplifting week.

Here is an email with a picture that I got from Francis Mayer.

This is an image I grabbed last week while running errands on campus.  For me, it captures the essence of BC. The father (or father type) is standing beneath the shade of a beautiful tree adjacent to the LA building, and he’s smiling and his posture is relaxed..on second viewing, we see that his two munchkins are scrambling up the arms of this generous tree…and all is well.

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Is Mom attending classes? Is he enjoying a break with his children before attending classes? While both are lovely notions, in the end it doesn’t matter. BC is a place that is perfect for everyone.

Indeed it is Francis…..BC is a place that is perfect for everyone. #WeAreBC

Here is another great picture I snapped as I rushed out of the Office of Student Success and Equity,  Shauna Turner and her two boys.

Shauner Turner and her two boys March 2017

Let me start with yesterday, when Bakersfield celebrated the inaugural Cesar Chavez Day with a breakfast organized by David Villarino.

1st Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast

It was a beautiful morning celebrating the life of an absolutely inspirational and life changing man. We remember Cesar as a great labor organizer. He gave voice to the voiceless; he became a face for the invisible, and an advocate for social justice. He was a servant for his community and a champion of education as a means leading toward a better life.  Cesar once said, “The end of all education should surely be service to others.” It was fitting that the morning recognized Chancellor emeritus of the Kern Community College District and Bakersfield College’s 7th president, Sandra Serrano.

Sandra Serrano reciving the award from David Villarino March 31 2017

Sandra Serrano receiving the award

With a powerful combination of a strong legal mind, a compassionate heart, and passion for education, there was no one better suited to influence our higher educational community than Sandra Serrano. Her educational leadership is a gift; her work for the community at the local, regional, state and national levels is emblematic of education in service to others.

At the state and national level, she has lived a life of service:

  •    As a member of the Finance and Operations Committee for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
  •    On many boards and committees for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
  •    As President of the oard for the Chief Executive Officers of California Community Colleges;
  •    As Chair of the Board for the Community College League of California;
  •    and as a member of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Consultation Council.

…  just to name a few.

At the regional level, she has served on:

  •    The Board of Directors for the Kern Economic Development Corporation and
  •    The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and
  •    The California Council for the Humanities

… just to name a few.

Sandra has served this community over and over, in ways that are visible and in ways that have gone unrecognized. Her work has touched so many lives. Her life of service is part of the strength of our community. It would take more time than I have just speaking to all that she’s done for Bakersfield College – that she’s done for the Kern Community College District, and the thousands and thousands of lives that have been touched, whether they knew it or not, by her work.

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Sandra Serrano, Tom Burke, Sonya Christian

It was an honor to introduce this quiet, sincere, dedicated, fearless, and dynamic woman who has committed her life and her education in service to others.  Thank you David Villarino for putting together the first annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast, and thank you also for giving me the opportunity of introducing the first recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy award.

There were so many dignitaries in the room.  At the main table there was Supervisor Leticia Perez who is a great supporter of education in general and Bakersfield College in particular.  Then there was Assembly Member Rudy Salas who introduced the keynote speaker, Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa.  When it was my time to speak I shared the story of how Rudy Salas made BC feel so special when i went up to Sacramento to testify to the Senate Budget Committee.

 

It was a joy to see familiar faces at the event, including Chris Cruz, a BC student who works at St. Francis and dedicated his free time to supporting Measure J. It’s incredible to see our BC students contributing to their communities and giving back to the organizations important to them.

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Sonya Christian, Heidi Scott

I also had the opportunity to finally meet the “voice of an angel” Heidi Scott, the director of music and liturgy at the parish. I mentioned hearing Heidi sing in my blog a few weeks ago titled, “Every Day is Something to Celebrate” – Check it out here. She truly is gifted and talented and her voice can inspire and touch my soul.

We had a BC table… of course.

BC at Cesar Chavez Breakfast March 31 2017

Manuel Rosas, Chelsea Esquibias, Victor Diaz, Sonya Christian, Olivia Garcia, Lisa Kent,       Yvonne Almendaris, Maria Wright

Love this picture of Chelsea and Lisa….girls just wanna have fun…..

Chelsea Esquibias Lisa Kent March 31 2017

Chelsea Esquibias, Lisa Kent

The students from FIELD (Farm worker Institute for Education and Leadership Development) helped out with the event.  Lisa snapped this picture with Manuel and me with the Field Students in the background.

Field students March 31 2017

Inspiring post by Professor Bryan Hirayama

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Professor Hirayama with his Distinguished Teaching Award

Speaking of being inspired, Professor Bryan Hirayama wrote a powerful post in the blog detailing his experiences in Bakersfield College’s Inmate Education Program illustrating the depths of the prison industrial complex and how hard we’ll need to work to change the perceptions of incarcerated people in the United States. When people are released out of jail, they’re often told by correctional officers, “We’ll leave the light on for you.” It’s a cynical reference to an old marketing campaign that’s meant to imply that the person getting out of jail is almost certain to come back. Correctional officers know the realities of recidivism rates and the difficulties people on probation or parole face when they go back into society, and many have become numb to the fact that they’re part of an institution that houses more prisoners than any country in the world.

In Bryan’s blog, he describes how he was able to cut through this cynicism for a moment and create an opportunity for the staff to consider why saying “we’ll leave the light on for you” might be a cruel twist of the knife for those inmates who are genuinely striving to rehabilitate themselves.

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Talking about Inmate Education, Chelsea Esquibias partnered with the Opportunity Institute to host the first meeting to Serve Our Formerly Incarcerated Students.  The “Corrections to College California” forum was sponsored by Opportunity Institute/Renewing Communities and Stanford Law School/Stanford Criminal Justice Center. Community partners included Bakersfield College, CSU Bakersfield, Sheriff’s Office, Probation, Parole, Garden Pathways, MAOF.  Chelsea and BC students spoke on panels.

Mayor Karen Goh welcomed the numerous community partners and members of the justice system including CDCR, Lerdo Jail, and the Parole Dept.  Chelsea Esquibias of Bakersfield College, Dr. Jacqueline Mimms of CSUB, and Lisa Stephens of Cerro Coso presented on their school’s initiatives.  The meeting allowed the community to partner with the colleges to build student success for our formerly incarcerated students.  Thank you to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for attending and the continuous support.

Thank you Chancellor Tom Burke for attending the event.

Celebrating the life of Danell Ward

The BC community lost one of our own this month, Child Development Center Director, Danell Ward. Danell’s time with us was too short but her impact was meaningful and lasting. Those who knew her, understand how much she loved Tinkerbell, from Disney’s Peter Pan. There is a saying, “’All you need is faith, trust and a little pixel dust” which Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg mentioned during the memorial. She said it best through her heartfelt words, “Danell was generous with her faith in others and her trust that there was a better tomorrow was boundless. I am sure that whenever you need a little pixie dust, she has left some behind for you…….. So in her memory, have a little more faith in others than you think is necessary, always trust that tomorrow will be better, and remember that a little pixie dust is always available to you.”

My closest interaction with Danell was in Summer 2015, when the administrative team decided to add in a little fun into our summer planning retreats.  Check out my October 15, 2015 blog for more http://tinyurl.com/mv6ovgd

The entire admin council was divided into groups and Danell was in the group along with Ramon Puga, Liz Rozell, Odella Johnson and myself.  We were supposed to pick and song and lipsync in a competition.  Before any of us could volunteer a song, Danell enthusiastically presented that we should do I wanna be like you from Jungle Book.  And although none of us were thrilled with the selection, who could dare go up against the enthusiastic Danell.  So here you see us performing on the day of our competition.  Danell got sick the previous day and could not join us, so we asked Manny Mourtzanos to join us in her stead.  Enjoy seeing us making complete fools of ourselves in all earnestness and remember Danell and her pixie dust.

Annual International Faculty Appreciation Dinner

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The Annual International Faculty Appreciation Dinner took place on Wednesday and is about building bridges of friendship among international students and their invited faculty guests. The international students plan cultural shows and a formal dinner, as they acknowledge BC faculty who work so diligently every day to ensure that the engine of progress never stops moving.

This event is a joint effort by ISA
(International Student Affairs program ) and  the ISO( International Student Organization). Last night’s event brought together approximately 80 students and faculty for an evening of storytelling, cultural immersion, and  international food; prepared by our own Chef Eric Sabella. You’ll have to check out the photos with the delicious looking international cuisine. This year our international students come from 20 different countries. The largest number of students are from India, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. More pictures are available here!

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Petro Stories at BC’s Levan Center

Thursday evening March 23rd in the Levan Center 20-25 students discussed the Oil Age, Symbolism of Oil. Guest speaker from UC Davis a young rising star in the growing field of ecocriticism, which examines the relationship between literature and the physical environment.

Petro StoriesKern County is one the most prolific oil-producing counties in the state of California. In fact, Kern County is the fourth largest oil-producing region in the entire country. Kern County produces 66% of the oil in California, about 10% of the U.S. oil supply, and approximately 1% of the world’s total oil production. That works out to about 560,000 barrels of oil per day, which at $12 to $15 per barrel is something similar to $2.4 billion to $3.0 billion worth of oil every year.

Petro culture studies Michael Ziser says Oil is everywhere. It’s in the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the roads we drive on and the buildings we live in. Its production employs us and its sale sustains our booming economy. Our lives, our cities, our world are shaped by oil, from the arrangement of streets to the arrangement of geopolitics. According to Ziser, our culture’s investment in oil is not just material, but symbolic as well. If we can recognize the power of oil as a symbol, we just might be able to separate myth from reality, and make more sensible decisions about a sustainable future.

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Commercial Music Professor Josh Ottum also spoke at the event. I recently ran into him with his wife Vanessa and son Emmet at the Haggin Oaks Farmers Market where one of my favorite things to pick up is the fresh, local produce. If you’ve never been, it’s a real treat and you never know who you’ll bump into! You might even catch me at my favorite stand with the sweetest, most delicious oranges.

Speaking of Josh, he recently shared with me a promotional video created by his students highlighting the Commercial Music Program at BC! Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZH1d7ODRQA

Renegade Athletics

Bakersfield College Athletics is a valuable extension of our college that takes folks who want to improve themselves and gives them the tools to do so!

Baseball: Last week, I told you that we’d talk about a baseball player who has made a name for himself this season, and he has done so by taking advantage of resources like BC’s Baseball Coach Tim Painton.

Luke Andrews pitched for Bakersfield College last season, but this season he has been a revelation! According to Coach Painton, he has bought into our program 100 percent, and the results have been phenomenal. He’s walked just eight batters in 64 innings pitched! I am not a baseball expert, but friends who follow baseball tell me this is excellent! Coach Painton says Andrews did this by working hard in the offseason and having faith in hard work! Now he is drawing attention from top scouts, so we know his experience at BC is going to take him places, whether that’s to a professional baseball career or a four year degree. Way to go, Luke!!

Cross Country: Speaking of going places, Cross Country runner Emily Freeman was recently entered into the California Community College Athletic Association’s prestigous Scholar Honor Roll at the CCCAA Spring Convention in Concord, CA.

Athletic Director Sandi Taylor and her indispensable partner, Associate Athletic Director Keith Ford, were both in attendance to honor Emily as she was recognized for her achievement in both athletics and academics.

Emily Freeman, you know what’s coming…You rock!!

Emily Freeman with Sandi Taylor and Keith Ford MArch 2017

BC Swimming hosted The Bakersfield College Relays last weekend, and while Clovis came out on top as a team, Coach Matt Moon was happy with the day for more reasons than wins and losses. Wasco High School’s team came and watched the Relays today, and they got to watch alumni like Steve Santana turn in great performances. Santana is the first college attendee in his family, and he will attend University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall to study Chemistry.

“My family immigrated to this country, so they don’t understand the gravity of me getting in a UC,” Santana told Sports Information Director Francis Mayer, “But swimming really showed me how hard I can work. I wasn’t the best student in high school, and I wasn’t the fastest swimmer. But coming to BC showed me just how hard I need to work, and how it’s possible for me to keep up if I try and apply myself. This was life-changing.”

Harlan Hunter

The BC Track and Field team also competed last weekend, and I know high jumper Jacob Bookout is having another great season. It’ll be exciting to see what he can do at the next level! It was great to see Harlan Hunter, faculty member in Criminal Justice, volunteering his time to help out with track and field.  I snapped this picture of Cesar Patino, sophomore from Wasco High School in the relay where BC placed third.

Cesar Patino March 2017

Cesar Patino

Making Transfer Opportunities a Reality

National University was on Campus Wednesday March 29th to connect with as many Bakersfield Students as possible. Rita Jones and Oscar Hernandez were just a couple of the NU staff available to meet and greet the BC students and help answer all of their questions. Some of the most popular programs asked about was the Bachelor of Science in Nursing-RN completion as well as the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. They are also the only local university to offer a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Communication. The members of NU were on location from 10 am to 2 pm where they also gave students a chance to spin and win fun NU gear and were also passing out hotdogs and drinks to all those who stopped by. In all, more than 250 BC students stopped to obtain information and speak to the helpful NU associates. As students make it to the end of their time at BC and are considering their options to move to the next step in their academic year, it is opportunities such as these that allow students to have a full array of information and options.

You might remember, BC recently hosted a HBCU Caravan Tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I covered it in my recent blog entry here. This week, I was informed by Lisa Kent that 60!!!  total number of acceptances were provided at this years HBCU event and scholarships amounted to $657,480.00! These opportunities are fantastic for our students

High School Students going to College

I was so excited to see the news that KHSD and CSUB have created a University Promise that codifies and clarifies student pathways from high school to university.  Here is a photo of Superintended Bryon Schaefer, KHSD) and President Horace Mitchell, CSUB, with the beautiful Brenda Lewis.

KHSD CSUB University Promise March 2017

Taft College has Taft College Promise.  BC’s sister campus, Cerro Coso Community College will be announcing the Kern Promise in the Ridgecrest area on April 4th.  And to round off the College Promises being made in our County, BC working in partnership with BCSD, KHSD, and CSUB will be making an announcement on April 28th.  Exciting times!  and great collaboration among the different education sectors.

Check out Harold Pierce’s article in The Bakersfield Californian at http://tinyurl.com/l7lwl72

Project MALES

On Thursday evening, Dr. Emmet Campos and Dr. Victor Saenz, two researchers from the University of Texas at Austin discussed their Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success, which is Texas’ boys & men of color) program at BC. Specifically, they highlighted how K-12, the community colleges, and Texas universities have been working together. They tailored their presentation around projects that our K-12 system, Bakersfield College, and the CSU system might work together on in the future.

Dr. Emmet Campos, Dean Rodriguez, Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Mark Martinez

Dr. Emmet Campos, Dean Rodriguez, Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Mark Martinez

The goal is to highlight how different education systems can create successful education pathways to graduation for boys and men of color. But it’s especially towards highlighting how Ed.D. / Ph.D. programs and institutes of higher education can do more than provide teachers, by also providing faculty mentors, assessment, and real time research of local education programs. You can check out UT Austin’s Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success program online at http://diversity.utexas.edu/projectmales/

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Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Mark Martinez, Dr. Sonya Christian, Mayor Jose Gurrola, Dr. Emmet Campos

It was great seeing so many friends of Bakersfield College.  Here is a picutre of attorney Win Eaton with Miguel Orozco a screenplay writer from Southern California

Win Eaton and Miguel Orozco

Win Eaton and Miguel Orozco

It was great seeing Jeff Flores and Camilla Chavez at the event.  And thank you Dr. Mark Martinez for your collaboration with BV.

Here is a photo of incredible program managers at BC who make things happen.

Lisa Kent, Shanell Tyus, Maria Wright

Lisa Kent, Shanell Tyus, Maria Wright

 

The Art of the Selfie

So many incredible speakers have made their way to BC this week, including Crystal Galindo who shared with a large group of students and faculty, “The Art of the Selfie”.  This exhibit highlighted the Chicana culture, in particular, selfies of the artist herself. In true form of celebrating Women’s Month, Crystal shared her ideas on the stereotypes that surround many women today and how her hope is that her art will show that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. As a Latina woman, she felt that it was important to showcase artwork that would reach a wider audience. As an art student at Sonoma State University, her art professors often were critical of her work telling her that she should, “make it less Mexican” so that she would appeal to a wider audience. Crystal knew passion and what started off as a tribute to herself later turned into a form of self-expression and celebration.

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Crystal Galindo, Photo by Amber Smithson

 

She hoped that her art would speak to those who are not typically portrayed in art and therefore after her show “The Art of the Selfie” her drive to connect with others pushed her to start painting others, those that maybe she had never met in person but had seen the beauty in them. Before she knew it, her artwork was being requested from all of the United States due to her marketing on social media. She soon moved to the bay area where her art shows have been on display and she has been welcomed with warm accolades for her work and portrayal of Latina’s. Regardless of the size jeans you where, the style of your hair, or the color of your skin, as women we must learn to appreciate every inch of ourselves. Take a selfie, strike a pose, but above all find your self-beauty and love yourself!

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Photo by Amber Smithson

On Thursday, March 30th, I dropped by another presentation in our WHAM series– The Evolution of the Selfie: Deconstruction of the Female from 1400 to the Present”

Panel WHAM March 30 2017

Bakersfield College faculty Andrea Thorson & Erin Miller joined Taft College’s Jessica Grimes, faculty of English, & Faheemah Salahud-Din, Executive Director of First and Always Melanin (FAAM), to address the historical & social constructions of femininity, as well as the power these stereotypes continue to exert through language, self-presentation, & individual interpretation.  Tina Mendoza moderated the event.

It was a treat to see the roomful of students and community members to hear from these powerful women speakers.

Here are photos from Olivia Garcia’s Facebook post

Fireside room packed March 30 2017

Group at WHAM event March 30 2017

Juan Felipe Herrera at The Levan Center

Writing about poetry can be one of the most demanding tasks that many students face in a literature class. Poetry by its very nature requires dedication and makes demands on writers who attempt to analyze it, in ways that other forms of literature do not. So it was no surprise on Wednesday March 29th that over a hundred students and faculty attended an evening to remember inside of the Indoor Theater.

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Juan Felipe Herrera. Photo: Lovie Johnson

American poet, author, and activist, Juan Felipe Herrera became the poet laureate of the United States in 2015. He was the first Hispanic to serve in that position and is best known for his autobiographical poems on immigration, Chicano (Mexican American) identity, and life in California. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. Herrera spent his early years living in tents and trailers in farm communities around Southern California. He shares his life’s information eagerly, and wants his audience to relate to his struggle in life. Encouraging young poets to write poems on anything, even PG&E bills. He shows the audience a son of a migrant farmworkers whose writing fuses wide-ranging experimentalism with reflections on Mexican-American identity through poetry. Herrera, who recently retired as a professor at the University of California, Riverside, mentioned he would use his new position to encourage young poets, and non-poets, to find their voices.

I loved this Facebook post from Olivia Garcia

Juan Felipe Herrera and Olivia Garcia March 29 2017

What a priceless moment it was for me to see my former Chicano literature/poetry professor Juan Felipe Herrera deliver a powerful presentation this evening at Bakersfield College. I even got a chance to introduce my students to him. Here was a Central Valley boy who became the U.S. poet laureate. Like his wife Margarita said, he’s still influencing and inspiring minds, young and old. Thank you, Juan Felipe.

Community Town Hall

BC students, their families, and members of the neighboring Bakersfield community were invited to the Levan Center on Thursday, March 30th to engage in a town hall on issues of immigration law. The event was hosted by the Immigration Justice Collaborative (IJC) in collaboration with CSUB and Bakersfield College. The IJC is a network of twelve lawyers who volunteer their time to host these town halls in various locations in Kern County, to educate our community on their constitutional rights in the United States. Panel discussions were presented in both English and Spanish, and were followed by the opportunity for attendees to engage in one-on-one discussions with local lawyers. The event was organized by Dr. Mark Martinez, Department Chair of Political Science at CSUB, Jay Tamsi President/CEO of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Kent, Program Manager for Equity and Shanell Tyus, Program Manager for Student Support and Success Program.

Many of the attorney’s you see on this program are on the advisory committee for BC’s Pre-Law program.  Thank you!

Immigration Forum (1)

The Renegade Room, Fine Dining at the Campus on the Hill.

I’m constantly impressed by the level of elegance at BC’s Renegade Room, our public restaurant operated by the students enrolled in the Culinary Arts program. This past Wednesday, an exquisite lamb burger was on the menu and I can tell you now… it was juicy and tender, absolutely incredible.

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The goal for the Renegade Room is to have students learn professionalism and service industry standards in a fast-paced, realistic environment. The program entails classes in Nutrition, Cost Control, Supervision, Management, Baking, Food Production, Dining Room Services and Sanitation. Master Chef Suzanne Durst, Chef Alex Gomez, and Chef Anna Melby have over  fifty-years’ experience and  everyone is still  anxious, even the staff when it’s time to open up for the day. The Renegade Room is not even simply room at all, but an affordable upscale restaurant. It’s a great way to enjoy a fine dining experience and one of the best reasons to visit the campus on the hill.

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Next time you want to have a night out on the town, start with dinner reservations at The Renegade Room on Tuesdays or Thursdays… or plan your next business lunch for Wednesday afternoon. You won’t be disappointed, and the students appreciate your support.

Let Freedom Sing

Let Freedom ring….Let Freedom Sing! Last Friday, the Bakersfield College Choir and Chamber singers did just that, conducted by Dr. Jennifer Garrett and accompanied by Patrick Bender, performing a remarkable tribute to the various aspects of freedom.

 

The first half of the concert was dedicated to all those who helped each and every one of attain and maintain the freedoms we hold true today. The Choir and Chamber Singers came together in perfect harmony to sing the National Anthem, after which Dr. Garrett took a moment with the audience to show appreciation for all the Veterans in attendance. As each of the Veterans stood, scattered throughout the seats of the indoor theater, the audience erupted in applause of great gratitude. It’s moments like these that give me chills. I’m proud that #weareBC!

Guest artists accompanied the BC Choir and Chamber singers throughout the night such as, Audrey Boyle on flute, Marla Hansen on violin, and Kris Tiner playing the trumpet.

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Here is a solo piece by Ken Burdick that I posted last week but felt I should repeat.

The second half of the performance was a beautifully commissioned piece written for the BC Choir by Dr. Ron Kean entitled “The Journey of Harriet Tubman”.  This multipart multimedia piece written by Dr. Kean in collaboration with his daughter Hannah was magnificent.  Dr. Garrett and her students also contributed to its creation.  Here is an excerpt with Caley Mayhall that I posted last week and here it is again.

The Bakersfield College Choir has an immense amount of talent and they are in the process of making arrangements to travel to Sydney Australia in June 2018 where they hope to have the great privilege of performing at the famous Sydney Opera House.  So I have two asks of you community members: (1) plz help fund this trip for our students and (2) mark your calendars to take you summer 2018 vacation in Australia and let’s pack the Sydney Opera House with the Bakersfield Community supporting its college.

 

Tonight, they will host a fundraising dinner with choral entertainment themed around Spaghetti Dinner and Broadway. If you have other plans for tonight, change them 🙂  Stop by the BC Cafeteria. The show begins at 5:30 and limited tickets are still available. $15 per person at the door.

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 Levan Faculty Colloquium:

I stopped by the indoor theater on Friday, March 31st,  packing in as many events as I could to support our faculty, staff and students at BC.  Dr. Ron Kean, this year’s recipient of the award, discussed his composition process in three recent commissions including a live performance of the Bakersfield College choirs singing, “Follow the River/The Journey of Harriet Tubman.” This is a five-movement work that incorporates eight African American spirituals in a West African musical framework. “The White Birds,” by W. B. Yeats, is composed in a traditional Irish musical style. “The Rose That Bare Jesu” is a setting of a 14th century English poem using antique style features. These techniques will be discussed and demonstrated in a presentation that is dedicated to the artist in all of us.

Ron opened with the songs Wade in the Water and Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child.  Check out this excerpt.  Just beautiful.  So happy for so much talent at BC….so much dedication….. I am the luckiest and happiest college president event.

Math Articulation Day

Math articulation day March 31 2017

Math Articulation Day was celebrated yesterday as a way to build strong relationships across the independent institutions that serve our communities students. BC math faculty, as well as faculty from local high schools, CSUB, Taft College, Cerro Coso and Porterville Colleges, and math specialists from BCSD gathered to exchange ideas, update each other on curriculum changes and discuss strategies to increase student success. Workshops throughout the day included, dual enrollment, acceleration and compressed courses, “laugh with math” programs, planetarium shows, and using the robotics lab and 3-D printers. Free t-shirts were given to all attendees.

Thank you to Regina Hukill and the entire Math Department for all your work in hosting this great day.

Was so happy to see all of Mary Jo Pasek’s post on Facebook about our Math Articulation Day.  Thank you Mary Jo for all that you do.

Here is a copy of the email Regina sent out after the event:

Hello All—

Math Articulation Day was a lot of fun!  We had around 60 people attend including math instructors from BC, Porterville, Cerro Coso, Berkeley (yes, Eddie Ham was here in the flesh!), UC Davis, CSUB, and KHSD.  We had about a dozen BC students who participated as well.

We appreciate the College Futures Grant which funded the event and paid for the food and t-shirts.  Claudia Sandoval, the representative for the College Futures Grant was also briefly in attendance.  The BC staff for Dual Enrollment helped in getting all the purchases completed through the grant, so we want to thank Cindy Collier, Marissa Jeffers, and Anna Laven.

Many thanks to all of you who worked on this event:  Math Faculty–Tom Greenwood, Kurt Klopstein, Kris Toler, Mike Fredenberg, Alba Romero, Jon Brown, and Donna Starr.  Other BC Faculty—Erica Menchaca, and Nick Strobel.   CSUB Faculty—Charles Lam.  KHSD Math Specialist—Kyle Atkin.  BC Students—Freddy Padilla, Isabelle Recinos, Kevin Starr, Tyler Starr, Devin Serna, Patrick Chao, Allyson Milburn, and Emily Davis.

We also want to thank our dean, Steve, who supported us in putting on this event, and his staff Janet Thomas and Heather Barajas.

And, a special thank you to Josh Lewis who worked diligently to set up the speakers, write the agenda, help with the planning, and who was the MC for the day.

We do have some t-shirts left, so if anyone who couldn’t attend Math Articulation Day wants a t-shirt, please come see me, or send me your shirt size and I’ll put one in your mail box.

Great Day!  Great Fun!

Regina Hukill

Some posts from twitter:

Kimberly Bligh tweet math articulation day Nick Strobel March 31 2017

Kimberly Bligh tweet Erica Menchaca

Kimberly Bligh Kris Toler Math Articulation Day

BC’s incredible Automotive Program:

BC’s automotive program is very much integrated with our business and industry partners in the community.  Here is a Facebook post from faculty member Andrew Haney

Starting in August I ventured into the process of writing a grant. I had no idea what I was doing but had some great help from faculty member that did. They guided and directed me with great experience. Today I was able to finalize all the purchases that the grant awarded to us. I ordered four (4) new factory level software subscriptions to use on the factory scan tools and one new factory scan tool for Chrysler.

I went to Three Way Chevrolet and signed the purchase agreement for the Brand new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt and will have it on Monday on campus, it will be used in training new technologies to student and for program promotion and business when needing to get around town. I then confirmed the order is placed and will be shipping soon for a brand new Generation 3 smog machine which if we did not get Bakersfield College would have lost our Smog and Emissions training certification program from the state. All said and done it totaled just over 80,000.

Thank you Sarah Futrell Baron Liz Morris Rozell Sonya Christian Nan Gomez Heitzeberg and everyone else who was involved in this for helping and guiding me through the process. WE ARE BC, and the automotive program is going to be so much stronger going forward with all the work that has been done by all the faculty that works in this program area.

 

Friday, March 31st at BC:

I started the day with the inaugural Cesar Chavez Celebration and then popped in to see our faculty and staff working away on BC’s accreditation self evaluation work.  And then attended part of Ron Kean’s presentation and finally the Math Articulation Day.  Here are some photos and Facebook posts.

BC’s accreditation Laboratory, Friday, March 31st:

Group at Accreditation Lab March 31 2017

Michele Pena, Sue Vaughn, Debi Rosenthal, Jennifer Johnson, Maria Wright

Accreditation Lab March 31 2017

Todd Coston presenting at the Accreditation Lab

Qiu Jimenez and Talita Pruitt Accreditation Lab March 31 2017

Qiu Jimenez, Talita Pruitt

 

 

 

I’d like to end with one more quote from the Cesar Chavez.

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” – Cesar Chavez,  Address to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Nov. 9, 1984

Thank you BC for an absolutely uplifting week!

Sonya Christian cropped March 17 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

It is the best of times

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 28th, the start of the long Memorial Day weekend.  On May 30th, the last Monday of May in 2016, our nation will pause, as is our tradition, to remember those who have fallen.

Talking about wars and those who lost their lives, here is one of my favorite poems, In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae, that transports us out of the day-to-day vibrations of routine life to a place where we can experience the preciousness of life with all it has to offer.

In_Flanders_fields_and_other_poems,_handwritten

Source of the image:
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9677477

Browsing the website I came across Moina Michael’s 1918 response to McCrae’s Flanders Fields with her own We Shall Keep the Faith.

Red Poppy Field cropped

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Source:
http://www.greatwar.co.uk/poems/moina-michael-we-shall-keep-faith.htm

Moina Michael 3 cent stampMoina Michael “kept the faith” symbolically by wearing a red poppy.  In 1948 the last of the 3c stamps had Moina Michael with the image of a poppy with the whole stamp branded red.

Source: http://www.usmemorialday.org/?page_id=2

When you donate to the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars outside of Vons you receive a small red poppy to wear.

This week President Obama visited Hiroshima, the first sitting US President to do so.  I tweeted the text of his speech which you can find at http://tinyurl.com/zssxm3x.  

Here is an excerpt:

 My own nation’s story began with simple words: All men are created equal, and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Realizing that ideal has never been easy, even within our own borders, even among our own citizens. But staying true to that story is worth the effort. It is an ideal to be strived for, an ideal that extends across continents and across oceans. The irreducible worth of every person, the insistence that every life is precious, the radical and necessary notion that we are part of a single family – that is the story that we all must tell.

I would like to take this Memorial Day opportunity to also recognize our veterans.  Here are some links to previous posts:

  • Nov 11, 2015 post titled Veterans Day, Vet Fest and Remembering America’s Best at http://tinyurl.com/gpsrsx7. Thank you Trustee Kay Meek for your support. And thank you Paul Beckworth for your beautiful words.
  • Nov 11, 2014 titled Student Veterans and BC’s 2nd annual Vet Fest at  http://tinyurl.com/ztfsz5z
  • August 24, 2014 welcome email from Paul Beckworth to our Student Vets. http://tinyurl.com/hpkzapg
  • June 5, 2013. My first blog as president on our Student Vets from the Singapore Airport. http://tinyurl.com/zz2w5uq

 

Today’s Bakersfield Life Magazine:

Woke up today to the Bakersfield Life insert in The Bakersfield Californian which featured BC not once but twice.  How cool is that! The June issue is not yet available in the archives ( http://www.bakersfield.com/Bakersfield-Life-Archive ) but you can access it online as a subscriber to the Californian.

Dean Corny Rodriguez was featured by Laura Liera on page 76 under the People and Community Section.

BC’s Promising Professionals Program by Odella Johnson was featured on page 103 in the Last Word section. Thank you Tamika Payne for getting this picture which I treasure very much.

Promising Professionals 1 fall 2015 cropped.jpg

Sonya Christian with the Promising Professionals at Bakersfield College

 

ACBO Conference

ACBO-Anthony Sonya Steven May 24 2016

Holmes, Christian, Culpepper

Have you seen our Renegade Scorecard? It’s a collection of information about our students and our work at Bakersfield College. It includes not only data about our student demographics and student success, but an entire section on institutional effectiveness – including operational data.

This week, I had the opportunity to travel to Monterey to present at the ACBO spring conference along with Steven Holmes, Academic Senate President, and Dr. Anthony Culpepper, VP of Finance and Administrative Services. ACBO is the Association of Chief Business Officers.

Here is the title and description of our presentation:

Revisiting Fiscal Leadership through the Lens of Transparency and Participatory Governance.

The advantages of using a distributed leadership model is the focus of this panel as they discuss the process of changing a campus culture by removing silos through the leveraging of key participatory governance committees. The panel will explain how the positioning of fiscal leadership as a catalyst to galvanize the academic, administrative, and classified leadership can result in a shared vision of student success. Find out how transparency and full disclosure of budget resources can lead to stronger commitment to a college’s mission and vision.

Shannon has uploaded the presentation on the website https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/communications under “Presentations”.

Here is the direct link http://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/download/16301.

It was great seeing friends from my days in Oregon at the presentation–Jeff DeFranco and David Keebler.  Also our colleagues from across the district came to support our us — Tom Burke, CFO of KCCD; Arlitha Williams-Harmon from Porterville College and Gayle Lebsock from Cerro Coso.  Thank you!

I am so proud of all the work from our budget committee to make sure that we are spending our money thoughtfully and strategically, to really support our students and the work of the college.

I want to especially thank Steven Holmes and Anthony Culpepper, who are co-chairs on that committee. They have done astounding work!

Past BC SGA Presidents Shine:

Clayton Fowler (Prez: 2015-2016) blogs https://claytonjfowler.wordpress.com/

Alex Domiguez (Prez: 2014-2015) named CSUB Student Association president for 2016-2017.

 

BC Presenting at the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce

BlackChamber

Keith Wolaridge, Sarah Baron, Michael Bowers

BC Public Health faculty, Sarah Baron, together with community members Michael Bowers and Keith Wolaridge presented to the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce this week. The KCBCC and their President/CEO, Tomeka Powell are fantastic partners of BC through their support for education, personal development, and prosperity for the local African American community.

According to The State of Higher Education in California, “California is home to the nation’s fifth largest Black population, and though Black students today are more likely to graduate from high school and college than they were a decade ago, persistent opportunity gaps exist in college access and success and completion outcomes are still too low.”

For future generations and for A Better BC, it’s imperative that we work together, to engage, inspire, and reach out to our African American community – Together, we can identify existing barriers and strengthen our campus and support along the pathway to success.

Recognizing a Community Partner — Chevron!

ChevronAdamAlvidrez

Adam and Tiffani Alvidrez

We recognized Chevron earlier this spring as our Corporate Philanthropist of the Year.  Chevron was our first recipient and epitomizes what every charity wants in a donor.

Chevron has been strategic in where it directs its support.  It’s been focused by giving sufficient amounts towards its goals so that they can be achieved.

It has been consistent in its support so that plans can be made and implemented without fear of losing funding before they come to fruition. And Chevron has listened to what BC has needed and has worked to meld their goals with ours.

A key to that collaboration has been Adam Alvidrez, Chevron’s Policy, Government & Public Affairs Representative and Community Engagement Specialist. All of us at BC who work with Adam appreciate his ability to listen, to suggest and to figure out a way to make every situation a win-win for all involved.

Chevron is more than a community partner.  It is made up of people like Adam who want to do what’s right for our community and to help us make a better BC.

BC Students Compete in Solar Regatta

The Bakersfield College Engineers’ Club and Women in Science and Engineering Club participated in the 5th annual Northern California Solar Regatta held at the Rancho Seco Recreational Area in Herald, California, on May 14th.

BC students at the event included Eddie Berdon, Amanda Jones, Zeke Kennedy, Rey Fernandez, Frederick Mayer, Luiz Hernandez,  Summer Estes, and Danae Berhow.

In addition to taking part in three races (slalom, endurance, and sprint), the team gave a presentation on the design and structure of the Renegade Solar-Powered Boat. The judges said the BC team had a very impressive first-time entry.

I’m so proud of our students’ ingenuity and coordination in planning, constructing, testing, launching, and racing a solar boat! Our STEM programs are just the best!

Classified School Employee Week

The California School Employees Association (CSEA) treated our BC staff members to a luncheon of tacos and agua fresca on May 19 in celebration of Classified School Employee Week.

BC’s CSEA chapter E-Board did an awesome job organizing the event.

CSEA also coordinated the appreciation grams, which were sent out to staff thanking them for their dedication and service to BC.

And congratulations to this year’s BC CSEA Member of the Year Award, Anna Meyer, a payroll technician at the district office.

2016-CSEALuncheon (2).JPG

 

Ramon Puga:

Ramon Puga Sonya Christian May 27 2016

Sonya Christian, Ramon Puga

In my previous blogs I recognized individuals like Bill Parker and Dennis Spencer who are dedicated to BC and work behind the scenes.  Today let me spotlight Ramon Puga our manager for Custodial Services.  Ramon puts in long hours and you’ll see him around campus quietly working away.  Friday morning I walked up to the bookstore to get some BC T-shirts for a group that I was presenting to at 10:00 a.m.  And there I saw Ramon in the distance, working away.  I paused watching him and thinking how lucky we are at BC to have so much dedication of service.  Let’s toast Ramon today!

 

Kern continues great work through collaboration:

Rob Arias invited me to present to a group of educators from across Kern County on Friday, May 27th.  I so enjoyed seeing approximately 30 individuals gathered around a table focusing on getting our organizations aligned to help students move efficiently and effectively through their educational pathways from high school to college.  My presentation was titled Kern on the Move to recognize the significant work that was accomplished in 2015-2016.  Here is a link to the powerpoint  www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/download/16302

When there is great movement, innovation, and scaling of design usually there is a great deal of exhaustion and frustration when a piece needs to be fine tuned.  So what better way to capture this “good yet difficult” phenomenon than to bring in Dickens with

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,

we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,

Well…I attempted to get us to focus on the left hand side of the descriptors than the right. That is…

It was the best of times

it was the age of wisdom

it was the epoch of belief

it was the season of Light

it was the spring of hope

we had everything before us

🙂

We had leadership from Delano, Wasco, Taft, Kern High, ROC, KCSOS, KCCDC etc… all engaged in this work.

A big thank you to all these individuals for taking the time to be there.  Please note this is not a comprehensive list.

Rich McCrow – Bakersfield College

Laura Hickel – grant writer

Kim Behrens – Porterville College

Sam Aunai – Porterville College

Martin Lonza – Wasco

Robb Cobb – Wasco

Rob Arias – KCSOS

Terri Nuckols – DJUHSD

Blanca Cavazos – Taft HS

Bonita Steele – KCCD

Garrett Thomas – Porterville College

John Means – KCCD

Diane Baeza – KCCD

Letti Garza – KCCD

Brian Miller – KHSD

Valerie Garcia – McFarland

Whitney Soldati – McFarland

Justin Derrick – McFarland

Cindy Collier – BC

Liz Rozell – BC

Lisa Stephens – Cerro Coso

Bob Hawkes – KCCD

Mark Williams – Taft College

Susan Clipperton – Mohave HS

Sarah Baron – BC

Pam Dobrenen – KCSOS

any many more…..

 

Just wonderful!

It is indeed the best of time!

It is indeed a good time to be in Kern County! 

Is is indeed a good time to be at BC!

We are….BC!

A Promise…..College Futures Foundation, Kern Education Leaders Talk Student Success, Community Partnership

 

Hello from San Antonio…..It is February 5, 2016.  A good day to be a Renegade.

BC Team 3 Pathways Institute 1 Feb 5 2016 cropped

Zav Dadabhoy, Lesley Bonds, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Kimberly Bligh, Sonya Christian

 

Bakersfield College is one of the 30 colleges nation-wide selected to be part of the three-year AACC Guided Pathways Initiative.  Long days at the Pathways Institute ….. visionary and detailed work all at once.  There are two other colleges from California as part of the Pathways initiative — Mt SAC and Irvine Valley.  The goal of this initiative is to get students from High School to degree completion in the shortest amount of time while improving the quality of the learning.

The pathways work with AACC is very much aligned with what is happening in Kern County under the leadership of Kristen Barnes, CEO of the Kern Community Foundation (KCF).  With the support of the KCF, BC faculty and staff have been working with other educational leaders in Kern County on the Kern County Access Initiative, to explore issues of college access countywide.  Together, we’ve had ongoing meetings with representatives from virtually every level of education in the county, all aimed at finding opportunities to boost degree completion. Smaller work groups have continued looking for even more avenues for alignment and collaboration as well as ways to bridge cultural disconnects and engage businesses in the educational process.

IMG_0180 (2)

With those goals in mind, Bakersfield College hosted a KCF event on campus to introduce College Futures Foundation to the key Kern County educational partners.

College Futures Vice President of Programs Jackie Khor and Senior Program Officer Shawn Whalen kicked off the morning’s activities by sharing what has impressed them most about Kern County.  Jackie called Kern County “a beacon of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit,” while Shawn noted Kern’s “collaborative commitment to our students”.

IMG_0187 (2)

Alyse Braaten, Lesley Bonds

We were happy to have KHSD Superintendent Bryon Schaefer, KCSOS leadership Rob Arias, Taft College President Brock McMuray and CSUB Vice President for Enrollment Management Jacqueline Mimms at BC for this event.  All great leaders.  All great partners.

And I always enjoy having the fabulous Vickie Spanos, Director of Instruction for the Kern High School District with us.  Vickie tirelessly moves the student success agenda in Kern County.  She does not shy away from difficult conversation; particularly those that highlight the dismal educational attainment rates in Kern county.  Rather, she uses this information to spur the community to work together and find ways to get students to be college and career ready. Thank you Vickie!

Dr. Jacqueline Mimms offered some encouraging news, sharing that CSUB has seen an increase in transfers from around 650 to over 900 in the past two years, with the vast majority coming from BC.  That’s a promising sign for the bachelor degree attainment rate in Kern County.

IMG_0188

Jackie Khor, Odella Johnson

College Futures expressed appreciation for the work happening here in Kern County, and the level of credibility, trust, and courage among the partners. Indeed, it’s a great time to be at BC! and a great time to be in Kern County.

Thanks so much to Janet Fulks, Lesley Bonds, Steve Watkin, Odella Johnson, Paul Beckworth, Richard McCrow, Gustavo Enriquez, Liz Rozell, Cindy Collier, Henry Covarrubias, Karla Young, and others for your diligence in advancing this important work as a part of the Kern County College Access Team.

We are…..BC!

Engaging in Our Community: MLK Breakfast

BC_Group_Photo

Photo by Karen Goh

Good Morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, January 30, 2016…..a good day to be a Renegade.

Martin_Luther_King_-_March_on_Washington

Picture from Wikipedia

We all have our traditions.  One of mine is listening to Martin Luther King‘s I have a Dream speech (about 14 minutes long) on Martin Luther King day–this year on Jan 18th.  Take a moment to listen to the speech and read his words here:

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

 

Early in his 1963 speech, Dr. King harkens back to Five score years ago, 1863, and Abraham Lincoln‘s short and powerful Gettysburg address.

Here it is:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

 

In Bakersfield there are several events that occur during Martin Luther King Day. More than 350 people poured into Bakersfield’s MLK Community Center Jan. 18th to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, and further his message.  Among those assembled, proud BC Renegades gathered to celebrate with local community leaders, and to offer support in striving for equity and justice.

The focus of the 10th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Award Breakfast was “enriching our millennium with future foot soldiers.”  And that desire to stand shoulder to shoulder and further a noble cause was in full display during this wonderful event.

Fitzgerald Graves

Marcus Duarte Smith and Fitzgerald Graves. Photo by Karen Goh

Following Mayor Harvey Hall’s opening proclamation, a unified rendition of the National Black Anthem and an incredible solo performance, Senior Pastor Reverend Dr. Vincent Karl Jones of the historic  People’s Missionary Baptist Church of Bakersfield addressed the audience in a thought-provoking and inspiring speech.

Rev. Jones led the group to first grapple with the challenging political landscape that exists for many today, and then to reconcile those challenges with a call to action.  The solution to the problems of today, he said, is oneness.  With unity, communication, and love, Rev. Jones believes that even the most divisive of issues can resolve to a place of peace and understanding.

In closing, Rev. Jones refocused on Dr. King’s legacy of action and service.  “It is our challenge,” Rev. Jones reminded the crowd, “to lead this nation beyond picking up trash in the community, but to a place where we stop trashing our community.”  He exited the stage to a standing ovation and roaring applause.

Clarence Stephens

Clarence Stephens, Photo by Karen Goh

The planning committee recognized several local community leaders for the work they do in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Multiple awardees are BC alumni, and we are fortunate to call awardee Clarence Stephens, a volunteer Assistant Coach for the BC women’s basketball team, one of our own!  Clarence was recognized for his support of young athletes in the community.

 

Martin Luther King concluded his speech in the following way:

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

 

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

 

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

 

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

I am proud of our work at Bakersfield College, working with the community of Bakersfield, in our own way, letting freedom ring from Panorama Bluffs, through education and our work together, for we are speeding that day called for in Dr. King’s stirring words.

Let me wrap up with a Youtube video of My County Tis of Thee

 

 

¡Somos El Colegio De Bakersfield!

¡Somos BC!

Latina Leaders BC Gang July 11 2015

Maritza Carlisle, Sandra Serrano, Odella Johnson, Dana Gelder, Lisa Kent, Victor Diaz, Sonya Christian, Kimberly Bligh, Tom Gelder, Rick Kreiser

Last evening, July 11th, a group of us attended the Latina Leaders Awards banquet to celebrate the recognition of one of our very own–Lisa Kent.  It was a beautiful event recognizing the talent of Latinas in Kern County.  We were so proud of Lisa Kent who believes in the transformational power of higher education and who believes in Bakersfield College.  She puts herself out there to do whatever it takes to help others, particularly the young women in our community.  Lisa Kent, we are proud of you!

We had two of our students, two Latinas, from the Making it Happen Program attend the event.  Mariaha Lopez, from Shafter High, and Alondra Lule from Arvin High.  Here they are with Odella Johnson, myself, Lisa Kent, and Kimberly Bligh

BC team with Mariaha Lopez  and Alondra Lule July 11 2015

Standing L to R: Odella Johnson, Director of Equity and Inclusion; Sonya Christian, President; Lisa Kent, award winner; Kimberly Bligh, Department Chair Sitting L to R: Mariaha Lopez, Alondra Lule

The Latina Leaders of Kern County is a great organization whose President this year is Norma Rojas-Mora, who is also on the Bakersfield College Foundation Board of Directors.  You can find more information at http://kernlatinas.com/.  Another recipient is Camila Chavez, Executive Director for the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF) whom I met prior to my presidency when she was spearheading the movement locally to pass Prop 30 during the November 2012 election, which helped education in California as a whole and Bakersfield College in particular.

Talking about Latina leaders, I am reminded of Jo Ann Acosta, another amazing Latina, and the person behind the detailed planning and execution of BC’s Chicano/Latino Commencement Celebration.

The 21st Annual Bakersfield College Chicano/Latino Commencement Celebration, held on May 6th, was a festive evening filled with a performance by the Aztec Dancers, a live mariachi band and heartfelt remarks from our graduates. Take a moment to watch the 6:02-minute condensed version of the evening put together in a video by Manny de los Santos.

https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/graduation-celebrations

The program began with a processional of BC’s committed faculty and staff, followed by our students draped in beautiful Hispanic serape stoles with hues of green, blue, red, orange, yellow and white. Both MCs for the event, Lily Martinez (Professor, Foreign Language) and Maritza Salgueiro-Carlisle (Professor, Foreign Language) addressed the audience with translations in English and Spanish. The audience then received words of inspiration from the speaker of the evening Connie Perez (Partner, Brown Armstrong). The Student Speaker was Jose ”Jimmy” Moran (Vice President, Student Government Association), followed by the Presentacion de Certificados! Each of the graduates expressed their heartfelt appreciation for all who touched their lives, there was barely a dry eye in sight!

Thank you Jo Ann Acosta, Corny Rodriguez, the Committee and all parties that helped make the Chicano Commencement a cultural celebration to remember! and thank you Karla Young for capturing content for me for this blog.

More photos can be found at:
http://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2015-Chicano-Commencement-Cele/

¡Somos El Colegio De Bakersfield!

¡Sí Se Puede!