Tag Archives: Ronnie Wrest

BC – We’ve got talent

Did you vote?

Chancellor Tom Burke

Follow our chancellor’s lead…. he dropped off his ballot today at the BC ballot box.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, October 24, 2020…a great day to be a Renegade.

Kern Shakespeare Festival: “The Comedy of Errors”

The 36th annual Shakespeare festival kicked off this week with the virtual premiere of “The Comedy of Errors”,  directed by Bob Kempf. The performers have adapted the slapstick of the Bard’s original “Comedy of Errors” into a Chaplinesque silent film with masks. Performances of the play aired online Thursday, October 22 through Saturday, October 24.

For the first time at this year’s Kern Shakespeare Festival, alongside the Shakespeare plays, the theater department will begin premiering a production created by playwrights of color. Premiering Thursday, October 29 is a performance of “Bootycandy”, a semi-autobiographical play written by Robert O’Hara that premiered in 2015. The festival close-out production is Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Check the Kern Shakespeare Festival Facebook page for ticket information for upcoming shows.

BC High School Chamber Singers Festival Moves Online

On Monday, the BC Chamber Singers hosted their annual BC High School Chamber Singers Festival. In past years, 14 high school chamber choirs would have come to the BC campus for the event.

This year, the format changed to a Zoom event with Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre.

Performing Arts Department Chair Jennifer Garrett shared that 15 high school choirs, plus CSUB choirs and more were scheduled to attend the virtual event – including a Q&A session with Eric.

Jennifer shared the piece that Eric discussed at the event:

Latina Leaders of Kern

Bakersfield College, BC’s Latinas Unidas student organization, and the Latina Leaders of Kern County came together to host their first webinar in a series on race and diversity relations. Norma Rojas-Mora, BC’s Director of Community Relations who serves on the Board of Directors for the Latina Leaders of Kern County, was the moderator for the panel on Wednesday, October 21: “A Dialogue on the Intricacies of Race and Relationships”. Maria Wright was a featured panelist, along with HelloBakersfield podcast host Carla Barrientos and Sandy Woo-Cater, the Co-Director of the Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

I will be sharing videos from this webinar in my blog. Today, I’m sharing Carla Barrientos’ introduction. In this 2:12 video, she shares a little about her background and her experiences being in a biracial relationship.

Next week, I will continue to share short video clips from the webinar, as well as a link to the video of the full webinar.

Art, Architecture and Archetypes

The Levan Center focused its “Art, Architecture and Archetypes” discussion on Wednesday around art and lockdowns, examining the different ways that disease and isolation have impacted art over time.

Professor Rae Ann Kumelos opened her remarks with an mythological exploration of hubris, showing stories from the Greek canon where the gods have punished mankind for its failures to reckon with reason and science. Apollo, the god of reason and science, was also the god who could cast plagues with his arrows.

Art professor Ronnie Wrest showed several art pieces inspired by pandemics and disease, highlighting paintings from Edvard Munch alongside an 1890 print depicting Japanese folklore. He also showed some street art made during the 2020 pandemic to celebrate health workers.

Ronnie Wrest shows Edvard Munch’s “The Sick Child” during Art, Architecture, and Archetypes

Kimberly Chin shared about the impact of the pandemic on Broadway theater. The New York theater district, which is the biggest in the world, had only closed 14 times before the pandemic, mostly related to strikes or natural disasters. In fact, the theater stayed open during the Spanish flu. The current pandemic is the longest time that Broadway has been closed in its history, and it looks to continue closure well into next year.

Krista Moreland gave a presentation on the way art about pandemics reflected different cultural values and needs that evolved over time. Pandemics were initially perceived as “punishment” for sinners, and woodcut illustrations were used to communicate the dangers about plagues for a primarily illiterate population . Eventually, as culture evolved to perceive plague victims with more empathy, artists depicted their struggles with more humanity. Pandemics changed the urban landscape as we began to understand disease, and images from newspapers, drawings and video recordings could directly depict disease in HD.

Thank you to Levan Center director Reggie Williams and all of the panelists for their participation in this virtual forum about art and pandemics.

Latino Inspire Awards Recognize Norma Rojas-Mora

BC’s Norma Rojas-Mora was recognized by Rep. TJ Cox during this year’s Latino Inspire Award celebration. Rep. Cox first hosted the Latino Inspire Awards in 2019 in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated since 1988 from September 15th to October 15th.

Rep. Cox recognized Norma for all her years of service and her work to inspire positive change throughout the Bakersfield Community. Congratulations to Norma and the full list of deserving recipients.

  • Fresno County: Jacqueline Martinez, Juan Esparza Loera, Ofelia Ochoa, Roberto Vaca
  • Kings County: Ivette Stafforini, Martha Tamayo, Dr. Adalberto Renteria, Amory Marple
  • Kern County: Rosalinda Chairez, Magda Menendez, Ana Vigil, Matthew Cauthron, Norma Rojas-Mora
  • Organizations: Centro la Familia and the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Student Success Lab offers Standardized Test Prep Course

All of us at one time or another have had to take a make-or-break sort of test, such as TEAS (Nursing), CBEST, CSET, ASVVAB (Military), GED, SAT, ACT, and WorkKeys. But did you know that you can prepare for these by signing up for practice exercises that are free, ungraded, online (PLATO software), and at your own pace?!

Our very own Student Success Lab is now offering EDUC B80 Test Prep for Careers. Signing up couldn’t be easier: register any time this semester for CRN 75692, which is EDUC B80NC. Then send an email to our Director, Kim Nickell (knickell@bakersfieldcollege.edu) with your student ID# and birth date. Professor Nickell and her staff will then set up your account and test prep activities in PLATO and email the login information to you. You can also access the course through Canvas, which will contain further resources on test taking tips and strategies.

Early College at the #SSSC20 Virtual Conference

Early College was asked to present on the Online Collaborative Model of course delivery at the Strengthening Student Success 2020 Virtual Conference. Program Directors Kylie Campbell & Nicole Alvarez were joined by BC faculty member Teresa Mcallister and her online collaborative teaching partner, McFarland High School faculty, Angela Quinn. The four of them detailed the evolution of BC’s online collaborative module and the adapting they have had to do in light of the COVID pandemic.

Bakersfield Young Professionals Diversity Panel

Abel Guzman represented BC and the EODAC committee at the 2020 Bakersfield Young Professionals Summit, speaking as part of a panel on diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. 

At the panel on October 14, Abel helped answer questions about recruiting and hiring diverse talent, diversification in the workplace, and more, along with Claudia Catota, Chief Diversity Officer at CSUB; Jane Myneni, Inclusion, Diversity and Engagement Lead at Aera; and moderator Carla Barrientos, host of the HelloBakersfield Podcast.

You can watch the full video of the panel on the Greater Bakersfield Chamber’s YouTube account.

Thank you, Abel, for representing BC on this esteemed panel, and thank you to the Chamber and the Bakersfield Young Professionals for inviting BC to participate.

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

Today, I am sharing the final videos from this summer’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation programming.

Commitment from Rural Communities & Rural Initiatives:

Commitment from HEAL:

I would once again like to thank everyone for the time, effort, thought and care that went into this programming. It truly was a community conversation.

You can find out more about the #LightACandle project and see all the videos at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/aai/lightacandle-a-juneteenth-conversation.

Upcoming: Premiere of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Tribute

Please join me in celebrating the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg on Thursday, October 29, live at 5:30 p.m on BC’s YouTube channel and Facebook live. This very special tribute, organized by the Pre-Law Club and the Women’s History and More committee, has been in the making for a few weeks, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

For more information, visit the BC website!

Spotted on Social Media

Talita Pruett shared this picture of her beautiful family, and found the positives in these unprecedented times:

“One of the upsides of distance learning and working remotely is that we can work from the beach. So, we’ve been working/ studying from Morro Bay as much as we can. It is a blessing to be able to go on walks early in the morning before we start work/school and late in the afternoon after we are all done with work…Being safely outdoors, when we’ve been isolated/ at home for seven months now, is divine. It is a balm for the body and the soul.”

Cindy Collier shared this photo from getting takeout at the Renegade Room:

BC Renegade Room and Culinary students continuing their education with take out food services. Chef Suzannne and Logan were so hospitable and the food is wonderful. BC faculty and students are innovative and flexible.

Athletics

Baseball’s Caggienelli Headed to CSUB

Renegade Baseball pitcher Benji Caggienelli announced this week his commitment to play at the next level across town at Cal State Bakersfield. The right-handed pitcher played just this shortened spring season at BC after a stellar high school career at Ridgeview High School. He is the third baseball player this year to move on to the four-year level. Congrats Benji! We’ll be rooting for you!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

It’s Still a Beautiful World

We do live in a beautiful world.

The weather in Bakersfield has been perfect. The sound of the birds and the smell of the flowers intoxicating. My morning starts with a Neo walk as dawn is breaking but still relatively dark and the neighborhood quiet. Every morning, a sentinel owl who is perched high up on the cypress that fills our neighborhood calls out … who goes there.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 4, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.

Beauty

Here is Jack Hernandez on Beauty

Jack Hernandez at church

Beauty

By Jack Hernandez 

From my window
azaleas blush,
a white cloud
lingers above,
rain has come
and gone,
the dawn begins
a week of waiting
for another kiss
of passing beauty.

Jack also had a beautiful essay in the April 1, 2020 Californian. Poetry is felt, not analyzed. A poem is not an argument; it is an experience, a revelation. check it out https://tinyurl.com/tzye3ja

#JonesGalleryGoesOnline

Ronnie Wrest and Jeffrey Huston from the Jones Gallery created a virtual exhibition of student art projects. The 2020 Bakersfield College Student Exhibition went live on the web on Thursday afternoon, and features art projects in a variety of mediums. The annual student art exhibition usually takes place at the Jones Gallery inside the Grace Van Dyke Byrd Library, but our art students and staff #LettheTimesGuidetheirCreativity to move this year’s exhibition online.

Invitation with an image of a wild horse running.

See the fabulous art at one or all of the following:

Talking about the art faculty and their creativity, I spotted this wonderful tweet from their dean bragging about them.

Career Education’s First Virtual Career Expo

The Career Education Department hosted their first ever virtual career expo for the Industrial Technology & Transportation pathway on Wednesday April 1st. This innovative platform successfully connected employers with students giving them virtual facetime through Zoom. Our Employer participants included; Berry Petroleum Company, LLC, Sierra School Equipment, Crown Lift Trucks, US Army, AppleOne, JTI Electrical & Instrumentation, LLC, and Westec. As in the many things we do BC is setting the trend as our regional partners have reached out to see how they can duplicate and adapt the event to their campuses. Check out our video recapping the event.

Thank you Carlos Medina and the staff in CTE for thinking outside the box and finding another modality to bring this important event to our students and the community. #BCGoesOnline

Leslie Aldridge Making the World Beautiful

Mrs. Bakersfield and 2 ladies.

Professor of Performing, Leslie Aldridge is still finding incredible ways to serve our community even though we currently find ourselves in challenging times. Leslie is Mrs. Bakersfield 2020 pageant queen, led a senior donation drive to bring food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and gift cards to needy seniors, and she hosted Donate Life to increase the number of vital organs and tissues to save lives. 

Donations for Seniors notice.

She has also used her creativity to bring joy to our community. Her art work at the “Chalk Your Walk” was breathtaking! 

Laying next to chalk drawing of flowers.

BC “Do Good, Feel Good” Campaign

Image of Do Good Feel Good poster.

Now, for some more positive initiatives at BC! Endee Grijalva, the Program Manager of Rural Initiatives, and the BC Office of Student Life staff members came together to assist BC students through the “BC Do Good, Feel Good” campaign. On April 1, 2020 (no April Fools on this one), began a campaign that provides opportunities and encourages BC employees to continue to “do good and feel good” in continuing to serve and provide much-needed resources to students, all while social distancing. We are keeping our spirits up by continuing to support our students in this difficult time and feeling good about it.

Thank you, BC staff and faculty, for your generosity during this time, and thank you, Endee Grijalva and the BC Office of Student Life staff members, for leading this fantastic campaign. 

Cesar Chavez Day 

Cesar Chavez Speaking

Did you know that Tuesday, March 31st, was César Chávez Day in the United States? In California, César Chávez Day is a state holiday that celebrates the birthday of César E. Chávez, paying tribute to his life as a labor leader and champion of civil rights.

Chávez’s life as a community organizer and activist began in 1952 when he joined the Community Service Organization (CSO), a Latino civil rights group. He coordinated voter registration drives and conducted campaigns against racial and ethnic discrimination. He eventually became CSO’s national director, but his dream was to create an organization that protected and served farmworkers. In the early 1960s, he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America), along with Dolores Huerta (who spoke at BC just last year) and Philip Vera Cruz. Chávez remained president of the United Farm Workers of American until he passed away on April 23rd, 1993. 

Today, his life motto, “sí se puede” (it can be done),” encourages organizers around the nation to come together and advance civil rights and different causes. Additionally, many schools, parks, streets, libraries, and other public buildings named or renamed after César Chávez to commemorate his work and commitment to social justice. In 1994, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the U.S. president can grant an American. In 2006, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Here at BC, we hope Chávez’s legacy continues to inspire us to serve others and the greater good.

David Villarino has organized a large community celebration each year but could not do so this year because of COVID-19 stay-at-home executive order from the Governor. Here are links to the three previous years.

Third annual Cesar Chavez Breakfast. April 24, 2019. Corny Rodriguez was honored. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2019/04/27/spring-is-heating-up-at-bc/

Second annual Cesar Chavez Breakfast in March 2018. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was honored. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2018/03/24/a-beautiful-rainy-week-at-bc/

Inaugural Cesar Chavez Breakfast in March 2017. Sandra Serrano was honored. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/04/01/an-absolutely-uplifting-week-at-bc/

#BCGoesOnline 

Thank you to everyone who continues to share their experiences sheltering in place using the hashtag #BCGoesOnline on social media. Here are some highlights from this week:

Librarian Mindy Wilmot hosted her first ConferZoom meeting and had a furry friend joining her, as well.

Isabel Castaneda joins a Zoom meeting to move the Summer Bridge to BC program online.

Lesley Bonds’ dog Luna was listening intently to the All-Campus Virtual Forum on Tuesday.

Finally, Kalina Hill from Testing and Placement responds to a message of hope from Manuel Rosas.

Screen shot of Nobody is Alone in this, We are here to help!

This Week at BC: Nursing and Allied Health 

Marketing student workers Ramon Carreido and Juan Reyes made one last video before BC transitioned to a virtual environment, which happened to be about the important work of our Nursing and Allied Health Departments. Thank you, Juan and Ramon!

BC in the News: Back to College Program on KGET

Local station KGET covered BC’s five-week Back to College in a video piece last weekend, explaining to the community how our program will assist workers who are displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, KGET

For more information about this program, visit the Back to College website.

Reflections From Inside 

Caption from Sara Wallace’s blog: “This is my mobile office. I have office supplies for the students (left) and my clear backpack (right) to bring in supplies (office supplies, graded work, handouts, dry erase markers, etc). It makes it easier for security if I have a clear backpack, and one of the facilities we work in requires it.”

Sara Wallace, an English faculty at Bakersfield College, has published her second blog entry titled “Reflections from Inside: Teaching in the Inmate Scholars Program”. She has been working as a full-time instructor at a total of five different prisons since the Fall. This blog is her reflection about doing this important work. This program is only a few years old, but it has expanded to include ten prisons and a thousand students. It is expected to grow more in the future. This was written before the recent CoronaVirus Outbreak, and some of the lessons and experiences with teaching inside have already changed dramatically.

Lessons Learned so far: I am teaching composition. There are some real differences between teaching on campus and teaching inside, so it has not been a seamless transition, which was not surprising. 

Pro-tip: Do not put anything in the supply cabinet. It will be gone when you get back. The inmates do not have access to this cabinet, so it is probably not them. It is probably another educator. We are all office supply thieves at heart. I am a hardened pen thief myself. There is a real run on office supplies inside.

Something that I take for granted like having a pen or paper to do homework with is really valuable. Bring it in with you and take it with you when you leave. That is a pain, but in some facilities the inmates do not have paper, or they have to buy the paper on their own, which is hard when they are using some of their available time to take my class. I am trying to teach writing. Paper and pens are pretty necessary. I just threw bundles of papers into the recycler the other day because the printer messed up a little bit. It really makes you think about the things we take for granted. 

In addition to supply issues, there are some differences in the way I run my class. For example, I have had to limit the amount of call and response kinds of questions I ask. The inmates are very excited to participate, so it can get a little loud. It requires a little bit more management partly because of their excitement for us to be there. It makes it harder to manage, but it also makes me feel more enthusiastic as well. I have only been working in this program for a month, so there is still plenty to learn and different techniques to try out.

A few months ago, the program had its first graduation. Since I am new, none of the new graduates were students of mine. I am looking forward to future graduations so that I get the chance to hear about what some of our students do with this opportunity as it will continue to inform my response to the question of why I am doing what I am doing.

Language of Power: One of my students asked me why I was making them write in this way. I have been asked this question on campus as well, though not as frequently. I had a more precise answer for my students on the inside. I am teaching you the language of power. People who have control over your lives write like this and speak like this. If you do not know how to communicate like them then you are at a disadvantage. Another student asked: like how the lawyers talk? Yes, and everyone else you talk with who has power. That seemed to motivate some of the students who were not as motivated before though I have less trouble with a lack of motivation inside than I do on the outside.

Lessons Learned: “It is all your fault” one of my students said as he stuck his head in the door during their break. They are not really supposed to come back into the classroom until the break is over. The private facility is more strict about this than the government facilities. I have a hard time saying no to students when they want or need help, so I end up spending our entire break answering questions most days. After all, they do not have the opportunity to come to my office hours. This time, my student did not have a question, but he did want to tell me something.

Me: “Oh? What is my fault?”

Student: “The conversation is still going on out there!”

Me: “Fantastic! That is so great!”

We had a discussion before break about the reading, and they were so engaged with the topic that they continued the discussion. We did have to move on to working on the research essay, so I am glad I gave them the break first. Sometimes they can get a little loud because everyone wants to say something. Last week one of the Correctional Officers came into the classroom to see what was going on because we were so loud. We do eventually have to get back to the writing, but it is nice to talk with students who have something to say, and lots of questions.

At first I was finding it hard to maintain control over the students with all of their questions and comments. It led to a conversation with the director of education, correctional officers, and with the class itself. The solution offered by employees of the prison was to just press the emergency button and have the guards come in and crack some heads.

Me: Because they were a little too loud and were a bit rude? That seems like an overreaction.

Them: They would not do it again.

True. If I pressed the emergency button, the students would not do it again, but they also would not say anything in class anymore, and it would hinder their learning. I am not an employee of the prison system, and my purpose in being there is not to control them or to punish them or even to rehabilitate them; it is to teach them. I have dealt with boisterous classes before, and I have never felt the need to call in a bruiser to deal with them. So I did what I usually do, I changed their seating arrangement every week. They could not form little groups of people chatting to themselves if they were not by their friends. Educators can find other ways to manage a class. We do not always have to drop the hammer.

The interactions with the students in the prison setting are really rewarding for the instructors and hopefully the students as well. The coronavirus outbreak has put a stop to all face-to-face teaching in the prison system. My next blog post will be about the effect it has had on our teaching. We are trying to make the best out of this situation, but all of us want to eventually go back inside. Having interactions with someone who is communicating with these students about something other than their behavior or the past mistakes they have made is really important and means a lot to them. I was evaluated by the students last semester as part of the normal evaluation process. I have not had a chance to read all my evaluations (which I cannot read until after the grades are submitted for the semester), but during my meeting with my committee, one of my committee members read a comment to me from one of my students. He said: she never looks at me like I am a level four criminal. She said there were a lot of comments like that and if I am ever feeling low, I should go and read through them. As soon as this is over, I will, and I hope we can go back in soon because besides teaching the Inmate Scholars the content of the course, personal interaction is important too.

Archives Throwback: Highlights from 1965-1967

Homecoming float with Bakersfield College wall.

Earl Parsons took a deep dive into the Bakersfield College Archives last weekend to find any information available about Lupe Hernandez, the Bakersfield nursing student rumored to have invented hand sanitizer in 1966. After digging through two Raconteur yearbooks and countless volumes of the Renegade Rip, however, nothing came up. If you have any information about a Bakersfield nursing student from the mid-60s named Lupe Hernandez, please email web@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

In his search, he managed to find all kinds of resources that paint a picture of life for Renegades in the mid-60s. We’ll be focusing on a few of those major highlights over the next coming weeks, but let’s just take a look at some of the best photos from those years, including this picture of donkey basketball in the gym:

Donkeys on a basketball court.

Renegade Athletics were alive and well during this time, with diving, water polo and men’s soccer all being played on the Panorama Campus.

In 1966 just like now, construction projects were happening around the Panorama Campus.

4 images on a yearbook page of campus construction.

In the coming weeks, look forward to a glimpse of Bill Thomas during his time as a Renegade faculty member, Ray Gonzales founding the first Hispanic Cultural Club in BC history, and a closer look at the era of on-campus student housing.

Fun Photos Coffee Cup Collection

Every weekday morning at 7:30 (8 on Fridays) the Marketing team greets one another on Slack. Lori Ortiz also adds a photo of her coffee cup. She has quite the collection. It’s just one of the fun things the MPR team does to stay connected and have some fun in our work from home environment. Here are a few the team shared with me:

Renegade Athletics

Upgrade Your Zoom Appeal With New Athletics Backgrounds!

We all have been using Zoom to its fullest this past few weeks and why not ‘Rep your Renegade pride while meeting with your colleagues and community. Feel free to use the background above or click this link to find more on GoGades.com: Renegade Custom Video Conference Backgrounds 

Baseball stadium.

National Athletic Training Month

This last month (March) was National Athletic Training Month and we don’t want to let the opportunity slip by without highlighting our awesome Renegade Athletic Trainers – Mike Medeiros, Tricia Gay and Lexi Pitcher. All three spend countless hours helping our student athletes (and visiting teams’ student athletes) stay in tip-top shape for competition. We are grateful to have such a great team of athletic trainers who keep our student athletes operating at peak physical condition!

Field House Demolition

The Dr. Romain Clerou Fieldhouse has been a fixture on campus since we moved up to here on the hill. This last week the historic structure was demolished to make way for the gymnasium. Countless Renegade student athletes used this facility to change for practice/games and we know there are hundreds of alumni with cherished memories of the building from their time spent as Renegades. While we are sad to see it go, we are excited for the new gymnasium that will take its place.

Sonya in front of the BC hedge.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

A long history of community partnership

Good morning Bakersfield! It is October 1st and a great day to be a Renegade.

This last week was a huge professional development week for me as I made time to volunteer at the Measure J campaign Headquarters (HQ) on 1675 Chester Avenue.  This campaign week we started phone banking and it was wonderful hearing the positive responses about Bakersfield College as people responded to out phone calls.

Check out photos of our volunteer phone bankers — Yadira Gurrero, Maria Wright, Michael McClinnick, Ashley Ward.

One of my phone calls at 7:00 p.m. was answered by a young woman who was in Prof. Josh Ottum’s class.  She of course, supports Measure J, and more than that kept praising Bakersfield College and Prof Ottum.  You see my friends, this is Bakersfield College!  A dedicated faculty and staff!

Prof.  Josh Ottum is working on a grant right now and stopped by my office to pick up the signed approval to apply for a grant.  I loved hearing his enthusiasm for both his work and his little baby as he talked to Jennifer Marden.  As I watched the warm and engaged interaction between two of them, my heart was filled with great delight and great pride…a wonderful work environment….a wonderful learning environment….I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

Let me introduce you to Professor Josh Ottum who, as you can see, is a scholar and artist and he is completely  committed to our community; completely committed to our students.  For more on Josh check out his faculty profile page at:
https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/performingarts/faculty-staff.  Josh represents the talent and dedication of the faculty and staff of Bakersfield College.  We are BC!

Talking about music, our women chamber singers under the tutelage of the fabulous Dr. Jen Garrett performed yesterday morning for 900 high school students.  They opened with “Real Women Sing” event at Harvey Auditorium. Music is alive and well in Bakersfield and making such a difference in many lives.  I couldn’t be prouder of our BC Choir!

women-chamber-singers-sep-29-106

women-chamber-sep-29-2016

Back to phone banking.…  Before I started making my calls I wandered around watching the volunteers hard at work.  Here is Abel Guzman fluently switching between Spanish and English.  Also, Chris Glaser who has clocked in the most number of hours and Chelsea Esquibias who is a total rock star.  Nicole told me that June Charles has the perfect way of talking to people while she is phone banking.  She has been there many evenings with her daughter.  A total family affair.  Also, Tracy Hall, Somaly Boles, and Jennifer Marden.  

I enjoyed sharing a table with Ronnie Wrest, faculty in the Arts department and volunteering after-hours to do phone banking.  We also had Xavier Castellanos, a delightful high school student who volunteered some hours to phone bank.

It was wonderful Friday evening walking in and seeing Isabel Castaneda and her two children volunteering at the HQ.  This is a total family event. We are BC!

Volunteer teams at work at the Campaign HQ:

In the photos below you’ll see a valiant leader, the campaign manager for Measure J — Nicole Parra, assisted by the talented Asha Chady.

And here are more pictures of volunteers at the campaign HQ.  Chris Counts and his daughter Faith Counts were making phone banking packets with Christie Hill. Tim Capehart and Jennifer Achan were entering the information from the endorsement cards into the database. Kathy Rosellini and Asha Chandy were also hard at work.

And I almost forgot to mention the Kern County Fair.  Measure J was there in full force!  And if you need proof, check out these pictures from this week.

Thank you Isabel Cataneda for sending me this video.

Community Treasures:

With my favorite cup of coffee sitting nearby on the table and its warm aroma filling the air, there’s something simply personal about reading the local newspaper. It’s relevant, informative, interesting, and while professional, it also feels close to home… Maybe that’s because it is. It really is news about our home, the spotlight on our neighborhoods, highlights of our community, reports on our city and updates about our organizations.

Two local newspapers are on my mind as I’m writing this blog – The Renegade RIP and The Bakersfield Californian.

A few days ago, I wrote about how meaningful I feel the BC Archives Association is to the success of Bakersfield College. To put it simply, we rely on our archives for a more comprehensive and vital understanding of our identity and past, as we work towards building a better future.

This inspired my thoughts about the quality and abundance of local journalism and the archives of our city. What an incredible and priceless blessing these local journalists give us in their gift of capturing the local news.

At BC, our student journalists have contributed to the student newspaper, The Renegade RIP for over 85 years. The students do it all – from creating and writing seven or eight biweekly publications to regularly adding articles to therip.com. Above all else, they are active members of the student body, seeking out the newsworthy stories from their community and contributing back by honestly and genuinely covering today’s topics.

Over fifty years ago, in March of 1956, The RIP had a special edition issue focused around the new Panorama campus. Volume XXVIII, the special edition, featured large text on the cover saying “the new campus, the new spirit” and had equally incredible articles and headers within the pages following:

  • Kern County’s Businesses Offer Salute To New BC
  • Sweeping Panorama Shows The New BC
  • New Ideas Abound in BC’s Buildings
  • BC – Seeing Times Then, Now, and to Come

RIP.jpg

Could you imagine what they could cover if Measure J is to pass?  Another historic opportunity for the college…another historic opportunity for our community.  I invite you to revisit the historical “M-Day” as our faculty, staff, and students moved to the new campus on the hill 60 years ago. Check out the RIP special edition here – It begins on page 11 of the .pdf file.

I especially loved looking back to see the outpouring of community support from local businesses congratulating the students on their new campus. Browse through the ads – how many can you spot that are still local businesses today?

The Bakersfield Californian is also our local, close to home and close to heart news source. The Californians history has deep rooted beginnings as both the Kern County Weekly Courier and The Southern Californian merged to create The Kern County Californian. It received one more name makeover as The Daily Californian before Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Alfred E. Harrell purchased the paper in 1897. Afterwards, Harrell renamed it The Bakersfield Californian and the name has stuck since 1907.

Under Harrell’s leadership as an editor and publisher, The Bakersfield Californian was recognized as one of California’s finest papers, winning over 40 state and national awards for journalistic excellence. During his almost 50 years in the newspaper business, he came to be respected as one of the best newspapermen in the country. In 1969, Harrell became the 24th person to be named to the Newspaper Hall of Fame.(KernCountyGenerations.com)

Like many of our communities treasures, The Bakersfield Californian has a remarkable history; one withstanding a revolutionized industry, new technologies, and an expanding community that continues to grow, yet at the same time, it has for me kept that traditional “hometown content” that we’ve come to love.

Have you ever had the chance to visit The Bakersfield Californian’s building on the corner of Eye and 17th? It’s a showstopper on the outside, but stepping inside gave me the same feeling I get walking the halls of BC. It’s like walking into a place that you know has made a difference for the community and its people… with whispers of those who have created the stories of the past waiting in anticipation for the new whispers to be added from the present….

the-bakersfield-californian-building.jpg

The historic building was originally built in 1926 for The Bakersfield Californian so it has always been occupied continuously by our local paper. It was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 10, 1983 because, “the building itself is considered an architectural landmark and a reminder of the golden years of the newspaper.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakersfield_Californian_Building).

Here’s a toast to the Bakersfield Californian!

The Voices of our Community

The Bakersfield Californian’s opinion and community voices section gives everyone an opportunity to share their thoughts. BC has incredible faculty, students, and over the past few weeks, multiple voices have been highlighted in the community voices and opinion sections. Today, I woke up to Nick Strobel describing the Rosetta spacecraft ending its mission in a controlled impact on the comet 67 P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which it has been studying for the past 12 years.

Recent contributions include:

I hope you’ll keep an eye on http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/ for any other contributions about Bakersfield College! How many can you find?

Here are a few more:

Support for Measure J is growing:

Families, friends, and community supporters have volunteered their time to staff the Measure J booth at the Kern County Fair this past week. In fact, at one time three generations including Tina Johnson, daughter Clarissa, and granddaughter Nevaeh showed their love for Measure J.

And thank you to the leaders of Arvin, Dr. Jim Young, Salvador Partida, Karen Davis, Dr. Michelle McLean, Jasmine Santoyo, Richard McCrow, Jose Gurrola, Jose Pinto, Reyna Olaguez, and Cheryl Scott – who gathered to celebrate how Measure J has the potential to make a college education more accessible for Arvin residents!

Arvin community leaders gathered for a kick-off to support Measure J on September 15.

You can see a video about the event on the Yes On J Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/YesOnJ2016/videos/1111784562248930/. Thank you to KBAK Eyewitness News for their coverage of this fantastic event! And thank you Jose Gaspar!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Women in the Bakersfield Life Magazine

The current issue of Bakersfield Life features fabulous women in our community who have worked to make a difference. Pictured on the cover is Leticia Perez, our 5th District supervisor who mentions in the article that her college political science class was one that changed her life. She explained how each step of the way, she was on a mission to defeat being “powerless.”

After college, and defining where she needed to be, the things she saw throughout her community reinforced her goals to be active in local government. She said, “This local level of government is really the best place to bring people together to craft solutions that are going to change people’s lives.”  The picture with Baby Noah Perez was taken when Leticia stopped by the campaign HQ earlier this week.

Vickie Spanos is also changing lives by creating opportunities and quality learning environments that foster student success for local Bakersfield high school students. After years of teaching and administrative work, today Vickie oversees professional development for the district. Her goals are multifaceted with one solid intention.

She said in the article, “We want our students to reach that next level to feel confident so that if they choose to attend college, they are equipped.” BC is lucky to partner with such fantastic leaders throughout our local high schools and just as Vickie mentioned, “We need to communicate and work as a single entity of education to help students. Their success is our goal.”

IMG_5822.JPG

People from all different diverse backgrounds can make a difference to better their community. I was really inspired to flip through the issue of Bakersfield Life and I hope you’ll have to chance to read through it yourself.

Other women featured in the special section were Elizabeth May, May Media Services; Julie Johnson, Bakersfield Animal Care Center and Bakersfield SPCA; Corine Ruiz, Olivia’s Heart Project; Mary Christenson, Watson Reality; and Lourdes Estrada, Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center. Check out these fantastic women and their stories in Bakersfield Life on issuu.com.

Child Development Center

img_9493

I am really proud of our Child Development Center. A special thank you to Cara Jackson, our student who was able to spend some time in the center to share more about this fabulous resourceward.
Danell Ward
, the director for the Child Development Center is really excited to have come on board 3 years ago from Sacramento

The Child Development Center wants to spread the word that parents can feel safe and confident in enrolling their child in care while going to school or preparing for school. The department is constantly looking for ways to improve and develop better teaching instruction for both children and educators.

“Going to school and being a parent is hard and some don’t realize how hard. This is the place where parents can know that their child is safe and take care of their school,” Danell said.

Danell mentioned that they have participated in the Kern Early Stars program that aims to help parents become more aware of what constitutes high quality, allowing parents to see what areas their child excels in and what areas their child needs help strengthening. This also focuses on ratings. Currently, the center holds  four stars.

EHS or Early Headstart Partnership program also has joined the Child Development Center by providing free diapers and help from service workers, materials such as outdoor play equipment, and iPads for quicker documentation for teachers. Danell Ward also commented that, “it gave us a stepping stone to participate and see what we need to work on.”

The center also has 2 site supervisors along with various teachers and helpers to share knowledge.

There are also two programs that are state funded that Ward wants to make sure parents know about. They cover child care Monday thru Friday for a full day 7:30-4:00, or hours based on what parents need. This allows parents to be successful at school and achieve a balance for home.

I also wanted to share information about a celebration of life for one of our Child Development faculty members, Vienna Battistoni. Vienna passed away on September 12th, and her family is holding a celebration for Vienna at Luigi’s on October 6th at 6:30 pm. All who knew Vienna are welcome to attend and share in her memory.

BC Athletics: We bounce back even stronger!

 

The football team scored a dominant victory at home in Memorial Stadium over LA Harbor College after a tough loss at Riverside the week prior.  It was truly a team effort with two quarterbacks passing for touchdowns (Cesar De Leon passed for his first college touchdown and Dalton Gallis tacked on two more), while La Meshio Hill, Ferguson Ayers, Carlton Bowman, and Derrick Vickers all chipped in touchdowns to help the Renegades improve to 3-1. They’ll play on the road against El Camino College today.

At the football game, I visited with Jim and Dianne Norsworthy who came to the game with Bob and Heidi Allison.  Jim graduated from Bakersfield in 1965 and I took a short video of him talking about his time at BC.  But alas I am not able to get the video downloaded.  Will need to get Bill Moseley to help me here.

Group Picture Sep 24 2016.jpg

Sonya Christian, Heidi and Bob Allison, Jim and Dianne Norsworthy, Zav and Kushnur Dadabhoy

Also caught up with Stig Janz, BC’s advisor to our student athletes who was describing that the athletic study hall that he has developed is very active with student attending and getting help for their academic work.  This concept of having students do their work in study halls at BC is being scaled up for all students.  This is a key component of increasing the success of our students.

Volleyball lost to Moorpark last weekend at the Pierce Tournament, but Coach Carl said the only reason the loss bothered him was because the women weren’t “mentally in the game for the first time this season.” But they bounced back last night in the Gil Bishop Sports Center to beat Moorpark in an intense five-set match! What a win for Coach Carl and Renegade Volleyball!

coachcarlgrin-sep-2016

Women’s Soccer played five games in a row on the road between September 7th to the 23rd where they won two games, lost two games, and had one end in a tie. But Tuesday night they beat West LA 2-0, and last night they blanked Cuesta College 3-0. Coach Scott Dameron says “This team is really balanced; every night it’s different women scoring goals.”

Coach Pam Kelley and The Bakersfield College Cross Country Team hosted the Western State Conference Preview at the Kern County Soccer Park Friday, and Patrick Alvarado finished in the top 20 for the BC Men. Coach Tony from Ventura College-who held the 800 meter record at UCLA- was pleased with the course and the event saying, “This was a first-class meet. Great job by Coach Pam and the Bakersfield College staff. The course was well-marked and the results were right on time. Great job all around.”

I actually drove over to the soccer park early in the morning hoping to catch Pam before she started her hectic day.  When I arrived at the park, I met John Trino the CEO of the Kern County Soccer Park. It was a real treat talking to him.  He graduated from BC in 1960 and was there when the Memorial Stadium was being built.  I wish I had captured a video of him talking about BC when the campus was built.  But I was juggling a lot of work related responsibilities and lost this great opportunity.  John, I am going to come find you soon….. 🙂

The women’s golf team has made strides and sits right in the middle of the conference, in good position to move up under Coach Brittney Goehring’s leadership. Janette Chan finished second overall at Antelope Valley on Wednesday with an impressive 75 (one over par), while teammate Brandi Borjon wasn’t far behind with a 79. Keep up the good work, ladies!

MorroBayWMNgolf sep 2016.jpg

BC Wrestling’s season is underway, and they are already making waves…Pedro Sarabia (125lbs) and Zack Mitchell (197lbs) both took third place at the West Hills Tournament last weekend, and they both won matches at last nights 38-9 Dual Match Victory over East Los Angeles. Andrew Binger (165 lbs) is also winning matches, but he’s gaining attention for other reasons as well according to Coach Brett Clark: “Andrew not only has a GPA of about 3.70, but he’s doing the extra things like running five miles after practices and on off-days. Andrew is a great kid, and he’s leading by example.” The men wrestle today at the tough Santa Ana Tournament. Good luck!

October 1st marks the first official day of practice for our basketball teams, and Coach Rich Hughes is surely working hard to follow last year’s impressive conference championship, and Coach Paula Dahl seems to be hiding a smile when talking about her team, so it’ll be very exciting to see what they both unveil as Fall progresses and both basketballs and pumpkins become more familiar sights!

 

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

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — signing off while signing on to Measure J