Tag Archives: students

On remembrance, and making memories

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Sharon Baker, Sandi Taylor, Vickie Edden, Leonard Cravens, Sonya Christian, Peter Reyes

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Sunday, September 18th…I started this blog yesterday, but since the day was packed with events that ended with driving to Riverside to watch Renegade football on the road I could not finish my blog.  It was great to see the Bakersfield Community come out to support an away game.

Here is a gang of regulars at the games.  Sharon Baker and Bill Baker (The Renegade Football doc) come to all the games.  It always warms my heart to see both Dr. Baker and Dr. Tivnon out there with our student athletes.  Here is a picture of Dr. Baker with Terence Young, one of our star football players last year who got seriously injured.

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Terence is now a student at BC although he does not play football.  I want to recognize the kindness and generosity of the Bakers.  Both Sharon and Bill have given their time, money, and unwavering commitment to BC. This is what makes the community of Bakersfield unique.  And this is what makes Bakersfield College so successful.
We are BC!

the-moon-sep-18-2016The entire week was just like Saturday, a lot of travel — Wisconsin (Tuesday-Wednesday), Sacramento (Friday), and then Riverside (Saturday).  Quite tired this Sunday morning and enjoying the calm and quiet with a cup of coffee and the beautiful early morning moon through the window in my bedroom.  Life is good!

The many highlights from the week started with our first football home game on September 10th at BC against Chaffey! Even ESPN was buzzing with excitement! Really, check out the video on the GoGades Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/p/BKMmC1hAgP6/

Saturday, Sep 10th: New Faculty Reception

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Photo by Cara Jackson

Before the first home game of the season, we celebrated with the new members of the BC family in the Fireside Room at the New Faulty Reception on September 10, 2016. BC hired a total of 39 new faculty for the 2016-2017 academic year.  The college has been growing in the number of students we serve over the last three years.

Thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Trustee Dennis Beebe for attending.  We really appreciate our trustees coming out the college campuses.  If you check out the picture carefully you will be able to spot both trustees.

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Photo by Cara Jackson

A special thank you and shout out to our new cook Nicole Sizemore who prepared an elegant dinner and dessert menu for faulty and guests! My favorite was the watermelon salad with flavorful ingredients including feta cheese. Come to think of it, I loved the tri-tip, the couscous salad and everything on the menu.

After dinner, we headed to the first football game of the year!  And what a game it was.

Join me in welcoming… Teresa McAllister, ACDV; Heather Baltis, Agriculture; Jaclyn Krause, ASL; Ronnie Wrest and Jeff Huston, Art; Katie Ganster, Biology; Ximena Da Silva, Chemistry; Melissa Ysais, Child Development; Talita Pruett and Neeley Hatridge, Communication; Maximo Pena, Construction Management; Catherine Ryan and Elvira Martinez, DSPS; Cynthia Quintanilla, Counseling; Vanessa Bell, EOP&S; Keri Kennedy and Mark Osea, SSSP; Thomas Rush and Kelvin Albaa, Engineering; Isaac Sanchez and Savanna Andrasian, English; Don Brady, Fire Tech; Ayan Hill, Allied Health; Catherine Jones, Industrial Safety; Eddie Rangel, Information Technology; Timothy Heasley, Performing Arts; Dillon Giblin and Jonathan Brown, Math; Nichole Hernandez and Shae Johnson, Medical Surgical; Noelia Citialin, Mental Health; Kathryn Kuby, Music; Christine Harker, Allied Health; Jacelyn Hill, Rad Tech; David Riess and Eleanora Hicks, Sociology; Sara Palasch, Spanish; Brian Sivesind, Theatre; Ronnie Knabe, Sim Lab; Milena Lilles, Biology; John Kelleher, History; Alba Romero, Math; Cari Meyer, Geology; Mark Kay and Yuki Takeuchi, Foreign Language; Jeanne Young, Nursing; Heidi Forsythe, Communication; Kristin Mercer, Denise Canning, Tanna Rozar, Sara Wallace, and Justin Bell, English.

If you get the chance, visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/employees/new-faculty-staff to see the new faculty photos!

Running of the Renegades & BC Football

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Photo by Cara Jackson

The evening started off with the annual Running of the Renegades event that welcomes the Football team back to the Stadium for their first home game. This event offers the BC Community the chance to run across Memorial Stadium behind the Renegade Mascots and alongside the BC Cheerleaders before the BC Renegade Football players take the field. This year, 30 students, staff, and faculty members dashed onto the field at 5:55pm sporting their Red and White Spirit. Starting with Renegade pride is always a fantastic way to kick-off a great game and a great week!

BC beat Chaffey College by 45-35 in their home opener at Memorial Stadium on the strength of an offensive explosion led by Derrick Vickers’ three touchdowns and 289 multi-purpose yards. Check out the game summary by Francis Mayor at GoGades.com.

It was wonderful having so many from the community come out to support Renegade Football.

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Sonya Christian, Karen Goh, Romeo Agbalog, JP Lake

A huge thank you to JP Lake for not only attending but also being involved as the halftime guest on Vince Palms show. Francis has made the video available on YouTube – definitely check it out to see JP Lake and your BC Renegades!

JP is the co-chair of the Measure J campaign committee along with Sue Benham, Michael Bowers, Norma Rojas Mora, Jay Rosenlieb, and Karen Thompson. Mayor Harvey Hall is the chair.  Here are a some of the many community leaders on the committee: Michael O’Doherty, Mayor Milt Stowe from Porterville, Justin O’Neill (from Cerro Coso), Jay Tamsi, David Torres, Ed Davis, Fran Flores, Ken Byrum, Rick Kreiser, Cheryl Scott, Chad Hathaway, Janet Rabanal, Reyna Olaguez.

And huge thanks also to Karen Goh for regularly attending our football games and showing your Renegade spirit in the stands! Karen has posted the most fantastic photos on her Facebook – check them out here!  Also much appreciate the connection with other parts of the campus like our Student Government Association.

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And special thank you to Cara Jackson for these great photos from the game:

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Cara also sent an email to share a story of how she was able to capture these great images:

“A moment before I walked onto the football field to capture the Running of the Renegades, I saw another photographer heading that way for the game. I casually asked, “Sir you wouldn’t happen to have an extra lens I could borrow?”

Nick contemplated respectively for a short moment and replied, ” Yes, I might just have one for you.”  I was surprised and excited, and when he pulled out his extra Canon 70-200 mm f2.8L telephoto lens, I was jumping for joy!

It turned out my wish came true and he loaned it to me for the entire game! Not only did he do this, but helped me improve my settings on my camera so I could get these great shots!

It’s wonderful that there are still positive and amazing people out there wishing the best for you and helping you succeed in life, even if you meet them for the first time!

A huge shout out to Nick Ellis from the Bakersfield Californian. Thanks Nick!”

We truly are the community’s college.

Sunday, Sep 11th: World Trade Center Memorial on 9/11

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I had the honor of attending the World Trade Center Memorial in Southwest Bakersfield. The sun was shining bright when the breathtaking memorial featuring a structural girder from the North Tower of the World Trade Center was unveiled. This national artifact is one of many sent throughout the nation for 9/11 memorials. Thank you to Fire Chief, Doug Greener, who petitioned for Bakersfield to get one of the last remaining pieces. Our community was approved to receive the piece because of where the memorial is situated – on Buena Vista in the southwest directly between a fire station and police station. I encourage you to stop by and pay respects and remember the brave men and women in New York that day.

I was so proud to see one of our BC music students Linda Snoddy lead the color guard with her bagpipe. BC has the best music program!  And then hear from Mayor Harvey Hall who was the first speaker of the morning.

 

I asked Jennifer to email Heather Pruitt and get the mayor’s written remarks.  Here they are.  I love the way he wrapped up his speech by saying “thank you for your hearts.”

As we gather today let us not forget the 4,377 souls who perished as a result of the deadliest terrorist attack in our history. Let us not forget the husbands, wives, sons and daughters who lost their lives. Let us not forget the devastation felt by many Americans on this dreadful day.

For fifteen years now we have given our heartfelt condolences, sympathy and caring contributions to the survivor’s families, first responders, police officers and rescue workers. Today is a day of honor and recognition for the Bakersfield City Fire Department and the many volunteers and sponsors who have made this 911 World Trade Center Memorial possible.

What an everlasting tribute our city will have for reflections on each September 11th in our future.

Let us not forget to give prayer and thanks to our wonderful country, fireman, police officers and first responder ambulance paramedics for the daily contributions they make to keep us safe and healthy.

Your presence here today is another example of how Bakersfield cares, a thought I have carried with me for the past sixteen years as our city’s Mayor.

Let us remember and never forget September 11, 2001. Thank you for your hearts today.

I also texted Tim Capehart, Director of BC’s Fire Tech program and asked him if Tyler Hartley, Deputy Fire Chief, could be willing to share his brief comments.  Here are the powerful words by our Deputy Fire Chief:

The attacks on September 11th have been documented as the most destructive acts of terrorism on American soil.  On that unforgettable morning, 19 terrorist associated with the extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners enroute to San Francisco and Los Angeles from Boston, Newark, and Washington D.C. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center, a third plane hit the Pentagon, and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania – this series of events changed our lives forever.

Although fifteen years have passed since that fateful day, it is important that we do not allow time and distance to cloud our memory of that tragic event. The Bakersfield Fire Department World Trade Center Memorial shall serve a reminder to future generations of what September 11th means to our Nation.

We Shall Never Forget

 

 

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Following the event, I was inspired to take some quiet time for reflection and to read poetry written after 9/11. I truly believe that words hold immense power to comfort, express, console, and heal. A collection of poems can be found here and one really caught my attention titled, Firefighter’s Prayer. It reminded me of how courageous and brave each of our men and women in all first responder roles prove themselves to be each and every day. The immense physical and mental training requires strength and dedication, but the role these individuals fulfill requires a bravery that can’t be taught.  And I am proud of the BC fire tech program.

This year’s fire season, including the recent Erskine fire, serves as a true testament of the challenges faced by our Kern County and Bakersfield fire departments. A post on BFD’s Facebook page this past Tuesday, announced that over the past 48-hour period, BFD responded to 13 fire related incidents; 145 medical/rescue emergencies, and 79 public service related calls. We are lucky to have both Fire Chief, Brian Marshall of Kern County FD and Fire Chief Doug Greener of Bakersfield FD leading our local firefighters. A shout out to both of these incredible departments for all you do!

Follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BakersfieldFire/ and https://www.facebook.com/kerncountyfire/

September 12th: College Night

Any opportunity to expose young people to the endless opportunities of higher education is one to celebrate. On Monday evening over 80 BC staff, faculty, administrators, and students represented the college at the 17th Annual Kern County College Night at the Rabobank Convention Center.  Representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities were in attendance answering questions about their campuses and providing information about admissions requirements and financial aid to high school students and parents. Approximately 1,200 students submitted an interest card requesting further information about Bakersfield College.

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Fellow KCCD Campus, Cerro Coso was also in attendance and it was fanatic to see Pam Campbell, CC’s Director, Outreach and Student Life and Lisa Stephens, CC’s Director of East Kern and Kern River Valley.

pamcampbell_lisastephensBC even had multiple groups and tables at the event. Tom Gelder and Kathy Rosellini hosted the BC Alumni table and Sue Vaughn, Gustavo Enriquez, and Mary Jo Pasek hosted the BC facilities needs booth.

Events like this reinforce what we do at Bakersfield College! Our student body continues to grow and grow each year and the need for higher education in Kern County is expanding.

Thank you Steven Watkin, Director of Outreach, and the Outreach Team (Josie, Debi, Ashlea, Chris, Manuel, Claudio) for making it happen. And a special thank you to Matt Boone of Bakersfieldnow.com for the great media coverage and video. Check out the article here! And various pictures are on our photo gallery located here! We Are BC!

Remembering Dr. Thomas Larwood

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Sonya Christian, Pauline Larwood, Tom Larwood

On Sunday, Sep 11th, afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend Dr. Thomas Larwood’s memorial. Dr. Larwood was dedicated man who led groundbreaking research to find a cure for Valley Fever and together with his wife Pauline –one of Bakersfield’s power couples – always willing to get involved, put in the work, and find solutions.

In his obituary, he was described as a devoted physician, caring deeply for a wide range of patients. It goes on to describe how as a missionary, Tom contracted polio and was inspired by his friend and partner, Dr. Hans Einstein to study Valley Fever. He was an active member in the community alongside his wife, and an active member of the East Bakersfield Rotary.

“Affectionately known as “Doctor Tom” or just plain Tom, he was a man of the people. He chose a life of service very early, active in church leadership in his teens. At 18, talking with his father, Tom worked out that he liked “science and people.” He explored pre-med. After two years, he was drafted in 1944 and became a Navy Pharmacist’s Mate. Shortly before Navy discharge, he was deeply inspired by a talk by Dr. Day at a Methodist Youth Conference meeting. Dr. Day asked “Are you going to invest your life or just spend it?” That very night he felt he had been called to develop and share this gift, and he indeed gave and gave his entire life.” Check out the full obituary by clicking here.

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It was great to see fellow BC friends and family at the memorial, including Nick Strobel and Jerry Ludeke singing in the choir. I particularly liked the rendition of Amazing Grace and the Nick and Jerry section of the piece. It also spotted Trustee Kay Meek, Karen Goh and Bob Allison, and briefly connected with Steve Schilling, and John Fallgatter.  We do have a great community in Bakersfield.

The picture with Tom and Pauline was from March 31, 2016 at the Sterling Silver Dinner.

john-boydstun-sep-15-2016Remembering John Boydstun:

 

Just like on September 11th the community came out to support Tom Larwood, on September 15th, they came out to support John Boydstun.  At the football game against Riverside at Riverside, Leonard Cravens, an avid BC football fan, mentioned that he had traveled from his home in Indigo to Bakersfield just to attend Boydstun’s funeral. Becki Whitson and the BC Cheer Team were to show their respect to a longtime Renegade fan.

 

I searched my blog site for previous blogs where I mention John Boydstun and found the following:

April 23, 2016 blog: http://tinyurl.com/hfcpe8g

December 19th blog:  http://tinyurl.com/hozrypd

 

John Boydstun and BC Cheer team Aug 2016

September 15th: Renegade Football at Rotary

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Jeff Chudy, Sonya Christian, Garro Ellis at Rotary. Sep 15, 2016

It was wonderful having Coach Jeff Chudy at Rotary this Thursday, Sep 15th.  This is an annual event where coach shares the “state of Renegade Football” with the club.  He talked about a new approach he took with his student athletes by having them read together “The Training Camp” by Jon Gordon and do a book report.

 

The book is about an un-drafted rookie trying to make it in the NFL, trying to prove that a small guy with a big heart can make it.  “The life lessons in this book are invaluable in teaching our students how to become better students, better teammates and better men.”

Stig Jantz, BC’s advisor to our student athletes led a team discussion with  coaches and players and asked the hard questions of each. Relationship are being built to make us better.

Just wonderful!

The meeting as a whole was great.  Jay Rosenlieb led the song and at the cost of being fined $30 promoted Measure J among club members.

We are BC!

Follow BC Wrestling

BC Wrestling is off to a strong start. The newest blog post by Brett Clark says,

Well it was a good weekend for the guys on the mat. Bakersfield College went 3-1 this weekend with strong performances against East Los Angeles College, Victor Valley College, and Santa Ana College, the lone loss came against a very good Cerritos College Team. Top performers this weekend were Pedro Sarabia going 3-1, and Julio Fuentes who went 2-1 along with Andrew Binger going 2-1. Overall this young group has a lot of work but the future is bright for them as a team. Next home match is October 26, 2016 Wednesday night at 7pm we will be wrestling Cuesta College in a conference dual come out and support.

To stay up-to-date on BC Wrestling, follow the BC Wrestling Blog at https://bakersfieldcollegewrestling.wordpress.com/.  Well done Brett!

Generations of Leaders at BC!

Don’t you love this picture?  I do!

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SGA Prez Clayton Fowler, Dr. Nicky Damania, SGA Prez Matthew Frazer, SGA Prez Alex Dominguez

Last week, the current Bakersfield College Students Government Association (BCGSA) president, Matthew Frazer, rallied together with two former BCSGA presidents to chat over some delicious breakfast at Pappy’s Cafe down on Rosedale along with the BCSGA Advisor, Dr. Nicky Damania.

During the meal, they wished Clayton Fowler, president FY16, happy journeys as he begins a new journey at UC Davis to start this Bachelor’s degree in Political Science next week. Clayton started as an EMT student at BC, but found his passion for civic leadership through this career with BCSGA. You can follow Clayton’s blog at https://claytonjfowler.wordpress.com/

Alex Dominguez, BCSGA President FY15, is now the President of the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) at CSUB and this guy is one to watch out for as he’s already a great community leader within the city of Bakersfield.

Matthew Frazer, our current SGA prez, is putting BC on the map with all of his efforts.  I suspect 2016-2017 will be a historic year for SGA under his leadership.

Of course, these four men couldn’t help but talk about their love for Bakersfield College. Dr. Damania shared with me they were discussing and developing strategies on how to engage their peers on the need of better facilities and technologies at Bakersfield College for the years to come. Alex invited current officers to CSUB this week to chat with their ASI Officers on how the two groups would be able to educate their peers at CSUB regarding Measure J.

If you haven’t already seen, Matthew Frazer, current BCSGA Present, stars in this week’s Renegade Reveal. The Renegade Reveal is a weekly webisode published by the Office of Student Life every Monday at Noon in efforts to increase and encapsulate student life at Bakersfield College. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZXJUQqb9hk

September 14th: AACU Event

 

I was invited to speak at the AAC&U Leap State Summit this week at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I enjoy opportunities to engage in conversations about learning, quality, and equity.  And this was definitely one of those.

The AACU is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,350 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

It was a lot of fun presenting with Michael Crafton from the University System of Georgia and Joe DeFilippo from Higher Education for Virginia.  Debra Humphrey moderated the panel.  Here is an excerpt from my remarks from the section on “Learning.”  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it the night before the presentation.

Biologically speaking, learning is making new neural pathways, physically creating new networks that make meaning, and pruning the pathways and networks that are not meaningful. As they say, neurons that “fire together wire together”. Thinking reinforces thinking. I was thinking how the academy can become distracted by the profusion of information, but not enough thinking. This is a fundamental shift in education. Our brains evolved to nurture, gather, mine, imagine, and make meaning, based on environmental clues and scant information – now we must learn to cope with and prune a flood of “information”.

That shift is visible in the transition of learning from oral tradition, to literacy, to digital literacy, to the re-merging oral digital literacy of Siri and Watson, to the promise of Kurzweil’s artificial intelligence singularity. The wonder of it all is that our brains are able to adapt to this changing landscape, that our ancient evolutionary skills to learn are up to the task.

In fact, Randy Bass and Bret Eynon in “Open and Integrative, discuss how can and must use this new digital ecosystem as a tremendous opportunity to recast, they call it “design” Liberal Education.  I was inspired by Carol Geary Snider’s comment in her Foreword to Open and Integrative: Designing Liberal Education for the new Digital Ecosystem.

“Within the digital learning ecosystem, higher education is ideally a site focused around engagement, community and mentorship, and integration, in which the disparate and “unbundled” learning opportunities endemic to our constantly networked modern life can be “rebundled” to support an integrative vision of learning.”

Thank you to Ken O’Donnell and Debra Humphrey for inviting and welcoming me.

Check out my selfie with Lynn Pascarella, President of AAC&U.

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Sonya Christian, Lynn Pascarella

Movie Night in the AM!

img_7036-x2If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m a great fan of movies – so when I heard the film “McFarland, USA” would be shown on campus, I was immediately excited. What made this event even better was that we’d have the chance to welcome young people from rural migrant program high schools on the BC campus and into our beautiful Indoor Theater.

On Friday, September 16, approximately 300 students from the Kern High School District’s Migrant Education program gathered at Bakersfield College’s Indoor Performing Arts Theater to watch a screening of the movie McFarland, USA. Participating high schools included Arvin, Golden Valley, McFarland, Taft, Wasco, South, East, Shafter, Foothill, Mira Monte, Ridgeview, and Highland.

img_7028The film chronicles the achievements of the McFarland cross-country team in the 1980s. Led by coach Jim White, McFarland’s runners overcame tremendous obstacles in order to succeed in athletics, education, and ultimately life. The story is significant because it symbolizes the challenges faced by our rural migrant student population in Kern County and how hard work and discipline, both within and beyond the classroom, so clearly evident in the lives of the runners, can uplift entire communities.

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Kate Pluta

Bakersfield College alumni Vanessa Renteria, currently Assistant Vice Principal at McFarland High School and former employee of the BC Delano Campus, moderated the event. Following the film, a panel discussion with some of the main characters portrayed in the film, including Coach Jim White, as well as former runners Danny Diaz, David Diaz, Johnny Samaniego, Thomas Valles, and Victor Puentes addressed a variety of important issues raised in the film including the importance of perseverance and education.

Dean of Instruction Kate Pluta also honored Danny Diaz as a BC alumni and for his longtime service at the McFarland campus. Here’s an excerpt of Kate’s comments:

“Danny Diaz has been a pillar of the McFarland community for two decades. Following his achievements as a McFarland runner Danny went on to graduate Bakersfield College and work as a counselor at McFarland high school, guiding and impacting the lives of countless students.

He is incredibly humble, modest, and is committed to advancing opportunities for our rural youth, particularly those most at risk and vulnerable. Bakersfield College is proud to recognize him for his accomplishments, not only for his life story being highlighted in the movie McFarland, USA, but for his continued work for our students. Bakersfield College is proud to donate $1,000.00 to McFarland high school’s cross-country team in honor of Danny Diaz. Thank you Danny for your service in making Kern County a better place for us all.”

Following the panel discussion, the students took a brief campus tour with SGA officers, student volunteers from the Office of Student Life and the Delano Campus WECOMM club. From there, a special lunch was served by the wonderful Eric Sabella and BC Campus Food Services.

img_7057Thank you so much to Oliver Rosales, Steve Watkin, Nicky Damania, Kristen Rabe, Mary Jo Pasek, Ramon Puga, Shannon Musser, Jennifer Marden, Arisve Pimentel, Anhelica Perez, Alexa Rivera, and the many volunteers from BCSGA, Office of Student Life, and the WECOMM club who volunteered their Friday morning to spend time with these wonderful students and make them feel welcomed. A huge thank you also to the good folks over at PacWest for running our lighting and soundboard. Finally, a very special thanks to Sal Avalos and Jose Morales from the Kern High School District Migrant Education Office for co-sponsoring this event.

Thank you Oliver Rosales for leading this effort.  Thank you Kate Pluta for recognizing Danny Diaz.  And thank you Arnoldo Avalos, member of the Board of Governors, for giving me the idea.  Sorry you were not able to make it.

THANK YOU!!

You can catch more photos from this event at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/McFarland-Movie-Panel.

Fall’s First Gadfly Cafe

gadfly01.jpgBakersfield College students debated the importance and root causes of terrorism at the first Gadfly Café of the fall semester.

A discussion forum hosted three times per semester at the Levan Center for the Humanities, the Gadfly Café encourages anyone in the community to come in and offer their opinions on a different controversial social issue every month. With the presidential election around the corner in November, moderator Reggie Williams tailored this semester’s topics toward hot-button issues on the campaign trail.

gadfly03Wednesday’s topic was titled “Terrorism, Cars and Other Threats to Americans”, and Williams opened the discussion with a few statistics for context. While there are approximately 30,000 car-related deaths every year and 20 veteran suicides every day, only 58 people have been killed by terrorism in the United States since 2002, said Williams, a philosophy professor at Bakersfield College. In light of those numbers, Williams asked the group why they believe terrorism is such a crucial issue in our political discourse.

After some spirited discussion, Gadfly participants concluded that the threat of terrorism is omnipresent enough to justify spending significant time legislating to prevent it, regardless of the amount of people it actually affects. The debate then turned to distinguishing what separates terrorist attacks like September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing from hate crimes or other acts of violence. Some argued that it was religious zealotry, but a consensus formed that the defining element of terrorism is any attempt at using violence as a tool of political coercion.

While the debate might get confrontational, Gadfly Café participants are expected to be respectful, kind and avoid personal attacks. Next month’s forum on Oct. 12 is titled “Undocumented Immigrants: Boon, Bane or Political Ruse?” and the last Gadfly Café of the semester on Nov. 9 will be about “Healthcare: A Right, Privilege or Practical Necessity?”

Celebrating Dia de la Indepencia

14322243_10153973754444352_4757304245717391097_n.jpgThe Bakersfield College chapter of M.E.Ch.A celebrated Mexican Independence Day Thursday with a fleet of classic hydraulic cars parked in front of the gym.

M.E.Ch.A, a Chicano student organization founded in the 1960s, honored the Dia de Independencia by inviting the owners of a few “lowriders”, antique muscle cars modified with hydraulics that can lower the chassis all the way down to the floor or make the front end of the car bounce. BC’s M.E.Ch.A chapter also sold horchata and pan dulce at a table in front of the gym.

On September 16th, 1810, Catholic priest and revolutionary Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla uttered the famous Cry of Dolores, symbolizing the start of the Mexican War of Independence. Many Americans falsely believe that Mexican Independence Day takes place on Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

University Transfer Day

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Photo by Cara Jackson

On September  12, over 32 colleges were in attendance to meet with prospective BC transfer students.

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Photo by Cara Jackson

This gave all in attendance a chance to inform and be informed on transcripts, advice on what each college offers and other information. The event was carefully organized by the Transfer Days College Night Intersegment Coordinating Committee. The committee has created a Northern and Southern Region California Community College circuit for Universities and Colleges throughout the country, led by Mr. Michael Burton.

 

Mr. Burton then connects with all California Community College Transfer Directors in this assigned region such as Marisa Marquez, Transfer Counselor and the Center for Student Success Office Supervisor, Bernadette Martinez to further organize the event. Mary Jo Pasek, Office of Student Life Director Dr. Nicky Damania and his energetic and always professional Student Life staff are also part of this event.

The promotions are made by team effort such as creating posters, made by Dylan Wang and Mr. Steve Watkin and his hard-working office of Outreach and School Relations also contribute. Food is catered by the sensational Chef Eric Sabella and his team , and at the end of the day students have knowledge to make a great decision about transferring.

For more information see: http://www.certicc.org/transferDayscollegeNights.aspx

BC featured on CSPAN’s “Lectures in History” Program

Bakersfield College got some national attention when Dr. Oliver Rosales, Professor of History at our Delano Campus, was featured on CSPAN’s Lectures in History series on September 3.  The program visits college and university classrooms to highlight professors lecturing on topics related to their research expertise.  Oliver’s lecture focused on “Latinos and the Civil Rights Movement.”  Here’s a synopsis of his lecture from the CSPAN website:

Latinos and the Civil Rights Movement: Professor Oliver Rosales talked about Latinos, the Delano grape strike of the mid-1960s, and their place in the larger Civil Rights movement of the period. Professor Rosales shared his personal family history and other oral histories about the National Farm Workers Association, the labor union led by Ceasar Chavez and Delores Huerta which eventually became the United Farm Workers. He also described the connection between the local history of Bakersfield, California, and the national Civil Rights movement.

You can watch the program on CSPAN’s website here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?407964-1/latinos-civil-rights-movement

Congratulations to Jack Hernandez

zolbrod_4.jpgI often sign off by saying I’m the luckiest college president in the world, and a huge part of that is all due to the fantastic faculty and staff who work with me at BC. I’m proud every time I’m able to announce something and congratulate someone, but I’m even proud silently walking the halls of our facilities because our classrooms and offices are filled with faculty and staff who take their work to heart. Jack Hernandez is one of our star faculty, now retired and still contributing, who I’m proud to spotlight today.

On Friday, I was filled in via email that Jack’s paper, “Suicide: A Personal and Philosophical Reflection” has been selected for presentation at the Central Valley Philosophy Associations annual conference. I look forward to sharing the pictures and recap from the event to come in November!

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That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya 

(in my airplane travel attire heading to the AACU conference)

Extraordinary stories: Our students, community, and faculty

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, August 6th….Kevin Charette of KGET happily told us on the morning news that we will not have triple digit high temperatures this week…and a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

Like all of you, Rio, is on my mind.  What a spectacular opening ceremony at the Olympic games in Rio.  If you are tweeting don’t forget #Rio2016.  Check it out at

https://www.olympic.org/news/brazil-takes-pride-in-spectacular-rio-2016-opening

 

 

Here are a few excerpts from the website:

Reflecting that beauty, a stunning Opening Ceremony depicted the rich and complex history and culture of Brazil. Fireworks and laser-lit dancers provided a suitably arresting start…..

The story of Brazil was then retold in a stunning showcase, beginning with the birth of life itself, depicted on a huge screen on the stadium floor, and continuing with a representation of the country’s rainforest and the forming of three huge “ocas” or huts to symbolise the indigenous people who call that amazing and precious habitat their home.

…..

The appearance of Gisele Bundchen, strutting out to the sound of “The Girl From Ipanema”, marked the start of “Bossa”, celebrating the curves and sensuality of Brazil. Pop then took centre stage, as the voice of the favelas, funk, samba, “passinho” and popular Brazilian music filled the air, while breakdance, capoeira and a host of the country’s regional variations of dance also put in appearances. Some 1,500 dancers then arrived on the scene for with a mass dance-off, as Brazilian singer Regina Casé urged everyone in the stadium to get on their feet.

Here is the English version of the song Girl from Ipanema that won the 1965 Grammy Song of the Year, sung up Astrud Gilberto the wife of Joao Gilberto who sang the original Portuguese version.

Here is the Portuguese version that I could find on Youtube with Tom Jobim and Joao Gilberto reuniting for this performance.  Beautiful.

 

If we are distracted from our work these next two weeks, we will just Blame it on Rio.

I love Saturday mornings.  Life seems spacious, uncomplicated, no immediate deadlines and I find myself moving out of “drive mode” which is constant and necessary in advancing the work of the college to a more “neutral mode”….I like it….i like it a lot.

Mondays on the other hand are a different story.  We often hear about the dreaded “case of the Mondays” or the “Monday Blues” and how we just can’t roll out of bed without that cherished cup of coffee– but I found some inspiration and perspective for Monday, which I hope just might spur some enthusiasm. Let’s show some love to Mondays!

Mondays

🙂

Motivation on Monday (8/1) Morning

TGIM – that’s what I’m saying! I started 8/1 the Monday after returning from Toronto, Canada, with a brief conversation with JP Lake who is exploring ways to support our community in Oildale by providing access to rehabilitation for those battling drug addiction.  That prompted me pinging Monika Scott and Earl Parsons, two bright minds who work with Shannon Musser, to quickly pull together some information for me.  And, as usual, they came through with flying colors.  Thank you Monika and Earl.

In addition to data here is a personal story that Earl shared with me.

Hello Ms. Christian, This is Earl Parsons. Monika asked me to look up some information about drug abuse in the unincorporated community of Oildale. There was a lot of data from Kern County in general and the Bakersfield area but we seem to be seriously lacking any comprehensive information via scholarly articles about drug use in Oildale and how that affects education rates and contributes to institutionalization and the school-to-prison pipeline. I did manage to find some information, however.

In the future, I think it would be worthwhile to commission our own research and canvass the community for some independent investigation, since there seem to be little to no secondary sources for the data you’re seeking. Speaking anecdotally, I grew up in different trailer parks around Beardsley Avenue and my mother was in and out of jail for meth use throughout my adolescence. A lot of the kids growing up in that area have no opportunities, teen pregnancy is astronomical and elementary school teachers have an uphill battle just getting their kids to come to school, let alone preparing them for being contributing members of a post-industrial economy.

Most of my friends from the neighborhood had dropped out of school and started using meth daily by 7th or 8th grade. I’m the only person I know of from that whole area to graduate from college, and I was fortunate enough to have the personal motivation (and stubbornness) to succeed, as well as the outside support from my family, or I would’ve never realized my full potential.

I still live in Oildale and I take the bus to work every day. A few weeks ago, my bus stopped off in front of a part of Oildale called The Pit, which is a really tough apartment complex on Roberts Lane. The bus picked up a woman I presumed was attending summer school here at BC, because she had a piece of white particle board with some kind of organizational structure outline for what I assumed was a Business class. I didn’t know her, but it made me very emotional seeing someone from that neighborhood who was trying to empower herself into a better lifestyle, and I wanted to walk over to her and tell her that I was proud of her and to keep working hard because I was in her position and I made it out.

Anyway, I’ve probably spent too much time writing about this but it’s something I feel very passionately about. I hope you have a great day, and I hope your research helps create the change that community needs.”

It’s stories like this and the message behind it that continue to fuel everything we do at Bakersfield College. The struggle is real… and the challenges are hard, but our students are strong and the people of this community care. When we work together and do our part to support our students, cycles can be broken. Hardships that are familiar today – don’t need to be a staple of tomorrow. Education is the key and its transformative power does change lives. This is why Mondays are important – Let’s tackle the work we were born to do. We can do something remarkable.

This is the day to be back at our passion. Breathing new life into our projects. We are conduits on innovation, imagination, and inspiration. It’s Monday, and we can’t wait to get started.”

We are BC!

A great Tuesday

I started my Tuesday morning watching Steve Watkin being interviewed by Jason Galvin on KGET promoting Renegade fest on August 12th.  Jason was so enthusiastic and was fully engaged in his interview with Steve.  Thank you Jason.

Dropped in and spent 30 minutes with the Summer Bridge group.  Thank you Kimberly Bligh for leading this effort.  Connected with some of our new faculty like Marcelyn Allen and incoming students.  Here is Marcelyn Allen, Michele Bresso’s daughter full of enthusiasm and passion for what she does.  The other faculty leading the session, Teresa McAllister, invited me to join an activity with chocolates that determines your personality type depending on the chocolate you like.  I was grouped with the Krackels and you can see us krackels here in all our glory.

Also thank you to the student peer mentors Kenneth Mireles, Melodee Medrano and Junior Menchaca.  Loved watching our counselor Mark Osea and Advisor Isabel Casteneda working with the students.

National Night Out

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The BC campus welcomed hundreds of visitors on campus during Tuesday evenings National Night Out. This annual event “promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live.” The weather was not only warm – it was blistering “Bakersfield” hot, but that didn’t stop hundreds of residents from coming out to meet and support our heroic emergency first responders and public service men and women.

National Night OutBPD’s specific and unique branches were on-site, including the CHP, the K9 Unit, Special Enforcement Unit, Bomb Squad, S.W.A.T. Team, and Rangers. Children of all ages eagerly interacted in a hands-on manner by taking a tour of the vehicles, trying on special equipment, and asking questions about daily duties and activities.

More than ever and in light of recent tragedies, this event has special significance – The event gave an exclusive chance for these branches to interact with and educate people of all ages and in response, attendees saw firsthand just how much these departments give back to the local community.

My wish going forward, inspired in part by this event, is that Bakersfield College continues to be a staple in this community; One which has the campus, buildings, and grounds to facilitate these types of important community and bond building experiences. As stated in BC’s core values

we have built and continue to build an environment in which all members participate as community through democratic engagement.

Thank you to all who came out to show support to our men and women working for public safety. And I can’t forget a special thank you to Mary Jo Pasek, who always works tirelessly in her efforts to utilize Bakersfield College in bringing our community together. For a video report of this event, check out the article at Bakersfieldnow.com.

Thank you Karen Goh for the photo gallery http://tinyurl.com/jok8cam

RENx Talks – Brief Talks, Big Ideas

RENx.jpg

Many of us on campus are familiar with TED talks… so much so, that we have our own RENEGADE talks (thank you Andrea Thorson and Todd Coston) as a mini campus-wide tribute, each year in April. Our staff, faculty, even some students come together to prepare a set of talks that are (1.) short (2.) concise and (3.) pack one powerful punch in a small amount of time. TED Talks are known for Ideas worth spreading and the library of 10-20 minute videos is nothing short of astounding. Topics range from almost anything you can think of and they’re educational, powerful, and motivational. One could even argue, if you watch one a day, it just might be… the best 13 minutes of your 24-hour day!

As a mini-series to these TED-like talks, Communications Faculty, Helen Acosta, hosted a spin off on Wednesday afternoon featuring her summer COMM B4 students. It was appropriately titled RENx – just as TEDx is a smaller scale of TED talks. I had the joy of sitting quietly in the back of the theater when lights dimmed and the first student took the stage. He was poised and enthusiastic as he conveyed a perfectly crafted message, not only with words. He artistically included body language as a reinforcement to the strong words spoken. His voice was a tool filled with passion and emotion and he swayed towards the audience, engaging us to not miss a single word. Interestingly, his topic was the transformative power of critical listening – and I don’t think this was a coincidence.

It’s hard to not listen intently to such passionate and charismatic students. One mentioned how far he has come in the past 4 weeks and delivered the message that life’s difficult moments can be a gift if one focuses on doing the right thing, and another student spoke of finding her passion through Taco Bell, leaving us with the message to “Live Más.”

Topics ranged from self-identity, faith, life, and passions… but, the very best part was witnessing our BC Renegades being honest and genuine about relevant issues, speaking on them with poise, elegance, and confidence. Our students are definitely bringing their A-game. Watch out world! These Renegades are coming for you!

Bakersfield, this is what our faculty do for our students at BC. Create the best learning environment for all of our students not just some of them.  Helen Acosta, you rock!

 

Wednesday (8/3) Evening – We Celebrate a Tribute to Jack

Jack2.jpgHe was described as “a teacher who was willing to learn from a student” and that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to describing his large and humble heart. Familiar faces gathered at the Indoor Theater on Wednesday evening to commemorate the life and impact of social studies professor, John “Jack” Edward Brigham, who passed away in July.

BrighamRetireesThe event had a great turnout, which was a wonderful testament to an outstanding man. I had the opportunity to see a few of our faculty retirees at the event – Margaret Lyman, Jack Hernandez and Sally Hill. 

 

 

Jack1A well-respected group of speakers took turns on the stage as they shared memories, pronouncing the love Jack had for BC, his students, and accomplishing the greatest common good. Brigham’s friend, Milt Younger, led the honors, praising his activism, philanthropy and passion for politics. Mayor Harvey Hall, Abdallah Ben Hamallah, Bob Severs, John Hefner, Cory Carter, Jorge Guillen, Dolores Huerta, Judy Sims-Barlow, Javier Valdez, Alex Dominguez, and Randal Beeman followed by describing how Brigham had changed their lives and motivated them to be better people. To ensure that Brigham’s legacy of inspiring young people in Kern County continues, a scholarship will be established in his name.

Brigham_JavierJavier Valdez is a former Bakersfield College student who is now at CSUB. During his time at Bakersfield College, 2 years ago, he was one of our student journalists involved with the Renegade Rip. The Renegade Rip is an amazing opportunity for our students. It has been in existence since 1929, and has grown to include a 24/7 online edition in addition to 7-8 biweekly publications a year. Our students have received internships and scholarships as they continue their studies after their time at Bakersfield College.

I would also like to recognize our BC staff who made this gathering possible – Earl Parsons, technical support. Kevin Ginger, lighting technician, Mary Jo Pasek for her support in many ways, Nicky Damania for organizing all the student volunteers, Dylan Wang and Dyann Serrato for taking photos, and Tarina Perry who managed this entire event.

I’d like to share the remarks from Randy Beeman, who represented BC faculty, admisnitrators and staff at the event:

I had the honor of being Jack’s office mate for almost 15 years. Jack was also my neighbor and a surrogate uncle to my children as we lived two blocks apart, and I had a key to his house from the first day I arrived at BC. My kids saw his condo as this mysterious place full of fascinating bric-a-brac and books, books, and more books.

Jack was actually on the hiring committee that brought me from Kansas to Bakersfield College via UNLV. Along with two Mexican Americans, an African American, and a slick looking hippie, there was this guy on the committee with cowboy boots, a bolo tie, and a pocket protector. I thought “this must be the department conservative…probably a right winger who listens to Rush Limbaugh and thinks Ronald Reagan was our greatest President.” I sure read that one wrong.

Over the years I heard a million stories, a million times, of our friend Jack’s most interesting life. My favorite stories were his battles as a junior high teacher in the most impoverished area of the city during the civil rights era. Once Jack took his basketball team to a tournament in a local city. He had to take the team in his car, which meant that he had to take half the team and return to Bakersfield for the other half.

When he got back to the tournament the kids he had left behind were downcast and some were in tears. They related to Jack that they had been called the n-word, and that the opposing coach encouraged his players to taunt Jack’s kids. It speaks volumes about the students respect for Jack that they didn’t lash out in anger. They didn’t want to disappoint him.

Jack was ordinarily a sportsman. Each kid got to play an equal amount, and no running up the score – but on this day, Jack unleashed his best player, an eventual college star, and his troops crushed the other team mercilessly. When Jack got home he began to write letters, as was his style, and within a week the racist coach was removed from his job.

That story is the essence of Jack – kind and composed, but underneath a furious revolutionary who never stopped fighting injustice and unfairness. When I would walk in the office at 7 am and the only music playing was the sound of Jack typing like a maniac, I knew that some administrator or politician was on the receiving end of one of Jack’s jeremiads. Suffice to say, in my time as his office mate and friend, he won most of his battles, and in the process students would be treated in a more ethical manner or a mismanaged system would be corrected.

Jack was a kind and serious man, but joy pervaded his personality. We would spend our free time talking (and sometimes fighting) about the American west, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, afrocubop, the mendacity of Richard Nixon, the end of nationalism and so on. Jack’s optimistic and giving spirit was infectious. I became a better teacher and a better person via my ongoing tutorial with this well-read, well-travelled, extraordinary individual. Just last month he wrote me about ‘inappropriate comments regarding Hillary Clinton” that I had reposted in haste on Facebook. I deleted the post, post haste.

Everyone knows that Jack was a font of generosity. Early on in my tenure at BC, I would be on the phone with my wife, talking about how we would pay for the kid’s braces and still manage the Catholic school tuition, or whatever bill or crisis was next…I would come out of class a few hours later and a check for $500 or $1000 would be on my desk. The only repayment expected is that I would do my best as a scholar and teacher.

Jack made people, like me, feel like they were special and capable of great deeds, but what Jack really taught me was that it is the small things that count – a compliment to someone feeling down or shy, giving away a material possession to someone who might enjoy it more, an encouraging word to an aspiring young artist. Jack was a complete gentleman, genteel, a lover of nature, animals, and even people as well.

If I were to channel Jack today, I would say that if he was a great man who could see farther than others it was because he was [audience ‘standing on the shoulders of giants.”] Milt Younger, Bob Severs, Corey Carter, the big guy Abdallah and Dolores of course above all….these giants of Jack’s life and other devoted friends all testify to a life well lived, a life worthy of emulation. Jack Brigham you are, in a phrase you loved so much, “presente!”

Jack’s life story and accomplishments are detailed in his obituary and I encourage you to take a few moments to read it. He was an accomplished, beloved, and outstanding leader who continually thought of others before himself.

Quoted from his obit, “Jack is in hopes his friends and role models will do something special for a person, group or organization in the spirit of integrity and civic unity.”

Let’s go out today and do something special – something extraordinary in honor of Jack.

enjoying gift from art department feb 14 2014

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya 

(The Art department certainly knows the way into my heart)

Sprinting toward semester’s end

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 30, 2016….A good day to be a Renegade.

This day 68 years ago, in 1948, the Land Rover debuted at an auto show.  An incredible car designed by the British car company and owned now by Tata Motors was initially intended to be used for farm work but quickly became popular with the public.  Needless to say…I love my Land Rover.

It was another “normal” week at BC–with the Spring performance of our Jazz Ensemble to the One-act festival theater, Career day, High school students attending BC’s Law day, the SGA awards ceremony, baseball, track….. After being on the road for several weeks, and MIA at our athletic events it was great to catch up on baseball after completing faculty interviews late on Friday.  Nan was at the track meet and we exchanged messages from different parts of the campus celebrating our students and coaches.

Baseball finished the regular season in a dramatic fashion, winning 14 of their last 16 games to clinch a playoff berth.  Playoff seeding will be announced on Sunday, a strong possibility we will play at home on May 6th & 7th. Thank you Coach Tim Painton.

Western State Conference finals were held on the newly resurfaced track Friday afternoon with 500 student athletes vying for qualifying marks to the Southern California meet. A beautiful day with a beautiful track resulted in numerous personal best marks. Thank you Coach Pam Kelley.

Softball swept a doubleheader from Antelope Valley on Tuesday to clinch a playoff berth for the fist time since 2012.  There was no quit in these ladies with multiple lead changes throughout both games. Playoff seeding announced today. Thank you Coach Christie Hill.

Board of Governors visits

Avalos Conway Christian Agbalog Stewart April 29 2016

It was a treat having two members of the Board of Governors, Arnoldo Avalos and Connie Conway, visit BC on Tuesday, April 26th.  Rather than doing a special series of presentations, we decided to fit their itinerary into what was happening at BC.  The morning started with them attending an annual event where we connect with leaders from high school and share with them the advances made on the goals set the previous year.  After that, they toured the campus and connected with faculty and students in the sciences, music, CTE etc. Thank you Joe Saldivar, Jen Garrett, Liz Rozell, Manny Gonzales, Clayton Fowler, Nicky Damania and others who helped.  And the fabulous Jennifer Marden who pulled all this together.

Both Arnoldo and Connie were open, direct and clearly enjoyed being on a college campus and interacting with faculty, staff and students.  Here is a blurb about them from the Chancellor’s website:

Arnoldo Avalos has been the founder and chief executive officer of the Avalos Foundation since 2013. He was head of compensation and the global compensation manager at Facebook from 2008 to 2013 and senior global compensation manager for Google from 2006 to 2008. Avalos held multiple positions at Cisco Systems from 1999 to 2006, including compensation manager, corporate recruiter and manager of business operations. He was a system consultant at Andersen Consulting from 1996 to 1999 and farm manager for Avalos Farms from 1989 to 1996. Avalos is a member of the Latino Community Foundation Board of Trustees and a founding member of Hermanos Unidos. He earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Connie Conway has been a member of the California Women Lead Board of Directors since 2008. She served as a member of the California State Assembly from 2008 to 2014, where she was Minority Leader from 2010 to 2014. Conway was a member of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors from 2000 to 2008, serving as chair in 2005 and 2008. She was chair of the Cities Counties Schools Partnership in 2007 and president of the California State Association of Counties in 2006.

It was a wonderful surprise to have Trustee Romeo Agbalog join us. He was able to rearrange his schedule and connect with both Avalos and Conway.

I enjoyed meeting Vince Stewart, Vice Chancellor of External Affairs from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, and hear about the great things being undertaken statewide.

Pre-Law Program: First Graduates & Law Day Conference

Prelaw2As many of you know, Bakersfield College has developed a Pre-law Program over the past two years. We are one of 24 of community colleges in the state of California participating in this program.

This program is designed to help students matriculate more easily from Bakersfield College to a four-year university and on to a participating law school.

We are happy to report that this year our first graduating class of three students has completed the recommended courses for our Pre-Law Program. Bailey Bryson, Michael Esqueda and Fernando Singh were honored at a Pre-Law celebration on Monday. We are estimating that we will have at least 15 graduates in 2017!

We are so excited that members of our Advisory Council were able to attend. Thank you Steven Katz, Courtney Lewis, Mark Pafford, Bethany Peak, Brett Price, H.A. Sala, Rebecca Murillo, Roberta Tafoya, David Torres and Alekxia Torres-Stallings.

On Friday, April 29th,  over 200 students from local high schools packed the Indoor Theater for our annual Law Day Conference. It’s always inspiring to see so many young people enthusiastically pursuing their interests and future career goals, and choosing to visit Bakersfield College.

BrandonStallings_SonyaChristian_MannyMourtzanosShortly before the event, I met Brandon Stallings, a deputy District Attorney and representing the State Bar Board of Trustees. He shared that our local rural communities suffer a real lack of attorneys, and that for our justice system to work we need dedicated students who are interested in a law career and want to stay local.

To help inspire these young people and foster their career goals, local professionals were on hand to share stories and answer questions. Thank you to all attorneys and volunteers involved, especially Honorable Louie L. Vega, Adayinka Glover, Esq., Christian Zoller, Bethany Peak, Esq., Michael J Yraceburn, Esq., Honorable Steven M Katz, Esq., H.A. Sala, Esq., and Alekxia Torres-Steallings, Esq.

EricHogan_DeanMWe have great faculty and staff at Bakersfield College, like Manny Mourtzanos, our Dean of Instruction, who makes these events fun and captivating for our future students. While opening the program, Manny asked if anyone could recite the Miranda Rights by memory. Surprisingly, hands flew up and Eric Hogan from Bridges Academy was chosen to come up. Without hesitation, Eric was able to say aloud the entire Miranda Rights before a packed theater of fellow students – Well done, Eric.

In fact, did you know this year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1996 Miranda vs. Arizona ruling? It’s a great day when you can learn something new. And as time has gone by, the Miranda Rights have become an icon in pop culture, as seen in some of our favorite movies, but also as an integral part of American culture.

During my opening remarks I referred to the two movies that capture the creativity, sharpness, and performance abilities of a young lawyer played by Tom Cruise in both instances — The Firm and A Few Good Men.  Sydney Pollack’s The Firm was done in 1991 where Cruz plays a young lawyer who joins a prestigious law with a sinister dark side and the strategy he adopts to bring them down.  A year later Rob Riner has Cruise playing the lead role along with Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men.  You have got to check out this classic scene from A Few Good Men.

 

SonyaChristian_DouglasGrimsleySpeaking of great faculty, it was fantastic to see Professor Douglas Grimsley, who is involved with our inmate education plan. Grimsley is one of our pioneering faculty who knows that his investment is helping folks get back into society – something that is true to the mission of Bakersfield College; Providing opportunities for students from all diverse backgrounds to engage productively in their communities and the world.

GroupShotAs you may know, Bakersfield College is selected by the State Bar of California to participate in the Community Colleges Pathway to Law School Initiative, which provides a transfer-pathway for students to one of at least six prestigious law schools in our state.  But beyond that, the law program at BC is a rigorous path that is a true investment and will sharpen any student’s critical thinking, writing skills, and leadership qualities.

 

Project BEST

 

 

HOrace Mitchell Sonya Christian Project BEST April 23 2016Fuchsia Ward Project Best April 23 2016

Steve Watkin invited me to attend the Project BEST event last Saturday, April 26th.  In fact it was great seeing an entire BC gang at the table–Harlan Hunter, Reggie Bolton, Paula Parks, Christopher Anderson, Ishmael Kimbrough, and our ATEP students.

This was my first introduction to Project BEST and I was impressed and inspired by the caliber of our High School students as well as the commitment from our community. Project BEST (Black Excellence in Scholarship and Teaching) is a partnership between the Kern High School District, California State University, Bakersfield, the local business community, parents and students. It is privately funded and financially administered by the Kern High School District Education Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization.  It was wonderful connecting with Dr. Horace Mitchell, President of CSUB, who is clearly committed to this program and on the spot increased CSUB’s financial support for these students.  The icing on the cake was when Fuschia Ward, the KHSD administrator in charge of the program, received an award for her leadership.  For those of you who do not know Fuschia, you are missing out on someone very special.  I met Fuschia when I spoke at the Kern Kiwanis Club and immediately could sense that this woman is passionate and makes things happen.  On Saturday, she read a beautiful poem that she had read in previous Project BEST events.  This last week I must have read it a 1000 times….. well, that might be a slight exaggeration 😉 Here it is:

Don’t You Quit – An Inspirational Poem

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –

The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Renegade Promise at the Kern County Alliance

 

 

 ChI782HUoAEchUK

Jacqueline MimmsOn Thursday, Kristen Barnes, CEO of the Kern Community Foundation, invited us to present the Renegade Promise to a group of Educators across Kern County.  The story of the Renegade Promise is a story of collaboration and partnership, a story about adaptation, a story about saying “yes” rather than “no”, a story about making this happen despite the odds.  The heroes in this story are the faculty, staff and administrators from KHSD, BC and CSUB who have been laser focused on moving students through our educational pathways faster and not compromising their learning; on the contrary, enhancing their learning.  Presenting along with me were Dr. Jacqueline Mimms from CSUB, Vickie Spanos from KHSD, and Lesley Bonds from BC.  These three women are brilliant, beautiful, passionate and work tirelessly.

Vickie Spanos 2Lesley Bonds

Check out my Feb 5, 2016 blog to learn more about this collaborative work being led by Kristen Barnes.  http://tinyurl.com/jptv4xh

Wasco High Summer Bridge

Wasco Sumer Bridge April 2016.jpgSummer Bridge is an essential part of a student’s journey to becoming a college student.  Throughout summer 2016, BC will engage 2,000 new students in this extended orientation where they’ll learn how to access important campus information, discuss success strategies for the transition into college, take a campus tour, and hear from important academic and student affairs support services about the many offerings available to them.  Thank you Dr. Kimberly Bligh for your leadership.  For more information about Summer Bridge, email bcsummerbridge@gmail.com.

This week, BC hosted 60 Wasco High School future Renegades on the Panorama campus and the Delano campus for the first Bridge of the season!  These attendees arrived to campus bright and early Monday morning for a campus tour led by one of our amazing Promising Professionals, Sharita Knowles, and Educational Advisor Claudio Felix.  Title V Director Kimberly Bligh and Counselor Keri Kennedy led the group through success strategies and resources as they transition from high school to college.  Monica Huyck at the Delano pitched in to host the students at the Delano campus on Thursday for a campus tour and review of the new facilities and support services available to our Rural Renegades.

Student Leadership & Recognition Awards Ceremony

On Friday morning, the Office of Student Life and the amazing Dr. Nicky Damania held the Student Leadership and Involvement Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is intended to recognize the accomplishments of student organizations and student leaders at Bakersfield College. This annual event, offers chance for all registered student organizations and student leadership to present their achievements to the rest of the College community, and be recognized for their accomplishments.

Romeo Agbalog SGA Awards April 29 2016.jpgA special thank you to Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending the event and for your powerful words that leadership is about building others up – not just building oneself up.  And thank you Tom Moran for all that you do for BC.  Do you see Tom signing to the left of Romeo?

Clayton Fowler and Sonya Christian April 29 2016Before I get into the many honorees, I should first recognize a student who has been working hard to engage students and make BC a better place for future Renegades: our BCSGA President, Clayton Fowler.  It has been Clayton’s advocacy for students that has catalyzed our work on a number of projects; most notably, our Renegade Promise.  Stay tuned for details!

Onto the awards…

Student Employee of the Year: Awarded to an outstanding student in recognition of exceptional contributions to their office or department of service during the academic year.

  • Bradley Parrot, EOP&S/Care/CalWORKs
  • Paulette Rodriguez, BCSGA

Most Valuable Renegade (MVR): Awarded to intercollegiate student athletes who through their involvement at BC have made significant contributions to the quality of life for their fellow athletes.

  • Daryan Heathcott, Women’s Volleyball
  • De’Andre Dickson, Men’s Basketball

Renegade Spirit Award: Awarded to student leaders who bring spirit and enthusiasm to the Bakersfield College community through their involvement on campus.

  • Allison Guzman, American Sign Language Club

Service Award: Awarded to a student whose behavior embraces civic responsibility and service to the community on a campus, local, regional, national, or global level.

  • Anhelica Perez, Office of Student Life at Delano

President’s Leader of the Year Award: Awarded to student leaders with a distinguished record of extraordinary leadership, service, spirit, advocacy, and involvement within the college community.  Recipients will have a history of positive and significant accomplishments resulting in major contributions that enhance the quality of life at the college.

  • Alia Brost, ACS Chemistry Chapter Club

Event of the Year: Awarded to a registered student organization that sponsored an event promoting social interaction among students.  The effectiveness of the planning, publicity, and execution of the event will be considered.

  • Def-Nation, American Sign Language Club
  • Relay for Life, Relay for Life Club

Renegade Spirit Award (Organization): Awarded to a registered student organization that brings spirit and enthusiasm to the Bakersfield College community through their programs and activities.

  • Disabilities Inspire and Support Change Club
  • Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club

Student Organization of the Year: Awarded to a registered organization that is organized, active, and maintains strong membership.  This student organization continually strives to increase their impact and influence on the campus community. You should follow them on Twitter @WECOMMBC

  • WECOMM Club

Outstanding Student Organization Advisor(s): Awarded to a faculty or staff member that goes above and beyond their expectations of an advisor, is an integral part of the organization, and shows dedication to the mission of the organization.

  • Jonathan Hernandez, WECOMM Club

Grace Van Dyke Bird Leadership Scholarship Award: Given annually to one freshman student attaining the highest standards of leadership, citizenship, service, and overall accomplishments while a student attending Bakersfield College.  This award is dedicated to the first president of Bakersfield College who showed great pride and shared a great vision for education in Kern County.

  • Arthur Tondin

Alumni Association Honor Trophy Scholarship Award: Given annually to one sophomore student attaining the highest standards of leadership, citizenship, service, and overall accomplishments while a student attending Bakersfield College.

  • Tania Bernal

Samuel W. McCall Outstanding Professor of the Year Award: Given annually to a Bakersfield College faculty member who has been nominated and selected by the students.  The award spotlights the college’s “super teachers.”  The finalists include:

  • Bernard Scanlon, Mathematics
  • Deborah Rosenthal, Chemistry
  • Reggie Williams, Philosophy
  • Paula Parks, English
  • Jennifer Garrett, Performing Arts
  • Stephen Tavoni, Biological Sciences
  • Nick Strobel, Physical Science/Astronomy
  • Paula Dahl, Athletics

Congratulations to Reggie Williams, Philosophy, for your selection as the Samuel W. McCall Outstanding Professor of the Year!

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Here is a picture of Trustee Agbalog with Bill Parker.  Bill has been at BC for 39 years and he absolutely gives his heart and soul to the campus.  We love you Bill Parker!

Bill Parker and Romeo Agbalog April 29 2016.jpg

Fourth Annual High School Leaders Breakfast

Presbreakfast1On Tuesday, we hosted the 4th Annual President’s Breakfast. About 60 education partners (counselors and administrators) from our high school service area came to our Fireside Room for a quick and insightful update and discussion. We talked about our strides in collaboration with Guided Pathways, Dual Enrollment, Multiple Measures, and our High School Matriculation Visits.

Mr. Arnoldo Avalos (Board of Governors Member, CCCCO) told the story of how, in higher education, personal connections matter. “That first week, so difficult, completely frazzled and I met one person. A counselor for Chicano Studies…she took me aside and said, ‘Are you ok?’”

Vickie Spanos (Director of Instruction, KHSD) spoke about the Kern High School District and how the “seeds of partnership,” have been sewn with BC. Connie Conway (Board of Governors Member, CCCCO) touched on how important the role the Board of Governors has in supporting California’s Community Colleges. And Vincent Stewart (Vice Chancellor for External Relations, CCCCO) expressed his excitement at visiting Bakersfield College for the first time and getting to interact with our charismatic administrators, faculty, staff, and students.

The work that we do for our students is paramount. It was so exciting to celebrate our collaboration successes this year, even as we begin the conversations about where we are headed for next year! Thank you! And here is BC’s Outreach Team.  You make BC look good. Thank you!

Outreach April 29 2016 cropped.jpg

 

Alex Victoria April 27 2016Kern’s Poet Laureate:

On Wednesday I attended a poetry reading hosted by the Bakersfield Arts Council. The event featured the poetry of Kern Poet Laureate Don Thompson who read from several of  his published works, provided context for the poems he read, and offered comments on his life in poetry. The evening started with original readings by  students from Taft College, CSUB and BHS. (Pictured at right is Taft College’s Alex Victoria.) I so enjoyed attending the event.  Don Thompson is Kern’s Poet Laureate for the next two years. It was a treat seeing several friends taking in an evening of poetry.  To know more about Kern’s Poet Laureate check out http://writersofkern.com/2015/12/29/poet-laureate/

2016 Phi Theta Kappa induction.  Thank you Prof. Charles Kim for your leadership.

PTK Induction April 2016 cropped.jpg

Thank you Delano Chamber and Janet Rabanel for your generosity.

Donation from Delano Chamber Janet Rabanel April 28 2016.jpg

It truly is a great time to be at BC.

PS …

As we finish our Spring 2016 semester, I wanted to extend an invitation to our community to join us as we celebrate our students.

Our Performing Arts joint music concert in the Outdoor Theater on Wednesday. May 4th at 7:00 p.m.

Our Chicano/Latino celebration will be on Thursday, May 5, at 5 pm in our beautiful Outdoor Theater. Latina icon Dolores Huerta, founder of the Dolores Huerta foundation, will be the featured speaker. The celebration will feature food, art, music and dancing.

Our Black Graduates Recognition Ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 10, at 6 pm in the Indoor Theater. We welcome the public to this free event.

Our Delano campus will hold a Pre-Commencement celebration from 11:30 am – 3 pm on Friday, May 13. Food and entertainment will begin at 11:30, with a recognition ceremony beginning promptly at 12 pm. This event will be on our Delano Campus, 1450 Timmons Ave. in Delano.

And of course, our 102nd Bakersfield College Commencement will be held on Friday, May 13 at Memorial Stadium. Gates open at 5:30 pm, and the ceremony will begin at 7. We will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display. Don’t miss it!

Making a Difference for our community & students

 

 

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 24th. A good day to be a Renegade.

Feels great to be back home after being on the road for two weeks – Berkeley, Washington DC, San Diego.  Looking forward to my exercise class at 9:30 a.m. which I have missed for several weeks.  Besides my class in the morning, I plan on catching up on emails etc at home, two faculty interviews on skype and an event this evening.  Talking about faculty interviews, I am excited that BC will be hiring a total of 39 faculty to start in August 2016.  What an amazing opportunity.  It is indeed a good time to be at BC!

In my blog last week, I shared with you about the Guided Pathways work that a team from BC was doing in Washington DC.  You can find it at http://tinyurl.com/zq24br5

Sonya ASUGSV San Diego April 18 2016

Jubilant in San Diego after my presentation

Earlier this week, I was in San Diego presenting at the ASU GSV summit.  This was my very first non-education conference in a long time, and I learned a lot from the different sessions.  The conference focused on the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship and education.  I found myself walking the waterfront wrestling with the ideas presented at the conference.  Just wonderful.  Mostly what became clear to me is that Bakersfield College has the right ingredients to accomplish the goal for all students to have equal opportunities to advance their learning and engagement. Talented faculty and staff, who are hard working, passionate and dedicated to the students and the college.

The keynotes (excerpted from the conference website):

Bill Gates: He revolutionized global computing as we know it and is now a philanthropist investing in health globally and education in the United States.

Condoleezza Rice: Former Secretary of State and currently the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business

Common:  Common is one of Hollywood’s most sought after leading men and is a world­-renowned lyricist, actor and entertainment icon.

Jim Collins: Legendary author of the book from “Good to Great”. An influential expert on leadership and how to build great, enduring businesses.

Anant Agarwal is the CEO of edX, an online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT. Anant taught the first edX course on circuits and electronics from MIT, which drew 155,000 students from 162 countries. He has served as the director of CSAIL, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.

Rick Levin is the Chief Executive Officer of Coursera. In 2013, he completed a twenty-year term as President of Yale University, during which time he played an integral role in growing the University’s programs, resources and reputation internationally.

Sal khan: Salman Khan is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Khan Academy, a not-for-profit with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Khan Academy is a learning platform which is comprised of instructional videos, practice exercises, dashboard analytics and teacher tools which empower learners in and outside of the classroom to study at their own pace.

Stanley McChrystal: Described by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as “perhaps the finest leader in combat” he has ever seen, four-star general (retired) Stanley McChrystal is the former commander of U.S. and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan and the former commander of the premier military counter-terrorism force, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

Michael M. Crow is an academic leader and educator, designer of knowledge enterprises, and science and technology policy scholar. He has been the sixteenth president of Arizona State University since July, 2002. He is guiding the transformation of ASU into one of the nation’s leading public metropolitan research universities, an institution that combines the highest levels of academic excellence, inclusiveness to a broad demographic, and maximum societal impact—a model he designed known as the “New American University.”

Ted Mitchell is the Undersecretary of Education. He has served in this post since his confirmation by the U.S. Senate on May 8, 2014, following his nomination by President Barack Obama on Oct. 31, 2013. Mitchell reports to Acting Secretary of Education John King and oversees policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, adult, career and technical education, federal student aid, five White House Initiatives — Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Educational Excellence for Hispanics, Educational Excellence for African Americans, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and American Indian and Alaska Native Education— and the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Team Bror Susan Jim Sonya April 18 2016I was part of a panel (Jim Shelton-President of 2U; Susan Cates-COO of 2U; Bror Saxberg-Chief Learning Officer of Kaplan) that presented on the Value of Higher Edcuation: Outcomes that Matter.  Here is the program blurb.

Free higher education via MOOCs or government programs are dominating higher education conversations. Meanwhile, emerging transparency and accountability regimes and the rapidly evolving expectations of students, faculty, institutions and employers are forcing post secondary institutions to demonstrate and in cases defend their value. How will the value of education be measured? How will providers prove their worth and to whom? If it is still the responsibility of universities to deliver the fundamentals that enable students to succeed and society to advance, which outcomes matter most?

I had the opportunity to brag about our faculty, staff and administrators at BC.  An easy task since there is so much that is being accomplished across the 153-acre stretch of the campus on Panorama Drive as well as at our Delano Campus, locations at the Weill downtown, Fresno Pacific in the southwest, at Arvin High as well as across our online course and program offerings.  There are so many accomplishments by our approximately 26,000 students and approximately 1000 employees.  Did I already tell you that it is a good time to be at BC?

Remembering Caren Floyd

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Caren Floyd on Bakersfield College Equity TV

Bakersfield College lost a truly inspirational alum on April 2nd when Caren Floyd died of Ovarian Cancer at 71.

But she packed a lot of life into her years, and made the most of her time on Earth.

On the April 4 episode of “Success and Equity on BCTV”, host Francis Mayer remembered Floyd’s visit to the show a little over a year ago, and shared memories of Caren with guest Karen Goh.

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Karen Goh on Bakersfield College Success and Equity TV

In 1980, Caren was working as an attendance clerk at Highland High School, when she decided to pursue a teaching career. But first she met with a guidance counselor at BC who was stunned by the transferable credits she’d piled up while raising her family.

She was quick to praise the mentors and folks who invested energy in her, like the guidance counselor at BC who urged her to transfer to CSUB, and Dr. Carl Miller who guided her through to the next level and wouldn’t give up until she got her Doctorate of Philosophy in Education from Claremont McKenna!

Floyd started her educational journey at BC in 1967, and got her P.h.D in 1995. She did it one class per semester for many years, and important to her success, she allowed others to help her along the way.

Karen Goh pointed out that Floyd was honored more than once for giving back to the community that educated and invested in her, and that those investments we make in others are what change lives and improve our society.

Goh worked with community-based non-profit Garden Pathways before being appointed to serve as Fifth District Supervisor by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. After completing that term of service, she returned to Garden Pathways where she currently serves as President and CEO.  Karen Goh is a great friend of education and Bakersfield College.

You can watch our EquityTV segments online. Karen Goh’s segment is at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-jNggke2Ek, and Caren Floyd’s is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3adYlajKkmA.

Financial Empowerment

This week, Achieving the Dream and Bakersfield College announced that BC will receive $25,000 over a two-year period to expand and strengthen financial empowerment activities designed to strengthen students’ money management skills and knowledge. Bakersfield College is one of the five community colleges in the ATD network that are receiving grants to expand student financial empowerment efforts.

Thank you so much to Jennifer Achan, Connie Garza, Claudio Felix, and the rest of our amazing Financial Aid team for bringing this fabulous opportunity to our students!

Group

Connie Garza, Claudio Felix, Jennifer Achan

 

Alpha Phi Alpha Black honors Paula Parks

Paula1

BC Colleagues supporting Paula Parks

Earlier this month, BC English Professor Paula Parks was honored at the Alpha Phi Alpha Black and Gold Scholarship Banquet. She received the fraternity’s Community Service Award in part for her work with ASTEP (African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence).

ASTEP is a program that integrates academics, support services and African-American culture. The program aims to develop students into leaders and role models in their college and larger community.

Kate Harvey Josie Sonya Jackie April 2016.jpg

Kate Pluta, Harvey Warren, Josie Triplett, Sonya Christian, Jackie Fisher

Many from BC turned out to support Paula as she received her award. It was a pleasure to see retired colleagues Harvey Warren (Counseling), Jackie Fisher (BC Fire Tech & Dean and AVC President), and Josie Triplett (Child Development).  Harvey Warren was on the hiring committee in 1991 that hired me as a math faculty right out of graduate school.  What a memory.  I love BC!

For more on ASTEP at Bakersfield College, check out https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/student/astep.

 

Dream Builders

Dream Builders April 7 2016.jpg

Mickie Hay and the 2016 Dream Builders

On April 7th I was invited by Chad Manning to be one of the judges at the Dream Builder’s program by the Ford Foundation.  What a treat!  Everything about the program is inspiring — the quality of the students, the program design by Mickie Hay, the efficiency with with the event on April 7th was conducted….all top notch.  In the end there was a surprise check of $32,000 presented, $1000 going to every student in this year-long program.  Jennifer Marden, one of my colleagues at Bakersfield College, told me that her son Connor was was in the program last year said that it was the best thing that happened to him. Mickie Hay, you totally rock!

Enjoyed hanging out with the judges for the program — Bryon Schaefer, Superintendent of Kern High; Kevin Charette of KGET, and Chris Frazier, Superintendent of KCSOS. I learned that Kevin is the co-founder of the “Thumbs-Up, Cancer-Down” non-profit that was established in 2014.  Pretty cool.

 

Bryon Schaefer Sonya Christian Kevin Charette Chris Frazier April 7 2016.jpg

Judges–Bryon Schaefer, Sonya Christian, Kevin Charette, Chris Frazier

Check out these two pieces in The Bakersfield Californian about the Dream Builders Program and about Mickie Hay:

Dream Builders…Building a better Bakersfield. Nov 27, 2013: http://tinyurl.com/j4dwkgl

Bakersfield’s behind-the-scenes Dream Builder. May 31, 2014: http://tinyurl.com/zbfz4m5

John Boydstun at Kern Kiwanis April 7 2016

with John Boydstun

Kern Kiwanis Club and the Boydstuns:

Earlier that afternoon on April 7th, I spoke to the Kern Kiwanis Club about What’s New at BC.  I really enjoyed the camaraderie in the club and was thrilled to connect with the Boydstuns — Jay, Midge and John.  Here I am with John Boydstun one of the biggest supporters of BC.

Check out the blog on December 19, 2015 that includes all the three Boydstuns. You are…BC! We are…BC!  http://tinyurl.com/hozrypd

Nursing students and BoyScouts

I wanted to share a photo that Jay Rosenlieb sent me this week. Our BC students joined the Boy Scouts to support Hoffmann Hospice at their Voices of Inspiration event held on April 20 at Rabobank Civic Center. Voice of Inspiration is an annual event to raise awareness about hospice services, and to raise funds for Hoffman’s patients & programs.

It’s so wonderful when we are able to go out and give support back to the community. Hopefully many of these Boy Scouts will be Renegades someday!

Boy Scots and Nursing April 2016 cropped

2016: The Force Awakens

Happy New Year Bakersfield!

It’s 2016, a new year, and The Force is with Bakersfield College!

Promising Professionals 1 fall 2015

Sonya Christian with the Promising Professionals

The year just completed (2015) was a great one for BC.  With over 24,000 students and an annual Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES) exceeding 13,500, the college’s student-to-faculty productivity remains high, and total operational cost-per-FTE remains low at $3,789. Student Education Plan completion has increased, with most disciplines seeing completion rates of over 70%. Matriculation percentages have increased, with 88% of first-time students completing Orientation and 87% completing Assessment. 100% of Student Support programs completed Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), 100% of programs completed Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). BC offers 23 Associate Degrees for Transfer and 24 dual enrollment courses at high schools. BC developed three new programs last year—Applied Music, Public Health, Multimedia and hired 35 new faculty. BC has deepened its ties with the community and has developed the Renegade Scorecard to advance the accountability of the college and the transparency to the community. check it out at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/scorecard

BC’s key strength is its people.  Faculty and staff are talented and dedicated to the students and to the institution.  As such, they are motivated to do what it takes to “Make It Happen” in advancing student learning and progression towards their educational goals.

 

Especially with all of the hectic activity of 2015 this past week was a relatively quiet one with students and employees alike taking a break to spend time with family and friends, rest and rejuvenate for the spring term.  I was happy to attend the Kwanzaa celebration held at the MLK community center on Owens Street.

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This was the the first time that I attended the celebrations here in Bakersfield.  The event was fun and inspiring all at once.  I found the drum beat in the music mesmerizing and felt as if my own heartbeat was in rhythm with the drum.  Another favorite part of the program for me was the story telling by Lynell Moore  who just retired from Owens Elementary School.  Moore had us in the first 30 seconds of the story about Anansi, the spider, who tried to figure out the names of the King’s daughters.  Anansi, as I understand from Wikipedia,  is an African folktale character. He often takes the shape of a spider and is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories. African folklore, Moore said, always has a moral and as it turns out the moral of the very engaging story for the day was that we should focus on long-term goals rather than-short term.  “Short-term goals are good. But long term goals are better.”  Good to hold this for 2016.

For more on the Bakersfield Kwanzaa Celebration check out KBAK at: http://tinyurl.com/pbgpmdl.  Also a special thank you to Bakari Sanyu for organizing the event.

I also thought you might enjoy as I did the seven principles (Nguzo Saba in Swahili) that describe the spirit of Kwanzaa. Particularly appropriate as we start a new year.

 

Nguzo Saba The Seven Principles

Talking about the core principles of Kwanzaa, I am reminded about BC’s core values  that were developed in 2013 with Professor Wesley Simms finalizing the language and Professor David Koeth creating the symbols.  Sit back and immerse yourself in the words and the images.

BC Core Values

New Year’s eve was very special this year, bringing in the new year with friends at Buck Owens Crystal Palace.  This was very different from the last three years where I watched the the Hobbit movies  on Dec 31st (2013, 2014, 2015), a phenomenal movie series btw, and also a great way to bring in the new year!  I love the song The Misty Mountain Cold in the Hobbit. There is a 3:00-minute version of this on youtube, but I thought I would share the extended 8:06-minute one instead.  I am sure you will be enchanted with it.

This New Year’s eve saw the passing of the legendary Natalie Cole.  I absolutely love her redo of the song “Unforgettable,” a beautiful love song, by her father Nat King Cole.  It is not surprising that it won several Grammy awards in 1992 including song of the year.  Please take a moment (3:48 minutes) to slip into the heartfelt and elegant world of this song.

 

To close out this post, let me share with you what a friend shared with me recently; an amazing verse from Rudyard Kipling’s If.

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
…..
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
…..
Warm wishes to each and every one of you in this amazing community from all faculty, staff and students of Bakersfield College.  Here’s to a glorious 2016!