Tag Archives: Tamara Baker

Thank you for voting Yes on J!

The transformation of our campus for the next 50 years has begun! Major changes will be taking place over the next 10 years ranging from construction of new buildings, renovations of buildings, and major repairs to our campus infrastructure. The grand opening of our first building, the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, was on December 10, 2019

Thank you for voting Yes on J!

Sonya Christian voting Yes on J on Oct 30, 2016
Sonya Christian thanking Kern County for voting Yes on J. Nov 12, 2016

The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center

Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center. Dec 10, 2019

After years of preparation and development, our community gathered on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 for a historic milestone in Renegade history. With college and district leaders, community members, students, supporters, family, and friends, BC officially opened the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, a space dedicated to student veterans and the first completed Measure J building.

Thank you KCCD Trustees
Sonya Christian, President of Board John Corkins, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Kyle Carter, Jack Connell, Tom Burke, Paul Beckworth

I could not be more proud of everyone who helped bring this grand vision into reality. Attendees who came from across the country were greeted with a massive American flag that billowed proudly, flying above the newly christened building from an extending ladder on a Kern County Fire Department truck. Dignitaries on the dais outside of the center included Chancellor Tom Burke, Mayor Karen Goh and Congressman Bill Thomas, as well as KCCD Trustees Jack Connell (a Navy veteran), Romeo Agbalog, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and President of the KCCD Board John Corkins. There were also representatives from about 40 student organizations on campus. Trustee Kay Meek was viewing the live stream, unable to attend the ceremony in-person. She was one of the most vocal supporters for the construction of the new center as the first Measure J project, and her presence was missed. 

Ricardo Del Hoyo, Joseph Lopez, Nick Ortiz, Tommy Tunson, Mayor Goh, Trustee Corkins, President Christian, Chancellor Burke, Perry Finzel & Monica Martin

This new 4,700 square foot facility is dedicated to student veterans and includes a tutoring room, conference room with whiteboards and television, a lounge area with two televisions, coffee bar, fridge, microwave, computer area and outdoor patio area.

Diego Ross from JTS Construction and Armando Trujillo

This space is dedicated to the education, wellness, and transformation of our students, therefore it’s only fitting that this place is named after Vernon Valenzuela. Vernon was a Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient. He was a Bakersfield College student in the 1970s and later became a licensed counselor who spent the rest of his life working with veterans and their families; his legacy will live on forever in its walls.

Former student Wesley Barrientos cuts the ribbon with help from current SGA President Samantha Pullido and President of the Vets Club Ilene Garcia
The VRC Challenge Coin
Study area in the new VRC
Lise Valenzuela in the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center

This center would not be possible without the leadership of Paul Beckworth, who opened the ceremony by thanking Armando Trujillo and his team for all they do to help our Renegade veterans. Armando was a protégé of Vernon Valenzuela, the founder of the first veterans’ clubs at BC and CSUB, and I could think of no one else who is better suited to extend Vernon’s love and empathy to a new generation of Renegade vets. Armando also announced an annual scholarship that will be offered through the VRC for years to come.

Armando Trujillo addressing the audience

When our local veterans are returning home, this new center will be the place they can come to to find support, comfort, and comradery with fellow Renegades. For over 100 years Renegades have put on the uniform, and when they were ready to trade in their boots for books, BC knew its responsibility. BC’s mission continues to be to educate our veterans, mind body, and soul, and to celebrate the impact that veterans have had on BC.

I surprised Paul Beckworth by presenting him with the President’s Leadership Award during the ceremony. Over these last seven years, Paul has advocated on behalf of our student veterans here on campus, in the community, and in the state. He and a group of student veterans were fearless in “occupying” a vacant room adjacent to their existing cramped space, quietly doing the necessary remodeling work.  He has written public letters to our student veterans, to our faculty veterans, to our staff veterans.   He is brave, kind, funny, open, tender, with a passion to respect, honor and support his fellow brothers and sisters from the military.

Zav Dadabhoy, Armando Trujillo, Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian
Zav Dadabhoy, Armando Trujillo, Paul Beckworth, President Christian & Jenny Frank

I also introduced incoming manager Jenny Frank, who comes to us from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This special facility is the first of many made possible by the tremendous community support of Measure J. There is a very, very long list of individuals to thank, but Trustee Kay Meek deserves special recognition for her constant focus and dedication.

Bill Thomas, Kay Meek, Tom Burke, Steven Holmes

The impact of Trustee Meek’s work was evident in the words of student veteran and Veteran Club President Ilene Garcia during the grand opening, who said, “As soon as I walked in, I felt that camradery and bond that I had been missing that you instantly obtain when you join the military. Finding that comfort zone in civilian life is essential for veterans returning home. We crave the structure and sense of belonging that the military instills in us. The Veterans Resource Center at BC provides this.”

Veterans Club President Ilene Garcia and fellow veterans

BC Veterans Club President Ilene Garcia took a moment to explain how the team at BC creates a structure and a sense of belonging that helps soldiers readjust to civilian life. She also thanked all of us at BC for making this center a priority with the funding from Measure J.

Vernon’s wife Lise Valenzuela offered some personal anecdotes about how BC changed her husband’s life. After serving a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, Vernon found his confidence and his calling as a student at BC, and he dedicated the rest of his life to helping other veterans like him find their calling through higher education.

Lise Valenzuela

Former Trustee Bill Thomas talked about how Vernon’s imposing physical presence, and his empathy and talent for listening, inspired respect from anyone who had a conversation with him. Bill highlighted Kay Meek’s work and her emphatic message to all that she wanted this to be the very first project of Measure J. He also previewed the ribbon cutting ceremonies to come as more Measure J projects finish construction.

Former Congressman & Trustee Bill Thomas
Tom Burke, Ilene Garcia, Paul Beckworth, Bill Thomas, Sonya Christian, Kyle Carter, Karen Goh

Attendees were treated to the beautiful music of BC’s Chamber Singers. led by the talented Dr. Jennifer Garrett. I’m happy that Brandon Urry captured these videos so that I can share then with you.

Award-winning photojournalist Max Becherer started his career right here at BC as a student of Kris Stallworth, and he took pictures of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for publications like the Washington Post and Time Magazine before becoming the Photo Editor of the New Orleans Advocate. He donated several of his most famous photographs from those conflicts to the VRC and attended the groundbreaking alongside his family.

Photographer Max Becherer sharing his photography.

As Paul described in his closing address, the VRC is more than just a place of learning. It is a place where our veteran students can heal from the physical and psychological wounds of combat, supporting each other through all of their struggles. Thank you Paul, Armando and our Veterans Affairs team for dreaming of this safe space for healing, and thank you to our Measure J team for making that dream a reality. I would also like to thank Tamara Baker for organizing the ribbon cutting and open house, as well as everyone who contributed to making this event such a success.

Here are some of the elected officials or their reps in the photo below. Left to right:
1.     Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Monica Martin, rep)
2.      Congressman T.J. Cox (Joseph Lopez, rep)
3.      Assemblyman Vince Fong (Lauren Skidmore, rep)
4.      Mayor Karen Goh
5.      Congressman Kevin McCarthy (Perry Finzel, rep)
6.      Senator Melissa Hurtado (Ricardo Del Hoyo, rep)
7.      City Councilman Willie Rivera, Ward 1
8.      Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, District 5 (Nicole Villaruz,
rep)
9.      Assemblyman Rudy Salas (Athena Skapinakis, rep)

I would like to recognize those who actually built the facility, taking it from plans to a reality: local companies IBI Group, Inc. and JTS Construction. Also, I would like to thank AECOM/Parsons for all of their hard work on this project (and the other 14 Measure J projects), for finishing the job ahead of time and under budget. AECOM/Parsons joined our team in 2017 to design the Measure J master plan, and have been managing all of the projects from the very first meeting until the last. All of the above groups not only met our expectations, but went well above. The bar has been set high!

2019 Sterling Silver with the AECOM-Parsons team

We had much love from our local media and press. Thank you to the Bakersfield Californians Robert Price and Ema Sasic, Reyna Harvey, Tyrah Majors, Jacueline Gutierrez of the Renegade RIP and more!

Reyna Harvey interviews Sonya Christian on Tuesday Morning

Most importantly, I’d like to thank the community of Kern County for supporting Renegades today and for the next 50 years through Measure J.

And in closing, I will quote the words of Paul Beckworth, BC’s Faculty Director of Veteran Services as he addressed BC’s students… “Thank you for your courage, for believing in yourself and for pursing an education. Thank you for choosing Bakersfield College. This place is for you.”

Love these “behind the scenes” pictures.

BSO-BC Home for the Holidays Concert

Here is my promised weekly Christmas music from our Chamber Singers during the month of December

Rick Kreiser narrating the Night Before Christmas
Hallelujah

Led by the amazing, Dr. Jennifer Garrett, the BC Chamber Singers are an absolutely stunning group who shares their voices with the world. They performed a fun version of Jingle Bells and the Renegade Mens Chorus- sang “The 12 Days of Christmas” mixed with various other Christmas carols.

The evening included sing-alongs with the audience and it was really fun to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends.

Adventist Health was a sponsor of the evening and I saw Sharlet Briggs, CEO of Adventist, who referred to Mary Poppins and a “spoon of sugar makes the medicine go down”. She went on to observe how a teaspoon of music can make the medicine go down too!

BCSGA Attends the Kern Tax Annual Meeting

BCSGA President Samantha Pulido, BCSGA Student Activities Manager Perla Villegas, KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke, KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzberg, KCCD Director Dave Teasdale, and BC Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damania attended the Kern Tax 80th Annual Meeting at the Bakersfield Country Club. Kern Tax is the county’s leader on reviewing and educating about taxpayer issues and dollars. The keynote speaker was founding chief executive and Senior Fellow, President Emeritus of California Forward, Jim Mayer who presented “Transforming California.” His presentation focused on performance-oriented government, society-oriented business, and entrepreneurial civic organizations working together to engage in community resolutions. 

Mike Turnipseed with Perla and Samantha

Before the speaker, there was a video montage of various Kern leaders thanking Kern Tax for their 80 years of service to Kern County, and especially highlighting the leadership and work of Mike Turnupseed for the association and our community. What a pleasure to have two of our strong student leaders in attendance at this engaging community event.

Human Rights Day Social Justice Student Conversation Event

Jose Bello speaks to fellow Renegades

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on December 10th each year. At Bakersfield College, student organization YES (Youth Empowered Success) brought two NFL players to campus for a student centered event to bring awareness to various social justice topics. Student organization YES president, Jose Bello, was the emcee of the event and encouraged his fellow Renegades to pay close attention, listen, respect one another, and use their voice for the good of humankind. Jose also took the mic to say a few words in Spanish to thank his mom who was in attendance, for all her support.

Two special guests who took the stage were Joshua Norman and Demario Davis, two NFL players who take pride in their activist roles for human rights. They encouraged students to be sources of support for one another and to give words to the voiceless.

In the early morning before the speaker presentations began, students in attendance participated in a cultural dance outside in the courtyard. This collaborative dance was a symbol of cultivating community, peace, and social responsibility.

And once again, Reyna Harvey is everywhere! Spotted her interviewing Joshua Norman and Demario Davis outside the event.

Renegades Finish Finals!

This week was also finals week so the library began offering their Extended Study Hours last week, which will run through Wednesday.

The lobby portion of the library is the busiest and loudest section with check-in, food, tables, and chairs for group studying. BCSGA Officers and Office of Student Life help ensure everything runs smoothly with the help of volunteers.

As a result of the efforts this semester of Todd Coston and Kirk Russell, the entire first floor of the library is a place for students to spread out and study.  Students need to feel supported now more than ever as they attempt to cross the finish line this semester.

Campus Safety at Porterville College

Our colleagues at Porterville College planned a day of safety drills and invited BC’s Dr. Nicky Damania and Monika Scott to observe the activity. It was a great opportunity and a good experience. Both Nicky and Monika are involved with the planning of BC’s full-scale active shooter scenario and response drill taking place next year. This activity planned for April 8, 2020, will be a cross county, multi-agency drill to test our preparations and enhance our collaboration and response. Special thanks to Todd Dearmore, Safety and Security Manager at Porterville College for a successful drill and for the invitation to observe.

Dr. Nicky Damania & Monika Scott

Networking and Nursing

Bakersfield College’s Nursing Department held its 1st annual Entrée to Employment for the graduating Vocational Nursing Program students. A number of health care agencies within Kern County were present at BC to recruit our stellar vocational nursing students and to discuss future career opportunities.

Entree to Employment for Vocational Nursing grads, 2019

A gourmet dinner was provided by the Renegade Room as the students and staff networked with industry partners. Carla Gard, Director of Nursing Programs and Associate Dean of Instruction, highlighted the program objectives, rigor, and faculty’s dedication to developing skilled and competent nurses.The Vocational Nursing Entrée to Employment was such a success that students had several employment options by the end of the event! So proud!

Graduating Vocational Nursing Students

Crane Visit for OSRM Students

Students in OSRM B10 Occupational Safety had an opportunity to see safety in action when they viewed campus construction up close as part of a class module on crane safety. Bill Campe from SC Anderson, and Kurt Hettinger from SL Shaw Company hosted the students, providing an overview of crane operations. The crane was operated by Trent Gardner.

The large crane is just the right tool to hoist steel beams into place for the new building. Workers deftly navigate the structure, guide steel beams into position and rivet them into place. Following established safety procedures is essential to ensure that they are not injured on the job.

Lifting heavy loads safely takes more than a big crane. The operator relies on detailed lift charts that specify how much the crane can lift at a specific angle. Need more horizontal distance? That reduces capacity. Wind? Reduce capacity or stop work if gusts are too strong. Want to watch the crane work? Stand clear of the swing radius or risk being hit or crushed by the crane’s big back end. This quick visit provided a view of safety in action.

Students enjoyed the “field trip” and the opportunity to watch two world-class companies safely work to build the future of BC. Measure J — a learning lab for our construction students.

Fun Photos: College Council

I’m always proud of the work that College Council does. The presentations are rigorous and focus on our performance metrics.

Amber Hroch reviews the data.

The last College Council meeting for the semester was on Friday, December 6th. The council received updates on various institutional topics ranging from Early College to Meta Major Pathways and more. Just a reminder to the reader….This group is a collegial, consultative, and oversight body designed to serve the good of the entire College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters.

Kylie Swanson and Craig Hayward
Education Pathway Team

Giving Thanks: CARE & CalWORKs Workshop

The Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) programs hosted a Thanksgiving Workshop, providing a bonding opportunity for parents and their children and to build a network of support at Bakersfield College.

The Thanksgiving Workshop provided the students a break from studying for finals while their children engaged in fun-filled arts and crafts activities. Additionally, students received a turkey donated by Costco to help them celebrate Thanksgiving with their families.

CARE and CalWORKS are programs under the EOPS Department, serving BC students who are also parents, with CARE parents being single head of household. Both programs are designed to promote student educational success by offering specialized services to parents receiving public assistance (CalWORKs/TANF/Tribal TANF) with a primary goal to increase wage earning power, leading to self-sufficiency.

Fun Photos: Executive Office Holiday Potluck

Fun Photos: Renegade Road

William Velasquez from BC’s IT department is a talented photographer and often will share the beautiful pictures he captures on campus. He shared an email earlier this week the following photo and said…

William relaxing after an event

“As I was driving away and looked at the banners on the fence, I ponder on the thousands of student athletes that walked this same road. They found the road to success. So I parked my car and took my phone out and took a few pics. This is one of them. The Renegades Road.”

William Velasquez, 2019

Renegade Athletics  Volleyball vs. Chaffey

Enjoy these highlights from Renegade Volleyball’s first round playoff win at home over Chaffey back on Nov. 26th. Renegade Volleyball enjoyed another terrific season this year. They captured a fourth consecutive conference championship and finished the season with a 21-3 overall record. Way to go Coach Carl Ferreira and team!

Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week

Alyssa Gonzalez, Women’s Basketball – Alyssa was a driving force in helping the Renegades to an 86-29 victory over Taft on Friday (12/6). She totaled 17 points going 5/9 from 3-point and adding 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 rebounds. Jonathan Hunter, Wrestling – Jonathan pinned all of his opponents at the Southern Regionals this last Saturday at Santa Ana College to place first in the 174 lb. weight class and qualify for the CCCAA State Finals this coming weekend.

Renegade Athletics News:

Renegade Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ this coming week

Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Join us on 12/20 at 5pm – Men’s Basketball vs El Camino

Renegade Athletics Social Media
Renegade Athletics Social Media

Summer Success Stories

 

Good morning Bakersfield, it is Saturday, June 30, 2018.

We are reeling, yet again, from another senseless shooting incident.  Another tragedy.

 

June 29 2018 Capital Gazette.jpeg

Let’s pause and get to know the five individuals, through the lens of the Capital Gazette, who lost their lives.

Rob Hiaasen: A joyful stylist, a generous mentor.

Let’s read what Jean Marbella has to say about Rob Hiaasen….. Hiaasen, 59, as a writer, was drawn to quirky stories, and had a unique way of telling them, with wry asides and internal and imagined dialogues.  For more, read…

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/bs-md-rob-hiaasen-20180628-story.html

 

Wendi Winters: A prolific writer who chronicled her community

Wendy Winters from Capital Gazette website.jpg

Let’s see what Yvonne Wenger said about Wendi Winters .. After a career in fashion and public relations in New York City, the 65-year-old mother of four moved to Maryland 20 years ago and began stringing for the Annapolis news organization. She soon built a reputation as a prolific freelance reporter and well-known community resource.  For more, read…

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/bs-md-wendi-winters-20180628-story.html

Gerald Fischman: Clever and quirky voice of a community newspaper

Gerald Fischman Capital Gazette

Let’s see what Erin Cox wrote about Gerald Fischman…..Fischman, 61, had worked at the paper since 1992. His quirky, low-key demeanor belied a biting sense of humor that charmed his colleagues. See more..

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/bs-md-gerald-fischman-20180628-story.html

John McNamara (Mac): Sports reporting was his dream job

John McNamara Capital Gazette.jpg

Let’s see what Andrea McDaniels wrote about John McNamara in the Capital Gazette…

McNamara, 56, who went by “Mac,” was remembered by his colleagues for his flexibility, concise writing and extensive knowledge of regional sports. He had a razor wit … see more at

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/bs-md-john-mcnamara-20180628-story.html

Rebecca Smith: Recent hire loved spending time with family

Rebecca Smith Capital Gazette

Let’s see what Jessica Anderson wrote about Rebecca Smith …Smith (34) was a recent hire at the Capital Gazette but had already proved herself a valuable asset.  For more, read..

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/bs-md-ar-rebecca-smith-20180628-story.html

The press

It is our duty as Americans to support and defend the press. It is essential to our freedom. To make the press the enemy is no different than to make the military or law enforcement our enemy, or to make education the enemy, or any of the values and institutions that make us free….. and makes us a great country.

So this morning, in the wake of this tragedy, I am particularly grateful for the press.  Let us take a moment to recognize those in the press doing what is essential to preserve our freedom. Join me in thanking them and in support of our local press.

In our very own Bakersfield Californian

This morning the Bakersfield Californian featured many Bakersfield College faces in the Bakersfield Life Magazine, including Asha Chandy who was the Associate Campaign Manager to Nicole Parra for Measure J was featured as one of the top 20 people under 40 to watch.  And she is only 26!

Asha Chandy Bakersfield Life

People under 40 to watch

And here she is with Nicole Parra during the Measure J campaign.

kathy-rosellini-and-asha-chandy-sep-25-2016

Kathy Rosellini, Asha Chandy

election-day-morning-nicole-para-6-am

Nicole Parra

Dining Divas with Tamara Baker and Olivia Garcia

Dining Divas Tamara Baker, Olivia Gracia June 30 2018

 

Summer is getting hot and we are really blazing trails at BC!  In my June 16th Blog I mentioned waking to BC’s record enrollment rates on the front page of the Bakersfield Californian. This week, Reyna Harvey of KBAK highlighted BC’s record-breaking summer enrollment.

The article reports that BC has enrolled 2,000 more students into summer school than they had last year, as well as serving over 33,000 students in the 2017-18 academic year. Manny Mourtzanos is quoted in the article talking about the baccalaureate program and the ways that we’ve expanded enrollment via online courses, dual and concurrent enrollment and offering classes at Delano, Arvin, Wasco and BC Southwest. Read Reyna’s article Enrollment Rates Soar at Bakersfield College.

 

Sounds of Summer

For the second year, BC was treated to a musical night with the US Air Force Band of the Golden West. They played for a packed Indoor Theater crowd on Tuesday night, performing a mix of traditional military music, American show-tunes and original compositions inspired by music from around the world.

The group, based out of Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, is the only active duty Air Force band on the West Coast.  They’ve performed at gubernatorial inaugurations, sporting events and led off the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day, according to their website.

 

Dick Taylor, director of the Kern County Veterans Service Department, introduced the Air Force Band of the Golden West and talked about the deep respect and admiration that the people of Kern County have for the armed services.

Dick Taylor speaking at podium

Dick Taylor who made this happen.  Thank you!

The Color Guard for Tehachapi Composite Squadron 46 brought out the flags for the band’s performance of the national anthem.

Here is a short splice of the national anthem

Once the performance began, Master Sergeant Jeremy Laukhuf served as the master of ceremonies between songs, emphasizing the importance of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in everything that the military does.

S18USAFBand04

Master Sergeant Jeremy Laukhuf Master of Ceremonies

The US Air Force Band of the Golden West has performed previously at BC, and they never disappoint with their tight-knit arrangements led by conductor Rafael F. Toro-Quinones, whether they’re performing the sweeping Americana of John Williams’ “The Cowboys” or the somber folk song “Shenandoah”.

the band

The group even performed a Latin-inspired original composition written by Technical Sergeant Marco Munoz which featured a prolific percussion solo by Staff Sergeant Freddie Cruz.

For this year’s program, the US Air Force Band of the Golden West is honoring the 100th birthday of legendary American composer Leonard Bernstein with several compositions from his legendary musicals “West Side Story” and “Wonderful Town”, which were beautifully sung by Staff Sergeant Michelle Doolittle.

The band’s performance of Bernstein’s “Slava! A Political Overture” was conducted by Airman First Class Cagdas Donmezer, a Turkish immigrant who had just earned his American citizenship about three weeks ago and primarily plays keyboard for the group.

At the end of the concert, Captain Quinones presented a special commemorative coin to Mary Jo Pasek for organizing the event and arranging for a special dinner to be prepared for the group by our Food Service Department.

S18USAFBand43

Captain Quinones presenting a special commemorative coin to Mary Jo Pasek

Commemorative coins were also presented to Dick Taylor and Michael Stone, the Bakersfield City School District’s Coordinator of the Visual and Performing Arts who conducted a composition with the group.

S18USAFBand45

Dick Taylor helps Captain Quinones don a BC veterans services shirt.

Check out America the Beautiful

I was so pleased by the turnout for this year’s US Air Force Band of the Golden West performance, and I’d like to thank Mary Jo Pasek for organizing this event, and Chef Stefanie and the food services crew for preparing the dinner for our honored guests. We had many Renegades and friends of Bakersfield College join us for this musical treat!

My favorite piece from the evening was when they played the Armed Services Medley honoring each branch of the US Military and those in the audience who served stood up and were recognized during their part of the medley.

Here are some familiar faces:

members of the audience standing

Paul Beckworth and others being recognized as veterans

 

audience saluting for the National Anthem

Andrea Thorson, Billie Jo Rice and Janet Tarjan

selfy in the audience at band concert

Paul Beckworth, Nicky Damania and Craig Hayward

Sonya Christian and Karen Goh

It’s always nice to see Mayor Goh

 

french bull dog with a harness in the indoor theater

A part of the Renegade family…

S18USAFBand56

Mayor Goh and friends

From Mayor Goh’s Facebook pictures

Jim Pentico, Pam Moore Pentico, Karen Goh, Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian

 

CDC Early Registration

Speaking of encouraging student success, it is also important that we offer services that assist students with challenges to their studies. For some students, having children becomes a challenge when they need to find daycare while they study. The Child Development Center at Bakersfield College (CDC) offers a student service with the primary goal of providing a comprehensive child development program that serves student families and their children.

This amazing center provides the time and support to assist student families in achieving their chosen academic/career goals. The CDC demonstration laboratory classrooms offer a model of best practices in early childhood education while providing students with learning opportunities through observation and on-floor interactions with young children and their families.

All teachers are professionally trained in the field of Early Childhood Education, and are certified through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Placement in the program is made according to state priorities and date of application and is designed for income eligible families who are enrolled in college courses leading to a specific career/professional goal.

Make sure our students know about this fantastic resource. See the CDC Fall Registration Flier for more information on fall’s enrollment for the Child Development Center. Applications are being accepted now.

Bon Voyage Concert

Hope to see you at today’s Bon Voyage concert at 4:00 p.m.

Bon Voyage Concert June 30 2018

Certifiable Partnerships in Safety

On Tuesday, BC’s Public Safety Senior Officer Matthew Rodriguez taught a First Aid/CPR/AED certification class at the BC Southwest Campus. Matthew taught and certified five BC and  Fresno Pacific University (FPU) staff members. I am so pleased that both Bakersfield College and Fresno Pacific University staff and employees got together and asked for this class. Their request shows how lucky I am to be a President where our staff finds safety important and looks to collaborate with FPU for this educational partnership.

Afterwards, I heard that Matthew did a wonderful job!

if you See something Say Something Do Something public safety sign

Prior to the start of each semester, BC’s Public Safety trains all of our new Cadets in the First Aid/CPR/AED training certification course. This program is part of BC’s Public Safety Department’s commitment to enhancing safety through education and prevention.

You know the Public Safety Moto: If you See Something, Say Something, Do Something! Check out these new signs from Public Safety

BC Alumnus Newest Fire Chief

Public safety in our community is so important and BC strives to improve safety not only on campus, but in the community at large. As you know, we offer many programs in public safety at BC including the Fire Technology program. I was so excited to see an article in the Californian by Joseph Luiz reporting Anthony Galazaga, a Bakersfield College Fire Technology graduate and 26-year veteran of the Bakersfield Fire Department, will be taking over as the city’s newest fire chief.

fire-tech-graduation-dec-16-2016

BC’s Fire Tech Graduation

Joseph’s article features quotes about Battalion Chief Galazaga from City Manager Alan Tandy and current chief Doug Greener, who retires at the end of June. “I’ve been able to work alongside the finest firefighting force these past 26 years and now I get to lead them,” Galazaga said.

Galazaga earned his associate’s degree in fire technology from BC before getting a bachelors in fire science from Columbia University. He’s been working in the Bakersfield Fire Department since 1992 and is currently working on his master’s degree in business administration at Columbia Southern while being involved with organizations such as the Kern American Red Cross, Youth Leadership Bakersfield, and the Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation.

Upon taking office as the new chief, Galazaga aims to develop a five-year strategic plan that includes increasing funding for the department while implementing a progressive new recruitment strategy to get young people interested in firefighting.

I feel honored to know that such an exciting leader in our community started on his path at our campus, and it’s another important footnote in the storied history of BC’s fire technology program. The program, initially referred to as fire science, was established in 1956 by Bakersfield Fire Department Chief Phil Pifer and Norman Harris, BC’s coordinator of technical and vocational education, according to the Fire Technology History website. The curriculum was designed specifically for Bakersfield city firefighters in mind, featuring on-the-job training with all types of firefighting equipment the department used at that time. The program would eventually expand into a training service for all Kern County fire agencies.

I wish Chief Galazaga the best of luck in his new position as chief, and I thank him for choosing Bakersfield College to begin his life’s journey. Read Joseph Luiz’s Bakersfield Californian article City Announces New Fire Chief.

BC Students on Telamundo

Bakersfield College’s MEChA and LUPE students talk about the World Cup, their student organizations and community involvement in these segments with Telemundo’s Nancy Preciado.

See the videos:

Encouraging Student Success – No More Excuses

While our enrollment rates are growing, it is so important that we concentrate on encouraging all of our students to be successful. At President’s Cabinet this week, Dr. Steven Waller presented how he worked with his Meta-major Completion Coaching Team to support and encourage student success.  Thank you Corny for snapping this picture.

Steven Waller at President's Cabinet

CTE Dean’s Meeting

Corny snapped this picture too…..Dr. Michele Bresso attending the district-wide CTE meeting led by Associate Vice Chancellor Cindy Collier.

two ladies speaking at meeting

Together we are building…A Better BC  –

We are on the last leg of the parking lot renovations.  Starting on Monday, July 2, parking lots 3 and 4 on Mount Vernon and Panorama will reopen.  On that day, the following parking lots and roads will be closed until August 3:

  • Red and White Way  **M&O recommends that drop-offs occur at the round-about located off the driveway east of the PAC building, north of the FA building
  • Parking Lot 2 (staff parking off the main entrance from Haley Street) **M&O recommends that staff park in Parking Lot 3 located on the corner of Panorama and Mount Vernon.  I will be car pooling next week.  I suggest you do as well.
  • Parking Lot 1 (visitor parking near Administration building)  **Visitor parking will be moved to Parking Lot 3 located on the corner of Panorama and Mount Vernon
  • The main entrance off of Haley Street
  • The road west of the Library and Public Safety
  • The road north of M&O, south of Public Safety
  • Parking Lot 12 (Public Safety & Levinson) ** M&O recommends that staff park in other parking lots in that area (P14, P13, P15, P11, P9)
  • Parking lot 5 (by the Industrial Technology building and auto shops) and the driveway leading to INDT & auto shops **M&O recommends that staff park in Parking Lot 4 located off of Church Way & Mount Vernon

As always, visit A Better BC for updated campus maps and construction updates.

Doing the Right Thing

I am in the process of doing the final read through of BC’s Accreditation Self Study document and I am coming across great gems.  For example, Board Policy 7E, states that “we endeavor always to do what is right and just, even when no one is watching.” Nick Strobel explains that policy is implemented by recognizing the dignity of all persons and fulfilling our obligations to others using fair and honest means.

It’s important for us to go above and beyond the legal requirement to ensure that we’re treating everyone in our community with the respect and autonomy they deserve. We expect our students to be honest and ethical in their academics, so it’s only right that we hold ourselves to the same rigorous standard. This philosophy has helped cement Bakersfield College’s reputation as one of the most respected institutions of higher learning in the Central Valley. We are BC!

Opportunity Institute

Chelsea Esquibias, Program Director for the Inmate Scholars Program spoke on a panel with Laura Hope, Executive Vice Chancellor for Educational Services for the California Community Colleges and Rebecca Silbert, Director, Renewing Communities Initiative for the Opportunity Institute for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), at last week’s statewide principal’s meeting.  They discussed the partnership between the California Community College System and CDCR. They discussed the thriving partnership, current student success outcomes, and building a successful program. The Inmate Scholars Program provides students the opportunity to earn an Associate Degree for Transfer while incarcerated. Studies show that recidivism (rate of return to prison) is dramatically reduced through education and positively impacts future generations of those incarcerated.  Bakersfield College’s program serves ten local prisons and students have achieved exceptional grades and outcomes.

Chelsea Esquibias, Rebecca Silbert and Laura Hope

Chelsea Esquibias, Rebecca Silbert and Laura Hope

Missed Opportunities

I want to share with you this wonderful essay that a faculty member shared with me.

My husband once announced that history can be defined as “missed opportunities”.  I never replied to the comment because I tried to rationalize it as very pessimistic in nature.  For years this idea weighed heavy as I looked back. What might have been if a different path in my half-century of opportunities had been chosen?

During the year I frequently fantasize about teaching art or coaching track. The precursor is that chemistry is not an easy subject for most students.  It is also very different from other subjects, including math and the remaining sciences. Teaching chemistry can be challenging and often feels sadistic in nature.  Students that register for the pre-professional track have prestigious goals and they are aware they must succeed in the course if they are to be successful by their standards.

Most community college students in the sciences will be transferring or entering the nursing program. Therefore, the second semester of the year can be inundated with requests for letters of recommendations. Former students may even contact professors if they are applying to graduate school. Individual students inevitably ask for multiple recommendations; each institution demanding different requirements.  This is the behind-the-scenes work of a professor. The hours are never recorded and the quality of work is never evaluated. Feedback is not even offered when recommendations are submitted. At best, periodically a student will announce an acceptance. Nonetheless, there is always a holistic sense of scrupulous dedication.

Recently, a student approached me because she had been accepted to The University of Virginia for a summer research internship. An overwhelming flow of emotions permeated my body.  It was not just the excitement for her or the relief that my letter had been productive. It was the realization that the sorrow of my “missed history” had been erased. Virginia is a beautiful state full of horses.  I have always dreamed of living there. I even applied to work at Virginia Technical University but when offered an interview had to cancel because I was sick. My decision to cancel has always haunted me. What if I had gone to the interview?

Within the same week a second student informed me of his acceptance to Stanford University for the summer. Yes, another “missed opportunity”.  The closest I got to attending Stanford was throwing a college party with Michigan and Stanford men swim teams. I always regret not running for Stanford.  Instead, I stayed back in my home state for a boyfriend and ran for Michigan. The student’s acceptance this summer may be the closest I come to attending Stanford. Admittingly, at my age I am learning to allow their tribulations to erase my trials.

My current assignment is to complete a meticulous recommendation form for a student applying to Duke.  This endeavor is inflicting emotional responses of memories. My belated grandfather used to brag that I was attending Duke for graduate school.  I never even applied to Duke. At best I visited and experienced the pure beauty of the antiquated buildings. I corrected grandpa a couple of times but promptly decided to abandon the attempts and allow him to be proud. If my student is not accepted to Duke, the mere process of this task is fulfilling a purpose. The opportunities of choices are really left for the next generation. The ability to live vicariously through our students is important for professors to strive forward and find purpose in our history of “missed opportunity”. With an improved perspective of history, I thank each student for the letters and forms they have requested.

 

Fun Photos #Summer2018

Jennifer Johnson, Tarina Perry, June Charles, Wendy Lawson, Jo Ellen Patterson

The Executive Office Admins

And then there is Monika Scott driving the BC golf cart.  I will let you figure out this picture.

 

Summer Bridge 2018

Summer Bridge Liz Rozell, Tony Cordova, Nicky Damania, Craig Hayward, Matt Garrett, Anna Laven

 

June 27 2018 Summer Bridge

Had dinner with our fabulous SGA President James Tompkin prior to the Airforce Band concert.

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Sonya Christian, Craig Hayward, Jonathan Schultz, James Tompkins, Nicky Damania

With one of our great faculty counselors

Sonya Christian, Jonathan Schultz June 26 2018

Fun picture from this week at a retreat with the Foundation and Community Relations Team.

Foundation and Community Relations Retreat June 26 2018

Norma Rojas-Mora, Amanda Stone, Tom Gelder, Sonya Christian, Monika Scott, Heather Penella, Tamara Baker

 

 

Last week I had fun seeing all the summertime dog pictures.  I don’t think that pleased the Renegade cat lovers.  My inbox got flooded with cat pictures. So here are some photos from our proud cat owners:

large calico cat with laying with feet crossed

Michele Bresso’s purebred Maine Coon, Maddie

Monika Scott’s Feline Family

Tracy Lovelace’s four-legged fur-babies

Nicky Demania’s Kitty Kids with a story

Our Director of Student Life, Dr. Nicky Damania, has four cats. His love for cats grew when his parents would not allow them to have any pets, but one day he brought home a full white cat, with one green eye, and one blue eye, and his mom fell in love with that cat, named Aspen.

Now, he has two gray tuxedo boys, which he flew over from Colorado to Bakersfield this past spring. He also has two girls (one full black and the other one gray and white) that he inherited from Dean Grace Commiso who asked him to Cat-sit for a couple of months, which was over a year ago.

 

The skinny tuxedo male cat is the oldest of 11 years. His name is Skitz, which is short for schizophrenia. Skits came to Nicky, in 2008, back in Colorado when a fellow friend said she was going to get rid of Skitz because Skitz licks the hair on the top of her head for hours, while she sleeps at night.

The fluffier tuxedo male cat is nine years old and called Spaz, short for Spaztastic, literally fell into his hands back in October 2009. They found Spaz as a little kitten inside a golf cart. Public Safety Officers tried to get the kitten out, but had no luck. As soon as Nicky went in to grab the little kitten, the kitten fell right into his hands.

The two female cats came together and have found a place within Nicky’s heart. Cleo, the gray and white cat, is short for CleoCatra. The other black cat is named Kiki. Together they are probably the most laziest cats you have ever seen, but they are also the sweetest.

The four cats have definitely grown attached to each other and care for each other, except during mealtimes, then it’s kitty wars.

Sonya Christian June 26 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

 

Summer Bridge Begins at BC

 

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 26, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.  And why wouldn’t it be…. I woke up to BC everywhere in The Bakersfield Life Magazine.

On page 12 a spotlight on our new Vice President of Instruction, Liz Rozell.  Just love her gorgeous smile.

Liz Rozell in Bakersfield Life Magazine May 18 2018

And then on page 41 a picture of Tina Mendoza. faculty at Taft College, and Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life.

Tina Mendoza and Nicky Damania in Bakersfield Life Magazine May 18 2018

On page 21 there was Tamara Baker, a dining diva, who is right now at KEDC and will be starting at Bakersfield College shortly.  Sorry, Richard Chapman and Cheryl Scott 🙂

Tamara Baker with Dining Divas on page 41 of the Bakersfield Life Magazine May 26 2018

And finally, on page 76, a two-page recognition of our Renegade Baseball team and our amazing student athlete Zach Williams.  Coach Tim Painton is so proud of his players.

Zach Williams Renegade Baseball Athlete in Bakersfield Life May 26 2018

Zach Williams 2

 

104th Commencement for the third week in a row.  

This time let’s listen to Dr. John Gerhold sing our national anthem.

 

Summer Bridge at BC

With the 2017-18 academic year wrapped up, BC is transitioning to getting our students ready for summer and fall.

We’ve kicked off the largest year ever for the Summer Bridge to BC program, an interactive day-long orientation that gives incoming freshmen the opportunity to engage with faculty one-on-one and in group settings while touring the BC campus with experienced and knowledgeable student mentors.

I love seeing the new groups of students throughout the summer touring the campus.

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As of last Thursday, there were only two open seats for students to enroll in Summer Bridge, which is offered as a course titled ACDV B55 – First Year Student Success. It’s an incredible time to be at BC!

More on Jim Ryun and the State Track Meet at BC

It was great to see friends and supporters out at the State Championships last weekend at Memorial Stadium. Dean Lofgren from El Camino College sent me the following photo with a lovely message.  He said:

We have always enjoyed coming to the well-hosted Bakersfield College meet(s). Over the many years, the Bakersfield College staff of Pam Kelley (and formerly Bob Covey) have a superb job in staging these major events. Having the infamous Jim Ryun attend this year was an added bonus. Thanks again and hope to be back again soon.

 

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See my friends, if you haven’t been to the campus on the hill in a while, it’s a great time to visit. BC is an incredible place of talent, dreams, and champions.

Here are some more photos from Nick Ellis of The Bakersfield Californian

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Bob Covey, Jim Ryun, Ann Ryun, Bill Thomas, Pam Kelley

Bill Thomas May 18 2018

Bill Thomas

Jim Ryun May 18 2018

Jim Ryun

Here are two photos I snapped: A selfie with two men from Bakersfield College who met up at Congress — Bill Thomas and Jim Ryun.

Bill Thomas and Jim Ryun May 18 2018

Was happy to see faculty member Jeremy Staat helping out Coach Pam Kelly for the statewide meet.  Here he is with Sandi Taylor

Sandi Taylor, Jeremy Staat at Jim Ryun event

Thank you Nick Ellis for this great picture

Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian Photo by Nick Ellis

Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian

 

MESA Awards Banquet

The students in the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program at BC got an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with their peers during an awards banquet on Wednesday in the Fireside Room.

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Dean Stephen Waller

Dean Stephen Waller gave a brief speech before attendees enjoyed an Italian dinner catered by Frugatti’s, reminding MESA participants that although the majority of them are first-generation college students, their hard work representing BC’s STEM program and helping organize events such as the MESA STEM and Pre-Health Conference have established a high reputation both for themselves and BC’s MESA program.

Mesa celebration May 2018

Graduating student Sharina Washington gave a testimonial about her time in the MESA program, expressing her heartfelt gratitude to MESA Director Connie Gonzales for pushing her to reach her highest potential and giving her the tools to earn the PG&E Black Engineering Scholarship and the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship.

Connie Gonzales Mesa May 2018

The evening’s keynote speaker was Jose Salinas, a former MESA participant who graduated from UC Davis with a degree in mechanical engineering and currently works for Northrup-Grumman, one of the largest aerospace and defense contractors in the world. After struggling at Cuesta College, Salinas’ participation in BC’s MESA program reinvigorated his love of mathematics and gave him the assistance he needed as a first-generation college student. Salinas would go on to become a tutor for the MESA program and participate in a workshop at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, an experience which helped him realize his passion for the aerospace industry. After graduating from UC Davis, Salinas got accepted to USC for the master’s program in astronautical engineering.

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Wayne Cooper

After the keynote speech, representatives from the US Department of Agriculture announced the MESA students who earned the summer and fall STEM internships with the National Resource Conservation Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The organization also won the award for MESA Sponsor of the Year. BC chemistry professor Wayne Cooper presented awards for the A+ Scholars program, which provides financial resources to help STEM students transfer to four-year universities. He also announced all of the MESA students who are graduating or transferring before being presented with MESA’s Professor of the Year award.

My heartfelt thanks for everything that our MESA program does to help first-generation STEM students at BC, and I wish all of the graduates the best of luck as they transition to the college or career of their dreams.

Inmate Scholars Program

On Tuesday, activist and media personality Danny Morrison wrote an article on his website praising BC’s Inmate Scholars program, writing that “inmate education could be the elixir to some of the most deeply-rooted, long-standing systemic barriers plaguing our most marginalized communities.”

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Danny Morrison and Sonya Christian, photo from dannymorrisonmedia.com

Morrison, who hosts a radio show on 103.9 FM The Beat, as well as “The Danny Morrison Media Show” on The Beat and Canoodle Studios, went into intense detail about the Inmate Scholars program, praising BC’s Program Manager Chelsea Esquibias and its success rates, as well as the program’s efforts toward reducing recidivism and encouraging adult participation in higher education courses.

In his article, he shared the success rates and made the comment that the “numbers don’t lie.”

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“This comprehensive program should serve as the template for correctional facilities all throughout the country,” Morrison said. “In my personal experiences with the program, I have seen growth within some of the most hardened inmates like you never thought possible.”

Brandon Johnson of ABC 23 also recently shared how “inmates up and down Kern County are getting a second chance courtesy of Bakersfield College.”  The news clip can be seen on Facebook here.

Celebrating Hall EMT Grads

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Photo from the Hall EMT Facebook

The Bakersfield Californian’s Steven Mayer covered the Hall EMT academy graduation in an article which he started by announcing, “Hundreds of family members and friends gathered to watch Tuesday as 30 recruits graduated from the Hall EMT Academy to become Kern County’s newest first responders.” On hand for the celebration was KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke.

Titled, “First time ‘without our boss,’ Hall EMT academy graduates 30,” Mayer’s article combined both a tribute to Harvey Hall  with a celebration of the hard work and accomplishments of these new EMT’s. He said, “During their 350 hours of training — done in partnership with Bakersfield College — the entire spectrum of emergency medical services is covered, including airway, respiration & ventilation; cardiology & resuscitation; trauma; and EMS operations. Upon completion of the coursework, they are prepared to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam.” See the full article here.

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BC Umoja Grads

PaulaParksPaula Parks has a piece in the local Bakersfield News Observer spotlighting the BC Umoja Grads by covering the end of the year Umoja celebration. You’ll want to read it for yourself by clicking here. I loved her statement, “In essence, culture and community are empowering. I am committed to the success of our students because I know their potential.”

This, my friends is one of the many reasons why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

umoja grads

 

Information Technology Rocks at BC

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Jennifer Serratt and Todd Coston

On Thursday morning, I heard of a student currently in the Air Force stationed overseas who was having some IT connection issues with their online classes and needed support to troubleshoot. Jennifer Serratt sprung into action calling on the IT Director Todd Coston who didn’t hesitate to look into the existing case details and work to find a solution. Jennifer assured the student we would work on having a solution for them the next day! (It was 11:30PM overseas!) By 8AM local time for the student, a solution had been created by our IT staff on campus and at the District Office. Here’s to two rock stars who work hard for our students!

And speaking of Todd Coston and the IT department, they celebrated their annual retreat day with team building and activities for the IT staff, graphic designers, and web content editors! The day included a photo scavenger hunt where the teams had to be creative and take specific photos on campus. The groups also built boats, raced toy cars, and competed in an exercise that involved stacking cups using a rubber band attached to strings.

This special day full of team building exercises is a great experience for our IT department. Special thanks to Todd Coston, Monika Scott and Hernando Mondragon for planning and hosting the various activities.

 

Fun Photos CSEA Appreciation Week

This week, BC celebrated Classified School Employee Week and had a luncheon on Tuesday afternoon. On Thursday appreciation grams were delivered around campus bringing smiles to many. California’s Legislature recognized the important contributions of classified school employees by naming the third full week of May “Classified School Employee Week” (CSEW) in honor of their contributions. Classified school employees play crucial roles in education.  Here are some photos from the luncheon:

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Joint Committee on the Arts Informational Hearing

On May 16th, Dr. Oliver Rosales spoke in Sacramento at the Joint Committee on Arts regarding California and the Humanities: Building Bridges and Amplifying Voices. You can view the clip online and Dr. Rosales begins speaking at 1:36:50.

Oliver

Recognizing that the Arts contribute significantly to the quality of life in California, and play an important role in the identity, innovation and economy of this state, and citing the dramatic decline in arts education programs in the state’s public schools, the Joint Committee on the Arts was formed in 1984. The Committee is authorized and directed to study, investigate and analyze:

  • Goals appropriate to the future of the arts and cultural life of California and the role the Legislature and state government should play in achievement of these goals;
  • Arts legislation in other states and at the federal level and recommendations for legislation in this state;
  • The status of arts education in California;
  • The economic impact of the Arts in California; and
  • The budget and programs of the California Arts Council.

President’s cabinet

On Monday of this week, President’s Cabinet started its first of a series of retreats to evaluate last year and start planning for next year.

President's Cabinet May 21 2018.jpg