Tag Archives: Tom Burke

KCCD Daring Mighty Things. Happy Fourth.

BC opened the Outdoor Theater for the first time since COVID with the Airforce Band – thank you Mary Jo Pasek. It was a beautiful evening listening to patriotic songs and seeing our community out enjoying the college campus and programs. Here is a 1-minute glimpse of the evening. What a way to start the July 4th weekend and a new chapter in my professional life.

On July 1st, I started my new position — deeply grateful for the outpouring of support and messages from friends and colleagues. We do live in a very special community.

And on my first weekend in my new role the country celebrates new beginnings — our nation’s birthday.

I suspect you will enjoy this article on History.com as much as I did.

I did not know that John Adams expected our yearly celebration to be on July 2? The actual vote for independence took place on that date, but the Continental Congress didn’t formally adopt the Declaration of Independence until two days later, on July 4, 1776.

In a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776, he wrote:

“But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The feuding ex-presidents died within hours of one another. Thomas Jefferson died first. Historians believe John Adams’ last words were “Thomas Jefferson survives,” as he hadn’t learned of Jefferson’s death.

The tradition of setting off fireworks on July 4 goes all the way back to July 4, 1777 – one year after the signing. In Philadelphia, the festivities began with a ship blasting 13 cannons (in honor of the 13 colonies). Additional fireworks were set off by the Sons of Liberty in Boston Common.

Happy Fourth all!

July 1, 2021 a selfie in my new office

Good morning, friends…
It is July 3, 2021.
The sun shines bright over KCCD.

On April 19, 2021 Trustee President Romeo Agbalog publicly introduced the sixth Chancellor of KCCD.

Sonya Christian with trustees Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Romeo Agbalog, Kay Meek, Yovani Jimenez
5th Chancellor Tom Burke, 6th Chancellor Sonya Christian

As it happens, also on April 19th a helicopter named Ingenuity made the first flight ever on another world — thank you Nick Strobel for making sure I am up-to-date on celestial happenings! Earlier when the Perseverance rover that carried the Ingenuity helicopter to Mars was landing, a coded message to “Dare Mighty Things” was discovered on the parachute that delivered the rover close to the Martian terrain. Apparently the scientists and engineers at NASA are notorious pranksters and are known to hide “Easter eggs” on spacecrafts.

The phrase to “Dare Mighty Things” comes from a longer Teddy Roosevelt quote:

“Far better is it to dare mighty things,
to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure …
than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much,
because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Bill Thomas, Sonya Christian

This week, the Coyotes, the Pirates and the Renegades continue to Dare Mighty Things:

Cerro Coso Community College

Incarcerated Student Education Program (ISEP) student earns writing award

Patrick Larmour, an ISEP student, participated in the USC Underground Writing Project. His piece, “The Art of Killing Monsters,” was ranked 1st place out of 177 submissions.

The writing contest asked for a 1000 word essay on how education has positively impacted their lives. Larmour is also one of twenty-six Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) members to have his writing published in the 2019 issue of PTK’s online literary journal, Nota Bene.

Here’s an excerpt from his piece:

“I simply could not handle hating myself anymore. Something had to change. It was around this time that California began offering college inside prisons. I signed up, eager to have some distraction from my depression. Little did I know that this decision would change my life. Amazingly, each class I took seemed to teach me something new about myself.”

You can read the full submission in the July Edition of the Coyote Howler.

Students of the Year

I’d like to take this moment to congratulate the three students selected as Cerro Coso’s Site Students of the Year: Noa Lish for Eastern Sierra College Center, Morgan Green for KRV Lake Isabella, and Maya Plata for East Kern.

The ‘Site Student of the Year” awards recognize those students who have made a significant contribution to their own education as well as the campus community.

Enjoy the videos honoring these outstanding students.

Noa Lish:

Morgan Green:

Maya Plata:

Information about all of this year’s Cerro Coso Student Award winners can be found at https://www.cerrocoso.edu/studentservices/2021-spring-awards-student-awards.

“Cheers to Charity” event will benefit Cerro Coso students

Tickets are still available for the Cheers to Charity event planned for August 14 at Aviator Park in Tehachapi Airport. Cerro Coso Community College is among the Tehachapi Non-Profits that will benefit from this year’s event.

Buy your tickets today at www.cheerstocharity2021.eventbrite.com.

Porterville College

PC Receives Large Gift from MacKenzie Scott Foundation in support of “Empowering Voices”

Porterville College received a $7 million gift from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and her husband Dan Jewett, which will provide support for our continuing efforts to educate underserved students and communities.

In a post on her website, MacKenzie Scott identified Porterville College as one of “286 Teams Empowering Voices the World Needs to Hear”. 

“Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved,” she wrote.

Over the next few months, Porterville College will consult with various stakeholders, about where to target this wonderful investment.  

Reagen Dozier selected for national fellowship program

Reagen Dozier, the new Title V Program Director at PC, was selected for the US Department of Agriculture’s E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program.

The program’s goal is to offer experiences in policymaking and research through direct interaction with USDA agencies. Attendees met with USDA representatives over Zoom to learn about programs and create networking connections.

PC to give students additional flexibility with HyFlex Courses this fall

In order to provide equity for those students with hectic schedules and lifestyles, Porterville College is expanding opportunities for learning with a new type of course offering being made available this coming Fall Semester.

HyFlex classes offer weekly sessions in three ways. Each week, students can choose to take a HyFlex class in-person on campus, watch the lectures online with other students in a weekly live zoom meeting, or watch a recording later according to the student’s own schedule.

This HyFlex concept is being piloted in classes this Fall semester. Check out http://www.PortervilleCollege.edu for a complete list of available sections.

Bakersfield College

Gerry Haslam Honored with history award

Gerry Haslam

Gerry Haslam, one of BC’s more famous alums, was posthumously recognized as the 2021 recipient of the American Association for State and Local History Award of Excellence for Individual Achievement.

Gerry, who passed away earlier this year, wrote novels, short stories, essays, biographies, and nonfiction works about rural and small-town California in the San Joaquin Valley. He was always generous in sharing his time and talents with BC.

Jerry Ludeke sent along an email from Gerry’s wife, Jan, about the award:

“Dear Friends,  It is with great pride and pleasure that we announce that Gerry has won an American Association for State and Local History Award of Excellence for Individual Achievement.  We’re just sorry that he isn’t here to acknowledge it.   Sincerely, Jan”

A2MEND Battle of the Field 7-on-7 and Lineman Challenge

This past weekend over 120 high school athletes were on campus to compete in the first A2MEND Battle of the Field 7-on-7 and Lineman Challenge. The competition came down to South High vs Frontier High in the finals, with Frontier winning the championship and taking home the hardware. Frontier Lineman won the lineman challenge, making it a clean sweep! Congratulations to Frontier High and all the teams that took part in the event.

Not only did this event facilitate healthy competition, but it informed the community about all the amazing things happening at BC.

If you are interested in partnering with or learning more about A2MEND, please contact Daron Mackey at daron.mackey@bakersfieldcollege.edu

Poetry Corner

Let’s hear from our favorite author and poet who contributes regularly to my blog, Dr. Jack Hernandez:

                                      Visions

                             When the future is short

                             we have few steps left,

                             the seeds we have planted

                             have few remaining

                             clinging to shallow soil.

                             Their flowers we must see,

                             their bright colors

                             our remaining visions

                             sealed upon our hearts

                             as special gifts.

In the News

Sierra View helps train the registered nurses of tomorrow

Check out this article from the Valley Voice about Sierra View Medical Center’s Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program, which helps ensure new graduate nurses are better equipped to provide care and make clinical choices for their patients. 

To date, 50 nurses have completed the program – and 35 of those came from Porterville College!

17-year-old perseveres to graduate from PC – then high school

Check out this article by Esther Avila in the Porterville Recorder about Candelaria Sanchez, who earned her Associate of Arts degree from Porterville College last December – 6 months before she graduates from Summit Collegiate High School.

“I’m a first generation (going to college) and I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come and where I come from,” Sanchez said. “I decided that I was going to put in the effort and break those generational curses. Although it has happened in my family for generations, it does not need to continue with me — and it won’t.”

Nine graduate from Cerro Coso before high school

This article in the Tehachapi news shares the story of 9 students who earned their degrees from Cerro Coso shortly before their high school graduations. Two of the students attended the college’s Tehachapi Campus, one from the online program, and seven from the Mammoth Lakes Campus.

Taking Cerro Coso classes really helped me get prepared for university. I am going to UC San Diego this fall, and because I was able to graduate high school with my associate’s degree, I have saved thousands of dollars by taking classes I would have had to take my first two years at college for free during high school. I genuinely feel more prepared, by taking freshman English and math classes at Cerro Coso and doing well in them, I know I can be successful at a four-year university.” – Student Isla Lackey

Looking back at the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes: where we’ve been, where we’re going

Sunday and Monday mark the 2-year anniversary of the historic earthquakes that hit the Ridgecrest area in 2019. The earthquake on July 4 had a magnitude of 6.4 The next day, another earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 hit the area.

I wanted to share this article in the Ridgecrest Daily Independent looking back at the earthquakes and showing how the city has recovered, and is still working to recover.

Bakersfield College to offer free one-week courses that provide public health certificate

The Bakersfield Californian and KGET shared the news about BC’s new one-week courses that will allow students the chance to earn a Certificate of Achievement in Public Health.

The first courses begin July 19. Support and help to get registered is available through BC’s Student Information Desk.

Community Voices: A fond recollection of a Renaissance Man

Bakersfield College professor emeritus Peggy DeStefano wrote this piece in the Bakersfield Californian about her friendship with Chuck Wall. Longtime BC professor Chuck Wall, Bakersfield’s “Kindness Ambassador”, passed away on June 8.

“Chuck Wall and I gravitated to one another on the first day of the academic year at the new faculty orientation at Bakersfield College. I met Chuck, a member of the business faculty who exuded charisma and collegiality. From the outset, we shared an eclectic and expansive sense of humor and didn’t take ourselves too seriously. “

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

No Sister Left Behind shared this post on Facebook honoring outgoing KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke:

“We are truly grateful to the retiring Chancellor, Thomas J. Burke and Kern Community College District for becoming a Corporate Sponsor of the NSLB Higher Education Empowerment Program. Special added thanks to Danielle Hillard, KCCD and Vikki Coffee.

Butterfield Charter School shared a post thanking Porterville College program technician Monica Daniels, who visited PUSD Summer School to share information with students about PC:

Carlos Medina shared this photo from the BC INDA student visit to GAF Roofing’s Shafter plant:

Escaped the heat for a few days at the beach

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Photo by Alex Horvath

That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future remains bright at KCCD.

-sonya
a very joyful and grateful Chancellor

Sunsetting May 2021 as BC Builds Bridges

This week I read an article about the Brooklyn Bridge. May 24th was the 138th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, which connected New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. It seems almost impossible now to imagine a time when those two cities were not connected. And the sheer amount of planning, thought, work and engineering that went into what became the “eighth wonder of the world.”

I’m so pleased to see resources set aside in the upcoming nationwide infrastructure plan that will help restore our great nation’s precious bridges — a thing of remarkable beauty and great engineering feat.

And it’s not only physical bridges that are key to maintaining our relationships. Our metaphorical bridges also must be maintained so that we can continue to connect with people and ideas that otherwise may have been unreachable.

That’s why I’m so proud of the Bridge to BC program. This high-touch, high-tech program helps our first-year students get all the support and guidance they need to be successful. This year’s program will be fully online, designed as a one-week course with online sections that run Monday through Saturday. The sessions will run from June through August, and are available to all our incoming freshmen, including those who earned college credits in high school.

Chancellor Tom Burke visiting Bridge to BC before COVID. With Isabel Casteneda and Kimberly Bligh

The thousands of students who completed Bridge to BC over the last 6 years were twice as likely to attempt and complete more units, including transfer level Math and English, and to persist Fall-to-Fall than non-Bridge students. 

Stephanie Ruiz

Stephanie Ruiz, a studio arts major who plans to transfer to CSUB, wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about how the Bridge to BC program helped her:

“When Bridge to BC returns to being an on-campus or hybrid experience, I know students just like me will continue to benefit, learning to navigate college both online and on campus. This experience was a great introduction and it made my first year enjoyable even though all my classes were online. This next year, I feel even more prepared to tackle my classes with confidence thanks to all the support from Bridge to BC.”

Kimberly Bligh and our entire Bridge to BC team are truly remarkable.

Where would we all be without bridges?

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, May 29, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Thousand Flags at The Park at River Walk

If you’re looking for a way to honor our heroes over Memorial Day weekend, head out to The Park at River Walk where Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club will present “Thousand Flags.” 

Bakersfield College and Rotary have been partners in many ways over the years, and the college has close ties to the Breakfast Rotary club in that Cheryl Scott, Mary Jo Pasek, and Mindy Wilmot are all members of the club, and of course Chancellor Tom Burke is a member as well!

Umoja Community honors all African-American grads

Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) celebrated student accomplishments and honored all African-American graduates.

Despite the challenging times, there was much to celebrate: Umoja grew in the number of courses and in programing. Jazz Appreciation, taught by Kris Tiner, and Statistics for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, taught by David Reiss, were both offered in Umoja with an African-American cultural component.

In addition, Umoja in conjunction with the Nursing department created the Employment Preparation Academy – exposing four pre-nursing students to options in the nursing field and giving them tips on applying to BC’s program.

But the real highlight of the program was honoring the eighteen participating African-American graduates. Two students shared their struggles and triumphs on the way to completing their associates degrees.

Zariyah Hall

Explained Zariyah Hall, who struggled in high school: “It wasn’t until I joined Umoja that I saw the value of my journey. I learned that I have an ancestral obligation to be successful and that revolutionary patience is a virtue. These are lessons I will take with me.”

She added that she will attend an Historically Black College in the fall and earn a degree in communication with the goal of creating content that tells the stories of Black people.

Shorell Darrett

Shorell Darrett said she almost didn’t make it: “I found myself in one of those dark moments and lost my focus when my younger brother died from COVID and my sister from cancer within the same week during my finals. I couldn’t see myself finishing, but here I am graduating with three degrees (early childhood education, communication, and liberal arts) and cum laude. I am forever thankful to my village: family, friends, BC counselors, and professors who held up the light that guided me.”

Thank you to Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula L. Parks, Executive Director of Outreach and Early College Steve Watkin, and Educational Advisor Daron Mackey for making this event happen.

Umoja is accepting applications for fall and offering enrollment sessions throughout the summer. See https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/student/aai/umoja for more information.

Virtual Express Enrollment Event on June 2

Last week, Bakersfield College’s Outreach Team served over 230 students during their Express Enrollment Event on May 19th. We hope to see similar turnout throughout the summer! The next Express Enrollment Event is Wednesday June 2 from 12pm to 8pm.

Register here: https://forms.gle/og858uCosjSU6Cao9 or visit the website at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/registrationrocks

There will also be three more Express Enrollment events planned for this summer, on June 16th from 12pm to 5pm, July 7th from 12pm to 8pm, and August 11th from 12pm to 8pm.

Thank you to the Child Development Center

I wanted to share this touching email from a student, thanking our Child Development Center Rosita Barron:

Hello,

My name is Sapphire Hernandez. I am the mother to Daniel Bredemann, a current student and Elizabeth Bredemann, a former student. When I originally had my children I became discouraged that I would no longer be able to pursue a higher education. After a few years I left the state I was living in, left my job and moved back with my mother determined to make a better life for my children. This semester I ended all my prerequisites for my nursing degree, graduating with a 3.8 GPA. I am eligible to apply to both BC and CSUB nursing program. I just really wanted to express my gratitude towards the Child Development Program. Knowing that my children are in a safe place with people who are honestly invested in their well being feels like a blessing. I know that my achievements would not have been possible without this program. I really appreciate the support and feel determined to achieve my goal of becoming a nurse.  

Thank you. 

I’m so proud of the Child Development Center and all they do to help our student parents. In fact, at this year’s Closing Day celebration, the CDC team received my President’s Leadership Award:

Closing Day 2021

Our first day of Closing Day 2021 programming also featured a musical performance from the Bakersfield College Choir, Chamber Singers, and Renegade Chorus. Please enjoy “In Meeting We Are Blessed”:

Vice President of Instruction Billie Jo Rice also recognized our faculty receiving tenure:

All the videos from our Closing Day programming are available at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/closing-day-spring-2021.

BC Hosts Fire Department Training Session

This week, Bakersfield College welcomed friends from the Bakersfield City Fire Departments Technical Search and Rescue Team to the Panorama campus. The BFD team used blocked off areas of the campus to perform non-invasive training exercises and drills utilizing GPS, search cameras, and activities focused on search and reconnaissance. I am so happy that our campus continues to be a place of learning, growth, and skills attainment for our community.

Commencement 2021 Tribute

Our 2021 Commencement again went virtual with a special tribute program that aired on KGET and Telemundo.

Today, I’d like to share a few videos from that production.

Outgoing BCSGA President Gian Gayatao’s remarks:

And our Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation graduates.

You can see all the videos from the program at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/admissions/2021-commencement-tribute.

Poetry Corner

Another Jack Hernandez poem, inspired by the horrific violence facing parts of the world:

A Distant Country

My car is being routinely
serviced    oil changed
brakes and tires checked,
I at a table by a window
drinking special coffee
watching people order
their favorites to go.

In a distant country
dusty and war weary
young school girls
leaving their classroom day
are shredded by a bomb,
their clothing now
bloody pieces,
their parents weeping.

My car is ready for the road.
The girls are lowered into the ground.

In the News

Community Voices: The Crowning Glory of Vaccines

Dr. Brij Bhambi

Dr. Brij Bhambi wrote about the importance of vaccination and continued mitigation measures as we fight to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic:

“As I have reiterated ad nauseam, vaccine hesitancy is the last mile we need to triumph through doctors offices. It’s the steepest part of the hill, the part where you retool to summit the top.”

You can read more of Dr. Bhambi’s thoughts on the blog he and I have created together, https://bhambiandchristian.com/.

Community Voices: Out of the cave, into the sun

Jack Hernandez’ piece in the Bakersfield Californian looked at what good might come after over a year of pandemic:

“So as we leave the shadows of the pandemic, let us also leave the false shadows of so-called normal life. Let us leave all the shadows of the cave. Let us emerge into the clear sunlight of the truth about what is really important in life: that we care for others, our families, our friends, our neighbors, the strangers who are homeless.

Community Voices: Education is peacebuilding

Kara McDonald wrote about the place education has in building peace in our society:

“So, what if in school, we were taught to recognize indicators of conflict? Or how to have non-violent conflict? Or how to listen with empathy and curiosity instead of judgment? Our lives would also be exponentially easier if we understood peace as much as we understand conflict. We would navigate conflict more easily, there would likely be less violence, and we would develop societies where peace, justice, and equity are able to thrive.”

I’d like to share a few more videos from the Educators for Peace seminar on May 18.

The first question in that seminar was “what is peace, and what does a peaceful future look like to you?”

Here is Jessica Wojtysiak responding to that:

And Richard McCrow:

You can see all the videos from the Educators for Peace seminar, as well as the Mothers for Peace seminar, at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/bc-peace-initiative.

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

I loved this message from Bakersfield City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales, about the Cash for the Arts utility box project. These are near Williams Elementary in East Bakersfield:

Olivia Garcia got some exercise with her mother:

Check out this view from Faith Bradham, who shared a picture from Canyonlands National Park:

Abel Guzman shared this note from the McFarland graduation – Early College team members Alma Feathers and Raquel Lopez were on hand to celebrate our Early College graduates from McFarland. Congratulations class for 2021!

This week, Cerro Coso Community College President Sean Hancock hosted Zav Dadabhoy (who will be BC’s interim president), Porterville College President Claudia Habib, and myself.

President Claudia Habib, Incoming President Zav Dadabhoy, President Sean Hancock, Incoming Chancellor Sonya Christian

I also had to share this throwback photo of Neo, four years ago, taken June 3, 2017.

Athletics

Congratulations to former Renegade Hector Ruvalcaba, who was named to the 2021 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s 2021 All-Central Region Team. Hector now plays for Oklahoma Baptist University.

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC — Beat Covid

BC stands for Beat Covid — David Torres

David Torres, Centric Health Foundation Chairman, put it best “BC may stand for Bakersfield College, but to all of us here in this community, for us, BC stands for Beats Covid.”

I loved his energy and excitement at the clinic:

We also celebrated Community Relations Director Norma Rojas-Mora’s birthday with a drive-through singalong:

On Friday, March 26, Bakersfield College hosted our second big drive-through vaccination event – vaccinating 1,025 people!

I am grateful to everyone whose hard work and dedication helped make BC’s second drive-through Covid vaccination clinic an absolute success.

Check out more pictures from the March 26 clinic on BC’s SmugMug site.

I’m continuing to share pictures of our vaccinated Renegades. If you’d like to share your vaccination photo, please email it to president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

BC supporter Nicole Parra got her vaccination at our first drive-thru clinic:

Nicole Parra getting vaccinated

Program Manager for Counseling & Student Success Isabel Castaneda tweeted about her Johnson&Johnson vaccination:

Food Services Manager Fidel Cabuena got his second Pfizer shot:

Department Assistant Cheryl Caswell-Fairbanks got the shot with her husband and Shawn Newsom from the History Department:

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 3, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

This Easter weekend, I wanted to share a few photos of spring flowers:

And the rose season is getting started:

First Lady comes to Central Valley

This week, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited the Central Valley to meet with farmworkers at The Forty Acres. She was joined by Gov. Gavin Newsom in touring The Forty Acres, which was created by Cesar Chavez and became the headquarters for the United Farmworkers of America, and in thanking farmworkers for their hard work during the pandemic. Connie Perez-Andreeson from the BC Foundation Board introduced Dr. Jill Biden…. so cool!

And here is an Instagram post by FLOTUS; the picture is of Connie introducing her.

Sonya Christian, Dolores Huerta, Norma Rojas-Mora

Young Mothers for Peace

Mothers for Peace, the first in a series of seminars through the Bakersfield College Peace Initiative, kicked off on Tuesday this week with a Zoom webinar where panelists reflected on their experiences and concerns as they raise their children, as well as their visions for a peaceful future. Norma Rojas-Mora, served as emcee. Our panelists were Sandy Woo-Cater, Anti-Trafficking Expert; Lauren Skidmore, District Director for Assembly Member Vince Fong; Pawan Gill, Director of HR and Community Development for the City of Arvin; and Antrenette Carr, Human Resources Manager at Amazon.

Here are my opening remarks:

Then, our panelists each gave a short introduction of themselves and their families:

Norma then asked our panelists to reflect on a series of questions.

As a mother, what do you see as the threat?

Let’s fast forward to 2035, your child is now an adult. As you envision that world what do you want it look like? 

What do you want to do to reach that vision for a peaceful society  in 2035?  What is your call to action?

Norma wrapped up the seminar with a few closing comments:

Please stay tuned to the BC Peace Initiative website for information about upcoming seminars, events, and other projects.

Early College Info Night at Valley Oaks Charter

Last Thursday the Early College team hosted a virtual student & parent information night for Valley Oaks Charter School. The session was focused on incoming 9th graders and their parents, but was open for all Valley Oaks students. The student testimonials were the highlight of the event. Two graduating seniors shared their experiences with taking Early College classes through Valley Oaks. They also participated in a question and answer session for the parents and students.

Here are some quotes from our Early College students:


“It’s a really good experience… If you do start, I would start with 1-2 classes.” – Jaxon Young


“I was nervous too. It’s ok to be nervous. It puts a little bit of pressure on you but don’t be afraid to ask your professors for help.” – Elise Mayer

Inmate Scholars Update

Jennifer Craig, an assistant professor of English and the Inmate Scholars Program, sent out the latest edition of the Inmate Scholars Newsletter on March 26.

You can check it out below:

She also shared two links – Success Stories (Roberto Luca’s story), and Professor Sara Wallace’s Reflections from Outside blog.

Spotted on Social Media

BC Cheer shared a throwback photo from the 1994-1995 squad:

The Kern Exceptional Family Center shared some pictures from their vaccination clinic in partnership with the Kern Regional Center and Bakersfield College:

History Professor Olivia Garcia spotted some Easter cheer on a trail:

One of our Culinary Arts students was preparing pastry boxes for Nixtamal Cafe:

Job Development Specialist Carlos Medina’s family took a bike ride through the bluffs:

The Story of Kitty

Before I wrap up with the Athletics Corner that Brandon sends my way, I wanted you to enjoy this story written by one of my regular contributors to the blog, Dr. Jack Hernandez, aka “Grandpa Jack” who wrote a delightful short story for his seven year old granddaughter who is a terrific gymnast…she was cartwheeling and flipping when he was visiting in Williamstown.

        Kitty was a small, grey fluffy cat. Her older sister, Kiki, loved to musically meow and dance, waving her paws in the air like flags. Her big brother, Cosmic, was a superstar mouse chaser.

        But one morning as Kitty watched them from her high breakfast perch she wondered what she could do to be happy like them. She remembered all the things she had tried to do, but hadn’t worked.

        First she had tried swimming, but didn’t like her fur all wet, soggy, and heavy. So that didn’t work.

        Next she had played catball, but didn’t like waiting for her turn, plus she missed too many. So that didn’t work.

        Then she had gone outside on the grass to race snails, but that was too easy. Like even an ant can beat a snail. So that didn’t work.

        Finally she had tried tooting a horn, but didn’t like her lips all tired and worn. So that didn’t work.

        O me, o my, she thought, what can I do? And as she sat and wondered, she suddenly fell from her perch and without thinking landed upright on her paws! Wow, she said, I can do this, can do tricks in the air!

        So when her mama cat, Lipsi, brought her a pancake, she asked her how she could learn to leap and turn, leap and circle in the air.

        He mom answered, “I know a place, Kitty, that teaches kiddy cats to do catnastics, and after breakfast I’ll take you there.”

        “Thank you, mom,” Kitty purred as she put some syrup on her pancake.

        So that very afternoon Kitty began her catnastics lessons. And she practiced and practiced.

        Then one day, not too long after, she was cartwheeling her way! Here and there! Everywhere!

        O how she could flip and dip! Backward and forward! Up and down! Cat flips to the ceiling, to the floor. Tricks, tricks, and tricks galore!

        She was no longer just watching other cats in their jazzy fur. She was now cool, cool Kitty. Jumping. Pumping. Swinging and zinging. Every day.  Every way.

        And that is how she became Kitty–The Cartwheeling Cat.

Athletics

Volleyball End Spring I Season With Perfect Record

Even though they were not playing competitively for over a year, the Renegade Women’s Volleyball squad is playing like they haven’t skipped a beat. They recently wrapped up play in the abbreviated California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) Spring I sports season with a perfect 9-0 record. In the process they swept seven of the nine opponents and only gave up two sets in those nine games. While there will be no conference or state championship for them to play at the end of this season, we are proud of the what they accomplished and how they represented BC!

Coach Littlejohn on KGET Coaches Corner

Be sure to catch our very own Renegade Head Football Coach R. Todd Littlejohn as he joins KGET sports reporter Taylor Schaub to dissect the local high school football games each week. Watch last week’s segment of the first week of Kern High District games by clicking below:

https://www.kget.com/sports/ffx/ffx-week-one-coaches-corner/?fbclid=IwAR3svyQOQZXFYFbV76l5gO-6j12HgZw0fv4YtareC3PPx1ijyg3uiIdRueA

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Bakersfield College – Bakersfield’s Disneyland

I woke up on Monday, March 22, to this headline in The Bakersfield Californian, written by its executive editor, Christine L. Peterson:

Christine L. Peterson

‘Today is a victory’: BC hosts first mass drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Kern

“They’re not celebrating at Disneyland quite yet, but you might have thought those at Bakersfield College on Sunday had already arrived at the happiest place on earth.

Cars and trucks lined up to make their way into the parking lot abutting University Avenue for a poke in the arm in the form of one of 1,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses.


The event was dubbed the first mass drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Kern County, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wasn’t smiling.”

Beautiful writing….. beautiful words…..

We kicked off the clinic with a press conference with some wonderful speakers:

Norma Rojas-Mora, BC Director of Communication and Community Relations:

Assemblyman Rudy Salas:

KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog:

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez:

David Torres, Centric Health Foundation Chairman:

Imelda Ceja-Butkiewicz, President of the Kern Inyo Mono Central Labor Council:

Jay Tamsi, Co-founder of Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force:

Joseph Lopez, on behalf of State Senator Melissa Hurtado:

The entire day had an air of celebration and collaboration as so many different people and groups worked together to get 1,000 vaccine shots-in-arms for the clinic. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together toward a common goal.

Check out more photos from our first mass drive through clinic on BC’s SmugMug website.

And be sure to check the BC Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic web page for information about future clinics!

I also wanted to share a few of the vaccination photos I’ve received this week.

Our KCCD Chancellor, Tom Burke:

Chancellor Tom Burke

Trustee Kyle Carter, who was vaccinated by Miss Yen from the BC Nursing Program:

Astronomy Professor Nick Strobel:

History Professor Olivia Garcia:

Instructional Technology Instructor Alex Rockey & Biology Professor William Rockey:

If you have a photo of your COVID-19 vaccination, please send it to president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

And be sure to check out our gallery of vaccinations.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, March 27, 2021, my dad’s b’day … a great day to be a Renegade.

Paul Christian, Sonya Christian

Photos & Poetry

This week, a friend sent me this amazing photo…the heavens have opened:

Arvin, CA

I thought of this photo – these gray skies broken up by a few rays of radiant sunshine – when I read this poem that Jack Hernandez sent to me:

Exit Road

The little yellow flowers
along the freeway exit road
smile as I wait for the light
to give me permission to go.

Some sunless days though,
eager winds sowing dust,
they stay tightly closed,
I drive on unsure and cold.

Another friend of mine, who lost her partner, shared this poem from Khalil Gibran:

Fear

It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.

She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.

And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.

But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.

Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.

The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.

Magnificent sunset photos at BC taken by Janet Tarjan on March 25th

Morning walk celebration of dad’s birthday.

Jess Nieto Conference

The 3rd Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference was held this past week. Professor Jess Nieto established the Chicano Studies program and Chicano Cultural Center at Bakersfield College. He was an entrepreneur, civil rights activist, educational leader and mentor to countless students. 

The conference this year included a wonderful mix of education, entertainment and celebration. Contributions from student organizations, professors, community leaders and partners make this a truly special event. Panels include “Unraveling Latina Stereotypes: Latinas Unidas in Conversation”, “Celebrating the Legacy of Cesar Chavez, the Farmworker Movement, and the Ongoing Work of the UFW and Cesar Chavez Foundation” and many more.

Check out this video from Abel Guzman, Executive Director of Rural Initiatives, which was part of the opening day programming:

You can see all the Opening Day programming in a YouTube playlist.

A Conversation with Dolores Huerta

On Thursday, the Jones Art Gallery exhibit Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos officially kicked off with a Conversation with Dolores Huerta.

Dolores Huerta spoke via Zoom with Dr. Taína Caragol, Curator of Latino Art & History at the Smithsonian Institution. The event was co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the Wylie and May Louise Jones Art Gallery at Bakersfield College, and the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities at Bakersfield College.

Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. See the virtual tour and get more information at the Jones Art Gallery.

Measure J – Thank You Nicole!

I love this photo of Nicole Parra and her dog, Bailey, sitting in front of our first Measure J Project – the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.

Thank you, Nicole, for managing our Measure J campaign. We could not have done it without you, and I’m so glad you were able to enjoy the fruits of your labor 5 years later!

Dual Enroll

Gone are the days of receiving thousands of paper application submissions! We are excited to announce the launch of our new online program, dualenroll.com, that has replaced the paper form submissions for Dual Enrollment and Concurrent Enrollment. Students from all high schools can now use Dual Enroll to register for Summer 2021 and Fall 2021. This transition will streamline services for students and will make these opportunities more accessible in distance and online learning environments.

Dual Enroll is a win-win! Check it out at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/earlycollege/how-to-enroll.

In the News

Community Voices: Building a peaceful future

Kara McDonald, program manager for Student Success & Equity, wrote this piece about the importance of embracing peace instead of conflict – and highlighting the new Peace Initiative that Bakersfield College will be embarking on over the next 18 months.

“This initiative includes the Peace Garden that will soon begin construction on BC’s campus, as well as a series of projects done in partnership with other community groups working toward peace. Finally, the Peace Initiative includes a seminar series designed to engage small groups of women, veterans, educators and police in conversations about what peace looks like here in Kern County and how we build it.”

On Tuesday, we will kick off the Peace Initiative with the first installment of the Peace Initiative Seminar Series, “Mothers for Peace.” For more information, or to register for the Zoom event, visit the Bakersfield College website.

Community Voices: Our lives, our stories

Jack Hernandez, retired director of the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, wrote a piece about how our lives live on in the stories, minds and memories of those who know us.

“But we all have an afterlife on this earth. An afterlife of our stories remembered by those who have known us for many years. Many live on in my mind: the stories of dad working two jobs to send me to college, of mom sending me off every morning to school, filled with breakfast and secure in her love. My Bakersfield College students, friends and colleagues during my many years here after I drove to Bakersfield from Detroit, not knowing what to expect when I came down Edison Highway in my own “Grapes of Wrath.””

Bakersfield College Ranks 3rd in State

Check out this video & article on KGET – BC ranks 3rd in degrees awarded among California Hispanic serving institutions!

“Bakersfield College said in recent years they have worked on improving student outcomes, reducing achievement gaps and increasing access for students using a Guided Pathways approach. Since BC first started its Guided Pathways program in 2014, the college has seen growth and improvement across multiple student success metrics.”

Spotted on Social Media

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh shared this post about our vaccination clinic:

Bill Moseley shared his delicious weekend plans:

Jessica Wojtysiak also had a delicious night, courtesy of BC’s culinary arts students:

And Kristin Rabe shared the daisies outside her porch:

Athletics

Alyson Dees Named CCCWVCA State Player of the Week

Women’s Volleyball are undefeated thus far in the abbreviated Spring I season and to top it off, sophomore Alyson Dees was named the California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCWVCA) State Player of the Week for her performance against Cerro Coso the week prior. Alyson embodies the spirit of the team and as her coach Carl Ferreira said “one of the most amazing things about Aly is how much selfless energy she gives to her teammates. If that’s not enough, she’s an even better person.” Congrats Alyson!

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That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC – We’ve got talent

Did you vote?

Chancellor Tom Burke

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

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

Kern Shakespeare Festival: “The Comedy of Errors”

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

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

BC High School Chamber Singers Festival Moves Online

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

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

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

Jennifer shared the piece that Eric discussed at the event:

Latina Leaders of Kern

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

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

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

Art, Architecture and Archetypes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latino Inspire Awards Recognize Norma Rojas-Mora

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

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

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

Student Success Lab offers Standardized Test Prep Course

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

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

Early College at the #SSSC20 Virtual Conference

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

Bakersfield Young Professionals Diversity Panel

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

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

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

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

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

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

Commitment from Rural Communities & Rural Initiatives:

Commitment from HEAL:

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

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

Upcoming: Premiere of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Tribute

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

For more information, visit the BC website!

Spotted on Social Media

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

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

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

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

Athletics

Baseball’s Caggienelli Headed to CSUB

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

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