Tag Archives: Zav Dadabhoy

Launching Fall 2016 to Build A Better BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  Today is Saturday, August 20th, the day after my grandmother Hilda Sparrow’s b’day and two days after BC’s Opening Day.  Hilda Sparrow, Nana as I called her, was born in 1908 — that would make her a 5-year-old in 1913 when leaders here is Bakersfield launched the first community college in Kern County, Bakersfield College.  Last night when mom and I were out for our evening walk, rather late yesterday because of going to the new release of the 1959 epic movie Ben Hur, we enjoyed the fabulous moon and talked about Hilda Sparrow. Nana, this blog is for you!

Back to Ben-Hur, the music done by Hungarian composer and pianist Miklós Rózsa is just wonderful.  Here it is on Youtube.  See if you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

 

Opening Day 2016

Indoor theater aug 18 2016.jpg

It’s been an eventful, exciting, and super-hot Bakersfield summer leading up to one of my favorite times of the year – Fall.   And this week at BC, we gathered to celebrate Opening Day kicking off our monumental fall semester of 2016.

Our faculty, staff, and administration look forward to seeing the halls filled with students and our campus brimming with activity. Our campus comes alive when the students are present – after all, they are the center and the inspiration for all we do.

Ushers.jpg

Chef Eric Sabella and his team prepared a bountiful, delicious, and healthy lunch of fresh salads and a selection of different wraps. It’s always a treat when we gather together as the whole BC staff to enjoy lunch (or any kind of food, really) together.

In a special way, I’d like to recognize folks who spent the last several weeks preparing for opening day.

 

Our fantastic team of ushers –  Chris Glaser (lead) –  Somaly Boles – June Charles
Heather Barajas – Isbael Casteneda – Bernadette Martinez – Jacki O’Bannon Strong
Felicia Scott – our wonderful students

Contributors to the content of the program – Kate Pluta – Nan Gomez-Heitzberg – Zav Dadabhoy –  Bill Potter – Lesley Bonds –  Steve Waller –  Nicky Damania

The M&O team – Ramon Puga – Rachell Morehouse – Jason Brown

Our video, media and technical team – Manuel De La Santos –  Kristin Rabe – Kevin Ganger

Our graphics and printing – Dylan Wang

My creative writing partner – Monika Scott

And the two women who are complete rockstars – Shannon Musser and Jennifer Marden

 The program followed lunch and almost every seat in the Indoor Theater was filled. The sea of familiar faces and red Renegade pride gets me every time. It’s an incredible sight to see and I hope you’ll check out some of the photos if you couldn’t be there in person.

Our BCSGA President, Matthew Frazer took the stage introducing himself and welcoming everyone to the celebration. He spoke as a true leader of our next generation:

IMG_6313Knowing how my life has been impacted, I felt a calling to serve for the greater good. Last spring, impacted me in two life altering ways that I am grateful for… finally be wedded to my girlfriend of three years, and to announce my candidacy for BCSGA President.  I am happy to report I survived both this summer, so far. I’m still married and expecting, and I am standing before you as the 2016-2017 Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA) President. I am Matthew Frazer.

This year, my goal is for us to be more visible and vocal on campus. We hope to achieve this goal by hosting an array of events all year long and by doing so we wish to inspire others to be just as equally impactful.”

I can’t wait to see what our incredible student body has in store this year – it is a great time to be a Renegade.

This fall, we will see the great work of our excellent departments come to life. Enrollment is booming, students are excelling, and we have our first set of history making juniors in the industrial automation baccalaureate program at BC!

As of today, Saturday August 20th, there are exactly 80 days till our community decides on the investment and outcome of Measure J so it was fitting that during Opening Day, we revisited the innovative history and evolution of BC’s ground breaking past.  Together let’s build…A Better BC.  We will have the State of the College posted next week.

Our story began in 1913 and took a gigantic leap in the 50’s as we claimed a campus of our own, moving to Panorama Drive. Today, 50 years later, we continue to dream big because BC’s tale isn’t over. Our campus gives life to the endless opportunities for future generations and along with our students. We’re writing the next chapter and it’s up to us to direct the story.

Here is the conclusion from the State of the College:

We live in an era of viral soundbites and tweets rather than one of comprehensive and detailed discussion. But let us not be reluctant to tell our story, openly and honestly; boldly in all its detail; and in all its glory.

Let’s joyfully shout out the BC story from the roof tops for the next 82 days and beyond.

Let us use Twitter….Facebook… Instagram and Snapchat.

Can we get 82 pieces of writing in the community voices section of the Californian? Every day from now until November 8th. We are BC and we are a Jewel of Kern County.

 We will continue to balance bold new directions with elegance and poise. We will continue to encourage punctual completion with gentle compassion and strong support. We see the face, heart, and brilliant mind of each individual student in the crowd of thousands and our mission is as important as it’s ever been.

I’m proud to say the state of Bakersfield College has never been stronger

Just like in 1913 – Just like in the 50s –

Now, in 2016, we stand together to write the next chapter of BC’s story….

Together, let’s build…A Better BC

WE are BC!

We had great presenters during the 4-hour plenary including the stretch breaks to support our Wellness core value.  Here are some pictures:

 

Our day continued with presentations by employee groups and a community panel. Thank you to Mike Turnipseed, Olivia Garcia, Karen Goh, and JP Lake – your words, voice, and wisdom will resonate with us this fall semester. Thank you for your involvement and for being a voice of the community!

Community Panel Opening Day Aug 18 2016

 

Community Panel 2We welcomed all the new faculty to our roster and concluded our indoor presentation with faculty awards and recognition. Congratulations to Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award recipient, Kenward Vaughn, Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award recipient, Jennifer Johnson, and recipient of this year’s Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium, Anna Poetker.

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What makes this year one for the history books, besides our record setting enrollments and student success accomplishments, is our upcoming date of November 8th.  But what makes this year one that I’m so proud to be a part of right now – right here – today, and in the present – is the fantastic people who make up Bakersfield College. Your energy, your smiles, your laughter, your involvement in our Opening Day stretch breaks, your willingness to stand and be recognized makes a lasting impact on me – and encourages me as President of BC each and every day.  Thank you colleagues.  We Are BC!

 

 New Student Convocation

What an amazingly spirited experience, right after Opening Day on Thursday night introducing new student Renegades and their families to the BC community!

As soon as students walked towards the Outdoor Theatre they were greeted by the Bakersfield College Student Government Association, received welcome packets and enjoyed food and refreshments before the start of the event.

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Chef Eric Sabella and the food services team are just phenomenal!

Chef Eric kicked off the ceremonies with a wonderfully delicious chili & cornbread meal with the perfect blend of spices. His team set the stage for the evening of excellence as the cheerleaders, faculty, and staff paraded down the stairs with the accompaniment of the BC Drumline, in celebration and commitment to the incoming freshmen.

The BC Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Jennifer Garrett, performed a breathtaking piece by Scott Farthing entitled “Come Travel with Me.” With references to Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road”, the piece encourages the young spirit to explore the journey of life. Jen, you are the best!

Our drumline and cheer leaders were just awesome!  Prof Becky Whitson was in great form….loved her energy and style.  And she did not lose it when she was introduced as a sociology faculty rather than a psychology faculty 🙂  And thank you Tom Moran for these wonderful photos!

cheerleaders aug 18 2016.jpg

Renegade students, their families, faculty, staff, and administration all joined in taking oaths to support the incoming student renegades in their commitment to academic success as we all join together to make BC a better place of higher learning.

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Student Life Director Nicky Damania was very busy putting on such a wonderful event.

In talking with the students and their families at the event, I met a family that traveled a few hours to meet the staff, faculty, and students. They have an incoming freshman starting on Monday that was not able to attend the event; however, they wanted to meet the school community that would help cultivate their son’s educational experience. They expressed comfort in knowing that the entire campus community is invested in the success of their son. Even though he will have to leave home to pursue his academic goals, they are confident that he will be looked after and supported. That is the core of our work!

I want to thank CJ for teaching me how to sign We Are BC and Nan for prompting it.

Was very proud of all the Convocation Speakers — Steven Holmes, Academic Senate President; Mathew Frazer, SGA President; Manny Mourtzanos, Dean of Instruction; Corny Rodriguez, Dean of Instruction; Chief Chris Counts, Director of Public Safety. And of course the emcee for the evening.  The fabulous Nicky Damania.

Sonya_CaraThis shows how the faculty and staff  are important in helping our students excel at BC and in life and demonstrating what it means to be student and what it means to be a Renegade. Thank you everyone who showed up for this event, even in the heat, and helping make this tradition a meaningful experience for our students.

I also got a chance to take a selfie our student Cara Jackson, who does fabulous work taking photos for my blog! I’m so glad to share a photo of the young woman behind the camera with all of you.

Matthew Garrett’s Making Lamanites

MakingLamanites.pngI’m excited to share that Matthew Garrett’s award winning book Making Lamanites will be released next month. It is the winner of the Juanita Brooks Prize in Mormon Studies for it “traces student experiences within contested cultural landscapes to reveal how and why many of these Native youth adopted a notion of Indianness.”

Donald L. Fixico from Arizona State University says, “Using historical themes of colonization, assimilation, and identity, Matthew Garrett presents an extraordinary revelation of indigenous resilience among 50,000 native students during the second half of the twentieth century. This brilliant exposé advances our understanding of Indian-white relations and it is truly an award-winning book!”

How lucky are we to have such dedicated, interesting, and accomplished professors like Matthew Garrett at BC. Make sure to keep an eye out for details on where you can get this book! We Are BC!
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International Students

Welcoming  F-1 visa students to our college and community is not a new concept; in fact, the arrival  of international students at Bakersfield College has been since the 1970’s, upon the arrival of Filipinos and Cambodians to Kern County.

International students are a vital part of our campus and community. Their attendance at our colleges bring diversity and enrich the college experience for our domestic students who may not otherwise have a chance to travel abroad or experience other cultures.  International students expose both the student body as well as the faculty and staff to different cultures and ideas.

Since 2013, there has been an approximate 30% increase in the enrollment of F-1 visa studentsIMG_7873 every year.  In fact, in Spring 2016, 88 F-1 Visa students representing 26 different countries, joined Bakersfield College. Students from Saudi Arabia are the largest group at 30%; the other 70% come from India, Mexico, Vietnam, Yemen, and Nigeria.

An increase in the number of international students can boost our local economies, create a worldly and diverse student population, and prepare our future generations for a globalized workplace. All international students pay for their American education with personal or family funds.

Thank you Shohreh Rahman for leading this work for the college.

Share Memories:

Loy Salada’s post on the Ice Bucket Challenge from two years ago just popped up on Facebook.  So fun!  Here it is

 

sonya virginia 2015 cropped

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday…..

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya  

The luckiest and happiest college president

A community together

 

Calla Lily June 4 2016

A calla lily for you

Good evening Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, June 4, 2016…the day the community came together at St. Francis to celebrate the life of Tharrell Ming, a diehard driller and a Renegade.  The church was packed by the time I got there at 10:53 a.m. for the 11:00 a.m. mass and they had already run out off the stack of booklets.  I spotted Coach Jeff Chudy, Trustee Kay Meek at the service and noticed that Carl Bowser‘s name led the list of honorary pall bearers followed by  Don James, TH Lockard, Bob Millinich, Bob Morton, Richard Russell, Sid Thompson, Gene Toschi, Rick Twisselman.

 

Bakersfield is a great community and as I am writing this blog, unusually at the end of the day instead of the beginning, I see the burst of flowers in the backyard and the burst of yellow from the calla lily. So here is a calla lily for you, my community, for all that you do on a daily basis to support each other and support the students at BC.

Tharrell Dean Ming June 4 2016 Booklet

Now, back to Tharrell Ming…..Monsignor Craig Harrison was his usual remarkable self, funny, warm, comforting and efficient with the mass.  We are blessed to have  Father Craig (as he is warmly referred to) in our community.  The music was minimal and powerful and here are two songs that I listened to throughout the rest of the day.  And whatever your religious leanings or non-religious leanings for that matter, I am sure these two songs will move your spirit and soul as it did mine sitting with hundreds of community members this morning at St. Francis.

Shephard me O God with acoustic guitar on youtube.com

I googled the musical composition of Psalm 23 and learned from the United Methodist Church website that Marty Haugen had composed the haunting melody for the lyrics.  For more on Marty Haugen, check out:

http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-shepherd-me-o-god

How Great Thou Art.  Maybe this is a non-traditional approach to have the Elvis version here in my blog.  But here I go…..

Here’s to a great Renegade, Tharrell Ming.

I started my day early today preparing for a morning meeting with the two Vice Presidents, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Zav Dadabhoy, of Bakersfield College at Starbucks.  There were a few things that came up that required this early morning meeting on a Saturday during summer.  I know…. crazy…. but that’s what faculty and staff do at BC!  The talent, commitment and dedication of faculty, staff and administrators at the college is just remarkable.  We are…BC! It is a good time to be at BC!

Nan Sonya Zav FM EDIT

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy

Here are a few highlights from the week:

 

Transfer Award from College Opp June 2 2016

Beebe, Koeth, Christian, Pluta, Siqueiros

BC wins an award for transfer degrees.
Earlier this month we received an email from the President of the Campaign for College Opportunity, Michele Siqueiros, that Bakersfield College was one of 13 community colleges in the state being recognized for the growth in the number of transfer degrees.  The event was held in Sacramento in June 2nd, Thursday, and the BC team that headed north to receive the award included: Trustee Dennis Beebe, Dean of Instruction Kate Pluta and Faculty member David Koeth.

 

 

The Bakersfield Group at College Opp awards June 2 2016

Beebe, Chavez, Koeth, Huerta, Christian, Pluta

The Campaign for College Opportunity is a group dedicated to advancing the educational attainment levels in California by impacting policy at the state level.  The staff are great.  A special thank you to Michele Siqueiros, President; Audrey Dow, Vice President, External Affairs and Operations; Linda Vasquez, Regional Affairs Director. For more check out their website at http://collegecampaign.org/.

 

Here is a picture with the group from Bakersfield that included Dolores Huerta who received a lifetime achievement award and her daughter Camilla Chavez. Congratulations Dolores!

We also connected with Connie Conway, a wonderful member of the Board of Governors for California Community Colleges and now a member of the Board of Directors of the Campaign for College Opportunity.  Also, the fabulous Dean Florez, who is an advocate for education and in particular Bakersfield College.

Dean Florez Connie Conway Dennis Beebe June 2 2016

Dean Florez, Connie Conway, Dennis Beebe

Thank you Trustee Beebe for making this long trip to support BC receiving the award.  It is always wonderful to have our Board members celebrating with us.

In the Bakersfield Californian:

The piece on Corny Rodriguez which was in the Bakersfield Magazine was published in the June 2nd issue of the Californian along with Odella Johnson’s piece on BC’s promising professionals.

I loved the opening by Laura Liera about Corny

On his 10th birthday, Cornelio Rodriguez was picking strawberries in Artesia during the early hours of the morning instead of making a birthday wish. He spent summers picking okra in Indio and Coachella and was even driving his dad’s gardening truck by the age of 12.

 

Here is another excerpt from the article:

But after a conversation with his dad, a visit to the career center led to the applications of Cerritos College, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, UCLA and USC.

It was a Tuesday when the first college acceptance letter came in. Rodriguez was accepted to USC.

“I got scared because we were so poor and I couldn’t afford to go,” Rodriguez remembered. “I was panicking because I thought I had gotten my family into trouble.”

The next day, the UCLA acceptance letter arrived.

“I said, ‘Dear Lord, now I have to go to TWO colleges?’” Rodriguez said.

 

Check out the Californian: http://tinyurl.com/ztwbxva

Promising Professionals:

This is a must-read piece written by Odella Johnson.  Johnson writes about the Promising Professionals and highlights the story of two students — Tamika Narvaez and Linda Esquivel. She writes about Tamika

Students like Tamika Narvaez, a mother of eight who survived abuse and arrived on campus to complete the requirements to transfer, demonstrates how BC delivers student initiatives that allow them to take critical next steps, which result in positive academic outcomes.

and Linda:

Linda Esquivel, a local graduate of South High School and a first- generation college student, left the community to attend San Francisco State University in fall 2013 and, after a semester, left to attend Bakersfield College for financial reasons. Believing that she would not fit in, she felt frustrated and uncertain about the next steps in her journey; however, when she became a student ambassador/ Promising Professional, she admitted that “BC made my future possible,” so with a renewed spirit, Esquivel’s next steps include attending a predoctoral program at the University of Michigan and Penn State this summer.

Johnson ends the article with:

Narvaez and Esquivel’s diversity as students is our strength and we recognize their potential. They embody the spirit of Promising Professionals – students who have passion and purpose.

Kristen Barnes Philanthropy-MattersFor more: http://tinyurl.com/h74g7np

On June 2nd, Kristen Barnes, CEO of Kern Community Foundation and a great partner of BC wrote a wonderful Community Voices piece–Philanthropy Matters: Growing Scholarships, Growing Futures.  Here is an excerpt:

Scholarships close the funding gap students experience. They are one way to provide critical financial support for students – to help make higher education a reality. In many cases, the financial assistance provided by scholarships is a key factor. Gifts for scholarships help students to invest their energies more fully in their course work and pursue internships and leadership opportunities that enrich their personal development and career preparation.

For more, check out http://tinyurl.com/jg47rwq

 

Misono Christian FM EDIT

Misono and Christian

At Rotary West
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to visit the Bakersfield West Rotary Club. The club went all out with BC colors for the table decorations and traditional “flying saucer” cookies that have been a staple on BC’s campus for  decades.

 

Local CPA and BC alum Fred Misono hosted the meeting in West Rotary President Roger Griess’ absence, keeping the event light and funny.

I was able to give a brief history of the College and recount some of our recent accomplishments. Jay Rosenlieb shared the podium as a member of BC’s Blue Ribbon Committee that is working on a facilities initiative for the college — A Better BC 2016…2066.  This initiative, if approved by the KCCD Board of Trustees in July, could becomes a bond measure on the November 2016 election.  Thank you Jay for taking the time to co-present with me. Check out the the website at http://www.abetterbc.com/

I must say that this is a fun club.  There is a lot of teasing back and forth and great camaraderie and fellowship.  At the end of the presentation, all about Bakersfield College, President Misono presents me with a Taft College T-shirt 🙂 I attempt to get away but he was too quick for me.

 

Acting President Misono made the day very special for Bakersfield College.  He then followed up with the photos and wonderfully warm and fun emails after the meeting. Thank you Russell Johnson, John Pryor, John Fallgatter and others at Bakersfield West for your support.  Rick Kreiser, thank you for that great introduction and your service to the Bakersfield College Foundation for so many years.  You are the best! and thank you Tom Gelder, for getting BC on the agenda.

Kreiser Christian Gelder FM edit JUN16.jpg

Rick Kreiser, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder

Honoring Our Veterans on Memorial Day:

1000Flags2Last weekend, I hope you had a chance to stop by and walk around Riverwalk Park or at least drive by to catch a glimpse of the incredible view. Memorial Day is regularly celebrated on the last Monday of May thanks to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, but did you know its roots go back to 1868 when the day was originally known as Decoration Day?  “On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery” (History.com).

It’s always humbling to reflect on the sacrifice that so many men and women have made and continue to make for the United States and her people. The Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club (BBRC) is a group of local community members who through their leadership and friendship, get things done in our community and for the past few years, they have lead a project of planting one thousand flags at Riverwalk Park over Memorial Day weekend.

Volunteers, sponsors, and the BBRC make this annual event, including activities and formal ceremonies at the park possible. What a great way to be reminded of our freedom, liberty, and justice thanks to our courageous service men and women.  Liz Rozell, Mary Jo Pasek, Marlene, Heise, Cheryl Scott and others at BBRC, you did a fantastic job!

I would also like to share an email I received from Paul Beckworth, our veterans faculty lead at Bakersfield College. He sent this last Monday – Memorial Day:

AdminPaulBeckworth

Paul Beckworth

Memorial Day Message 2016

The warrior-poet, King David, wrote, “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.”  This quote may sound familiar to any fan of the Tom Hanks, World War II epic, Saving Private Ryan.  It is quoted in earnest by the in-residence sniper, Pvt. Jackson, during a pivotal scene in the film.  Inevitably, most of the cast is killed off, as was our popcorn.  However, we know life is not a movie and memories of comrades lost do not go away when the lights go on.

So, what of Memorial Day?  What of those men and women whose hands were taught to war and fingers to fight, who lie still in the ground on this warm May evening?  This is not about the history of Memorial Day.  You can go look that up on Wikipedia.  But, what of those who we remember and honor today?  Today, we see the aged World War II and Korean War veterans, canes in hand, gait a bit unsteady, but minds sharp when recalling battlefields of another time.  Today, they see the friends they lost on those battlefields.  Today, we see 28 year-old OIF/OEF veterans with physical and emotional scars of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today, they see their lost friends buried at Arlington or the Bakersfield National Cemetery.  Today, we see tatted up, motorcycle riding, leather vest, patch wearing, Vietnam veterans who speak of Tet, and of Khe Sanh.  Today, they see lost buddies who did not get the due deserved them thanks to a divided nation and a callous youth population who called them baby killers.

Today is not about the bullet that barely missed its mark.  Today is about the person whose bullet that found its’ mark.  Today is about the forever young sailor who drowned on the USS Indianapolis, or was killed on the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts, while fighting toe to toe with Japanese battleships in what became known as the “Last stand of the tin can sailors.”  Today is about the Rangers killed taking Point du Hoc on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the airborne paratrooper of the 101st or 82nd who never made it out of his chute alive.  Today is about the 1,170 corpsman killed during World War II, often cut down while responding to the blood curdling cry of “Corpsman up!”  Today is about the Marine who never left Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, or Okinawa.  Today is about the pilots who never returned to the airfield, or the submariners who are now on “eternal patrol.”  Today is about the young Coastie who maneuvered his landing craft on to the battered shores of Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio only to stay ashore forever.

Today we remember.  We memorialize the “Frozen Chosin” dead who were carefully carried out by the living rather than being left behind in the rugged mountains of North Korea.  Today is about those killed on countless hills in Korea, so numerous to count they were simply numbered by height.  Today is about those who fell defending the Pusan Perimeter, and those who never left the beaches of Inchon.

Today is about those that this country dishonored in so many ways that it is a stain on the honor of this nation.  Today is about those nearly 60,000 Americans killed in Vietnam.  Today is about those who did not evade the draft, but answered to the nation’s call, despite often not understanding what that call was all about.  Today is about those were cut down in the hot, steamy, jungles and in the highlands, in Hueys and in huts.  Today is not about those who were cursed at when they returned home but about those who were cursed at, despite never making it home.

Today is about Cold War warriors who died doing special operations and of Gulf War warriors, whose deaths were few, yet nonetheless paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Today is about Fallujah Marines who are now at Arlington or other national cemeteries.  Today is about those who never left the Triangle of Death.  Today is about the Helmand Province men who are finally still.

The warrior-poet wrote King David wrote, “A thousand fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.”  Today is about the thousand who fell at the left side and the ten thousand who fell at the right hand.  So, today, let us, the living, be comforted and know that those whose hands were taught to fight are at rest.  Today, let us, the living, be comforted and know that today and for eternity, those who fingers were made to war are finally at peace.

Let us remember.   

Life at BC is all about living life fully

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 2, 2016.  Just a wonderful day to be a Renegade!

I have been awake the last two hours just reading and thinking about the week, and as I started working on this blog I realized that maybe I needed to break it into two posts.  Certainly a good problem to have….

Let me start with a memorial service I attended during the week where the remarks of several speakers have stayed with me, and I suspect will continue to stay with me for a long time.  The service was held in a beautiful hilly area and there was a strong breeze that rustled thought the tent-like pavilion as the story was told of the one who had passed.  A story of courage, love, beauty, resilience, commitment and action. Not one of indifference. During the service,  one of the speakers introduced the Old Testament story of Ester, considering the question of who is the real villain of the story.  The speaker explained that the traditional response to this question is Haman, guilty of genocide. However, one could argue that the “indifferent” Ahasuerus was probably more of a villain than Haman. The collective damage of indifference is greater.( This reminded me of Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” where he says of racism that “Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection” of racism.) The speaker concluded that the person who passed was the antithesis of Ahasuerus, for she had lived her life fully in action, overcoming her difficulties to fight for the right thing.

I experienced that one hour as if I were cocooned in another world, and the story of her life has inspired me to shift and live life just a little bit more.  Here is a poem that I received from a friend on Monday, 3/28, that epitomizes her life.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.

Speaking of living life fully, BC has a magnificent choir and choir director, Jen Garrett.

Jen Garrett April 1 2016.JPG

Friday night I attended the our choir’s spring concert A Celebration of Folk Songs.  The evening was magnificent. The concert was sold out and ended with a standing ovation from the audience.  Jen had included guest performers, the West High School Chamber Singers and the group Wrenwood Sessions.  Now Wrenwood Sessions has been a great partner and has performed with the BC choir on more than one occasion.  Thank you Wrenwood Sessions.  Check them out at http://www.wrenwoodsessions.com/.  Here is a blurb from their website:

Wrenwood Sessions was formed in 2010 when five musicians playing in church discovered their mutual love for Irish and Scottish folk music – the traditional “Celtic” music of the Isles. Today, the group consists of six members: David Barringer (keys, accordion, vocals), Jeff Cram (whistles, bodhran), Anne Grogan (vocals, fiddle), Valerie Lewis (harp), Steve Lewis (guitars, octave mandolin), and Jeremy Swanson (fiddle, mandola). Based in Bakersfield, California, the ensemble performs at festivals, gatherings, private functions, weddings, churches, and restaurants.

Jen Garret and choir April 1 2016.JPG

The concert featured folk songs from around the world and each piece was introduced with a little bit of history and culture.  I loved all the pieces and here is one:

Tshotsholoza a traditional South African song that featured soloists Christian Caraveo, Mason Edwards, George Gutierres; and percussionists Maria Albares, Michael Juarez, and Ron Kean.  Sample the song from this video excerpt from my iphone.

And this morning I read a Facebook post from Jen Garret.

I am constantly amazed by the power of prayer and priesthood blessings. Yesterday I had a terrible flare up and by last night I was a mess. It was the worst flare I’ve had in over a year. I came home and got a blessing from Matt and my Dad asked Chamber Singers to pray and/or send happy thoughts. I do not ever bounce back this fast so I know it was a miracle. I am so grateful to everyone that was so supportive. What a concert!

Miracles happen every day!  Jen, BC is fortunate to have you.

Two events bookended March 31st — breakfast with pastors from our community, and the Sterling Silver appreciation dinner.

Pastors Breakfast March 31 2016

Hayward Cox, Oscar Anthony, David McGee, Marisa Banks, Martha Johnson, Steve Watkin, Sonya Christian, June Charles, Toure Tyler, Anthony Culpepper, Zav Dadabhoy

We had a great breakfast discussion with the pastors on how BC could partner with them and their churches to promote the value of higher education to our community.  The ideas circled around, starting early with getting students to think about college, creating a path for students that has guides along the way to make sure that they are moving along and not getting stuck or dropping off, and reaching out to families to include them in this network of support.  Pastor Hayward Cox, Pastor Oscar Anthony, Pastor David McGee, Pastor Toure Tyler, Pastor Martha Johnson, and Marisa Banks, thank you for taking the time to connect with us at BC.

Here is a sneak peak at BC’s eight annual Sterling Silver.  I am waiting to get the photos and will publish a dedicated Sterling Silver blog in the next few days.  So stay tuned.  Two posts in one week!

MaryPrezMrsMusser March 31 2016

Mary Trichell, Sonya Christian, Carla Musser

Some additional highlights from the week.

This week Nicky Damania was awarded the  Outstanding Professional Award from ACPA.  Way to go Nicky!  I am so glad you are at BC.  Working hard and doing wonderful things for our students, our campus, our community.

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BC’s Drumline Shines:

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Bakersfield College Drumline at WGI

Our Drumline students took First Place this past Sunday, March 27th, at the WGI competition. The Western Guard International (WGI) Sport of the Arts is the world’s premier organization producing indoor color guard, percussion, and wind ensemble competitions. It is called the Sport of the Arts because it brings music to life through performance in a competitive format. Last year, there were more than 36,000 participants at the regional level, and more than 12,000 participants at the Sport of the Arts World Championships.  The numbers for this year are not yet posted on the website.

BC took 1st place in prelims, advancing us to finals on Sunday where we were again awarded 1st place by an entirely new (double) panel of judges with a score of 88.425. Winning this show is a milestone for our program, and with nearly a 10-point jump from last year.

https://www.wgi.org/events/static_scores/2016/scores_Western_Perc_Finals.php

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Tim Heasley and Francis Mayer with Scott Cox

The weekend overall was a success, from our outreach performance and clinic with students from the California City HS band followed by a productive rehearsal, to our prelims and finals performances at CSU San Bernardino. But it’s icing on the cake that we can also say that we’re the number one open class drumline in the western states!

 

Informally ranked number one overall in our division right now, the focus is on WGI World Championships coming up this April 14-16. Time Heasley and the coaching staff are maximizing the show and their remaining practice time, as well as  working on the logistics of getting the drumline and the equipment to Dayton, OH and back.   The entire group is working hard both on and off the court to prepare for this huge opportunity.

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Thank you Tim Heasley for setting the bar high for our students and for dedicating countless hours to BC’s drumline students.

BC’s Prelaw Program

Commissioner Cynthia Loo

BC’s Pre-Law students with Commissioner Cynthia Loo

Lisa Green, District Attorney

BC Pre-LAw students with Lisa Green, District Attorney

The Multi-Cultural Bar Alliance of Kern County invited our Pre-Law students to their Women’s History Month event on March 21st. Four students attended the event; Princess Herrera, ShaQuia Jones, Brian Prieto, and Amritpal Kaur. The students were  treated as special guests of Cynthia Loo, Commissioner for the Superior Court of California County of Kern.  They had the opportunity to meet and network with local attorneys, judges and other individuals in the legal system. They were all inspired by the panelist and their stories.

Thank you Manny Mourtzanos for leading this program pathway and Pearl Urena our Pre-Law Educational Advisor.  BC is celebrating a milestone this year…our first graduates from the BC Pre-Law pathway! We are hosting our first annual reception in honor of our students’ accomplishments on April 25th at 5:30 p.m.

Life at BC is living life fully.  It is a good time to be at BC!

 

Spring 2016 Opening Day: The Force is With…BC

Good morning Bakersfield!  It is Saturday, January 23, 2016…..a good day to be a Renegade.

It’s been a wild week here at BC.  Of course, every time we start a new semester and welcome thousands of ready-to-roar Renegades back to campus, it’s a time of excitement, activity and barely contained chaos.  We have approximately 7% more Full-Time Equivalent Students this spring compared to spring last year.  It is a good time to be at BC!

Almost a month ago, on December 27th I did a blog on the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens http://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/12/27/a-holiday-blog/.  

That led to a series of texts to Manny De Los Santos and Francis Mayer followed by phone calls to the creative team. 

 

Did you spot the Sriracha?

So, the Creative Team made it all happen as fluidly as J.J. Abrams himself.  From an idea fleshed out by Shannon Musser, Dylan Wang and Francis Meyer, BC’s videographer extraordinaire Manny de Los Santos, with his newly acquired drone, shot an amazing 3-minute short film to kick off Opening Day, bringing the entire world of Star Wars to the Bakersfield College campus.

Watch the Millennium Falcon take off and circle over 1801 Panorama Drive, the Imperial stormtroopers and R2-D2 strolling around campus, and the roar of Zav Dadabhoy aka Wookiee Chewbacca.

 

Put all that together — and you’ve got Spring Opening Day 2016.  Looking out at the collected BC family in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center theater last week made it one of the best semester kickoffs we could have imagined.  I received several emails appreciative of Opening Day.  Here is one from Gayle Richardson or should I say Darth Richardson:

What an amazing start of a new semester! This is the start of my 69th semester at BC and I am a proud Renegade as I am certain you must know.

Kudos to those who magnificently presented the best Opening Day I have ever seen!  I am hoping the live stream will be saved to a land not so far away in order for faculty to take bits and pieces to energize students.  Big Smile!

Many years ago I was named “Darth Richardson” by students in 4 consecutive classes.  It is a story, Sonya, that I would love to share with you in person.

As a new Star Wars fan, I can’t tell you how much fun it was to sit in Han Solo’s captain’s chair and fly the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs with my incredible crew — even if it was all just movie magic shot in our BC studio!  But truly, all the work we have accomplished in such a short period of time is magic indeed.

Our Star Wars theme carried over as members of the BC team talked about some the amazing accomplishments we’ve achieved together in recent months.  Here are the three videos:

Video 1:

 

Video 2:

 

Video 3:

 

Putting all the fun of droids and Jedis and Death Stars aside, Spring 2016 Opening Day also stands out for another important reason: the soft launch of The Renegade Promise.  Mark your calendars, on April 29th, BC led by our SGA President Clayton Fowler will be ready to make the Renegade Promise officially to our community.

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SGA Prez Clayton Fowler leading the Renegade Promise Team at Spring 2016 Opening Day

Students come to BC to expand their educational opportunities and turn that new-found knowledge toward a broader, more lucrative employment future. What often goes without saying is that our students and their families want the process to happen YESTERDAY and as President Fowler stated on Opening Day, he does not want to spend 6 years at BC to get a doctorate.

Well, we feel like it’s time to SAY it — we want you to move on too!  As much as we love each and every BC student, Bakersfield College is committed to fulfilling the new Renegade Promise — assuring that every BC student attains their educational goals, graduates, or transfers as quickly as possible.  All this without compromising the quality of learning that is our hallmark….the development of creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.

As a collective, the BC family is making the Renegade Promise a pledge to position students on a path to reach graduation or transfer requirements within our promised 60-credit window.  Can this be done in two years?  Of course this could happen if the responsibility is shared by BC and the student.  BC by ensuring that the courses are available with the necessary academic support and the student committing to 15 credits per term.  Now, if the student instead chooses to take 12 or 9 credits per term (remember, most of BC’s students work), it will mean the extension of the timeline for 60 credits from 2 years to perhaps three.  Still a huge improvement. Now, should this “shared responsibility” extend to the community as well. Absolutely!  The community has done an incredible job supporting education though providing internships and scholarships to help our students prepare for the workforce and quickly make progress on their educational pathways.

The Renegade Promise is a simple pledge…yet not always as simple to pull off as you may believe.  Any number of delays, both personal and scholastic, can push a student off-course.  Under the Renegade Promise, we’re all taking an active role in trying to foresee those delays for each student and chart pathways around those obstacles.

Top to bottom, Spring 2016 Opening Day was a tremendous day.  Huge thank yous go out to several people, including my fellow presenters — SGA President Clayton Fowler, BC Campus Chair Ed Borgens, CSEA President Tina Johnson, Management Association President Sue Vaughn, Academic Senate President Steve Holmes.

Also major thanks to the ushers, the logistics team and M&O team members who made the day happen so seamlessly!  Francis it was such a treat to work with you.  You have talent!  and thank you to the fabulous red, my Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2D2, and Yoda–Princess Jennifer.

 

 

To wrap up, I’d like to share my concluding remarks from Spring 2016 Opening Day:

Colleagues, we’re all instrumental in keeping Bakersfield College at the vanguard of local intellectual, cultural and economic vitality.  As we continue to be accountable, and as we move the dial on student success, let us not forget that what makes life wonderful, rich and expansive is the little somethings that are not rational. It is the pure lightness that fills our hearts when we see the mountains at the far edges of the valley when the air is clear.  Or the vibrations we feel when our drumline students perform in the gym. It is the excited text from Cindy Collier after the Deputy Sector Navigators visited our CTE program and her sense of pride in our faculty.  Or what I experienced watching Liz Rozell at a breakfast keynote speaking about her life.  It is hearing Nan talk about how we got the colors on a building wrong, or lamenting that the beautiful oleander bushes should not be trimmed down to resemble miniature poodles.  Or noticing that my mentee from Shafter high who was stuck to me through the whole fall term is now a promising professional.  It is the pride of Chef Sabella and team as they prepare a wonderful meal.

This is the essence of who we are as “humans in community.” This is the essence of BC.   We impact each other in all we do.  When we create the conditions to make our days rich with little somethings, we create the best environment for ourselves, for our colleagues, and for our students.  This is the essence of our work to be accountable; but “little somethings” are the fundamentals of excellence.

I received an email from Matt Garrett on November 15, 2015.  He wrote:

 

In 1945 Grace Bird’s message to the student body began by claiming the tune “You can be Better Than You Are” as the school theme song, and explained:

“Your College–your faculty and your student leaders–bring you opportunities to develop skills and enrich understanding. We ask you to bring your minds and your hearts. ‘In preference lies the root and essence of all excellence.’ Among the multitude of activities opened to you during the year, chose wisely.” –Grace Bird

 

Matt added that Grace Bird was quoting George Santayana’s essay “Value Irrational” found in his book titled “Little Essays” (1921), which prompted me to read this little gem.  All three pages of it.

 

Here is an excerpt from the final paragraph that for me captures the little somethings that define our lives because they come from a deeper place of being:

Values spring from the immediate and inexplicable reaction of vital impulse, and from the irrational part of our nature. The rational part is by its essence relative; it leads us from data to conclusions, or from parts to wholes; it never furnishes the data with which it works. If any preference or precept were declared to be ultimate and primitive, it would thereby be declared to be irrational …

 

So colleagues, here’s to Spring 2016.  A term of great rationality…. a term of data, and moving the dial, …… all this sprinkled with a great deal of irrationality and the little somethings that differentiate BC from the rest.

The Force is with…..BC!

We are….BC!

Check out the 12-minute photo roll video that Shannon put together as everyone was gathering in the indoor theater for Opening Day

Veterans Day, Vet Fest and Remembering America’s Best

KCCD Board of Trustees member Kay Meek presents a ceremonial American flag to BC Veterans advisor Armando Trujillo.

KCCD Board of Trustees member Kay Meek presents a ceremonial American flag to BC Veterans advisor Armando Trujillo.

U.S. armed forces veterans made the conscious decision to step up and serve their nation. And as the nation pauses today to honor Veterans Day, I think it’s important to not only thank veterans for their service, but to thank them for making the decision to do so in the first place. Since we did away with the draft more than 40 years ago, the decision to join the military has been a complex one and a responsibility that no one takes lightly.  It’s a choice born of courage that so many of us couldn’t or wouldn’t make.

Vet_Fest_04Soldiers of all branches obliged to honor our country with their service.  At BC, we feel a strong sense of obligation and responsibility to serve them with equal vigor when they transition into higher education.  We know they’re entering into a new stage in their lives, one that, in its own way, can occasionally seem as confusing and frightening as military service.

To show our ongoing support to military veterans and their families, BC hosted our 3rd annual — and best yet! — BC Vet Fest last week on the Student Services lawn.

The event, put on by the BC Veterans Club, seeks to help our student veterans in the best way we know how – with valuable resources, aid services and sage counsel to make their post-military and Bakersfield College experiences as rewarding as possible.

20151105_114958Organizations were on hand in force to make vets aware of how they could help, everyone from the Employment Development Department, CalVet, the Bakersfield Veterans Center, the Wounded Heroes Fund and BC’s own financial aid and EOP&S personnel.

As Dean of Student Success & Development Paul Beckworth put it, it’s all about respect for a veteran’s time in our nation’s service.

“You’ve earned that…this is hard-earned,” Paul told the 200+ attendees at Vet Fest’s opening ceremony.

Kay Meek

Kay Meek

We were so pleased to have KCCD Board of Trustees member Kay Meek address the crowd, not only because she’s a friend of BC, but because her family has an amazing history of U.S. military service that frankly deserves special recognition of its own.

Kay’s dad served in the Navy during World War II, while her uncle was one of the U.S. soldiers who helped liberate Iwo Jima ahead of that immortal flag-raising in February 1945.  Her brother was an Army vet from the Vietnam era.  Her 22-year-old nephew is currently in the Navy.  And her grandson and former Renegade Jordan Turner is now a Marine stationed in Norfolk, Va.

Dignitaries Nov 2015

Armando Trujillo, Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, Trustee Kay Meek, Paul Beckworth, Steve Watkin

Despite all her family’s already given, Kay was here to give a little bit more, presenting the Veterans Club with an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol building. The flag, which was originally  given to her father, will soon be displayed in the BC Veterans Lounge, serving as inspiration and a lasting tribute to her dad, who passed away five years ago.

“I’m so proud of all the veterans here today.  You’re the people who make our world strong.  You’re the people who keep our world safe,” Kay said.  “Thank you for everything you’ve done for this country.”

Armando Trujillo

Armando Trujillo

BC’s new Veterans Education Advisor Armando Trujillo spoke from the heart, recounted his own difficult story of readjustment to civilian life following his time serving in Iraq in 2003.

Eyes welling with tears, an emotional Armando described how a Bakersfield Veterans Center counselor guided him toward a future after the military, eventually leading Armando to graduate from CSUB, get a Masters at USC and begin a life reaching out to former soldiers to help make the kind of impact in their lives that his counselor had in his.

“I stand as testament to all you veterans assembled here…don’t stop striving.  BC is one step on the route,” Armando said.

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Fireworks at the football game on Nov 7, 2015

It was a beautiful ceremony…and with only three years under our belts, Vet Fest as well as BC’s veterans outreach efforts are only destined to grow, as BC’s VP of Student Affairs Zav Dadabhoy so eloquently put it.

“You’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg.  We’re just getting started.”

BC’s Veteran’s Day ceremonies continued during last Saturday’s BC Renegade football game.  Obviously, honoring America’s heroes helped spur Coach Chudy’s squad as the Renegades put on a spirited display in a rousing 51-7 trouncing of Pasadena.

Today, cap this amazing week with a moment of reflection on what the men and women of America’s armed services have meant and continue to mean to this country. And if you can, maybe give a veteran you know a thank you for their service.  It’s the least any of us can do for  those who chose to stand up for all of us.

AdminPaulBeckworth

Paul Beckworth

I thought you would like to see Paul Beckworth’s 2015 Veterans Day message.

“We don’t fight to hold ground.  We fight to win.”  This was said by a Navy SEAL as he reflected on his numerous combat engagements in the current conflicts overseas.  As I look back on another Veterans Day at BC, I think about what we have come from.  I look back with pride at 102 years of Bakersfield College history and how BC alumni have fought in every conflict since World War I.  I laugh when I read about World War II veterans coming to BC in the late 1940s when it still on the BHS campus, and the high school administrators’ anxiety about the smoking, and bad language the student-veterans used on campus. I am proud that those vets were called “DARS,” by administrators, which stood for Damned Average Raisers, because they did so well in class that they skewered all the grading curves.  The tide of student-veteran involvement has ebbed and flowed over the decades.  It was very active in the years after the Vietnam War, with the Veterans Club“running the campus,” as the late Vernon Valenzuela remembered.  I saw it resurrect in 2010 thanks to the OIF/OEF veterans agitating for a veteran space.  Not only has the club resurrected, it has thrived.  Now, BC has a new Veterans Education Advisor, a new veterans’ student development class, plans for a larger space for the veterans lounge, and a college president who values what you bring to the table.

After your years of service it is now your time, as Bakersfield College student-veterans, to move forward.  You have a great responsibility.   You have a great responsibility to you; A responsibility to use your military experience to better yourself, your family and your community.  You have a responsibility to get educated, and pursue your goals in a timely, productive manner.  It is indeed frustrating at times.  It isn’t easy.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.  But, you aren’t everyone.  You are the real 1%.  Only 1% ever served in the military.  If you are part of that elite percentage, then college is simply another challenge to overcome before the next challenge.  The fact that you are at Bakersfield College says this about you: You don’t fight to hold ground.  You fight to win.

From the bottom of my heart, I am proud of all of you winners.

Thank you for your service.  Happy Veterans Day.  Job Well Done!

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