The Grade Blog

Friday, May 16 2014 10:25 PM

Hundreds attend BC graduation in 100th school year

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Father, Kevin Bush, left and his son, Ryan Bush, share a few words prior to Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Students stand prior to Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Memorial Stadium .

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Graduate Jessica Lopez waves to family at the start of Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    John Wallace is happy prior to Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Bakersfield College's dignitaries including school president Sonya Christian, center, enter Memorial Stadium at the start of Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Sharee Green, right, and her husband, Jay Green, wait for daughter Emme Green Brown's entrance at Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Alyssa Fritz is busy texting before graduation at Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday night at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Beverly Sweatt Moland shares a laugh while getting ready for Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony at Bakersfield College Friday.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Faculty members Jack Pierce, left, Tim Bohan, center, and Pat Smith get ready for Bakersfield College's centennial commencement Friday night at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Retired faculty members David Rhea, left, Sally Hill, center, and Alexa Martinez enjoy dinner before Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Faculty member Anna Agenjo, right, sprays her water fan on other faculty members prior to Bakersfield College's centrennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Robby Martinez, left, and Amber Chiang discuss the start of Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Balloons were plentiful in the stands at Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Bryce Stevenson is all smiles as he leads the agriculture department during Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Bakersfield College president Sonya Christian speaks during Bakersfield College's centennial commencemente ceremony Friday at Memorial Stadium.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Alice Nichols, right, and her son Jordan Land enjoy dinner prior to Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Faculty member Pat Coyle leads a group of faculty members at Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Memorial Stadium.

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    By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian

    Jude Jackson gets his hat on prior to graduation at Bakersfield College's centennial commencement ceremony Friday at Bakersfield College.

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BY LAUREN FOREMAN Californian staff writer lforeman@bakersfield.com

Bakersfield College celebrated what Kern Community College District Chancellor Sandra Serrano called the largest class of graduates she has seen at a graduation ceremony in 25 years.

More than 600 Bakersfield College graduates in black robes and red stoles poured into Memorial Stadium Friday for a commencement ceremony that concludes the college's 100th school year.

Professor Cornelio Rodriguez announced veteran ag professor Bill Kelly as winner of the Samuel W. McCall outstanding professor award.

He joined the lineup of students, faculty members and administrators who took turns reciting words of advice for the graduates.

"Whatever you do, do well; and always sacrifice to meet the needs of others," he said. "People who focus only on themselves often end up lonely. But most of all never, never, never, ever give up."

They were words many of the graduates had already exemplified -- some transferring to several schools before earning their first degrees, others balancing families and full-time jobs, and a few following in the footsteps of generations of BC grads.

Between the father-son pair -- Kevin Bush and Ryan Bush -- were examples of all three scenarios.

Ryan Bush, 22, earned his associate degree in liberal studies the same fall semester his 55-year-old father finished his BC degree in real estate.

"I saw his name right below my name," Kevin Bush said after reading a list of graduates as he paid for his regalia and robe.

"I was really proud, really, really proud of him," he added.

The pair are part of a class of 1,160 graduates -- 770 of which plan to transfer to four-year colleges or universities.

Sonya Christian, president of the community college, described that class in a list of stats. She said students who earned associate degrees in science and those who will receive degrees in art were split nearly 50/50.

"You're from Bakersfield, Shafter, Wasco, Delano, McFarland, Arvin, Lamont, Tehachapi..." Christian told the class seated in front of her.

Spurts of high-pitched screams crescendoed through the audience -- thousands of onlookers standing, sitting and leaning in the half-filled stadium.

Jennifer Hennessee, of Bakersfield, stood near the front of the towering bleachers with a niece and granddaughter as she looked for the daughter she was there to support among the group of hundreds.

She waved when she spotted her daughter Jenette Gallardo's face.

"She's overcome a lot of obstacles,"the mother said.

Gallardo, a 21-year-old human services technician, began college in 2010. She had a baby in April 2013 and graduated Friday with two associate degrees in criminal justice and psychology.

"I'm very proud," Hennessee said.

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