By Alberto Muro
The end of the semester approaches and students are on edge about their finals.
Students at Taft College are preparing for a week of trials and tribulations, for some it will be a sink or float situation. Emotions are running high as students scramble to beat the deadlines. Thankfully, the Taft College performing arts students and ASB student body worked together to create stress free activities one week prior to finals.
Participants of the first campus activity put their creativity to the test by wearing their ugly Christmas sweaters. Winning categories were listed as the following. The creative and clever award went to the sweater with a cat sticking out of both ends. The “ugly but classy” award went to the sweater with a green silhouette of a flower. Funniest design was awarded to the sweater modeled after Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista which reads “Merry Flippin Christmas.” The winner of the “sweater made by grandma” award went to the polar bear design. Lastly, the ugliest sweater award went to the snowman and gift ribbon design.
The next set of campus activities allowed students to express themselves by lip syncing Christmas songs. Taft College female athletes participated in the contest but had a different tune in mind. The song “Do You Want To Build a Snowman?” from the movie “Frozen” began playing, and a student dressed as a snowman began dancing along with the participants. The “Frozen” antics did not stop there, the song “Let It Go” played, and the snowman screamed hysterically at the top of her lungs.
Pup becoming the center of attention.
Taft College student showing her gratitude towards her new furry friend.
While the lip sync contest went on, the people from Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue brought therapy dogs to Taft College to help students relieve stress from the upcoming finals week. Smiles shot across the faces of students as they sat and played with the canines. The dogs were rescues and Marley’s Mutt Dog Rescue offered information to anyone that considers adopting. The worried souls of students diminished as they rubbed the bellies of the dogs and spoiled them with treats.
Lastly, the athleticism of students was put to the test as they participated in a winter themed obstacle course. The obstacle course consisted of the following: making snow angels, jumping rope, running a quick lap, reindeer antler ring toss, snowball sweeping, and the abominable snowman target. Despite a slippery start for some students after the snow angel challenge, every participant completed the course with a sense of humor.
Taft College students showing off their mad hop skills.
*Disclaimer* No grandmothers were used during the making of these ugly sweaters.
By Bailey Vega
Alexandra Ortiz’s “Your Love Changes with the Moon” (Fabric and mixed media)
The Taft College Art Gallery held an artist reception event on Thursday, Dec. 1 for its show titled Craft as Fine Art: The Beauty of Function.
The exhibit, which opened on Nov. 14 and will close on Dec. 8, features many works that may typically be considered craft because they can be utilized but that can also be viewed as fine art due to their excellent aesthetic presentations. These include works such as quilts, fiber arts, glass pieces, woodwork, and ceramics. Also showcased are paper collages, plaster sculptures, digital photography, mixed media creations, and even repurposed seats from cars.
Inna Carlson’s “Deep in Thought” made from linen and wool (left) and “An Old Soul” made from wool felt (right).
“Craft is usually functional, but if it’s really well done, it can [also] be fine art,” Gaysha Smith, the gallery coordinator, said of the show’s theme.
Jeff Beecher’s display made from repurposed car seats.
A book showing what car each chair came from.
At the reception, all were invited to observe the displays, and the artists whose work was being shown were present and available to answer any questions viewers may have had about their pieces. Any artist over the age of 18 was encouraged to submit, so the show includes art from Taft College students and faculty as well as from other artists from the local and nearby communities.
Inna Carlson’s “Deep in Thought” made from linen and wool (left) and “An Old Soul” made from wool felt (right).
Monica Ricker’s “Tribal” made from plaster.
Jani Haines’ “Untitled”
Artist Christian Camarena presented a few of his black and white photographs, all of which depict trash, junk, or abandoned materials in settings evocative of “the middle of nowhere.” Though his photos were originally captured in color, he made the creative decision to edit them because he feels that with “black and white, you get to see more of the subject.”
Christian Camarena with his photographs.
“[Seeing] trash makes me feel like we’re doing harm to our world,” he said. Camarena explained that he enjoys taking photos of nature and that this project is meant to bring awareness to environmental concerns.
Also showcased are several of Memo Castro’s collages made from cut up magazine paper. Most of his works focus on superheroes which he said he has loved from the time he was a child.
Memo Castro with one of his collages.
“I started doing these two years ago,” Castro said of the activity that he also refers to as “a hobby,” pointing out that he desired to find a way to avoid using paint in his art so he could “incorporate color, without a huge mess.”
“Getting the right color” is what Castro identifies as the most challenging aspect of creating this type of artwork since magazines can offer only a limited amount of hues to choose from among their pages. “It’s great to be able to share [my work],” he reflected in reference to his display.
Taft College professors Gaysha Smith and Jennifer Altenhofel both had creations of their own in the show.
Smith, who is an instructor of art appreciation in addition to her role as the gallery coordinator, exhibited a handmade ceramic salt and pepper shaker/napkin holder set titled “Van Gogh’s Salt and Pepper Shaker.” The piece is made from stoneware ceramic and presents a rendition of Van Gogh’s famed painting “Starry Night.” Smith made the piece for her fellow professor, Deborah Rodenhauser, to keep in her office because the two often eat lunch together there.
Gaysha Smith’s “Van Gogh’s Salt and Pepper Shaker”
Altenhofel’s display entitled “America Healing” is a woodwork piece portraying a juxtaposition of the American flag over the Confederate Flag. “The Confederate Flag is behind it because it doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s still a scar,” she explained when a student inquired about the work’s meaning. The piece was made around ten years ago, and Altenhofel said she usually has it hanging on her front door at home.
Jennifer Altenhofel’s “America Healing”
Craft as Fine Art is the last exhibition of the fall semester, but you can be on the lookout for more art shows taking place in the art gallery in the upcoming spring semester.
By Veronica Renaker
Taft College zoology students had the pleasure of traveling to Morro Bay alongside Dr. Lytle in order to examine every nook and cranny that the tide pools had to offer during low tide.
Among the slippery slopes and wave exposed rocks, aggregating anemones, limpets, various crustaceans, and starfish could be seen coexisting. The students were unafraid of picking up specimen and getting “down and dirty” in the tide to exhaust every possible “creature hide-out.”
We’d like to thank Dr. Lytle for so fabulously coordinating this trip for all of us! We definitely all had a blast being able to explore Morro Bay under your instruction and putting our knowledge to the test! Thank you for being the wonderful vessel of knowledge that you are!
By Alberto Muro
An abundance of stuffed animals were seen flying all over Rabobank Arena during a match between the Bakersfield Condors and San Diego Seagulls.
On November 26, The Bakersfield Condors held their 18th annual Teddy Bear Toss. The Teddy Bear Toss is a charitable event in which the Condors organization encourages fans to bring a stuffed animal to throw onto the ice when the Condors score their first goal. The overall objective behind the event is to donate the stuffed animals to less fortunate children. As of now, it is estimated that a total of 100,000 stuffed animals have been donated since the event first began.
The first puck drop of the night contributed to the eruption of fans cheering and anxiously awaiting for the Condors to score. Players from both teams fought for puck possession in the early minutes of the first period. The protective glass swung in motion with players as they slammed each other into the boards. Goaltenders from both teams wasted no time defending their nets from oncoming pucks. Goaltender Dustin Tokarski’s overcame the Condors offense which allowed the Seagulls to score during the first period.
At the end of the first period, San Diego had a point lead over Bakersfield. Both teams headed back to the locker rooms and worked on their next strategies while two Zambonis resurfaced the ice rink. Second period began with a highly anticipated scoring opportunity by the Condors as players raced towards the Seagulls goaltender. The Condors offense switched to passing plays during the 2nd period, and they managed to stay in the Seagulls’ zone. Bakersfield Condors goaltender Nick Ellis’ actions involved diving, extended his limbs, and absorbing impact to prevent the Seagulls from scoring during the 2nd period.
Neither teams could break the goaltenders defense as the 2nd period concluded. Ice crews began clean up again as players readied themselves for the 3rd period. Once the goaltender nets were put into place, the players came back onto the ice. Condors fans held onto their stuffed animals in anticipation as the 3rd period started.
The Condors won the puck drop at the start of the period and a fight to maintain puck possession behind the Seagulls net began. The moment every fan was waiting for occurred when Condors center Anton Lander tipped the puck into the net. The goal horn sounded and stuffed animals began flying from every direction. Condors players, ice crew members and the junior league players helped collect the stuffed animals from the ice. Due to safety regulations, players from San Diego had to sit in their locker room until the collection was over.
Once the collection was complete, players came back onto the ice and continued playing in the 3rd period. The Condors were able to net another goal which was met with cheers from fans. As the period came to an end, San Diego overcame the Bakersfield defense and tied the game. With their second goal of the game, San Diego sent the game into over time. Condors fans were anxious once again as they stood from their seats watching 5 minutes of close calls. Unfortunately, the Bakersfield Condors succumbed to a goal by San Diego ending the game 2-3.
Despite a loss, Bakersfield fans were still happy to partake in the yearly tradition of the Teddy Bear Toss.
For the month of November, the Taft College library’s theme has been Comic Con.
Terri Smith, the head librarian, suggested the idea as a way to recognize the Bakersfield Comic Con that took place the weekend of November 12-13 at the Kern County Fairgrounds to celebrate comic book and other culturally popular characters.
Superheroes/ trivia questions display
For decorations, library technicians Mary Decker and Miranda Tofte, along with the help of some of their student workers, spent a week creating several hand-traced and painted cardboard cutouts of well-liked characters. These are exhibited around the library and include a Spider-Man mounted on the brick wall behind the circulation desk, two standing minions from Despicable Me, and a Yoda yielding a lightsaber. Additionally, there is even a very realistic cardboard model of the TARDIS from the show Doctor Who on display. The unnamed pair of superheroes from the library’s Banned Books theme in September are also making a reappearance to go along with this month’s ambiance.
“Comic Con is for any TV, comic, or movie character—any that has a fan base,” Decker explained. She also stated that “a lot of libraries participate in this” whenever the event is happening in their cities or towns. Decker also put together an educational poster board about Comic Con, full of photos of comic book characters and costumed fans as well as facts regarding what the convention is, where it began, its evolution, and information about the Bakersfield event. The display is surrounded by several books that are available to be checked out, all of which relate to superheroes, comic books, cosplay, and Comic Con in general.
Poster board display
As a fun way to incorporate student and staff participation, the library also held a trivia contest each day from November 14-18. Every day, a new library-related question pertaining to a popular film or television show was both posted in the middle of the library and emailed to students along with three choices to choose from for the answer. Those who answered correctly were entered into a drawing for that day, from which four people were chosen as the winners, each to receive the prize of a free comic book. If patrons answered all of the daily questions right, they were also eligible to be entered into the grand-prize drawing at the end of the week for a single person to win the movie Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle. The activity consistently proved itself very popular as more than 50 people entered the contest each day.
Another way the library staff commemorated Comic Con was by coming to work as their own favorite comic book characters one day. Tofte wore a Supergirl costume while Smith was dressed as Batgirl whose character is fittingly a librarian as her day job. Tina Erdei, a substitute in the library, was clad as a version of Catwoman.
“I enjoyed dressing up for work, and I used [my costume] again for the Bakersfield Comic Con,” Erdei, who made her own outfit, said. Her rendering of Catwoman was inspired by the Tim Burton directed film Batman Returns, and the intricate stitching tracing throughout the fabric of her costume was all done by hand.
(Left to right) Smith, Erdei, and Tofte
Though the entertainment and excitement of the Comic Con theme in the library will soon be coming to an end, Decker confirmed, “We will be doing this again next year” and reminded students to “stay tuned for next month’s theme” which will center on stress relief techniques to help manage the pressure of upcoming final exams.
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It was difficult maneuvering through the packed hall of guests in OT’s Steakhouse.
A packed hall in the back of OT’s Steakhouse on November 13th around 6:20pm was decked from the reflective ceiling with cascading Christmas lights over a crowd of dapper attendees waited on by attentive student volunteers.
Attendees were rife with conversation echoing through the hall as dinner was being served. They enjoyed Chardonnay with a dinner of pork and potatoes as they awaited the commencement of the program honoring Taft College alumni and former staff–heroes of a tightly knit Taft community.
This year, Taft College celebrated its 95th year with a banquet honoring the hometown legends that have carried the legacy of Taft College into remarkable lives of success and significance.
Among the many inductees to be honored for the evening, Andy Baroncelli was the first to share his gratitude for the award and stories of the old days, setting the communal theme of the evening.
Kanoe Bandy embraces Baroncelli after introducing him.
“We always stood with good posture and we conducted ourselves in front of all representing this college with respect” says Baroncelli of the high-caliber conduct displayed by the athletes of his heyday at Taft College. He’s led an amazing life, playing football at USC and then briefly for the NFL. Most of his life he has been a civil engineer and a member of the US Naval Reserve. Having been awarded with an induction for Outstanding Male Athlete, he accredits much of his success to the “family” that he found at Taft College as did many other alumni in their acceptance speeches for the evening.
Cothrun is honored with a plaque for his induction in the Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Administrator
Dr. David Cothrun, who was honored with an Outstanding Administrator award, explains honestly to the crowd about how he and his wife ended up in Taft: “When my wife and I decided we’d retire somewhere, it wasn’t Taft, California,” he says. “It was New Mexico, where you can see through the air for about 90 miles straight.” The crowd laughs and cringes a bit in response to this comment about the polluted air for which Taft and Bakersfield are known. “But it’s the people here,” Cothrun goes on, “that make this place a great place to live and I’m glad to be here. Thank you.” Dr. Cothrun was honored as a Distinguished Administrator for his service as Taft College president from 1980-2001, and during his career, he established and helped establish several programs that have been instrumental to student success. Such programs include TC’s Dental Hygiene Program, the Westside Energy Services and Training Education Center (WESTEC), and the Transition to Independent Living Program.
Dr. Loretta Lipscomb presents her acceptance speech to the crowd.
He received this most prestigious award along with Dr. Garcia Loretta Lipscomb, who said that “Taft College was an extremely important part of my educational journey and I am very grateful.” Dr. Lipscomb was an instructor and librarian at Taft College for many years before she made history by becoming the first woman and the first Hispanic to achieve an upper level, academic administrative position when hired as the Vice President of Instruction. For 30 years she served as a leader, educator, and an innovator in the Taft College community, and this reporter has her to thank especially for introducing the Distance Learning Program which has been responsible for many crucial academic credits in my own ‘educational journey.’
Bob Hampton tells the crowd about how his success in life has always been related to his time at TC.
Another distinguished career educator, Bob Hampton, shares his gratitude with the audience: “It’s really an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.” Hampton was a strong basketball player for Taft College for a year and was awarded a scholarship to play for USC where he played for 3 years while earning a Master’s Degree in education. He then enjoyed a long and successful career in public education, basketball coaching, and a new chapter of success in the sanitation business starting in 1979. He has many accolades from various schools and business organizations for his successes. He says, “Whatever success I’ve had, in my opinion, there’s some connection to TC.”
Ron Coomer is a Fox Network sports broadcaster and former professional baseball player for the Chicago Cubs that has TC roots.
Ron Coomer’s speech was particularly funny. In regards to a photo projected of him on the screen of himself when he was much younger, he said, “I’m heavy now. I don’t know what the hell happened to that guy in the picture.” The audience roared with laughter. Toward the end of his lengthy speech about his remarkable career as a professional baseball player that led to his current position as a Fox Network sports broadcaster, he became very emotional when he shared the sentiment, broken by tears: “My father would be very proud.” He humbly accepted his induction.
The crowd applauses Dr. Cothrun as he makes his way to the stage.
Every person who grabbed the mic for the evening had entertaining, hilarious, and/or deeply moving stories to share with the audience about the honorary guests themselves and the familial culture of the Taft College they grew up with. Kanoe Bandy reports that her favorite part of the evening’s banquet was also “to hear the stories of how Taft College has affected the lives of so many young people. For them to come back and share their stories with us is awesome.” Bandy, the athletic director at Taft College, was in charge of the event and stayed busy for the evening. When asked about how difficult it was to organize the event, she said, “It’s a lot of work and it takes work from everybody involved. It’s a long process.”
Bandy was busy all night, emceeing and facilitating the event with the help of athletes from TC.
The last honorees of the night were the collective powerhouse 1984 Taft College Football Team. This group demonstrated some of the highest appreciation for the late, great Coach Al Baldock. Baldock was inducted last year. Doug Wells worked alongside him to lead the Cougars to victory in the renowned 1984 Potato Bowl against LA Pierce–a victory that solidified their number one ranking among college community football teams.
A few members of the 1984 Taft College football team that were honored at the end of the night.