Skip to Google search Skip to Main menu links Skip to Rotating Banner Skip to News Skip to Calendar WEST KERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
TC logoTaft CollegeDedicated to Success!
Students | Faculty | Cougar Tracks | Contact/Email

Grimes Classroom Video

J. Grimes

By Jessica Guillen

Taft College holds many interesting professors and, often times, there is more than meets the eye.  I recently talked with one of our very lively professors on this campus: Jessica Grimes. Jessica Grimes was born in Akron, Ohio, June 11th, 1980, and when she was three-years-old, her family  moved to bright and sunny Bakersfield, California. Grimes mentioned while growing up, her family was very theatrical. With no children and adoption close in mind, Grimes is happily married.


Before Grimes ended up here at Taft College, she was formerly an adjunct at Bakersfield College where a mentor informed her about a teaching position here at Taft College. Grimes has worked very hard in her life receiving her master’s degree in religion and literature, a degree in religious studies, and is currently getting a Ph. D.  in English, plus minoring in pre-law and, to anyone, that sounds like a lot of dedication. Not only does Professor Grimes instruct students in the world of literature, she is also educating students, (as her first semester) on World Religions. “It’s great. We have vigorous discussions . . . which automatically translates into the other,” she says as I ask how her first semester teaching this subject is going.


Aside from teaching in general, Grimes is a part of many other activities on this exhilarating campus such as faculty coordinator for the Quest for Success Grant, she is a part of the faculty bargaining committee, Taft College Book Club, Financial Aid Committee, and the Academic Development Committee. When Grimes is not engaged in school activity, she loves to spend her time doing great things.  Being surrounded in such a talented family, Grimes herself has always enjoyed singing. She also enjoys reading, traveling, and baking. When Grimes told me on how she loves to bake, she giggled and said, “It’s relaxing. Therapeutic,” and I agree!


When I asked Grimes about her plans for the future, she gave us an insight on something she has always wanted to try: a charity for womens’ violence. “That would be a second career for me. Or an opera singer!” Grimes says as we talk more about her future plans.


I understand that Professor Grimes has got a lot on her plate.  I admire all of her hard work and dedication she puts into this campus and her students. “Teaching is all about mutuality. I love to empower students, build up their confidence and challenge them,” exclaims Jessica Grimes


An American Tragedy

By Gloria Saldivar


Today marks the thirteenth year since the tragic event of 9/11. A remembrance event was held in the quad this morning, and a moment of silence was given for all the innocent people that had their lives snatched away in the blink of an eye.

Most people remember that spine chilling day as if it were yesterday, however there are some who remember it as if it were a dream. They can only recall on faint memories because they were too young to understand what was happening to our nation.

Aime Yarbrough, a student here at Taft College was in the Coast Guard the day tragedy struck our thought to be indestructible nation. She was stationed at Lake Tahoe when she heard the news. Aime thought it was some sort of joke at first, but she soon found out that it was all too real.

Nancy De Avila, a temporary eligibility technician for EOPS was eight years old when this happened. She remembers eating lunch with her family on what seemed to be a perfect day. She recalls her parents watching the news, but she did not comprehend the severity of the situation taking place.

Nicole Cook, an admissions technician here at Taft College was getting ready to go to school when her friend called her and told her to turn on the news. Nicole was speechless. She said, “ I felt an emotion that is inexpressible”.

Joell Chaidez, the testing coordinator here at Taft College was going through his morning routine when his wife called for his attention. They both watched the news as the devastating events unraveled before their eyes. Joell remembers listening to the radio while driving to work and seeing the same facial expression on all the drivers.

Most people described that day being unreal; almost as if they were watching a movie. This real life movie however did not come with a “stop” button. The events of 9/11 will forever haunt our memories

Comedy Comes to Bakersfield

By Bruce Grey

Bakersfield has been a hub for live music for many years, but stand-up comedy has never seemed to draw a crowd. Other than shows at the Fox Theater and Rabobank Arena, there are very few venues in town that a person can go see local standup comedians hone their skills.

However, comedy in Bakersfield is on the rise. On August 30th, comedian Johnny Roque

recorded his new live album for a sold out crowd of nearly 120 people at Rocket Shop Café. Roque, who is a writer for the show “Trip Tank” on Comedy Central, is a Los Angeles based comedian who has been performing at clubs and colleges for nearly 9 years.

When asked why he chose Bakersfield for his album, Roque said that he didn’t want to be like everyone else and record in LA, and that he wanted it to be a room of real people. Rocket Shop is a perfect place for an intimate comedy show, the food is great and it’s separate showroom is the closest thing to a comedy club Bakersfield has to offer.

Their next show is September 27th and if you would like to keep up on all things comedy in Bakersfield, you can like “Bakersfield Comedy” on Facebook.

Clubs on Campus

by Gloria Saldivar

Are you a student who wishes to be more involved on campus? Want to meet new people, but don’t know how or where to start? Join a club!  There are a whole network of clubs on campus that are waiting for you! We have the Taft College ASB, Best Buddies organization, Literary club, On our own club, phi Theta Kappa, and Psychology club.


Associated Student Body (ASB): The associated student body is in charge of making student opinions on campus be heard. Their mission statement  is “To provide a means for responsible and effective participation in the governance of the campus; provide an official voice through which students’ opinions may be expressed; and provide opportunities for all members of the college community to establish memorable experiences and life-long relationships through activities and events connected to Taft College”.


Best Buddies:  Best Buddies is an international non-profit organization. Their mission statement is “To establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs)”.


Literary club: The Literary club here on campus is for those students who enjoy writing. Their mission statement is to “provide editorial and production experience in literary publication to students of Taft College, assist the community of Taft in networking with writers globally, and promote imaginative literature in Kern County”.


On Our Own club: This club is intended to prepare and guide those that seek to be independent. Their mission statement is “To provide a resource of support for those individuals endeavoring to live independently. The members of the “On Our Own Club” will organize fundraising events and campus activities. Through participation, volunteerism, and interaction in community activities, club members will contribute to their community and gain skills relevant to a healthy and participatory lifestyle”.


Phi Theta Kappa: This is an honor society organization. They recognize students with academic excellence throughout their two years in community college. Their mission statement is “To offer a myriad of opportunities for scholarships, intellectual enrichment, and personal development through programs based on Phi Theta Kappa’s four hallmarks: Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Fellowship”.


Psychology Club: This organization on campus puts its emphasize on projects that are to be presented to the psychological community. Their mission statement is “To learn, to teach, and to lead”.


Now that you have read a brief description about each club and organization on campus; it’s time to think about which one suits you best and get signed up! Remember, the experiences and memories formed during the most important times of our lives are the ones that stay with us forever. Make college memorable and get involved!


To find out more about these clubs and organizations go to the “student services” tab on the Taft College website and click on “student life”.

Cave Dwellers

by Nicolas Fequiere

CAVE, Padre Hotel

It was a hot summer afternoon and Ricardo, Eric, and Chris were sitting in a garage. Door open, drinks in hand, music on, computers whizzing, ideas exploding in these young minds like tiny Big Bangs forming self-contained universes. From a distance, they look like nothing more than a group of good friends hanging out and having a good time. That’s what I thought, at least. I got closer and a grin found itself upon my face. I was watching the brainstorming process for something truly magnificent, for something more than a simple clothing line.


Ricardo Pelayo and Eric Politron began CAVE Clothing in 2011 as not only a clothing line, but as a mechanism for change on a global scale. Many may wonder how such young minds can engineer that level of change, but to Pelayo, age is nothing but a number. Anyone can better the world around them, regardless of age, ethnicity, or background. In Politron’s own words, “our purpose is to bring something new and original to Bakersfield while doing the things we love.” It is as simple as that. These young men have always been very organic and genuine in their endeavors, as evidenced by CAVE’s medical trip to Ghana in 2011.


Both Pelayo and Politron agree on the idea that CAVE is an enigmatic ideal, something ever-changing. It takes on a different meaning for every single person who encounters it, and that is exactly what the dynamic duo were counting on. They want their company to represent multiple ideas and perspectives and points of view. I asked Ricardo what he hoped to achieve through this undertaking, and he suggested that I “google” DONDA by Kanye West. I’ll save you the trouble. For those unfamiliar with the self-proclaimed Steve Jobs of this day and age, DONDA was named after West’s late mother and is a collective focused on design, culture, fashion, and so much more. Despite Pelayo’s opinion that West’s venture will undoubtedly fail (while some may say it already has), he feels like CAVE has a legitimate shot to achieve something special.


CAVE’s website largely focuses on music, fashion, technology, education, and sports. Pelayo explains that the team writes about the things that they love and comes naturally to them. He stressed his point about what he believes to be a failing education system in America. He believes that we need to ask more questions and not accept the first answer that is thrown our way. Talking to him, I quickly got a feel for a young man who seemed wise beyond his years. He seemed desperate for change, and Eric echoed those sentiments. When I spoke to Eric, he explained that Vice News was an inspiration of sorts for CAVE’s website. Vice focuses on topics that are rarely, if at all, covered by the mainstream media. CAVE has continued to aim for a similar approach.


Most importantly, the pair wanted to make it clear that CAVE is not elitist. It is not for a select few. This enterprise was built for the people, by the people and CAVE is actively looking for creative and inspired individuals to hop on board and help build a better future for everyone involved. The company already has a strong social media following, with over ten thousand followers on Instagram and the team has just released their very own app, which is available in the iTunes store. “We look forward to collaborate and help creative minds with fresh ideas,” says Politron. While Pelayo sports a defiant attitude about naysayers in stating that “ whether they support it or not, we will continue to grow,” he does encourage anyone and everyone to reach out and contact them to find a perfect fit at In the meantime, it can be expected that Ricardo, Eric, Chris, and all of the team members at CAVE will definitely be working on the next big thing.


Fall 2014 Semester Tips
By Gloria Saldivar
As we prepare ourselves for a new semester here at Taft College we take on the challenges of difficult experiences that are yet to come. College is not easy but with motivation and dedication any student has the power to get through it. Along with difficult classes comes a new role of responsibility. Students are now expected to do everything on their own. That means we are each in charge of filling out the FAFSA every single year, getting important paperwork turned into the office, creating our own schedules, etc. These situations are unavoidable they have to be taken head on without hesitation.  There is however no need to dread these situations. We have prepared a list of tips to make them easier to handle.
•    Drop Dates: Starting on 9/08/14 students will be able to drop a class with a W (withdrawal).  That means that a “W” will appear on the students transcript as a sign that they attempted the class. The last day to drop with a “W” will be on 10/29/14 after that deadline students will be given an actual grade.
•    Class Cancellations: many of us returning students have at least once driven to Taft only to find out that our class was cancelled. No big deal right? It’s not like gas is expensive or anything #commuterproblems. There is an easy way to prevent this tragedy from happening. Follow your classes on twitter and facebook. Professors will usually post class cancellations there. Not a big fan of social media? No problem. Check your email regularly. Most professors also send out email notifications.
•    Office hours: take advantage of the posted office hours that professors offer. This is a great time to speak to your professor one on one. Office hours are intended to help students out with any class related problems they may be having. That being said, if there are any questions boggling your mind just pop right in to your professors office during the posted hours to find your answers.
•    Student Union: do you have long gaps in between classes? The Student Union is a great place to pass the time, and meet other students on campus. It is located right before you get to the G-buildings on campus.
•    Deadlines: Everything will normally be posted here on the Taft College website, but if you’re on campus and feel like talking to an actual person instead of dealing with technology; you can always pop into the office filled with friendly faces and simply ask.

By Lisa Ybarra

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey circus is coming back to Bakersfield to present the “Legends” tour.

The show is at the Rabobank Arena September 4-7. Tickets are as low as $10 and can be purchased at the Rabobank Arena box office.

Roger Miller at ReleaseReady at Release Party

This year’s issue of A Sharp Piece of Awesome, our student-edited, annual literary publication, is now available for sale at the Cougar Corner Bookstore and on We have applied for sales through Barnes& Noble, and Russo’s new online store has agreed to carry the issue. Camille Gavin of The Bakersfield Californian plans to discuss the issue and upcoming release party in “Eye Street” in the Thursday, May 15th edition of The Bakersfield Californian. We’re hoping for a great turnout this year!

The event will feature readings by some of the authors in this year’s issue, including Bill Devine, Taft College students and alumni, and other published poets & writers. Roger Miller will read his sister Katherine Miller’s “Asphalto,” a prose piece that gives a physical and historical overview of Taft and the surrounding area. The reading is on Saturday, May 17th, at 3pm at Dagny’s Coffee in Bakersfield (where Eye St. and 20th St. meet). The event is free.

If you haven’t yet purchased an issue, I encourage you to do so. Proceeds go toward the publication of our 2015 issue. The student editors (David Bailey, Kelsie Burrows, Courtney Cloud, ​and Jacob Gonzales) have worked tirelessly this year and done an outstanding job of promoting the magazine increasing its distribution.

Faculty Member Retiring

by Juan Ochoa

At the end of this month, Jeff Ross will be retiring from his work here at Taft College.

Jeff Ross has a master’s degree in Special Education from CSUB.

Ross started as an adjunct professor in 1976; he worked with individuals with developmental disabilities. Since 1978, he worked full-time as the Director of Disabled Student Services, Learning Disabilities Specialist, and Developmental Disabilities Specialist.

In 1995 he started the well known Transition to Independent Living Program at Taft College. He has been working with the program for near twenty years and is now retiring.

Ross’s future plans are to help out the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in Phoenix, Arizona. He plans to help build a residential facility similar to the TIL Program. When all that’s done, he has some land in Auburn, Ca.

He has received the John Ryce Diversity Award from California Community Colleges and the Lanterman Award from CaPED to name a few.

Considering the time he started as an adjunct professor, Jeff Ross has given thirty-eight years of service to the college. His work will always be remembered when we read about the TIL Program or look at the TIL building.

What Staff Members Do On Their Day Off

By Kendyl Chavez


If you’ve ever been on campus and have had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Rowden, you would never guess that this sweet lady is one tough cookie! Mrs. Rowden is a member of a newly formed roller derby team called the Westside Wreck Hers.


When talking about being the new member on the Westside Wreck Hers team, Rowden has nothing but excitement and love for her new roller derby family. Being a mom of two kids and working full time, it’s not easy for Rowden to find a lot of time to squeeze roller derby into her busy life, but she makes it work! The Westside Wreck Hers have been able to participate in a few scrimmages that will help them prepare for their first game in June. When asked about her feelings for the game against the Dirty City Roller Rats, Rowden replied, “It will be our debut to our hometown so win or lose, we will be giving it 100%.”


On Saturday, June 7th, the Westside Wreck Hers are playing the Dirty City Roller Rats. The game starts at 5:00 p.m. but the gates open at 4:00 p.m. If you’re interested in supporting the Westside Wreck Hers, their game will be right here in Taft at 801 4th Street and the tickets are only $5! Come and join the team and fans for food, music, and some intense roller derby and support the Westside Wreck Hers this summer!




Older Posts »