On Sept. 21, McFarland High School Early College launched its latest career pathway: industrial automation.
The school celebrated the new pathway at an event with food and music.
"McFarland High School students have been uniquely blessed with tremendous opportunities for college credit and BC access at no cost," said Principal Dario Diaz during the celebration. He added that 600 of his students are taking at least one dual enrollment college credit class. "We have more than 60 percent of our student body enrolled in college. That's phenomenal. Our district vision is to ensure that our students are college and career ready. We have taken major steps to make sure that becomes a reality."
Diaz explained that "pathways" are when students experience a series of industry-themed curriculum that integrates career and technical education.
"We have BC professors and high school teachers that are collaborating together on a range of subjects and grade levels to facilitate student learning," said Jill Jimenez, Bakersfield College counselor for pathways and dual enrollment classes.
She asked for a round of applause from the audience for all the dual enrollment teachers and instructors. Jimenez also introduced the district's latest instructor, Dawn Mosely, the first in the automation industrial pathway.
She also introduced the first seven students for that pathway. There were 15 others who couldn't make the celebration event because of other commitments.
"We wanted you all to recognize the first Bachelor of Science class of 2026," Jimenez said.
Next to speak was McFarland District Superintendent Aaron Resendez.
"We had a dream many, many years ago, to have college classes at McFarland High School, and we were able to achieve that," Resendez said. "And we had another dream, to bring a two-year college degree/pathway to McFarland High School. And so today we are celebrating another opportunity at this school," he said. "This is not happening anywhere else in the country where your child is going to achieve a bachelor's degree in just one additional year at BC."
Romeo Agbalog, Kern Community College District trustee representing McFarland, also spoke, referring to the city and school's many state cross country championships.
"McFarland knows how to win races," Agbalog said. "And we are in a race to the top. We are re-engineering the way to deliver higher ed across the country. Every race is hard. It takes endurance. It takes patience and strength — and a lot of hard work. I know the Cougar Renegade of McFarland High School are up for the challenge."
Agbalog said there are other high schools in Kern County offering Early College. "But the Renegade Cougars of McFarland High can take pride because they are leading the pack. I am proud to represent the city of McFarland. And from here on out, we are going to go into a full sprint and we are not going to look back. And we are going to lap all our competitors."