BHS Anomolous

Bakersfield High School's Virtual Business Enterprise team, Anomolous, took first place in a national competition this week in New York. 


For the second year in a row, a team of Bakersfield High School students won the national Virtual Business Enterprise competition in New York City, a “Shark Tank” like competition that challenges kids to develop a business idea and pitch it to investors.

All the products, of course, are fictional, but students spend months putting together businesses, complete with financial plans, operational expenses and anything else for which a real company would account.

The winning team, Anomalous, a virtual business founded by Bakersfield High School students in November 2017, created a line of sustainable juices and snacks to help alleviate food waste.

“We take imperfect produce from farmers that have minor bumps and bruises and turn them into high-quality juices. In doing this, we are helping to reduce food waste and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas we put into our atmosphere,” Emily Frank, a member of the team, said.

The team’s slogan — a play on the usefulness of damaged produce — is “Perfectly imperfect.”

Madeline Rivera, the team’s CEO, who was also part of the winning team last year, said she began bawling when she heard that BHS won. It marks the first time a California school had won back-to-back in the history of the competition.

“It just didn’t really cross my mind that we could be as successful as we were last year, but in that moment, all of our hard work came to fruition,” Rivera said. “It was the most amazing experience I could ever imagine. It was better than last year, times two.”

The team’s faculty advisor, Ryker Solano, said his eight-member team “caught fire” while pitching their idea to investors in New York City. The question and answer portion of the competition, he said, gave his students the edge.

“Everybody has a great presentation. You can see all these ideas are great, but what separates them is, ‘can you defend your company and look at things from different angles and be prepared to provide research?’ From every angle, these guys were prepared,” Solano said.

Meanwhile, Rivera said that the team’s decision to build a company around agriculture — so synonymous with the California Central Valley — made them more competitive.

Anomolous’ victory marks the third time a KHSD team has won the national competition.

Students across Kern County produced business plans during the state competition last year for products with a wide range of uses. One team this year created watches similar to FitBits catering to those with diabetes that would deliver glucose readings.

Last year’s national winner, Bumble — which Rivera was part of — dreamed up a business that sold honey, lip balm and other bee-related items to consumers, while renting bees to farmers to pollinate crops.

There were talks between students and a local investor to get that business off the ground, making their virtual dreams a reality, but talks fell through and “it kind of lost its wheels,” Rivera said.

The high school senior, who is juggling graduation plans and weighing college acceptances, said she’s not quite ready to take on the idea of turning Anomolous into a real business.

“I don’t think any of us have the mental capacity to begin an entire real life company — virtual is strenuous enough. It truly takes a toll on you,” Rivera said.

On the other hand, said Rivera, who’s quickly becoming a shrewd businesswoman, “If someone wanted our business plan, they could definitely buy it from us.”


The Bakersfield College Associate Degree Nursing Program and The Student Health and Wellness Center will host the 18th Annual Renegade Pulse Health Fair Wednesday.

Students are invited to the Student Services Lawn for a day of awareness about how to become healthier. Free screenings will be offered for Body Mass Index, glucose, blood pressure and HIV.

The event runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.


The deadline for a Congressional Art Competition among local students is looming.

Students living within Congressman David Valadao’s district have until Friday to submit work that could be displayed in the national exhibition in Washington, D.C.

“This is a great opportunity for Central Valley students to have their work recognized on a national level,” Valadao said in a prepared statement. “We have so much talent here in the Central Valley and I am excited to show the nation just what our students are capable of achieving.”

The Congressional Art Competition was created in 1982. The winning artist’s work will be displayed for one year in the Cannon Tunnel, a pedestrian walkway leading the U.S. Capitol. The second place winner’s work will be displayed in Congressman Valadao’s district office in Hanford.

All work must be submitted to Valadao’s Hanford or Bakersfield office by April 20. Late submissions will not be accepted.


Panama-Buena Vista Union School District named three new administrators this month.

Darryl Johnson, who previously served as the director of human resources, was named assistant superintendent of human resources April 10. He has served the district since 19934 as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. He will assume his new role July 1.

Jennifer Irvin will take Johnson’s former role of director of human resources. Irvin has worked in the district since 1991, first as a classroom teacher, and then as an assistant principal and principal. She serves currently as the director of extended learning services.

Jason Hodgson, a management analyst in The Learning Network of the Division of Instructional Services for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office, will join P-BVUSD’s department of instructional services May 1 as the director of professional development. He began his career at KHSD before joining Standard Elementary School District as a middle school principal.


Panama-Buena Vista Union School District has been honored with a 2018 Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation, an organization that recognizes the nation’s best music programs.

The Best Communities Music Education designation is awarded to districts demonstrating outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students. P-BVUSD is among 583 school districts nationwide to receive the award.

“The Panama-Buena Vista Union School District has long recognized the benefits of music education. We know musical training helps develop language and reasoning, pride and confidence, and provides students opportunities to feel a greater sense of achievement,” Superintendent Kevin Silberberg said. “This national recognition affirms our long-time and continuing commitment to provide an excellent music education program to the students of Panama-Buena Vista Union School District.”

Districts recognized by NAMM Foundation are often held up as models for other educators interested in boosting their own music education programs.


Garces Memorial High School will host 300 special education students from across Kern County at its 25th Annual Special People Play Day.

The event provides a carnival-like atmosphere complete with games, a petting zoo, pony rides and face painting for special education students from the Bakersfield City School District and Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office.

Bakersfield Police Department, California Highway Patrol and Kern County Fire Department officials will also provide entertainment for students.

The event runs from 8 to 11:30 a.m.


Harold Pierce covers education and health for The Californian. He can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter @RoldyPierce

(1) comment


What a contrast between students involved in the Virtual Business Enterprise team, the BHS Choirs (yea, that's plural) and other top grade national award winning teams and a bunch of hooligans attacking teachers and spewing obscenities in open defiance of appropriate behavior. Maybe we need to bring back corporal punishment; for both the students and the parents. Obviously we need to get the attention of those who don't understand their role and responsibilites in society.

Class of 1964: "Once a Driller always a Driller!"[sad]

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