It is hard to believe that the day is here when I will be celebrating my achievements with family, friends, classmates, faculty and staff. I am the proud president of the Bakersfield College Student Government Association and will be representing the 106th graduating class during a televised commencement celebration airing 7 p.m. July 11 on KGET and Telemundo.

As I reflect on my college experience, I am confident my choice of attending BC was the best one I could have ever made. I knew that BC was a place of innovation where I would receive a quality education. What I found was that and more.

The leadership at the home of the Renegades is one that truly develops students and our leadership potential. I am grateful for the opportunities and guiding hand of so many faculty and staff, including President Sonya Christian and Director of Student Life Nicky Damania. Had it not been for their support, I would never have experienced the leadership opportunities provided during my time as BCSGA president.

If not for BC, I would never have gotten to participate in the research program through the University of California at San Diego, where I am currently interning. I would not have spoken to more than 1,000 individuals representing our college at the state and shared my experiences around student success and basic needs. Without BC, I would not have proudly represented our community to receive the Student Equity and Diversity award from none other than Condoleezza Rice. I accepted the award with much pride as I thought about my family, my community and my BC support system.

I want to thank each and every person from BC — from the department assistant who answered all my questions, to each faculty member, each counselor and all the individuals who made sure I was set up for success and on the path to achieving my goals. While I am going to miss my BC family, I know I have been equipped with the skills and educational foundation I will need to succeed on the next step in my journey. Why? Because BC is the best college.

I will always be a Renegade. Soon, I will also be a Bear — Cal Berkeley here I come.

We are BC! Somos BC!

Samantha Pulido was the Bakersfield College Student Government Association from 2019 to 2020.