Local middle schools, junior highs receive book donation to supplement learning about history of Bakersfield
Local dignitaries, community members, educators and students gathered at City Hall on Nov. 5 for a birthday party like none other. The celebration marked the 205th birthday of Bakersfield’s founder Colonel Thomas Baker, and instead of bringing gifts to the party, guests walked away with them instead.
1,200 copies of Baker’s official biography titled “Colonel Baker’s Field: An American Pioneer Story” — enough for a school set of 35 books for each middle and junior high school in metro Bakersfield — were donated to schools thanks to funds raised through numerous community partners.
The book was written by Judy Salamacha and Sandra Mittelsteadt, both former teachers in the Kern High School District, with contributions from Baker’s great-great grandson Chris Brewer.
“I applaud Judy Salamacha and Sandy Middlesteadt for writing this book and for their passion in making sure students in Kern County are aware of Colonel Baker and all he did in establishing this community,” said County Superintendent of Schools Christine Frazier.
The books are intended to be used for supplemental reading, for enrichment lessons in local history and social studies and for students to do research for group or individual projects.
By reading the book, students will learn about pioneer life and migration to California during the Gold Rush, early California history, Col. Baker and fellow pioneers, and how Bakersfield received its name, Salamacha said. Each chapter creates an engaging scene using the narrative nonfiction genre.