Random Renegade: Fitzgerald Graves

Every issue, The Rip will be interviewing a random student at BC about hopes and goals.


Fitzgerald Graves

Joshua Kincaid Fisher, Reporter

Bakersfield College senator for the Student Government Association Fitzgerald L. Graves is one of the original members of the African-American Mentoring Program (AAMP), designed to increase academic performance, retention, graduation/transfer rates and to decrease drop-out rates among black males.

He says that originally the AAMP was only males but now consists of male and female students. He also says AAMP has made him aware of the deficits that the African-American demographic faces.

This made him want to be part of the solution, and in order to make an impact, Graves joined the SGA. He says upon joining the SGA, it was intimidating to face the documentation that a senator would have to be accustomed. But learning it has given him a respect and pride for the process.

Graves has been a senator since fall of 2015. Graves was soon appointed to be the Chair of Academic Advancement at BC, a position that takes on the external issues of the classrooms that benefit the student body. He says he has been working to get BC students a discount on their GET bus passes, and he has recently heard that soon the students might receive them for free.

Graves says that helping students and getting them prepared to face their challenges is an immediate gratification for the hard work that he puts in. Graves says that working too much is one of his biggest weaknesses.

Facing his own weaknesses has caused him to become more engaged with the faculty at BC and the students. In his conferences, Graves is working to get a sandwich dispensing machine for the students that they can use after hours when the cafeteria is closed.

Graves says that his strength is his moral compass that guides him when he is dealing with people. Graves believes that all people are important and should be represented and understood. This skill has led him to becoming a coach on many different occasions.

“I’ve coached basketball, football, baseball, soccer, track, you name it. I’ve coached them all. The same abilities and engagement play over into coaching. That’s really what we’re trying to do. Give them the game plan to be successful,” said Graves.

Graves said that coaching has always been his passion. He said the real blessing is helping a student who feels lesser, and giving them the confidence to feel equal.

“And now that they’re equal they can pass that down to someone else,” said Graves. After all that he has been through at BC as a member of the SGA, he has broadened his horizons on what it really means to be a coach. And he agreed that even as a senator and chair for the BC Student Advancement Program, he is still a coach on the inside.

But now, instead of coaching athletes, he is coaching students and faculty. “One thing you should know about being a SGA member,” Graves said, “is that you’re always representing someone else; students will have bad days and that can be overlooked, but a coach cannot have bad days. If you aren’t taking the students as seriously as possible, you’re missing the point. Because then, it’s more about you; you have to look at the students and see where they are to be able to help them, and if you can’t help them, you can see if you can connect them with someone who can help them. Some problems that you come across may exceed your power as a SGA member but you can still connect them with someone who can.In the end it’s all about winning the game for the students.” it takes us all as SGA to do that.”