Kern Family Health banner 25 yrs

Dear Reader: Happy Back to School!

by Vaun Thygerson
Contributing writer and mother of three

My oldest son has always been fiercely independent. When he was going to kindergarten we had taken him to meet his teacher so he would feel more comfortable on the first day of school. The inaugural day came and I was so excited, probably more than him. He had his new haircut, outfit, shoes, and a Darth Vader backpack full of new school supplies that smelled amazing. My husband and I parked the car so we could walk him in and get a photograph of his big day. The second his car door opened, he took off running and yelled back to us, “I know where I’m going.” As he darted through the gates headed to his class, my husband and I looked at each other and decided we should make sure he actually did know where he was going. When we reached his class, he was already there playing with toys and and the other children without hardly a glance up to acknowledge us. And, that was it. He has been pretty much taking care of himself ever since.


Then, I blinked, I swear just a blink, and now this same independent soul will be a senior at Liberty High School. It really doesn’t feel possible, because he was literally just in elementary school. I am sad, of course, that he’s growing up and will be going away to college. And I am happy that he’s becoming a very responsible, loyal, and confident man. But I miss that little boy. Some of these motherhood milestones are so bittersweet.


This time of year marks the start of the new school year, and it’s also a special anniversary for KCFM. Last month we celebrated our 25th anniversary. Being part of our readers’ lives and making an impact in the community has been our pleasure. We are so proud of our magazine’s content and the connections we have made over the years. To find out some of the ways KCFM has made contributions to Kern County, check out the article, “KCFM Celebrates 25 Years. Seven Ways We are Proud to Serve Kern County,” on page 10. In conjunction with this article, you can also read the feedback from KCFM’s readers in the article, “Readers Respond: Compliments from our Community,” on page 12. If you ever want to reach out for any reason, you can always email our publisher/owner LJ Radon at


One of our readers, who definitely helps to make our community a better place to live, is Amy Smith, executive director of Bakersfield Museum of Art (BMoA). She’s featured in this month’s Hello Happy Mama, “A is for Art: Amy Smith Pushes Full STEAM Ahead for the Community,” on page 14. With technology playing such an important role during the pandemic, the need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) students increases, and Amy wants to make sure to keep art in the mix by incorporating it with the other subjects. Amy says that art needs to be part of the process because it can help to teach problem-solving and patience.


For this month’s, Humor at Home, ”Wait, How Do You Say That? Slurping Down Phonics,” Julie WIllis writes about her daughter’s mispronunciations. She has a theory that her daughter learned to read too fast with comprehension, but skipped over the actual sounding out of the words. To read some of her daughter’s hilarious misinterpretations that are so close to the real word, turn to page 22.


Happily this year’s first day of school looks a lot different than last year’s back-to-school online classes. And whether your child is running to Kindergarten or finishing up his last year in high school, these milestones are ones to treasure. Take the picture, buy the new shoes, and be thankful for these days because they really go by in the blink of an eye. Thanks again to our readers for letting us be in your lives for the last 25 years. We are very grateful to be part of this amazing community of families!


Looking forward to the next 25 years! Keep reading and happy back to school!

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