Please submit a nomination for a Wendy Wayne awardee by clicking the appropriate tab above that corresponds with the nominee’s age. For the purposes of the Wendy Wayne Ethics Award we define Youths as 24 and younger and Adults as 25 and older. Candidates must be from the Metro-Bakersfield region. Adults may be awarded either for a lifetime’s achievement or to honor a specific set of actions over a relatively short period.
For additional information, or if you have any questions, please fill out the form on our Contact Page
L. Dee Slade, Adult Recipient
L. Dee Slade is an inspiring leader and a continuing advocate for positive change in Kern County. She is Director for the African-American Network of Kern County (AANKC), a Business and Professional organization which promotes higher learning by creating educational programs designed to empower the next generations to be strong leaders in business and community development. She also leads the “Each One Teach One” Partners in Progress Buffalo Soldiers Program (EOTOPPBS) that encourages youth to be good citizens and to strive for excellence in academics, self respect, honor, diversity, citizenship and ethical behavior towards others. Dee also serves in numerous other leadership roles in service of our community, including (but not limited to) as a CSUB President’s Community Ambassador; Vice-Chair of the CSUB Center for Social Justice; and as a member of the Kern County Housing & Opportunity Foundation Board.
Samantha DeLaCruz, Youth Recipient
Samantha DeLaCruz exhibits ethical courage and ethical leadership through her local activism, community organizing, and research activities. As a CSUB student and President of CSUB’s Club GEN (Gender Equality Now!), her primary areas of activism, organizing, and research involve advocating for the needs of women and girls living in poverty and trans-identified youth. Samantha has led efforts to establish a Trans Awareness Week, opened Jai’s Library (a resource for gender non-conforming students named in honor of Jai Bornstein, a former Club GEN member who took her own life), and formed a campus-wide committee focused on creating institutional policies and practices that support gender non-conforming students. In Spring 2018, Samantha received a scholarship to attend the CARE National Conference in Washington, D.C. (CARE is one of the largest and oldest humanitarian aid organizations focused on fighting global poverty) and has become a CARE Citizen Advocate, advocating locally and nationally for policies that affect women and girls in poverty and implementing tangible ways to help them cope and prosper.
Nikolas Lopez, Youth Recipient
Nikolas Lopez is a senior at Liberty High School. Nikolas has been a Boy Scout since the age of 6 and, in this role, has organized Bakersfield park improvement projects and serves as an astronomy guide and teacher at the Boy Scout summer camp. Nikolas is kind hearted and a strong leader who is not afraid to step forward to make a positive impact in the lives of others. When Nikolas learned how students in the Gay Straight Alliance Club at Frontier High School were harassed by fellow classmates, he stepped forward to help. He attended and spoke at a Kern High School District Board of Trustees Meeting about the incident and played a key role in the formation of the Equity and Inclusion Student Advisory Council. Nikolas was selected for and currently serves on the committee as a representative for Liberty High School, meeting with the committee and Liberty High School Principal to discuss ideas on how to make Kern County High School’s a better place.
We will also be giving special recognition to Randy Martin, founder of Covenant Coffee; Reyna Olaguez, Executive Director of South Kern Sol; Hernan Santiago, a long-time educator and basketball coach at Arvin High School; and Alejandra “Olly” Lopez Beltran, a CSUB student and Campus Programming leader for diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Award History and Criteria
Originally started in 2012 as the Kegley Institute of Ethics Community Ethics Award, the award name was changed to honor Wendy Wayne, after her untimely passing. In addition to being revered in the community for all her good works, she was one of KIE’s early advisors and strongest supporters; she was instrumental, in fact, in helping us set up the original version of the award.
There are two award categories: an adult (age 25 and older) and a youth (24 and younger). Candidates must be from the Metro-Bakersfield region. Adults may be awarded either for a lifetime’s achievement or to honor a specific set of actions over a relatively short period. Criteria provided below.
Adult recipients, by year:
- 2012, Ms. Collen McGauley, Executive Director of CASA of Kern County
- 2013, Ms. Wendy Wayne, presented posthumously
- 2014, Mr. Lance McCullah, assistant football coach, Bakersfield High School
- 2015, Ms. Jan Hefner, Mercy and Memorial Healthcare
- 2016, Ms. Karen Goh, President, Garden Pathways
- 2017, Dr. Thomas Larwood, presented posthumously
- 2018, Pastor Manuel Carrizalez, Stay Focused Ministries
- 2019, Ms. Judy Snyder, Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault
- 2019, Mr. Daryl Thiesen, Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office
- 2020, L. Dee Slade, African-American Network of Kern County
Youth recipients, by year:
- 2013, Ms. Victoria Scoggan
- 2014, Ms. Elizabeth Pelzer, North High School
- 2015, Mr. Joseph Constantine, Frontier High School
- 2016, Ms. Carly Riddle, North High School
- 2017, Ms. Yoceline Aguilar, South High School
- 2018, Ms. Navjyot Gill, Golden Valley High School and UC Irvine
- 2019, Ms. Yvette Flores, Kern County Voter Engagement Project and CSUB
- 2020, Samantha DeLaCruz, CSUB Club Gender Equality Now!
- 2020, Nikolas Lopez, Liberty High School, Equity and Inclusion Student Advisory Council
The Awards recognize individuals who possess core character traits that result in a commitment to virtuous action beyond their personal interests. These individuals have internal virtuous dispositions, but also act on them, striving to make the world a better place. Further, they do it simply because it’s right, not because they seek some fame or fortune. In fact, in nearly all cases there will be some degree of self-sacrifice: e.g., challenging a status quo in a way that causes personal and professional hardship or hindrance; acting on behalf of a vulnerable person, knowing that doing so will mean the loss of friends; or giving up on a lucrative career path, so as to instead try to improve the lives of those worse off.
Some will devote a life to these pursuits; others will become immersed in correcting a particular injustice: hence our two adult categories — “lifetime achievement” and “specific action(s).” To date, our youth awards have gone to people who are in the process of developing that lifetime commitment, as revealed in multiple actions over a significant period of time, but one can also imagine a courageous specific intervention on an injustice.
Examples of Virtuous Dispositions Include:
- Courage: Persons of courage display a quality of spirit that enables them to face danger or pain without succumbing to fear.
- Other regarding: Other-regarding persons extend beyond themselves, often through great effort, to better others.
- Diligence in the face of adversity: Diligent persons engage in the hard work needed to face and overcome a challenge, including overcoming one’s own and others’ apathy.
- Consistency: Connected to the idea that the actions in question are part of one’s core nature, persons of consistent character manifest the commendable behavior over some period of time.
- Impact: The commendable behavior brings positive change to the community.
- Humility: Humble persons demonstrate the commendable behavior in a quiet and unassuming manner. S/he does not seek associated recognition or self-promotion.
- Gratitude: Grateful persons recognize that whatever gifts they have are due, at least in part, to the efforts of others; s/he thus strives to give back in thankfulness.
- Fidelity: Persons of fidelity can be trusted to be honest and to honor commitments.
Ms. Hefner (2015) was chosen for her tireless efforts, across several decades, to provide support for Bakersfield area LGTBQ citizens, with such efforts ultimately resulting in the creation of the Bakersfield Gay and Lesbian Center. When AIDS first hit our community, there were very few medical resources and even less understanding of the disease and its impact, particularly on gay men. Ms. Hefner tirelessly worked to secure more effective healthcare and to provide an emotional support system for those stricken with the disease and their loved ones. She singlehandedly changed the way our community perceives AIDS and LGTBQ persons.
Ms. Carly Riddle (2016) was chosen for the courage and perseverance she shows in helping others, even while managing her own struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome and having grown up in extreme poverty. Even while her peers sometimes tried to make her feel lesser for being intelligent and lacking the financial resources to fit in socially, she topped them all by having the biggest heart in the room and consistently helping others to succeed, academically and socially. Ms. Riddle refuses to let her disability define her: She has grown into an incredible human being, one who continues to overcome adversity and make a positive difference in the world around her.
Application Due Date: November 29, 2021
Application Due Date: November 29, 2021