BPD Hosts Annual Audible Egg Hunt for Students with Visual Impairments

Thursday March 21, 2024

Jordan Mondragon, a student with visual impairments enrolled at Beardsley Elementary, has attended the Bakersfield Police Department’s Audible Egg Hunt since he was three years old. Today, while walking arm in arm with officers, Mondragon continued the tradition of hunting for “beeping” eggs created specifically for students like him.

Since 2016, the Bakersfield Police Department’s Bomb Squad has collaborated with the Kern County Superintendent of School’s (KCSOS) office to host the Audible Easter Egg Hunt. While these eggs still look like Easter eggs, albeit larger, they are far more unique because of their ability to emit sound making it easier for students with visual impairments to find them. 

This event takes place every spring at the Police Activities League in east Bakersfield. The concept originated with Bakersfield Senior Officer Juan Orozco, who saw an article in Detonator Magazine where a fellow bomb squad member from New York had noticed his daughter losing her vision and decided to create an egg that “beeps.” He figured it would be an easy build and connected with Gaylene Roberts, a retired KCSOS special education principal, to determine if there was a need. With Roberts on board, Orozco received unanimous approval from the rest of the police department.

Alison Hall, the current special education principal who joined KCSOS as a special education vice principal the year Orozco and Roberts started the event, has always loved seeing students engage with the officers.

Alison Hall with a student at the Audible Egg Hunt.

“This event has always been about making sure our students with visual impairments feel valued and included in the celebrations that others might take for granted,” Hall said.

Nearly thirty students from districts across Kern County including Beardsley, Bakersfield City, Panama-Buena Vista, Rosedale, Mojave, Fruitvale, Norris, Taft, and Rio Bravo Greely, participated in the hunt this year. Students with orthopedic impairments were also invited to the event. These students, supported by KCSOS’s Itinerant staff, experienced the thrill of the hunt.

Various community organizations and businesses donated food, sweet treats, prizes, horse rides, and other fun activities for students, parents, and staff to enjoy. The California Living Museum was even on hand with ambassador animals, including Peep the Opossum, Bastian the Gopher snake, and Echo, a blind sheep who felt right at home with the students.

Bakersfield Senior Officer Juan Orozco with the Bomb Squad truck.

For Orozco, seeing how big the event gets every year is humbling. When asked about his favorite part of the event, he had a lot of thanks to give.

“I appreciate all of the vendors, volunteers, and sponsors who help,” he said. “The best part, however, is watching these kids find the eggs and seeing their reaction to it. You know, it’s huge. It’s something we take for granted, and the event helps you have an emotional connection to it. It’s part of the reason why it grows and is such a success every year.”

By Jennifer Bryan

By Jennifer Bryan

Jennifer Bryan joined Kern County Superintendent of Schools in 2021 as a Communications Specialist. As a creative and motivated marketing communications specialist, she has a special knack for storytelling and content creation. Born and raised in Kern County, Jennifer has worked in major industries within the region such as agriculture and oil and gas before she made the transition to education.