Thursday, June 30, 2011
Who's working very hard to bridge the digital divide by bringing technology classes in South Monterey County -- and getting noticed!
Leadership Monterey Peninsula has just recognized Megan with its 2011 Founder’s Award. First as founder of South Monterey County Center for Arts and Technology, and now as coordinator of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) at the Monterey County Office of Education, Megan has worked hard in the last few years to bring technology to an area of the county that sorely needs it.
The award was presented to Megan for her contributions of a substantial body of work to make the community a better place.
Megan is a self-proclaimed “Tech Activist for Social Justice.” She's passionate about bringing technology to underserved communities, and works tirelessly for it. She has served on various non-profit boards including Camp SEA Lab; Dare to Dream Fund; Loaves, Fishes & Computers, Inc.; and the Media Center for Art, Education & Technology.
Megan has done volunteer work for local community organizations including the Arts Council for Monterey County, the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation and Monterey County Business Council’s Creative Technology Competitive Cluster. Earlier this year, she was honored by the Arts Council for Monterey County as “Champion of the Arts” in the Philanthropist category.
Through BTOP and its Federally-funded, multi-partner project called Community Connection, Megan continues her work to close Monterey County’s digital divide. BTOP is overseen by Central Coast Broadband Consortium Public Computing Alliance led by the Monterey County Office of Education and includes the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey County, Community Information Center (which I help steer on a volunteer basis), CSU Monterey Bay, Hartnell College, the National Steinbeck Center and Monterey County Free Libraries.
Felicidades, Megan! Un abrazo cibernético!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The education budget bill, Assembly Bill 114, would require districts to bargain any further reductions in the school year with unions that represent teachers and non-classroom staff.
Already, incumbent Salinas Union High School District Trustees Cheryl Larison, Kathryn Ramirez, and Patricia Saenz jointly announced their candidacies for re-election in November this past Monday. And I'm sure many people I don't know about have decided to run. It's going to be an interesting five months.
Administrators at the Monterey Peninsula College will hold a candidate orientation session at 6 p.m. on July 14 in the administration building. There's been plenty of interest from people wanting to run from areas 4 and 5, but little for area 3, which comprises Monterey and Del Rey Oaks, so college officials are hoping to get more prospective candidates from there.
Here's a full list of all the offices up for grabs this November.
Monterey County Board of Education
TRUSTEE AREA 2- BARBARA CORNETT 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 4- RUTH ANDRESEN 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 5- RONALD PANZIERA 2011
Hartnell Community College District
TRUSTEE AREA 1- KEVIN HEALY 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 2- WILLIAM FREEMAN 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 3- PATRICIA DONOHUE 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 4- ELIA GONZALEZ-CASTRO 2011
Monterey Peninsula Community College District
TRUSTEE AREA 3- R. LYNN DAVIS 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 4- CHARLES PAGE 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 5- LOREN STECK 2011
Alisal Union School District
TRUSTEE AREA 1- MEREDITH IBARRA 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 4- ADELLA LUJAN 2011
Bradley Union School District
MATTHEW RYAN 2011
MILDRED DODD 2011
Carmel Unified School District
AMY FUNT 2011
ANNETTE YEE STECK 2011
MARCY RUSTAD 2011
Chualar Union School District
TRUSTEE AREA 2- VACANT 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 3- OFELIA C. FLORES 2011
Gonzales Unified School District
DANNY AVALOS 2011
SONIA JARAMILLO APPOINTED:2010 2011
Graves Union School District
GONZALO ESPINA 2011
Greenfield Union School District
ROBERT WHITE 2011
ARTHUR SALVAGNO 2011
King City Union School District
SHANNON VALLADAREZ 2011
MICHAEL HOWARD 2011
Mission Union School District
NOEL VOSTI 2011
ALLEN DUCKWORTH 2011
KEVIN SITKO APPOINTED:10/11/2010 2013
Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
TRUSTEE AREA 1- DIANE CREASEY 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 2- DEBRA GRAMESPACHER 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 3- RICHARD GLENN APPOINTED:3/10/2011 2011
North Monterey County Unified School District
GARY DEAMARAL 2011
DIANA JIMENEZ 2011
MANUEL OSORIO 2011
Pacific Grove Unified School District
ANTHONY "TONY" SOLLECITO 2011
MICHAEL NICCUM 2011
JOANNE VANDERHORST APPOINTED:3/3/2011 2013
Pacific Unified School District
TAFAY LINDEMAN APPOINTED:1/4/2011 2011
LYNNE BYRNE 2011
RICHARD JOHNSON APPOINTED:2/9/2010 2013
San Antonio Union School District
DONALD ARGANBRIGHT 2011
NED BOWLER 2011
San Lucas Union School District
MARILYN PEASLEE 2011
MIGUEL LOMELI 2011
Santa Rita Union School District
THOMAS SPENCER 2011
PATRICIA ALEXANDER 2011
Soledad Unified School District
MARIE BERLANGA 2011
ALBERT AMAYA 2011
MARCELENE FRANSCIONI 2011
Spreckels Union School District
MICHAEL ASPLAND 2011
THOMAS HOOVER 2011
CHRIS CUDA 2011
Washington Union School District
KATHY LAGRANDEUR 2011
SUZANNE DU VERRIER 2011
CHERYL BLANDIN APPOINTED:10/2009 2013
King City Joint Union High School District
MICHAEL FOSTER 2011
BRENT GREEN 2011
RAUL RODRIGUEZ APPOINTED:10/21/2009 2013
Salinas Union High School District
TRUSTEE AREA 2- PATRICIA "PATTY" SAENZ 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 4- KATHRYN RAMIREZ 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 6- CHERYL LARISON 2011
Lagunita School District
CHARLES SHEARN 2011
DONALD CHAPIN 2011
Salinas City Elementary School District
Governing Board Member 4 years no limits
TRUSTEE AREA 2- ROBERT EGGERS 2011
TRUSTEE AREA 4- EDWARD MONCRIEF 2011
San Ardo Union Elementary School District
IRMA GUERRERO 2011
PETRA MANSFIELD 2011
LILA LOPEZ APPOINTED:2009 2013
MIGUEL MORFIN APPOINTED:2009 2013
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Five people were killed and four seriously injured in three separate traffic accidents in Monterey County on Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol reported. You can read all about hit here.
None of the collisions were caused by young drivers. Still, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenage drivers, and California has the second highest fatality rate involving drivers between 15-20, CPH says.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is teaching “Start Smart” a program that teaches traffic safety issues that directly affect new drivers "in a way no other program does." Start Smart speaks directly to the newly licensed drivers and their parents/guardians. This program has collision avoidance techniques, collision causing elements (read texting and driving), driver responsibilities, a number of testimonials from parents whose children have perished in collisions, and local area traffic collision trends.
The next "Start Smart" class is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 29th at the CHP Monterey Area office, 960 E. Blanco Road, Salinas. The Class is free of charge and parents/guardians are asked to attend with their teenage driver. For more information or to reserve your seat, contact Officer Robert Lehman, at (831)796-2130.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Because minority births are driving the rapid changes in the population -- writes Hope Yen of the Associated Press -- "any institution that touches or is impacted by children will be the first to feel the impact."
The AP article cites child and maternal health care as an example, but other immediate concerns come to mind -- like preschool and childcare. And to think that's precisely the kind of services that suffer when budget cuts arrive.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Speaking of MPUSD, the board is scheduled to approve its budget for the next fiscal year on Monday at 6 p.m. Among the proposed changes is the subcontracting of its full-day preschool program,which would translate into the layoff of 27 teachers (who could then re-apply to the new operator of the center). District administrators calculate the program cost $400,000 above what the state is reimbursing, so it's not feasible to run it anymore.
Also, the district is using almost $7 million of $11.5 million in Tier III categorical funds (earmarked for specific purposes) to use for general purposes. While some of the programs have been left intact (like the Community Day School Program) others are greatly reduced, like adult education which goes from $2.7 million to $1.4 million.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Jose Antonio Vargas, a former reporter with The Washington Post and several newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, has published a first-person account in the New York Times Magazine of what it means to be living illegally in the United States. I've covered immigration for over a decade, and rarely have I seen this type of narrative, from a person who has achieved so much and has so much at stake, in such a visible place. No wonder it's being posted and reposted all over the Internet.
Vargas came to the United States when he was 12, and what's most touching of Vargas' story is the extent to which his teachers attempted to make him feel welcome, accepted, even when he came out of the undocumented closet. The choir director at Mountain View High changed plans to go to Japan and instead took the group to Hawaii so Vargas could attend -- without proper documentation, he can't leave the United States.
Vargas came out partially to promote his new organization, Define American, which he hopes will help change the conversation about immigration in this country -- undocumented immigrants can be found in many echelons of society. And to promote the Dream Act, the federal proposal to give legal status to young people who were brought to this country illegally as children.
It will be interesting to follow the conversation that ensues. Some very thoughtful comments have already been posted on the story. Some are the usual reaction. If nothing else, perhaps it will be another push to approve the Dream Act.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Now that almost all the equipment has been purchased and almost all the instructors have been hired, more computer classes are falling into place.
For starters: this Saturday, Community Conexion will showcase the films their students have been producing. At the King City Cinemas at 10:30 a.m.
Next up, also from Community Conexion: From July 9 until Aug. 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a free music video workshop at the Center for Employment Training in Gonzales. For youth and adults, ages 13 and up. Local filmmakers Juan Ramirez and Eric Palmer and local Hip Hop artist from 2Face Entertainment--Fred Segura-- will be teaching it. No experience required. Bilingual instructors.
Also: The Community Learning Center, run by CSUMB in Chinatown, recently had a 16-station computer lab installed. And last week, the center began its first computer refurbishing class, with the idea to help Chinatown residents gain job skills and the ability to become self-sufficient. The classes are free, and they're open to everyone.
Also with funding from the grant, the Boys and Girls Club have opened their clubhouses in Salinas and Seaside from 9 a.m. to noon to the public to use their computers. The Seaside clubhouse is located on 1332 La Salle Avenue, while the Salinas unit is at 85 Maryal Dr., behind Sherwood Hall.
And last, the Community Information Center will begin its next round of free computer literacy classes en español at the Gonzales Library on Saturday June 25 from 2 to 4 p.m. At the Greenfield Library, Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. and at Los Abuelitos apartment complex in Salinas Wednesday and Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. Classes run for eight weeks, and the students, mostly parents of young children, learn computer basics. (I help run the Community Information Center on a volunteer basis)
Monday, June 20, 2011
"Dudamel" will only be playing Thursday at the Century Cinemas at Del Monte Center. It may be the closest some of us ge to see Dudamel up close. Or maybe we get adventurous and make the trek to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Para celebrar la lengua de tan famoso escritor, el Instituto Cervantes ha promovido desde 2009 el "Dia E", en el que se dejan caer lluvias de palabras y en el que se elije la palabra más bonita del idioma.
Rodeada como vivo de la lengua de ese otro gigante de la literatura mundial, me es dificíl a veces detenerme y recordar lo bello y divertido que es el español. En el el sitio del "Día E", los visitantes pueden votar por su palabra favorita. Algunas de las propuestas: libertad, amanecer, belleza, equilibrio. Me da la impresión que los proponentes no sólo piensan en la palabra, sino el concepto. A mí en lo personal me gustan las propuestas de Shakira (meliflua) y de Gael García Bernal (Querétaro). Quiza es por que me he dado cuenta que mis palabras favoritas del español son aquellas que tienen raíces en otras lenguas: Papalote (nahuatl), alberca (árabe), aguacate (también nahuatl).
Aqui en California, navegando las aguas de la asimilación, difícilmente se puede evitar el pochismo o el code switching. Se que a los puristas les va a dar un ataque cardíaco, pero una de mis diversiones favoritas es hispanizar palabras inglesas y hacerlas Latinas: todavía me acuerdo de la primera vez que mi amiga cortadora de lechugas me dijo que se iba a dar un "showerazo". Y ahora, cuando mi compañero me molesta, le digo que no me "bogee" que si me estreso me estoy "friqueando" y que si deja de funcionar el servicio de Internet lo puedo ir a "resetear".
Buena onda eso de celebrar el español. Así que no se olviden, voten! Y como decimos aqui en los Yunites, feliz día "e"!
It's a heavy proposition, and it occurred to me as I toured "The Wonder of Learning: The Hundred Languages of Children," at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. The exhibit showcases the Reggio Emilia approach to educate toddlers and pre-schoolers, developed in the town of Reggio Emilia after World War II. The exhibit is not easy on the eyes or the brain: it's documentation of a very interesting educational model, the type of knowledge that strains your brain so much you'd think the organ has done 100 sit ups after you're done. Be prepared to spend several hours trying to process all the information out there.
It occurred to me that it had to be in Italy, where declining birth rates mean that the population has virtually stopped growing, where the population is aging, where many women are refusing the role of mommy, that this method was developed.
Children, at least in Reggio Emilia, are deeply valued and cared for. There's no other explanation for this method: the children are allowed to lead, to explore, with the adults following. They're not shushed, they're not yelled at (at least for what I can see). They're loved, and cherished and treasured. They're encouraged to use all their senses when learning: how do you draw the sound of your shoes? What's the lifespan of a shadow? The word poetry comes to mind over and over again. Art is an essential part of their learning.
So I asked a Reggio Emilia practitioner: do you think the method developed in Italy because the number of children's declining and therefore they're more valued?
And she responded: no, all the way around -- people value children so much they're not having as many. They know children are a huge responsibility, and they take the responsibility seriously.
Honestly, I would not want to find out what it would be like to have the population decimated in order to begin caring for our children. They're already here -- thousands of them in Monterey County -- and they need, they deserve to be cared for. Nurtured. Embraced. Celebrated. Loved.
So go out and exercise your brain. I strongly recommend visiting the exhibit (warning: it's very wordy). For teacher's it's a must. For parents and those who care about young children, essential.
also known as HEP.
Barely two weeks have passed since its 2011 class graduated (pictured here), and today the college announced the five year grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Migrant Education -- the only HEP grant awarded in California this year.
The grant will help migrant and seasonal farm workers or their children get their general education degree and move on to higher education, better jobs, or both.
It's the second award that Hartnell receives, according to spokeswoman Terri Pyer. During the first five-year grant, Hartnell's program helped about 400 adult students. According to Pyer, all the students in the 2011 class are going on to college.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Originally approved in 2003, Pacific Grove Unified's parcel tax is due to expire in the fiscal year 2013-14, and district officials want to know if it can be extended again.
Pacific Grove voters originally approved a 5-year, $35 per parcel tax in 2003. The tax generates about $267,000 per year and, in the current budget, is funding two class periods at the middle school, five class periods at the high school, one elementary teacher, supporting the elementary library manager positions and providing some funding for the music program and K-12 technology.
The fiscal year 2013-14 will be the last year that the funds will be available. To extend the tax beyond 2013-14 into 2014-15 would require an election in November 2013. Advisor Dale Scott will present results of a Parcel Tax survey conducted and will provide recommendations on how to proceed. The board meets today at 6:30 p.m. at the district office, 435 Hillcrest Avenue, Pacific Grove CA 93950.
Parcel taxes require a 2/3 majority to be approved. Only 53 percent of parcel taxes in the ballot from 1983 to 2010 were approved, according to EdSource.
and the Association of California School Administrators Region 10 for the awards they gave me. There are times when the news do not make teachers, administrators, or the schools look good, but they manage to keep an open mind and let me go into their classrooms and into their lives. They perform noble work, these days under challenging circumstances, and I'm very lucky for the doors they open to me, the Herald and our readers.
Special thanks go to Ann Kilty of MPUSD, who I strongly suspect nominated me for the administrators award; Jill Low and Dennis Wright, past president and president of the Monterey Bay Teachers Association, for definitely nominating me for the John Swett award. Also, to my fabulous editors and cheerleaders at The Herald: Dave Kellogg, Joe Livernois, Royal Calkins, Don Murphy, and all my fellow reporters. They give me the space to explore, support my ideas, and challenge me to dig deeper. I'm lucky to be a part of such a great team.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Ravitch, an architect-turned-enemy of No Child Left Behind, took issue with President Barack Obama's mention during his State of the Union address of the Bruce Randolph school in Denver as one that has achieved impressive gains.In an editorial in the New York Times, Ravitch deplored the habit of some reformers of touting "miracle schools" when, in reality, the gains these schools have made are nothing to crow about (something Ravitch has been done for quite some time). At heart, Ravitch was criticizing the nouveau reformers, wealthy entrepreneurs and their philanthropic ventures keen on supporting the reforms they prefer -- such as promoting charter schools and linking test results to teachers evaluations.
(On a side note, the Nieman Watchdog noted that the Bruce Randolph school's progress was ill-measured and the children who are graduating are not really prepared to go to college)
Enter Alter, who sided with the nouveau reformers and said "nonsense." By beefing up accountability standards, the education reform movement works.
A flurry of commentaries ensued. According to former science teacher and respected blogger Antony Cody, Bloomberg shut the commentary period to Alter's piece after 24 hours of being up.
Ravitch and Alter had a mano a mano at the David Sirota radio show in Denver. While their dialogue was mostly focused on the Bruce Randolph school, the implications are far reaching.
Alter accused Ravitch of misusing and abusing statistics. Sirota asked Alter whether the calls for "accountability" were meant to demonize teachers and the unions that represent them.
"Why are the so-called reformers so focused on radically reforming schools as supposed to looking at neighborhood school model?" Sirota asked (Yeah, like the Bay View School model. That's one that seemed to work very well)
Alter's response: The model has not worked for this country. (We've) spent enough and are not getting enough for it.
And that's the bottom line. Reformers seem to want to get "a return" on the investment that's put into schools, as if they were listed in NASDAQ or the NYSE. As if education could only be measured through tests (oh, wait, we are already doing that.) So what's the appropriate return for a child who goes to school for 12-years? A job at a fast food restaurant? A path to the business world? Or another four or eight years of higher education so they can become engineers, professors, lawyers?
For those of you who have not been tuning in to the national debate in education, the conversation between Ravitch and Alter is a good start. There's so much to learn, and so much that's at stake.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Dozens of Seaside High graduates received a $4,000 scholarship as part of the Imagine College program, which gives them fun classes in the summer and the promise of the scholarship if they graduate with at least a 2.5 average and get accepted into a four-year university.
This week, they were recognized during their commencement ceremonies and at different special events. They're the first graduating class of "Imagine College."
"Imagine College" welcomes students from throughout the MPUSD district to take summer classes at CSUMB -- but only those from Seaside are eligible for the scholarship. At CSUMB, they take fun classes in the film and computer science departments, and they also take classes in algebra 2, geometry and math analysis. That sounds fun too, doesn't it. Brain calisthenics.
The summer session for "Imagine College" begins Monday and goes on for six weeks.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Now there's only two. And I'm sure the closures of the other three were just as painful as Bay View's.
Monterey Peninsula people who have been unhappy with MPUSD officials and their decision to close Bay View have always suspected their motives, and they continue to do so. They say the numbers don't add up, that the district's own financials disprove their claims. And then they accuse me of not bothering to investigate "the true reasons behind this travesty?" as "YesIndeed01" does in his post to my story in today's paper.
And what are the true reasons? Is anybody profiting? Who exactly? How?
While it's true that the district's decision has been very unpopular, I have yet to see anything illegal. Yes, the closure of Bay View -- along with the increase in salaries to the top administrators -- has caused great political damage. I don't doubt there's people moving to other areas -- or asking for transfers -- so their children can attend other districts (a topic I plan to address in future stories). In my view, though, it still fails to meet the test of malfeasance. I may be naive, but what exactly is there to investigate?
The MPUSD board decided a couple of years ago on the ideal size for their schools. Bay View did not fit within the "ideal size" category. They decided to close it, just as they closed other schools. Just as they closed Monte Vista in years past.
Unpopular, no doubt. Misguided, perhaps. In these times of budget uncertainty, likely a necessary evil. Illegal? Not as far as I can see. Every time somebody has presented me with documents claiming they prove MPUSD's math is fuzzy, I've reviewed them, checked them, and realized they don't disprove MPUSD's logic. Yes, they used bond moneys to retire some debt that was impacting MPUSD's bottom line. Legal. The added wiggle room gave MPUSD moneys for other stuff, including salary increases for administrators. Legal and unpopular, perhaps not the best choice trustees could have made. But what is there to investigate? If somebody out there knows something -- and has the documents to prove it -- can you please illuminate me?
I've been doing tons of stories about MPUSD -- one of the largest school districts in Monterey County -- and will continue to do. Some stories will focus on the cheerful, others on the negative. Not every aspect of the 10,000-plus student district can fit in a slice-of-life story. That doesn't make me a propagandist for MPUSD.
And if "YesIndeed01" has numbers I haven't seen, I'd be glad to take a look at them.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The Hartnell Board of Trustees heard the mostly cons of keeping the auto collision program earlier this week, after its evaluation by a team of experts. They told the board at a special board session that the job market is not accommodating graduates (spokeswoman Terri Pyer reports that one of the programs most loyal students said he had asked 30 body shops in Salinas if they were hiring and not one of them was) and that students who take courses in the program never work in the auto collision field. Research consultant Esteban Soriano, hired to evaluate the program, said that of 449 students enrolled in at least one class in the program in the last five years, only six acquired a degree.
Community colleges are getting a lot of heat these days for not graduating enough students, thus a program that doesn't give out diplomas definitely doesn't look good on paper. But the program has a loyal following, and several graduates have been able to start businesses. Supporters have been cramming Hartnell board meetings to plead for its survival, but administrators are recommending its closure.
My trusted source Scuttlebutt tells me administrators are reluctant to make room for the program in the brand new Alisal Campus, which was supposed to house it originally. But the Alisal Campus has the tech and agricultural programs -- with a lot of support from local ag giants. Then again, Hartnell and other community colleges are under a lot of pressure to prepare students for the labor market, and ag is king in Monterey County.
So it doesn't look good for auto-collision. Stay tuned.
Monday, June 6, 2011
The board will also hear a presentation by Suzanne Flannigan, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Accreditation, and Esteban Soriano, Research Consultant and Workforce Expert
Since MPUSD administrators have prided themselves in being fiscally prudent, they are now in a position to return to previous levels of services, including:
Positions for librarians, music teachers, counselors and custodians. Lower kindergarten class sizes. Increase student support for some sites with certificated teachers. Provide additional campus supervision at some sites. Reinstate middle school athletic programs.
Although a full budget will not be presented until June 20, the MPUSD board is scheduled to discuss and approve budget assumptions at a special meeting scheduled for tonight (June 6).
Friday, June 3, 2011
More than 350 students graduated, with special recognition to:
Paula Villaseñor, Award of Excellence High School Diploma; Mark Davila; outstanding student award; Carlos Aguilar, outstanding performance GED; Michael Dowdy, outstanding performance GED; Elizet Garcia, outstanding commitment and dedication award (plus more than 100 community service hours). Also in the more than 100 community service hours were Anika Palacios, Chester Sleker and Kristin Ginn. Elizabeth Lopez received a tutor service award.
Congratulations to all the graduates and their families. Now, on to the next mountain!
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Hundreds of young men and women in Monterey County will be reaching an important milestone in their lives in the upcoming weeks as they graduate from high school. Did I say hundreds? It may actually be in the thousands. We may not be able to get through all of them, but I'll try to send kudos to as many of them as possible.
Today: a great hurray goes to the graduating Nightingales of the Hartnell College Nursing program. Today at 3 p.m., 59 nurses will be "pinned" at the college's Performing Arts Center.
Also at Hartnell, a new crop of seasonal or migrant workers-students (or their children) will graduate from the High School Equivalency Program. On Friday at 6:30 p.m., 80 students will be recognized for earning their GED. They all plan to continue pursuing post-secondary education. Among them: Karina Ramos-Valdez, the Valedictorian, and her sister, Roxana Ramos-Valdez, Salutatorian. This is the first time that siblings have earned the top two spots in an HEP graduation class, according to spokeswoman Terri Pyer. They are both currently enrolled full-time at Hartnell.
A heartfelt kudo goes to Juan Montero. Juanito, as he's affectionately known, is legally blind and has been in the HEP program since 2007. He's enrolling at Hartnell to continue to pursue his passion: music. An avid musician, he plays the piano and sings. Juanito is picture with his piano instructor Carl Christiasen by Randy Tunnell (courtesy of Hartnell College).
In Friday's paper, a story on Mt.Toro High graduation ceremony.
Enhorabuena to all!