By Matt Miller
Luis Grijalva has been running one of the biggest races of his life in recent weeks . . . the race against time.
He crossed the finish line Monday, a winner.
The 2017 Armijo High School and recent Northern Arizona University graduate announced on Instagram that he will be competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo for his birth country, Gautemala.
Source: Armijo grad’s Olympic dream as ‘Dreamer’ comes true
By Paul Farmer
Having suffered a torn ACL in 2017, Lindsey McLaughlin already knew what it was like to miss time in volleyball when the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
It wound up costing the Rodriguez High graduate her sophomore season with the Solano Community College volleyball team.
That sophomore season will now be played with Humboldt State University after McLaughlin recently signed a letter of intent to play for the Lumberjacks.
Source: Solano, Rodriguez grad Lindsey McLaughlin signs to play for Humboldt State
By Thomas Gase
Benicia High School graduate Olivia Mackey says she felt great that she was able to recently end her college softball career with a bang. And by “bang” she means a clutch triple off her bat that helped lead Southern Oregon to another NAIA Softball World Series title.
Although it was the second time in three years (there was no winner in 2020), Southern Oregon won the second of its back-to-back titles last week with a pair of same-day wins over Oregon Tech. Southern Oregon won the first game 3-2 in Georgia to force a second game, which it took 7-5 behind Mackey’s two-out RBI triple for a valuable insurance run in the ninth inning.
“I was getting thrown outside pitches all game but I was still hitting the ball to left,” Mackey said. “That final at-bat, I kept looking for an outside pitch to drive to the opposite field and I finally got one that seemed like a gift. When I got to third base I was so juiced up because we needed to score that huge insurance run. Words can’t describe how super dramatic that was for me.”
Source: Benicia High graduate Olivia Mackey helps Southern Oregon go back-to-back – Times-Herald
By Matt Miller
Katie Woo might have trouble connecting on a major league curveball like most of us, but she has no problem connecting with baseball fans thanks to her quick Twitter thumbs and ability to pound out game stories and features in no time at all.
The 2014 Will C. Wood High School graduate joined the staff of The Athletic, the national sports writing website, just in time to become the new 2021 beat reporter for the St. Louis Cardinals. Her dream was to have a life following Major League Baseball and she was able to achieve it faster than most ballplayers toiling in the minor leagues.
Source: Wood alum gets bird’s-eye view of St. Louis Cardinals
By Matt O’Donnell
Like most of her fellow classmates, Vallejo High senior wrestler Maylin Reyes did not have the typical prep career due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Reyes, however, also did not have the quintessential four years due to a serious eye injury.
The 17-year-old put all those obstacles in the past on Saturday when she signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Elmira College in New York. She signed her letter in front of family, coaches and friends in an emotional ceremony in the Bottari Gym lobby.
Source: Vallejo High wrestler Maylin Reyes signs with Elmira College – Times-Herald
By Richard Bammer
A Vacaville native and Vanden High graduate, Kyle Thomas Herout, will receive a degree in medicine on Sunday during commencement at a Pennsylvania medical school.
Herout, 26, will be a newly minted osteopath when he accepts his diploma from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie. After graduation, he will undergo emergency medicine residency training with Kaiser Permanente Central Valley in Modesto.
Herout’s completion of his medical studies comes as the Association of American Medical Colleges has projected a shortage of up to 139,000 physicians — many in primary care — by 2033, according to a March 23 report by the U.S News and World Report. It cited the aging American population and the large number of doctors reaching retirement age, as two major factors.
Source: Vaca native, Vanden grad earns medical degree – The Reporter
The Solano Winds Community Concert Band recently awarded the Robert O. Briggs Music Scholarship to Keaton Stout, a senior at Vanden High School.
The $1,000 award will help to defray education costs when Stout enrolls at Azusa Pacific University in the fall to work toward a degree in commercial music.
He is an accomplished musician and a leader in all of the ensembles at Vanden High School.
Source: Vanden High senior Keaton Stout wins Robert O. Briggs Music Scholarship
Carlos Alfredo Jr. is in the middle of a very good dream.
Alfredo, who grew up in Vacaville, can be seen in the Netflix series, “Selena.” The second season hit the small screen Monday.
Alfredo, 32, was able to watch the last episodes with his sisters and mother over a span of a few nights.
Source: Will C. Wood grad pursues solo music, more acting after 2 seasons on Netflix’s show ‘Selena’
By Paul Farmer
Prior to this season, the University of California, Berkeley women’s gymnastics program had earned seven All-American honors with the lone first-team award coming in 1992.
The Golden Bears more than matched that total at last week’s NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, with Nevaeh DeSouza by herself claiming four Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association All-American awards.
The Vacaville High graduate earned first-team honors on vault (fourth, 9.8875) and second-team on beam (fifth, 9.9125), floor (sixth, 9.9250) and all-around (eighth, 39.525).
Source: Alumni update: Vacaville grad DeSouza earns 4 All-American honors
By Kris Corey
Rodriguez High students earned top honors at the Solano-Alameda Section FFA speaking contest on February 10, 2021. Students participated in both the impromptu speaking and FFA Creed recitation competitions.
FFA is one of the many Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) that is active in Fairfield-Suisun Unified schools. FFA is one of the oldest and largest CTSOs in the United States. Rodriguez FFA students compete as part of the Solano-Alameda Section. This section includes students from eight other high schools and spans the distance from Dixon to Half Moon Bay.
Source: Press Release: Rodriguez High Future Farmers of America Win Recognition at Sectional Speaking Contest
By Matt Sieger
“Life is weird. When my mom died six months ago, I didn’t even know what my grandparents looked like. Now, I’m getting ready to bake cookies in their hundred-something-year-old mansion with their photos looking down on me in almost every room.”
Thus begins “The Ghosters,” the first book in a series by Vacaville author Diana Corbitt, who has just finished the fourth volume. The house, it turns out, is haunted, because Corbitt has always loved a good scary tale.
The narrator in the first book is Theresa, a seventh-grader who, along with her autistic brother Joey, Joey’s friend Elbie and Theresa’s friend Kerry, grow a little bit older in each book.
Source: Vacaville children’s author loves a good spooky story – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
For the first time in five years, a girl was chosen as the top ambassador for the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club.
Judges named Diana Luu as the club’s Youth of the Year in a virtual “Raise Your Glass” ceremony hosted by the club Thursday evening.
That is not the only diversity that the Will C. Wood High School junior will bring to the position. As Luu said in her speech, she is also the daughter of immigrant parents and a member of the LGBTQ community.
“I come from many things that I believe a Youth of the Year representative should be,” she said. “I feel like I can bring that to the table. I can provide hope to those who cannot find it for themselves.”
Source: Will C. Wood junior Diana Luu named Youth of the Year – The Reporter
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Tune in to Netflix Friday and see the work of Armijo High graduate Frank Abney III.
“Canvas” is a 9-minute film about a grandfather who, after suffering a devastating loss, is sent into a downward spiral and loses his inspiration to create. Years later, he decides to revisit the easel – and pick up the paint brush – but he can’t do it alone.
It was inspired by Abney’s own loss, thinking about how the death of his father affected his mother, Abney told the Daily Republic in 2018.
Source: At the Movies: Armijo grad’s feature comes to Netflix
By Thomas Gase
Ten-year-old Victoria Ward is pretty shy and can be a young woman of a few words. That being said, she is very talented and just needed some help in unmasking that talent.
Or this case, she needed to help give others a mask.
Ward, about to begin fifth grade at Public Safety Academy in Fairfield, has discovered her own skills in sewing, specifically making COVID-19 masks for other kids close to her age. She’s made about 160 for orders on her website and has given away at least another 50 to Emmanuel Temple Apostolic Church in Vallejo. The donated masks were a recent hit with kids at a free resource fair at the church last week.
“It’s fun to do,” Ward said. “I got a sewing kit around Christmas and I started sewing masks a few months ago. It was hard at first. I had to learn to sew correctly and have the measurements right.”
Source: Fairfield girl making masks for other kids, church in Vallejo – Times-Herald
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Musician Dennis Tenney, a 1975 Fairfield High School graduate, joined Facebook recently to read the chatter about Assembly Bill 5.
He ventured out from there to join some horror movie fan groups and got a job composing the music for “Reunion from Hell.”
The horror film is in the fundraising stages and will star Cathy Podewell, who starred in various roles on “Dallas” from 1988-91.
Tenney and Podewell met when she was featured in 1988’s “Night of the Demons,” produced by Tenney’s brother, Kevin Tenney. It also features music from Dennis Tenney.
Source: Fairfield High grad makes most of musical gifts with work on numerous films, shows
By Thomas Gase
Some day, Vallejo High student Tiffany Hernandez Donaire wants to use her engineering knowledge to help build houses and other structures. But for the last four years she’s been the architect of the highest grade point average on campus.
Hernandez Donaire will graduate from high school on Thursday with a 4.2 GPA, good enough for her to be named the school’s valedictorian.
“I found out about a month ago and I was a little surprised,” Hernandez Donaire said. “It kind of came out of nowhere. My goal was always to work hard, but I never thought something like this would actually come.”
Source: Tiffany Hernandez Donaire is Vallejo High valedictorian – Times-Herald
By Clifford L. Williams
Peggy Cohen-Thompson, a Vallejo, Calif., civic leader and current president of the Solano County Office of Education (SCOE), has accomplished more in her early career than most people will in a lifetime. To complement her achievements, she has been selected as Solano County’s Woman of the Year by state Sen. Bill Dodd.
Dodd of Senate District 3 recently announced Thompson’s selection from a field of 30 candidates. Her selection represents Dodd’s district, which covers Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa and Sacramento counties.
Thompson said she was stunned when she got the call from Dodd’s office. “It took me more than a few moments to get my composure,” said Thompson. “I was shocked. I didn’t even know I was a candidate. I was amazed because I didn’t think anyone paid attention to me. I’m not a loud or flashy person; I’m more like ‘a quiet storm’.
Source: Peggy Cohen-Thompson Selected As Solano County’s Woman of the Year | Post News Group
By Paul Farmer
Joia Armstrong and Rayonni Mack are living examples that good things – in this case basketball players – come in all sizes.
Armstrong is a bruising 6-foot-1 post, who had seven double-doubles last season, while Mack is a pesky and proficient 5-3 guard who was named Monticello Empire League after leading the circuit and finishing fourth in the Sac-Joaquin Section at 5.8 steals per game.
Their high school basketball careers ended the same night with Vanden’s a 58-50 loss to Saint Mary’s of Albany in the Northern California Regional quarterfinals, March 5.
Source: Vanden’s Armstrong, Mack moving on to play basketball at next level
By Matt Sieger
Vacaville native and 2010 Vanden High grad Renae Jackson has come a long way in the water since working at a city of Vacaville pool as a lifeguard at age 17.
Jackson, now 27, was selected last year to represent Team USA in surf kayaking at the World Championships and the Pan American Championships. Both were qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Team USA had to finish in the top six at the World Championships in Hungary last August or No. 1 in the Pan American Championships (which include all Olympic events) this spring in Brazil.
Source: Vanden High grad Renae Jackson looks to 2021 Olympics – The Reporter
By Matt Sieger
Ashley Ramirez established her athletic credentials on the courts and fields of Will C. Wood High School in the early 2000s. But her academic and professional credentials are equally impressive.
The advanced practice nurse is on the front lines, helping her fellow nurses and other health professionals combat the deadly COVID-19 virus.
The 2002 graduate was inducted into the Will C. Wood High School Athletic Hall of Fame last year. Ramirez earned seven varsity letters in volleyball, basketball and softball. But she truly made her mark on the softball field.
Source: Coronavirus: Ashley Ramirez helps fight COVID-19 – The Reporter