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.
“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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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’.
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.
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.
13-year old Benicia Middle School student Bella Cannon was recently accepted into ArtEmotion, an elite summer ballet intensive (sister program to Ballet West Academy) in Cleveland, OH. Girls from all over the country auditioned and only 100 were accepted by invitation only.
“She is very excited and honored to have this opportunity,” said Bella’s mother, Becca Cannon.
At the academy, Cannon will be studying ballet technique, pointe, stage character, choreography, studio and professional etiquette, dance history, nutrition, injury prevention, and more. The girls will have an intense schedule where they dance from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily. The program is intended to advance dancers who are preparing for professional company ballet life.
Congressman Thompson announces 2019 App Challenge winners; Winners selected by local tech experts
Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that Kai Rush and Benji Ryujin have been selected as the 2019 App Challenge winners for the Fifth Congressional District for their app Space Trace. Kai and Benji are seniors at Benicia High School and competed against more than a dozen other app designers in this year’s challenge. They were selected by a group of local technology experts.
Rizal Aliga wants to tell Vallejo about all the good things occurring at Jesse Bethel High School. But instead of shouting the news from the rooftop, he has decided to just broadcast it.
Aliga, a 2016 graduate of Bethel and 2019 graduate of UC Santa Cruz, has helped start a lunchtime and after-school club that runs KJBJ, a group intended to give more coverage on the whole school that deals with radio, streaming, broadcasting and other journalism elements.
Teens in the group learn to use a camera, call play-by-play for numerous sporting events, talk into the microphone and use proper interviewing skills and then putting it all together for Mixcloud and the online site. Group participants also learn about editing skills and music, such as when to play certain music during games. The club covers just about every Bethel athletic activity and is intending to do a documentary for each of them.
Like many young women, Calista Lum absorbed the message that she was not as capable as her male peers when it came to science, technology, engineering and math.
She wanted to pursue physics, engineering and data analysis because she enjoyed them.
When she enrolled at the University of California, Merced, she joined the Merced Nanomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing. She’s mentored by physics professor Sayantani Ghosh and graduate student William Delmas, whom she credits with a great deal of her success thus far.
Some 16-year-old girls dream of romance, a knight in shining armor, a white picket fence and children.
Indica DeRose views the world from a different vantage point. The teen, who finished high school early, will make her second appearance at next weekend’s Benicia Film Festival.
Her film, “Just Girly Things,” was inspired by a 195os-era publication “Who’s Looking at You?” that offered advice on how to look one’s best and attract a husband. She found it in a Benicia antique store and began to peruse it, coming up with an idea for a film.
It always helps to have a few good references on your resume. For Damany Hendrix, his top reference just happens to be a two-time all star in the NBA.
After helping the Vallejo High 1998 graduate earn jobs in the NBA G League with the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors organizations, Hendrix was once again called upon by Jerry Stackhouse to help with his coaching staff, this time at the Vanderbilt.
Hendrix’s new job is the new Director of Player Development and Quality Control for Vanderbilt, while Stackhouse is the new head coach.
Vacaville High baseball stand out Tony Gonsolin got the call he’s been waiting for.
The 2012 graduate will be promoted Wednesday from the Los Angeles Dodgers Triple-A team in Oklahoma City and according to mlbtraderumors.com is scheduled to start against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Drafted by the Dodgers in 2016 in the ninth round out of St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Gonsolin moved through the farm system earning the promotion to Triple-A this season where he’s earned one win against one loss in 26 innings giving up just 20 hits and striking out 31 and an earned run average of 2.77.
It was crowded in Vanden High’s Jim Boyd Gym, Wednesday, and that had nothing to do with the folks in the stands.
Eleven Vikings athletes from six sports took part in a letter of intent or were announced signing ceremony before family, friends and teammates, with two unable to attend.
“We stop, pause and gather as they reach one more milestone in their journey,” said Vanden girls basketball coach Allison Johnson, who served as master of ceremonies. “We’re honored and privileged to be here to celebrate with you.”