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.”
Jordan Leveau, CEO of Artpop Cosmetics, contacted one of his former teachers from Rodriguez High School with an idea for his new lip kit release.
Artpop is an organic, vegan, animal-cruelty free, California-based, vibrant cosmetic makeup line, according to the company’s website. It launched a new lip kit Wednesday at the San Francisco RAW Impact Showcase.
To highlight the company’s vision, Leveau asked Lynn Larsen to have her students design and paint a backdrop for the event.
To past generations the idea of constructing robots seemed like science fiction, but it is now a common part of secondary school curricula.
It has paid off well for Vanden High School’s robotics team, the RoboVikes, which recently received the highest honor at the FIRST Robotics regional competition in Sacramento when they were bestowed with the Chairman’s Award.
The award “honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST,” according to a news release.
Her gymnastics coaches scoured the records and couldn’t find a single gymnast who had done what Nevaeh DeSouza had just done.
The 17-year-old Vacaville High senior scored a perfect 10.0 in the vault at the State championships at Pleasanton on March 16.
“We looked all the way back to 2000, and it hasn’t happened in Northern California,” said DeSouza’s coach Jennifer Hudson at Dream Xtreme Gymnastics in Vacaville. “Any event, any athlete, at any level.”
The 16th season of NBC’s hit singing competition series “The Voice” premieres on Feb. 25, and scores of aspiring singers across the nation are preparing to audition for the show, go through a few rounds of training with one of the celebrity judges and ultimately be crowned ‘the voice,’ where they will win $10,000 and a recording contract with Universal Music Group.
One of these open auditions is taking place at San Francisco’s Moscone Center West on Feb. 24, which makes it a primary destination for Bay Area vocalists. Of course, this includes singers from Vacaville.
This week, The Reporter profiled Tyler James Luttrell, a Vacaville native who has been prepping for the audition with renditions of country and Southern rock songs.
Vacaville High graduate and former Westwind Flyers Track Club member Robyn Stevens won the USA Track and Field 50-kilometer (31.1-mile) race walk championship in Santee, Saturday, with a time of 4 hours, 34 minutes, 24 seconds.
The top three finishers (male and female) will compete for the United States team in the 2019 Pan American Race Walking Cup in Lazaro, Mexico, April 20-21, and Stevens will participate in the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, July 26-Aug. 11.