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They feed, comfort and transport Stanislaus schoolkids. They’re up for state awards

Six school employees in Stanislaus County, California, were selected on Jan. 14, 2019, to compete for statewide awards for classifed (nonteaching) workers. Back row, left to right: Cheryl Galvan, Vernon Wheeland, Jeanine Sique. Front row, left to right: Anita Theiler, Brigid Olson, Lorena Rodriguez-Daniel
Six school employees in Stanislaus County, California, were selected on Jan. 14, 2019, to compete for statewide awards for classifed (nonteaching) workers. Back row, left to right: Cheryl Galvan, Vernon Wheeland, Jeanine Sique. Front row, left to right: Anita Theiler, Brigid Olson, Lorena Rodriguez-Daniel

Stanislaus County has announced its nominees for statewide awards for non-teaching school employees.

The winners in six categories will be announced during Classified School Employees Week, May 19 to 25. They include bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians and other folks who help the campuses function.

The nominees were chosen at a Jan. 14 gathering sponsored by the county Office of Education and the Association of California School Administrators Region VII:

  • Brigid Olson, a cafeteria worker at Somerset Middle School in Modesto, was chosen in the child nutrition category. “Brigid always makes the extra effort to ensure that all students are receiving the best possible breakfast and lunch daily,” the organizers said. She has done this work for 38 years.

  • Vernon Wheeland topped the maintenance/operations category for his 16 years in the Ceres Unified School District. “Vernon is always willing to go above and beyond and is currently pursuing his water treatment certification so that every sip of water at a Ceres school is the purest drink a student has all day.”

  • Anita Theiler won the para-educator and instructional aide category, where she has worked for 44 years. She now is in a special day classroom at Cloverland Elementary School in Oakdale. She was cited for helping students with science fairs and field trips and for offering “a listening ear and a compassionate shoulder ... She ensures that students have coats, toothbrushes, food to eat, and money for camp.”

  • Jeanine Sique was chosen in the support/security category for her work for the Waterford Unified School District. She has been a health clerk and a clerk typist, and now is a registered behavior technician. “Jeanine takes pride in ensuring that Waterford students are safe, valued and supported, regardless of their social-economic status or ethnic background.”

  • Lorena Rodriguez-Daniel won in the office/technical category for her five years as principal’s secretary at Empire Elementary School. “Lorena is dependable, positive, efficient and accurate.” She founded the Empire Running Club, which has 39 student members, some of whom have struggled with school or personal issues.

  • Cheryl Galvan won the transportation category for her 22 years as a bus driver for the Riverbank Unified School District. “... she has demonstrated her knowledge and high skills of the job during everyday bus drive and also during emergency and stressful situations ... She is a cheerleader for students in the stands who may have no one else to cheer for them. She buys food for hungry students and on numerous occasions has made meals for the entire team to take on an athletic trip.”

The California Department of Education will choose the statewide winners.

Also at the Jan. 14 gathering, Kathy King, received the third annual Jane Johnston Civility Award. She is a para-educator at Chatom Preschool, west of Turlock.

Hospital robot gets a name

Emanuel Medical Center celebrated its new robotic surgical device by asking schoolchildren in its service area to name it.

Jasilynn Wright, 8, of Turlock won the contest with Sir Fixalot. A panel of hospital employees judged the entries.

Jasilynn attends Walter Brown School. Her prizes include a visit for herself and her family to see how Sir Fixalot works in an operating room.

The robot previously went by its brand name, da Vinci Xi Surgical System. Emanuel already had the technology for orthopedic surgery and will use the new system for several other procedures.

Robots allow surgeons to translate their hand motions into more precise movements of instruments inside a patient, a news release said.

“The result is smaller scars, faster recovery and better outcomes for patients,” Emanuel CEO Lani Dickinson said.

And finally ...

Students at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School assembled toiletry kits for users of the Cleansing Hope Shower Shuttle.

One the portable vehicles came to the central Modesto campus Tuesday to pick up the 150-plus kits. Each contains Q-tips, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a pack of tissues and a razor, parent Christina Mize said by email. The students also donated socks, underwear and towels, along with extra toiletries for future kits.

Cleansing Hope was launched by What Would Jesus Do Ministries to provide showers for homeless and other clients. Our Lady of Fatima helped out as part of National Catholic Schools Week.

Names of Note recognizes people and organizations for their contribution to their communities. Submit items to jholland@modbee.com.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.

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