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Jepsons build character

In the past and present, anyone who associated themselves with any member of the Jepson family knows how special they are.

After reading Brian VanderBeek's story in the March 24 issue regarding the Jepsons, I wanted to express my thoughts on Dean Jepson, who was one of my summer school teachers and later at El Capitan Junior High School (now El Capitan Elementary School) in Delhi.

There are two reasons why I work in journalism today: my late father, Ralph Bush, and Dean.

While growing up, I read The Bee's sports and most sections with enthusiasm; my father encouraged me to read other parts of the newspaper. In sixth grade, Dean started El Capitan's campus newspaper. For me, it was tough having Dean as a teacher for three classes; I was in his science and physical education classes.

But Dean encouraged me on how to exam "both sides of the issue," whether it was sports or news stories. He also pushed me to better myself as a student; to me, hard work builds character, and Dean Jepson does an excellent job in teaching that.

Over the last 11 years, I've worked full-time as a reporter and sports editor for three newspapers in the Modesto and Sacramento areas. I've covered many high school and collegiate athletic games to writing columns on the Sacramento Kings for five seasons.

During the 1990s, I had the pleasure of covering Dean and Laura Jepson's oldest adult children, Jade and Erin, on the Hilmar High School boys and girls basketball teams, along with the school's volleyball and track squads.

Dean, thank you for pushing me toward becoming the journalist that I am today, and for that extra push we all need from time to time in our lives.

Any current Delhi Middle School student who has Dean Jepson as teacher, consider yourself blessed and fortunate to have him as your mentor. He'll make a difference.

MIKE BUSH

Modesto

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