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March 18, 2011 > An evening to honor Hayward school heroes

An evening to honor Hayward school heroes

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By courtesy of Hayward Education Foundation

"We are very excited about the evening's program," says President of Hayward Education Foundation (HEF), Dianne McDermott, speaking about the 'Night of Heroes' gala. This will be the second year that the Foundation is holding a special evening fundraising gala to honor volunteers who by their efforts, support Hayward students, education and the community.

Hayward public and private schools are asked to nominate one "hero" who has gone above and beyond, to help his/her school, in a volunteer capacity. Criteria for selection of the volunteers include working for the greater good, making a broad impact at the school, contributing new innovations to educational programs or enhancing the learning environment. All nominations are reviewed and confirmed by the HEF Board of Directors. Working in cooperation with the Hayward Unified School District, the Hayward Education Foundation then honors these local school volunteers.

As the special keynote speaker at the "Night of Heroes Gala," Hayward resident, Vecepia Towery Robinson, winner of Survivor: Marquesas, will add an extra sparkle to the evening's festivities. John M. Kessler, an Emmy-winning Bay Area television reporter serves as Master of Ceremonies and as a special highlight, a slideshow of all award recipients will be shown.

Student artwork will be up for bid as part of a silent auction. Also, a live auction and raffle offer a variety of unique items including: an Xbox 360, a 3D television, Flip video camera, a Kindle, dinner gift certificates, airfare and stay in Scottsdale, Arizona, and use of an Oakland A's skybox.

Entertainment throughout the evening will be provided by student groups: Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward, Moreau Catholic High School Choir, and Hayward High School P.R.I.D.E. Marching Band.

This evening event serves a dual purpose: to honor Hayward's extraordinary school volunteers while helping to raise funds for the Teacher Grant Program, whereby designated funds are given directly to teachers to support innovative classroom projects. "All too often teachers have to take money out of their own pockets to purchase things needed to teach their students," adds McDermott. Last year the Foundation could only grant 20 of the 104 requests from Hayward teachers.

"We have to educate the community about the work HEF is doing," says McDermott. "Grants really help and I wish we had enough money to fulfill all the requests."

It is hoped that through this year's gala, even more grants can be distributed. "HEF is looking for the support of companies that want an educated, well-rounded workforce. We want the business community to partner with the schools. Everyone has to support the value of education," states McDermott.

California State University East Bay (CSUEB) has generously donated use of the Student Union for the gala evening. Among those attending are: the Hayward Fire Department, Hayward Teachers' Union, Hayward City Council, and Fremont Bank.

"It's so nice when the community comes together for a common cause. We care and we're trying to make this a better place for the students," says McDermott. "Even though you're only one person you should believe and channel all that energy to make a difference. Compassion is an extremely good cause."

Hayward Education Foundation Gala - "A Night of Heroes"
Friday, March 25
5 p.m. - Cocktail Hour
6:15 p.m. - Dinner and Program
Cal State East Bay University, Student Union
25800 Carlos Bee Boulevard, Hayward
For information call (510) 881-0890 or email:
Tickets are $95 per person

2011 "Hayward Heroes":

Mrs. Elmira Williams "Grandma Williams," Bowman School; The Kids' Breakfast Club led by Mark Salinas, Burbank School; Linda Salazar, Cherryland School; Theresa Rothe, East Avenue School; Elizabeth Bellah, Eden Gardens School; Gabriela Del Hoyo, Eldridge School; Lupe Gonzales, Fairview School; Soledad Padilla, Harder School; Chuck Horner, Longwood School; Marlene Weiner, Lorin Eden School; Roland Buss, Palma Ceia School; Stacey Zezza, Park School; An Anonymous Parent, Faith Ringgold School; Emilia Martins, Ruus School; Jamal Wyche, Southgate School; Gregory Ward, Stonebrae School; Maria-Elena Sanchez, Strobridge School; Cheryl Cooper, Treeview/ Bidwell School; Lauren Cruz, Tyrrell School; Tracy Hardy, Bret Harte Middle School; Casiida Pena, Cesar Chavez Middle School; Barrett Wells, King Middle School; Seana Condit-Gordon, Ochoa Middle School; Donna Avery, Winton Middle School; Thalia McNeil-Smith, Brenkwitz High School; Jill Barbosa-Gonzales, Hayward High School; Don Morneau, Moreau Catholic High School; Michael Justice, Impact Academy of Arts and Technology; Heidi Louwaert, Hayward Adult School; Frances Gardner-Helen Turner, Child Development Programs; Pat Wilbur, Hayward Adult School Special Education Office / Sunset Community Center.

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