CUSD rewards community volunteers – Ceres Courier



A number of volunteers assisting the Ceres Unified School District during the 2019-2020 school year were honored on October 19 with the presentation of plaques presented by Superintendent Dr. Scott Siegel.

Were honored:

• Ben Castellanos, grandparent of a student, as “Elementary Volunteer of the Year” 2020;

• Parent Nadine Knittel, “Junior Volunteer of the Year”;

• Avery Jackson, “High School Volunteer of the Year”;

• Brandy Meyer as “Education Friend of the Year”.

Castellanos is a dedicated grandparent who has volunteered at Hidahl Elementary School for six years. Ben is a staple on the Hidahl campus during the teaching day and for evening events. He is particularly dedicated to ensuring the safety of students and staff members when going to the parking lot each day.

“Ben is very friendly and helpful with our families and students,” said Melissa Adams, principal of Hidahl Elementary School. “He never says ‘no’ every time he is asked to volunteer.

As a volunteer for many years at Mae Hensley Junior High, Nadine Knittel has made a significant impact on campus by supporting school activities.

“While developing our PBIS implementation, Nadine volunteered her time to provide parent feedback and secure sponsorship for our (student) warrior store,” said Gina Tonarelli, principal of Mae Hensley Junior High Learning. “She is a key leader among parents and encourages others to get involved and be active in supporting school activities.”

As a Ceres High alum, Avery Jackson was named “High School Volunteer of the Year”.

Avery is a mainstay at most if not all Ceres High Athletic events. He has offered his services in all the roles necessary to support the various coaches of the fall and winter sports, observed athletic director John Bussard.

“He assists the sports departments behind the scenes, making life a bit easier for the CHS coaches,” said Bussard.

Avery also supports Ceres Karate, Ceres Youth Football and Ceres Lion’s Club events.

“His involvement with the young people of Ceres has made the transition to high school easier for many of these students, when they see his friendly face on the CHS campus.

Brandy Meyer was chosen as “Education Friend of the Year” because of her volunteer work at career fairs and various events at many school campuses in Ceres. The owner of Meyer CPR & First Aid in downtown Ceres has provided CPR and first aid information and training to staff and students in vocational technical education courses, including students seeking careers in the public service. Brandy also volunteers in several health classes each year, giving students another opportunity to understand the importance of CPR as a vital skill. As a result of her efforts, many district staff have been trained and certified in CPR and first aid.

“Brandy’s expertise is greatly appreciated and the students really appreciate her presentations,” said Danielle Cox, principal of Blaker Kinser Junior High.

Each year, the Ceres Unified School District recognizes individuals and organizations whose support has had a profound impact on student success and on the District’s ability to provide a quality learning experience.


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