Published in the April 12 – April 25, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Looks like Morgan Hill Fire has bragging rights over the Morgan Hill Police Department after a team of co-ed firefighters beat the team of officers in a friendly match 4-2 in the inaugural Poppy Jasper Cup played April 1 at the Outdoor Sports Center. The firefighters will get to keep the trophy for the next year. The teams played a 45-minute game on a short field with five players each.

CalFire Division Chief Jim Crawford said it was a fun event for everyone and built camaraderie.

“It’s something we should do more often,” he said. “Although I think we are going to need to practice harder for next year.”

Tournament Director Dave Payne said the Morgan Hill Youth Sports Alliance, the nonprofit that runs the fields under a charter with the city, was pleased to bring the Poppy Jasper Cup to the Condit Road facility.

“The police and firefighters played a good game,” he said.

Great to see our public safety men and women having some competitive fun!

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Morgan Hill resident Tiffany Pereira, 42, finished first in the March 26 American Association of University Women’s 34th annual Wildflower Run put on by the Morgan Hill branch members. She ran the 6.2-mile course in 41:57. San Jose resident Dominik Damato, 37, was the first male finisher with a time of 35:35. Rounding out the other winners were Jonas Soeholm, 36, who finished first in the men’s field of the 5K, while Morgan Hill’s Kaylah Grant, l7, topped the women’s division. A great job by all the runners, the AAUW and their volunteers as the money raised provides funds to support education of women and girls. A fantastic cause!

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Chris Niemann

The premiere of the musical piece “Mushroom Mardi Gras” composed by Sobrato High School graduate Chris Niemann was performed at the March 11 South Valley Symphony at Gavilan College Theater — and it wowed audiences with its whimsical brilliance. The piece was commissioned by Morgan Hill Life to honor the festival held in downtown Morgan Hill every Memorial Day weekend.

Publisher Marty Cheek is on the board of directors for the symphony. He loves the fact that the spring concert brought so many families to see the “Next Generation” of young musicians.

“The South Valley region has an amazing symphonic orchestra, and residents are fast learning to appreciate the classical and popular music performed at the four concerts every year,” Cheek said. “Niemann’s piece was amazing in its skill and complexity of conveying a romantic day out at the Mushroom Mardi Gras. We plan to commission a piece in honor of the Gilroy Garlic Festival for next year’s March concert.”

To hear the composition, visit our website at

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Congratulations to Imogene Cockrum and Mara Peruzzi, two Mt. Madonna School students who took home prizes in the Yes! Magazine National Student Writing Competition. Cockrum, a sophomore and Gilroy resident was the winner of the high school category (out of 727 students), and Peruzzi was one of three Powerful Voice Winners.

In addition to Mara and Imogen’s accomplishments, several other students’ writing endeavors were honored: junior Brigg Busenhart, junior Carl Ward, senior Izabella Thomas, and senior Tara Ching essays were chosen as Literary Gems, meaning a selection from their essays is published with the winning essays.

Great job, Mt. Madonna students! Another shining example of the quality of our local students.

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Two Live Oak High School Future Farmers of America members took home awards at the South Coast Region FFA Speaking Finals, which stretches from San Jose to Los Angeles consisting of six sections and 39 chapters.


Shae Urbina, a sophomore, moved on to the semi-finals of the Impromptu Speaking competition. Joey Richmond, a freshman, moved on to the semi-finals and the finals of the Creed Speaking competition where he placed first. He will be moving on to the state competition.

It’s an achievement to even qualify for that level of competition as one has to be in the top placings of section to even move on, said Kaiti Whitmyre, Live Oak High School ag teacher and Morgan Hill FFA advisor. “They worked so hard and we were so proud to have a representative in every competition there,” she said.

Other Live Oak competitors were Serena Wood, Gracie Dudek, Lindsey Hillesland, Cristian Mendoza, Cory Carlson and Madelyn Guinn.

Congratulations to all the local FFA competitors for their hard work.