The 10th annual Duckie Derby held Oct. 20 as fundraiser for Leadership Gilroy

Selina Armendariz and Angelika Rangel show off their trophy. – Photo courtesy Leadership Gilroy

Robert Airoldi

Gilroy Gardens’ Coyote Lake pond was the scene of much fun — and frustration — as people from Gilroy and Morgan Hill sat in big yellow duck or white swan paddleboats and raced around the waters for a trophy prize and bragging rights.

The 10th annual Duckie Derby event was held Oct. 20 as a fundraiser for Leadership Gilroy. Congratulations to the ultimate winners: Selina Armendariz and Angelika Rangel who work for the Gilroy Police Department.

Other participants included Joel and Paula Goldsmith, St. Joseph’s Family Center; Alex and Eddie Bravo, Toastmasters of Gilroy; Marty Cheek and Lori Allen, Gilroy Life; Kevin and Nick Fortino, Fortino Winery; Nicholle Rock, Elder & Company, CPA; Larry and J.Chris Mickartz, GMH Today; Alexis Winant, Gilroy Chamber of Commerce; Greg Katterhagen and Richard, Dirtier by the Dozen; Ethan Ogle and Loren Sakai, Gilroy Fire Department; Kishon Southy and Isaac Chavarria, Kneaded; Luca Rutigliano and Marcel Eichenberger, Cordevalle Golf Resort; Lillian Silva and Melanie Davis, Leadership Gilroy Class of 2019; Richie Chavarria and Raquel Lopez, Garlic City Auction; and Richard Rivas and Augustine Liquigan, Recology South Valley.

Watching the races was a real quack up and lots of laughs.

Morgan Hill has amazing teachers. Virginia Barrera, sixth-grade teacher at Martin Murphy Middle School, was named one of six finalists for California League of Middle Schools Region 5 Educator of the Year. “We are very pleased for Virginia,” said Steve Betando, superintendent for MHUSD. “Her equity-focused approach to teaching and drive to advocate for all students is a tremendous asset to Martin Murphy.”

Barrera has taught English language arts, social studies, and English language development classes during the past three years and has taken on several leadership roles on campus. She served as head of Naviance College Readiness Program, facilitated English learner interventions and assessments as well as lead the 6th-grade team as the ELA/SS Department Chair.

In addition to contributing to a positive and caring culture among staff, Barrera has strongly supported best practices in monitoring English learner progress. She assists in planning college visits throughout the year to provide exposure to college life. Her work with promoting college and career readiness has been a key factor in building the positive school climate at Martin Murphy.

“Virginia is an invaluable member of our school community, and deserves praise for her dedication and enthusiasm,” said Martin Murphy Principal Alex Aasen.

Barrera and the other finalists will be honored Nov. 15. A winner will be selected to represent Region 5 at the State Educator of the Year celebration in Sacramento at the annual conference in March.

We’re proud to have her teaching our children.

Here’s some news from the Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund. The oversight committee recently adjusted its policy about disbursing funds.

“Because of this adjustment, the committee was able to approve disbursements to these victims without assessing their financial need,” said Donna Pray, executive director of the Gilroy Foundation. Victims  injured by the gunman will receive lump-sum disbursements from the Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund.

Funds and received donations and pledges exceed $1.7 million.

Pray said they receive daily words of support from around the world. One PayPal donation had this comment: “This donation is from New Light Congregation, another victim of a mass shooting. We grieve with you.” This Pittsburgh, Penn., congregation lost many members at the synagogue shooting in October of 2018.

“This is our hometown and we will always be #GilroyStrong,” she said.

Karen McDonald

The Friends of the Morgan Hill Library presented its 2019 Best of Friends award to Karen MacDonald at a luncheon at Ladera Grill on Oct. 24. This was also the 45th anniversary of the Friends, which was established in 1974. Karen is a longtime volunteer with the Friends. She has been in charge of book sales, and for the past 12 years she has coordinated all the volunteers for quarterly book sales and the Friends bookstore. She also regularly sorts book donations.

Robert Airoldi