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Walt Hanline, superintendent of the Ceres Unified School District, was bestowed with the Chamber's Citizen of the Year Lifetime Achievement honor on Saturday.

Hanline was nominated by two members of the School Board, Teresa Guerrero and Eric Ingwerson and chosen by a pool of past recipients.

Dr. Hanline, 57, was tapped for his commitment to the Ceres community evident through the many contributions he has made to the education of Ceres children and to the Ceres community. The nominees stated that the "ultimate success of Ceres students drives Dr. Hanline's every decision concerning the educational experience and the facilities in which our students learn and grow."

They cited the achievement scores of students having risen dramatically under Dr. Hanline's leadership, causing Ceres Unified to be ranked topmost among similar districts in the state.

Hanline served as a volunteer on both the Measure U and Measure J campaign committees. J allowed CUSD to build and open five new elementary schools and Central Valley High School, as well as modernize existing facilities. The new schools allowed the reduction of overcrowding, and returned CUSD to a traditional school year schedule. Measure U, passed in November, is allowing CUSD is set to build and renovate facilities, enhance its vocational education program to ensure well-paying jobs for CUSD graduates, and expand its after-school program to help keep students away from gangs and drugs.

In 2004 Hanline co-founded CUSD Foundation to supplement resources to support educational programs and events in Ceres schools. With over $43,000 awarded in the form of mini-grants to Ceres teachers, the CUSD Foundation has provided over 100 teachers the opportunity to excite students about learning.

Outside of the realm of education, Hanline served as president of the Ceres Chamber of Commerce in 2005, heading up the Chamber's annual Golf Tournament fundraiser.

At the Ceres American Legion Hall affair, the Chamber of Commerce installed new Chamber officers. Bertie Plante assumed the Chamber's chair from Alan Love. Shane Parson is now chair elect while Robert Yockey was installed as chief financial officer/treasurer. New board members are Alan Love and Mary Lopez. Ambassadors are Elaine Marlett, Julia Fatheere, Tim Bird, Tracy Maciel and Rachelle Silvia. Education chair is Jay Simmonds and Pam Agnew is in charge of Special Events.

Since 1970 the Chamber has recognized outstanding members of the community who have made extraordinary contributions to life in Ceres. Last year's Citizen of the Year recipient was Phil Reynders who was honored for preserving Ceres history in the establishment of a town museum.