A number of volunteers helping out with the Ceres Unified School District during the 2019-20 school year were honored on Oct. 19 with the presentation of plaques delivered by Superintendent Dr. Scott Siegel.
• Ben Castellanos, a grandparent of a student, as the 2020 “Elementary Volunteer of the Year”;
• Parent Nadine Knittel, the “Junior High Volunteer of the Year”;
• Avery Jackson, the “High School Volunteer of the Year”;
• Brandy Meyer as the “Friend of Education of the Year.”
Castellanos has been a dedicated grandparent volunteering at Hidahl Elementary for the past six years. Ben is a fixture on the Hidahl campus during the instructional day and for evening events. He is especially dedicated to ensuring students and staff members are safe when walking to and from the parking lot each day.
“Ben is very friendly and helpful with our families and students, said Hidahl Elementary Principal Melissa Adams. “He never says ‘no’ whenever he is asked to perform a volunteer duty.”
As a volunteer for many years at Mae Hensley Junior High, Nadine Knittel has made a significant impact on the campus by supporting school activities.
“Upon the development of our PBIS implementation, Nadine volunteered her time to provide parent feedback and gain sponsorship for our warrior (student) store,” said Mae Hensley Junior High Learning Director Gina Tonarelli. “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 the “High School Volunteer of the Year.”
Avery is a mainstay at most, if not all Ceres High Athletic events. He has volunteered his services in any role necessary to support the various coaching staffs of fall and winter sports, observed Athletic Director John Bussard.
“He assists the athletic departments behind the scenes, making life a little easier for the coaches at CHS,” Bussard said.
Avery also supports Ceres Karate, Ceres Youth Football and Ceres Lion’s Club events.
“His involvement with the youth of Ceres has eased the transition into high school for many of these students, when they see his friendly face on the CHS campus.”
Brandy Meyer was selected as the “Friend of Education of the Year” because of her volunteering at career fairs and various events on 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 Career Technical Education classes, including students seeking to enter careers in public service occupations. Brandy also volunteers in several health classes each year, providing students with another opportunity to understand the importance of CPR as a life-saving skill. As a direct result of her efforts, many staff members across the district have become trained and certified in CPR and first aid.
“Brandy’s expertise is highly valued and the students really enjoy her presentations,” said Blaker Kinser Junior High Principal Danielle Cox.
Annually the Ceres Unified School District recognizes individuals and organizations whose support has had a profound impact on student achievement and on the District’s ability to provide a quality learning experience.