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New school name after Walt Hanline
Ceres Unified Superintendent Walt Hanline will be long remembered after he retires in 2010.

The Ceres School Board voted unanimously last Thursday to name one of the district's three new schools after him.

"I'm so appreciative of their support and kindness," Hanline said. "There's no honor nicer than that. It kind of makes me speechless."

Walter White teacher Tina Jurkovic and Ceres High Spanish instructor Vincent Vega submitted Hanline's name for consideration. Elementary #13 will be built on South Central Avenue.

"Dr. Hanline has been an important figure in the building of many new schools in our district," Jurkovic stated. "A tribute to his legacy should take place while he's still around."

Hanline has worked for CUSD since 2001-02.

He served as a volunteer on both the Measure U and Measure J campaign committees.

Measure J allowed the district 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, will allow Ceres Unified to build and renovate facilities, enhance its vocational educational program to ensure well-paying jobs for CUSD graduates, and expand its after-school program to help keep students away from gangs and drugs.

The achievement scores of students have risen dramatically under Dr. Hanline's leadership as well.

He also received the Ceres Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Lifetime Achievement award in January.

Elementary #14, planned for Roeding Road, will be named after the Lucas family (Grant and Mildred).

Former Ceres High teacher/baseball coach Art McRae submitted a three-page nomination letter.

Grant and Mildred are both active members of many Ceres civic and service organizations.

Grant, a 1940 Ceres High graduate that served as class president and received recognition as an honor student, filled a seat on the Ceres School Board for eight-and-a-half years.

Mildred, a retired elementary school teacher, has authored two books about Ceres' history.

Junior High #3 (E. Whitmore Avenue) will be named in honor of deceased Mexican-American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

"Chavez is a recognized national figure," Hanline said. "He is a man that sacrificed greatly for what he believed in. We're sending a message to the Hispanic students in our nation that anything is possible. It doesn't matter what your heritage or ethnicity is."

A total of 17 names were considered during the selection process. Each of the district's seven board members narrowed their choices down to five.

Trustee Edgar Romo's list included Hanline, Chavez, Betty Davis, Eastgate and Jerry Panella.

"The reason I picked (Chavez) is because he left behind a highly-respected legacy," Romo said. "He always believed in the acts of leadership. I selected (Hanline) because he's always demonstrated to be an intelligent leader. He has a high-degree of integrity. He has working skills like no one else. He always has good judgment. He's done a lot for the district."