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What started out as a routine fourth-grade reading assignment became a lesson in civics and the power of petitions for a group of Clovis Unified youngsters who will reap a sweet reward on Friday — strawberry milk.
The district reports that students in Rita Twet’s class at Garfield Elementary learned about a similar petition drive by a boy in Missouri and decided to try their hand at getting pink milk on the menu. They drew up a petition, gathered 151 signatures, and then presented their case to Garfield Principal Jennifer Bump.
Bump liked the idea and contacted Robert Schram, Clovis Unified’s head of food services, who put in a call to Producers Dairy.
Sometimes it’s all about the timing — the district reports that Producers had discontinued strawberry milk because of staffing but had planned to produce a limited run prior to Valentine’s Day. Schram immediately ordered several thousand cartons for Clovis Unified. (And no, pink milk does not come from pink cows, just as chocolate milk does not come from brown cows.)
“I am so proud of Room 40!” Bump said. “They showed such initiative, passion, and drive to make a difference. I hope this experience reinforces that there is so much they can do to affect positive change in the world.”
Students in all elementary schools in Clovis will get the special milk treat on Friday, the day that Valentine’s Day will be celebrated. Schools are closed on Monday for the Lincoln’s Birthday holiday.
Also in School Zone:
- University High claims Fresno County Academic Decathlon title again.
- School Board members criticize fellow trustees on “Unfiltered.”
- Four Valley teens nominated by Rep. Jim Costa to attend service academies.
University High Academic Decathlon Team Takes Top Prize
University High School, which in recent years has been nearly a perennial winner of the Fresno County Academic Decathlon competition, smoked the opposition again this year and took home the top prize.
University’s team will represent the county in the state virtual competition March 1-12.
The school, which is chartered by Fresno Unified and sits on the Fresno State campus, has yet to win the state championship but has taken the small schools national championship 12 times.
The top 10 schools on this year’s county competition were University (43,306.2 points), Clovis North (33,703.2), Sanger (32,290.4), Firebaugh (31,582.3), Design Science (29,934.2), Kingsburg (28,503.8), Kerman (28,063.9), Bullard (28,020.6), Buchanan (27,737.6), and Coalinga (26,259.2).
University also won the Super Quiz event on Saturday, with Design Science and Sanger coming in second and third. Sanger also won a prize for most improved team.
The academic decathlon tests students of varying academic abilities in numerous subject areas and the Super Quiz. This year’s theme is “Water: A Most Essential Resource.”
‘Slatic Just Wants Attention, Islas Should Apologize’
Fresno Unified School Board President Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas and Trustee Keshia Thomas appeared on this week’s GV Wire “Unfiltered” show to talk about the recent chaotic board meeting and also what Fresno Unified is doing to improve student performance.
Both agreed that “circus sideshows” such as the furor over a tweet by Board Clerk Veva Islas and the shouting demonstration put on by Trustee Terry Slatic at last week’s board meeting aren’t helping the district’s schoolchildren get better at reading and math.
Jonasson Rosas took aim directly at Slatic, whose loud interruptions led once again to a premature meeting adjournment.
“I wouldn’t spend any amount of time trying to figure out what he’s trying to actually accomplish because I don’t see that there’s actually a path to victory in any sort of agenda terms that he’s trying to actually reach,” she said. “I think it’s attention, and I honestly think that his overall motivation is just to make the district look bad because if the district looks bad, the fact that he hasn’t accomplished anything doesn’t matter because we’re all dysfunctional. So I think that’s his overall goal.”
Thomas, meanwhile, said that Islas made a mistake by including in her tweet a sentence that appeared to celebrate temporary infertility for unvaccinated men who catch COVID-19.
“I didn’t agree with the tweet, and there needed to be an apology. So the fact that everyone came out to just talk about how they felt, all people should have been able to do that,” Thomas said. “However, generally people who come into the boardroom, they direct their comments to board leadership. And unfortunately, board leadership was a part of this or part of board leadership (Islas) was a part of this issue. So the tweet again, it should be apologized for. I doubt if it happens. But sometimes we mess up and we just need to say we’re sorry.”
Students Nominated for Service Academies
U.S. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, announced that four Valley students have been nominated for service academy appointments. For most people, one service academy nomination would be pretty special. Two of the four got nominations for four service academies, which is noteworthy.
The students are:
- Thomas Cox of Fresno, San Joaquin Memorial High School graduate, U.S. Naval Academy.
- Skylar Hartley, attending Liberty High School in Madera, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, West Point Academy, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
- Andrew Koenig, attending El Capital High School in Merced, U.S. Air Force Academy & West Point Academy.
- Thomas Garner III, attending Atwater High School, U.S. Merchant Marine, U.S. Naval Academy, West Point Academy, and U.S. Air Force Academy.
If accepted by an academy, students receive a full scholarship and must complete a military service obligation requirement upon graduation.