West High students join district to honor local heroes
by Glenn Moore
Jan 10, 2014 | 2997 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Heroes Week
West High senior Jessica Rasmussen congratulates Dr. James Franco, Tracy Unified School District superintendent, who was presented a medal for his efforts in local schools and the Tracy community during a Heroes Week rally Thursday, Jan. 9, at West High School.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Students recognized the everyday heroes who have made a difference in their lives during Hero Week at West, Tracy and Kimball high schools, which started Monday, Jan 6.

The weeklong program highlighted people whose efforts sometimes go unrecognized, along with local and national heroes.

The program at the three high schools included a video presentation of historical heroes, such as Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.

Students wrote essays about people who have inspired them and shaped their lives.

West High leadership students hosted an assembly Thursday, Jan. 9, in the school gymnasium where they surprised teachers and Tracy Unified School District Superintendent Dr. James Franco by declaring them local heroes.

Brianna Duarte, a senior, was happy to see teachers get the recognition.

“I think the superheroes week was something great for the Tracy Unified to start, because they don’t get enough recognition as hometown heroes, especially the teachers,”

Duarte said. “They will feel really appreciated after this week, and they deserve it.”

Teachers were kept in the dark about the assembly, thinking it was mostly about police officers, firefighters and military members. Students took turns reading essays of appreciation.

Duarte picked two teachers — English teacher Julie Gard and cheer coach and class adviser Cristina Tanner — as her heroes.

“Miss Gard, she has been my favorite teacher, always was able to work with me and put in the extra time before and after school. She really cares about her students,” Duarte said. “I chose Miss Tanner because she is really dedicated to her class. She is cheer coach and really dedicated to this school.”

Senior Desiree Vidal hoped the teachers would enjoy their special honor.

“I’m really happy we chose teachers, because I do feel teachers are the most unrecognized people, and they don’t get paid a lot, and they have the hardest job — they have to deal with us,” Vidal said. “They are the reason who we are today. They do need a lot of recognition they don’t get.”

She chose art teacher Alex Nelson as her personal hero.

“He was my art teacher when I was a sophomore, and I am his teacher’s aide. I have known him since I was 7. He is like my second dad,” Vidal said. “No teacher gets the recognition they need for their job — it’s not fair.”

West High students gave Franco a medal for his contributions to the Tracy community.

Heroes Week concludes Friday, Jan. 10, with students reading their essays in class.

Chelsea Seruton, a senior at West, said anyone could be a hero by making a difference in someone’s life.

“When you think of heroes, you automatically go to superheroes, you go to firefighters and police,” Seruton said. “We wanted to go deeper and say ‘My mom is my hero’ — anyone that puts in that extra time to help you and does a selfless act and makes you feel special.”

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com.

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