Denair Football Coach: Better Days Are Ahead

Submitted by Denair High School

Anthony Armas believes it’s a very good sign that he had a number of football players who couldn’t wait to hit the weight room Monday.

Even though their season ended Friday night.

As it was much of the fall, Denair was competitive in a 27-21 loss to Waterford. It was the Coyotes’ fifth consecutive loss and dropped them to 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the Southern League.

But Armas thinks the experience gained by a very young team – which will lose only three senior starters – will pay off in 2018.

And it was those sophomores and juniors who led the charge into the weight room Monday.

“We have almost everybody coming back,” Armas said. “We’ll be bigger, faster and stronger with a year under their belt. This was our year where we took our lumps, but we have a lot of returning juniors and seniors who were starters.”

Armas is not naïve about the nature of the competition. “Three of the teams from our league are in the playoffs,” he said. But he also realizes if his players can correctly process and correct the mistakes they made this season, and gain weight and size, they have a chance to surprise some people next year.

Denair, it should be noted, is only one year removed from a magical 2016 season in which the Coyotes often had a 14-man roster, yet still made the playoffs.

Quick turnarounds are possible, especially with motivated players and coaches.

“I think the younger guys are ready to get after it,” Armas said. “I had a couple of kids who said they want to win league next year. Our juniors this year won a lot when they were sophomores. Our backfield will be good.”

Friday’s game against Waterford (4-6, 3-4) followed a familiar pattern for Denair. The Coyotes were tied 7-7 at halftime, but a fumble inside the 20-yard line killed one promising drive and a couple of costly mistakes on defense allowed Waterford to score on two long pass plays. Continue reading “Denair Football Coach: Better Days Are Ahead” »

Three Denair Runners to Compete at Section Meet

Submitted by Denair High School

Three underclassmen from the Denair High School cross country team qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Cross Country Championships this week in Folsom.

Leading the way Saturday at the Sub-Section Meet at the Frogtown Course at the Calaveras County Fairground was freshman Pablo Flores. He finished first in the Division V race on the 2.2-mile course over dirt and pavement with a time of 13 minutes, 31.4 seconds.

Finishing third in the freshman race was Julian Zavala in 15:18.4.

Flores and Zavala both will advance to Friday’s Section meet at Willow Hills Reservoir. They will be joined by sophomore Johnny Ibarra, who was clocked in 15:45 to grab the ninth individual Division V qualifying spot. Brigg Wenstrand finished 20th overall at 15:49, narrowly missing a qualifying spot.

In the varsity boys race, Denair’s Alex Flores completed the 3-mile course in 19:39. He was 66th overall and did not qualify for Folsom.

DECA Students Celebrate Dia de los Muertos

Submitted by Denair Elementary Charter Academy

For some students at Denair Elementary Charter Academy, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) already is an important part of their family culture. For hundreds of years , it has been a time for Latinos to honor friends and relatives who have passed away.

But for non-Latino DECA students, Wednesday was a learning experience, an opportunity to understand how others remember and celebrate loved ones who are no longer alive.

Dia de los Muertos occurs Nov. 1-2 each year. Though the timing is close, it is not the Latin version of Halloween. Artistic skulls often are part of the altars created at home or at cemeteries, but Dia de los Muertes is about family, not candy.

“It’s a way to show love and respect for one’s ancestors,” said Bibiana Alonzo Sandoval, DECA’s Spanish language lab instructor and one of the coordinators of Wednesday’s event.

More than 500 kindergarten through fifth-graders were ushered into the DECA gym during the time they typically had either a physical education period or their twice-weekly Spanish class.

In the gym, teachers spoke about Dia de los Muertos in English and Spanish as part of a Power Point presentation. Five altars created by students were arrayed around the gym along with a mural of student artwork.

Sandoval and DECA learning director Laura Cardenas led students from altar to altar, taking time to explain the significance what was on display. There were photos of grandparents and others being remembered, along with other traditional items like marigolds, candles, paper skulls, cookies and various decorations.

In many Latin American countries, children who have died are celebrated on Nov. 1 while adults are remembered on Nov. 2.

It is the second year that DECA has included Dia de los Muertos as part of its lessons across all grade levels.

“This is a joyful tradition in Latin American countries that honors relatives who have passed away,” said Principal Kelly Beard. “I believe it is important to help all children understand different cultures.”

Seven Denair High Students Honored for Language Skills

Submitted by Denair High School

Seven students at Denair High School have earned prestigious recognition for their bilingual speaking and writing abilities.

Seniors Natalie Soto, Oscar Garcia, Alex Flores, Litzy de la Cruz and Daisy Lopez; junior Analdo Moreno; and sophomore Elvis Silva were awarded the coveted Seal of Multilingual Proficiency in a ceremony Nov. 1 at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto. The designation will be specially noted on their high school diplomas, certifying that they are fluent in English as well as Spanish.

This important recognition helps graduates when they apply to colleges, compete for scholarships or submit job applications.

“This is a verification of their skills,” said Maria Olivas, a Spanish teacher and coordinator of the English Language Development programs in the Denair district. She also serves on the language committee run by the Stanislaus County Office of Education.

This year, about 1,000 students from more than a dozen Stanislaus County high schools applied for the Seal of Multilingual Proficiency. Of that group, 260 were certified as meeting the bilingual standards, according to the County Office of Education. More than 20 different languages were represented.

All students must submit an autobiography in English, followed by a 300-word essay in their other language on a designated topic. Those who pass the first step then went to the county office for face-to-face interviews in both languages. The scores from the autobiography, the essay and the interviews are combined to determine which students qualify for the seal.

“Being proficient in multiple languages enhances a student’s education and value in the marketplace,” said Tom Changnon, the county superintendent of schools. “Our economy is tied to that of other nations, and Californians who participate across international borders bring strength and potential to this state’s global enterprises.”

In the five years of the Multi-Lingual Seal recognition program, 23 Denair students have been awarded certificates.

Saul and Eleanore Casteneda to be this Year’s Beneficiary of Denair Lions Pancake Breakfast

Submitted by Denair Lions Club

Every year, for over 40 years, the Denair Lions Club has held a pancake breakfast on the first Sunday in November.  The breakfast has become not only a great fundraiser, but annual social event for 400 to 600 supporters.  Every year, the club looks for a person or cause to donate the breakfast proceeds to.  In past years, it has paid for such things as new uniforms and equipment for the Denair Lions Youth Football league, updates and fixes to the Denair High School sport facilities and programs, and usually to local residents in need of financial aid for medical bills after or during a tragedy.  This year is no different.  On Sunday November 5, 2017, the Denair Community Center will open its doors at 7:00 am, for the Lions Annual Pancake Breakfast.  This year proceeds will be donated to Saul and Eleanore Casteneda.  Eleanore was diagnosed with acute lyphobalastic leukemia on March 8th. She began chemotherapy treatment the following day, due to the severity of the cancer.

Eleanore, who is 66 years old, is a caring and selfless caregiver to many.  She has devoted her life to taking care of those who needed support, when others couldn’t.  She worked for over 25 years as a non-emergency medical transport driver up until her mother began suffering from the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, 8 years ago.  In addition to taking care of her 90 year old mother, Aurelia Garcia, who is bedridden, Eleanore has been taking care of her brother-in-law for 25 years, who is battling mental issues.  According to her youngest daughter, Serena Mendoza, Eleanore would also take care of other family members such as her nieces and nephews during the summer, who were in need of a “boot camp”.  She lives with her husband Saul on a small ranchette, in Modesto, where they have various small animals, which makes it ideal to teach responsibility.  Eleanore had one of her nieces stay with her for 8 years during her troubled youth, helping her to get back on the right path. Continue reading “Saul and Eleanore Casteneda to be this Year’s Beneficiary of Denair Lions Pancake Breakfast” »