Denair High Grad Bryson Prock Honored With Top FFA Award

Submitted by Denair High School:

Bryson Prock recently became just the 15th person in the 91-year history of Denair High’s FFA chapter to earn the national organization’s prestigious American Degree.

Prock, a 2018 Denair graduate, was honored at the 2019 National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. He was one of a record 4,353 FFA members recognized as American FFA Degree recipients.

In addition to their degree certificate, each recipient receives a gold American FFA Degree key.

Less than 1% of the nearly 630,000 FFA members in the United States qualify for the award. According to the FFA website, only those members “who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and made significant accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experiences” earn the American FFA Degree.

“It’s a good thing to put on your resume,” said Prock, 19, now a sophomore at Merced College. He hopes to transfer to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, next year with a major in ag systems management.

There are many steps to achieving the American Degree, including a supervised project. Prock’s was working at his family’s dairy east of Denair. Among his responsibilities were maintaining the bedding for the 600 milking cows, assisting with breeding and using his welding skills to repair various items.

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Rested Denair Opens Playoffs At Home Against Le Grand

Submitted by Denair High School:

Earning a first-round bye as the top seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII playoffs benefitted Denair on a couple of levels.

First, the Coyotes limped to the finish line with injuries to a number of key players, most of whom are expected to play Friday at home against Le Grand in round two. Fullback Dylan De Silva, who rolled his ankle three weeks ago, will be in backfield again. His presence is a huge part of Denair’s powerful running back.

As much as De Silva and his teammates needed a physical break, Coach Anthony Armas said they also needed to rest mentally. They’ve been practicing since early August and playing games starting a few weeks later. Part of the reward for earning the No. 1 seed meant not having to play last Friday – or even practice since last Tuesday.

The time off was evident at Monday morning, when Denair (8-2) worked out on the Veteran’s Day holiday.

“We had a long break, which I think some of our guys really needed,” Armas said. “If we’re healthy, we’re ready. We just need to hold on to the ball, execute and play defense. If we can do those things, we’ll be all right.”

De Silva has been getting treatment on his high ankle sprain for a couple of weeks now. Armas said he’s been able to get back into the weight room, but he’s purposely not run 100% on it yet.

“Once you roll an ankle, it just takes some time to heal,” Armas said. “I think he’ll be able to deal with it this week.”

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Project Life Teaches Key Skills to Special Education Students

Submitted by Denair High School:

Every day, the Project Life students in Renee Hall’s special education class at Denair High School do the laundry, vacuum the floor and clean the classroom.

Twice a week, they cook meals. Sometimes it’s breakfast — an omelet, pancakes or French toast. Other times they make tacos, burritos, grilled cheese sandwiches or even cupcakes on someone’s birthday. Each Friday, they decide on a menu for the next week, make a list of ingredients and shop together at the Wal-Mart in Turlock. At the store, the students must identify the items they need and then scan them at the self-checkout register.

Four days a week, some of the students go to work at Lulu’s Ice Cream Shop and Willie’s Pizza & Wings, located side-by-side in an east Turlock shopping center. There, they make waffle cones, clean tables, fold pizza boxes and even help prep food.

At all times away from campus, they are accompanied by one-on-one aides or para-educators on Hall’s team.

It’s all a part of a focused effort to teach important life skills to students with intellectual or developmental disabilities who often are dismissed as unemployable.

“We want to teach them to be as independent as possible,” said Hall, who came to Denair this year after many years in Turlock.

The Project Life curriculum was developed in 2007 in Ohio and has been proven across the country. Denair brought it to the district last year as part of a new approach to special education.

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No. 1 Seed Denair Earns First-Round Playoff Bye

Submitted by Denair High School:

It has become a tradition in the past few years. After the final regular-season football game, Denair’s coaches and players gather at school on the following Sunday afternoon to hear the playoff pairings and find out together who they will be playing.

The Coyotes didn’t have to wait long Sunday.

They were the very first team announced, earning a coveted No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII bracket. Denair’s next game will be at home on Friday, Nov. 15 against the winner of this week’s game between Le Grand and Big Valley Christian of Modesto.

The top seed wasn’t really a surprise for Denair (8-2), which again finished second in the Southern League behind champion Ripon Christian, which was placed in the Division VI bracket. It is the same seeding the Coyotes had last year, when they marched to the Division VII state championship.

“We’re excited about getting a bye because we’re always dinged up this time of year,” said Denair Coach Anthony Armas, whose squad overcame a couple of early scores by Waterford to beat the Wildcats 34-21 Friday night behind four touchdowns by Jorge Yanez.

The time off will allow Denair’s players to recharge and heal. No injury is more important than the left ankle of fullback Dylan De Silva. He sprained it two weeks ago against Delhi and sat out against Waterford, but is expected to be ready when the playoffs begin.

“It’s a good thing for us to have a break. I think some of our kids are getting a little burned out,” Armas said.

The Coyotes will practice Monday and Tuesday before taking the rest of this week off.

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New Social Media Guide Gives Parents Important Information

The Denair Unified School District has unveiled a guide intended to help parents better understand the potential risks for children and teens posed by what is shared, said and viewed on social media.

The guide was developed by the Legacy Health Endowment, a Turlock organization focused on improving health care and wellness in Stanislaus and Merced counties.

The guide is a 16-page PDF that parents can download on their computers, tablets or cellphones. It is available in English and Spanish on the Denair Unified website.

“It is for anyone who wants to help children and youth navigate social media in a healthy way,” said Denair Superintendent Terry Metzger.

Jeffrey Lewis, president and CEO of the Legacy Health Endowment, said that “children and teens who use social media are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and even a heightened sense of suicide.”

He said the guide is a tool for parents to use to initiate and direct conversations with their children about what they’re doing and seeing on social media.

“More information is coming out arguing that there is a correlation between the increased use of social media and poor behavioral health,” Lewis said. “It has become clear that educating parents and guardians would be helpful and impactful.”

The guide includes the basic history of social media usage and descriptions of the most popular sites, including tips for parents to know about each of them. The guide also alerts parents to various apps that can help them to manage and track their child’s social media use. And it has a glossary of digital words and phrases as well as links to sites so parents can seek more information, if needed.