Farm & Family Festival Fun Run Helps Denair High Students

Submitted by Denair Farm & Family Festival

Want to enjoy a fun way to support students at Denair High School and get a little exercise in the process?

Then consider signing up for the 5K Fun Run to be held before the Denair Farm & Family Festival on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Registration is $25 and includes a T-shirt and swag bag. Proceeds from the race provide money for scholarships for Denair High students.

Check-in for the fun run starts at 7 a.m. in front of the Gas Light Theater; the event begins at 8 a.m.

To register in advance, go to and type in “Denair Fun Run.”

After they finish, runners will want to stick around for the annual Farm & Family Festival, one of the highlights of each year in the community. The event will feature more than 100 vendors, a car and truck show, live entertainment, a kids zone and plenty of food.

Admission is free to the festival. For more information, go to

Denair Student Leads Relief Effort for Mariposa Fire Victims

Submitted by Denair High School

A student at Denair High School set aside traditional sports rivalries to provide support for Mariposa County residents affected this summer by the massive Detwiler Fire.

Drew Pritchard, a junior at DHS, was in Monterey with his father in late July as the fire was raging in the rugged terrain just north of the town of Mariposa. Hundreds of people were temporarily evacuated from their homes as firefighters from all over the state battled the flames.

Drew thought of the athletes he had competed against in football, basketball and golf. He told his parents, “We should do something for them,” according to a story published Aug. 3 in the Mariposa Gazette.

Kathy and Dale Pritchard, Drew’s parents, encouraged their son. They spent a few hundred dollars buying groceries to donate to Mariposa families. When others in Denair found out, they also chipped in. The Pritchards’ doctor donated some medical supplies, Save Mart provided bottled water and Raley’s chipped in cookies.

On July 27, Drew and his father drove to Mariposa High School, accompanied by Denair student Steffin Winston, one of Drew’s basketball teammates. At the school, they gave the supplies to members of the Mariposa basketball team to distribute to the community.

“We play them every single year,” Drew told the newspaper, “and it’s just hard when you know they’re not getting what they want” because of the fire.

Drew and Steffin both said they had seen TV reports of the Detwiler Fire, which burned more than 81,000 acres and destroyed 63 homes and one business before it was contained.

“It’s probably hard for them,” Drew said. “I wouldn’t want to be in that situation.”

The relief effort was much appreciated by the people in Mariposa.

“It’s about relationships and the relationships we’ve developed in the Southern League,” said Trace DeSandres, Mariposa’s athletic director. “To me, this is why we do this. It teaches them there are more things than just the competitive part.”

Drew’s parents said they couldn’t be more proud of their son and others in the Denair community who rallied for a worthy cause.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” said Kathy.

Also impressed is Drew’s high school principal, Kara Backman.

“Drew is a thoughtful, hard-working and polite young man,” she said. “He has the internal drive of a student athlete and is always there to lend a hand to a fellow peer.  He bleeds purple and we are proud to call him a Coyote!  I am so proud of him.”

Denair High School FFA Students Have Strong Showing at Fair

Submitted by Denair High School

Denair High FFA students had a very successful showing at the recent Stanislaus County Fair in Turlock. The fair is the annual culmination of many months of work getting animals ready to show or completing projects.

Here are the results:




Chris Galhano: Reserve Champion Market Lamb and 1st place in Senior Showmanship

Hector Obando: Reserve Champion junior dairy doe, 1st place dam/daughter dairy goats

Abi Dirkse: Champion and Reserve Grade Beef Heifer

Madison Womack: 1st in class goat

Bryson Prock: 1st place welding trailer

Brielle Prock: 1st  in skillet arrangements, box arrangements and lunch box arrangements

Chenoa Urchison: 2nd in class swine

Danielle Tigner: 4th in class swine

Yesenia Barrera: 4th in class goats

Cierra Rodriguez: 4th in class goat

Jesus Perez: 5th in class beef

Blain Cole: 6th in novice sheep showmanship

Alexandria Sanders: 8th in novice goat showmanship

Tristan Haile: 12th in advanced showmanship


Everyone with a market animal made weight and grade, meaning they sold at the junior livestock auction.  Here are the rest of the Denair FFA students who participated in the fair:


Emilee Fanning: sheep

Heidi Johnson:  goat, dairy goat

Logan Johnson: goat

Jacob Lewellen: goat

Crystal Mancilla: sheep

Christian Obando: sheep

Kelsey Park: goat

Courtney Prock: goat

Kyle Prock: replacement heifer

Angelo Retana: goat

Justin Short: goat

Adrianna Snyder:  goat

Denair High Grad Kyle Prock Honored with Top FFA Award

Submitted by Denair High School

Kyle Prock comes from a farming family, which makes the DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award he recently was given even more special.

Prock’s grandfather, father and uncle all have been involved in the Future Farmers of America organization through the decades. They have devoted their lives to raising beef and dairy cattle.

“Not everyone wants to be a farmer, but if it weren’t for farmers or ag, the world would be a lot worse off,” Prock told the Turlock Journal. “The FFA is a once in a lifetime opportunity that every kid and every school should experience.”

Prock appears poised to carry on the family legacy. The DEKALB award recognizes FFA members who excel in academics, leadership and ag work experience. That pretty much sums up Prock’s life so far.

The 2017 Denair High graduate was the quarterback on the playoff-bound football team last fall, though a knee injury cost him part of the season. It also prevented him from wrestling last winter, though he worked hard to rehab the knee so he could play baseball this spring.

Prock has been very active in various FFA projects and responsibilities. He credits the organization with providing the experiences that led to a bevy of small scholarships this spring.

“At other, bigger schools, you’re either an athlete or in FFA,” Prock told the Journal. “It’s cool because at a small school like Denair, you’re able to be an ag kid and a sports kid.”

His knee healed, Prock plans to play football again this fall at Merced College. But his longer-term focus is transferring to Fresno State in two years to pursue a career in agribusiness. He’d like to become an ag real estate appraiser.

“Kyle is an amazing student athlete,” praised Denair High Principal Kara Backman. “He is self-driven, passionate about agriculture and will succeed with any goal he sets for himself.  I am honored to be his past high school principal. He is a next generation leader in our community.”

Class of 2017 Honored at graduation Ceremony

Submitted by Denair High School

The 70 graduates of the Denair High School Class of 2017 received their diplomas Friday night in front of friends, family and community members at Jack Lytton Stadium. The ceremony featured remarks by Superintendent Aaron Rosander, Principal Kara Backman, valedictorian Hector Obando and salutatorian Libby Martinez. School board members were on hand to present diplomas to the students.

Here are what the student speakers had to say:


Hector Obando, valedictorian (4.17 grade-point average)

Thank you for joining us at Jack W. Lytton stadium for Denair High’s very own graduating class of 2017.

It comes with great respect and privilege to be here today. Watching all of the people I have grown up with become young adults has gone by too fast. We are on the verge of adulthood! But first, to become an adult we have to strive towards goals our role models have set for us. Therefore we should congratulate not only ourselves, but our role models which includes parents, teachers, coaches, guardians, extended family, friends and anyone else who has imprinted on our lives.

As we become adults, we too are going to be role models. Now, I am not saying to act perfect because nobody can ask that. Just remember, as you continue your trail of life, do not go unnoticed. There’s always someone watching whether they are older or younger than you are, and it is never wrong to make a difference in their life.

I know that I have not been here as long as some of my fellow graduates. I started my freshman year, but this moment today will bring joyous cheer and also a teary-eyed sunshine. I will miss my family that I call the graduating class of 2017. Continue reading “Class of 2017 Honored at graduation Ceremony” »