Documentary Released about 3 Denair Students

Submitted by Denair High School

A 15-minute documentary profiling three Denair students has been released and is available for the public to see. It was posted this week on the Denair High School Facebook page.

In May, a team of documentarians from Ohio spent a week following the students from their homes through their days at school and back again. The goal was to capture teen life in a typical rural American town.

The idea was the brainchild of Denair High Principal Kara Backman, whose objective was to shine a positive light on the community as well as her campus. Her voice can be heard on the video along with former Superintendent Aaron Rosander, teachers, and students.

“I was thrilled to see it,” Backman said. “I think it paints a true picture of our students and staff. I was emotional.”

Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, she said, from community members to people on the other side of the country who have never been to Denair.“It’s all over social media,” Backman said. “I’m getting calls left and right. I got   one from friend in Pennsylvania who was sobbing.”

The students were selected with the blessings of their families. They are Connor Prock (an incoming freshman at the high school), soon-to-be senior Adrianna Snyder and recent graduate Alex Flores. They were chosen as authentic representatives of the broader student body and community.

Prock comes from a prominent farming family with generational roots in Denair. His parents, Joe and Danielle, are both Denair High graduates. His grandfather and uncle both have served on the school board. They operate a dairy with thousands of cows. Connor raises beef cattle, which affords a glimpse into agricultural life.

Snyder lives with her aunt and uncle, who adopted her, and their 11-year-old autistic son. She learned to sign at a young age to communicate with her grandmother, who is deaf.

Flores is the second-oldest of five children among an immigrant family from Mexico. His older brother was the first family member to attend college; Alex will be the second when he starts this fall at UC Davis.

Each segment of the documentary opens at the student’s home with them literally getting out of bed, brushing their teeth, doing chores, caring for relatives and having breakfast before heading off to class.

Poignant interviews with their families, friends and teachers are interspersed by information about the community. Background footage and drone videos offer different perspectives of Denair.

Backman intends to show the video on the district’s social media sites, at student events or Back to School Nights, at large conferences … anywhere there’s an audience willing to learn more about the many good things happening in Denair.

She also said it’s been submitted for a film festival in Ohio. She expects to learn next week if it was accepted.

Hard Work and Long Hours Pay Off for Denair High FFA Students at Stanislaus County Fair

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

TURLOCK – There are no shortcuts to success for FFA students at the Stanislaus County Fair. Just ask Brielle Prock and Yasmin Mendoza.

The two Denair High sophomores-to-be spent more than 50 hours – including three consecutive 12-hour days – preparing their joint entry in the outdoor garden exhibit. Together, they transformed a barren 10-foot by 10-foot plot into a colorful July 4th backyard barbecue motif, highlighted by flowers planted in the shape of an American flag.

Their hard work impressed the judges, who awarded them first place in their category and defeating larger teams from Turlock High and Enochs in Modesto.

“We started planning it in May before school ended, but most of the work happened later,” Prock said of the garden. “We knocked it out in 10 days.”

She credited many in the Denair community for their help, including monetary support from the Denair FFA Ag Boosters that allowed them to purchase the flowers.

Long days are a common theme for the 41 Denair students who entered livestock or projects into this year’s fair, which wraps up its 10-day run on Sunday.

“The fair is kind of an addiction,” admitted Blain Cole, a junior this fall who is the incoming president of the Denair FFA. He’s often on site by 6 a.m. with other students to tend to their animals. He sometimes goes home or leaves to for lunch in the afternoon, but returns later to watch over his Hampshire lamb and mingle with friends. It’s the same fair schedule he’s been on for six years.

“It’s fun,” he said, “but the rush of showing (animals) can wear you out.”

Courtney Prock, a recent Denair High graduate (and Brielle’s cousin), also is a fair veteran. Her entry this year was an unnamed 97-pound Boer goat she’s had since April. It’s her fourth time showing goats or pigs. She enjoys the competition and doesn’t mind the long days.

“My sophomore year was probably the best year,” she said. “All the people showing goats were nice. And a bunch of us played cards and board games” on folding tables near the stalls.

Continue reading “Hard Work and Long Hours Pay Off for Denair High FFA Students at Stanislaus County Fair” »

First Annual Drone Camp is Here!

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Denair Unified School District is excited to announce that its first annual Drone Camp is here! 50 students between the ages 9 and 15 will be on the Denair High School football field between July 23-27 from 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. The camp is about hands-on learning, innovation and adventure.

By the end of the week, students will take to the skies and become an honorary junior drone pilot. Students will practice in flight simulators to learn the controls before flying a drone outside. One of the exercises involves a situation in which students must deliver items to hurricane survivors but the drone only has 30 minutes of battery life left.

What to do? Students also will learn how to take a drone apart and reassemble it while learning drone terminology. This exciting and intensive camp conforms to all FAA rules. This is the only camp of its kind between Sacramento and Fresno (there is a 100-mile limit between camps).

Come on out and watch our students explore the skies!

Drone Camp

  • Dates:July 23-27
  • Time:8 a.m. to noon or 1-5 p.m.
  • Cost:Free (space is limited however)
  • Ages:9-15
  • Coach:Darrin Allen or
  • Details:This is about hands-on learning, innovation and adventure. Students will take to the skies and become an honorary junior drone pilot. Three free meals will be available for all students.

Denair’s Blake Davis Named to Two Football All-Star Teams

Submitted by Denair High School

Denair wide receiver Blake Davis has been selected to play in two upcoming football all-star games – the 45thannual Lions Club contest on June 16 in Tracy and the 33rdannual North-South Rotary game on June 23 in Merced.

Davis is believed to be the first Denair player since lineman Joel Huber in 2003 to be chosen for either game.

“I was pretty surprised,” said Davis, who just returned from a graduation trip to Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. “I knew that coach (Anthony) Armas nominated me, but I was waiting quite a while. Then I got the text and said, ‘Sweet.’

“It’s kind of crazy to think I’m the first one from Denair in so long.”

Like most Denair players, Davis played offense and defense the past few seasons with the Coyotes. But when Lions training camp begins June 11 at CSU Stanislaus, his focus will be strictly on offense. Last year, Davis caught 20 passes for 508 yards with eight touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder averaged 25.4 yards per catch, which reflected his speed and toughness, his coaches say.

“He’s got good size,” Armas praised. “He’s strong. Very physical. He’s the kind of kid who makes the difficult catches.”

Added wide receivers coach Tim Fanning: “Blake has good hands. His yards gained after the catch was also very impressive.”

Though Davis hasn’t played football since November, he’s been hitting the gym to stay in shape.

“Mainly weights, squats, bench and conditioning stuff,” he said, adding the long layoff doesn’t bother him. “If I get hit one time, that’s the easy part.”

He’s looking forward to working with quarterbacks he’s never played with before.

“We’ve really got to get our timing down,” he said. “Let them known your speed and you their arms.”

And playing on back-to-back weeks even in the summer heat? “Hey, that looks like a lot of fun.”

Davis is undecided if the two all-star games will be his final times to put on pads. He’s been invited to go out for the Modesto Junior College team this fall and has also considered played at Merced College. “Maybe I’ll make up my mind during practice the next couple of weeks.”

Sports Camps and First-Ever Drone Camp Coming to Denair High

Submitted by Denair High School

School may be out, but summer will be a busy time around the Denair High School campus. Between mid-June and late July, there will be four sports camps as well as a first-of-its-kind drone camp.

Here is a complete list of the camps and costs, the age range of those eligible to enroll, and contact information. Registration payments can be made at the high school office through Thursday, June 7. After that, payments can be dropped off at the district office across the street.

Softball Camp

  • Dates:June 14-15
  • Time:9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Cost:$20
  • Grades:5-10
  • Coach:Katy Johnston
  • Details:Instruction on basic skills and fundamentals related to offense, defense and pitching. Players should bring water and snacks; lunch will be provided each day. Players should wear appropriate clothing and provide their own gloves.

Volleyball Camp and Volleyball Kids Camp

  • Dates:June 18-20
  • Time:9 a.m. to noon
  • Cost:$10 per day or $15 for all three days (paid in advance)
  • Grades:4-5, boys and girls
  • Coaches:Christy North, Courtney Lira, Yuli Tafolla
  • Details:Beginners will learn basic skills and techniques, along with introductory team strategies and conditioning. All athletes must bring their Denair IDs the first day and wear appropriate clothing (T-shirts, athletic shorts, socks, court shoes, hair clips, etc.) Parents may attend, but should bring their own chairs.

Football Camp

  • Dates:July 2-3
  • Time:8-11:30 a.m.
  • Cost:$20
  • Ages:8-13
  • Coach:Anthony Armas (209) 620-1985
  • Details:Players will learn general football skills on offense and defense, separated by position. The focus will be on proper techniques. There will be no contact. Players should wear shorts, T-shirts and cleats.

Basketball Camp

  • Dates:July 18-19
  • Time:8:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Cost:$10 per day
  • Grades:3-8, boys and girls
  • Coach:Ezcally Lopez elopez43@csustan.eduand Patty Valverde
  • Details:Focus will be on improving skills in shooting, passing, dribbling, rebounding and defense. Players should wear shorts, T-shirts and appropriate shoes. Snacks, water and a certificate of completion will be provided.

Drone Camp

  • Dates:July 23-27
  • Time:8 a.m. to noon or 1-5 p.m.
  • Cost:Free (space is limited however)
  • Ages:9-15
  • Coach:Darrin Allen
  • Details:This is about hands-on learning, innovation and adventure. Students will take to the skies and become an honorary junior drone pilot. Three free meals will be available for all students.