Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

February 28, 2006 > Hats on for education

Hats on for education

This year's salute to education, entitled "Sentimental Journey" by the Fremont Education Foundation (FEF) was a smashing success. In addition to honoring key members of the community, oversized creative chapeaus, reminiscent of San Francisco's Beach Blanket Babylon were the theme of the night. Sharon Yap, who has been responsible for dˇcor of the show for the last 3 years, created a masterpiece and Captain Robert Nelson of the Fremont Police Department - who does not have to keep his day job - moved things along at a brisk pace.

The stars of the production were honorees, Sandi Pantages and Cheryl Cook-Kallio, but as the evening wore on, it appeared those attending the ceremonies were more than ready for a party. Tom Halligan, entertainment producer for the evening and a product of Fremont public schools, brought his group "Secret Sidewalk" to spice up the evening and Dr Garo Mirigian, principal of Centerville Junior High School, used his creative genius to modify lyrics of well-known songs, personalizing them for the occasion.

Entertainment was nonstop as Lee Glover and the Mission Musical Theatre Vocal Workshop performed the theme song, "Sentimental Journey" and "Chatanooga Choo Choo." Linda Jackson and students from the Irvington High School's Conservatory Theatre and Visual & Performing Arts Magnet Program performed a medley from their upcoming show "Little Shop of Horrors" and Dawn Troupe-Masi, drama teacher at Centerville Junior High, stunned the audience with her beautiful rendition of "Home." However, the piece de rˇsistance came in the form of headgear (architecture assisted by Tom Halligan) that took every form and shape imaginable.

Each honoree received a personalized hat as they received recognition from friends, students and dignitaries. The chapeau destined for Sandi Pantages was created by Althea Raman, who also is one of FEF's band instructors. This hat depicted the many aspects of Sandi's activities, and featured (partial list): a Niles Rotary Wheel, a League of Women Voters pin, books, a Fremont Symphony pin, and bicycle tail-lights that lit up replete with streamers. Cheryl Cook-Kallio's hat was created and donated by Susan Manbien, art teacher at Hopkins Junior High School and FUSD Art Department chair. It featured giant white cut-outs of Mt. Rushmore and various Washington D.C. landmarks, honoring Cheryl's commitment to teaching social studies, democracy and the We the People competition.

To commemorate the event, each of the five historic districts and the chamber of commerce created a hat to be auctioned at the end of the evening. The hats were imaginative and outrageous, bringing enthusiastic bidding and raising an additional $3,000 for the Fremont Education Foundation. These creations worthy of a Beach Blanket Babylon performance were fashioned by:

Centerville Hat - Created by Jennifer Andersen, Lirio Gonzalez, Maggie Pederson, June Swift, Shirley White.
Top Bid: Dirk Lorenz

Irvington Hat - Created and Donated by local lrvington artist, Don Hammack, and Tom Halligan.
Top Bid: Alberto Torrico

Mission Hat - Created by Janice Comeaux.
Top Bid: John Dutra

Niles Hat - Created and donated by Niles artist Donna Sanson.
Top Bid: Cindy Mozzetti

Warm Springs Hat - Created by Michelle Koan and Kyle Stephens.
Top Bid: Bernie Dutra

Fremont Hat - Created by Cindy Bonier and KK Kaneshiro.
Top Bid: Regis Homes

It would be impossible to list all who were responsible for this event. However, special thanks are due to Foundation Level Sponsors, Greenstein-Rogoff-Olsen and Company; Fremont Bank; and Regis Homes who made a large long-term commitment to FEF.

FEF would also like to give special mention to Fremont Firefighters who have always sponsored a table at our event, year after year. They always offer to give some of their seats to teachers and/or retirees in Fremont.

Although the evening was a success, the real winners of the event were the children who will benefit from three programs funded by FEF: Innovative Education Grants to our classrooms; After-School Band at 27 Fremont elementary schools; Sport Scholarships for athletic equipment and clothing for high school athletes.

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