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Student, Staff Achievements Source Of School Pride
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While the community is likely aware of the many awards that came to the Oakdale Joint Unified School District during the 2011-2012 school year, seeing all those achievements listed together in one place really emphasizes the level of accomplishment.

OJUSD Superintendent Marc Malone recently expressed his pride in the district’s accomplishments this year on the part of students and staff during an overview of the awards.

“I’m very happy with our performance this year,” he said. “…We have developed a reputation county wide for excellence in academics, activities, and athletics. When people see students and staff coming from Oakdale, there’s a certain level of expectation.”

Over the course of this past school year, Oakdale’s students stood out by collecting a myriad of team and individual awards representing different academic areas. OJUSD also had the highest API score of any unified school district in the county with 797.

Malone said that the goal of the district is to not only encourage students to participate in school but to achieve excellence. He noted that there are lots of things that could sidetrack people in the district from achieving, such as the budget, but the district is focused on striving for excellence every day.

“Everybody is committed toward using the very best comprehensive K through 12 education for our students,” Malone said.

He added that the district’s classified staff is also committed to ensuring that there are clean schools, classrooms, and athletic fields to support the students in their education.

“I’m very proud that the students and staff are being represented across a really broad arena,” Malone said. “…(it) shows we’re reaching our goal of comprehensive education…so (students) can move into any area and be confident to perform as good or better than their peers.”

Starting with academic awards, Oakdale High School had the champion county Academic Decathlon team for the 12th consecutive year and finished ninth in the state.

The OHS Speech and Debate team took first place in the combined small school overall sweep of two tournaments.

In its first year of availability, several foreign language (Spanish and French) students became eligible to receive a Seal of Multi-Lingual Proficiency. This seal is offered through the county office of education where the students go through a written and verbal test to receive a special emblem added to their diploma.

The OHS Science Olympiad gold team took second overall at the Regional Science Olympiad with 14 first through third place individual awards. The red team took five first through third place individual awards.

The Oakdale FFA officers were selected as top officers in the Stanislaus/Tuolumne Section Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Several members also collected several first place awards at the Stanislaus County Fair.

OHS captured first through third places in three categories at the Stanislaus County Occupational Olympics.

Below are individual OHS students who won special awards.

Laurie Baxter, Danielle Cummins, and Savannah Stender – top American Heritage Scholarship Award winners.
Janki Mistry – Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman.

Valeria Zemylanskaya – Rotary Speech Contest winner in Oakdale, Escalon, and Central Valley contests.

Karrell Estell – Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) Every Student Succeeding Award.

Oakdale Junior High School’s Regional Science Olympiad team took seventh place overall with 12 individual first through third place medals.

OJHS also had six individual eighth grade students win gold medals at the SCOE Science Fair.

Also at the county science fair for Oakdale’s kindergarten through sixth grades, 10 individual students and five classes received gold medals on their projects.

The Sierra View Elementary School Science Olympiad team took first place at the Regional Science Olympiad.

Fair Oaks Elementary School students Cameron Snow and Wyatt Waterworth both won the Kiwanis Hope of America Award for combining academic excellence and community service.

Oakdale High School also dominated across various sports and took Valley Oak League (VOL) championships in the sports listed below.

Fall 2011Sports: Varsity Football, Frosh Girls Volleyball.

Valley Foothill League Champions for Boys Water Polo and Girls Water Polo.

Winter Sports, 2011-2012: Varsity Wrestling, JV Wrestling.

Spring 2012 Sports: Varsity Baseball, Frosh Baseball, Varsity Softball, Boys Swimming, Girls Swimming, Boys Golf, Frosh/Soph Girls Soccer, Girls Varsity Track, and Frosh/Soph Boys Track.

CIF Section Champions: Boys Golf, Varsity Wrestling (fourth consecutive), Varsity Baseball (third consecutive), Softball.

OHS students Justin Martin and Savannah Stender were selected VOL Lacky Scholarship winners, an award that comes through the CIF Section office for outstanding scholar athletes.

OJUSD staff members also collected their fair share of awards and special recognition during the 2011-2012 school year.

See the names and awards below.

Richard Melo – California Classified Employee of the Year in Transportation; SCOE Employees Making a Difference Award.

Dina Page – SCOE Employees Making a Difference Award.

Judy Clark – California School Employees Association Unsung Hero.

Wendy Petroni – Stanislaus County Teacher of the Year finalist.

Jim Greaves – 50 years as an educator.

Pete Simoncini – California Teachers Association (CTA) School Bell Award.

Joe Peterson – CTA School Bell Award.

Hondo Arpoika – VOL Coach of the Year, Baseball.

Trent Merzon – VOL Coach of the Year, Football.

Guy Fowler – AAU National Vice Chairman for Track and Field and Cross Country.

Bill Dyer (board member) – Oakdale Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.