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Student Board Member Birchall Ends Tenure

It was the last of its kind, as Student Board Member Jessica Birchall took over the gavel and ran the May meeting for the Oakdale Joint Unified School Board.

As is customary, prior to turning over the gavel, OJUSD President Tina Shatswell opened commentary to the board as they sent off their student representative.

“I’m really proud of you for being able to handle some of the things we had in our meetings last year,” President Shatswell said. “It’s not always easy for a student to sit here and be part of the craziness of what’s going on. It’s been so great having you here and everything you did.”

Board member Diane Gilbert echoed Shatswell’s sentiments, noting praise for her well-spoken manner, maturity, ability to articulate and being overall “exceptional.”

“You’re an exceptional student and we expect great things,” Gilbert said.

Before she handed the meeting over to Birchall, Shatswell opened the session with a statement of appreciation for OJUSD teachers and staff.

“It’s been a long year. It’s been a long few years actually,” she said, “so I just wanted to thank all our staff and our teachers for everything you do. I know we don’t do that often enough and we’re so appreciative. We have a lot of you who go above and beyond what your job description really is. I just personally wanted to say thank you so much for everything you do.”

Almost as proof or positive affirmation of her statements, OJUSD acknowledged Oakdale High School students for their recent achievement as the 37th Annual SCOE Occupational Olympics Champions.

“I’d also like to mention in the very beginning, Oakdale demonstrated the district’s commitment to school to career readiness by being awarded a First Place large school team, so another victory to Oakdale,” Deputy Superintendent Larry Mendonca stated before individual acknowledgements of the team.

Mendonca shared the team participated in a field of 750 students from throughout Stanislaus County in 16 competitive events.

“Again an outstanding performance, an outstanding effort,” he concluded. “The contributions and the dedication you guys have shown in regards to pursuing not only your academics but a vocational interest is why we’re so proud of the vocational program. You guys demonstrating that brings us great pride. Thank you for your hard work.”

Organizational and financial reports were reviewed during the meeting, including the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), as well as the District Budget.

The next and final meeting of the 2022-23 school year will be hosted on Monday, June 12 at the OJUSD Tech Center. The Public Meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., all are welcome.