Thumbs up to Sunnyside High School for raising more than $6,000 for childhood cancer research through a dramatic head-shaving event, including a $1,000 donation from Fresno Unified Board President Brooke Ashjian. The event was in memory of Mia Amendolagine, a 10-year-old Malloch Elementary School student who died last year after a battle with leukemia.
Thumbs down to the continued money-sucking drama at the Fresno County Probation Department. Now the department is embroiled in charges of sexual discrimination and retaliation among staff and administrators, adding $50,000 to the $365,000 tab picked up by taxpayers last year during the Rick Chavez investigation, which placed county officials and the judges’ executive committee on opposite sides because supervisors said the Chavez investigation didn’t turn up wrongdoing.
Thumbs up to the Central Valley Community Foundation for sponsoring its inaugural film-making contest called “The Big Tell: Undiscovered Stories from the Central Valley.” The group expects it to become the region’s largest film-making competition.
Working in partnership with Community Media Access Collaborative, the contest will award 10 grants of $5,000 each for filmmakers and community benefit organizations to produce a short film depicting a story from California’s Central Valley. The winning films will debut at a red carpet gala in downtown Fresno in October. Details: thebigtell.org.
Thumbs up to Fresno’s University High School for being ranked the seventh best high school in California (No. 65 in the nation) and the 19th best charter school in America by the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings.
The U.S. News rankings include data on more than 22,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college. University High earned a gold medal, moving up from its national ranking of No. 81 last year.
Just days before the U.S. News and World Report announcement, the school also received two state awards. University High School was recognized as one of 275 California Gold Ribbon Schools for 2017, and made the 2016 California Honor Roll.
Thumbs up to the family of Anthony Marquez and Fresno State for establishing the Anthony Marquez Memorial Journalism Award, an annual scholarship for managing editors of the university newspaper. Marquez served as Los Angeles bureau chief for The Associated Press. He died Feb. 9 because of complications from cancer. He was 55.
His core beliefs and skills in journalism and management were shaped by his time as managing editor of The Collegian, Fresno State's student-run newspaper. Scholarship fund donations can be made via check to the Fresno State Foundation. The memo line should state: In memory of Anthony Marquez. Send mailed contributions to Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities Development Office, 2380 E. Keats Ave., M/S MB99, Fresno, CA 93740.
Thumbs up to Dave Allread (perfect name) at Heroes Comics, Shaw Avenue and Highway 41, and Legends Comics and Games stores for joining retailers around the world in giving away free comic books Saturday to promote literacy and creativity. Heroes alone expects to give away 3,000 books in one day. Children receive one, adults two, while supplies last. All the stores say get in line early.
The list of participating shops is at http://www.freecomicbook
day.com. Some of the comics being distributed this year include “Betty & Veronica,” “Doctor Who,” “Wonder Woman,” “All New Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Buffy High,” “DC Super Hero Girls Summer” and “Underdog.”
Thumbs up to Fresno State president Joseph I. Castro getting the 2017 Latino Spirit Award in education Monday in Sacramento. “I was surprised, and honored, and humble because of the respect I have for the Latino Legislative Caucus and all the work that they do for California,” Castro said. “So to be recognized by them is one of the most important accomplishments of my life so far.” Castro was appointed the eighth – and first San Joaquín Valley native – president of Fresno State in 2013.