Gary Girard

Gary Girard.

The Cesar E. Chavez High School marching band has gained honors ever since its opening but recently capped what director Alex Gonzalez called the “best ever” season for the school.

Gonzalez, who also lauded the band members and consultants before the Delano Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees, missed some squad practices due to cancer treatments, but one of his consultants, wife Terri, stepped in and with other consultants helped see that the group was at its high point for the fall competitions.

The band swept first-place honors in its division at the Ridgeview event, Sweepstakes honors at the Orange Cove event, and then first in division and overall Sweepstakes honors at Stockdale’s event.

The awards boosted the Chavez musicians to the top of an area from Bakersfield to Fresno County, Alex Gonzalez said.

Then they followed up their competitions with an appearance in the Band-a-Rama at the Porterville Veterans Day.

The past winter, the percussion sections of the local high school bands also gained numerous honors in central section competition.

Terri Gonzalez also described how she contacted the Western Band Association about Delano hosting the semi-finals of their competition.

“Their leaders from back East came to visit the Robert F. Kennedy stadium facility and declared it a perfect site for their Saturday, Nov. 17, semi-finals, Terri Gonzalez reported.

There were to be 31 competing schools, nearly 5,000 musicians, and 93 school buses plus accompanying trailers present for the event with the 4,000-plus stadium sold out a week in advance at $25 entry per person.

“This is a great opportunity for our bandsmen of the high school district to see how 4A and 5A division bands perform, Alex Gonzalez reported.

Visiting bands filled the Delano motels and schools scheduled accommodations as far away as Visalia and Valencia. “This has put us on the map,” declared board member Art Armendariz.

Armendariz told the school board gathering that the event in Delano was a boon for local eateries and brought a great deal of sales tax funds to Delano.

Then after, band buses and trailers and band members crowded Delano schools and accommodations, an official of the competition announced that because of bad air quality that the event was postponed, but since bad air was reported through Tuesday, it was likely that the event would be cancelled.

What a sad time for the local groups making arrangements and all the groups that had already arrived in Delano and area locations. At presstime, there was no word if the event would be rescheduled in Delano or elsewhere or cancelled altogether.

The school board also received good news from Jason Garcia, district associate superintendent, who reported that Dr. Terri Nuckols, who retired as superintendent in early November, reported she was in good health and looking forward to her retirement and a joyous Christmas season with family.

Another student group appearing before the board was the Mock Trial team of Robert F. Kennedy High School, presented by Mock Trial coach Ricardo Chavez who has held the position since the school opened. The Mock Trial team is just entering its winter season of Kern County competition after last year’s team gained the highest honors ever for the school’s Mock Trial team.


On its regular agenda, Delano’s high school Board of Trustees approved Jerry Torres as an English teacher at Delano High effective Jan. 7, 2019; accepted the resignation of Russell Lentz as head varsity softball coach at Cesar E. Chavez High; at Delano High approved Raji Rivera as varsity head coach, Cesar Sandoval as head JV coach and Guillermo Rivera as a volunteer assistant varsity coach in the boys’ soccer program; Jodie Fernandez as a volunteer assistant for varsity girls’ basketball; and Claudia Tavarez as head coach for swimming.

For Kennedy High, Jesus Leyva was approved as JV boys and Gabriel Pesina, Jr., as head freshman coach for basketball; Joel Roman as head varsity and Martin Perales as head JV boys soccer coaches; and Brian Franks as head freshman softball coach.

Raquel Briseno has been moved from library/audio visual technician/textbook clerk at Delano High to information technology secretary.

Raul Munoz was OK'd as a volunteer assistant soccer coach at Cesar E. Chavez High School.

Several trips were approved by the school board. Chavez head boys basketball coach Alfonso Hernandez and the varsity team and chaperones are headed to the Hoops at the Coast Tournament in San Luis Obispo; Chavez head wrestling coach Jesse Ortega and team and chaperones were approved for a trip to the C.I.T. Wrestling Tournament in Morro Bay on Jan. 17-19; Natalie Fragoso and students and chaperones from Robert F. Kennedy High for college visits to San Jose and Berkeley, was scheduled Nov. 15; and Delano instructor J. Madrigal with students and chaperones for college trips to Stanford and Santa Clara on Nov. 30.


Dec. 10 is the date that new members of Delano’s City Council will be sworn in at a regular council meeting.

The top vote-getter in the recent election was Bryan Osorio, a graduate of Cesar. E. Chavez High School and the University of California, Berkeley. At 22, he has “tied” Ricardo Chavez as the youngster person to ever serve on the city council. They tied in years though it’s unsure who would have “won” for age by months.

Liz Morris was returned to the council as a member by voters, and Joe Alindajao has been elected to a two-year term to complete the term of Rueben Pascual who has moved from the city.


Applications are available for the Delano Chamber of Commerce 2018 Christmas parade which takes place Tuesday, Dec. 4. Forms may be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce office on High Street.

This year’s “Christmas Around the World” will begin promptly at 6 p.m. with check-in and line-up starting at 3:30 p.m., reports Delilah Mascarinas, parade director. The check-in table will be at 7th Avenue and Main Street in the San Joaquin Paint and Glass lot.

Due to rising costs, there will be a small entry fee of $30 for chamber members and $50 for non-members. Free entry is allowed for non-profit, schools and military entries. A fee of $100 is required for all political entries.

Persons with questions may call the chamber office, 661-725-2518.


Following the parade will be the lighting of the city Christmas tree in front of City Hall. Songs will be furnished by the Delano High School choir.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, the annual Kiwanis “Festival of Carols” will take place at the Delano High auditorium.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, the annual Winter Formal of the three local public high schools will be hosted by Cesar E. Chavez High School.


I recently ran into (not literally) Mrs. Velasco, the widow of longtime City Councilman Leonard Velasco. At Delano High, I had their daughters, Elsie and Elizabeth as editors of the school newspaper.

I never had as a student daughter Leonora in class but knew of her during days at Delano High which closed with her graduation in 1982.

Leonora’s husband is Teddy Lopez, a former yearbook editor whom I advanced. Teddy is a 1981 Delano High graduate who is retired from the U.S. Marines but now working at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Family and friends of 100-year-old World War II veteran Martin Medrano honored him on the Monday, Nov. 12, Veterans Day holiday.

Medrano, born Nov. 12, 1918, enlisted in the U.S. Army at 22 and served with an infantry division stationed in the Philippines.

Medrano’s birthday celebration took place at the Delano Elks Lodge, tying in his day of birth with the nation’s observance of veterans who have served the nation.


Delano Elks Lodge continues to host Monday Night Football gatherings at the club bar and anyone is invited to stop by and enjoy a delicious dinner and the football and company.

Just checked a note that Elks bingo due to the Thanksgiving holiday was set for Nov. 29, so hurry up over there.

To aid fund raising for the Cesar E. Chavez varsity boys baseball team, the Elks will join with them in sponsoring a barbecue fund-raiser Saturday, Dec. 1, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Elks building.

The $10 fund-raiser meal will include a tri-tip sandwich, salad and chili beans. Players are selling the meals, but walk-ups will also be available.

Anthony (Tonky) Zaninovich is the Elks chairperson for the annual Elks Hoop Shoot which takes place Saturday, Dec. 8, at Delano High School. Sign-ups can be arranged for both boys and girls at their respective schools.


Delano High has announced its cheerleader tryout practices for the 2019-20 squad. Especially encouraged to take part in tryouts are current eighth graders who live in the boundaries of Delano High School, including Earlimart.

Practice days and times are Thursday, Dec. 6, 3:10 to 4:15 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 8, 8:55 to 11:15 a.m.; Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1 to 2:30 p.m.; Thursday, Jan. 3, 8:55 to 11:15 a.m.; Monday, Jan. 7, and Monday, Jan. 14, both days 3:10 to 4:15 p.m.; Monday, Jan. 21, 8:55 a.m. to noon; Monday, Jan. 28, and Monday, Feb. 4, both 3:10 to 4:15 p.m.; and Monday, Feb. 11, 8:55 a.m. to noon.

Practices will be in the school quad area if weather is OK or if bad weather will be on the backstage of the school’s south gym.

Squads will be selected at tryouts on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 8 noon in the DHS north gym. The Tuesday following tryouts will be an evening meeting of cheerleaders selected and their parents to learn of fundraisers which should pay for all expenses of the students selected.

Gary Girard is a longtime resident of Delano. He can be reached at 661-725-8803.

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