Gary Girard

Gary Girard.

Two people shared the Staff Member of the Month honor at Delano High School while one senior student was also honored.

The staffers are Susana Salazar, a counselor, and teacher Raudel Rojas, Jr.,while the student is Mariano Balbuena III.

Principal Rene Ayon praised Salazar for “going above and beyond her responsibilities/duties, working most Saturdays to serve her students, being available for parents late in the evening, for being very thorough when she meets with students, and for a great attitude!”

A 1993 graduate of Delano High, she earned her Bakersfield College degree in 1996 in Spanish and a bachelor of arts in Spanish from Cal State Bakersfield in 1998. She gained her teaching credential and Master of Education in Cross Cultural Teaching from National University in 2001 and a Master of Science in Educational Counseling and a Pupil Personnel Services credential from University of La Verne in 2011. She has been recognized for 20 years of service to the district.

Currently in her sixth year counseling at Delano High, she noted that as a teacher it wasn’t only a matter of teaching students but also educating them. “As a counselor it’s been guiding students in class selections, graduation and college requirements, and future goals — all components of academic, personal and social.”

She says there is more one-on-one contact with students and parents in counseling. Her advice to seniors is to “choose a career that makes you happy.” Married 20 years to Gerardo Salazar, they have children Noemi, 19, a Cal State Bakersfield sophomore, and 13-year-old Gerardo, Jr., an eighth grader at La Vina Middle School.

In 1990, as a Delano High freshman she was a student worker through the JTP summer program (and as a senior on the school paper staff I advised) and after DHS graduation was a substitute secretary and worked in the district office, helping to pay for her college education. She was an instructional aide for a semester and so figures she has been in the district 28 years.

“I love this district, it’s my home, it’s been a huge part of my life,” she said.

Rojas is new to education but is connected through his father, Raudel Sr., a Delano High graduate and formerly a teacher and athletic director at Cesar E. Chavez High and now principal at Robert F. Kennedy.

The younger Rojas was graduated from CCHS in 2010 where he played two years each of varsity football and baseball and was his senior year an ASB member, Student of the Year and class valedictorian.

He gained his mathematics degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2014 and a teaching credential later from Cal State Bakersfield.

He says he intends to obtain his master’s degree at CSUB in education/educational administration next school year. He is in his third year at Delano High instructing Algebra I and II and mathematics after teaching two years at Cecil Avenue Middle School.

At Delano High he is a resource teacher and for two years has been head freshman football coach.

“I eventually want to open up my own business with my father,” he said.

His hobbies are snowboarding, working out, hiking, and traveling. He said his “little brother” is a freshman at Cesar Chavez High, “so the family is currently representing most of the district.”

Balbuena, a son of Katrina and Mariano Balbuena Jr., of Delano, both alumni of the school, carries a 4.38 grade point average. He is considering kinesiology as his college major, either at Fresno State or another university in California. He played varsity basketball and baseball for two years each before his athletic career was cut short by a torn AC in March 2016.

He attended a three-day summer medical conference in Boston in 2016 as part of the Congress of Future Medical Leaders. He has completed 22 units of college work with another 11 units in progress. He is volunteer school head trainer for the recreation department, spending three days a week on the job.

At Delano High he was a member of Future Business Leaders of America for two years, including being the president, and won first place in FBLA section competition in the insurance and risk management category.


The Delano Police Association is joining forces with Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and the police department’s Explorer Scouts to sponsor a Christmas dinner open to the public on Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Guadalupe Church hall, serving to take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sgt. Mario Nunez said he expects about 300 people to be served. The church is also working with the police association to prepare bags of toiletries to be given to area homeless. Any donations for the luncheon or the homeless bags may be left at the police department for Sgt. Nunez or at the church office.

Nunez also said that some 300 turkeys were donated to the police department for its recent distribution and that a coat/jacket drive received more than 100 jackets and a large number are piled up in the department for distribution to local youth which was to take place the past weekend.

He also praised the cooperation of the local Kmart store in offering its services for Shop with a Cop if no other arrangements could be made.


The Robert F. Kennedy Mock Trial team is to face Bakersfield High School on Dec. 19.


On Saturday at 10 a.m., Delano Historical Society members and others in the public are invited to adopt a building to decorate that day at the city’s Heritage Park. More help will be needed, said Society president Jim Sevier (661-978-6118), to take down decorations after New Year’s on Jan. 5. He said that lights, cords and decorations are available or groups may use their own.

Decorations are needed for the Heritage House, gazebo, Valencia house, Kouklis tractor, which has traditionally been decorated by the family, a dental office, fire station and jail, “and extra help is always needed,” Sevier said.

Persons may call 661-725-6730 or just show up for work from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


The annual Winter Formal of the three public high schools in Delano which was scheduled Saturday at Cesar Chavez High cafeteria was cancelled.

Reportedly as of the Wednesday prior to the event Chavez had sold 23 tickets, Kennedy 6 and Delano High 3, and planners sought at least 100 advance sales.


First tryout practice for the 2019-20 Delano High cheer squad drew 44 candidates, and for the coming year only 24 squad members can be chosen because the school district for the first time is purchasing uniforms for a three-year usage.

Candidates must attend at least seven of the practices, and they already took place Dec. 5 and 8. Next practice is Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.


Award winners in several sports have been honored at Robert F. Kennedy High School.

In cross country, Alfredo Rios was most valuable, Patrick Espinoza the Thunderbird of the Year, and Oscar Batista the Coaches Award for boys while winners for the girls were Britany Arceo as most valuable, Crystal Pimentel as the Thunderbird and Lisbet Lopez for the Coaches Award.

Brisa Gutierrez was MVP for girls golf with Karina Adame the Coaches Award recipient and Jazmine Ruiz the most improved.

In varsity girls tennis, Maribel Arredondo was most valuable, Jennifer Hernandez the most improved, and Daniela Martinez the most spirited.

For JV girls tennis, Nherlyn Capalac was most valuable, Valeria Fajardo the most spirited, and Linda De Santiago the most improved.

For varsity volleyball, Dioseline Gonzalez was most valuable, Marisol Gonzalez and Briana Garcia shared the most improved award, and Alondra Patino was most inspirational.

Janelle Ramos was most valuable in volleyball for JVs with Alexandria Camacho earning the Coaches Award and Ashley Ramirez the most improved.

For freshman volleyball, Yvonne Araujo was most valuable, Crystal Paniaguia won the offense award, and Brittany Sandoval won for defense.

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

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.