The Delano Harvest Holidays Association, after two lengthy meetings, is close to finalizing plans for the 75th annual festival that this year is chiefly virtual.

The Tiny Tot event is scheduled Sept. 12, and nine candidates will be present in “shifts” in the selection process for a queen on Sept. 19.

President Claribel Gutierrez is working with queen show chairperson Maizy Garza in arranging a Sept. 20 brunch for candidates.

Grand Marshal Mario Nunez and the queen and her court will host the annual Grand Marshal/Queen’s Barbecue on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Delano First Assembly of God Church, 2222 9th Ave.

The barbecue, for which tickets are $15 in advance through this month, will be takeout with the grand marshal and queen candidates helping pass out the meals to vehicles.

Profits from the barbecue will help the Harvest committee fund the expenses of festival events, especially the scholarships and awards of the queen show.

From mail solicitations and visits to farm businesses in the area, the committee has raised about half of the needed funds to fund scholarships and festival expenses.

Delano High cheerleaders are publishing a 40-page souvenir book that will be distributed to advertisers and at area schools and stores, in addition to some available at the barbecue.

Four queen candidates are introduced today, Paige Joaquino, Marissa Dela Cruz, Alexandra Emily Santiago, and Samantha Gonzales.

Joaquino, a daughter of Jacklyn Marie Vasquez and Isaul Contreras, is a senior at Cesar Chavez High School. She has achieved Principal’s and Superintendent’s Honor Roll, is a nominee for All American National Cheerleaders, won Distinguished Young Women of Delano, and takes part in Providing Animals with Service Club, student body Senate, Naional Honor Society, Titan cheer squad, Ecolution Club, and for 15 years has trained as a dancer at Precision Dance Center. She has done community service through Toys for Tots, Relay for Life, Christmas canned food drive, and Special Alliance Club Olympics. She plans to attend UC San Diego with a major in biology.

Dela Cruz, a daughter of Christopher and Veronica Dela Cruz, is a senior at Delano High, where she has achieved Honor Roll and Principal’s Honor Roll. She won Outstanding Academic Achievement for the President’s Education Awards program, gained Academic Achievement recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives, has been drum major, trained 10 years of dancing at Precision Dance Center, and has volunteered at St. Mary’s Church cleaning and serving at the Christmas dinner. After high school she plans to attend California State University Long Beach with a major in dance and kinesiology.

Santiago, a daughter of Alicia and Victor Santiago, is a Delano High senior who has won selection as MVP for soccer, captain for the soccer team and most improved for the swim team. In Career Writing she won Best Cursive Writing. She is vice president of the Environmental Club and a member of BSU. Community service includes preparing a float for the Christmas parade, helping with the food bank at Adventist Health Delano Regional Medical Center, Relay for Life and “keeping our schools clean” at Delano High and Earlimart School districts. She will major in Criminal Justice at Fresno State after high school.

Samantha Gonzales, daughter of Juan Carlos and Adriana Gonzales, is a Robert F. Kennedy High senior who has won first place with marching band, won MVP for softball, was chosen Scholar Athlete and was valedictorian. She competes in softball and on RFK’s competitive cheer squad, is active in Class of 2021 and for marching band is secretary, flute section leader, and in indoor percussion. She has volunteered for Read Across America and prepared for Fremont’s school carnival. She will attend California State University Fresno to major in education.

Five other Harvest Holidays queen candidates will be featured next week.


Sumeet Batth-Chavez, the city recreation manager, has resumed work after the birth of Scarlett Elyse Chavez in late spring.

I reported the birth in this column and gave her name — BUT I left out her first name by error. Sorry about that big boo boo.


A recent phone call came from Jim Gillet of Bakersfield, a “young man” I knew as a player on the Delano Rotary team that Monte Marshall and I coached in the mid 1960s.

Jim called to inform me of the death of Wesley Mitchell, Delano High Class of 1961. He was an outstanding Delano High athlete and was honored in 2015 with induction to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

I recall he also played basketball, and I think at College of Sequoias in Visalia he scaled 6-5 in the high jump.

Gillet also asked if I knew of a 1968 yearbook being available, and amazingly in my collection I found one.

Also asking about a yearbook was Raul Gonzales, Class of 1982. He also asked if I had another extra, and fortunately I had several of that yearbook, one of the 16 I advised.

Another call was from Steve Hodas, who I believe I surprised when he gave his name and I responded “fullback and linebacker for the Tiger football team.” He also informed me that he had been in the Live Wire newspaper class that I advised.

Steve, who said he was living and working near Pahrump, Nev., was asking about John Alcala, one of his former high school coaches. He said that Alcala was one of his former coaches/teachers who had been instrumental in shaping his character and in what he has passed on to his own children.

I could not find John’s phone number but gave him the number of Keith Delehoy, another coach at DHS and brother-in-law to Alcala.


The last St. Mary’s Mass of August drew about 100 vehicles to the St. Mary’s School parking lot on a Sunday morning at 7 a.m.

The outdoor Mass has proven to be very successful, and my only concern is what is going to happen if the weather is rainy — if that ever happens in Delano!!! So far, so good as the 7 a.m. Mass has been very well attended.


Delano Joint Union High School trustees have adopted a resolution in support of ethnic studies becoming part of the high school curriculum in California.

Trustees had to approve many memorandums of understanding with the district’s teachers association relating to changes in distance learning at the three comprehensive high schools as well as Valley High and adult education.

The board approved Alma Barajas, Estela Beltran, Nancy Beltran, Beatrice Rios, Maria Perez and Liz Guerrero as officers of the regional parent advisory committee.

Trustees accepted resignations of Robert F. Kennedy math teacher Marissa Stuart and science teacher Yessica Gomez, as well as Adult Ed ESL teacher Susana Rubio and Aileen Jimenez.

Approved as migrant literacy teachers were Aurora V. Lopez and Ruby Rivera Navarro plus Sara Cipriano as English department chair at Robert F. Kennedy and Paige Winders as mild/moderate special education teacher at RFK.

Ratified by the board were Fernando Martinez Vargas, English teacher at Cesar Chavez High, and at Kennedy were Jennifer Wright, English teacher; Danny Paniagua-Rodriguez, math teacher; Alice Alvarado, science teacher; and Maricela Mendoza, math teacher.

The board approved a master plan for English learners.

The LCFF, state-aid cash deferrals projected for the high school district is a total of $18.8 million.

The county office of education has recommended districts completing a 45-day budget reversion based on the enacted budget. The governor says the state bill protects school funding from uncertainties caused by COVID-19.

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