Delano’s Toys for Tots program organized through the Marine Corps. is off and running again for the 25th year.

Alex Grijalva, a Delano High School graduate and post office employee, has headed the program each year as a local Marine.

“At first when I was in the program all the collected toys were going to Bakersfield, and I believed that we needed to reach out in the Delano area,” said Grijalva.

The past few years the Toys for Tots program has reached about 1,000 families in the Delano and McFarland areas and about 2,500 youngsters each year.

“Our goal this year is to reach 3,000 youngsters in the area. We still need local fund-raisers and contributions of toys or cash,” said Grijalva. “Donations may be left at the Chamber of Commerce and we are having the assistance of Ginda Adkins of the staff at the Chamber, which may be contacted by calling 725-2518.”

“We are always looking for volunteers to help with the fund-raising, spreading the word, taking charity boxes to the businesses in the area and we hope to enlist many of our larger stores, and we need aid in the distribution of the toys,” added Grijalva.

The Marine Corps. provides the boxes and advertises the program, and there is more information on the website, toysfortots.org.

Adriana Salinas is the other coordinator, said Grijalva, assisting in promoting the many events which lead to donations for the program.

Forms for pickup are available at elementary schools and the local human resources department.

The Toys for Tots program began in 1994 with 15 families contacted, Grijalva declared.

“The most pleasing part of this program has been residents approaching me and wanting to shake my hand because in the past they have benefited from the program and recall what the Toys for Tots have done for them,” added Grijalva.

The distribution date has been set for Dec. 13 with Grijalva reminding residents that toys and cash will be accepted until Dec. 12. “Residents can leave their donations at the Chamber of Commerce office,” he said.

°°°

In the first band competition of the fall season, all three high schools of the Delano Joint Union High School District distinguished themselves at the Ridgeview Howl Band competition in Bakersfield.

The Delano High band and color guard gained first place in its division, with Robert F. Kennedy second in the same division, the “A Class,” with Delano scoring 708.5 of a possible 1,000 points and Kennedy receiving 696 points.

In the AAA class, the top class, Cesar Chavez took first place with a tally of 877.5 points.

I have no knowledge of what makes a musical production look good, but one day when I was a substitute teacher for the Delano High band zero and first periods, I got a good look at the dedication and responsibility of what it takes to form a good band. I believe the same type of student is what makes the Chavez and Kennedy bands as effective as they are.

At Delano High’s zero period — and I believe the other two schools follow the same pattern — much of the band comes from Earlimart, which means a 6 a.m. departure from their hometown each school day of the year to make it to the start of zero period at 6:40 a.m.

With maybe a minute break a couple of times for water which each student had in his/her own container, any extra time goes to individual practice and for two hours the group repeats and repeats the routine and the correct marching and playing to achieve the best possible results.

The Delano band members haul their own instruments and a load of other equipment some 150 yards from the band room to Delano High stadium’s east side — with no complaints from the band members and each member pitching in to see that all is hauled to and from the practice site.

There is no doubt that members of the musical group put in the same dedication and responsibility that is expected from the athletes who are enrolled in the zero and first periods every single school day.

My hat (if I wore one) is off to all the participants and to the coaches/advisers of each section of the band!

°°°

Payment for attending the Delano High School’s class of 1987 reunion is due now, but persons who are interested in attending should contact Cynthia (Conde) Munoz, 661-301-6137; Christy Chanley, 661-586-0999; or Diana Escobar, 661-487-8526.

The reunion is being billed as “the birthday bash of the 50s” since most class members are reaching that age this year.

The Dec. 7 event will be held at the Aviator in Delano. Charge is $30 which includes dinner and mingling with class members.

°°°

Future Business Leaders of America of Delano High School are preparing for participation in several different events of the regional competition that will take place in February.

For the Delano chapter, Humberto Guzman and Kristian Cavazos are sharing the presidency, and Kasandra Espinoza, Casandra Nunez and Iris Mendoza the position of vice-president.

Champagne Concepcion is the secretary, Jandra Lafradez the treasurer, Bryan Quinonez the historian and Frences Parami the associated student body representative.

Craig Nieblas is the club adviser for FBLA.

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