July 20, 2019
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Showing off rope tricks Skating during Cotati Kids Day parade Vehicle crashes into house Suicide leading cause of death in youths PG&E to conduct inspections by helicopter in Sonoma County Deputy saves overdosing man using department-issued Narcan Rohnert Park’s Black Blear Diner gets sued U10 Cal Ripken champions say Aloha Free school supplies Warnings weren’t enough! Rohnert Park City Council all about safety A young child making a big difference City of Cotati switches to 100% renewable electricity Trades Intro Program (TIP) leads to career Red flags fly at all fire stations during “Red Flag” warnings Alert resident foiled attempted burglary of neighbor’s home Wrong way bicyclist rides into path of SMART train School Year 2019-2020 for free and reduced-price meals Ca. Dept. of Justice announces ammunition regulations Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Homelessness spikes in RP Home delivery changes Technology High School construction on schedule Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Straus Family Creamery moving to RP TAG building grand opening RP City Council, not business as usual Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money DUI driver crashes into 7-1 Teen arrested for shooting at RP RP votes to restrict fireworks Grand Jury recommends improvements for So. Co. Water Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Holocaust piano now in Cotati CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Superintendent search begins Cotati Council moves ahead Planning Commission approves hotel Happenings at Cotati City Council Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Rohnert Park Station Ave. update Cuts suggested for school district The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County Cotati memorializes victims Rohnert Park considers firework restrictions CHP to check motorcycle safety in local area Cotati honors and appreciates Undercover operation identifies prostitution at local massage parlors Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit School district seeking new superintendent Cotati protests CASA compact School district balances budget More high density in Rohnert Park Put down your phone April is distracted driving awareness month SSU Police make arrest in sexual assault case CRPUSD district’s good news in May The long summer grinds The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Don’t drive with an open container Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU Equestrian looks to go national Brace yourself for mosquitos Station Avenue project An offer has been made and accepted on Rohnert Park’s corporate yard SMART to offer free rides... School district set to begin new year Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality Mayors of So Co write angry letter Dodd’s college student food bill passes Rohnert Park caregiver arrested Sheriff’s canine apprehends convicted felon Rohnert Park residents awarded law degrees Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims Fixing Cotati’s roads RP driver identified Burglary suspect found with firearms Joint Legislative Wine Committee to meet at SSU State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Cotati considers $15 min. wage No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires  RP decides on west side Vintage race cars on Sonoma raceway track May CalFresh month celebration DMV offices will close for half day Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled New Executive Director at SSU Reckless vehicle ends in DUI arrest New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Name correction: Grand Jury report on SoCo jail system Water Conservation Car washes and water waste Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship Illegal robocalls and spoofing Stray sways the crowd RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Cotati comes out against CASA Llamadas ilegales y spoofing Music alive in Cotati Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Enroll in Transportation Security Administration Elder abuse rising in So Co Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season Cotati’s code of conduct School board follows its policy R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant RP moves to curb false alarms Doggone hot days are here! March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Boards approve plan to offset proposed groundwater fee Groundwater sustainability fee adopted in Santa Rosa Plain Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SSU named one of the best universities Verity is hiring to work with survivors SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Students almost ready for kindergarten Would you make a great foster parent? Cardinals rout Cougars SSI and SSP recipients eligible for CalFresh benefits Five vehicle crash shuts down Golf Course Dr. How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary New fire station gets final direction Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Cotati fills Planning Commission Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit

By: Lanny Lowery
November 2, 2018

What happens to high school spirit years after a person graduates? If you are Jessica Holman, Rancho Cotate English Teacher and the adviser to the Associated Student Body (ASB) Student Government class, that spirit grows exponentially as the years slip by. That spirit, nurtured early on, as she was a four-year member of the Marching Band, blossomed when as a new and young teacher she took on the daunting task of advising the student officers. And, during the past ten years, her spirit has soared as she and her young charges have brought student government to a new height. Jessica’s enthusiasm and love for Rancho Cotate and its traditions are highly contagious. They spread to her students and her teaching colleagues. She is never satisfied but always seeking to improve on so many activities: rallies and assemblies, fundraisers and blood drives, elections and sporting events. School spirit surfaces everywhere. Proof that this spirit never ceases, a typical weekend event this happening last weekend demonstrates Jessica’s work with ASB. ASB and she teamed up with Bella Notte Linens (Novato) to host a Linen Fundraiser. Most of the funds raised will benefit Unity Week; some will go to Rancho’s Special Education Department, and a portion will be contributed to Local Fire Relief Organization. Bella Notte donated several thousand of dollars’ worth of high-end linens to the fire-effected community last year, and Rancho facilitated the exchange between the company and those in need. I first met Jessica in 1980 when she was a student in my seventh grade English class; she was quiet and intelligent, even at the age of eleven. She had definite views about most everything, particularly about not wanting to read stories about dogs. She scored the highest in her grade during the first year of the district writing sample tests. While she continued to employ her fine mind, her quiet nature evolved into an articulate and outgoing personality. This development emerges through our interview. Lanny: How did your relationship with Rancho Cotate develop and impact you as the adviser to the Associated Student Body (ASB) Student Government class? Jessica: I graduated from the Ranch in 1986 after I had experienced four years as a member of the Marching Band as a student. Just before my tenth class reunion, I interviewed for the English Teacher/ASB Adviser position. I became the adviser during my second year and continued this work for a year and a half when I was overwhelmed as a single mother, teacher, and adviser. I took a ten-year break, was a Class Adviser, and remained active with the student body. In 2008, I resumed being the ASB Adviser. My experience in band naturally fostered school spirit, competition, and pride of place. Being ASB Adviser was the perfect fit for me; it was like coming home as I could be outgoing with my cheers, spirit day outfits, and school pride. Lanny: What prompted you to become an English teacher and what did you do to achieve that goal? Jessica: Originally, I earned my Multiple Subject Credential and wanted to teach primary grades, so I did my student teaching in a sixth grade GATE class at Hahn under Kay Hawkins and also an ungraded primary class at Waldo Rohnert under Judy Grubb and Diane Rasmussen. The primary class, a combination of two classes, included a special education class. I learned to scaffold lessons so that they fit all students that later helped me in teaching modified English classes at the Ranch. I was working as a grocery checker in the evenings and substituting for classes from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Then I taught two English classes at Rancho summer school. Next I subbed for Dale Steffy and Mary Lee Higgins. I loved teaching her English 9 and 10 classes. I discovered that teaching literary analysis was rewarding, especially when I saw the light bulbs go on when students made connections between Lord of the Flies and World War II. I soon earned my secondary credential as I completed a writing course. When Higgins became an administrator, the Ranch hired me to teach English, especially English 10 curriculum that I have enjoyed presenting for twenty-four years. Lanny: How has your job changed during the past two decades? Jessica: For over twenty years, I taught English 10 where not much of the curriculum changed, but I was able to diversify by teaching English 9, 10 modified, twelve, and twelve modified. This past spring I was given the green light to start a beginning leadership course for this current semester. I wrote up the course during the summer and submitted it to the UC Regents, and it quickly approved as an elective meeting UC requirements. It’s different than ASB because it’s less event focused, but the kids are just as enthusiastic, hard-working, and eager to learn. We focus on fundraising and philanthropy, as well as personal leadership philosophy. Two weeks before school started this year, our new principal, Dr. Louis Ganzler, offered me the opportunity to teach four elective sections of CTE Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation. I was eager to accept the position as I had wanted a change, and it was a relief to not teach core classes and two leadership sections. I wrote the course, and the UC Regents accepted it as an elective. I enjoy teaching event planning and travel as I have extensive experience in both. Now I will pursue getting my fourth credential, a CTE credential. Lanny: What is ASB? What’s its role at Rancho Cotate? How has ASB changed since you were in high school? Jessica: ASB is the Associated Student Body Student Government course at Rancho Cotate. We are the “memory makers” for the student body. Besides athletics and academics, we are in charge of many of the events chronicled in Icon, Rancho’s yearbook. Legally, clubs couldn’t exist without us chartering them annually and approving fundraisers; we’re in charge of over $250,000 in student accounts each year; we produce four rallies, four days of Unity Week, four blood drives, a parade, five spirit weeks, athlete of the week, Homecoming and Prom royalty, class council and ASB elections, student of the month, Rancho’s Got Talent, and Battle of the Fans. We manage Cougar Crew Spirit and are in charge of the Cougar Tunnel. We’ve raised thousands of dollars for Sutter Women’s Health Organization and for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We also have a canned food drive, which raises over ten thousand pounds of food annually for Neighbors Organized Against Hunger (NOAH). We were the class in charge of Rancho Cotate’s 50 Year Celebration in 2016, and in September of this year we hosted the classes of 1967-1970 in a mini-rally and tour of the campus. Last year we hosted four donor drives following the fires: clothing/bedding, school supply, pet essentials, and personal hygiene drives. We also donated close to $500 raised by the student body to the Redwood Credit Union Fire Relief Fund. I don’t remember there being an ASB class at the Ranch in the 1980s and many of the events we have now did not exist when I was a student. Lanny: What kind of time commitments does this ASB adviser job require? How has this impacted your family, and how has your family supported you over the years? Jessica: The extra time commitment is extensive. I have been able to determine my own extra-curricular hours as adviser, and I add over one thousand hours to my school year just for the ASB course. I do receive a stipend for the work I do, but, until last year, my stipend equaled one hundred dollars more that the assistant baseball coach. Then my union negotiated a stipend increase, which puts me on a level with the varsity football coach. My daughter, Katelin, and my husband, Robbie, have fully supported me during my career. I consider Robbie to be my co-advisor as he pitches amazing ideas such as “Dancing with the Seniors,” using ropes at rallies for crowd control, and buying an air compressor for balloon arches. He has built a castle (we use parts of it for every rally) and other props for floats, dances, and rallies. If I’m frustrated, I go to him for help. He accepts the fact that sometimes ASB comes first in my life and that I will work long hours to help make the memories for Rancho’s students. Katelin grew up knowing that I was spirited. When she was in eighth grade at Creekside Middle School, I took over ASB so that I could be in charge of the events while she was here. She participated in student government all four years. I was able to teach here life skills as an adviser, rather than as a mom, which I think has had a more lasting impact. I’m truly grateful for the support I’ve been given by Robbie and Katelin. I could not have lasted this long as an adviser without them! Lanny: What are your long-term goals for this program? Jessica: I want to continue to give student leaders opportunities to empower them and become self-sufficient young adults. Lanny: What other important benefit have you gained by your work with ASB? Jessica: Making friends with so many of my colleagues. Rancho is not only a wonderful place for students, but the camaraderie among its staff is strong. Jessica Holman, the quiet and thoughtful young student, transformed by her student experiences with the Rancho band, bloomed into an enthusiastic, outgoing and active English teacher who creates memorable experiences for her students. That was not enough for her; as ASB Adviser she has affected not only all of the students but also all of the teachers and staff at Rancho Cotate. May she continue to share her energy and creativity at Rancho for many!