http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2009/07/24/of-note


Danville Express

Newsfront - July 24, 2009

Of note

The Monte Vista Speech and Debate Team finished among the top 10 schools in the nation at the National Forensic League's National Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., from June 13-19. To qualify for the tournament students must have finished in the top three in their event at the local qualifying tournaments in March. More than 500 students from high schools all over the Bay Area attended the qualifiers. Monte Vista qualified a record 12 students to the National Tournament, the most in school history.

Monte Vista Winners were Nipun Bhandari, third in the nation Congress; Sebastian DeLuca, fifth in the nation Congress; Elliott Velson, eighth in the nation Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking; Hayden Padgett, quarter-finalist Dramatic Interpretation (top 28); Neil Malani, semi-finalist Congress (top 60); Percia Safar, Lincoln-Douglas Debate (top 60); Hinh Tran, Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking (top 60); Louis Li, Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking (top 60).

School of Excellence Awards are given out each year to the top schools in the tournament based on the number of rounds their students compete in at the National Tournament. Monte Vista was among only 10 schools nationwide to receive a school of excellence award in debate, and one of only three high schools in California to receive this award.

The San Ramon Regional Hospital Foundation has granted $1,000 scholarships to two Junior Volunteers at San Ramon Regional Medical Center. Patricia Costacurta, a senior at California High School, and Theresa Mailander, a freshman at Sonoma State University, were the recipients of this year's scholarships.

Costacurta volunteers in the emergency room and has an outstanding academic record. She has been admitted to Stanford University, where she will study biochemistry as part of her goal to become a physician. Mailander is in the pre-nursing program at Sonoma State and would eventually like to work as a nursery or labor and delivery nurse. She also attended Cal High, graduating in 2008, and had an excellent academic record and many community service activities while there.

Danville Rotary awarded Thom Martin Rotarian of the Year at a recent end-of-year awards luncheon. Outgoing President Bob Gibbs presented the award to Martin for "his outstanding contributions to Rotary and to our community." Martin, who is executive director of the Discovery Counseling Center, was recognized for his commitment to supporting many youth oriented programs and organizations in the San Ramon Valley including the Challengers Baseball Jamboree, Interact and Del Amigo High School. Martin was also instrumental in raising more than $10,000 in donations for Danville Rotary's Youth Impact Fund.

Lawson Bill has been inducted as the new chairman of the board for Discovery, which has been a community-based nonprofit organization for more than 35 years, providing the greater San Ramon Valley Community with affordable and high quality mental health services. Call the center at 837-0505.

Executive Director of Kids' Country Chris Erbe receives a check from the Rotary Club of Cordelia to send a child to Getaway Camp, shown with Club President Thomas Kawazoe and team members Bill James and Dennis Kelly. "Due to the economy this year, a young man who wanted desperately to go to Getaway Camp was told by his parents they couldn't afford to send him this year. With this donation from the Rotary Club, the young man can now attend," said Erbe.

In April, Erbe and fellow team members rode as the Rotary Club of Cordelia's Cycle for Sight riding team on a challenging course through the Napa Valley that includes a 1,700-foot climb up Mount Veder. With sponsorships from fellow Rotarians and family members, the riders were able to raise money for both a camp scholarship as well as Enchanted Hills Camp, a camp for the blind and visually impaired.

Kids' Country is a nonprofit corporation that provides affordable child care before and after school during the school year and all day during school and summer vacations at 13 sites in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney recently welcomed students from the 11th Congressional District to Washington, D.C., to receive Congressional Gold Medal Awards. Two of the gold medal recipients, Kristen and Stephanie Glass, are from Danville. Each student dedicated many hours to volunteering, personal development and physical fitness in order to achieve their gold medals, the program's highest commendation.

Kristen Glass completed more than 650 volunteer hours through "Make It or Break It," a nonprofit group she co-founded with her sister, dedicated to educating children and teenagers about the importance of bone health. She also plays competitive tennis and sings.

Stephanie Glass completed more than 600 volunteer hours working for Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute and educating young children about the importance of bone health through "Make It or Break It." She also plays competitive tennis and serves as a class representative at her high school.

The U.S. Congressional Awards are for young Americans, ages 14-23, who set goals in four program areas: Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness and Expedition/Exploration.

Marilyn J. Richardson of Danville was been promoted to president and chief executive officer of Mason-McDuffie Mortgage Corp., effective June 22. She has served as chief operating officer and executive vice president in charge of day-to-day operations since Mason-McDuffie was founded in January 2005. She takes over from Herb Tasker who will serve as chairman of the corporation.

"Marilyn has guided Mason-McDuffie to month-after-month of record production, both in terms of the number of loans and the dollar volume. Through her leadership, we've established a niche in the market where loan officers and their clients know we can deliver speedy turn-around and quality service,'' Tasker said.

In 1972 Richardson served as operations manager for Mason-McDuffie Financial and became the first woman partner in 1979. She has since successfully worked in operations for several mortgage companies in the Bay Area including RBC Mortgage, Zino Mortgage Group, Countrywide Home Loans, Union Security Mortgage and ITT Financial.

Last year, approximately 5,500 girls in the United States received the Girl Scout Gold Award, around 5.4 percent of the eligible registered Girl Scouts in grades 10-12. Of these, 12 Gold Award winners are from Danville, members of Leader Shirley Bull's troop 452. Winners receive congratulatory letters from the president of the United States, their senators and their governors. Gold Award project must benefit the community while reflecting the personal goals and interests of each scout.

An example of this is Marie Dal Porto's project. She has owned and cared for neighborhood pets all her young life, and to reflect her love of four legged Danville residents, Marie built a pet memorial on one of the walking trails in the Shadow Hills neighborhood consisting of two poles upon which neighbors can place the tags or collar of a pet that has died. To visit the memorial take El Capitan to Borica Drive then up the hill to Lowell Court. Turn left and the stairs to the walking trail are just past the first house on the left.

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