March 7th 2015 marked the ninth annual Can-Do Day Celebration, but the first time the Celebration was held in the “Perry Peters Auditorium” of the community recreation center in the Ronald Reagan Sports Park. (The auditorium was officially given that title by the Temecula City Council in commemoration of Perry’s contribution to the city.)
President, Ed Dominguez opened the ceremony by announcing that Can-Do Day is all about honoring students who use their individual initiative to achieve something special, and about showing our appreciation for their making that extra effort to excel. It is also an opportunity to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of President Reagan’s March 3rd, 1983, speech praising the folks in Temecula for their “typical American spirit.”
Vice-President, Jeff Minkler called forward the Presentation of Colors which were given by Boy Scout Troop 384 of Temecula and led by Eagle Scout Matthew Loper. Other participating Scouts were: Nathaniel Loper, Nate Tihn, Jason Everett, Lee and Kenji Oda, and Nathan Soberg. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Temecula City Council Member, Maryann Edwards, and Pastor Steve Struikmans of Rancho Community Church gave the Invocation. The Star Spangled Banner was sung beautifully by Anya Corse, a sophomore at Palomar College. Afterward, the audience paused as the Scouts retired the Colors.
The 3rd and 4th Grade Essay Contest was next on the program. Susan Weaver, Executive Committee Member of FRRSP, reminded the audience that the contest is sponsored in cooperation with the Temecula Unified School District for students in public and private schools. The children write about two topics. First, they are to give a narrative about why personal initiative is important to them and how they can demonstrate it. Then, they are to talk about the story of the Temecula volunteers who built the sports park, and the fact that President Reagan was proud of these families and mentioned their spirit of initiative in an important speech in 1983. Susan noted FRRSP received participation from 12 area elementary schools including: Alamos, Temecula Luiseno, rancho, Ysabel Barnett, Temecula Prep, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, Vintage Hills, Temecula, Nicholas Valley, Jackson, French Valley, and Vail. Awards were then given.
Top Finalists of their Schools:
Alamos Elementary: Caden Lewis, Rad Aidric Zaraspe, Devin Lazo, Kadden Watts
Temecula Luiseño Elementary: Taiya Quinlan, Meilani Castillo, Rachelle Tengonciang, Ameya Teli
Rancho Elementary: Cambria Farley Doyle, Zain Buccheri, Cassandra Hreha, Alexandre
Pelaez, Elaine Peri Rund
Ysabel Barnett Elementary: Yudhister Kumar, Holly Lynn Handley, Shivantika Shegar
Temecula Prep: Grace Roos, James Trutalli, Ahslee Duran, Carmyn Chankheo,
Andrew Landry, Aiden Wiersma, Michaela Augustine
St. Jeanne de Lestonnac: Sophia Vela, Talyn Knick, Faith Orifice, Audrey Pollack Shane
Sheridan, Alexander Santiago John Hodgkinson, Fredric Riaza III
Third Grade Rising Stars:
Honorable Mention: Caden Lewis - Alamos Elementary
Katy Arthur – Jackson Elementary
3rd Place: Yudhister Kumar – Ysabel Barnett Elementary
2nd Place: Sophia Vela – St. Jeanne’s
1st Place: Daniel Brown – Nicholas Valley Elementary
3rd Place & $50 Award: Cambria Jade Farley Doyle – Rancho Elementary/ Mrs. Romero’s class
2nd Place & $100 Award: James Trutalli – Temecula Prep/ Mrs. Madriaga’s class
1st Place & $150 Award: Grace Leilani Roos – Temecula Prep/ Mrs. Fuller’s class
Grace came forward and read her essay stating, “when you do something without being told, you do it from the goodness of your heart.” These top essays will be published in the end of summer edition of Community Little Book thanks to the generosity of Janese Reyes of Community Little Book.
“Each year,” the audience was then reminded, “FRRSP tries to recognize one teacher who stands out as leading his or her students to a greater understanding of not only the value of personal initiative and pride in our local heritage, but also the value of developing good writing skills.” Having achieved this honor, Mrs. Vaughn of Alamos Elementary was called to the podium and awarded $100 for classroom supplies. A special thanks was then given to Tony Moramarco of Bigfoot Graphics who designed a decal of “Can-Do Kangaroo.” The decal is given to EVERY 3rd and 4th grade student who enters the essay contest.
The next part of the program was the PRESENTATION OF THE MAYOR’S TROPHY. This is a traveling trophy awarded to the elementary school whose students submit the greatest number of qualified entries. This is the seventh year of the Mayor’s Trophy competition. The first year it went to Temecula Luiseño, then St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, next Linfield Christian, Helen Hunt Jackson, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, and finally last year, Temecula Prep.
This year the competition was really close. President Ed Dominguez came to the podium to announce the winner … St. Jeanne de Lestonnac won it for the third time! Temecula City Council Member, Maryann Edward presented the trophy to St. Jeanne’s Principal, Kristen Morra and a cheer was heard from around the room! Who will win it next year??
All the children recognized that afternoon were invited to turn out for the 4th of July Parade and walk down Front Street with FRRSP and our Medallion Winner, in order to honor them for their hard work and accomplishment.
A hearty Congratulations was given to ALL!
At this time the audience was entertained with a musical interlude given by Rancho Elementary’s 1st through 3rd grade, CBG Students, led by leader Anne McDonnell McCann. These children were delightful and their smiles were contagious. Applause was abundant and Mrs. McCann was called to the podium to receive a heartfelt word of thanks.
After the CBG’s performed, Makena Neuman, a senior from Great Oak High School, came forward to read her winning speech. Makena is doing something really different for her community, something not many her age have even thought to do. But she didn’t just wake up one day and have it fall into her lap. Her story is one of dream … try to put dream into practice … fail. Dream again, try to put dream into practice … fail again. Did she quit dreaming? Give up? Did she say … I can’t do this … nothing’s working out; or, listen to the advice of someone near and dear … and try again and succeed? You can READ HER SPEECH by clicking on her picture under IN THE NEWS on the Home Page.
Makena Neuman is the founder and CEO of the Me Ke Aloha Foundation which has partnered with the City of Temecula to offer a dance program committed to assisting boys and girls, men and women with special needs and to developing their highest potential through the art of dance, while inspiring self expression, self-esteem, and socialization. Makena’s speech was received warmly as her enthusiasm, honest reflection, and compassion won the hearts of the audience. She was awarded the Medallion of Initiative by Mrs. Weaver and President Ed Dominguez called up donor, Leon Stavros of the Greek Food Festival Committee to present a $500 scholarship.
At this point, the podium was turned over to President Ed Dominguez who reminded the audience that FRRSP’s educational programs, including this event, are sponsored by partnership donations.(These valued donations can be made by going to Program Donations found on the top tab of our Home Page.)
The Celebration would not have been complete without calling to the podium Founder and Past President, Perry and his wife Marianne Peters. Vice-President Jeff Minkler presented Marianne with flowers, Perry, with an inscribed plaque. President Ed Dominguez pointed out that:
These two people will always be the foundation of this program. This event, the monument, the ideas, the
Can-Do dream are because of Perry Peters. …Let us not forget: behind every great man, is an even greater
woman! Marianne, we know the amount of time that Perry dedicated to this endeavor. We can never repay
you for the time you gave up, your understanding and patience. We adore you and thank you for your
unwavering support to this association.
Those seated in the audience and on the stage agreed heartily and showed it with resounding applause!