Top stories in education 2018  – Part 1

Jan 24: WUSD launches plan to improve school 

Williams Unified School District officials unveiled its final Facilities Master Plan at a press conference at Williams City Hall on Jan. 17. The plan will be used as a roadmap to improve school facilities over the next eight to 10 years, including the rehabilitation of existing buildings and construction of new facilities. The district plans to leverage $11 million in general obligation bonds, which voters in the school district approved in the 2016 general election, for approximately $32 million in new school construction and modernization funding, low-interest loans, and hardship grants from the state. The district is also floating the possibility of asking voters to approve another $12 million bond measure in 2020. 

Feb. 7: Colusa alumni honor inspiring educators 

Four individuals were celebrated by the Colusa High School Alumni Association on Feb. 1 for their passion for education, and their names will be added to the inspiration wall near the school’s football field. The ceremony, which was held in the Colusa High School gymnasium before the start of the varsity girls basketball game against Winters, honored former administrator Ed Conrado and retired teachers Lee and Marian Boyes, and the late Alan Becker for their commitment to Colusa Unified School District students. 

Feb. 7: Arbuckle hosts 20th FFA Field Day 

On Feb 3, Pierce High School and a community came together to put on one of the largest FFA Field Day in the state, right here in Colusa County. More than 2,000 people from about 112 schools attended the 20th Annual Arbuckle FFA Field Day this weekend. Among them were 1,700 FFA members from all across California, who competed in 18 different events across a broad range of career and technical fields, from Agricultural Mechanics to Veterinary Science and everything in between. Also in Arbuckle for the special anniversary were a host of special guests, including Kim Vann, State Director of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development; Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; California State Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry; and California State Senator Jim Nielsen. The event was the culmination of nearly seven months of preparation for student organizers, who were led by chairperson and FFA member Carlyn Marsh.

Feb. 21: Egling gym dedicated to late coach 

Colusa Unified School District officials and the family of longtime coach Dale Townzen (1936-2014) gathered at Egling Middle School on Feb. 8, to dedicate the new gymnasium in his honor. The remodeled gymnasium, funded by a 2014 school bond, has been named Dale Townzen Court. Townzen taught in Colusa Unified School District for 40 years, and continued to coach athletics and tutor students a decade after he retired in 1999. He was known for building confidence and character in young people, officials said. Townzen died in 2014, at the age of 77. He was inducted into the Colusa County Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

Feb. 21: Vandals prompt CUSD to tighten security 

On Feb. 13, Colusa Unified School District Superintendent Dwayne Newman put a request before the Board of Trustees to approve the purchase of more cameras that will focus on all public areas on the campuses, after a rash of vandalism and theft at a number of campuses, including Burchfield Primary School. 

March 14: Wildland firefighters ready for fire season 

On March 11, the Colusa County Office of Education graduated 29 men and women from counties across California from the Basic Wildland Firefighter Academy, cementing their eligibility to pursue careers fighting wildland fires with CalFire, the U.S. Forest Service, or the Federal Bureau of Land Management. The graduating class spent 10 weekends totaling more than 200 hours learning how to fight a wildfire in rugged terrain, as well as in structures and confined spaces, ahead of the 2018 wildfire season. 

March 21: County musicians unite for a performance 

Inside Maxwell High School’s gymnasium on March 14, student musicians from across Colusa County came together in one concert. The Colusa County Music Festival is a tradition that reflects the collaboration of teachers, students, and parents from Colusa, Williams, Arbuckle, and Maxwell. 

(April 11) Project teaches youth to live healthy through art 

Paper cups and bubbles used to paint abstract designs on sheets of white paper brought out the artistic spirit in kids and adults in two events. Sophia Gomez taught art classes on April 6 and April 7, as a project that culminated with an art show at the Colusa County Arts Council studio on April 9. Gomez, who hosted the events as part of her senior project, said she wanted to inspire others to explore their artistic abilities as a way to better health. In brief, Gomez set out to show others how creative activities provide a measurable boost to their mood and physical wellbeing. ■