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April 12
1738 - Fr. Francisco Garcés born in Spain; came through SCV in 1776, found Tataviam fighting with Coastal Chumash, observed Santa Clara River flowing by night and dry by day despite the season being spring [story]
Garces statue


Charles Helmers Elementary School in the Saugus Union School District has been awarded the Parent Teacher Association Spotlight Award for Student Achievement.

The PTA won the prestigious award from among 5,000 other elementary PTAs in California.

The award was based on their FIT TEAM program established in 2004 to create a school fitness experience that would go beyond the state mandated 200 minutes of physical fitness every 10 days. The PTA wanted to offer every child an opportunity to be active in a fun environment. The program gives each student an opportunity to showcase their abilities; gain recognition for individual achievements; and FIT TEAM addresses the need for every child to feel involved and connected to their community.

From left: Otha Thornton-National PTA President; Colleen A.R. You-California State PTA President; Jacque Anderson, Charles Helmers PTA President; Cathy Suen-Charles Helmers PTA Parliamentarian.

From left: Otha Thornton-National PTA President;
Colleen A.R. You-California State PTA President;
Jacque Anderson, Charles Helmers PTA President;
Cathy Suen-Charles Helmers PTA Parliamentarian.

Teachers, administrators, campus supervisors, and aids join their students nearly every Friday as they walk/run on a quarter mile track. Parent volunteers track the student’s weekly progress, and award students with a foot charm for every mile and a fuzzy “Weebul” for five miles completed.  Cumulatively, they have run/walked over 125,000 miles or the equivalent of traveling the entire coastline of the continent of Africa.  An unexpected outcome of this program is that administrators and teachers have noticed less truancy and behavior issues on FIT TEAM Fridays.

At the end of the FIT TEAM year, the PTA hosts a “Family Fun Run” where every child receives a participation medal, and the top runner with the most miles receive special awards. The long-term impact of this program is seen in the results of a recent Presidential Fitness survey. Charles Helmers Elementary School students scored far above the expected norm among the rest of the elementary schools in our school district.

The award was presented by National PTA President Otha Thornton and California State PTA President Colleen A.R. You. Accepting for Helmers were PTA Prsident Jacque Anderson and Parliamentarian Cathy Suen.

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