Bike or Walk to Church Sunday

Pocket Area Churches Together held its Second Annual Bike or Walk to Church event Sunday, May 25. Everyone was encouraged to ride their bike or walk to church for exercise and to do their part as good stewards of the environment and also a time to meet and have fellowship between church members in the Pocket-Greenhaven area, according to P.A.C.T. chairperson Rich Fowler. Following Sunday worship services, a progressive lunch was served beginning at Riverside Wesleyan Church for appetizers. The more than 100 attendees then moved to Greenhaven Lutheran Church for a variety of salads; then they were off to Faith Presbyterian Church for the main course of barbecue cheeseburgers. The day culminated with a visit to St. Anthony Parish for dessert where they enjoyed ice cream on a mid-90-degree afternoon.
P.A.C.T. was created by pastors from the various Pocket-Greenhaven churches to bring people of faith together to do various community projects like picking up litter along the Sacramento River and Garcia Bend Park, collect used furniture and distribute to those in need through a non-profit- Love, Inc. (Love in the Name of Christ) and collectively gather food for the South Sacramento Interfaith Partnership (S.S.I.P.) food bank, among other projects.
Planning is already underway for Bike or Walk to Church Sunday 2015, again on Memorial Day weekend.

In the Pocket

Kick starters: Our kids move. That’s one of the best features of life in the Pocket-Greenhaven community – very few sedentary youngsters. Adding to the athletic mix this fall is the Olympic sport of taekwondo. From its origins in 1950s-era Korea, the martial art is taking hold at a new retail location on Greenhaven Drive next to our local Wells Fargo branch office. Called iYa Taekwondo, the school is run by Xai Lor, who opened her business in October. “We have about 60 kids, children ranging from white to brown belts,” Lor said. “We used to be at Lisbon Elementary for the last two years.  Our kids are training for local competitions to prepare for the national tournament in June at San Jose.”  Lor plans to visit schools and neighborhood groups to introduce her sport, but drop by iYa Taekwondo for more information. The school also offers space for birthday parties. Maybe Lor’s young masters can kick the candles off their cakes…

Pumpkins Patched:
Last month, local street crime discussions involved shots being fired after a gang-related gathering at Garcia Bend Park. Now Pocket-Greenhaven residents are jumpy after more thunderous rounds could be heard as Halloween approached. Neighbor Chris Tapio did some investigating. He learned that the shots were not bullets, but part of a show at Dave’s Pumpkin Patch in West Sacramento. It’s a different world across the mighty Sacramento River – rural, timeless – and only about 700 watery feet from the Pocket community. “This incident is a good reminder of how close many of us live to active agriculture operations and how to be good, responsive neighbors,” Tapio said. Chris was able to get to the meat of the pumpkin pyrotechnics thanks to assistance from Sacramento Police, West Sac Police and West Sac Code Enforcement. The operators at Dave’s Pumpkin Patch, who’ve been in the game for many years, did not act like pumpkin heads after hearing about worried neighbors…

Little balls & strikes:  Chilly mornings and warnings of possible showers can only mean one thing in Pocket-Greenhaven – baseball season! Well, not exactly. But Nov. 1 was the first date for on-line registration at Pocket Little League, meaning parents were thinking about signups for Spring 2014 moments after greeting the last ghosts and goblins from Halloween 2013. Pocket Little League President David Starnes invites families to check for news and forms. He also advises parents to check the league’s Facebook page for updates on in-person registration dates and requirements. Pocket Little League has broken ground on a new field north of its current AAA diamond. The project is part of improvements by Sacramento City Parks and Recreation, which include more parking at Bill Conlin Youth Sports Complex…

Medal chest:  The awards keep coming for Pocket resident Wilkie Liang. This column has already told you about Wilkie winning the Sacramento Police Department’s Volunteer of the Year Award.  But that was just a warm-up. In October, Wilkie bagged the Volunteer of the Year award at the 14th annual Law Enforcement Volunteers of California state conference in Lodi. Maybe Wilkie should slow down with his volunteer service. Give the rest of us a chance…

Purple-out:  Quite a sight around Sacramento for the Kings’ season opener, with various local landmarks – the Tower Bridge, City Hall and even the Capitol – bathed in purple lights celebrating our local NBA team. The waterfront hotel Embassy Suites changed room keys to a purple hue (per a Tweet from Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, Twitter handle @Vivek). The whole region should be proud of the work of the grassroots community, NBA Commissioner David Stern, Mayor Kevin Johnson and others to save the Kings for Sacramento. The first game was broadcast on local TV without commercials and beamed to India, Ranadive’s homeland. One notable landmark not colored purple was the giant Pocket water tower. The tank stayed neutral. At least it didn’t wear Lakers colors.

Pocket churches provide food closet with 400 bags of food

Elaine Lederer volunteers at the food closet behind Bethany Church on Fruitridge Road every Tuesday and she reported that the Pocket Area Churches Together donated 400 bags of food to The SSIP (South Sacramento Interfaith Partnership) Food Closet in March. She said the food closet serves about 90 families. “It’s nice to see our shelves full,” Lederer said.

The community brought in: Canned vegetables (include green beans), canned beans and chili, tomato products, (tomato sauce, paste, canned tomatoes, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, etc.), canned soup, canned fruit, ramen and dry soup (include cup of noodles, Lipton soup, etc.), canned meats and fish (include canned stew), dry pasta and rice (include Rice-a-Roni, Hamburger Helper, Macaroni & Cheese, etc.), canned pasta (include Spaghetti Os, ravioli, etc.), peanut butter, jams and jellies (include almond butter), holiday foods (canned cranberry, canned pumpkin, canned yams, canned gravy and stuffing mix), miscellaneous (including: canned milk, cake mixes, crackers, etc.)

PACT includes: Faith Presbyterian Church, Greenhaven Lutheran Church, Greenhaven Neighborhood Church, Riverside Wesleyan Church, and St. Anthony Church.

Faces and Places: Free nature program at Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library

The Sacramento Public Library helped families learn to classify birds and reptiles by their special characteristics at a free nature program last month at the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Effie Yeaw Nature Center representatives invited participants to examine animal artifacts and meet some of the center’s live animals. The library program helped celebrate National Science Literacy Month.

WaZoBia: Children and families learn about Nigerian culture during library event

On Feb. 23, the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library played host to Mr. Sunny as he introduced children and families to Nigerian culture during WaZoBia. The name is derived from three different Nigerian dialects, with each part being a way of saying “come!” The event was put on to teach visitors about Nigerian culture through song and dance.

Mr. Sunny started the show with a brief explanation of the cultural landscape of Nigeria, followed by a short lesson in how to speak several of its dialects. After the audience had learned three unique ways of saying “hello”, Mr. Sunny brought out his drum and started up a rhythm.

IMG_0179He told visitors that they’d be participating in a few of the songs and dances, and after cheers from the children and grumbles from the adults had subsided, the event got underway.

Mr. Sunny picked several members of the audience to stand in front of the group, and while he drummed and the rest of the spectators sang along, they started to dance. The dancers were told to dance as crazily as they could; the children were noticeably crazier than the adults.

After cycling them out for a new group, Mr. Sunny brought the entire audience out of their seats for a brief lesson in drumming. He had placed a very large collection of drums and chimes in from of the group, as well as enough drumsticks for everyone in the room.

As he led with his own drum, the audience followed along. It took a good amount of time before the kids in the room realized they were not supposed to simply pound on their drums as loudly and quickly as they could.

Before the audience could return to their seats, Mr. Sunny lined them up in rows and explained how they were going to combine their dancing, singing, and drum lessons. After demonstrating the steps, he beat a rhythm while the audience proceeded to spin, skip, and slide along the floor in unison. It took many tries to get it right, but eventually the group put on an acceptable performance.

Finally, Mr. Sunny took questions from the room about his culture and about himself. He prefaced the discussion by explaining that yes, Africans do wear clothes, and they also have houses.

After some laughs from the room, he said that out of all his performances, these were the two most common questions by far. Except for one kid who asked whether the cultural clothing Mr. Sunny was wearing had anything to do with the drums he was playing (it did), every question was asked by an adult, ranging from questions about Nigerian culture to what Mr. Sunny has been up to in the States.

Everyone seemed to have a good time at the event, and many people came up to shake Mr. Sunny’s hand and compliment him after it was over. Mr. Sunny won’t be back at the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library until next year, but the calendar of their other events can be found at

Sacramento’s Michael Neumann to conduct ‘Of Joy & Fate’ holiday concert

Curtis Park resident Michael Neumann is a deep gentleman of many talents.
Neumann is the artistic director and conductor for both the Sacramento Youth Symphony and the Folsom Symphony.
For the past nine years, the latter symphony has grown in quality to the delight of audiences throughout the region. Musicians from the symphony hail from every neighborhood in Sacramento: Pocket-Greenhaven, Land Park, Arden, East Sacramento and elsewhere.
Neumann puts a great deal of time into considering each work the symphony will perform. A fine artist himself, he carefully develops concerts of depth and complexity that delight both the newcomer and the jaded audiophile.
This December’s winter concerts are a perfect case in point. The Folsom Symphony will host two holiday concerts that will gladden hearts on Dec. 15 and Dec. 16. The repertoire for “Of Fate & Joy” ranges from contemplative to festive to joyous.
According to Webster’s Common School Dictionary of 1892, “fate” is considered to be “a decree; (an) inevitable necessity…supposed by the ancients to determine the course of human life.”
Few would argue that, in its strictest definition, all mortal life is “fated” to have a beginning and an end. Not a jot can be changed about it. Somber, indeed.
Between those fixed points in time are all the things that go into life: good and evil, happiness and sadness.
And that, according to the sages, is where mere mortals have true power and freedom. Because happiness is a choice humans can make along the way.
Composers and poets throughout the ages struggled with these weighty matters. Many chose “Joy” as a personal statement of faith, and as a testimony to freely choosing the good in life. Such choices, they felt, bring out the best in the human spirit. They are heroic.
Appropriately enough, the concerts kick off with Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Fidelio Overture.” First performed in 1805 Vienna, this opera was risky, given Beethoven’s political outlook. After all, the Napoleonic Wars were scarcely two years old. “Fidelio” musically tells a tale of personal sacrifice, heroism and eventual triumph…with an underlying struggle for liberty and justice. Ludwig could have lost his head – literally.
Next on the program is George Frederic Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks.” A secular piece of music, it was commissioned by England’s King George II to celebrate a great hope for peace: the 1749 signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle. The music is Handel at his most spectacular.
The treaty? It didn’t quite pan out the way the crowned heads of Europe had hoped. Little was accomplished in the end. Fate stepped in.
The evening continues with powerful works by Rimsky-Korsakov (“Capriccio Espagnol”), Brahms (“Schicksalslied,” accompanied by the Folsom High School Chamber Singers), Johann Strauss Sr. (“Radetzky March”) and his son (“Tritsch Tratsch Polka”). Popular composer Leroy Anderson’s work “Christmas Festival” will put audiences in the holiday mood.
Handel makes another appearance with his magnificent work from “Messiah” – the “Hallelujah” chorus.
Happiness, it is said, is not a destination. It is something one encounters along the way. One can choose to be joyful, or to be otherwise. In celebration of this fact, each member of the audience is invited to sing along to traditional carols near the conclusion of each concert.
Webster’s little dictionary from 1892 defines “joy” as “gladness, delight, exultation…bliss.” Intangible delights that the Folsom Symphony and Neumann specialize in every December.
“Of Fate & Joy” will be performed two days only, on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. Performances are held at Folsom Lake College’s Three Stages Theater. Get your tickets soon…these concerts sell out every year. Call (916) 916-608-6888 or visit Also visit

Know your neighbor: Land Park resident invites everyone to learn more about “proud Americans”

“Proud Americans: Growing Up As Children of Immigrants.”

Land Park resident Judie Fertig Panneton was born the child of immigrants. Her mother was from Poland and her father was from Holland. Both her parents were also Holocaust survivors.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, all Panneton wanted was to be like all the other American kids and fit in.

“When I was a kid I didn’t want to be a child of immigrants; I didn’t want to have parents that were Holocaust survivors,” she says. “It was very painful to watch my father have a number on his arm and to know there was horror behind it.”

Now years later, Panneton has realized she is proud of the fact she is a child of immigrants, thanks in part to the research she conducted while writing her new book, “Proud Americans: Growing Up as Children of Immigrants.”

Touching Stories
Panneton decided to write “Proud Americans” as she had always felt different and wondered if there were other children of immigrants who felt the same way. Through her journalism background and curiosity, she decided to start interviewing other children of immigrants to see if they had the same feelings.

Over seven years, Panneton interviewed about 50 people for her book, many of which are from Sacramento. For example, she interviewed Board of Supervisors District 2 Representative Jimmie Yee, who in his story talks about how poor his family was growing up. And Tony Xiong, one of 10 children of Laotian immigrants, grew up in a poor Sacramento neighborhood, battled hunger, violence and the lure of gangs who is now training to be a police officer.

“You interview these people and they just become part of you sometimes,” Panneton says about her experience. “I was very touched by a lot of the stories. And I learned from all of them – that was a great part of it too … Not only do I hear these special stories and memories, but I get to learn about history and people’s lives and how they made a go of it.”

Panneton said although many of her book’s subjects come from Sacramento, it wasn’t done on purpose – it just happens that Sacramento is that diverse. In fact, she makes reference to the fact that Sacramento was named the most diverse city in the United States by Time magazine in 2002, and for that reason she asked Mayor Kevin Johnson to write an introduction for her book.

(From left) Author Judie Fertig Panneton poses with “Proud Americans” subject Dorothy Mitsu Takeuchi during a past book signing event. Photo courtesy Judie Panneton.

Spreading the Word
Through her project, Panneton said she has learned that some of the most proud Americans are children of immigrants, and their families really appreciate what America brings to their family.

“I also take away that being a child of immigrants is actually an honor. You just don’t realize it sometimes,” she adds. “There are some people who certainly have embraced it from the moment they were born in the family they’ve been in, but there are others that don’t realize how great it is until they’re older.”

Panneton hopes to spread this message across to others. For instance, she has done talks at California State University, Sacramento and colleges on the East Coast about her book, and has made the book available to some CSUS and high school educators to use in their curriculum.

She may develop “Proud Americans” into a play. As she sees many of these stories as looking through the window of someone’s home, she believes her book would format itself well to theater. “I’m not moving on from this book because it lives in my heart and my soul and I’d still like to build upon it,” she said.

In July, Panneton was part of a presentation of citizenship certificates to 14 new children of immigrants at the Old Schoolhouse in Old Sacramento. “My message to them was you go to school and you’re going to want to fit in with your friends and that’s all good, but remember your parents sacrificed a lot to come to this country, so be proud of them, too,” she says.

To continue spreading the word on what she’s learned, Panneton will be conducting three presentations through the Sacramento Public Library in October – Pocket Greenhaven Library on Oct. 10 from 6:30-8 p.m.; South Natomas Library on Oct. 17 from 7-7:30 p.m.; and Arden Dimick Library on Oct. 20 from 2-3:30 p.m.

For the library events, Panneton plans to have read four to five stories from “Proud Americans” and open up a discussion with attendees. She also hopes to have some of the people from her book attend the library events so attendees can meet them.

“I hope people come to the events at the library because it’s always a great opportunity to form a little community in a room and have really special time spent together sharing ideas and memories,” she says. “I would love to see everybody come out and join together as a community and talk about this great country of ours.”

Silva family history in the Pocket began more than a century ago

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series regarding the history of the Antone “Tony” Luiz Silva and Joao “John” Luiz Silva families and their descendents.

Among the many early Portuguese families of the Pocket area were the Antone “Tony” Luiz Silva and Joao “John” Luiz Silva families.

Both Tony and John, who were brothers, immigrated to the United States from Topo, Sao Jorge Island in the Azores Islands of Portugal. The brothers’ original surname was Avila, but they acquired the surname, Silva, after arriving in the U.S.

Tony was the first to arrive
The first of these immigrants was Tony, who arrived in America at the age of 17, and joined his brother, Joseph, who was herding sheep in Inyo County, around Lone Pine and Bishop.

In that county, Tony worked for two separate wages. One of these wages was $1 per day and for another employer, he was paid with food. However, Tony was not content working for food and after three days, using his broken English, he asked to be paid $3. The employer responded by giving Tony three kicks in his rear and ordering him off his property.

After leaving Inyo County, Tony, who was known to sign his name, “A.L. Silva,” because of his illiteracy in English, went to Sacramento County and became employed at the Elk Grove Winery in Elk Grove.

He then went to the Grant area in today’s Carmichael area and worked on a hay bailing press and farmed hay and grain.

Tony and Mary meet
While in the Grant area, Tony met his future wife, Maria “Mary” Nevis, who was born in the Azorean island of Terceira on Aug. 5, 1881. Mary had then-recently immigrated to the Pocket with her cousin, Vera Bettencourt, and lived with one of the two Costa families of that area.

Tony and Mary were married – most likely at the St. Joseph Church in Freeport/today’s Clarksburg – in April 1899.

In about 1902, Tony and Mary moved to the Freeport area, where Tony farmed and had a small dairy, adjacent to where John also farmed and operated a dairy.

Together Tony and Mary had seven children, Mary, Joseph L., Olive, Rose, Hazel, Anthony and the first-born Rose, who died in infancy. As a father, Tony acquired the nickname, “Lavafraldas,” which indicated the “washing of diapers.”

One day, one of Tony’s friends was driving by his home and observed Tony hanging up his children’s diapers on the outside line next to his house. The friend rolled down the window of his vehicle and shouted, ‘Oh, Antone Lavafraldas.’ This name became Tony’s nickname and remained with him for the rest of his life.

Tony and Mary settle down in Pocket
Sometime after the 1904 Edwards Break, which flooded the Sacramento side of the Sacramento River, mostly south of Sutterville Road, Tony purchased 102 acres of swamp land in the Pocket.

Before Tony could even begin to farm this land, the property had to be drained of its river water seepage and cleared of tules and brush.

It was also on this property that, in 1909, Tony had a 10-room Victorian constructed for him by Manuel Valine, a contractor who was known as “Calisto.” As a protection against flooding, Calisto built the home on a knoll.

In order to continue his work as a dairyman, Tony established a dairy on his Pocket property. The property also included a large orchard and a family vegetable plot.

In about the early 1920s, Japanese families began residing in the Pocket area and, in many cases, leased land from Portuguese farmers. It was during this early period that Tony leased his Pocket property to Saichi Hironaka, who was an American citizen. Hironaka then subleased the property in three parts to the Tanaka, Ishimoto and Shirai families.

In 1934, Tony acquired an additional 100 acres from Joe Rico.

Tony passed away on Jan. 30, 1945 and his entire property remained with his family in the ownership of his widow.

What became of the property
From the early 1960s through the mid-1980s, Tony’s former property was sold at different times in individual sections for the residential redevelopment of the Pocket.

Twelve acres of Tony’s former Pocket property was donated in 1960 to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for the construction of a new church and parochial school. These 12 acres were exchanged for a 5-acre site on Florin Road, where the church was built and named St. Anthony Church in memory of Tony.

John immigrates to America
Tony’s previously mentioned brother, John, who was born on Jan. 10, 1879, immigrated to America in 1896. He arrived in New Bedford, Mass., where two of his sisters resided and then lived with them there for some time before joining Tony in California.

John was later hired to work at the Sacramento Brick Co. on Riverside Road (now Riverside Boulevard). He maintained this employment for several years.

On Dec. 17, 1904, John married a 20-year-old, Faial, Azores Islands-born woman named Inacia “Nancy” Silva at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. For their honeymoon, the couple traveled on a riverboat to San Francisco.

After returning to the Sacramento area, John and Nancy settled on rented property that was owned by the Glide family on Babel Slough in Yolo County. On this property, John operated a dairy with his brother, Tony.

The brothers grew alfalfa for feeding their cows and potato and beans to feed their families, which included John and Inacia’s eight children who were born on this property. Altogether, John and Inacia’s family included nine children: Mary, John L., Jr., Madeline, Tony, Anna, Joaquim (“King”), Manuel, Dolores and Emily.

In 1916, John purchased about 100 acres in the Pocket area from Frank Rico. Included with this purchase were two houses, three barns and a large orchard, which was located between the houses. Orange trees were among the trees of this orchard.

Also within John’s Pocket property were various crops, including alfalfa, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, sugar beets, spinach and milo.

John farmed his property into the 1950s, at which time he retired and his sons continued the operation of the farm.

Just prior to John’s death on July 7, 1970, part of his acreage was sold to developers.
Nancy died on Dec. 3, 1976, and the remaining part of the property was sold by her family in 1979.

Pocket Little League Champions

Pocket Little League is the local little league for the Pocket/Greenhaven area. To play in the league you have to be a resident or a recent resident of the Pocket/Greenhaven area. Our team was a pure 9-10 year old team. The teams we played against were allowed to have 11-12 year olds per Little League rules. We faced two teams that featured older kids (11 and 12 year olds) as their premier/star players.

Our team, the Yankees, won a 6 team league at Pocket Little League. The Pocket Little team with the best record after 20 inter-league games is crowned Pocket Little League champions and is sent to a tournament to represent Pocket Little League. The tournament is made up of 9 league champions primarily from the South Sacramento area. The leagues represented are Land Park, Oak Park, Florin, Cosumnes, East Sac, Airport, Parkway, Tahoe Tallac, and Pocket Little League. The tournament is called the Tournament of Champions (TOC).

In the Championship game, Vicente Lamera pitched 4 solid innings, striking out 9 batters. AJ Wallace stayed hot and went 3 for 3 at the plate, scoring 3 runs, and 1 RBI for us. Adrienne Lott came up with a huge 2 RBI hit in the top of the 6th that gave Branson Ferengel some cushion for the Save. We had a huge defensive play at the bottom of the 6th inning. Cosumnes hit a hard ball to the fence with a runner on first. Antonio Jacobo retrieved the ball and started a Championship relay to Vicente Lamera at the cut-off. Vicente spun and threw a dart to a perfectly positioned Nathyn Brown, who made solid catch and tag on a disappointed Cosumnes player. Pocket LL came out on top 6 to 4 over Cosumnes LL.

This was the first District 7 Championship win for Pocket Little League since 2005. We broke the 7-year Championship drought, including All-star tournaments. We beat Land Park in the first round. It was the first time in recent memory (7 years) that a Pocket Little League team, in any scenario, has beaten a team from Land Park. In our second game we beat East Sacramento. The Championship was against the reigning TOC Champion, Cosumnes.

We received the banner as shown in the picture that will be displayed at the new Conlin field during the playing season. It is the first championship banner won since Pocket Little League moved to the new Conlin fields. We are working on placing the player names on the banner that will be displayed at the Pocket Little League fields for years to come.

Our District 7 City Council member, Darrell Fong, congratulated the Yankees on winning the Pocket Little League and Tournament of Champions games.

Kennedy students compete in Rotary speech contest

This year’s Rotary Club theme is “Reach Within to Embrace Humanity,” and that is exactly what Daniel Li did Thursday morning, Feb. 9, at the Aviator’s Restaurant located at the Executive Airport.

REACHING WITHIN, Kennedy High School upperclassmen Daniel Li and Simon Lal (left to right) competed in the Rotary Club of Pocket-Greenhaven’s annual speech contest. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Sally King

REACHING WITHIN, Kennedy High School upperclassmen Daniel Li and Simon Lal (left to right) competed in the Rotary Club of Pocket-Greenhaven’s annual speech contest. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Sally King

Li, a junior at Kennedy High School competed against Simon Lal in the annual Rotary Speech contest. His speech touched on the shallowness of society as a whole.

“I looked at the theme and I wanted to get looser with the style of my writing,” Li said. “This year’s theme took a lot of thinking and it was a fun process.”

Li lives in the Greenhaven Pocket area and said he plans on getting a business degree and might follow the footsteps of his two older brothers who attend UC Berkeley. The Rotary Club awarded him first place with a gift of $200.

Lal, a senior at Kennedy High School said he wants to become a stunt director and actor. His theme was being true to self and others. Lal lives in South Sacramento. He received $100 for his speech.

“I decided to be in the speech contest because I tend to be shy and sometimes stutter and slur my words,” Lal said. “I figured this would help me improve my public speaking.”

Speaking well in public takes years of practice and begins with experience. These are two reasons the Rotary Club has an annual speech contest for young people. The Rotary Website explains the contest is an opportunity to spread the themes and motto of Rotary, “Service Above Self.”

The Rotary Club rules state contestants must be in grades 9 to 12. The speaker must give a five to eight minute speech without displays, prompts or prompting. The speaker must convince listeners how he/she will reach within and find their inner strength to accomplish great things within their community and around the world. They are allowed to use notes for the first round, after that notes are not allowed.

There were three judges; Linda Whitney, retired principal of Caroline Wenzel Elementary School, Terry Thomas, retired teacher from Alice Birney Elementary School and Marilee Bellotti, retired principal of Holy Spirit Parish School.

Li advances to the Area 4 Level Semi-final Contest to be held Thursday, March 29 at 7 p.m. in the SMUD auditorium.

The winner of that contest advances to the District Level Contest, held at the Grand Sierra Resort, Reno Nev. on Saturday, May 19. The district level first place award is $1000 and second place is $700.