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Woodward School honors four home-grown heroes

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Woodward School honors four home-grown heroes

Woodward Elementary Principal Sherri Jamero, left, and teacher Michelle Crippen, right, flank the four heroes who were honored during a special presentation on Friday: from left, Lathrop-Manteca Fi...


POSTED January 18, 2014 1:09 a.m.

Nearly a thousand students at Woodward Elementary School learned important lessons on Friday about heroes – what it means to be a hero, who are the heroes in their everyday life, and what it takes to be one.

At the same time, they got to meet in the flesh four people in their neighborhood, including one who is a familiar face on campus, whose heroic act demonstrated what it takes to be one.

During a special assembly Friday morning before classes began, the students gathered in the multi-purpose gym to honor Woodward’s school nurse Gina Jones, her husband Craig who is a captain with the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District, Manteca City Fire Engineer Rob White, and Manteca Firefighter Bryan Kendall for saving the life of a 2-year-old child who fell in the family’s swimming pool. The averted tragedy happened in December.

Principal Sherrie Jamero and her staff turned this act of heroism into an unforgettable lesson for their students.

Firefighters are heroes because they save lives, Jamero told her young audience. But she also pointed out that the Joneses were off work and were out walking their dogs in the neighborhood when they learned about the unfolding tragedy just around the corner from the pager that Fire Captain Jones had on his belt at the time. And since that was their day off, they did not have to respond to the incident. But they did, prompting Jamero to tell the students, “a hero is a person that does something that doesn’t have to be done.”

Lathrop-Manteca Battalion Chief Larry Madowski, who attended the award presentation along with Fire Chief Gene Neely, said firefighters are not required to carry their pagers when they’re off duty.

The heroes also had special messages for the students on the subject of being a hero.

“There’s nothing special about us,” Gina Jones with the Manteca Unified Health Services told the students.

“Everything that you need is already inside of you when they’re talking about a hero. You’re already perfect the way you are. You don’t have to be a nurse or firefighter to be a hero,” said Jones who, with husband, Craig, are the parents of twin girls, 7 years old Sienna and Corrine who attend Woodward School.

Added her husband, Craig, taking his turn on the microphone after the plaque presentation and speaking to the students,“Make the right choices. Always do the right thing.”

The near-drowning incident that happened not far away from the school campus, became a launching pad for discussion among the students and their teachers on what makes a hero.

Who, exactly, is a hero? The following are some of the responses submitted by Woodward School students which were read during the assembly. The quotes are accompanied by the name and grade level of the student who read the quotes during the awards presentation.

A hero is…

• …person who not only stands up for themselves but stands up for others too (Ryean, 8);

• …someone who helps others no matter what age, gender, shape or size (Kaitlynn 8);

• …someone who helps out in their community as much as possible and puts other people before themselves, Jewleah (5);

• …never afraid of who he/she is (Nicole, 8);

• …someone that ignores being bullied and that keeps the negative out of their lives and puts the positive in, (Niko, 1);

• …someone who fights for what is right (Hannah, 8);

• …a person who does good things for the environment, our community, our world (Alyssa, 8th);

• …a person that protects their country (Andrea, 8th);

• …someone who makes a positive difference in the world (Travis, 8);

• …a person who helps people who are in need (Gabriella, 8th);

• …someone who sticks up to people who are being picked on and helps them by being there for them (Rebecca, 3rd);

• …somebody that is nice to everyone and sticks up for people who are being bullied Christian, 7th);

• …someone who rescues someone or an animal (Jose, 2nd)

• …someone who stands up for people (Isabella 4th);

• …someone who helps others and protects people (Emily, 1st);

• …someone like my teacher (Nolan 4th).

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