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Educators of the Year, scholarship awardees
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Several teachers and students achieved high-water marks in 2011 for various reasons including academics and excellent job performances.

Two of the teachers who were singled out for excellence on the job were from Manteca High.

Doug Obrigawitch, a 28-year veteran teacher with 18 years at Manteca High alone, was the recipient of the prestigious Cortopassi Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Award for 2011. In recognition of his efforts and achievement, Obrigawitch received $5,000. As part of his recognition Manteca High’s math department was also awarded $5,000.

The purpose of the Cortopassi Family Foundation Award is “to recognize outstanding math and science teachers who exemplify the best of the teaching profession and who inspires students and colleagues to be the best they can,” according the announcement from the Manteca Unified School District.

During his nearly two-decade stint at Manteca High, Obrigawitch helped the school achieve the highest math test scores in the district.

A Buffalo colleague of Obrigawitch, science teacher Greg Conway, also brought honor to the school in 2011. He was selected as a San Joaquin A+ teacher for his role in developing the Health Science Career Pathway on campus, as well as for the great success that his students in the program have been manifesting.

Conway is described as a teacher who puts emphasis to critical thinking, the use of technology as a learning and communication tool, and most importantly, the application of knowledge learned in his classes. Students involved in his program come from a cross section of the school’s population but still maintain a higher GPA plus a higher attendance rate than the average Buffalo student.

One of the goals of San Joaquin A+ is to support and enhance the education of the youth in the community.

Recognized in 2011 as Educators of the Year were the following teachers in the district:

•Norma Molina, third-grade teacher at Lathrop Elementary, for primary grades K-3

•Susan Kelley, sixth-grade teacher at Brock Elliott Elementary, for intermediate grades 4-6

•Shayne Zurilgen, science teacher at August Knodt School in Weston Ranch, for middle school 7th to 8th grades

•Sandra Suzuki, math teacher at Calla High, for high school (grades 9-12)

•Marie Mitchell of Weston Ranch High, for support staff/specialized subjects K-12 grades

The Educators of the Year awardees were nominated for the honor by parents, students, and in at least two cases, by fellow teachers.

Additionally, eight graduating seniors in the school district with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and who have contributed at least 100 hours of community service during their four years in high school, and have been accepted to attend an accredited college or university were selected to receive the annual scholarships from the non-profit Manteca Unified School Trust. The scholarships recipients were: Alexys Posch of East Union ($500); Cassanddra Waggy of East Union ($350); Alexis Noemi Fernandez of Manteca High ($500); Marena Habibi of Manteca High ($350); Tanya Christine Towner of Sierra High ($500); Coleen Villavieja Reynoso of Sierra High ($350); David  Ramirez Vasquez of Weston Ranch High ($500); and, Thomas Medeiros of Weston Ranch ($350).