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Mother of four roots for Weston Ranch students
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WESTON RANCH – When Alison Ordner saw one of August Knodt School’s students featured in the 2013 Central Valley Air calendar but didn’t get the proper credit, she did something about it.

Annel Mercado, a fifth grader at the Home of the Falcons, was one of only three students in  San Joaquin County whose original art work was featured in the calendar. She is the September calendar girl. Her crayon drawing with the message, “Less cars, more feet – Menos carros, mas pies,” and her photograph, are featured in this fall month.

The problem as far as Ordner was concerned? Annel was simply identified as a “Stockton Student Artist.”

Ordner, who was one of three candidates in the November elections for the Weston Ranch – Area #1 representative seat in the Manteca Unified School District Board of Education but failed to get enough votes to win, wants everyone to know that the talented fifth grader hailed from August Knodt in Weston Ranch.

“You figure, only 13 students (in the San Joaquin Valley) were chosen for this calendar, so that’s a big deal,” she said.

While it’s true that the Weston Ranch community in French Camp is part of the incorporated city of Stockton, “we’re more like north French Camp rather than south Stockton,” Ordner said.

The problem is that when crimes happen in Weston Ranch, they unfortunately get reported in the news media as happening in south Stockton. That’s a concern for Weston Ranch residents like her “because we get lumped in with south Stockton when, in my opinion, we’re not. People come into our neighborhood and they do bad things. So many of these things happening” do not even involve residents in the area, Ordner clarified.

She said she is only trying to make sure that “good things happening in Weston Ranch,” such as the August Knodt fifth-grader’s accomplishment, get into the public’s attention.

“Our babies deserve this, to be able to have their name in the front page (of the newspaper) when they do well. People need to know,” she asserted.

The other part of her concern is that her own four boys, except the oldest who is a freshman at Weston Ranch High School, all go to August Knodt School. She found out about Annel’s winning calendar art work from the school’s facebook page and saw the student’s teacher, Janet Cabezut, congratulating her pupil for her outstanding achievement.

There are many good things like that happening in Weston Ranch schools, Ordner said. The area is home to a number of Manteca Unified campuses, she pointed out – three elementary schools, namely, Great Valley, Komure and August Knodt, plus New Vision School and Weston Ranch High School.

August Knodt fifth-grade teacher Cabezut agrees with Ordner’s sentiments.

“We’re kind of out here, but we’re Manteca Unified School District. Sometimes we forget to let newspapers like the Bulletin know (about school happenings) because we’re so out here, that there are kids here doing great things, too. Sometimes we get a bit of bad rap,” Cabezut admitted.

Getting the good side of Weston Ranch in the forefront remains a commitment for Ordner even though she did not win the election.

“My commitment to the district is the same, to do something every time I see something where I can make a difference. Obviously, my number one commitment is the children,” said Ordner who is on the board of Weston Ranch High School’s athletic boosters and the district’s Measure M Oversight Committee.