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Manteca teen organizes stuffed animal drive
Eighth grader Katherine Ray holds some of the stuffed animals she collected for the Oakland Childrens Hospital during Fridays Stella Brockman volleyball game between staff and students. - photo by HIME ROMERO

She’s the reigning Miss Teen Winter Fest for Manteca Youth Focus.

Katherine Ray, 13, is thankful for her many blessings. When she was about 5 or 6 years old, Ray recalled contacting meningitis.

She received treatments at Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland, which is the oldest pediatric medical center between Los Angeles and Seattle.

An eighth-grade student at Stella Brockman School, Ray is now looking to give back.

As Miss Teen Winter Fest – co-sponsored by Manteca Noon Rotary Club – she’s required to do an advocacy project.

For that, Ray is taking up a collection of new stuffed animals for children at Oakland Children’s Hospital for the holidays from now through December.

She kicked off her campaign last Friday at the faculty vs. students volleyball match held in the Stella Brockman multi-purpose building. All momentary donations from admissions paid by spectators will go to the Manteca-based Second Harvest Food Bank. New stuffed animals could also be used to gain entrance with those donated going to Ray’s effort.

Students were the boys and girls currently involved in the Manteca Unified Student Trust program.

“We held (Ray’s project) in conjunction with the volleyball match and the Coats for Kids drive,” Principal Candace Espinola said.

The faculty took the three-game match, 2-1.

As the Miss Teen Winter Fest, Ray is looking forward to taking part in Manteca’s 40th annual Christmas parade on Dec. 1.

In addition, she was recently recognized for achieving a perfect 600 score in one of the exams in the state Standardized Testing and Reporting program.

For more information on the new stuffed animal drive, call Stella Brockman School at 209-858-7200.