Becky Rector recalled growing up with the Elliott family.
She knew Brock Elliott from her brother Dan, who attended Manteca High and remembered the namesake of the Manteca Unified elementary school campus.
“He was a great student leader and athlete,” Rector said Friday during a special Brock Elliott Day ceremony on Friday.
During the Vietnam War, Elliott joined the US Marine Corps out of honor, courage and commitment – the core values – and, at 18, was the first casualty from Manteca in this otherwise unpopular war.
He was among 17 locals who lost their lives – the others were Charles M. White (Navy), Fredrick G. Lopez (Army), William McJimsey (Army), David E. Gore (Marines), Jessee Rodriguez (Army), Carl Borgen (Army), Joseph Tafoya (Army), Robert M. Davenport (Army), Joseph A. Lewis (Army), Bruce M. Sours (Army), Larry K. Motley (Army), Jack Landers (Army), James E. Lowry (Marines), Gale Butcher Jr. (Army), Leslie W. Morgan (Air Force) and Grant Uhls (Air Force) – and were recognized at the pre-Veterans Day event.
Brock Elliott School opened in November 1989. Rector, who was the school’s first-ever principal – she served as the school’s top administrator for 12 years or through 2001 – wanted to make sure that the school got off to a great start.
“We had a wonderful team in place,” she said.
As for the name, Rector said the school site was still in the planning stages during that period of the 1980s as district officials looked at honoring local leaders or interesting landmarks.
Two board members pushed for the memory of Brock Elliott, which, according to Rector, was significant for “honor and remembrance” to all veterans and service groups throughout the state.
Brock Elliott Day on this day fell on Rector’s birthday. The former school principal was recognized by David Silveira, who is the current Brock Elliott principal – he’s the third principal in school history, taking over this year from Debbie Ruger, who is currently at Lathrop Elementary School, Silveira’s old school – on this special occasion with the students at the school-wide assembly serenading her by singing happy birthday.
The 30th anniversary of Brock Elliott School also included special recognitions from Annaly Medrano from the office of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Cooper Condit representing Congressman Josh Harder, Jason Laughlin from state Assemblyman Heath Flora’s office, and Manteca Councilmember Gary Singh.
Manteca Unified Superintendent Clark Burke was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. He talked about “selfless service” that he learned from serving his country.
“It starts with you,” he said to students of the school.
Brock Elliott Day kicked off with the Lathrop High Army JROTC providing the presentation of colors and Student Council President Jax Ballard leading those in attendance – included were the family of Brock Elliott – in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The school Advanced Band played “The Stars Spangled Banner” – the band later performed “The Legacy of Heroes” and “American Patriot Salute” – while Silveira announced the special guests in attendance.
In addition, the school’s sixth- through- eighth grade choir and fourth- and- fifth-grade choir sang, respectively, “A Festive Call to Freedom” and “Americans We.”
The school mascot, Champ the Bulldog, was announced for the first time, with teacher Michelle Burkett bringing along her 1 ½ year old English bulldog, Posey – named after San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey – as the other mascot.
In closing, Silveira thanked all for the past 30 years and is looking for even more to come from Brock Elliott School in moving forward.