Two people who wore the red and white colors as Ripon High Indians returned to their ala mater proudly wearing blue.
Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones and Manteca Police Chief Jodie Estarziau — Ripon High graduates in 1989 and 1992 respectively — talked with Ripon Police Explorers Tuesday morning
The two Ripon High grads rose through the ranks of their respective departments with Estarziau starting as a Manteca Police Explorer. The Ripon Police Department did not have an Explorer program when she was in high school. Her maiden name is Jodie Van Boven.
Jones was three years ahead of his Manteca counterpart – when he was a senior, she was a freshman.
While Jones was working toward his Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do under Ripon’s Master Schaefer and serving as vice president of the Ripon High Associated Student Body, Estarziau was medaling in shot-put and running track, playing volleyball and doing a 10-hour a week internship with the Ripon Planning Department.
Jones also was on the Ripon High tennis team. He still dabbles in art that he learned from his favorite art teacher Diane Wold. He said he still enjoys doing landscapes and charcoal drawings. Two other teachers he recalled with respect were Jim Tornell and Terry Messick in music and theater.
They both agreed that there wasn’t much of a choice of fast food restaurants at lunch time except for a small mom and pop lunch counter across Acacia Avenue from the high school. Chicken sandwiches were his favorite. They would also join friends in walking down to Mar Val Market and to the Ripon Bakery.
And, even back then, there was “Smokers Alley” on Capps Way but neither one of them frequented the gathering point a block away from the RHS campus that emptied out onto Main Street for a quick getaway from teachers.
“I knew to avoid it,” Chief Estarziau said.
Estarziau was involved in Future Farmers of America. She also was extensively involved in horseback riding competing in gymkhana and barrel racing. She said she is hoping to rekindle a joint equestrian unit with the Stockton Police Department. Jones said he would favor such a program where the two departments could work together when in need of uniformed officers in the saddle.
This is Jones’ 25th year with the Stockton Police Department. During that tenure he served as a field training officer and as a member of the Internal Affairs Division and worked patrol working his way up in the ranks.
Estarziau was a police dispatcher in Ripon before moving to the Manteca department where she was also a community service officer, rode her steed in the mounted horse patrol and served as the department’s public information officer. She has a reputation of never being too busy to research a story as does Stockton public information officer Joe Silva who joined Chief Jones on his trip to Ripon Tuesday.
Four members of the student Explorer’s cadet force were on hand to meet the chiefs and have their pictures taken with them. They were Kepu Lee, Hoku Lee, Hana Lee and Kayla Jacklich. Hoku and Hana are twins – both sergeants.
Several individuals voiced their desire to bring the two chiefs back to speak at an assembly before the entire school student body to illustrate what Ripon High students are capable of accomplishing after they graduate from high school.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.