The Madera County Compact is a coalition of business, community and education leaders working collaboratively to improve the quality of life in Madera County by promoting business partnerships with schools. The idea is to improve students’ achievement levels and skills, and prepare them for the increasing demands of society and the workplace.
Branches Books & Gifts in Oakhurst and Madera County Sheriff’s Department were given Community Investment Awards for their relationship with local schools, while Ozterity Lighting and WestCoast Products & Design received the Crystal Tower Award for their service to students and education in the area.
Each year principals and superintendents from every school district in Madera County are encouraged to nominate businesses that have a strong relationship with their school. A designated board from the Madera County Compact reviews the nominations and selects businesses they feel best exemplify the goal and mission of the Compact.
This was one of those luncheon functions where you walk in feeling good and walk out feeling great, while vowing to step up your community service game — no matter how good it is — because you’ve seen the masters at work.
Branches Books & Gifts, owned by Oakhurst resident Anne Driscoll, received a Community Investment Award after being nominated by Heather Archer, Principal at Wasuma Elementary School. Anne works with local educators to help provide appropriate reading materials needed for students, and makes audio versions of books available to students with learning disabilities.
At the table celebrating Branches were Principal Archer, Bass Lake School District Superintendent Randy Seals, Sarah Persson, Branches employees Ruth Demers and Chloe Dean, Darla Dean, myself, and Brad Driscoll.
As most who live in the region can attest, Branches Boiks & Gifts is a frequent donor to local school fundraisers and teacher appreciation events, and regularly plays host to free educational events for children of all ages. With every step, Anne promotes her love for literature, and makes sure that everyone has a ton of fun while they learn.
The second Investment Award was given to the Madera County Sheriff’s Department, nominated by Charmaine George at Madera South High School and Roger Leach and Lynnette Jacobsen at Sherman Thomas Charter High School. Madera County Sheriff’s Department has an internship program at Sherman Thomas Charter High which allows students to job shadow a deputy. At Madera South High, detectives regularly visit students in the Explorer Program, which teaches students law enforcement practices and allows them to volunteer in the community as uniformed Explorers. Officers also speak to the class and deputies work with the students in the after school hours.
The Crystal Tower Award is given to businesses that have displayed exemplary career focused partnerships with schools in Madera County.
Ozterity Lighting was nominated by Ginger Latimer and Brandon Gilles at Madera South High School. Ozterity Lighting has been a partner with Madera South High School for 20 years. Owner John Osborne donates his time to educate students about careers in the arts, media, and entertainment industry and sits on the CTE Advisory Committee. He has helped students find employment in the industry, and also shares his professional contacts to ensure that Madera South can acquire new and relevant technology at a low cost.
WestCoast Products & Design (WCP) was nominated by Robyn Cosgrove at Madera High School. WCP has been a partner with the school’s robotics program for the past six years. Owner Ranjit Chahal dedicates more than 200 hours every year to mentor students on the First Team 1323 and sits on the CTE Advisory Committee. He and his employees help students design, manufacture, program, and compete in the yearly competitions, and also donate money to help send students who cannot afford to go to offsite events.
The Business and Education Shareholders’ Luncheon was held in the Madera County Superintendent of Schools’ Conference Center, hosted by the Madera County Compact, and sponsored by Madera County Superintendent of Schools, Camarena Health, and The Specialty Crop Company.
The luncheon began with a welcome by Kevin Herman, Madera County Compact Chairperson, followed by Yosemite High School Cadet Corps’ impeccable presentation of colors, and a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by the Liberty High School Choir.
Madera County Superintendent of Schools Cecelia Massetti, Ed. D. made introductions, including videos produced by Madera South High School video production students. Chowchilla Union High floral design students made the hydrangea centerpieces for the tables, while Pioneer Technical School students served the full house.
Congratulations to all recipients!
Past recipients of the Crystal Tower Award include A/Dolphin Associates, B-K Lighting, Bridge Store, Dr. Robert Brosi, Citizens Business Bank, Educational Employees Credit Union, Evapco West, JBT FoodTech, Greenleaf Orchards, Kings Valley Industries, Kuckenbecker Tractor, Madera Agricultural Services, Madera Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Mowers Plus, Madera Community Hospital, Movies Madera, Oakhurst Physical Therapy, Pacific Ethanol, Pete’s Sport Shop, Ponderosa Telephone, Rancho San Miguel, Round Table Pizza, Sierra Ambulance, Sierra Telephone, S & J Lumber, Tenaya Lodge, Valley Bowl, The Vineyard Restaurant and Vulcan Materials.