Arts, entertainment and lifestyles topics focused on San Benito County
Watch scenes from the Dec. 8 celebration for Our Lady of Guadalupe at Old Mission San Juan Bautista in this video by Kollin Kosmicki.
Arts, entertainment and lifestyles topics focused on San Benito County
Information and photo courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium:
Local families have one more weekend to enjoy free admission to the Monterey Bay Aquarium as part of an annual promotion for residents of San Benito County and surrounding communities.
The following is the aquarium’s announcement on the free admission through Sunday:
Tri-county residents enjoy free admission during our annual Community Open House. Visitors must present a photo ID with a local address. Current student IDs from the tri-county area or proof of residence (such as a current utility bill) along with a matching photo ID, will be accepted at the Main Entrance. Bilingual programs will be offered both weekends.
Los residentes del condado de Monterey, Santa Cruz y San Benito pueden disfrutar de admisión gratuita durante nuestra semana comunitaria. Muestra tu identificación con residencia actual. Matricula consular o identificación estudiantil de cualquier universidad o colegio dentro de los tres condados o factura de servicios con una identificación que coincida con la misma residencia será aceptado en la entrada principal. Estaremos ofreciendo programas bilingües ambos fines de semana.
Courtesy of the San Benito County Free Library:
On Dec. 5, the San Benito County Free Library held its 13th Annual Holiday Program and received a special visit from Santa Claus himself! Excited community members had the opportunity to meet and take pictures with Santa, who saw more than 400 visitors that night. Attending this event has become a tradition in many community members’ families and children’s faces lit up as they had the opportunity to meet Santa Claus.
While patrons awaited their turn to meet Santa, they made holiday crafts, watched holiday movies, took pictures with holiday props at the Library’s new “Selfie Station” and listened to festive music. Community members also had the opportunity to have their faces painted and balloon animals made by Serena’s Face Painting.
Santa gave out candy canes and apples generously donated by the Hollister School District Student Nutrition Department. Patrons also received a free book to start or add to their home libraries as well as holiday stickers.The San Benito County Free Library would like to thank its volunteers, the Friends of the Library, Serena’s Face Painting, the Hollister School District Nutrition Department, Bill Tiffany, and all the community members who participated for making its 13th Annual Holiday Program such a joyous event.
Information and photos courtesy of Tonia Sunseri:
The San Benito County community will be celebrating the 10th annual “Christmas Celebration of the Arts” holiday concert from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at the San Benito High School Auditorium, 1220 Monterey St., in Hollister.
There will be an enjoyable panoply of entertainment of traditional and holiday music in instrumental, songs and dances, by the 2019 Performers. These performances will be executed by the illustrious Mr. O’s Jazz Band, Inspire Performing Arts Academy, Mariachi Alma de Mexico, MoMENtum Men’s Quartet, San Benito Stage company, All Strings Attached, San Benito Dance Academy, South Valley Suzuki String Academy, San Benito High School Concert Choir, Heavenly Hands, and Barnes Academy of Irish Dancing. There will be a holiday cookie reception following the performances.
Free tickets are available at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4455241. Please share this FREE event and bring friends and non-perishable food items for the Community Food Bank. This event is hosted by local volunteers of the Community Christmas Concert Committee.
Information and photo courtesy of the Hollister Downtown Association:
We would like to announce the Parade winners for the 29th Annual Lights On Celebration Parade:
Best of Parade – San Benito Foods
Best Use of Lights – WCWMA West Coast World Martial Arts
Best Use of Theme – Christ Fellowship Church
Best Community Group – Hollister Youth Football & Cheer
Best Drill-Dance Group – Grupo Folklorico Raices Mexica
Congratulations to all the winners and a huge thank you to all the entries for all your hard work, perseverance, and commitment despite the weather this year. You make Hollister what it is!
The HDA also announced winners of this year’s Dec-a-Tree Project:
First Place – Sacred Heart Parish School
Second Place – Women’s Club of Hollister
Third Place – Paine’s Restaurant
Honorable Mention – Cardenas Family
Honorable Mention – Fairview 4-H
Honorable Mention – Santa Ana 4-H
Thank you to all the 25 groups that came out to decorate one of the beautiful trees generously donated by Bourdet’s Christmas Tree Farm. Your kindness will help 25 deserving families receive a tree for the holidays. Thanks again!
Local residents and businesses have stepped up in a big way for this year’s Wreaths Across America effort organized by the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber has reached its goal of getting 500 sponsorships for the wreaths that will be placed on local cemetery grave markers Dec. 14.
The wreath sponsorships went on sale for $15, and the chamber sold all 500 of them. Proceeds will go to the Wreaths Across America nonprofit organization, which oversees the effort to lay wreaths at cemeteries in all 50 states on Dec. 14. That includes at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., and there are over 1,600 participating locations overall.
“Wreaths Across America is a way of honoring our community members that have served in the military,” said Michelle Leonard, CEO for the local chamber, who comes from a military family herself. “I think for me and for the chamber, it’s a way of honoring them on more days during the year and not just on Veterans Day or Memorial Day.”
At the annual ceremony starting at 9 a.m. Dec. 14 at Calvary Cemetery in Hollister, event organizers will make sure to thank donors, including several corporate sponsors who helped out this year, Leonard said.
The sponsorship deadline was Monday. Between now and Dec. 12, live wreaths will be created back east and then shipped here by Dec. 13.
The public is welcome to attend the ceremony Dec. 14, Leonard said. That event will take place inside at Calvary Cemetery, 1100 Hillcrest Road, and then participants will go outside to place the wreaths.
Below, watch a video story about Wreaths Across America in Hollister:
The Marley Holte Holiday Dinners organization organized its annual Thanksgiving meal at Sacred Heart School. Dozens of volunteers and hundreds of guests turned out for the dinner made possible by donations and volunteer hours. See photos by Kollin Kosmicki below:
Watch a video story from the event below as well:
Volunteers prepared and served a Thanksgiving meal to hundreds of local residents for the Holte Holid at Sacred Heart School in Hollister. The late Marley Holte and his ex-wife started the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in the mid-1980s. Watch the video below:
That familiar ringing of bells will cheer customers at a San Juan Bautista grocery store through the holidays.
The Salvation Army based in San Benito County will be out collecting donations in front of the Windmill Market in San Juan Bautista through the Christmas holiday.
Maria Romero, the captain for the local Salvation Army chapter, was recently out in front the Windmill located at The Alameda and Highway 156. She told San Benito Live the organization will be out in front of the store for the first time this year and that the collections will last through Christmas.
She also noted how the Salvation Army is offering an Angel Tree inside the store. For details on the Angel Tree efforts, go here.
Photo Caption: Maria Romero stands in front of the Windmill Market collecting donations.
Courtesy of Jan Janes at Gavilan College:
You can set your clock by it.
Members of Gavilan’s Computer Science Club cruise into BU 103 right before 11:45 every Thursday morning. For the next hour, they improve their computer and people skills by networking, presenting and learning new technologies.
To a person, the club members stress: you do not need to be a computer science major to be a member of the club. Melissa Gonzalez says she comes in just for fun. “I thought you had to be super smart to be in computer science,” she said. “You don’t. But you do have to be dedicated.”
Anthony Mendoza, current club president, prepared the two most recent presentations. One detailed setting up a GitHub account to enable sharing work with others. Computer science emphasizes teamwork so others have the most current programming available on a project. “As president,” he said, “I facilitate the meetings, prepare the agenda and uphold the club to its mission statement.”
Mendoza, a double major in computer science and engineering, views the two fields as married to one another. “With mathematics, we have our hands,” Mendoza said. “With computer science we have infinitely long ‘arms’ as tools to process so much data.”
Teamwork shows up during club meetings, as members collaborate on the new material being presented or assist with programming.
Club member Erik Burgueño Gonzalez, majoring in computer science with and emphasis in cybersecurity, has taken classes in C++, Java and Python.
“I first started tinkering with computers to see what the field has to offer,” he said. “The world we live in is drastically changing, as is our safety as a nation.” He expressed concern about privacy and robotics in the future. “These fields are evolving, and we need to look at what is best for humanity.” He plans to transfer to SJSU in Fall 2020 and a future career in cybersecurity.
Computer Science Club members participate in weekend intensive hackathons, compete in game and app development events and tour industry computer companies to speak with potential employers. A recent club presentation offered an inside look working at Google and tips for successful interviewing.
CS student John Lewis hopes to pursue a career in game design, something he has been interested in for a while. “The club meetings help me understand how programs work, and how they all function together,” he said. His current interests are C++, Python and data structures. “Right now,” he said, “I have a serious focus on calculus.”
With a BS in mechanical engineering, John Mendoza returned to college to earn his AS in computer science programming. “I want to work as a programming analyst,” he said. “Perhaps in the financial industry or banking.” As a peer educator, Mendoza also shares what he knows. Mondays through Thursdays he tutors by appointment in the Gavilan College Learning Commons.
Marianna Velasco is a club member majoring in neuroscience, not computer science. “Computer science is going to touch other sciences as they all move forward,” she said. “The possibilities could lead to IP and brain connections, and the machine learning that goes into it.” Velasco views club participation and the weekly presentations as helpful to her future career.
By chance, the founding president of the club, Jonathan Rinfret, dropped by a recent club meeting. “I was not a CS major, but a math major,” he said. “I had to take one programming class as part of my education plan.” He fell in love with programming and took every CS class offered. Rinfret was instrumental in establishing the club and collaborating on developing workshops in UNIX, SQL and other languages. “The workshops gave students a taste of the course material and increased class enrollment.”
Rinfret is currently working on his MS in applied mathematics at University of Washington, a degree that is half math, half programming. His application to the US Department of Defense resulted in a job offer, and he awaits his security clearance.
His return to Gavilan offered an opportunity for some reflection about his academic path. “Walking down Sycamore Lane at this time of year, with the fall colors, brought back a lot of memories.” Rinfret described his time at Gavilan as the best choice possible.
“I had a 4.2 GPA, could have gone anywhere,” he said, “But I didn’t know what I wanted to do.” He described Gavilan as a place to learn from some very smart teachers, learn a lot of programs, and, within the club meet all sorts of different people with different interests, open to collaboration.
“High school students, as they graduate, can feel a stigma about going to a community college,” said Rinfret. “That’s BS.” He described the money he saved, the excellent education he received, the instructors he still keeps in contact with, and the peaceful environment of the campus. “I got my first As in math at Gavilan College,” he said, calling out the influence of educators Ken Wagman, Jennifer Nari and Elena Dachova. “You can excel in the hardest things if you have good instruction and put the work in.”
Students interested in the Computer Science certificate and degree programs and Computer Science club can show up at BU 103 any Thursday morning at 11:45 and learn from other students succeeding in the program. Pizza is often on the menu. And club advisor and CS instructor Alex Stoykov will answer any questions about the department.
Courtesy of the San Benito County Free Library:
Santa Claus is Coming to the San Benito County Free Library!
The San Benito County Free Library staff and Friends of the Library invite you and your family to participate in the 13th annual Holiday Program on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 5-7 p.m.
Attendees will have the opportunity to have their photo taken with Santa Claus. We will also have holiday music and movies, book giveaways, seasonal crafts, candy canes, and apples generously donated by the Hollister School District Student Nutrition Department, while supplies last.
This event is free. Please bring your cell phones or cameras to capture your holiday memories. The library is located at 470 Fifth St. in Hollister. If you have any questions, please call the library at (831) 636-4107.
We hope to see you there!