What: 28th annual Concilio Recognition Dinner/Dance and Scholarship Fundraiser
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, featuring dinner, awards, raffle and dance
Where: Waite Hall, Yolo County Fairgrounds
Tickets: $30 each; call 530-758-2331 or purchase at the door
The 28th annual Concilio Dinner/Dance and Scholarship Fundraiser — which draws 400-some participants each year — will recognize several local educators and community leaders as well as several high-performing high school students. The event is Saturday at the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland.
“This year we will be honoring Bob Bockwinkel and Jerry Kaneko with our Board of Directors Award,” said organizer Rick Gonzales Jr., whose tireless efforts over many years have made the event a local tradition.
“Did you know that Bob is a former WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) referee?” Gonzales asked.
Bockwinkel is a Davis Realtor who is better known for his role as a community leader with the Odd Fellows, the Davis Democratic Club and most of all for his efforts to organize an annual food drive that nets thousands of pounds of edibles that are donated to a food bank.
“Bob gets 75 to 100 volunteers that go around and help pick up all those donations,” Gonzales said, with admiration.
Kaneko grew up in French Camp, near Stockton, was sent to an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, then went to Ann Arbor, Mich., where he worked as a houseboy at a hotel. (Japanese-Americans who were not living in the Western states were not interned.)
Kaneko joined the U.S. Army and served with the American military in Japan as the war ended, then he returned to Midwest and enrolled at Michigan State. Kaneko eventually came to UC Davis as a veterinary school student, and eventually became a professor. He also was elected to the Davis City Council.
Other honorees include Derek Brothers, principal of Holmes Junior High in Davis.
“Derek has built a culture that is welcoming to all students, with high standards in behavior and academic achievement,” Gonzales said. “Just as important, kids like being at Holmes. They are excited to learn,” he added, noting that Holmes has posted higher and higher scores in the state’s Academic Performance Index since Brothers became principal, and recently became the first junior high school in Davis to score an Academic Performance Index ranking over 900.
Also receiving recognition will be Rep. John Garamendi, whose district has been redrawn to include Davis.
“He’s already made an impact in Davis,” Gonzales said. “And we’re pleased that he’s interested in our Latino community.”
Other honorees include Dr. Jason Auriemma of CommuniCare Health Centers, who learned Spanish so he could work with a broader cross-section of local patients; Ricardo Carrillo, who works at Davis Waste Removal and also operates a longtime boxing program in Woodland that brought along notable local talents including Loreto Garza and Vicente Escobedo; Crescencio Acevedo, who was one of the originators of the Mexican American Concilio of Yolo County in 1970; Elodia Lampkin of the Woodland school district, who wrote a widely used manual for teachers working with students who are English learners; and Edgar Lampkin of the Yolo County Office of Education, who also chairs the Yolo Family Resource Center board.
The Davis High students being recognized at the dinner are Brendi Patiño and Manny Guerrero.
“Brendi is a top student; she would like to get a master’s degree as a genetics nurse,” Gonzales said. “She would also like to serve in the military, and eventually work in a hospital.
“Manny was home-schooled until the seventh grade. He’s a writer; he wrote a science fiction book when he was in the sixth grade. He is very academically motivated, and he is a pitcher on the Davis High baseball team. He wants to go to Cal Poly, and own his own business.”
Other students from high schools around Yolo County will be honored as well.
The Concilio’s annual effort to raise money and award scholarships to dozens of Yolo County students has been Gonzales’ passion for years.
“We started with two scholarships in 2000, and we’ve now given a total of 575 scholarships over the years,” he said. “I’m shooting for 55 scholarships this year. There are tough times to be asking people to donate money, and I understand that. But people really support us.”
The energetic Gonzales, who retired from his teaching job several years ago, added that the scholarships are important because “these students have worked very hard, gotten good grades. And now they’re going to get a special night at our annual dinner, where they are the highlight of the whole evening.
“When I get all 14 students who are being recognized up there on stage, and the whole audience stands up and applauds … they’re very appreciative. Kids need to be congratulated and feel special. Because they are special. And we encourage them to think about giving back to the community once they get back from college.
“Let me also say something about my dad, who passed away in 2004,” Gonzales said. “He was one of the founders of the Concilio, and we still have an ad in our program honoring him, and also for Mel Trujillo, who was a Concilio board member, and Mary Lou Hernandez, who was a native Davisite who encouraged me to join a lot of local groups. We like to honor those who have gone before us, and who made a difference in the Latino community.”
— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.