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Redwood High School wins Tulare County Mock Trial

Redwood High School winning team

The title of Tulare County Mock Trial champion goes to…Redwood High School!

On Tuesday night, the Redwood Silver Team defeated University Preparatory High School (Visalia) in the 2024 Tulare County Mock Trial Finals held at the Granite Hills High School Legal Justice Center in Porterville. This year, Redwood (Visalia) entered two teams in the annual competition.

Redwood’s winning team was comprised of: Priscilla Andrew, Janna Asunto, Ester Calderon, Alina Cervantes, Camila Chavez, McKenzie Chavez, Harley Davidson, Thai Dinh, Midnight Espinoza, Amelia Fultz, Jacob Hutchison, Leilani June, Morgan Kane, Susana Perez, Indira Renkema, Hector Robledo, Michael Rodriguez, Briana Romo, Haleigh Sasin, Chloe Seals, and Evan Silva.

Redwood was coached by Jennifer McFadden and Tina Moran, with assistance from attorney coaches Andre Gaston and Chris Gomez.

At the state competition held March 22-24 in Los Angeles, Redwood will represent Tulare County.

Also announced as winners following the Mock Trial Finals were the winners of the courtroom artists competition and the courtroom journalists competition.

In the courtroom artists competition, the winning artists advancing to the state competition are Lily Newell of Golden West High School (Visalia) and Isabelle Wu of Redwood High School.

The winning courtroom journalists advancing to the state competition are Trinity Elliot of Exeter Union High School and Catherine Weigel of University Preparatory High School.

For the complete list of winners and their winning works, visit

Photos above:

~ Redwood High School poses for pictures after winning the 2024 Tulare County Mock Trial competition on Tuesday, February 13.

~ A winning courtroom artist piece by Lily Newell of Golden West High School (Visalia).

Visalia student-athletes recognized for Pursuing Victory with Honor

Visalia PVWH winners

In partnership with the Downtown Visalia Kiwanis, TCOE’s CHARACTER COUNTS! Program celebrated this winter’s Pursuing Victory with Honor (PVWH) student-athletes at a lunch on Tuesday. Downtown Visalia Kiwanis recognizes student-athletes, nominated by their coaches, each season for their sportsmanship. The awards included a PVWH certificate, shirt, pin, patch, and a lawn sign that reads "An Athlete of Character Lives Here.”

Below is a list of the Pursuing Victory with Honor award winners along with abbreviated quotes from their coaches:


Avery Hiemstra, Basketball: As a three-year varsity basketball player, Avery has demonstrated tremendous character as a teammate, leader, and student athlete. As a player, she is hardworking, inquisitive, and is always willing to help others. As a leader, she is steady when carrying a heavy load, does not offer excuses, and motivates those around her. Last but not least, she is a tremendous student who boasts a 4.05 GPA.

Colton Bowling, Soccer: Colton cares deeply for his teammates and is often seen following up with them to check on their wellbeing after an injury or illness. He is always willing to help a fellow teammate, coach, or teacher on campus. Colton plays the game hard while showing respect for opposing players, officials, and coaches. Colton works to pursue victory with honor through fair play and maintains the highest level of integrity on and off the field.


David Medina, Soccer: David is an awesome leader on our team. He’s played varsity for three years and is our captain. David brings a ton of energy to our group and stays calm under pressure during games. He always emphasizes the importance of our defensive style of play and makes sure we're all on the same page. David is also an excellent student, always finding time to complete his work. He currently has a 4.8 GPA.

Kalisa Holmes, Basketball: Kalisa has a heart of gold and always puts others before herself. Kalisa stands for what is right and always has her teammates’ and peers’ back. She is a helping hand and open ears when someone needs it. Often times Kalisa is the first one to practice, prepared and ready to work hard. We are proud of Kalisa’s work ethic and her strength, courage, heart, and dedication to not only her team, but to herself and those who support her.


Lizbeth TorresLizbeth Torres, Soccer: Liz is an outstanding athlete that has taken a major vocal leadership position in both our volleyball and soccer programs. She is a prime example of Pursuing Victory with Honor in the way she conducts herself with respect to her teammates, coaches, and officials. Her poise and ability to maintain her composure in heated times is a prime example of her maturity. Liz has a “no quit” attitude and it’s infectious amongst those around her. 

Eric Toscano, Soccer: As captain, Eric has taken up a vocal leadership position, and his attitude and actions have always been directed toward whatever is best for the team. Whether it is leading the team in warm-ups or working hard in training, he always acts as a positive example for his fellow teammates on how to work hard and stay focused. Furthermore, his attitude towards his coaches, teammates, and adversaries is always one of respect and honor. 


Eduardo Garcia PerezEduardo Garcia Perez, Soccer: Eddie is a student-athlete that leads by example on the soccer field. He gives all that he has on the field and is a competitor that respects his sport. During the game, he will be one of the most competitive student-athletes you will meet, but after the game, he is one of the first to shake hands with his opponents and the refs.

Andrea Moreno, Wrestling: Andrea is a true scholar-athlete. Andrea excels in the classroom and outside the classroom, where she has displayed great time management skills while being part of the Mt. Whitney wrestling team and the medical assistant program. As a wrestler, Andrea has gone above and beyond to ensure the success of her team. Andrea’s work ethic in the wrestling room and the classroom is admirable.


Jayme Gomez, Soccer: Jayme is a coach's dream. More importantly, Jayme is a tremendous teammate and a top-notch student. She sets a high barometer by which other student-athletes are measured. She's just a wonderful human and we're lucky she's a part of the Redwood girls soccer program. As a coach, I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to have her on my team. As a person, I am very thankful I have had the opportunity to meet Jayme Gomez.

Evan Galley, Basketball: Evan is a perfect example of a student-athlete; he is a leader in the classroom and a leader on the court. He has taken numerous AP and honors classes, which led to his 4.5 GPA. He's also our team captain because he leads by example. The players have a lot of respect for him. Evan is the heart and soul of our team. He makes everyone around him better.

Over 40 projects selected to represent Tulare County at National History Day state competition

Students presenting at NHD

Last week, the Tulare County Office of Education held its annual National History Day – Tulare County. Over 200 students from around the county filled the administration building to present 100 projects they had developed around the national organization’s 50th anniversary theme, “Turning Points in History.” During the awards ceremony, students learned that judges selected more than 40 projects as finalists, making them eligible to advance to the state competition April 19-21 in Sacramento.

The judges also awarded three projects with “Best of Event” honors. The projects included two senior performances: “Eyeball to Eyeball: The Closest the World Has Ever Come to Nuclear War,” by Lincoln Graves of University Preparatory High School in Visalia, and “The Bracero Program: A Pivotal Turning Point in United States Immigration,” by Angelina Castellanos of Dinuba High School. The documentary, “The Battle That Saved The World,” by Tanner Narahara of Redwood High School in Visalia also received a “Best of Event” award. A link to Narahara’s film about the D Day invasion is available here.

Best of Event NHD winners

The finalists’ projects were created by students from Clay Elementary School (Kingsburg), Dinuba GATE, Dinuba High School, Green Acres Middle School (Visalia), Redwood High School (Visalia), Ridgeview Middle School (Visalia), Sequoia Union School (Lemon Cove), St. Aloysius School (Tulare), University Preparatory High School (Visalia), and Washington Intermediate School (Dinuba).

National History Day (NHD) is a theme-based research program that showcases original presentations by students in grades 4-12 pertaining to historical issues, ideas, people, and events.

For a complete list of winners, visit

Photos above:

~ Last week, students presented their project during National History Day - Tulare County held at the Tulare County Office of Education.

~ The judges also awarded three projects with “Best of Event” honors, l to r, Angelina Castellanos of Dinuba High School,  Lincoln Graves of University Preparatory High School in Visalia, and Tanner Narahara of Redwood High School in Visalia.

The Center expands staff to accommodate growth in residency programs

Brooke Berrios and Adriana Cervantes-González

As the California Center on Teaching Careers (the Center) prepares to launch two new residency programs this year in partnership with California State University, Fresno, the program has added a new program coordinator, Brooke Berrios. Coming to the Center from the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools (FCSS), Berrios will assist program manager Adriana Cervantes-González, Ed. D. with the new residencies in special education and single subject matters.

While at FCSS, Berrios was the program coordinator for the K-16 Collaborative and Rural Teacher Residency Partnerships. Before joining FCSS, she served as the faculty in residence for the Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity. In this role, she collaborated with clinical faculty in college of education programs across various minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and their affiliated district partners. Her primary focus involved identifying and implementing best practices to strengthen K-12/college of education partnerships to ensure a seamless educational continuum.

Berrios’ academic journey encompassed teaching at California State University in their distinguished Liberal Studies and Multiple-Subject Educator Preparation Program. Her role extended beyond teaching as she co-led the coordination of the Central Teacher Residency Program.

Currently, Berrios stays engaged in nurturing future educators as an adjunct professor at Madera Community College, where she shares her expertise within the Child Development Department.

In her role as program manager of residency programs, Adriana Cervantes-González, Ed.D. oversees and supports the expansion of existing programs and the launch of new residency programs, including special education, school counselor residency, and bilingual education. She brings over 25 years of experience as an educator serving faculty, students, families, and communities in both TK-12 and higher education settings. She has held positions as a high school counselor and school site administrator in a large urban district where she led the development of schoolwide needs assessments and training of the English Learner Advisory Council.

She has served as a board member with The Center for Leadership Equity and Research and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Central California Food Bank. In 2020, Cervantes-González was selected for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s work group tasked with making revisions to the California Standards for the Teaching Profession. Her collaboration with educators throughout the state and nation have equipped her to serve in building programs in Central Valley communities.

Cervantes-González has been designated as the Central Region Hub lead for the Statewide Residency Technical Assistance Center (SRTAC). SRTAC serves as a resource, providing expert advice and support to local education agencies (LEAs) throughout California aimed to support the launch, scaling, and sustainability of residencies, as well as the development of communities of practice providing localized support and guidance to LEAs in various parts of the state. 

Photo above: 

~ The California Center on Teaching Careers (the Center) has added a new program coordinator, Brooke Berrios (left) to assist program manager Adriana Cervantes-González, Ed. D. with new residencies in special education and single subject matters. 

Around the County

Area high school seniors win $10K scholarships

Reed DeBoer of Monache High School

At the opening ceremonies of the World Ag Expo yesterday, representatives from E.M. Tharp, Inc. announced the winners of the annual “We Believe in Growing” scholarship. This year, two scholarships were awarded to area seniors – Reed DeBoer of Monache High School in Porterville and Kendra Ward of Immanuel High School of Reedley. DeBoer and Ward will both receive $10,000 scholarships to attend a four-year college or university to major in an agricultural field. The scholarships will be disbursed over four years at $2,500 per year, per student.

DeBoer plans to attend California State University, Fresno to major in plant science. Upon graduation, he hopes to work as an agricultural pest advisor. Ward belongs to seven-generation agriculture family. She plans to pursue a degree in agricultural science and obtain a teaching credential so that she can teach the subject in a Central Valley school district.

The scholarship – now in its 17th year - was created as a partnership between the World Ag Expo and E.M. Tharp to support agriculture education and careers. High school seniors from Madera, Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and Kern counties are eligible to apply. For more information, visit at

Photo above:

Reed DeBoer (right) of Monache High School has his picture taken after receiving a $10,000 We Believe in Growing Scholarship from E.M. Tharp, Inc. and the World Ag Expo on Tuesday morning.

Editor: Robert Herman, Communications Director
Contributors: Nayirah Dosu, Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Paula Terrill, Juliana Davidian, Gene Mendes, Brooke Berrios, Adriana Cervantes-González

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