Smiling Student Receives Award for Kindness

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Gerardo Ochoa and Brianna Mercado

CUPERTINO—A nice guy finished first at Homestead High School at the end of the 2011-12 year, as senior Gerardo Ochoa received the school’s first Sandlot Award.

The award was created specifically to shine a light on students who display kindness to their peers and the community at large. Ochoa, described as someone who always has a smile on his face, was nominated by teachers who told the selection committee that he always sought to make himself and those around him better.

Although this is the first year for the award at Homestead, it started four years ago as the Justin Perkins Sandlot Award primarily at Monta Vista High School, named after the inspirational Monta Vista student who died from cancer in 2008. It was created by Justin’s father, Albert Perkins, and two friends, Steven Young and John Loiacano, a Monta Vista alumnus. Young is one of the founders of a nonprofit website, Sandlot Hero, dedicated to sharing inspirational stories of people making a difference. The site includes stories about past award winners. [Read more…]

Sandlot Awards: Monta Vista Senior Lauded for Community Spirit

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CUPERTINO—Monta Vista High School senior Raelle Alfaro was awarded the Justin Perkins Sandlot Award recently for her outstanding community service and team player attitude.

Alfaro volunteered with numerous organizations throughout high school, such as Cake4Kids, which provides decorated birthday cakes for disadvantaged children, the Peninsula Humane Society, and Hope’s Corner, a free breakfast program for the homeless.

This is the fourth year for the Justin Perkins Sandlot Award,  named for the inspirational student who passed away from cancer in 2008 by Justin’s father, Albert Perkins, and two friends, Steven Young and John Loiacano, a Monta Vista alumnus. It was specifically designed to single out students who display kindness to their peers and the world. [Read more…]