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…]

Fourth FUHSD School Adds Kindness Award

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CUPERTINO — A fourth school in the Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) is offering the Sandlot Award, a unique award that recognizes graduating seniors for their kindness and altruism.

“I personally love this award because it recognizes our students who wouldn’t normally be recognized,” said Homestead High School College Advisor Kellee Markos.

She said the Sandlot Award, “embodies a lot of what Homestead prides itself on,” things like the “kindness factor” and an “appreciation for diverse backgrounds.”

Some of the school’s high achieving students in academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities, tend to get recognized over and over again, because so many awards have similar criteria, Markos said. The Sandlot Award, however, is for the students who often go unnoticed for their acts of kindness toward their peers and the community.

Homestead now joins Monta Vista, Cupertino and Lynbrook high schools in offering the Sandlot Award. The deadline for Homestead students to apply is April 25. [Read more…]