A Holiday Where Student STARS Shine

Rancho Cordova, CA  |  Story by Trina L. Drotar
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Officer Parsons with STAR Lynnae and mom Annette. Photo by Trins Drotat

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – Polite, hard worker, sweet, great smile, perfect school attendance, kind, resilient, energetic, empathetic, loyal, trustworthy, and curious about the world were the words written by the teachers of the 41 elementary school and preschool students who were honored at the second annual Holiday STARS event on December 20. Parents, students, and principals from 13 elementary schools and one preschool gathered by 7:15 a.m. to enjoy breakfast from McDonald’s alongside 41 City of Rancho Cordova staff and Rancho Cordova police officers.

As a couple of principals noted, not all schools are in the same school district, but Rancho Cordova, they said, always remembers that the schools are located within the city and works to honor all of the students attending school there. Cordova Villa, White Rock, Cordova Meadows, Cordova Gardens, Rancho Cordova, Riverview STEM, Peter J. Shields, Williamson, A.M. Winn, Navigator, Sunrise, Abraham Lincoln, and Robert McGarvey were the elementary schools and Cordova Lane Center was the lone preschool.

 “This city is amazing,” said Marty Hock, principal of Sunrise Elementary School, who introduced his students. Faith, who “never complains, is caring, and respectful,” took a bow. Bethany and Naomi’s mother is deployed, and they both share a trait with Faith and other students. “Resilience,” said Hock.

Abraham Lincoln’s students were introduced by Laura Butler, the school’s principal. Siblings Aizik and Vinnicio, shared “hard work and grit” with Chloelynn, one of the first graders selected to be honored.

The event’s emcee pairing of Rancho Cordova Mayor Robert McGarvey and Assistant Chief of Police Chad Lewis was well received. The pair took turns introducing each principal and school and handed each student his or her personalized backpack which included a pair of shoes selected by Famous Footwear. One student’s eyes lit up bright as Christmas lights when he saw a pair of sneakers in his backpack. Student shoe size and favorite brands were submitted to the store by the principals.

Students, officers, city staff, and principals wore Santa hats and donned blue and grey knit gloves celebrating Rancho Cordova’s 15 years of cityhood. Besides the backpack, students each received a bag of clothes from WalMart and a $100 shopping spree at the store.

Photo opportunities sprouted everywhere. Some students were dressed for a possible meeting with Santa, who was spotted handing out candy canes and frolicking with a canine officer. The real excitement began once students, shoppers, and parents entered the store.

Officer Parsons accompanied Riverview STEM Academy’s Lynnae and her mother, Annette. Parsons learned quickly that young girls don’t want to purchase sweet potatoes or batteries. Bubble bath, suggested by her mom, was also turned down.

 “She’s heading for the balloons,” said her mom as Lynnae quickly darted down aisles of colorful ribbons and party supplies. She quickly found the balloons and Parsons helped her choose the best value package. She picked up several items, posed for photos, and quickly left those items behind as she continued her search for the elusive special gift. Parsons, in the meantime, pushed the cart and kept track of the prices.

 “Some kids chose gifts for other people,” said Navigator Elementary teacher Jessica Kahn. “It gives the opportunity to feel good by giving to others.”

Students were selected by their teachers, not necessarily based on grades or attendance, and the comments about each of the students pointed out that they all shared one particular trait – respect. Whether “voracious readers,” “handing out high fives,” or assisting other students with their studies, the students, who often faced challenging home circumstances, smiled and showed appreciation.

 “The City of Rancho Cordova and the Rancho Cordova Police Department are proud of its students and the hard work and effort they put into school,” wrote Mayor Robert McGarvey in an email. “This program is a great way for us to come together during the holiday season to show our students how much we care about their success and future in Rancho Cordova.”

For additional information about Rancho Cordova Police Department, visit www.ranchocordovapd.com. For more information about City of Rancho Cordova, visit https://www.cityofranchocordova.org.

Photos by Trina L. Drotar and Sandy Thomas



Officer Parsons with STAR Lynnae and mom Annette. Photo by Trins Drotat