Rotary Club hosts teachers for BBQ
By Brian D. Wilson
Santa Paula News
Published: September 18, 2013
By Brian D. Wilson
Santa Paula Times
The Santa Paula Rotary Club held its annual welcome to new teachers at Steckel Park last week, cooking hamburgers and hot dogs for the crowd. This year, Rotary invited all teachers because of the new unified district.
After a welcome by Rotary President Rick Araiza, everyone enjoyed the food under the oak trees. The new teacher welcome BBQ was started in 1974, 39 years ago, by Santa Paula High School teacher Bob Raitt when he was president of the club.
New Santa Paula Unified School District Superintendent Alfonso Gamino thanked everyone for coming out and thanked the club for hosting the event. “It’s a great honor for me to be here,” he said. He noted two of his children are now attending Santa Paula schools, and last week his wife delivered a baby.
Gamino added, “We’ve had a great two months. We did start the school year with our administrative team coming to a retreat for two days.” He said he knew if they were going to be successful they needed to come together as a team before the school year started.
“I feel that we really did bond together,” he said. “We’re very excited that we did that and we now have a month of school and I think things are going great. I have visited all of our schools. I’ve been meeting with the teachers and principals at all the schools and I’ve also been meeting with the board and community members.”
Gamino added, “It’s been a real welcoming experience for me, seeing the five board members coming together. I’ve been working very well with all of them and I know that with our administration and our staff we’re going to move forward with a great district.” He also said he was looking forward to attending the first home football game last Friday night.
School Board member Chris Wilson had hosted this annual event at his ranch for a number of years. The club decided to move it to Steckel Park this year to better accommodate the group.
Rotary President Araiza told the gathering that this is the 90th year of Rotary. “This has been a whirlwind year already,” he said. “This is usually our first event, but we already had our 90th Anniversary party last month.” He said the BBQ is one of their first big events, which leads right into the Pumpkin Patch and right after that they have the annual Christmas baskets.
Araiza noted that Santa Paula High School students help out with the big events. Cheerleaders were at the BBQ to assist in setup and cleanup.