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Hart District Honors Business Supporters

District honors contributors with lifetime achievement, appreciation awards.


Sixteen local businesses received awards from the William S. Hart Union High School District at this year’s Business Partners Recognition dinner hosted by the district’s Student Communications Council. A total of 86 businesses were nominated by local schools for the awards, and all were recognized at the dinner and presented with a Certificate of Recognition and a souvenir memo holder with the Hart District logo.

            This year the committee awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award to Mike O’Connor and Dan Hamrick from O’Connor Photography. The business was nominated by a number of schools for the free services and photos it offers throughout the year to both the district and individual schools. The Lifetime Achievement Award is given to businesses which continue to rise to the top of the awards program over a number of years.

Lifetime achievement winners from O’Connor Photography


            Five businesses were named Business Super Stars for their superlative support of local schools. All five of the top winners were lauded for sharing their time and expertise with local students in addition to any monetary support they provided.

            Business Star winners for 2008 are Dr. David Martinez, College of the Canyons; Sabrina MacDougall, Junior Achievement; Living the Dream Productions; Jean Sutton with SC Free; and Kathy Norris, Valley Industrial Association.

            Dr. Martinez mentors the Robotics Team at Academy of the Canyons, devoting countless hours on evenings and weekends to advise students as they built their competitive robot. MacDougall and Junior Achievement were honored for their work on the “Connecting to Success” career seminar and for providing speakers and mentors for career-oriented projects in many district schools.

The message? It takes a village to raise our students.


            Living the Dream Productions supports the video program at Golden Valley High School and this year assisted with a 12-hour film festival, offering video equipment, time, prizes and expertise. Jean Sutton with SC Free is a weekly visitor to classes at Sierra Vista Junior High as a career mentor in the Junior Achievement program.

            Kathy Norris and the Valley Industrial Association were lauded for the VIA Star program, which allows high school students to create their own “business,” expanding the program this year to accommodate even more student teams.

            The program also awarded framed student artwork to 10 businesses named Outstanding Business Partners for their support of local schools. Three of the awards went to Jersey Mike’s Subs, which had three separate locations nominated by a number of local schools. The awards went to Steve and Laura Youlios from the Bouquet Canyon store; Mike Wilson from the Copper Hill store; and Chris Irons from the Soledad Canyon Store.

Honorees with their student artwork


            Other Outstanding Business Partner recipients include James Davidson, New England Financial; Stay Green, Inc., Chris Angelo; Valley Crest Trees, Tadd Russikoff; Stonefire Grill; Arif Halaby, Total Financial Solutions; and Julie Weith, Custom Human Resource Solutions.

            The evening was underwritten by host sponsor Xerox Corporation for the second year in a row, allowing district funds to remain in the classroom. Speakers at the event included Audrey Lafferty, chair of the Student Communications Council; Taylor Underwood, co-chair of the Council’s Business Recognition Committee; Governing Board President Gloria Mercado-Fortine; and Hart District Superintendent Jaime Castellanos.

            Members of the “Pajama Game” cast from Valencia High School’s Drama Department entertained guests with numbers from the school’s recent musical, featuring soloist Nikki Berra. All of the top recipients received framed artwork produced by student artists from Hart District schools.


Hart District Honors Business Supporters

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