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AESD to celebrate grand opening of new elementary school

CVV News l Aug 2, 2023

The Atwater Elementary School District (AESD) will celebrate the grand opening of Juniper Elementary School — the first new AESD school since 1995 — with a ribbon cutting ceremony and guided community tour on Friday, Aug. 4, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the school grounds, at 661 E. Juniper Ave.

The school will serve students from Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through sixth grade and feature Atwater’s first Dual Language Immersion Program starting with one kindergarten class in the 2023-24 school year.

Juniper Elementary features state-of-the-art facility design, an open concept library and the district’s first school-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) center. The school site boasts nearly 50,000 square feet of indoor spaces and about 170,000 square feet outdoors.

Juniper Elementary has the capacity to serve up to 600 students and includes several play structures, shade structures and a field with an asphalt track.

The ribbon cutting begins at 5 p.m., and will include a historical overview of the journey to establish the new school as well as acknowledge key individuals and committees who played a pivotal role in the school’s development. The guided community tour will directly follow the ribbon cutting.

The event will recognize current and retired AESD staff, past and present members of the AESD school board and the community at large. Local leaders, school officials, community members and media are invited to celebrate the newest addition to the AESD community.

Students become Historians at Annual History Day Competition

CVV News l March 8, 2023

Students from Hilmar High School showcase their team project exhibit, “The 19th Amendment,” at the 3rd annual Merced County History Day in March 2022

The 4th annual Merced County History Day competition takes place on Saturday, March 11, where students from schools across the county take on the role of historians to showcase their research and critical thinking skills. 

The annual competition, sponsored by Travis Credit Union, encourages students in grades 4 through 12 to study issues, ideas and events throughout history and then illustrate their findings with projects in the following categories: documentaries, exhibits, posters, podcasts, papers, websites or performances. Students will then present their research to a panel of judges. 

The judging portion of the competition will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 2 p.m. Judges will evaluate projects based on relevance to the theme, historical quality and overall creativity. 

There are 23 projects across all grade groups for this year’s competition, compared to 15 projects submitted last year.

This year’s theme is Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.

Winners from this competition will advance to California National History Day in April, where they will compete against students from across the state for a chance to participate at the national level.

For more information contact MCOE Community and Engagement Coordinator Stacie Arancibia at 

Local patriotic contest open to students in Merced County

CVV News l August 30, 2022

This September marks the tenth year of the Young Patriot Challenge (YPC) — the annual competition that offers students throughout Merced County the opportunity to share their perspectives on the U.S. Constitution.

The contest is open to all Merced County public school and homeschool students and helps them learn about the U.S. Constitution in a creative and fun way.

YPC also provides both public and homeschool teachers with the opportunity to meet the federal requirements to teach students about the U.S. Constitution every year on Constitution Day, Sept. 17.

Kindergarten to sixth-grade students will create posters, middle school students will write essays and high school students will prepare speeches as part of the annual competition.

Students who participate have the chance to win cash, gift cards and other prizes.

The prompt for this year is “Which amendment of the U.S. Constitution would you repeal or rewrite? Please explain why you would take this action and the beneficial outcome(s) for the nation.”

Constitution Week takes place between Sept. 12-16 with all submissions due to the Merced County Office of Education by Sept. 16.  Selected posters are displayed at the Merced Mall from Oct. 6-18.

The award ceremony for parents and contest winners of all grade levels is scheduled for Oct. 19 at 6:30PM at the Atwater Community Center, 760 E. Bellevue Rd.

When asked about the competition, YPC Chairperson Barbara Riis-Christensen quoted Abraham Lincoln, “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”

For more information on this year’s Young Patriot Challenge contact YPC Chairperson Barbara Riis-Christensen at 358-8404 or visit

Central Valley Voice
Central Valley Voice
Felicia Roberts took an idea gathered a few people to reached into a minority community to highlight the positive, using a minority newspaper the Central Valley Voice. Roberts was joined by her sisters Carolyn Williams, Alleashia Thomas, niece Hermonie Lynn Williams, nephew Ron Williams, cousin Jerald Lester, Jay Slaffey, Greg Savage, Tim Daniels and the late J Denise Fontaine. Each individual played an important role in the birth of the newspapers. Since, then many have stood strong behind the success of the newspapers and its goal to fill a void in the Central Valley community The Central Valley Voice published their 1st issue in November 1991. Its purposed was to highlight the achievements of minorities in the Central Valley. The Voice focuses on the accomplishments of African Americans and Hispanics giving young people role models while diminishing the stereotypical pictures of gangs, crime and violence that permeate the minority communities. Since 1991, the Central Valley Voice has provided an important voice for the minority community throughout the Madera, Merced. Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

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