THE CHALKBOARD: Petaluma FFA grows gifts

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Petaluma High School students participating in the school’s Future Farmers of America program hosted a toy drive at Tractor’s Supply last weekend with the donated items going to make the children of Butte County’s holiday a little brighter. More than $3,400 was raised and a sleigh/truck full of toys purchased. The students and their teachers thank the Chico State Agricultural Leadership Class who helped distribute the items on Tuesday. Last week, the students in PHS’s Agricultural Biology class worked on building edible DNA models and learned about genetics as part of the ongoing instructional curriculum furthering the academic understanding of the students in this program.

The students in Mrs. Trey’s class at Cinnabar School are going to share some special gifts with their families this holiday — books written by the young authors about what they are thankful for this year. Superintendent/Principal Sandy Doyle said this heartfelt tradition has been taking place at Cinnabar for more than two decades, and this week Mateo Gomez came to her office to share his book with her about his family. Doyle remarked the moment was a special one knowing the project brings joy to both the students and those who receive the one-of-a-kind books as gifts.

Harvest Christian School thespians put on an evening showing and a Saturday matinee of the classic “A Christmas Carol” last week. They performed on the newly crafted stage at the school, according to Harvest parent Kerri Peterson. The show featured their own Tiny Tim who is Principal Jonathan Wraith’s son Tim, a student at the school. The school’s kindergarten students and their fifth-grade “buddies” took their act on the road and brought some Christmas cheer to the residents of Orchard Retirement Community. The students, dressed in their school uniforms, arrived to sing carols for all the folks living in the community. It was a festive and meaningful moment for all. Students also continued to share the spirit of the season when Harvest Christian School’s junior high student council collected and delivered toys for boys and girls of all ages to the Redwood Gospel Mission in Santa Rosa.

Thanks to youngest Sonoma Mountain Elementary School students, Springfield Place was full of song and holiday wishes. The transitional kindergarten class made its way to the venue with the help of Mrs. Goodin, Mrs. Boenisch and Mr. Day. Once on site, they performed holiday songs and wished the residents a very merry holiday season. The performing continued with the school’s annual Winter Band Performance by all fifth- and sixth-grade band, jazz pack, and glee club members on Wednesday. The TK, kindergarten, first- and second-graders will be hosting their winter show Fridy morning.

This Friday, La Tercera Elementary School — Sonoma County’s first STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering an Mathematics) focused school — is hosting a STEM Showcase, including entries from every student in first grade. The event is sure to be an exciting one for both the students and their special guests, parents and grandparents as students projects are shared with pride.

On Dec. 4, more than 800 elementary school students from a variety of Petaluma-area schools enjoyed a free professional live theater performance by the Traveling Lantern Theater Company at Mystic Theater thanks to the Petaluma Educational Foundation in partnership with the members of the North Bay Association of Realtors (Petaluma chapter). Two shows were offered for the classic “A Christmas Carol,” with a question and answer session following each show with the actors.

(Maureen Highland is a Petaluma mother and executive director for the Petaluma Educational Foundation. She can be reached at

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