For The Madera Tribune
From left are Club President John Sudduth, Miguel Ortiz (junior – contest winner), Wendy Abrego (senior), Gissel Garcia (freshman), Jose Eduardo Rodriguez (freshman), and Club Secretary Robert Garibay.
The onset of the COVID-19 crisis may have left the Madera Breakfast Lions unable to conduct their meetings in public, but it hasn’t prevented them from making their annual salute to some of Madera’s outstanding high school students.
The local service club was still able to announce the results of its annual Student Speaker Contest, a statewide program begun in 1936. It also announced its scholarship winners for this year.
Four Madera South High School students were recognized for their participation in the speakers contest. Addressing the topic of “Homelessness in California: What is the Solution?” were contest winner, Miguel Ortiz (junior), Wendy Abrego (senior), Gissel Garcia (freshman), and Jose Eduardo Rodriguez (freshman). According to a club spokesman, the quartet of speakers, all members of the Leos Club of Madera, were “thoughtful, respectful, and passionate about solving the growing and seemingly intractable problem of homelessness.”
Before the coronavirus-imposed hiatus, the Breakfast Lions also selected seven students, each to receive a $1,000 scholarship. The winners from Madera High School are: Michelle F. Vasquez-Ramirez, Yeilen Fernandez-Ortiz, and Isha Bains. The Madera South High School winners are Wendy Abrego, Sarah Porter, Shalizabeth Villegas and Samantha Yumusak. The club expressed congratulations and best wishes to each of the students.
The Madera Breakfast Lions housing problems began with a kitchen fire at the Madera Municipal Golf Course in late January 2017. In need of a new venue to hold its meetings, Martin Vale, Senior Chief Executive and Lynn Sharp, Culinary Director of the Cedar Creek Senior Living complex, warmly welcomed the Breakfast Lions, which began on February 2, 2017, conducting weekly breakfast meetings at Cedar Creek. In early March of this year, as the cloud of COVID-19 loomed, Cedar Creek wisely closed its facilities to outside groups in order to protect its seniors.
A Breakfast Lions communique expressed wishes that the community know that the club misses the camaraderie of regular meetings and its collaboration with the Madera Leos at the concession booth at Lions Town and Country Park during the girls’ softball season.
The club is hoping it will be able to open its beer/margarita booth at the Madera District Fair in the late summer. It also hopes to prepare steak for the Buyers’ Luncheon at the Fair.