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New Madera teachers feted

$25,000 promotes ‘live in Madera’ Five educators win $5,000 each to help buy homes here

John Rieping/The Madera Tribune

New teachers applaud five educators who’ve won financial aid to buy a new Madera home from the Madera Association of Realtors.


One hundred teachers, brand new to Madera Unified School District, were special guests at a luncheon held in their honor Friday at the Madera County Office of Education, and five of them came away with $5,000 each to use towards the purchase of a home in Madera, Madera Ranchos, or Chowchilla.

The prizes came from the Madera Association of Realtors, which in turn had won a $25,000 grant from the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors for this purpose.

The luncheon came on the second day of in-service training for the newly hired educators and was hosted by Madera Unified School District, the Madera Association of Realtors, and the Madera Chamber of Commerce.

Sixty community leaders joined the teachers in the chicken, tri-tip, rice pilaf, and coleslaw lunch.

The program, which included remarks from city, county, and school district officials, was emceed by Yesenia Gonzalez, president of the Madera Association of Realtors.

Representing the City of Madera, Mayor Andy Medellin greeted the teachers and underscored his belief that education is the cornerstone of the community. He reminded the educators of the extent of their influence and the number of lives they touch. He also had high praise for the local Realtors who “do not sell houses but rather sell homes.”

Robert Poythress, a member of the Madera County Board of Supervisors and whose wife taught in Madera Unified for over 20 years, encouraged the group and shared with them evidence of their importance to the community. “The first thing people want to know about the community is the schools,” he said. “They expect the water to run and the garbage to be picked up, but it is the schools they inquire about.”

Madera Unified School Trustee Ricardo Arrendo emphasized how quickly Madera is growing and how important the Realtors are in meeting the needs of the schools in an expanding environment. He noted the Realtors helped pass the school bonds in 2004 and 2014. “When someone wants information about the community, they ask a Realtor,” said Arredondo.

Representing Madera Unified, Deputy Superintendent Sandon Schwartz noted that all of the luncheon speakers were graduates of Madera High School. Schwartz alluded to his own family history to illustrate how Madera’s support for its schools runs deeply. “You have made a great, great choice; you have lots of community cheerleaders,” Schwartz told the teachers.

The program finale came with the drawing for the $5,000 prizes. With Schwartz drawing the names, the following teachers won the awards: Alecia Bickholt, Rosetta Cowin, Jose Hernandez, Katelyn Smith, and Viviana Varajas.

Gonzalez related with excitement the enthusiasm displayed by the state organization of Realtors when she described Madera’s plan to use the $25,000 grant.

Each winner in Friday’s raffle drew the name of a Madera area Realtor who will assist them in choosing the property they will purchase.

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