Locals recognized at SNHU

Three local students were named to Southern New Hampshire University’s Fall 2023 President’s List. The fall terms run from September to December.

Alvaro Alvarado and Kendra Stewart, both of Morgan Hill, and Christopher Smith of San Martin were honored.

Full-time undergraduate students who have earned a minimum grade-point average of 3.700 and above for the reporting term are named to the President’s List. Full-time status is achieved by earning 12 credits over each 16-week term or paired eight-week terms grouped in fall, winter/spring and summer.

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with a 91-year history.

Preschool Information Night for South County set for Feb. 5

A Preschool Information Night for parents of South County children is scheduled for 6-7:30pm Feb. 5 at the Centennial Recreation Center, 171 W. Edmundson Ave. The event, hosted by Mount Madonna School, will feature representatives and information from 12 preschools in Morgan Hill and Gilroy. 

Preschools that are expected to share information about their programs during the event include The Children’s Courtyard, City of Morgan Hill Recreation Preschool, Footsteps Preschool, Hearts & Hands Christian Childcare & Preschool, Kiddie Academy, Morgan Hill Parent Child Nursery School, Mount Madonna School, Oakwood School and Stratford School, says a press release from Mount Madonna School. 

“The Preschool Information Night is a great place to introduce parents to all the preschool options in Morgan Hill and Gilroy,” said Jennie Tucker, recreation manager of the Centennial Recreation Center and former director of the City of Morgan Hill’s preschool program. “This is often your child’s first experience in an organized program, and it is so important to find that perfect fit! Having the option to talk to different preschools all in one location is an easy and great option for parents!”

Kami Pacheco, Director of Mount Madonna’s preschool and summer camp programs, added, “We are very excited to be able to offer parents this opportunity to explore the many wonderful preschool school options in our area. Parents can learn about academic and enrichment programs, class sizes, educational environment, affordability and the admissions process for each of the participating schools.”

Admission to the family-friendly event is free. 

Competition expected for new water board chair

With the new year comes a new selection for Valley Water board chair who will be charged with steering members through controversial investigations and decisions.

Barbara Keegan, vice chair of the board of directors, hopes to fill the role—but is expecting some competition from other directors who may want the seat. Historically, the chair and vice chair rotated, but that system changed last year and the seven-member board will directly elect both positions tomorrow.

Keegan said a woman’s perspective has not been represented recently, as the past few board chairs have been men. The current board chair is Director John L. Valera. The last woman to be chairperson was Director Nai Hsueh in 2020.

Voters first elected Keegan to the board in 2012. She is a civil engineer, which she said is a unique skill when it comes to district projects being reviewed or in the pipelines. She said there are several capital improvement projects the board is overseeing, and she wants the work done in an efficient manner, as delays increase costs.

Disagreements have plagued the Valley Water board of directors for the past few years. Most recently was a controversial measure passed in 2022 that increased the maximum number of board terms from three to four, capping service to 16 consecutive years.

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Registration is open for Community Police Academy

The Community Police Academy (CPA) provides community members with an up close and personal look at local police work, according to the City of Morgan Hill. The program is designed to inform community members about Morgan Hill Police Department policies and procedures, foster community partnerships, and provide safety awareness by allowing community members to participate in practical police training and education.

The next session of the CPA, in English, will be held in the winter and spring of 2024. Apply online on the city’s website at

The CPA meets one night each week for approximately three months. Registration is free and open to community members. The registration process consists of submitting a CPA application and consenting to a criminal history check. Applicants who have been accepted into the CPA will be notified by the Program Coordinator and specific session details will be given at that time.  

At the conclusion of the CPA, community members who have completed the program are given the opportunity to become a member of the Volunteers in Policing (VIP) program, says the city’s website. The VIP program is an active partnership between the Police Department and community members. VIPs are utilized for crime prevention programs and various community services.

The next session of the CPA in Spanish will begin in the fall of 2024. 

For more information, email [email protected].

Mount Madonna School to present ‘Into the Woods’

On Jan. 27 and 28 at 2pm, Mount Madonna School (MMS) will present its high school production of “Into the Woods.” 

“The story’s theme is to be aware of the influence you have on others, whether it be your own children, or simply other individuals you interact with,” said senior Bella Sol Padilla. “I will be playing the role of Little Red Riding Hood, a young girl who is trying to navigate her way through the woods. Similarly, I am also a young individual trying to make my way through life as I transition from high schooler to college student.”

“The production of ‘Into the Woods’ delves into the depths of darkness, morality and humor,” said Director Chelsea Otterness. “This play is as multifaceted as the human experience itself. We venture beyond archetypal characters, delving into the repercussions of pursuing selfish agendas. Our talented students infuse their roles with years of experience, pushing the boundaries of characterization and showcasing their prowess in both acting and musical performance.”

“Into the Woods” is a work by American composer/lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, who died in 2021.

“Sondheim’s works are both clever and lush and lead the listener into profound thoughts and feelings,” said Holly Ota, MMS performing arts music director. “This story challenges students—and the audience—to consider what they wish for, what means they are willing to employ to pursue those wishes and what the true value of receiving those wishes may be.”

Student Bella Sol Padilla said she recognized the benefits of being onstage beyond the experience, itself.

“Performing arts helps people come out of their shell,” Padilla said. “When I started at Mount Madonna School, I would never have sung in front of an audience. With encouragement and a safe environment, I was able to blossom. Now, I will be performing a solo and multiple songs in a show.”

Tickets are on sale at Adult tickets are $15; $10 for 18 and under; all seats are reserved.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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