Accolades: Pins for Pets founder honored as youth hero
by TP staff
Apr 04, 2014 | 6230 views | 0 0 comments | 161 161 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Competitive bowler Abbigail Hickman, 10, is hosting her second Pins for Pets fundraiser benefiting the Tracy Animal Shelter. The event is scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. Feb. 15 at West Valley Bowl, 2365 East St. Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
Competitive bowler Abbigail Hickman, 10, is hosting her second Pins for Pets fundraiser benefiting the Tracy Animal Shelter. The event is scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. Feb. 15 at West Valley Bowl, 2365 East St. Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
Abbigail Hickman, who founded the Pins for Pets bowling fundraiser for the Tracy Animal Shelter, will receive the youth Good Samaritan Hero award from the American Red Cross on Wednesday.

Hickman, 10, was nominated by members of the community. She raised $9,700 in cash and pet supplies to donate to the shelter during the second annual Pins for Pets on Feb. 15.

The Red Cross will honor Hickman, and other people from San Joaquin County, at the annual Heroes Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at Wine and Roses in Lodi. The Heroes Breakfast is held to honor people who have performed selfless acts within their communities.

Zuniga named city employee of the month

Tanika Zuniga was named employee for the month of April by the city of Tracy.

Zuniga began her career with the Tracy Police Department in 2000 as a records assistant, progressed to a records assistant II and last year became a crime analyst.

A news release from the city announcing the award stated Zuniga has been instrumental in analyzing crime trends to assist officers with the deployment of resources. Recently, Zuniga provided officers with data which resulted in the arrest of several individuals responsible for multiple burglaries in Tracy.

The release referenced a shooting case in which Zuniga was tasked with analyzing a large volume of cell phone data. She provided the case investigator with the information needed to file charges on a criminal case.

Zuniga is also responsible for posting to the police department’s social media platforms to keep the community current on events related to public safety. According to the release, Zuniga is proud of the more than 2,000 “Likes” for the department’s Facebook page.

Zuniga married her high school sweetheart, Mike, and lives in Manteca with their three children and three hairless sphynx cats.

Five students win music scholarships

Five middle-school-age students were given encouragement last week to continue their involvement with music.

They were awarded $250 Gordon and Anthea Wells Music Scholarships, to be used for individual instruction or to help buy a musical instrument.

Ken Cefalo, a member of the Wells Scholarship Committee, made the presentations along with Tom Renner, coordinator of visual and performing arts for the Tracy Unified School District, during the district’s annual All-District Music Festival in West High’s Steve Thornton Gym.

Renner presented a special award to Dr. James Franco, retiring superintendent of Tracy Unified, for his support of music education during his tenure in office. Franco will retire in June.

The following students received Wells Music Scholarships, named in honor of two Tracy teachers who were longtime supporters of music in Tracy:

• Jessica Cruz, a violinist with the Williams Middle School orchestra. She was described as a diligent musician who started as a beginner in sixth grade and “worked hard to achieve a high level of musicianship” while encouraging new beginners to play in the orchestra, according to instructor David Villa.

• Kenny Schoon, a trumpet player in the Freiler School seventh-and-eighth-grade band. He “continually works to improve his instrument skills” and helps others advance, reported instructor Lori Yates.

• Jasmine Espinoza, a violinist in the Monte Vista Middle School string orchestra. She “is dedicated to music and the music program at Monte Vista,” reported Randy McMillan, instructor.

• Nikolas Beedy, an eighth-grade percussionist at Kelly School. He often stays after school to practice, was stage manager for the school’s annual musical production and is a member of the All-District Band, said Celia Rosenblum-Stime, instructor.

• Angela Gonzalez, who plays flute in the North School band. She has been part of an honor band for two years and also plays piano and is learning other instruments. As a mentor to other flute players, “she helps make the whole band better,” reported Mark Williams, instructor.

Hispanic Chamber announces Latino Leadership Awards

The Tracy Hispanic Business Group of the Chamber of Commerce announced the recipients of the Latino Leadership Awards on March 27.

Air Force veteran Arghya Chakraverty won the education award. Navy veteran Mike Granillo won the sports-athletics award. Marine veteran Gary Chavez won the inspirational award. The organization of the year was Military Moms of Tracy, and the Defense Logistics Agency San Joaquin depot won the corporation award.

The winners will be recognized during the Latino Leadership & Scholarship Awards ceremony at 5 p.m. April 26 at the Tracy Community Center.

Piano students perform at honors recital

Twelve piano students from Tracy performed during the Certificate of Merit Honors Recital on Feb. 22 in Livermore. Fewer than half of the students who applied — 127 of 285 — were selected for the honor.

The students were evaluated on their technique, sight reading and performance of memorized pieces.

They are Anna Norman, a Jefferson School sixth-grader; Quynh Trosien and Romi Tsang, sixth-graders at Discovery Charter School, and Hudson Tsang, a Discovery seventh-grader; Michael Cui, a seventh-grader at Hawkins School; Anna Fisher, an eighth-grader at St. Bernard’s Catholic School; Vanessa Trieu and Edward Xie, eighth-graders at Williams Middle School; and Heather Norman, Matthew Nguyen, Jharen Rivera and Preston Tsang, all Tracy High School sophomores.

The students study with Donna Mizuno, Lauren Goodall and Long Dang Ho, local piano teachers.

• Accolades runs in Our Town whenever we hear about someone who has done something extraordinary and deserves kudos for it. If you have news for Accolades, send it to, or drop off a note at the Tracy Press office, 131 W. 10th St.
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