By Staff Reports
(Victorville)– Before Hollywood prepares for the Academy Awards in March, the Victor Valley College Foundation will shine a spotlight on six local stars who shine brightly as examples of service and success in the Victor Valley. The 23rd Annual Victor Valley College Alumni Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service Awards celebration will be held February 8th, 2014 at the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center.
The Victor Valley College Foundation will officially induct into the Victor Valley College Alumni Hall of Fame 3rd District Supervisor for the County of San Bernardino James Ramos. Ramos rose from an underprivileged youth on the San Manuel Indian reservation to become one of the most prominent leaders in San Bernardino County. He developed a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit which prompted him to pursue an education degree ladder in business administration and accounting. He graduated from Victor Valley College with his associate’s degree in 1994, earned his bachelor’s in 2002 from California State University San Bernardino and eventually his MBA in 2009 from the University of Redlands. He has been a successful entrepreneur operating several restaurants in the Inland Empire, worked in education at the San Bernardino City School District and been a successful advocate for Native American culture within the region. Ramos was elected to the San Bernardino Community College District Board of Trustees in 2005, appointed by the Governor to the California State Native American Heritage Commission in 2008 and became the first Native American elected to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in 2012. He and his wife Terri are the proud parents of four children.
The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award for Community Service is Michele Spears, President and CEO of the Victor Valley Chamber of Commerce. Michele’s 24 years of leadership have resulted in financial stability for the regional chamber of commerce and innovative programs supporting the local business community. She has been a recipient of the Woman of Distinction Leadership Award presented by the Inland Empire Business Press and was recently honored as a Woman of Distinction from the 8th Congressional District by Congressman Paul Cook. Michele serves on numerous boards and committees throughout the High Desert. She has been a long-time supporter of the Victor Valley College Foundation and is a member of its President’s Circle. She is the Chairperson of the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for Victor Elementary School District, has been a Girl Scout leader and raised guide dogs for the blind. Michele and her husband Ron live in Oak Hills with their three daughters – Ashley, Megan and Lindsey. Two of her daughters currently attend VVC.
For the first time, a couple is being recognized with the award for Distinguished Service to Education. Larry and Catherine Heywood are long-time residents and educators from Hesperia and are both Victor Valley College Alumni. They were so beloved during their teaching careers, students they have had in the past requested them to be the teachers for their children years later. They are retired now, but continue to demonstrate their passion for education by leading community education programs through their church. Since June of 2012, they have helped facilitate and now coordinate the BYU-I (Idaho) Pathway Program, which offers the opportunity for our local students to take courses online at the Idaho based educational institution. Larry and Catherine have been married for 48 years and are devoted parents to six children and 19 grandchildren. In 1996, Larry was honored with the District Teacher of the Year award.
Winners of the Presidents’ Award are selected based on their commitment to the College and commitment to education. This year, the President of Victor Valley College, President of the Victor Valley College Board of Trustees and President of the Victor Valley College Foundation Board of Directors came together and decided to honor not one, but two very deserving recipients, Southern California Edison and long-time faculty member and Athletic Director Jaye Tashima. SCE has been a long-time supporter of the College by investing in programs which promote student success and improve the college’s energy efficiency. Jaye Tashima, has reached a personal giving threshold through both time and treasure making her a standout supporter of the Foundation and the College.
Sponsorships of and attendance at the event both honors these recipients and helps the Victor Valley College Foundation provide support for educational programs and student scholarships at Victor Valley College. For more information regarding tickets or sponsorship contact Jesika Pomponio at (760) 245-4271 x 2522 or visit www.vvcfoundation.com