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December 16, 2002

Awards and Honors

Three from UCSC honored by United Way

By Jennifer McNulty

A UCSC undergraduate and two staff members were recently honored by the United Way of Santa Cruz County for their community service.

Undergraduate Deutron Kebebew joined Angie Christmann, coordinator of student programs and events at Cowell College, and Ellen Moir, executive director of the UCSC New Teacher Center, in being named 2002 Year 8 Community Heroes as part of the United Way's Community Assessment Project (CAP).

Each year, CAP issues a "community report card" that assesses the state of the local economy, health care services, educational opportunities, the natural environment, public safety, and the social environment. In addition, individuals are named community heroes in recognition of their service in improving the quality of life in Santa Cruz County by working toward community goals the organization establishes each year. For 2002, 18 individuals were honored for their work toward 17 goals.

Kebebew and Moir were honored for service in the field of education. Kebebew was recognized for his work toward the goal of increasing the number of county students who graduate from high school "job ready" or prepared for higher education. Kebebew was cited for his work to enhance the opportunities for current and former foster youth in Santa Cruz County. He serves as board president of California Youth Connection, an advocacy organization that promotes youth leadership, and he has supported transitional housing programs. At UCSC, he has been a leader of the Page and Eloise Smith Scholastic Society, which provides scholarships to foster youth.

Moir was honored for her work toward the goal of helping elementary and middle school students "meet or exceed the average statewide test scores for academic success." The New Teacher Center was established in 1998 under Moir's leadership to ensure better teaching, higher teacher retention rates, and increased student achievement. As director, Moir facilitates partnerships between UCSC and the County Office of Education, and she has helped expand the center's reach into the greater Monterey Bay Area, Santa Clara Valley, and beyond.

Christmann was honored for her role as a community activist in the environmental field and her contributions toward CAP's goal to increase environmental stewardship in Santa Cruz County. As a volunteer with the Santa Cruz County Land Trust, Christmann provides "insights and encouragement" to the staff and board, takes notes, runs errands in her fabulous '61 pickup truck, and promotes land conservation to the general public.

The community hero awards were established seven years ago when the Santa Cruz Sentinel offered to sponsor an annual contest to identify people who are working toward improving life in Santa Cruz County. The recipients were announced at a press conference on November 18.

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