Current Events

World Down Syndrome Day Proclamation

Santa Cruz County Arts for Learning Holiday Nutcracker Performance

Taste 4 Grand Opening, RRHS food program gets a makeover


On March 3rd, 2020, families of children and loved ones with Down syndrome living in Santa Cruz County joined the City of Nogales Arizona and the Mayor Arturo Garino to make the Annual Proclamation on behalf of 2020 World Down syndrome Day. 

On November 1st, 2011 the United Nation General Assembly made a resolution  to designate March 21 as World Down syndrome day to be observed every year beginning in 2012. The 21 day of March was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplicación of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. 

While beautiful pictures of children with Down syndrome were projected on three different screens inside the city hall chamber, mothers and family members of loved ones with Down syndrome who attended the event spoke to the city officials and the public about their children’s strengths and challenges while living with Down syndrome.

World Down syndrome day has become a global event to spread awareness on behalf of people living with Down syndrome. 

Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. In recent years, Down syndrome has become more common, and children with Down syndrome live longer. According to the National Down syndrome society, 1 in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome. Down syndrome affects people in all races, and economic levels. 

The reality today is that prevailing negative attitudes, low expectations, discrimination and exclusion, ensure that people with Down syndrome are left behind. There is a lack of understanding of the challenges individuals with Down syndrome face across their life time and a failure to support them with opportunities and tools needed to live fulfilling lives. People with Down syndrome, their family and those who work with them must be empowered to advocate for opportunities. Our voices are getting louder but there is still so much more we can do.

On behalf of the Down syndrome community we thank Mayor Garino, the city council, families and community members for their support. 

For information about Down syndrome, and our local organization in Santa Cruz County. Call The  Santa Cruz Parent Love Connection at (520) 470-5833. Find us on Facebook.

Taste 4 Grand Opening, RRHS food program gets a makeover

Santa Cruz County Arts for Learning Holiday Nutcracker Performance

Taste 4 Grand Opening, RRHS food program gets a makeover


Sodexo, the food provider for SCV35 schools recently held the grand opening of Taste 4, a retail-style cafeteria located inside Rio Rico High School.  The cafeteria makeover is a result of efforts by SCV35’s food provider to improve school lunches across the U.S. The company conducted focus groups with students all over the U.S. regarding the question on the minds of millions of parents and schools everywhere.  What do kids want to eat? 

Families can understand the challenges of deciding and preparing meals daily for children.  Parents and schools alike want to provide healthy and tasty food. Let’s face it, kids can be picky and healthy can sometimes be tricky. 

Although a very big undertaking, Sodexo was determined to win the stomachs of students everywhere.  After polling students across the nation, two factors simmered to the top of the list, students wanted more flavor and more options.  With that in mind, Sodexo approached the district about revamping the food program.

When approached about the change, SCV35 Business Manager Isela Brown agreed and asked the company to go one step further.  She wanted to see the cafeteria transformed into a more modern style with a retail feel.  “Many times we eat with our eyes,” said Ms. Brown.  She wanted students to be excited about the food changes as well as the presentation.  She wanted to exceed the student expectations of cafeteria food.  Kendal Zuniga Sodexo Senior Marketing Director agreed with Ms. Brown saying, “Generations of students are different in their expectations for not only food but the presentation.” 

The new combination of style and food resulted in the grand opening of Taste 4.  The new menu has four options, one of which is a weekly rotating option.  Street tacos, chicken dishes, and Asian cuisine are just a few examples of the rotating food items.  In addition to the new menu is a rotating flavor station. Flavors like sriracha and garlic parmesan were added to compliment the menu while adding flavor in a healthy way.  The daily options include fresh, made to order deli sandwiches, spicy chicken sandwiches, pizza, burgers, fresh fruit, and fresh flavored water. 

Students were pleased with the grand opening, as was obvious by the food line that wound around the cafeteria. Students were asked what they thought about the new menu, sophomore Benjamin Gonzales said it was “good, (an) improvement of food choices.”  Yesena Michel, who was surveyed while eating her Asian bowl, said it “looks more appetizing. (It) looks cooler.” 

Of course, none of this could have been possible if it were not for the local Sodexo team who cares and serves RRHS students daily.  Rachel Carroll, Sodexo Food Service Director for SCV35 said the company “has made changes to 29 school programs, and RRHS Sodexo team helped make this the smoothest.”  SCV35 wishes to thank Sodexo for their dedication to our students.-Shannon Enciso, Communications Specialist Santa Cruz Valley USD No. 35. 

Santa Cruz County Arts for Learning Holiday Nutcracker Performance

Santa Cruz County Arts for Learning Holiday Nutcracker Performance

Santa Cruz County Arts for Learning Holiday Nutcracker Performance


Friday, December 13th was a magical day for Santa Cruz County’s 4th-grade students and teachers who attended the Holiday Nutcracker performance sponsored by County School Superintendent Alfredo I. Velásquez and the Santa Cruz County Arts for Learning initiative in partnership with Young Audiences. Under the direction of Fred Milner, NUSD #1 Music & Arts teacher, Challenger Elementary School’s 4th & 5th-grade students performed their rendition of the Nutcracker complete with costumes, set changes, and a chorus who sang in multiple languages. 

An audience of nearly 900 students, along with teachers, principals, and parents were mesmerized by the 90-minute show that took the classic Nutcracker story and added a special twist. Milner, a veteran music teacher and Director of the long-running show, adapts the ballet so it feels more like a musical with many types of dance and comedic dialogue. Acting coach Alex Guzman and choreographer Lupita Bustamante assist Milner with the countless hours of rehearsal, stage preparations, and costume fittings. 

The performance was part of a series of arts events that will take place in our K-12 schools during the 2019-2020 school year. Santa Cruz County Arts for Learning is an initiative Superintendent Velásquez is passionate about with one simple message: Get art to kids! The partnership with Young Audiences will allow teaching artists to visit our school districts, as well as support our local arts activities. A very special guest, Carolina Rendon, former Director of Young Audiences in Santa Cruz County, was honored during the intermission for her dedication to bringing quality arts experiences to our community. 

A special thanks to NUSD #1 Superintendent Fernando Parra and NHS Principal Tim Colgate for the use of the James Clark Auditorium. For more information contact C-CREO Grants Program Director, Maya Donnelly at