Noe Valley Voice November 2012

Short Takes

Even if your pup can’t qualify as the Cutest, he can still perform in the Best Trick and other contests at James Lick Middle School’s Bulldog Day and Dog Show on Saturday, Nov. 10.




James Lick Brings Out the Big Dogs

James Lick Middle School is turning the catwalk over to the dogs at its first Bulldog Day and Dog Show, on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The day is not just for bulldogs: anyone can enter any breed of dog into one of several competitions. There will be a costume catwalk, a beauty pageant, and awards for Best Trick, Cutest Toy (for dogs under 20 pounds), and Top Dog (for dogs over 60 pounds).

Canines can rest their dogs in the Poochy Parlor or the Bowser Bar, shady areas where students will be grooming them and offering treats and water. Then it’s back to the blacktop for a run through the Dog Agility Course.

“That’s a carnival game for dogs,” explains Lick’s PTSA president, Todd Standish. There will be carnival games for kids too, he says, but the focus of the day will be Fido.

“Noe Valley is a huge dog-walking community,” says Standish, the father of a seventh-grade boy. “Our school mascot is a bulldog, so we wanted to put on a day celebrating our school spirit and honoring our four-legged friends.”

Local comedian Michael Cappozola and Jake Stookey, the school’s art and drama teacher, will emcee the event. Grilled chicken, shrimp skewers, homemade goodies, and hot dogs and sausages will be for sale.

Organizers hope the show will draw in James Lick’s neighbors. “We wanted to do something that would bring in the community, to help raise money,” says Anne Moses, parent of a seventh-grader at the school.

Pet owners will be asked to pay $5 to register, and then $5 per contest. Money raised will go for school supplies and for support staff such as the computer support teacher.

Moses says Vanguard Properties is already a big booster of the school, and this year co-founder James Nunemacher will help judge the dog show. So far, Nunemacher is the only donor to reach “Mastiff Level,” but Zephyr Real Estate, Wells Fargo Bank, and Friends of Noe Valley have also contributed generously.

To enter a dog in a contest, fill out a registration form on or on the day of the event. Parking will be available in the upper yard at the school, located at 1220 Noe St. near 25th Street. For more information, call James Lick at 415-695-5675.

—Heather World


Shredding at School (Legally)

Neighborhood kids are invited to skate, scrimmage, and score on the Alvarado Elementary School blacktop on Saturdays, thanks to the volunteer efforts of two coaches who run the school’s physical education program during the week.

Taking advantage of a push from the mayor’s office to open schoolyards to the public on weekends, Anthony Carranza and Charles Manzano in September started supervising Saturday sports in two play yards at Alvarado. The coaches come equipped with skateboards, helmets, and other athletic equipment, hoping to attract kids of all ages to get out and play.

From 10 to 11:30 a.m., the focus is on skateboarding. From 11:30 to 1:30, it’s pickup games of soccer, kickball, or basketball.

“It’s kid-driven,” says Carranza, Alvarado’s physical education coordinator. “It’s up to them what they feel like playing.”

So far, about half a dozen children have showed up, he says, though he’s hoping for more. Participants need not live in Noe Valley, Carranza says. He hopes children from nearby neighborhoods will come as well.

Based partly on his experience at Alvarado, which enrolls students from lower-income households in the Mission as well as students from wealthier families in Noe Valley, Carranza knows that children from different neighborhoods make bonds when they play sports together. “It’s about making those community connections,” he says. “I think that’s very powerful.”

Carranza, 33, has been involved in after-school athletics for about 10 years, drawing on his experience as a low-income kid in a single-parent home.

“Skateboarding saved my life,” he says. “That’s all part of my fabric and I have to make sure I give back.”

The sports Saturday will be cancelled in the event of rain and will not happen on holiday weekends or during spring break. Kids should enter through the ­Eureka Street gate between 22nd and 23rd streets.

Contact Carranza at for more information. Or call Alvarado School at 415-695-5695.

—Heather World





Cold or Hot, Upper Noe’s the Spot

You can work up a sweat on the dance floor and cool off with a scoop of ice cream at a Swing Dance Ice-Cream Social at Upper Noe Recreation Center on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The suggested donation of $5 per family and $1 per scoop of ice cream will benefit the PTA at Junipero Serra Elementary, a public school in Bernal Heights. Three-quarters of Junipero Serra’s students are classified as English-language learners, and part of the Swing Dance funds will go toward translation equipment and books that help children practice English at home.

“English language development is a big need and challenge at our school,” says Karen Curtiss, Junipero Serra’s PTA secretary. “We do not have enough books for the kids who need it.”

The event is organized and sponsored by the rec center’s Community Recreation Council, Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center, and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.

J.P. & the Rhythm Chasers will pull out the guitar, sax, bass, and drums to provide the beat, and a dance instructor will walk parents and kids through the steps to get things swinging. Meanwhile, volunteers will serve ice cream, popcorn, and lemonade.

“We are super-excited to be included in this,” says Curtiss. “We have an increasingly active group of parents and will be putting out lots of information at the school to have a big showing.”

Upper Noe Recreation Center is at 295 Day St. at Sanchez. For more information, visit or call the center at 415-970-8061.

—Heather World



Have a Little Food for Thought

Everson Perez was raised in San Francisco’s Mission District. With two loving, devoted parents, Everson grew up to be a hard-working student, earning A’s and B’s in his first few years at Mission High School. However, coming from an environment where college wasn’t an expectation, Everson didn’t view higher education as an option. What little he knew about applying to college seemed overwhelming. In addition, as the oldest of five children, he saw school after high school as an expense his family could never afford.

In 2008, Everson was introduced to Mission Graduates, a non-profit organization that helps students in the Mission prepare for and complete a college degree. With the help of Mission Graduates, and especially program director Cather Marroquin (“Mom Cat” to the students), Everson began to believe that college was a possibility. From reviewing his entrance essays to providing him postage stamps to mail his applications, Marroquin not only assisted in getting Everson into San Francisco State University, but also helped him win nearly $60,000 in scholarships, enough to fund all four years of school. “Without Mission Grads, I wouldn’t be in college,” says Everson.

Each year, Mission Graduates helps make college dreams a reality for approximately 25 high school students in the Mission District. By providing guidance and support to high school juniors and seniors, who may be the first generation in their families to attend college, the organization helps the students navigate the complex college admissions process. Knowing that the journey is not done once students are accepted into a college program, Mission Graduates also provides ongoing assistance throughout their college years. In addition, the organization offers a Parent Partners program, whose goal is to increase parent involvement in the schools.

On Nov. 14, Mission Graduates will be hosting Food for Thought. Twenty restaurants throughout the Mission will be donating a portion of their sales to help local students succeed in college. To participate, simply dine at one of the restaurants. A few of the standouts are Destino, Foreign Cinema, Front Porch, Maverick, Mission Bowling Club, and Pisco Latin Lounge.

Ambassadors from Mission Graduates will be at each restaurant selling raffle tickets. The grand prize is a trip for two to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. You can find a complete list of restaurants at

—Rhiana Maidenberg