Weekly roundup: A mariachi band’s Helpful Honda surprise, vaccine mandate protests, and more

A mariachi band from Godinez Fundamental High School in Santa Ana recently received some unexpected kindness from the SoCal Helpful Honda squad, which outfitted the student musicians with traditional black and gold uniforms.

The Godinez group has been around for years, performing under the name Mariachi de Oro. But as KABC News reported, the ensemble has never had matching uniforms.


That changed after Helpful Honda representative Zuly Tellez made an unannounced visit to Garden Grove, where Mariachi de Oro was getting ready to play. Before the gig, each student was presented with authentic mariachi attire from Mexico.

“I couldn’t be more emotional to see their reaction,” Maggie Argueta, the treasurer of the band’s booster program, told Eyewitness News. “I mean, it’s priceless.”

And here are some of the education stories we’ve been tracking this week:

  • The principal of Maude B. Davis Elementary School in Newport-Mesa Unified is one of eight recipients of this year’s Terrel H. Bell Award, awarded to school leaders across the country whose vision and collaborative leadership style have transformed their schools.
  • A Westminster High senior who plays for her school’s varsity football team was recently crowned homecoming queen at halftime. Jordan Galvin was the only finalist wearing shoulder pads, the Orange County Register reported.
  • Speaking of the Mendez case, the Daily Pilot has an article this week about Janice Munemitsu’s new book, which tells the story of her family’s unique connection with the Mendez family before, during and after their legal fight for equality.
  • Reports suggest a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is close to winning federal approval — and perhaps within the next few weeks. But unlike the drive to help school employees get vaccinated last spring, OCDE isn’t planning to host clinics at local schools.
  • The S.T.E.A.M. Race to Space Reading Challenge, brought to you by organizers of the Orange County Children’s Book Festival, takes flight this Friday, Oct. 22 and runs through Nov. 12. The challenge is open to all Orange County students in grades TK-12.
  • U.S. News & World Report is known for its rankings of high schools and colleges, but for the first time ever it’s also released data and rankings for elementary and middle schools.
  • The Santa Ana Unified School District is gathering public input as it considers moving to trustee areas for school board elections rather than having voters pick their representatives at-large, the Voice of OC reported.
  • OCDE has developed an online toolkit to help schools host activities tied to Red Ribbon Week, which officially starts this weekend and continues through Halloween.
  • According to the Voice of OC, the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified school board may ban critical race theory following state legislation that will make ethnic studies a graduation requirement by 2029-30.
  • And finally, the president of the nonprofit Vital Link has embarked on a cycling journey that’s taking him to campuses across Orange County to promote career technical education — or CTE — and to raise money for local scholarships.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.