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Santa Rosa High School Foundation
P.O. Box 11006
Santa Rosa, CA 95406

Pandy Line


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(707) 571-7747


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Student of the Month Luncheon:  A History

by Tony Negri, past president

The Student of the Month Luncheon program at SRHS is one of the Foundation’s most successful and rewarding accomplishments.
In the fall of 1990, former Principal Mike Panas presented a plan to recognize and treat to lunch students who accomplished something in class or made worthwhile contributions for the school community. The program intended to seek out not the campus leaders, but the students who might otherwise never be recognized, the ones who might “fall through the cracks.” Teachers were asked to nominate students who, for example, made significant academic progress where they had not earlier or who enriched the classroom by their presence, their attitude and their involvement. Such students rarely received recognition for their efforts, and the Student of the Month program was intended to change that.

The principal and Foundation board members started the program by taking six to seven nominated students to lunch at Chevy’s in Railroad Square. At the luncheon, the principal and the board representative had the opportunity to discuss with the students their future plans, and what special events were planned at the high school during the school year. The board member explained the role of the Foundation with the school and the financial support available to students. This tradition continues today.

Two years later, the Foundation expanded the program to include an annual dinner for the year’s nominees, their parents and the nominating teachers. Recipients of the SRHS Foundation scholarship were also invited to the dinner. The Foundation Board members participated by hosting and serving the students that evening.

Christine Romani-Tonelli ’88, a longtime board member, was instrumental in developing the plan for the dinner, and Christine’s grandfather, Frank Stefani, was enlisted to do the cooking. On average, the pasta dinner, served at the Druid’s Hall on College Avenue, was attended by 200-225 people.

In the early 90’s the family of the late Edna Parker, SRHS Dean of Girls in the 50’s and 60’s, set up a fund for the luncheon and year end dinner. The gesture remains especially appropriate because Mrs. Parker sought to reward and encourage students who may not have received acknowledgment. Over the years, more donors stepped forward to provide additional support and funding for the program.

At the dinner, each student was presented a certificate of accomplishment. Photos were taken of the students with their family members and their teacher, creating wonderful mementos for the students and their families. Each photo reflected not only parental and teacher pride, but also of the students as well. Some of these photos and certificates are still proudly displayed in student homes long after the dinner.

Frank Stefani continued to prepare the dinners for over ten years. With his passing, Elmo Rossi and Jim Uboldi took over the cooking and have continued to do so.To remember Frank’s contributions to the event, his apron always is hung in the kitchen in his honor.

Since the Student of the Month program began, about 1,000 deserving students have been honored. These students form a very special group, those whose efforts are recognized but might have not been were it not for the program. This event is truly a labor of love, and the Foundation Directors are grateful for the opportunity to witness and participate in the students’ achievements.

©2018 Santa Rosa High School Foundation