Robert Fernandez / Mary Knox Story - Cunha Store Burns Down! :-(
Barbara Ogarrio Art Story / Richard Calvin Passes / Kathy Jacobsen
Excellent Coastside Web Site:
Half Moon Bay Memories
man falls, breaks neck
* To make a Monetary Donation Irrespective of any other Benefit *
Please make check or money order payable to:
Montara, Calif. 9 4 0 3 7
On the memo line put "To Benefit Alan Nelson"
Montara man falls,
A freak fall out of a second-story window has left Montara resident Alan Nelson, 35, partially paralyzed with a fractured neck vertebra. Friends and neighbors are planning a benefit on March 1 to help with medical expenses. Nelson, who has no health insurance, is the brother of local filmmaker and surfer Eric Nelson. Alan Nelson fell from the second story of his home sometime late Wednesday night, Feb. 5. He was home alone at the time, and hit wood when he fell, said Bonnie Burington, a family friend for 23 years. Burington added that Nelson told his mother he has no idea how the accident happened, only that "he said it felt like a dream, like when you're falling."
A neighbor, Pat Fellman, whose son grew up with Nelson, said she "had a terrible dream" and awoke, shaking, at about 1:30 that morning. Nelson had been at their home earlier that evening, and Fellman said she hurried over to his house, where the lights were on, and knocked. "He's like one of my boys," she said. She said she heard Nelson's voice but "didn't know if he was making a noise in his sleep," and shouted several times, to no avail. She returned home for a flashlight, but her husband suggested she go back to bed, and uneasily, she did.
She added that a couple
of other neighbors had similar experiences that night: hearing Nelson's voice
but being unable to see anything. Another friend finally found Nelson around
10 the next morning, and took him to Stanford Hospital. He had surgery on
his damaged fifth vertebra, and at present is paralyzed from the waist down.
He is still at Stanford, though family members are hoping to move him to the
care of spinal specialists in San Jose. It is too early to predict the extent
of the injury.
Because he has no medical insurance, the neighborhood benefit is intended to help with expenses incurred due to the accident. "A lot of people have been giving support, calling to say they are praying for him," said Burington.
Neil McNevin is not one who likes a fuss or fanfare.
Friday, he made public what only a select handful of people knew. After 32 years of working at Half Moon Bay High School as a teacher, coach and athletic director, McNevin, 57, announced his retirement.
HMB Review Article regarding Andrew Dorfman
Chapin, the principal of Cunha Intermediate School, can't seem to say enough
good things about seventh-grade world history teacher Andrew Dorfman, whom
he calls one of the treasures of the school. "He's
the most phenomenal person," Chapin said. "He's got a photographic
memory, he's extremely well-read, he has a huge variety of interests like
photography, gardening and technology." Dorfman,
who has been teaching at Cunha for 31 years, has map races in his room, edits
the school newspaper that comes out every two weeks, and has students lining
up at 7 a.m. to get into Club Dorf which meets in his room before school.
For all these reasons
it is not surprising that Dorfman just became the first teacher to receive
the kid-friendly Green Ribbon award. The
award is usually given to businesses. Nomination forms are at the high school,
Cunha and Sea Crest, a private school.
Dorfman was nominated anonymously. Dorfman is a very private person, Chapin said. "He's very modest; he doesn't like the limelight." That certainly seems to be true. Dorfman, in an interview via e-mail, took the focus off himself and put it on his students, saying that he delights in spending time with students and their interesting ideas. "Middle school students are far more generous, sensitive and curious than most people know and they have always been wonderful to me." The students return the compliment. "He's awesome!" is how both Tammy Harrison and Jody Kelly, students at Cunha respond when asked about Dorfman. "His classes are sort of hard, but he makes it easy to learn," said Kelly. "He really gets the curriculum into your brain." Dorfman respects his students, said Harrison, and lets his classes run themselves. "You get to decide if you have an essay or multiple choice for the final. Pretty much the class has all the power."
Both girls said that Dorfman's classes are fun and that he makes games out of everything. "You do map races, and he teaches you random facts and 'stupids of the week' about stupid things and gross facts like how they used to do tattoos." Susan Alvaro, director of the Coastside Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families, said the staff had an argument about who would give out the award, which was presented at a teachers' meeting on March 6. "We all wanted to do it," she said. "That's never happened before." Alvaro, whose son had Dorfman "forever ago," said he is the kind of person students remember. "He's a wonderful teacher," she said. "He demands a lot, but he gives them a lot of respect too." Alvaro thinks it's great that kids who currently have Dorfman appreciate him the way their parents did. "It's one thing when you say a teacher was really great seven or eight years ago.
But that kids now think he's great is remarkable." It's not only the students who admire Dorfman; his colleagues do too. Science teacher Ben Pittenger said that Dorfman is a wonderful instructor who helps students develop critical-thinking skills. "Andrew is exceptionally good at helping them learn to think on their feet, which is so important nowadays," Pittenger said. Dorfman helps teachers as well as students, said Pittenger. "He's a wonderful resource on anything from computers to being flexible and creative in our approach. You walk into his room and you can tell it's alive with innumerable concepts." Dorfman lives his philosophy, said Pittenger, by being a part of the community and biking to work every day. Pittenger, who teaches the same grade as Dorfman, said that every day, students call him Mr. Dorfman. To him, it's the highest compliment.
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