Thumbs up, thumbs down

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Fresno Bee

Thumbs up to Ben Benavidez, a longtime Valley activist who was honored last week in Los Angeles for his work in advocating for minority civil and economic rights. Benavidez received a lifetime achievement award at a reception for the annual economic summit for the Greenlining Institute, a national policy and leadership organization that promotes racial and economic justice. Benavidez, 64, is the president emeritus of the Mexican American Political Association.

Thumbs up to Althea Fowler Wheat and Roosevelt Elementary School, in connection with the centennial anniversary of the Fresno County elementary school. Wheat, the oldest living graduate of the school, which opened its doors in 1910, returned to the campus to be a part of its 100th anniversary.

Thumbs up to eight Fresno City College graduates, who have been named Dean’s Medallion recipients for overcoming obstacles and achieved high academic standards on their path to graduation. Recipients of the $500 scholarship and medallion are: Izaac Perez, Thi Ngoc Nguyen, Stephanie A. Reyes, Mike Garbarino, Stephen Keleher, Alessandra Martinazzi, Emiliano J. Beltran and Nayuca Medina.

Thumbs up to two Fresno County schools that placed among the best in the United States Academic Decathlon, a national online competition. University High School, a Fresno charter school, won the small schools team competition, and Hallmark Charter School in Sanger Unified finished second in the medium-sized schools competition. It was the fifth consecutive year University High earned a national title. University High’s top scorers were Timothy Anderson and Tiffany Cao. Others earning top honors were Joseph Matsushita and Fabio Avetisyan. Hallmark’s top scorers were Joseph de Los Santos and Zoe Dumas. Others earning honors were Josh Klein and Sam Dawson.