Cardozo Middle School attendance secretary Laurie Ramos was living the dream.
The longtime Oakland Raiders fan was invited to sing the National Anthem at the Raiders game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Oct. 6. Ramos, who said she is a huge Raider fan, could not believe that she was invited to sing at the Oakland Coliseum but made the most of her opportunity.
The Oakland Raiders have a National Anthem contest that they hold every year to give the ‘Raider Nation’ a chance to submit a video entry to possibly be chosen to perform live at a preseason game in the Oakland Coliseum.
The winner of the contest receives two parking passes, four game tickets, and four pregame sideline passes. This would be a dream come true for any Raider fan.
Since Ramos is a Raider fan and was once a lead singer in a band, she decided to give it a try, with help from yearbook teacher Jon Gianelli. Gianelli shot the video of her audition for the anthem and they submitted it with hopes to be selected for the Friday, Aug. 9 preseason game between the Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys.
Friday, Aug. 9 came and went without a word from the Raider organization. Ramos never received a call so she figured that she had not won.
Surprisingly, on Tuesday, Oct. 1 she received a call from a representative of the Oakland Raiders organization and he explained that it had been a very tight race between Ramos and the person they had selected to sing for the preseason game. He also expressed that they were impressed by her vocal abilities and compelled by her story so they invited her to sing the National Anthem on Sunday, Oct. 6 in Oakland before the regular season game.
The NFL supports the fight against breast cancer and has a campaign called “A Crucial Catch” in partnership with the American Cancer Society.
October is breast cancer awareness month and throughout October all the NFL games will feature players, coaches, and referees wearing pink apparel in some fashion. Some of the players will be wearing pink shoes or pink socks and the referees will be throwing pink flags.
The Raiders set Ramos up with her two sons Corey and Dylan and their significant others in a sky box where they were provided with food and drinks. She received a parking pass and two field passes, and she took her oldest son Corey down to the field with her.
“My son and I watch the games together all the time,” said Ramos. “He is a bigger fan than I am. It’s pretty exciting.”
Ramos stated that she has had five years of loss and hardship in her personal life, so this is the nicest thing that has happened to her in quite some time.
Five years ago, Ramos lost her husband and in 2012 her mom Anastasia “Stacy” Clevidence was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Twenty years prior Clevidence was diagnosed with colon cancer and beat it. Ramos and her three sisters cared for their mom in the end. Clevidence passed on July 31 and was 84 years old. Three or four months before their mom passed away, Ramos’s sister Nancy Hillman was diagnosed with breast cancer. The mother and daughter were both fighting cancer at the same time. Hillman’s cancer was removed and all her margins are clear.
“She (Clevidence) fought so courageously, she never complained, ever, not one time about the pain,” said Ramos of her mother. “She smiled constantly. I know she is smiling down.”
Ramos has worked at Cardozo Middle School for 14 years as a secretary and expressed that it is the best job and best school that she has ever worked at.
When Ramos was in her 20s, she sang in a local band. She stated that she opened for George Strait in 1982 when he first started out. After gaining employment at CMS, Ramos would still sing on weekends at the Ellis Lounge in Riverbank.
But she admitted that the only singing she has done lately has been at karaoke or at home with her guitar.
However, this new singing adventure is one event that she will be scratching off her bucket list.
“I am absolutely overwhelmed and honored that they sought me out,” said Ramos. “I mean it’s huge, this is a dream come true, my most favorite football team ever.
“The chance to sing in front of all those people and to be complimented on my voice after so many years, it’s amazing.”
And just to make it a night to truly remember, the Raiders came away with a victory over the Chargers, putting the exclamation point on an already fabulous experience for Ramos.