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RHS Tradition Seniors Give Project Preview
Due to present their senior projects to community judges on May 18, many Riverbank High School students tried a dry run and exhibited their work to visitors at the school's Open House on Thursday.

Aspiring cosmetologist Kristal Navarrette, for instance, went to work with lipstick, eyeliner and powder on her friend Katie Hornbaker's face. She also gathered four friends modeling clothes she designed. Her aim is to create photographic portfolios of before and after pictures of her skill in cosmetology.

RHS Drama Club member Michael Malstrom showed off a portfolio of his work as an actor and director. He has played parts at the Gallo Center for the Arts in "The Wizard of Oz" and "Bye, Bye Birdie" and will take the stage again in the August production of "The Music Man." He recently directed Cardozo Middle School players in a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Malstrom would like to attend the American Academy of Music and Drama in New York or Los Angeles and make the theater his career but is hedging his chances by seeking an arts degree so he can teach instead. He is also a musician, playing the piano, the harmonica in a band and currently learning the guitar.

Gerrick Figueroa sat at a table with a display about a clothing drive for the homeless that he held at the Scout Hall in mid-March. He collected donated clothing and about a dozen people turned up to receive it, but he didn't advertise the event too well, he said, so much was left over.

His written paper is about rising homelessness due to the high cost of housing and many foreclosures. Providing clothing is the easiest help he could give those without homes.

His mother, he added, grew up in a low-income family that was always moving and sending her to a different school. She was anxious he stay in the same school system and he has achieved this, going all the way from first grade to high school within the Riverbank system.

Liz Zamora had a display about tennis and its history and benefits. Tennis, she said, began as a sport in the 1700s in France but initially was restricted to the rich and titled. Influential stars include Althea Gibson who was America Tennis Association champion 10 years in a row and Lamar Hunt who in 1967 created competition for a world championship.

For her physical project Zamora put on four tennis clinics, teaching different techniques and strokes and illustrating the benefits tennis can bring in general health, hand-eye coordination and self confidence.

Aaron Ortiz prepared his project on the benefits of becoming a professional firefighter after spending some time with Stanislaus Consolidated crews operating out of the Riverbank fire station. He was impressed by the variety of a firefighter's job, learning his mentor one day rescued a cat stuck in a pipe by using a saw, another time delivered a baby and on a third occasion assisted a victim suffering a heart attack.

Ortiz formerly viewed culinary arts as a possible career - he does all the cooking at home for his parents - but is now interested in attending a firefighting training academy.