Kennedy Middle School adding to its famous Hall of Fame

in Education/Featured/Headline

A radio sports anchor and an international climate change economist will be the newest members of the Kennedy Middle School Hall of Fame after ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. March 21 at the school’s Gary Beban Gymnasium.

The induction, open to the public, will honor Steve Bitker, the morning-drive sports anchor at KCBS since joining the San Francisco Bay Area station 18 years ago, and Carter Brandon, for 23 years a World Bank economist working to focus global attention on adapting to climate change. Bitker and Brandon, both 1967 graduates of Kennedy, will share the speaker’s platform with Beban, the 1965 winner of the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top college football player.

Bitker has been the morning-drive sports anchor at KCBS since joining the station in April 1991 and has won many broadcasting awards. He is the author of “The Original San Francisco Giants” (Sports Publishing Inc.), which profiles every player of that 1958 team.

Brandon held leading positions at the World Bank in its environment, agriculture, social, poverty and climate change sectors. He moved in February to the World Resources Institute to work with the Global Commission on Climate Change Adaptation, led by former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO. For good measure, he’s a Rhodes Scholar and played bassoon in the Paris Symphony in 1972.

The Hall of Fame, one of the few in the country for a middle school, was founded in 2001 by physical education teacher Bret Baird, with Beban, former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry and former Redwood City Mayor Daniela Gasparini among the first of 24 members representing success in a variety of professions. Several of them will be at the March 21 ceremony, Baird said.

His message to current Kennedy students: “This could be you!”

“It’s always a fun community event,” Baird said. “There is audience participation and entertainment by school music groups.”

NOW IT CAN BE TOLD: Diana Reddy, who won a hotly and closely contested race for Redwood City City Council last November, got her start as a candidate at a very early age indeed. At a January event at the home of Alyn Beals, Jr., Reddy disclosed the details of their early childhood education in politics. Both were in the sixth grade at Lincoln School running for student body offices. His presidential slogan was “Don’t Be Heels, Vote for Beals,” which took him to victory.

Her campaign slogan for vice president was “Don’t Be a Banana, Vote for Diana.” That one didn’t seem to have as much a-peel and she lost.

Lincoln School, by the way, was located at Whipple Avenue and Oakdale Street and was razed in 1974 because of … declining enrollment.

Sound familiar?

CONGRATS: Congratulations to Redwood City resident Bill Schulte, a long-time volunteer with Sustainable San Mateo County, who will receive the organization’s Ruth Peterson Award at its 20th annual award dinner on April 4.  A 55-year county resident, Schulte has been involved with SSMC for more than 13 years, serving on the board from 2006 and as its chair from 2008 to 2014.

REDWOOD SHORES CONTEST: Residents and workers from Redwood Shores have an opportunity to enter a contest about something that promises to be exciting – and boring too. Silicon Valley Clean Water, a multi-city agency that operates the wastewater facility on Radio Road, has a major project underway to replace and rehabilitate the entire conveyance system that serves much of southern San Mateo County. Part of the project includes building three miles of tunnel to the treatment plant. A huge Tunnel Boring Machine (aka a TBM) will be arriving in July, which will dig out the tunnel and install a new pipeline underground, sparing everyone the prolonged disruption and delays that would occur with open-cut trenching along Redwood Shores Parkway. The tunneling will occur up to 60 feet below the busy arterial.

Tradition dictates that a TBM can’t begin work until it has been named, a sign of good luck for the project ahead. The TBM that will be deployed in Redwood Shores can be named after a real or fictitious person, character, or thing, and the name should be reflective of SVCW’s mission. Besides getting the winning name displayed on the TBM, the winner will get a rare opportunity for the ultimate Redwood Shores underground tour – inside the TBM.

The contest is open to Redwood Shores residents and workers 18 and older. For complete rules and information, go to

In a similar contest, the name “Chessie” was selected for a project at Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. The abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who helped rescue fugitive slaves via the Underground Railroad, has been honored at least twice with TBMs called “Harriet.” In Fort Wayne, Indiana, the name “MaMaJo” was created from the first two letters of the city’s three rivers.

This story was published in the March print edition of Climate Magazine.