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Shafter Chamber of Commerce highlights bright spots in community with annual awards

Shafter Chamber of Commerce highlights bright spots in community with annual awards
Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 13, 2024

SHAFTER, Calif. (KERO) — Shafter Neighborhood Reporter Sam Hoyle spoke with two award recipients, Natalie Leyva, Shafter Chamber's Young Person of the Year, and Shawn Pennel, Shafter Chamber's Educator of the Year.

  • On Thursday, the Shafter Chamber of Commerce will celebrate some of the bright spots in the community with its annual awards banquet. The Chamber will hand out awards like Business of the Year, Health Professional of the Year, and Citizen of the Year.
  • Shafter Neighborhood Reporter Sam Hoyle spoke with two award recipients, Natalie Leyva, Shafter Chamber's Young Person of the Year, and Shawn Pennel, Shafter Chamber's Educator of the Year.
  • In conversation with Hoyle, the two noted the award means quite a bit to them because it's a testament to their character from members of their own community.
  • The event will be held at Shafter's Ford Theater on Thursday at 5 p.m. and will feature a dinner as well as a State of the City address

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

One of the things people hate most is talking about themselves, so I asked two people to do it. I’m Sam Hoyle your Shafter neighborhood reporter, no I didn't just ask anyone and yes, I did it for good reason. On Thursday the Shafter Chamber of Commerce is returning with its annual awards banquet where several members of this community will be receiving awards.

[Awards] like Business of the Year, Young Person of the Year, Educator of the Year, and much more.

Ahead of Thursday night’s ceremony, we spoke with Natalie Leyva who will be receiving the Young Person of the Year award, and Shawn Pennel who will get the Educator of the Year award and they both noted that it’s an honor to be recognized by the people who surround them daily and who have helped them grow as people …

“Nothing in Shafter has changed, nobody's attitudes, nobody’s support, everyone is just as encouraging and I’m really proud to be from a community where educators and community members support their students so strongly,” said Leyva.

“There’s such a huge difference that people probably don't understand being able to teach in in a small community the support that you have is amazing and I wouldn't want it any other way,” said Pennel. "Not that I’m the hardest teacher or that I’m everyone’s buddy, but that they respect me and that they enjoy being in my class.”

The recipients were nominated by members of the Shafter community and selected by a subcommittee from the Chamber. For Leyva, she noted this award means more for her because it’s based on who she is as a person and the good she’s doing in the community, and not just who she is on a sheet of paper.

“I think to really receive an award from my city and from people who know me and my community for my – for how they see me as a person rather than just things that are written on paper like grades or scores,” said Leyva.

To learn more about this event and to see the full list of awards, be sure to check out the Shafter Chamber of Commerce's Facebook page or you could attend in person, the event is being held at the Ford Theater in Shafter, the evening starts at 5 p.m.


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