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By Henrietta J. Burroughs                             Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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Posted on Monday, April 4, 2011  
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Stephen Ashford with Dennis Richmond  Stephen Ashford with his two children
                                               Photos courtesy of Stephen Ashford

                                Teacher Stephen Ashford stands with retired television anchor,
                                Dennis Richmond and with his two children, Lashea and Keyshawn.
                                Click images to enlarge.


An East Palo Alto teacher, Stephen Ashford, was selected over 250 other teachers to win the Dennis Richmond Community Impact Award. The award, which carries a top prize of $5,000, is named after former Bay Area television news anchor, Dennis Richmond. Richmond retired from KTVU Fox Channel 2 in May 2008, after a 40-year career at the television station.

Ashford currently teaches physical education at the East Palo Alto Charter School, where he has worked for 11 years. In speaking about the award and his selection, he said that someone nominated him for the award. “I’m not sure why I won. I have done a lot of work for the youth in East Palo Alto as well as Richmond. There were a lot of other teachers who also do great things,” he said.

Ashford received his cash prize at an award's ceremony, which took place on Saturday, March 19, in San Ramon, CA. The award is sponsored by Ala Costa Centers, an agency in Berkeley, CA, that was created to empower children and young adults with developmental disabilities. According to the agency's website, the Dennis Richmond Community Impact Award is given each year "to recognize three individuals who have inspired and empowered children and youth in the community through their position at a public school, therefore furthering the mission of Ala Costa."

Ashford said he will use the award money he received to fund field trips and to help his eighth grade students visit Washington, D.C.

The award-winning teacher has developed a reputation as a rap artist known as Kontac who creates videos to inspire children. Ashford said that he was asked to coordinate and co-produce a video project for First Lady Michele Obama's Lets Move program. His video called 1 2 3 LET’s GO can be viewed at  www.vimeo.com/15791818 . He said that the video will be on President Barack Obama’s fitness web site in June.

Ashford created another video focused on those with disabilities. This video, which is titled, Heartbeat – Ala Costa Students, can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ivw5hvYkss.

The remix of his original video called Stay in School, which was produced to encourage students not to drop out of school, can be seen at www.vimeo.com/4141599

The second place winner of the Dennis Richmond Community Impact Award won $2,500 and the third place winner received $1,000.00.


To contact Henrietta J. Burroughs, the author of the above article, email epatoday@epatoday.org.


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