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2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Andrew Seike

2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Andrew Seike

Like many people in the Bay Area, Andrew Seike’s parents were immigrants but unlike many of these immigrants, Mr. Seike’s parents were from two historically opposing cultures.  His father who was born China in the late 20s and his mother in the early 30s in Japan met after WWII when sentiments between the two cultures were at its worst. Born in San Francisco, this dichotomy of culture and a desire to fit in mainstream America shaped Mr. Seike greatly at an early age.  During these formative years life was unusually tumultuous and to facilitate an escape he often found solace in the only safe haven provided by his environment. In school he was nurtured by several important teachers who left an indelible mark on his life. With the assistance of these influential role models coupled with his mother’s wonderful altruism and magnanimity, he found fulfillment in the improvement of the welfare of others from teaching neighborhood children how to skateboard to helping a struggling friend with literature or math. Although he does not harbor any discontent, Mr. Seike was not afforded many  luxuries in his youth having never been on a plane, experiencing a family trip or even travelling anywhere out of the Bay Area.  However, in literature he was able to travel the world vicariously through the dreams, realities and lives of some of the greatest minds in the world. In literature he found one of his deepest passions and gravitated towards its comforting embrace. Although Mr. Seike had a burgeoning experience in computers since his childhood, Mr. Seike decided in his junior year of high school that he wanted to follow the footsteps of his mother (who taught for a brief time in Japan) and the teachers that impacted his life.

Both parents being blue collar workers, Mr. Seike worked dozens of jobs but finally found stability in the budding tech industry to help pay for his education and living expenses while going through college to become an English teacher. He has always felt since those early years that he needed to constantly prove himself worthy of teaching English and he strove to make this possible through determination, effort and conscientious study. He faced significant opposition even from college English professors who strongly discouraged him from continuing his dream. Strangely even with the great diversity within the City, he was only one of four people of color in the teaching program that year and the only person of color who pursued English as his major.  Even with the blossoming computer industry that was steadily becoming quite lucrative, he never once waivered in his conviction to help others through the joy of literature eventually earning his credential from San Francisco State University in mid 90s becoming the first Asian male English teacher to ever graduate according to his credential professor who taught at SFSU for over twenty five years.

He has been at Lynbrook high school for over twenty years and has taught many of the subjects in his department. He currently teaches 9th grade Literature and Writing and 11th grade AP Language and composition. Mr. Seike believes in teaching to the whole person and has the perfect subject to do so. In hopes of reaching more students and fostering the development of character, he created a martial arts class as a PE Elective (with the blessing and support of his wonderful school) which was unfortunately suspended after seven years due to budget cuts. Today he continues to teach martial arts as a club at his school in an after school program. 

Although Mr. Seike can be quite technical and analytical in his delivery, he believes that fostering the love of literature and learning is of paramount importance especially at a school whose general audience will pursue a career in science or math.  His feelings for his students and staff is indescribable as well as his concern for their welfare. He fosters an environment that is full of laughter and completely carefree where students are able to speak their own mind without fear of reprisal and encourages them be themselves through humor and by relaying self-deprecating and often comical stories about himself and his life experiences.   He never takes his job or position for granted, teaching every moment with great reflection, passion and intensity with hopes to inspire his students to appreciate their lives by connecting difficult life lessons to their own through the wonderful stories from literature. His appreciation of all the things he has and the people who have helped him so greatly in his life motivates him to be the best person and teacher he can be.  

Mr. Seike is currently engaged to his wonderful fiancée Christine and is owned by his menagerie of pets in San Jose. 

Mr. Seike is truly humbled and in complete disbelief for being offered a chance to win the All Star teacher award knowing that simply being recognized is a gift in on itself. If he wins he will replace and add many  mats and supplies so sorely needed for his martial arts program with the remainder (if any) to be used on technology to supplement his English classes. 

Perfection: Roger Federer wins every set en route to historic Wimbledon title


Perfection: Roger Federer wins every set en route to historic Wimbledon title

LONDON -- Roger Federer's wait for No. 8 at Wimbledon is over.

He is once again the champion of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament, now more often than any other man in the history of an event first held in 1877.

Federer won his eighth title at the All England Club and 19th major trophy overall, capping a marvelous fortnight in which he never dropped a set by overwhelming Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday in a lopsided final that was more coronation than contest.

When it ended, with an ace from Federer after merely 1 hour, 41 minutes, he raised both arms overhead. A minute or so later, he was sitting on the sideline, wiping tears from his eyes.

"I always believed that I could maybe come back and do it again. And if you believe, you can go really, really far in your life, and I did that," Federer said. "And I'm happy I kept on believing and dreaming and here I am today for the eighth. It's fantastic."

He turns 36 on Aug. 8, making him the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the Open era, and is a father of four. Both of his sets of twins - boys, 3, in their light blue blazers; girls, 7, in their dresses - were in the guest box for the trophy ceremony.

One son stuck a couple of fingers in his mouth; a daughter grabbed her brother's hand.

"They have no clue what's on. They think it's probably a nice view and a nice playground. But it's not quite like that here, so one day hopefully they'll understand," Federer said about his boys.

As for the girls, he said: "They enjoy to watch a little bit. They come for the finals, I guess."

When Dad is Roger Federer, you can wait until the last Sunday to show up.

Truly, this outcome was only in doubt for about 20 minutes, the amount of time it took Federer to grab his first lead. Cilic, whose left foot was treated by a trainer in the late going, was never able to summon the intimidating serves or crisp volleys that carried him to his lone Grand Slam title at the 2014 U.S. Open, where he surprisingly beat Federer in straight sets in the semifinals.

This one was all Federer, who last won Wimbledon in 2012.

That seventh championship pulled Federer even with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw in what's still officially called Gentlemen's Singles. Sampras won all but one of his in the 1990s; Renshaw won each of his in the 1880s, back in the days when the previous year's champion advanced automatically to the final and therefore was able to successfully defend a title with one victory.

Federer had come close to bettering his predecessors but couldn't quite do it. He lost in the 2014 and 2015 Wimbledon finals to Novak Djokovic - "Tough ones," Federer called them Sunday - and in the semifinals last year after erasing match points to get past Cilic in a five-set quarterfinal.

With clouds overhead and a bit of chill in the air, Federer's early play, in general, was symptomatic of jitters. For everything he's accomplished, for all of the bright lights and big settings to which he's become accustomed, the guy many have labeled the "GOAT" - Greatest of All Time - admits to feeling heavy legs and jumbled thoughts at important on-court moments to this day.

And so it was that Federer, not Cilic, hit a double-fault in each of his first two service games. And it was Federer, not Cilic, who faced the match's initial break point, 15 minutes in, trailing 2-1 and 30-40. But Cilic netted a return there, beginning a run of 17 points in a row won by Federer on his serve. He would never be confronted with another break point.

"I gave it my best," Cilic said. "That's all I could do."

It was as if the first indication of the slightest bit of trouble jolted Federer.

In the very next game, Federer broke to lead 3-2. He broke again to take that set when Cilic double-faulted, walked to the changeover and slammed his racket on his sideline chair. Cilic then sat and covered his head with a white towel.

After Federer raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set, Cilic cried while he was visited by a doctor and trainer. At that moment, it wasn't clear, exactly, what might have been ailing Cilic. During a later medical timeout, Cilic's left foot was re-taped by the trainer.

Federer would break to a 4-3 edge in the third set and all that remained to find out was how he'd finish. It was with his eighth ace, at 114 mph (184 kph), part of a total of 23 winners. He made only eight unforced errors.

This caps a remarkable reboot for Federer, who departed Wimbledon a year ago with a lot of doubts. He had lost in the semifinals, yes, but more troublesome was that his body was letting him down for the first time in his career.

Earlier in 2016, he had surgery on his left knee, then sat out the French Open because of a bad back, ending a record streak of participating in 65 consecutive majors. Then, after Wimbledon, he did not play at all the rest of the year, skipping the Rio Olympics, the U.S. Open and everything else in an attempt to let his knee fully heal.

It worked. Did it ever.

Feeling refreshed and fully fit, Federer returned to the tour in January and was suddenly playing like the guy of old, rather than like an old guy.

In a turn-back-the-clock moment, he faced long-time rival Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final and, with a fifth-set comeback, won. It was Federer's 18th Grand Slam title, adding to his own record, and first in 4½ years. Those who had written Federer off needed to grab their erasers.

The formula made sense, clearly, so why not try it again? Federer skipped the clay-court circuit, missing the French Open again, to be in top shape for the grass courts he loves so dearly. Sunday's victory made Federer's record 31-2 in 2017, with a tour-leading five titles.

He is back to being supreme in tennis, lording over the sport the way no man has.

"It's magical, really," Federer said. "I can't believe it yet."

Denied: Venus Williams drops Wimbledon final in straight sets to Muguruza


Denied: Venus Williams drops Wimbledon final in straight sets to Muguruza

LONDON -- Garbine Muguruza already knew what it's like to lose to a Williams in the Wimbledon final. Now she knows how it feels to beat one for a championship at the All England Club.

Muguruza powered her way to her first title at Wimbledon and second at a Grand Slam tournament Saturday, beating a fading Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0 by claiming the final's last nine games.

At 37, Williams was bidding for her sixth championship at the grass-court major, 17 years after her first. And she was so close to gaining the upper hand against Muguruza, holding two set points at 5-4 in the opener. But Muguruza fought those off and did not drop a game the rest of the way.

"She's such an incredible player," the 23-year-old Muguruza said about Williams during the trophy ceremony, then drew a laugh from spectators by adding: "I grew up watching her play."

In 2015, in her first Grand Slam final, Muguruza lost to Williams' younger sister, Serena.

"She told me one day I was going to maybe win," Muguruza said. "So two years after, here I am."

Muguruza defeated Serena in last year's French Open title match and, by adding this victory over Venus, the Spaniard becomes the first player to win a Grand Slam final against each member of the greatest Sister Act in sports.

With the Centre Court roof closed because of rain earlier in the day, creating echoes with each thwack of racket strings against ball by the two big hitters, Muguruza was too good down the stretch.

Williams began the proceedings with an ace to a corner at 109 mph (176 kph), but Muguruza quickly showed she would neither be overwhelmed by such booming serves nor the occasion. Williams is accustomed to parlaying that stroke into easy points, but Muguruza got back one serve at 113 mph (182 kph) on the match's second point, and another at 114 mph (184 kph) in the third game - and wound up winning the ensuing exchanges both times.

Still, Williams twice was a point away from winning the opening set, ahead 5-4 while Muguruza served at 15-40. On the first chance, a 20-stroke point ended when Williams blinked first, putting a forehand into the net. On the second set point, Williams sent a return long, and Muguruza pumped her fist.

It was as if getting out of that jam freed up Muguruza - and failing to capitalize on the opportunity deflated Williams. That began the match-closing nine-game run for Muguruza.

Williams began faltering, spraying shots to unintended spots - long, wide, into the net - while the younger, less-experienced Muguruza stayed steady, pounding groundstrokes with all her force. By the latter stages, with the ultimate outcome apparent, the only question was how lopsided the score would be.

Williams finished with 25 unforced errors, 14 more than Muguruza made. It ended when Williams hit a shot that landed long, but was ruled in. Muguruza challenged the call, and after a bit of a delay, the review showed the ball was, indeed, out. Made to wait to celebrate, Muguruza eventually could enjoy the moment, dropping to her knees and covering her face as tears arrived.

Soon enough, Muguruza was being shown her name on the list of champions in the stadium's lobby - "Finally!" she said - and being greeted by former King Juan Carlos of Spain.

It was an anticlimactic conclusion to the fortnight for Williams, who was the oldest Wimbledon finalist since 1994. She hadn't made it this far at the All England Club since 2009, hadn't won the title since a year earlier.

"A lot of beautiful moments in the last couple of weeks," the American said.

Diagnosed in 2011 with Sjogren's syndrome, an energy-sapping autoimmune disease, she learned to deal with that condition by turning to a plant-based diet and altering other routines. It took a while for her to get back to her best tennis. Her resurgence began in earnest at Wimbledon a year ago, when she made it to the semifinals.

Then, at the Australian Open in January, Williams reached the final, where she lost to her sister.

Serena is off the tour for the rest of this year because she is pregnant, and Venus spoke about wanting to earn a trophy for the family name.

She came close to achieving that, but Muguruza would not allow it.

Asked if she had a message for Serena, Venus said: "Oh, I miss you. I tried my best to do the same things you do, but I think that there'll be other opportunities. I do."