2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Cindy Gershen

2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Cindy Gershen

Chef and teacher Cindy Gershen, founder of Walnut Creek’s Sunrise Bistro restaurant and the Wellness City Challenge non-profit, created a remarkable Sustainable Hospitality Program at Concord’s Mt. Diablo High School. Focused on the science of food through culinary arts, gardening, and nutrition, the program is now an integral part of district’s curriculum and an Innovation Center for programs that can be replicated.

Cindy prepares young people for employment as professionals in the healthy food service industry. Students are taught to prepare nutritious meals that are served to other students including campus sports teams and faculty members. The curriculum incorporates the “do no harm” revolution taking place in the Hospitality industry promoting standards of business good for the environment, workers, and consumers. Another part of the curriculum is the “state of the art” growing technique utilizing vertical tower gardens in classroom and outdoor environments.

Cindy’s senior class focuses on Career Technical Education (CTE) through topics such as farm-totable and farm-to-cafeteria with hands-on experience on the process of planting, growing, and harvesting produce and entrepreneurship through catering. Her students also promote health and wellness through a district wide “Water Drinking Campaign”.

She continues to expand youth education programs with a recently started culinary, growing and nutrition program for 4th graders.

In her new role as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for Mount Diablo Unified School District, Cindy is launching Educatering to support the healthy food needs of the cafeteria, administrative staff, and local community through student driven recipes and products by providing non-packaged, nonprocessed healthy food. Her goal is “Teachers in the best condition to teach, and students in the best condition to learn.”

Cindy’s programs are remarkably effective in creating social change. They merge theories and principles with hands-on professional level activities. And her programs take a prevention approach to the epidemics of obesity and diabetes occurring in our schools. She continually reminds students that they should “Eat well to be well out in the world.” 

Her non-profit, Wellness City Challenge, hosts the Annual Contra Costa County Mayors’ Healthy Cook-off. Students from her programs team up with local officials as “sous chefs.” Local leaders become advocates on building healthy communities through the education system. Also through Wellness City Challenge, an after-school program supports at-risk youth by covering topics such as nutrition and culinary education, personal empowerment and entrepreneurship. 

Several state and local groups have given Cindy awards for her health and wellness advocacy including the California Assembly District 14 “Woman of the Year” award. Cindy is also co-author of the The Fat Chance Cookbook (Hudson Street Press January 2014) with Robert H. Lustig, MD, a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH Program at UCSF), and author of the bestselling book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease.

Long shot Cloud Computing pulls off upset at 142nd Preakness Stakes

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AP

Long shot Cloud Computing pulls off upset at 142nd Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE -- Sometimes it pays to have a fresh horse.

Cloud Computing skipped the Kentucky Derby, while eventual winner Always Dreaming and Classic Empire mixed it up in the mud at Churchill Downs.

Two weeks later, Cloud Computing pounced on those two horses in the Preakness, pulling off an upset victory at 13-1 odds Saturday. He became the first horse to skip the Derby and win the second leg of the Triple Crown since filly Rachel Alexandra in 2009.

"Some of the reason that we won today was because we were patient and didn't throw an inexperienced horse against a 20-horse field in the Derby on a very difficult track," winning co-owner Seth Klarman said. "We made a great call."

Always Dreaming and Classic Empire dueled for most of the race before Classic Empire stuck his nose in front midway on the far turn. It looked as if Classic Empire would go on to win, but Cloud Computing ran him down on the outside.

Always Dreaming faded to eighth in the 10-horse field on a cool and cloudy day at Pimlico. The crowd of 140,327 and wagering total of $94,127,434 were records, bettering the marks set last year.

Ridden by Javier Castellano, Cloud Computing ran 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.98 and paid $28.80, $8.60 and $6. It was just the dark brown colt's fourth career start, the fewest of any horse in the race, and only his second win. He didn't run as a 2-year-old because of injury.

Classic Empire returned $4.40 and $4, and 31-1 shot Senior Investment was another 4 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $10.20.

New York-based trainer Chad Brown earned his first victory in a Triple Crown race. Castellano won for the second time. He rode Bernardini to victory in the 2006 Preakness.

Castellano comes from a racing family, with a father, uncle and brother who have been jockeys.

"We've been working for a long time for this moment," he said. "It's great for the family."

The 142nd Preakness had been billed as a match race between Always Dreaming and Classic Empire, and it was from the start.

They broke out of the starting gate next to each other and the fight was on. Always Dreaming took a slight lead with Classic Empire on his flank.

Meanwhile, Cloud Computing was back in third as Castellano watched the duel unfold in front of him.

Always Dreaming was the first to throw in the towel, surrendering the lead to Classic Empire midway around the final turn.

"We didn't have an excuse," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Always Dreaming. "We were in a position we expected to be, and I think the turnaround was a little too quick. He ran so hard in the Derby and today just wasn't his day."

Always Dreaming lost for the first time in five races this year. He'd won his first four by a combined 23 1/4 lengths.

Classic Empire and Julien Leparoux went into the stretch with three-length lead, seemingly on his way to the winner's circle.

At that point, trainer Mark Casse thought he was headed there, too.

"Of course," he said. "But I thought I was going to win a lot of times before, so it doesn't shock me."

But Classic Empire also paid a price for putting away Always Dreaming. Classic Empire fought on to the finish line, but couldn't hold off a fresh horse in Cloud Computing.

"Certainly I'm not going to dispute the fact that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy," Brown said. "Our horse is very talented, too. Classic Empire and Always Dreaming are two outstanding horses, and our strategy was, if we are ever going to beat them let's take them on two weeks' rest when we have six (weeks), and it worked."

After Cloud Computing ran third in the Wood Memorial, Brown and the owners decided the colt would benefit from skipping the Derby. He came into the Preakness after a six-week break.

"It just didn't work out in the Wood. We just ran out of time," Brown said. "We just really zeroed in on this race, and thankfully it worked out."

The victory was especially sweet for Klarman, who grew up a few blocks from Pimlico. He turns 60 on Sunday. He and William Lawrence have been buying and racing horses together since 2006.

"This is the culmination of 25 years of hard work and learning and trying to figure this game out," said Klarman, president of the Baupost Group, a hedge fund valued at $31 billion.

"In my regular life, I'm a long-term value investor. This is gambling. It's really been a thrill and this is the highlight of our career so far as thoroughbred owners."

Klarman, who races as Klaravich Stables, is a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox.

Lookin At Lee, the Derby runner-up, was fourth. Gunnevera was fifth, followed by Multiplier and Conquest Mo Money. Hence was ninth and Term of Art last.

Always Dreaming pulls away, wins 143rd Kentucky Derby

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AP

Always Dreaming pulls away, wins 143rd Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Always Dreaming splashed through the slop to win the Kentucky Derby by 2 ¾ lengths, giving trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their second victories in the race but their first together.

Pletcher and Velazquez have teamed up often over the years and are the sport's leading money winners. On their own, they were a combined 2 for 63 coming into America's greatest race.

Together, they were unbeatable on a cool and rainy Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Sent off at 9-2 odds, Always Dreaming made it the fifth straight year that a Derby favorite has won, the longest such stretch since the 1970s.

Always Dreaming was followed across the finish line Saturday by a pair of longshots: 33-1 Lookin At Lee and 40-1 Battle of Midway.

Always Dreaming ran 1 ¼ miles in 2:03.59 and paid $11.40, $7.20 and $5.80.