Woodlake Awards: Class-y Mom
As a one-on-one aide, Linda’s job is to follow a single student with physical disabilities as he matriculates through the district from kindergarten through high school. While supporting this student, Linda’s caring nature became well known throughout the entire class. Each year the students become more involved in school and extracurricular activities and each time Linda matched their passion for school with her own passion for helping youth. In 2010, students at Woodlake Valley Middle School even dedicated their yearbook to her. That same year, she was also recognized by the Woodlake Union (Elementary) School District Board for her involvement as a classified employee and is the Woodlake Unified CSEA (California School Employees Association) Treasurer.
“I like hearing students talk about their day, what activities they are planning and then finding ways to help them put events together,” said Linda, Woodlake’s Woman of the Year.
Her husband, Gregorio Gonzalez, Jr. has coached youth sports since their children were young, which makes Linda the assistant coach for Predators basketball, Woodlake Youth Baseball, AYSO soccer, TigerSharks swim team and Bengals football.
Now at Woodlake High School, Linda said tries to attend as many home games of every sport as possible. Between her three children, ages 7, 8 and 13, and the dozens of student athletes in her class, Linda estimates she attends an average of four to five sporting events each week. You always know where the Gonzalez family is sitting because it’s always in the middle of a crowd of students.
“I guess I am kind of like the Class Mom,” she said. “Students are very disappointed when I’m not there. I just want to support them as much as I can.”
Linda may work one-on-one with a single WHS sophomore, but you wouldn’t know it by the reception she gets as she walks across campus. Smiles, waves, hugs and brief conversations follow her wherever she goes.
“My favorite part of being in the kids’ lives every day are the gifts I receive in return,” Linda said. “A hug, letters, gifts and thank you’s for being there or just for listening. That’s the best part of my job.”
Linda’s community service doesn’t stop at the schools. She has volunteered her time, as well as her entire family’s, with Graffitti Cleanup. She purchases, wraps, organizes and distributes Christmas presents for the annual Woodlake Toys for Joy Drive, teaches Catechism classes and the annual Soap Box Derby race during Woodlake Western Week each May.
“I love being in Woodlake where we all know and support each other,” Linda said.