On Thursday, May 9, Meridian was proud to host the 10th Annual Hayward Hero Dinner, organized by the Hayward Hero Foundation. The mission of this organization is to support student leadership & advancement programs within the Hayward educational community and to honor and celebrate the everyday heroes who go above and beyond for the betterment of the school and the students in Hayward.
In 2008, the HEROES campaign was launched by the Hayward Education Foundation to acknowledge those who believe that Hayward students deserve the best education possible. The Hayward Education Foundation is an accredited non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping all Hayward students succeed by providing teachers with the resources necessary to support, enhance, enrich, and strengthen educational activities and experiences in ways that existing funding cannot.
Everyday, people make a commitment to show-up, lend a hand, mentor, coach, and make time for students in their community. These selfless acts often go unnoticed and uncelebrated, yet the impact made is felt within each school and its community. These everyday activities are molding the future by investing time in the Hayward schools and students.
Every year, the organization asks each school in the Hayward community to choose a “Hero.” A Hero is someone who exemplifies kindness, integrity, selflessness, and continually goes above and beyond their usual duties for the betterment of the school and the students. From a volunteer, teacher, office worker, parent, coach, resource officer, to a custodian; a Hero is anyone who the school community feels should be recognized for their commitment, selflessness and significant contributions to the greater good of the students and education.
The “Hero Dinner” was the idea of community member and philanthropist, George Pacheco, who gathered support to honor Hayward’s Heroes during the Hayward Education Foundation’s annual fundraiser. Unfortunately, most of the Heroes could not afford to attend the Gala, so Mr. Pacheco generously offered to take the Heroes to lunch. In 2009, he took 12 Heroes to lunch at Numinali’s, a neighborhood favorite located in a beautifully restored Victorian home.
Since then, the Hero Dinner has taken on a life of its own and has grown exponentially. Each year more people attend the dinner to celebrate and support their school’s Hero. In 2018, heroes from 41 school sites were honored in the Hayward community and had 700 people in attendance. Due to the growth, the Hayward Education Foundation felt that they could no longer host the dinner. In early 2019, the Hayward Hero Foundation was formed to continue the tradition of honoring our everyday Heroes.
In order to accommodate the large number of attendees, the dinner was moved to the modern 30,000 sq. ft. Meridian hangar at Hayward Executive Airport. The donation of the space was greatly appreciated by the Hayward Education Association because it allowed the ticket prices to remain low so more people could attend. It should come as no surprise that Meridian Hayward General Manager, Carlos Rodriguez, was counted among those awarded. Throughout his time as General Manager, Carlos has continuously supported the local Hayward community by hosting events and lending a hand.
Mr. Rodriguez was thrilled to be a recipient of this award, and said, “It’s important to be an active part of our community and to help out whenever we can. I feel that everyone at Meridian has earned this honor because our entire Hayward team was involved. I am truly humbled to have received this esteemed award, and I gladly accept it on behalf all of our employees here.”
The ceremony was a great success with over 700 attendees. We hope to have the opportunity to host it again next year. Congratulations to Carlos and the entire Hayward team!
To learn more about our Heroes, click here.