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Napa Valley College’s 75th Anniversary Festival and Open House was part community day, part career fair, part student resource fair and plenty of fun. With four “zones” filled with activities spanning across the campus, prospective students and community members were able to get a feel for the college.

“I feel a really great vibe today,” Rafael Manzo, current performing arts student and Associated Students president, said. “This is the first time they’ve ever done an open house of this level.”

Manzo, who was part of the event’s planning committee, said planning the festival and open house has taken most of the academic year. And, he said, it turned out better than he imagined.

“I honestly have never felt so connected even with just the other departments on campus.”

Manzo said the day went so well that he suspects the college will make the festival and open house an annual event.

Manzo and two other students from the performing arts department acted out an “Othello Rap” – just one of the many entertainment options available for the day.

Cal Bouwer, who wielded a sword made out of duct tape, PVC pipe and yoga mats during the performance, said the entire festival felt “welcoming.”

“I think it’s going really well,” Bouwer said before noon on Saturday. The open house was a great opportunity for everyone to see what the college has to offer for both the community and the students, he said.

In addition to the student performances, there were musical and dance performances, engineering and drone demonstrations, facility tours, a criminal justice and public safety career fair, bounce houses and appearances by Batman, Spider-Man and Captain America.

“This is a must go-to event for us,” said Detective Thomas Rosina of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office. Rosina said his department has hired recruits from Napa Valley College in the past and is looking to hire more. On Saturday, he said, he had spoken to at least six people who seem like they would be a good fit with the department.

After a few on-the-spot interviews, Rosina said he hopes he can hire all six.

Officer Sarah Perez, a community liaison officer with the El Cerrito Police Department, said her department also came to the event in order to find some potential candidates for employment.

“We’re interested in anybody interested in law enforcement,” Perez said, noting the department’s great diversity.

Vanessa Avina and Bibiana Mejia, both 14, don’t know exactly where they will be going to college or what they’ll be doing afterwards, but they both said they appreciated what the day had to offer.

“We’re just looking around,” Avina said while gathering information from one of the many law enforcement agencies represented at the event. The Harvest Middle School student said it’s not too early to be thinking about college.

“There’s a lot of options,” she said, but she’s thinking about UC Davis or the University of Southern California. “We’ll see.”

Abimael Leyva, 18, just started at Napa Valley College this past spring, so he found the open house very helpful. He even manned a table and handed out information on the college’s arts and humanities department.

“I just wanted to be part of the events here at the college – get a feel for it,” he said. “It’s pretty fun, meeting lots of people, learning about the different programs the college has.”


Public Safety Reporter

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC.