May, 2022

Dear Friends:

As all Exceeding Expectations supporters know, our number one priority is not to develop outstanding athletes, but rather to get our kids educated, which will give them opportunities to improve their lives and those of their families. And it’s working, one kid at a time.

Our first group of 12 kids over twenty years ago had no one in their families who had graduated from high school, so they had little reason to believe that getting an education was possible or important. Today, high school graduation is a given for all EE team members and considered to be just the first step in their education. Currently, we have fifteen EE students in post-high school educational programs, some in 4-year universities, others in community college and some studying in technical or medical programs.

And this month we’re celebrating a major first for Exceeding Expectations, which I couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago when we started the program. Two of our very early EE kids, Marlene Samano-Ramirez and Josh Rodriguez-Irons, have just completed graduate school.

Marlene received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Cal State Dominguez Hills yesterday. After getting  her undergraduate degree from UC San Diego in 2016, she married a wonderful fellow, Hilario Ramirez, who received his own Masters in Social Work three years ago, and they now have a beautiful 4-year-old daughter, Eliana.




Look what row we sat in!




Josh, a 2020 graduate of Cal State San Bernardino, where he studied music, continued post-graduate studies at Cal State Long Beach and received his Master’s in Music last week. His "final exam" was a performance in front of a live audience (which included many of his EE teammates), where Josh’s passion and talent for music were on full display. You can see the whole performance here, or some highlights here.

Josh performed several solo pieces…




He was next accompanied by a piano, and finally
performed as part of a chamber ensemble.


Josh's teammates came to hear his Masters recital.
("Who says we can't cheer at a classical music performance!")



With teammate Archi Lai (UCLA '2018) and proud Mom Jacque.


Josh and Marlene, and all the others who are attending college or have already graduated, are leading the way. All Exceeding Expectations kids and their families now believe that getting an education is not only important but within their grasp.


On the athletic side:

We started May with one of our favorite races: the PossAbilities Triathlon and 5K. This is an event that’s special because the PossAbilities program works with physically challenged athletes. Our kids race alongside these inspiring athletes on a tough course and it’s a great celebration for everyone at the finish line. 

At the event this year we had 11 medalists in the tri and several more in the 5K.





We dominated at the podium. 10 medals!


Next on our race calendar was the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Mud Run. This was a new event for us and everyone loved it, so we’ll become regulars at this race. It included thigh-high mud pits, steep hills with ropes to climb up and thick mud to slide down, heavy sand bags to carry, and obstacles to go over and under. As usual, the EE kids represented very well against tough competition with Richard and Ricardo placing 2nd and 3rd overall among men and Isi taking 2nd overall in the Women’s division.





photo: Albert Angelo




photo: Albert Angelo



A helping hand from Pop


Salvador and son Richard

photo: Albert Angelo


They came to represent!
Richard (right, 2nd male overall), Ricardo (3rd) and Isi (2nd female overall)


A special race for the younger kids






As we enter the summer months, we start our Summer Run/Bike training program. The kids work all summer with the goal of earning a coveted slot to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) triathlon event in San Diego in October.

As you can clearly see, our kids are busy setting goals and accomplishing great things. This is all made possible by your generous support of EE. Speaking on behalf of all our kids and their families, we thank you very much.