December 2021

Dear Friends,

December has been a busy month for us, starting with a first for our program. Over the years, Iíve raced alongside the kids and even been a swimmer for young kids not yet ready to take on open water. But Iíve never done an official Ironman event as part of an EE relay team until Archi (UCLA 2019) and I teamed up for the Indian Wells 70.3 (half-Ironman) in early December. Archi did the swim and I was the biker and runner. We had a great experience representing EE.

 

The following weekend was the Tinsel Triathlon and 5K, a race that the kids have done each of the last 20 years. It was a chilly morning, which bothered no one. It warmed up by the very civilized 9:00 start time and the Exceeding Expectations team raced like champions. It was their first triathlon in 2 years, thanks to COVID, and they were ready to rock!

Ricardo, Arian and Ahris speed past the ceremonial fire truck.

 

Amori in his highest gear.

 

The kids cleaned up at the podium.
Here's Ricardo collecting his first place medal.

 

Happy to be racing again.

 

 

The next weekend was all EE, all the time.

Saturday was Santa Paws 5K in Palm Springs, a race put on by old friends of the kids, Molly and Jay Thorpe, for the benefit of Guide Dogs of the Desert. As usual, the Exceeding Expectations crew dominated the younger age groups, making us very proud.

A chance to be a little crazy under majestic Mt. San Jacinto

 

EE wins the Team Trophy, held by Arian and brother Ahris.

 

 

Sunday was our annual Christmas Awards and Scholarships party. For maximum safety, the event was held outdoors again this year. We started with a 3-mile run to warm-up, and the Awards followed.  Girls got a 3-minute head start and then raced against the boys. Special medals were presented to the top 10, which included 3 girls!

 

Top Ten run finishers

 

Aramiz Mayorga was presented with the Most Improved Athlete award. Heís following in the footsteps of his two older brothers, both of whom are exceptional athletes, and Aramiz has been proving that he has those same genes.

 

Cherie tells Yoselin: ďYouíre about to get a surprise!Ē

 

Molly presented a scholarship in honor of her mother
to Yoselin, who is graduating high school next June.

 

Jose just became the most popular kid on the team:
A $50 gift card to In íní Out Burger from his former  race angel, Linda Kessman!

 

Nik Keller, who joined EE when he was 10 years old, graduated from UCSD and now has an excellent career in the healthcare area, is paying it forward. He presented a Kellerís Kids scholarship to each of our three í22 high school graduates (Yoselin, Fernanda and Arian), all of whom were inspired by Nikís story.

 

Having someone who grew up in Exceeding Expectations come back and help finance the education of other EE kids is a major milestone for our program. Nikís generosity towards EE speaks volumes about the young man heís become and we couldnít be more proud of him.

 

David Martin, an old friend of EE, awarded Andrew with a scholarship. Neither David nor Andrew was able to join us, but Andrew sent a picture from his college campus, California State Humboldt.

 

Each year this event provides the opportunity for kids who are in college, have graduated from college or are headed to college to get together and reconnect with each other and inspire the younger kids.

Each of these EE team members is either in college, already graduated, or heading off next Fall.

 

Richard and little sister pick tickets for the lottery. Winners got mementos of Cherie's recent races.

 

Our "veteran" team members , Isi, Archi and Nik, who now work with the kids,
alongside old EE-er Miguel (middle)

 

We concluded with a very special recognition, the Outstanding Volunteer award, which was presented this year to Salvador Olivares, our go-to Dad for absolutely everything.

 

This program wouldnít work without volunteers like Salvador or friends of Exceeding Expectations like each of you who believe in our kids and are there to help them accomplish their goals and realize their dreams.

We are extremely grateful to each of you. Thank you for being a vital part of our EE family.

Happy Holidays, stay well, and we look forward to seeing you in 2022.

Cherie