Math teacher's gifts celebrated

On Saturday, Oct. 14, one of the best teachers in Santa Maria high school history will celebrate her 90th birthday.

Phyllis Chiado, a math teaching genius, will be honored and remembered by those of us who were fortunate enough to call her our math teacher. Mrs. Chiado was more than just a fabulous teacher; she was an avid sports fan, too. I remember seeing her in Wilson gym cheering on the Saints, whilst grading the hundreds of homework assignments she had collected that morning or afternoon.

When we came to class the following day, our assignments were graded and our errors corrected. (When Mrs. Chiado slept remains a mystery to this day.) Mrs. Chiado is also a legend for her inexplicable and uncanny ability to draw a perfect circle on the chalkboard without even looking at it.

Beyond her great ability to teach mathematics (of all levels), Mrs. Chaido also made sure her students knew she cared about them. For years and years after I left SMHS, every July 14 a beautiful birthday card would arrive from Mrs. Chiado. And, even though I was only in Mrs. Chiado's class for one semester as a freshman (my family and I moved from Santa Maria after my 9th grade year), she still remembered me!

Moreover, when I returned 19 years later to SMHS as a teacher myself, Mrs. Chiado volunteered countless hours to help my students to become better readers and writers. To say that Mrs. Chiado is an amazing person would be a huge understatement. She is -- without a doubt -- a priceless gift to the thousands of Santa Maria High School students who became better people (and better mathematicians) because of her guidance, caring, and genius.

Happy 3 squared x 10 ordinal # birthday, Mrs. Chiado!

Elizabeth Osborne


Mayor's task force lacks youth perspective

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When it comes to the issue of the Mayor's Task force on Youth Safety, time and time again I find myself wondering what the point is of this grand coming together of nearly everyone in Santa Maria.

Has this group been created just as a photo opportunity or is there a real wanting to change our community for the better? While I do believe the latter to be true one glaring issue that sticks out is the lack of one group of people in this “youth task force,” youth!

While it’s understandable that you need members who know the policies, facts and figures regarding possible solutions that are realistic, one has to take time to understand why there is only one youth member on this nearly 50 person panel.

When trying to deal with the issue of gang violence, especially here in Santa Maria, you need to be able to get perspectives from the citizens that you are trying to help. Going to high school at Righetti and being involved in several collaborative groups not only within my school but also within the school district, I really can have a much more direct impact on the community. I am glad that the city has taken steps to recognize the real problem and hopefully presents real solutions to preserve our community. 

Kyler Corral

Santa Maria