2 letters: Vineyard school troubles prompted by pastor; Pitch in to save the pool at our old high school

Serious issues at Vineyard Christian Pre-School bring rise to issues about leadership
Dear Editor,
I am writing this letter on behalf of the many outraged parents of the children who are and have recently attended The Vineyard Christian Pre-School (located at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd on Hecker Pass Highway in Gilroy), who have recently been informed of the abrupt dismissal of the entire teaching staff.
Just one week after a very successful “graduation” ceremony, where parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends witnessed their 5-year-old students graduate on to kindergarten at the various elementary schools in Gilroy, Mr. Ron Koch called each teacher into the school, asked them for their keys, and told them they were fired (although able to “reapply” for their positions).  
Although Mr. Koch is the lead pastor of the Lutheran Church it is quite difficult to refer to him in this manner, as this was a very un-Christlike action on his part. The teachers and aides affected are: Lenore Penkethman, Laurie Teeling, Kristin Bright, Renee Fortino and Lynette Limosnero.
My wife, Kimberly Grove, was a teacher at the Vineyard for over 18 years, and was a substitute teacher this year. Her heart, along with those of the teachers mentioned above, is broken by this callous action. As any of the parents of children who attended The Vineyard can attest, each of these teachers poured their hearts into the very first educational and learning environment these children would have, always going above and beyond the call of duty.
Many former students of my wife see her throughout our wonderful community, referring to her affectionately as “Miss Kim.” They are now in high school, college, and some have gone on to very successful careers. This is true for each of the five mentioned, as well as two very key former employees – Diane Kirkpatrick (former teacher and director at the Vineyard), and Lana Ailes (former teacher and secretary at the Vineyard).
Due to Mr. Koch’s actions, many parents who have committed their children to the Vineyard for fall have opted to pull their children out and are looking elsewhere. The impact to these four wonderful women cannot be taken lightly. Mr. Koch clearly had no consideration for them as people, teachers, or for their careers. As a testament to their commitment to the children this year, the parents presented the staff at the graduation ceremony with a very large handmade clay pot with the handprint of each graduate along with their names, in order for a large plant, bush, or tree to be planted  as a memory of the fantastic 2011-2012 year.
As the husband of a committed teacher, a friend to many of the impacted staff members, the father of two former Vineyard children (one now a full-time registered nurse, the other attending UC Davis), and the grandfather of a Vineyard 2011-2012 graduate, I am appalled by Mr. Koch’s actions and urge the community to stand up against him and his disregard for the wonderful preschool that is the Vineyard.
Joe Grove, Gilroy

Let’s all pitch in and save to pool at ‘our old high school’
Dear Editor,
I do not write here often, but I wanted more community feedback on the closing of South Valley Jr. Highs or for those of us that went there (Old) Gilroy High School’s pool. What a shame to lose this great community asset. How many of you remember summers swimming there, taking swim lessons or high school PE class. I remember getting on my bike, going to my friend Debbie B’s house and then heading off for synchronized swim lessons. At that time it was the only game in town. Now there are many options for Gilroy, but if we as a community do not do something the children who live in the neighborhood will lose their pool and all the fun summer memories that go with it.
Let’s face it, GUSD is broke but the city has some funds. What if we all pitched in, whatever we could afford, all of us who went to school at that high school, our high school and maybe we ask the Gilroy Foundation to administer the funds, could we as a community help save that pool?
The pool is closed right now. The Gilroy City Council will be taking the matter up at  the July 2012 meeting. The paper had the cost for repairs, maintenance and lifeguards as $300,000. I truly believe if all of us who swam there and continue to live, volunteer and care about our community pitched in we could create a grass roots movement to “SAVE THE POOL”! Who’s with me?
Shawn M. Weymouth, Gilroy

Leave your comments