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At 16, Champness joined with Cooks from the Valley and traveled to Kosovo to help cook a steak dinner for American troops. He estimates he cooked for around 1,000 men and women in uniform. “They were so happy to see us. Especially a young kid over there was unexpected. They were very grateful,” he said. Finally, Champness loves to backpack and recently made the trek to Shasta Trinity National Forest where he and part of the Boy Scout community spent a week to repair trails that rain had washed out. The group worked 66 hours rebuilding roads that had become unsafe. With so much volunteerism, a student can’t possibly maintain his grades, right? That question might not be for Champness. He currently maintains a 4.37 GPA.
For 25 years, Jolene Berg has been teaching deaf students for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, a job she chose, she said, because she knew it would never be boring. She was right. Berg, 47, chose a career working with the hearing impaired during college and never changed her major, she said, because she loved it. She grew up in Chicago, went to Illinois State University and, in 2000, moved to Bakersfield.
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