Fun Event Starts an Important Partnership with Local Schools
Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers and KTVU sports director Mark Ibanez were on hand to call the play-by-play as over 1,500 employees from eight local high-tech companies competed at TechFest, a fun fundraiser for the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation.
Four Hacienda companies - Documentum, PeopleSoft, Remedy, and Vanstar - worked for almost a year in planning the first annual event, which took place September 18. Teams from each company participated in events such as inflatable horse racing, an obstacle course relay, and human foosball. Employees from Lucent, PictureTalk, PrimeVision, and SkillSet also joined in the fun.
"Anytime you can do something fun that benefits the community and builds teamwork in your company, that's a win-win," says Heidi Kenniston of PeopleSoft.
A special highlight was the CEO competition, in which executives from the participating companies went head to head in hopes of bringing home the special TechFest CEO loving cup trophy.
The CEO's events were chosen to emphasize both brawn and grace. First, they paired off in an American Gladiators-style pedastal joust, in which each executive tried to knock his opponent off a pedestal using a padded pole. More graceful was the concluding race, in which the business leaders mounted tricycles and rode with all their might.
The event also featured a barbecue dinner, a raffle, music, and dancing.
While the fun and games were all in an effort to benefit local schools, the participating companies gave much more than money to help the cause.
"At one point, we thought it would be nice to have a web site to promote the event," said Kenniston.
"Joe Gabbert of Documentum came up with the idea of inviting local high school students to work with the companies to create the web site," added Betsy Everett, a PPIE board member. "One of our big goals at PPIE is to build partnerships between the community and the schools."
In all, six students from Amador Valley and Foothill high schools participated in creating the site, available here.
The story didn't stop with the creation of the web site, however.
"What really blossomed from this is that these students received paid internships for the summer," said Everett. "They worked at Documentum, PeopleSoft, and Remedy Corporation. The students have been so pleased and the companies have been as well.
"What came about from this fundraiser was a partnership, and that's exactly what we were hoping for."
It won't stop there. Currently, PPIE and the participating companies are exploring ways of bringing more of the technical expertise of local companies into the classroom.
"We're working with the school district and with these companies, to try to find a way for these people who know computers and technology to help teachers and districts," said Everett. "I'm in awe of the wonderful support that we've been able to get from this."
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