Winters JUSD honors Hall of Fame 2022 inductees

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Floyd Shimomura shares stories and experiences from his father’s perspective as a Japanese community member. (Crystal Apilado/Winters Express)

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Winters Joint Unified School District celebrated the honorees in their Hall of Fame Class of 2022 last month.

On May 25, members of the community gathered to honor four Winters notables for their efforts and contributions to the students and culture at Winters JUSD.

Hall of Fame recognizes Winters JUSD graduates, former employees, and exceptional community volunteers who have distinguished themselves by their individual contributions in scholarship, athletics, student activities, career, community service, and/or to the school community as a whole.

The 2022 Class of Winters JUSD Hall of Fame Inductees included:

Alumni inductees: Floyd Shimomura and William E. “Bill” Duncan (In Memoriam)

Employee inductee: Joe Aguiar (In Memoriam)

Distinguished Service inductee: Mary Jo Rodolfa

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Mary Jo Rodolfa shared about why she supports Winters schools. (Crystal Apilado/Winters Express)

Shimomura and Rodolfa — both humbled in being selected for the honor — shared their gratitude with their families and friends in the communities for their support.

Rodolfa served as a Winters JUSD Trustee from November 1996, when she was first elected, to March 2020 when she resigned. She served four terms as the Board Clerk and another four as the Board President.

Rodolfa shared that she and her husband wanted to enroll their two children in Winters schools after moving to Winters from Davis. She said she wanted to learn more about the cultures of the local schools.

She said she saw professional, well-educated and compassionate teachers, and children who were engaged.

“I went home and said to my husband, ‘I can’t imagine why we would not enroll our children in Winters’ schools.’ It was a decision that we never regretted.”

Rodolfa’s dedication to Winters JUSD is seen in her continued service beyond her children’s graduation from Winters High School. Rodolfa currently serves as a board member for Winters Education Foundation, and is called the “keeper of the records” and the “super glue” that binds it all together.

Shimomura’s family wore buttons that said “Floyd” to the event in support of him.

Shimomura grew up in Winters, attended Winters schools, and graduated as the WHS Class of 1966 Valedictorian. After graduation, Shimomura received his law degree from UC Davis where he was an editor of its law review.

In his speech, Shimomura said he wasn’t sure that he had contributed a lot to the Winters school district. He gave thanks to Rob Coman, who approached him about a Winters Historical Society project on the lost Japanese community exhibit at the Winters Museum.

Shimomura contributed history and research to “The Lost Japanese Community of Winters” exhibit, and also spoke about the pre-war Japanese community to students at WHS and in part of a community-wide presentation.

Shimomura continues to advocate as the voice for the local Japanese community to share their history and experiences from living in Winters following the World War II era and life in the Japanese internment camps.

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Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry accepts her father Joe Aguiar’s award plaque from Superintendent Diana Jiménez. (Crystal Apilado/Winters Express)

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Assemblymember and former Winters mayor, accepted the Hall of Fame award for her father Joe Aguiar.

“He would have just loved this,” Aguiar-Curry said.

Aguiar was encouraged to come to the area from San Luis Obispo to be considered for a job teaching agriculture. Aguiary-Curry shared the story about how he first came up for his interview with local farmers and how her parents came to love Winters.

“The most important thing my dad ever did was he fell in love with students. And they were always the number one thing, and they continue to be as he sits up there in heaven,” Aguiar-Curry said.

Aguiar-Curry shared about how children in their family have continued to be active in FFA and agriculture, as well as how her dad was dedicated to helping students be successful.

“You know, dad always said be a leader and not a follower,” Aguiar-Curry said.

Aguiar retired from Winters JUSD in 1988 after serving 31 years as a WHS vocational agriculture teacher. During his career, Aguiar was the head boys’ basketball coach, and was an honored FFA Advisor at the local, state, and national levels. Aguiar was instrumental in the municipal school bond which built the current high school agricultural center, a unique facility for vocational agriculture classes. After his retirement, Aguiar continued serving as a Winters JUSD School Board Trustee.

Bill Duncan’s son Thomas (Tommy) Duncan spoke on his family’s behalf to accept the Hall of Fame award.

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Tommy Duncan shares about his father’s life experiences. (Crystal Apilado/Winters Express)

Tommy said with the help of his sister, they were able to help provide information on his father’s contributions and life experiences.

“One thing that isn’t mentioned is what a great dad my father was,” Thomas said.

Bill graduated as the WHS Class of 1935 Valedictorian. During high school Bill participated in basketball, track and Dramatics Team, was the assistant editor of Poppy (yearbook), and was the junior class president. After high school, he joined the Army Air Corps during World War II as a B-17 pilot instructor and later a B-29 pilot.

After the war he and his wife began a successful farm operation in the Winters area for over 40 years. Bill served on the Winters City Council, Winters Chamber of Commerce, Elks Lodge, Winters/Esparto Masonic Lodge, and was a past president of the Yolo County Chamber of Commerce. Bill was active in local politics and was elected to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors in 1962. He served four terms representing Winters and Davis before ending his service in 1978.

Upon retiring, Bill traveled extensively and became a member of the Sacramento Zoological Society, where he served as a zoo docent leading local school children through educational tours of the zoo.

Tommy also took time to share stories and experience about Aguiar as his teacher and Shimomura as one of his classmates.

The four inductee’s names are now included on the Hall of Fame board up in the Walnut Room at the Winters JUSD office.

Past honorees
Since this was the first in-person Hall of Fame ceremony since 2019, Superintendent Diana Jiménez took a moment to recognize the 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame honorees.

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