Last month, at the March 14 Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) Board of Education Meeting, Ocean Supermarket and the Knights of Columbus St. Elizabeth Council 8747 presented donation checks to the district totaling $9,285.16.
The checks were specifically for the district’s Special Education program.
“We would like to express our gratitude for the generosity and support of our members and donors, families and friends, Father Andy C. Ligot and Father Duong Nguyen, St. Elizabeth Parish Community, Milpitas Unified School District Board Members, Superintendent and staff, teachers, student volunteers, and parents. Thanks to Ocean Supermarket for consistent and strong support year after year. We have been very successful, because we all work together,” said Gwan Alisantosa, who is Chairman for the Knights group.
Alisantosa joined the Knights of Columbus back in early 2000, and since then, he’s worked diligently to cultivate relationships within and be of service to the community. The group collaborates with Ocean Supermarket every year to raise money for MUSD.
“Every year, Ocean allows us to do the collection drive in front of their store,” said Alisantosa. “The Special Education program at MUSD also sends their volunteers and they help us with donations. And then it goes back to them. We give them community service hours. So this is also a partnership with the school district.”
Along with receiving donations from people in the community, Ocean Supermarket’s employees usually contribute and volunteer. Minh Tan Quach, an Ocean Market representative, also comes out to help – and even his own siblings step in to offer support.
“It’s a nice thing that even the families of Ocean Supermarket’s employees also help, as well as the friends and customers,” said Alisantosa. “This is a community effort. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to pull off this kind of amount.”
Along with his dedication to the Knights of Columbus, Alisantosa also served as a Board Member on MUSD’s Board of Education from 2008-2016.
Right before the COVID-19 pandemic, MUSD received another grant from the Knights of Columbus.
“That one was around 10k, and it was for developing a life skills learning space at Milpitas High School,” said MUSD Superintendent Cheryl Jordan in an interview with The Beat. “Covid happened so we’re just now getting that going.”
The district also applied for another grant — this one a Workability grant — through the Colombia Foundation for about $5,000 and won that last year.
Workability is a program for high school students with mild to severe special needs who want to gain skills that will support them in future careers. They learn interview skills and even gain access to job shadowing opportunities and internships.
“The latest grant that the Knights raised, along with support from Ocean Market…those funds are donated to our special education program for high school students or students in post secondary. It’ll support life skills equipment that we need at Milpitas High School,” said Jordan.
She added: “Mr. Alisantosa is one of those community leaders we don’t really hear a lot about. He’s a quiet leader, and he has the greatest sense of purpose around ensuring that students who may not have all the opportunities available to them — he’s doing everything he can in his power to provide them with those opportunities.”