Victor Marinelli was walking near his East Salinas home when he discovered our new Salinas Clubhouse — or what would be. Victor was shocked – “I couldn’t believe there was this amazing place just for kids!” Victor signed up on the spot, becoming Member #1 of the new Clubhouse while it was still an unfinished dream.
It became real on opening day, September 29, 2003. Victor helped set up the brand new computer lab. He played sports, games, went on field trips, and received tutoring. Supportive staff members were also there for him when he struggled with the separation of his parents. In turn, he began tutoring and mentoring younger members. He became a leader: a founding member of the Keystone Club, a paid youth development intern, and then a program staff member. And ultimately chose a career as a teacher. With help from a Club scholarship, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from CSUMB, a teaching credential, a master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and an administrative services credential. In 2018, Victor was named the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Co-Administrator of the Year!
After only four years of teaching middle school, he was named Alisal Union District’s Teacher of the Year. And now? Victor Marinelli is the Vice Principal of Monterey Park Elementary School, guiding new generations to learn and succeed. “Looking back, I can connect the dots. It was the caring staff, always smiling, willing to talk, helping me to be a leader, and trusting me to make decisions.”