Hamilton Families Receive Community Support


Novato, CA…Over 150 Hamilton K-8 School families received generous support of food, toiletries, clothing and supplies from the Mentor Hamilton volunteers!


When it became known that school was out until June, Mentor Hamilton volunteers shifted gears from coordinating mentors and students during the school day to putting out the call that Hamilton families needed help. They gathered and distributed much needed food, diapers, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc. for families affected by the pandemic.​For those families in the most dire financial situations, they were able to help with rent and bill support. This was all made possible thanks to the help of many volunteers, individual donors and a very generous donation by 2K, a locally based video game publisher. Many of these families have health problems, immigration problems, and family problems that were exacerbated by their loss of income and the difficulty of providing for their family when their small children were not allowed to go to school.


Mentor Hamilton recently formed into a 501(c)3 registered nonprofit called RISE Scholars, allowing for the tax deductibility of donations and a more expansive mission. It is RISE Scholars’ mission to help every Hamilton School student realize their full potential by providing an array of thoughtful and targeted enrichment opportunities supporting personal and academic growth through the encouragement of a growth mindset, a positive attitude, and achievement.


The efforts of Mentor Hamilton/RISE Scholars volunteers are now focused on collecting school supplies for all students at Hamilton K-8 School.School supplies are an expense that is difficult for many of families in good times. 




HAMILTON'S GIVING TREE                           December 2020

Because of YOU, we were able to give each of the 150  families $100 in gift cards to Safeway and Target.   We were also able to provide beautiful, warm, new coats to all the children that needed one and handwritten cards filled with well wishes.  We gave out approximately, 300 of the 360 coats that you all donated.  Wow!  We loved seeing all of the beautiful coats you purchased. (see photos)  The remaining coats will be kept on campus and will be given to any students that need one this winter.  


Additional friends of Hamilton provided breakfast bags, toys, books, cookies, and scooters for 8 lucky drawing winners.  The event was put on by Liz Feingold and Emy Macal at Hamilton School and was staffed mainly by the administration and their families.  It was incredible. This is a huge statement about the school and how they care for their families and community.


We distributed the coats individually to each family.  As the cars drove up, one of us went to the car and asked about coat sizes and even preferable colors.  At first we thought we would just pick one out for each student but the flow was moderate and we were able to give them choices and even have the kids try them on outside the car.  Stacy, a teacher at Hamilton, was helping and she told me she felt like she was doing "Say Yes to the Dress!"   The kids absolutely LOVED the coats and the parents were extremely grateful.  Stacy was telling me that because of COVID they leave the doors open in the classroom so the students are cold.  These warm beautiful coats will be essential to their ability to learn.


We find it hard to express enough gratitude for all of you through words.  These families, this time, these kids, it's hard. Every time we ask, you come through.  Because of you, these families feel loved and cared for during an unprecedented time in our lives.   You were there for the food drives, the school supply drive, and now this.  Please know that we are incredibly grateful for each and every one of you.  Your kindness and outpouring of generosity is making a difference at a time when the need to make positive impacts on the world is at an all time high.  So, a huge thank you on behalf of us and all of the families that feel your love.


Hamilton Knights


 (Novato, CA)… How many Knights are at Hamilton School?If you go into the chess room at lunchtime, you’ll find 88 Knights, 44 students and 22 chess boards.For the last three years, Hamilton School has supported a lunch time chess club that has expanded to competitive chess after school. 


It all started with volunteers Jay Ferguson and Michele Huff wondering about what it would be like to start a chess club at Hamilton.“Chess is such a great skill to have and to play well,” commented Jay. “The game teaches many important life-long skills.” Michele Huff added, “Research has found that focus and developing a growth mindset are a few of the benefits from playing chess.”Curious how it could work at Hamilton, they spoke to another Marin school, and were given numerous chess boards and pieces.There was no turning back now!

Starting with 4th and 5th graders in 2017, the program started at lunch time.  Eager students learned to play chess while eating their lunch.  During nice weather, they took the program outside and the students would play chess at the lunch tables.  This drew more interested students so the following year the program expanded to include 3rd through 8th graders.  None of the 3rd graders knew how to play ... yet.  And this year the program includes 2nd graders.

However, the real Master behind the chess club is Carla Heredia, a Women’s Grand Master who played for Ecuador in the Women’s Chess Olympiads in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. She has also represented Ecuador in 40 countries. Funded by an anonymous donor, Carla began working with the students in the fall of 2019 and added a competitive element to the program.“We want the students to have fun while learning chess,” says Carla Heredia, the Grand Master who recently joined the Hamilton team.


The chess club held its first tournament in December 2019. Over 30 students from Hamilton participated along with another 25 students from across the county. Another tournament is scheduled for April 18, 2020, at the Hamilton Gym.The long-term vision is to make Hamilton a recognized home for scholastic chess in the county and beyond.

“Here at Hamilton, we want to provide opportunities for students to develop skills and discover their passions,” said Steve Hospodar, Hamilton School Principal. “One opportunity is the chess program at Hamilton school. It teaches skill, perseverance and sportsmanship while having fun at the same time.”


The chess program is funded solely through donations. An individual anonymous donor funded Carla Heredia's entire salary.Through their fall grant process, School Fuel was able to provide $5,000 to the Hamilton chess program. The Marin County Board of Supervisors also provided $1000 to the program.


 January 2020



Jonnathan Rodas, in his second year as a Hamilton Cross Country team member finished 1st place in the 8th grade Marin County Cross Country Championship race with the best time of the day among all the runners from all of the county schools.  Jonnathan is the fastest middle school cross country runner in the entire county for 2018!  Congratulations, Jonnathan!! Jonnathan will be attending San Domenico High School as a freshman in fall 2019.

In addition to Jonnathan, the entire Hamilton Cross Country team represented Hamilton very well at the County Cross Country Championships yesterday.  The results were as follows:6th grade boys: Anthony Cetti and Max Kujawa finished in the top 25 of 109 6th grade runners from the 22 county schools. Sanaa Wiley ran well against the 7th grade entrants from the same schools. Jarel Espina, Isaac Garcia-Velasquez, and Kevin Estrada finished in the top 30 of 84 8th grade runners from the same 22 county schools. 

Hamilton Cross Country 2018
Hamilton Cross Country 2018



We did it!  A big thank you to all!  At last year's fundraiser the Mentors, Parents, faculty, and friends of Hamilton came together and raised enough money to purchase two beautiful new vans! They have made so much possible for Hamilton School. 

A message from Steve Hospodar, Principal of Hamilton: Oh, the places we will go.… and we have!  It’s hard to believe that we ever functioned without vans in the past. They have been a game changer for all of us. They have taken our kids to wrestling meets in San Francisco, cross country events at Stinson, band concerts at Six Flags, and even to San Quentin on a field trip, just to name a few. Through your generosity we have removed obstacles and evened the playing field...a heartfelt appreciation to all of your from all of us.