OC resident turns 104

Dorothy (Dottie) Powell, a longtime resident of Orange County, recently celebrated her 104th birthday with a party at her home at Carmel Village senior living community in Fountain Valley. She’s the oldest resident living there, says her family, pointing out that she’s still very social and “as sharp as an Irish tack.”

Dorothy Powell is surrounded by balloons at her 104th birthday celebration March 24 at Carmel Village senior living community in Fountain Valley. Powell is the oldest resident living at Carmel Village, her family says.
(Courtesy of Cathy Demyanowich)

Dorothy Powell with her family and friends at her 104th birthday celebration at Carmel Village in Fountain Valley.
(Courtesy of Cathy Demyanowich)

Ocean View High School principal Dr. Robert Rasmussen, center rear, was named the Association of California School Administrators Region 17 Secondary Principal of the Year.
(Courtesy of Huntington Beach Union High School District)

Liz and Tony Harnack celebrated their their 60th anniversary on May 9.
(Courtesy of Vicki Hatz)

Mucio Vidales, teacher at Nicolas Junior High School in Fullerton, was named the California League of Educators 2024 Middle School Teacher of the Year.
(Courtesy of Fullerton School District)



Powell was born in 1920 in Lowell, Massachusetts, and is the third child of seven siblings. Her grandparents emigrated from England and Ireland in the late 1800s. The family made the trek to California in the mid-1930s in search of better opportunities.

Powell worked for many years at the May Company department store at South Coast Plaza. She also worked with catering company Lori’s Kitchen well into her 80s.

Powell was married to Lynn Powell for 50 years before his death, and they shared a wonderful life together filled with travel and adventure. She has a son and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews who adore her and her spirit.

Dorothy Powell’s secret to a long life is to always love your family and friends and to keep a positive attitude and have something to look forward to every day.

Ocean View High School principal honored for commitment to students

Ocean View High School principal Dr. Robert Rasmussen has been named the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 17 Secondary Principal of the Year.

ACSA’s Administrators of the Year awards are part of the association’s annual recognition program that honors administrators and community leaders who are doing extraordinary work to support California students. Those who are recognized in various categories demonstrate commitment to education quality and student achievement and meet the diverse needs of students and school communities, among many other qualities.

The recognition came as a surprise to Rasmussen during a meeting at the district office. His family made a grand entrance, bursting through the meeting room doors accompanied by a cheering team of principals, office staff and three board members of Huntington Beach Union High School District.

Amidst the excitement, Rasmussen was presented with a banner to recognize the honor and was celebrated by everyone present.

“I am honored and humbled by this recognition,” he said.

With this honor, Rasmussen will be considered alongside other awardees to be recognized at the state level. The winner of the state award will be selected by the state board of directors and honored at ACSA’s leadership summit in November.

– Submitted by Huntington Beach Union High School District

A love story decades in the making

It’s not often that you hear of a love story that spans 70-plus years, but such has been the great fortune of Tony and Liz Harnack.

The couple’s journey began when they were in the seventh grade and a young Tony chased an unsuspecting sweet Lizzie down the middle school hallway with a snake he had procured from the science lab. She thought he was just about the cutest thing she’d ever seen, and she still feels the same today.

Their platonic friendship continued through high school and college in the 1950s. In those days, school clubs (comparable to today’s fraternities and sororities) had mandatory social events. Liz’s boyfriend at the time was away at school, and her good buddy Tony was the only one sanctioned to take her to the parties. Big mistake!

Fast forward several years after Liz and the boyfriend parted ways. He was getting married, and when the groom’s mother realized that both Liz and Tony were attending the wedding solo, she suggested they go together. The rest is history.

The Harnacks were married in 1964 and celebrated their 60th anniversary on May 9. They’ve lived in Tustin for 50 years, raising their son, Tony II, and their daughter, Vicki (Harnack) Hatz, who have made them the proud Papa and Gigi of seven grandkids –  Mitch, 25; Cole, 25; John, 24; Austin, 23; James, 22; Nathan, 21; and Kate, 20).

The couple’s marriage has been a beautiful example of love and commitment for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as they both shall live, and they are deeply loved by their family.

– Submitted by Vicki Hatz

Nicolas Junior High School teacher honored by California League of Educators

Mucio Vidales, a teacher at Nicolas Junior High School in Fullerton, was named the California League of Educators 2024 Middle School Teacher of the Year. Vidales was nominated for his educational excellence and his transformational moment as an educator.

To nab the top spot, Vidales shared his teaching experience, including elementary to middle school, in subjects such as English language arts, social studies, Spanish, theater and woodworking.

It was the woodworking class that gave Vidales his “aha moment” in teaching. He witnessed a student with destructive behavior become sparked and engaged during a field trip to the Carpenters Union Training Facility. The moment was such a transformation for Vidales that he now teaches five Wood I classes and one Wood II class. The Wood II students are learning carpentry skills to build a tiny house.

As part of the Tiny House Project, the students are learning construction trades and becoming agents of change as the tiny home will be a shelter for a family in need. It will provide a Fullerton School District elementary school student and family a safe place to sleep and do homework.

– Submitted by Fullerton School District

The Bravo! section highlights achievements of our residents and groups. Send news of achievements for consideration to ocrbravo@gmail.com.

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