- West Ridge Elementary
Bob Sakata Education Campus Opening
He was born into a life of poverty, but later, he hosted royalty, showing them what he learned as a small boy and how he turned it into a business supplying produce for America’s dinner table.
Bob Sakata is the son of an immigrant father who traveled from a small village in Japan to the U.S. at the age of 18 with only $30 in his pocket. His father went on to work on an orchard farm and later became a sharecropper. Bob learned solid lessons from his hard working father and put them together with his own determination to make a better life.
Bob had an indefatigable work ethic and was naturally curious about how to improve every aspect of his life. He applied his improvement skills to his work as a farmer taking full advantage of every opportunity to make things more effective and efficient.
“You’re learning every day. And every day is like going to school. Every day.
“Life experiences gave me perspective,” he said. “Learning becomes something you do subconsciously, if your mind is sharp.”
Bob was a determined innovator. He took risks and he used his sharp mind to become a successful farmer in Brighton, Colo. His reputation for growing high quality produce in a highly efficient agricultural system caught the attention of Japan’s royal family. They traveled to America to see this man’s growing process which he learned as a young boy in Japan.
Bob is a man who’s never taken life’s lessons and blessings for granted. That characteristic is easily apparent when you talk with Bob about his sense of community and what his motivation is for supporting those around him.
“Giving back to your community, for me, hasn’t been an issue of motivation,” he explained. “It’s just natural -- when you get something, you give back in some way.”
That life-long love of learning and his deep-seeded sense of community have made Bob a beloved and wise community leader. People, young and old, are drawn to him particularly after they learn about his difficult life as a young boy and even after arriving in America.
Bob has talked with students in school, sharing his story and giving children encouragement to stay strong in the face of struggles. He talks about seeing opportunities to learn valuable lessons while forging ahead through difficulties.
“Bob embodies many of the values we stress to students today,” said Chris Fiedler, superintendent of the 27J Schools. “We’re so fortunate to have a role model in the community who’s life shows us how to be successful in our hearts, in our work and in our lives.
“We’re so pleased to honor Bob,.” Fiedler said. “We are delighted to be opening the Bob Sakata Education Campus where the 27J Schools will provide essential services to students and families of northern Brighton.”
The Campus is located at 89 N. 6th Ave. in Brighton. The facility now will have supports for families and students including:
- Specialized Education Services Inc. (SESI) - providing intensive behavior support
- rAdvisors - providing assistance to middle school students who have experienced challenges in a traditional classroom
- Family Resource Center - providing food and clothing assistance to 27J families
- Online Academy - providing administrative offices for this NEW online learning program
- Health Clinic - providing health and wellness services to 27J students
- Transportation Hub - providing bus pick-up and drop-off service for elementary students
- Meal Distribution - providing meals for 27J students during the summer months
The Campus replaces what used to be North Elementary School which was repurposed due to a steady downward trend in student enrollment.
“Repurposing the facility and its grounds to better serve our students is a tribute to Bob Sakata who spent his life serving his family and those around him,” Fiedler said.