Bob Hennessy spent 27 years helping young people build their own success at the San Jose Conservation Corps and Charter School on Berger Drive, so it was the perfect place Saturday to celebrate his retirement as the group's founding executive director.

The farewell fiesta was attended by more than 200 people, including many who were around when Hennessy was hired to launch the Conservation Corps in San Jose. Former San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer was there as were former city councilwomen Margie Matthews and Charlotte Powers.

Other well-wishers included Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, state Assemblyman Jim Beall, San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant, builder Chuck Toeniskoetter, Goodwill Silicon Valley CEO Mike Fox Jr., Conservation Corps board president Tim Quigley and Dorothy Stoneman, founder and president of Boston-based YouthBuild USA.

The celebration was a great time to bid farewell to Hennessy, whose work at the Conservation Corps has helped at-risk youth gain valuable job skills while doing community work and working toward high school diplomas.

But it was also a great opportunity to meet Dorsey Moore, who takes over for Hennessy on July 1. Moore's no stranger to the Conservation Corps. He worked with the organization from 1993 to 2005 after being hired by Hennessy.

GIFTED BIRTHDAY: Lisa Blickenstaff and Michelle Barsanti put together quite the 60th birthday celebration Sunday afternoon for the Rev. Peter Pabst, former president of Sacred Heart Nativity School and current president of Cristo Rey High School, which is opening in San Jose.


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Mostly clad in summer dresses and Hawaiian shirts, a festive bunch gathered at the Santa Clara home Pabst shares with other Jesuit priests for the patio party. Hats off to Cafe Primavera's Joanna Biondi for the Mexican food spread, topped off by a massive chocolate cake.

And, typical of his style, Pabst insisted no one bring gifts for him but instead donate to Cristo Rey.

HERITAGE EVENT: The Santa Clara County Democratic Club has a great lineup in store for its tribute to California's Mexican heritage on Saturday at the historic Harris-Lass Historical Museum and Gardens in Santa Clara.

Speakers include Rigo Chacon, the longtime South Bay bureau chief for KGO-TV, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dennis King and Joe Luis Cedillo, the associate artistic director of El Teatro Campesino, the San Juan Bautista theater company founded by Luis Valdez. The Mexican Heritage Corporation's Marcela Davison Avilés will introduce the event's entertainment, Mariachi Alma de Mexico.

Tickets to the 1 to 4 p.m. event are $40 and include a buffet lunch from San Jose's Casa Vicky. Reservations are due Wednesday and can be made by calling Shirley Odou at 408-247-9513 or going to the group's website at www.DemocraticClub-scc.org.

Contact Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/spizarro.