Wheelchair Project Makes Discovery Channel
Robert Argote, a student in the Hart District’s Transitional Learning Center, will be featured in an upcoming program on the Discovery Channel on June 25. The program is part of a video segment on an artist who paints and creates things. After hearing about Robbie and his need for a new wheelchair, the artist volunteered to create a special chair using a heat-reactive paint what will allow the chair to change color when Robbie touches it. The video crew filmed the segment at the local Smart & Final store, where Robbie does his on-the-job training.
Donations to Help Sheltered Animals
The Rio R.O.A.R.s (Reach Out-Act-Respond) club at Rio Norte Junior High School raised more than $340 for the Castaic Animal Shelter through its recent Change 4 Change drive. The group collected new or gently used blankets, sheets or towels, animal toys and spare change to support “those who can’t help themselves”—animals at the shelter. Each item donated counted as $1 in the contest, and the R.O.A.R. members collected the donations twice a week throughout the campaign period. The first three homerooms to donate $100 received a class prize.
ECHS Closing Ceremony
It was almost a graduation ceremony, as students and staff gathered before an audience of friends and family members for the Early College High School closing ceremony. After two years as the Hart District’s first early college high school, and school will be merging with Academy of the Canyons in the fall. Both schools currently meet on the Valencia campus of College of the Canyons while their students complete both high school and college classes simultaneously. ECHS students received orange tassles to wear when they graduate from Academy of the Canyons in two years. The new four-year configuration of Academy of the Canyons will open in COC’s new University Center in August.
PE Program Featured on CBS News
The “new P.E.” program at Sierra Vista Junior High School was in the focus recently when CBS News did a Morning News segment on video games that parents can actually encourage children to play! The program featured exercise machines which incorporate game elements so that students actually want to exercise and burn calories. P.E. Department Chair George Velarde was featured along with his students, running, jumping and exercising on a variety of game-themed machines. The school has equipped its Fitness Center with machines that encourage students to adopt a goal of life-long fitness. The CBS film crew spent three hours in the ExerLearning section of Sierra Vista Fitness Center to film the segment. It can be seen at http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5022640n
Rio Norte Students Makes Spelling Bee Semifinals
Paige Vasseur, an eighth grader at Rio Norte Junior High School, made it to the fifth round of semifinals at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Her downfall was “skeuomorph,” an ornament or design on an object copied from a form of the object when made from another material. (She spelled it “scuomorph.”) Paige made it into the semifinals by taking a 50-word computerized test, then progressed through the semifinals by spelling such words as “pelican” and “tourlourou”—a French-derived word for infantry soldier, or a type of crab. A total of 41 semifinalists made it to the fourth round of the bee, from an initial field of 293 students. In addition to being a super speller, Paige represents Rio Norte on the school’s Operation US team, which reaches out to elementary school students with a message of diversity and kindness.
Canyon Choirs Selected for Hawaiian Tribute
Choirs from Canyon High School were selected to represent the state of California in the American Musical Salute to Hawaii’s 50th Year of Statehood. The Madrigals, Concert Choir, Men’s and Women’s Chamber Ensembles participated, performing at Pearl Harbor and the State Capitol during spring break. An additional performance at the Ala Moana Shopping Center’s Centerstage was well received by the Hawaiian audience.
Bowman Students Attend Grad Summit
A team of students and staff from Bowman High School was selected to participate in the Los Angeles County Youth Graduation Empowerment Summit held at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in downtown Los Angeles. Students from select continuation high schools were invited to discuss and generate solutions to the state’s growing dropout crisis. The day was filled with stimulating and open dialogue between students, teachers, presenters, administrators and County Office of Education leaders. Juniors Candida Castaneda and Omid Vakili represented Bowman at the meeting, stressing the importance of caring teachers in achieving Bowman’s 98 percent graduation rate, an astonishing accomplishment for any school, let alone a continuation school.
Rio Norte Student Recognized
Brittany Zahnle, a student at Rio Norte Junior High School, was recognized by the Association of California School Administrators of the Santa Clarita Valley at a recent awards dinner. She received a trophy entitled, “Every Student Succeeding.” Brittany said that she received the award for overcoming challenges during her elementary school years. She said that her teachers, parents and friends helped her to overcome her fears of attending school. She was nominated by both the Hart and the Saugus school districts.
Saugus Principal Up to the Challenge
Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde is always up to a challenge! When the Army National Guard recently visited the Saugus High campus, they jokingly asked the principal how many push-ups he thought he could do, and he rose to the occasion to the delight of the crowd. “This is the first time in my career,” said Sgt. Ben Garcia, “that any high school staff member has ever participated in one of our campus events!” The principal received congratulations and a t-shirt for his efforts. (He managed more than 30 push-ups.)
Hart Band Awards Continuing Students
At the Hart High School Spring Instrumental Concert, band awards were handed out to three continuing students in the Hart instrumental program and two incoming freshmen from Placerita Junior High School. The awards are believed to be the only ones of their kind in the Hart District for continuing students. The $300 Antonio M. Mercado Instrumental Music Award is awarded annually by Mercado’s family in honor of their father to one or more continuing or incoming students. This year the three awards went to Samantha Beaty (Placerita), Emily Hollocks (Placerita), and Ryan Anderson (Hart). In addition to the Mercado Awards, two $200 awards were presented to continuing students by the Hart Regiment Alumni Association. They were presented to Rachael Champion and Marissa Hamilton to augment and continue their music education at Hart.
Kid Flix Dedicates Studio
Kid Flix, the broadcast journalism club at Placerita Junior High, hosted a reception to dedicate the school’s new video studio and honor math teacher Paul Kass, founder of the Placerita program. In creating Kid Flix, Kass recognized the incredible value digital film making has for the development of young minds. Film making supports the use of technology, communication, team work, initiative, leadership, writing, self expression, trade/career training, creativity and self esteem. Students in the program prepared a movie for the event, sharing their accomplishments from this year and past years.
‘Ambassadors’ Invited to Washington
Four members of the Safe School Ambassadors team from Golden Valley High School and their advisor received a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a National Youth Summit. The summit was sponsored by America’s Promise Alliance, founded by General Colin Powell, which focuses on improving the lives of young people through Five Promises: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education and opportunities to help others. While at the conference the students learned about Service Learning, how students impact community decisions and much more. Golden Valley was represented at the summit by Emilee Byars, Michael Bryce, Kelsey Gonzalez, Sarah Schuerger and advisor Courtney Carr. Golden Valley was invited to participate because the school’s Safe Schools Ambassadors program is considered an “exemplary model” by the program’s parent organization.
Bowman Students Discover Potential Careers
Bowman High School students appreciated a hands-on look at potential careers at the annual Discovering Careers 2009 Expo at College of the Canyons. Bowman students took the opportunity to meet with career professionals from the health care, retail and law enforcement industries while becoming more comfortable with the COC campus. Student Henry Gamboa brought his mother and little sister to the Expo, and impressed them with the opportunities available for the entire family. Students were particularly interested in booths operated by the California Highway Patrol, Electrical Training Institute, helicopter school, a construction management company and crime lab.
Saugus Festival Faces Fire and Fear
More than 250 members of the Saugus High School community attended the 13th annual public reading and arts festival hosted by the school’s literary magazine class to celebrate the release of “The Centinel,” Saugus’ literary and visual arts magazine. The program featured live poetry readings and story excerpts, a performance by the Concert Choir, improv theater led by senior Kevin Raw, close-up magic from Jorden Voltz and Thi Dinh and live acoustic music. Student work in art, ceramics and photography was on display in a walk-through gallery set up in Art Department Chair Teri Garcia’s classroom. Carrying through the program’s “Superstition” theme, guests were invited to record their fears on paper and place them into a small black cauldron, which was burned at the end of the program.
Ten Complete Fire Academy
Ten students from across the Hart District moved a step closer to fire fighting careers with completion of the Fire Technology Academy offered through the Hart District’s Regional Occupational Program. The semester-long course teaches the basic of fire fighting, including ladder and hose operation, rescue procedures, protective gear and more. Those who completed the course are now eligible to participate in Explorer units offered by area fire departments, and those over 18 years old are eligible to test for fire department positions and state sanctioned fire academies.
Report Card Earns Five-Year Award
The Support Personnel Accountability Report Card (SPARC) prepared by the counseling staff at Placerita Junior High has won a Diamond Best in the West award for the fifth year in a row. The award is offered by the County and State offices of education. The SPARC is a continuous improvement tool that gives a school site an opportunity to demonstrate effective communication and a commitment to getting results. Modeled after the School Accountability Report Card (SARC), the SPARC has been developed by an advisory group of Los Angeles County counselors, counselor supervisors, counselor educators and California Department of Education consultants. Principal Mike Kuhlman and counselors Jody Liss-Monteleone, Christina Noriega and Susan Villasenor accepted this year’s award and a Senate Resolution from State Senator Cameron Smyth, a Placerita alumnus.
Oui, On Parle Français! (Yes, we speak French!)
Six Saugus High School students ranked in the top 10 (in four different levels) of French students in the United States who took the National French Exam (Le Grand Concours). Over 100,000 students take the test each year with recognition and awards at the school, state and national levels. Besides the six top 10 in the U.S., two other students ranked 10th in Southern California (only one point below the top 10 in the U.S). Two of the students in the top 10 are brothers Andres and Pablo Romano. Andres came in seventh in the U.S. for fourth year French, while his younger brother Pablo came in fifth for third year French. Other winners were Sara Feldman, Tanya Flynn, Amy Grandilli and Dirk Vandermark. The other three top 10 results in Southern California were Beatriz Andino, Aziz Abadsafian and Michelle Endo. A total of 40 Saugus students voluntarily took the National French test.
Literary Magazine Spotlights Student Work
More than 200 students at Placerita Junior High submitted their poetry, short stories and artwork for publication in the school’s annual literary magazine. The magazine is organized and edited entirely by eighth grade students, including Renae Reininger, Himani Shanna, Sarah Aikman, Chelsea Smith, Eric Alcaraz, Shelby Goodfellow, Ashley Hasan, Clare Wood, Athena Kavounas, Emily Shapiro, Ilse Maguellal, Joann Mendoza and Kendra Motoyasu. The magazine’s advisor is Connie Howard, who retired this year.