Billy Lee joins his grandaughter Audris Fan at Rowland Adult School.
Billy Lee’s education ended when the Imperial Japanese Army overran Indonesia in March of 1942. The Diamond Bar resident was only 11 years old at the time.
Throughout the occupation, the young man worked hard to help his family survive. After the war, Lee got a job and settled down to raise two sons and a daughter.
“I always stressed the importance of education, because I wanted my children to live better lives,” the 82-year-old recalled.
On June 4, the octogenarian will receive his GED from Rowland Adult and Community Education. He will celebrate his academic success with his 21-year-old granddaughter Audris Fan, who is graduating from the University of San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.
“We didn’t even know he was studying for his high school diploma, he kept it a secret from the family,” said Fan, an alumni of Diamond Bar High.
So the proud Diamond Bar family will be celebrating two graduations this year, even though the graduates are separated by 61 years in age.
Read more in Rich Irwin’s story GED.
The Conquerors had a lot to cheer about as 429 students graduated with the Class of 2013 at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights.
Many are continuing their educations, including the top three students: Kevin Tam, who is going to the University of the Pacific, Abraham Wu who’s moving on to UCLA and Nathaniel Shon, who will attend UC Irvine.
This was the last of four high schools to hold its commencement exercises in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District. The district had nearly 1,400 stuents graduate this year.
See the photo gallery at GRADS.
Wilson High graduate Ingrid Giovanie Ornelas-Gomez exuberantly waves her diploma during the 46th annual commencement exercises at the Hacienda Heights campus May 20, 2013. (Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb)
The Wildcats roared proudly Monday evening. Nearly 400 Wilson High graduating seniors celebrated during the school’s commencement ceremony, held at the on-campus football stadium.
Valedictorian William Chen, who compiled a GPA of 4.83, will study chemical engineering at Harvey Mudd this fall, while salutatorian Sarah Hsu is heading to Brown University in the fall to study medicine.
See the photo gallery at WILSON.
Collegewood Elementary students cheer on their robot at Robot Expo.
The Walnut students were real fireballs and the Pomona kids weren’t far behind in the Robot Expo at the Fairplex on Monday morning. The fun competition is part of Cal Poly Pomona’s School Robotics Initiative.
In fact, Team Fireball from Suzanne Middle School won the gold medal in the Gate Crasher contest with an amazing time of 6.967. In the close competition, students have to program their robots to pass through a gate in 7 seconds.
Easier said then done, when the students have to calculate the circumference of their robot’s wheels, estimate the gear ratio they should use and program the power running through the little electric motors.
But the Fireball team seemed to have mastered the engineering challenge. Team captain Augustus Rodriguez worked with classmates Adel Nasir and Abdul Rahman Ali to build the winning robot.
“I built our robot, while Adel programmed it,” said 12-year-old Abdul. “It was interesting to work with robots in school.”
The little machines force the students to focus on science and math.
“The students have to apply their math and science skills to build their robots, which motivates them to do better in school,” explained Nicole Forrest Boggs, director of development for the College of Education at Cal Poly Pomona.
Since 2006, the university has worked with elementary and middle school students in the two districts to develop an innovative robotics curriculum.
Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ROBOTS
Robert P. Taylor has been appointed superintendent of Walnut Valley Unified School District. He will take over July 1 in the high-performing district that is facing a difficult fiscal future.
In December, the school board declared a “negative certification” for the district budget, meaning it may not be able to meet expenses next year.
Taylor, who has been deputy superintendent of Corona-Norco Unified
School District, will succeed Superintendent Dean S. Conklin, who is retiring next month after almost 15 years with Walnut Valley Unified.
The school district covers Walnut and parts of Diamond Bar.
“I’m going into a district that has a long, strong reputation for student achievement ” that puts kids first and produces high results in the classroom,” Taylor said.
“The budget has been a concern for districts across California. ” Hopefully, with the state economy, that’ll continue to improve, but it’s something we’ll all have to deal with.
Read more in TAYLOR.
Nogales grads Alberto Jeronimo, Maria Ortiz and Kimberly Cardenas have been named Gates Millenium Scholars. (Photo by Gina Ward, Courtesy of Rowland Unified )
They’re thinking doctorates. While other high school graduates are considering bachelor’s degrees at local colleges, three Nogales grads are planning advanced degrees at the best universities in the world.
The three have been named Gates Millennium Scholars. The program selects 1,000 talented students every year for a scholarship to the college of their choice. The prestigious scholarships pay for tuition, books and meals, as well as travel assistance to visit their families.
“I want to become a doctor – now I can afford to go to college and then medical school,” said Alberto Jeronimo of West Covina. “I’ll be studying premed at Berkeley.”
The 18-year-old comes from an immigrant family. Alberto was inspired to succeed by his father, who came here from Mexico to make a better life.
“We couldn’t have done this without our counselor (Sara) Hall,” Alberto noted. “She wrote our nominations and recommendations, helping us through the scholarship process.”
The Nobles had to write nine essays to become Millennium scholars. They also had to have a minimum 3.33 GPA, though many like Alberto have a 4.5. All three Nogales teens are candidates for International Baccalaureate Diplomas and rank in the top 10 of their graduating class.
“This means more than just going to college for me,” explained Kimberly Cardenas of La Puente. “I will be the first in my family to attend an American university.”
Read more in Rich Irwin’s story GATES.
The athletic fields at Diamond Ranch high school may be a construction zones now but by August it will be the site of football games and the platforms for students to showcase their talents.
Last week, the Pomona Unified School District held ground-breaking ceremonies for what will be modest but much-improved athletic facilities at Diamond Ranch, Garey and Pomona high schools.
Each facility will be improved in two phases. As part of the first phase of work, the schools will have improved fields, tracks, lighting, scoreboards and seating by the fall. Restrooms and snack bars will be added by fall 2014.
The total budget for the fields is $16 million, said Leslie Barnes, Pomona Unified’s assistant superintendent for business services and chief financial officer.
Board President Roberta Perlman said the three construction projects will represent a bit of an inconvenience as the current academic year wraps up, but many people in and outside of the schools are looking forward to the improvements.
“There was so much excitement from parents and community members,” Perlman said of the ceremonies.
Perlman said she has told students that the fields are a way of showing them they are valued by the district and the community.
The improvements to the fields will be made using revenue from the 2008 voter-approved Measure PS.
Revenue from the bond measure must be used for school facilities including replacing out-dated infrastructure.
Diamond Bar and Walnut High School business students competed in the State Leadership Conference in Santa Clarita on April 18-21. They’re members of Future Leaders of America (FBLA). They qualified for the competition during regional Inland Section contest in February.
Both high schools brought home many awards. Seven students also qualified for the national competition: Crystal Chang and Sachin Vernin from Diamond Bar High; Jefferey Huang, Hana Haideri, Annie Liu, Howard Chen, and Vivian Huang from Walnut High.
Read more in BIZ.