Cal Poly Pomona students protest dorm plan

By Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Cal Poly Pomona students are protesting on campus this afternoon about a proposed plan to build dorms on pasture land for the university’s horses.

The protest got underway at noon outside the Bronco Student Center.

School administrators explained at a meeting last month that the university lacks adequate room to house its students, and the dormitories they do have are crumbling.

Space on campus is limited, school officials say, and topography — hills and fault lines — further reduces their options for areas to develop.

At a Feb. 21 protest, students said they fear the loss of the pasture land could be one step in a process that may eventually eliminate natural resources from the campus.

The impact of losing the pasture land could affect future agricultural students, according to organizer Adam Mason.

“This land is used for education and a platform for students to have a one-on-one experience with rangeland management,” Mason said. “Once they take out these pastures and set concrete, it can’t be turned back into one. The fertile land used to feed livestock will be destroyed.”

More details to come.

Diamond Ranch names Welker as new head football coach

Diamond Ranch High School has appointed veteran athlete and accomplished college and high school coach Jimmy Welker as its new head football coach.

The Pomona Unified Board of Education approved Welker’s appointment during its March 3 meeting.

“Diamond Ranch and its athletics program has been anxiously anticipating Coach Welker’s arrival and we are pleased that he is here,” said Board of Education President Andrew Wong. “It’s exciting to know that the Panthers football program will be headed by such a talented athlete and coach, who can be a role model to our student-athletes and lead them to victory.”WELKER

Welker – an avid four-sport athlete who earned multiple varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball and track and field while at Notre Dame High School – has been coaching football for the last six years. He will begin serving as Diamond Ranch’s head coach immediately.

“I am thankful for this great opportunity to be the head football coach at Diamond Ranch,” Welker said. “This is a program with a rich tradition of producing high quality student-athletes, but more importantly, high quality people. I’m looking forward to teaching our players how to strive for excellence and success, both on and off the field, by giving a championship effort in everything we do.”

Welker, who holds a master’s degree in sports management from Jacksonville State University, launched his coaching career at University Lab High School in Baton Rouge, La., as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in 2008.

His numerous coaching positions include: outside linebacker coach and junior varsity defensive coordinator at Notre Dame High School; wide receiver coach for the United States Coast Guard Academy; a graduate assistantship with Jacksonville State’s football team; and, most recently, quarterback and defensive line coach at Redondo Union High School for the last two football seasons.

Throughout his coaching career, Welker has helped more than 50 young men accomplish their goal to play football at both the collegiate and professional levels.

“I am excited to welcome Jimmy Welker to the Diamond Ranch High School football program,” Principal Suzanne Ripley said. “He brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, energy and commitment. He is enthusiastic about our four pillars of leadership, character, academics and community and he is laser-focused on taking DRHS to the next level in high school football.”

In addition to his achievements as a coach, Welker is a stellar athlete.

After graduating from high school, he was offered the opportunity to play quarterback at Louisiana State University, reaching his goal to play at a Top 25 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college football program. During his college football career, the team boasted a win-loss record of 43-9 and included LSU’s clenching of the 2007 College Football National Championship over Ohio State.

Welker played quarterback in the Arena Football League for the Tulsa Talons in 2009 and the Bossier-Shreveport Battlewings in 2010, accomplishing his goal to play football professionally.

“It is our pleasure to welcome Jimmy to the PUSD family,” Superintendent Richard Martinez said.  “Jimmy’s sense of professionalism, strong work ethic and passion for football serves as a great source of inspiration to our high school athletes. We wish him and the Panthers a successful season in the fall.”

Finalists prep for finals in Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee

bee2

Congratulations to the 34 spellers who qualified for the Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee Finals this Saturday at Mt. SAC. Good Luck!

1. Canyon Hills Junior High Virginia Williams

2. Caryn Elementary School Nicholas Lee

3. Chaparral Middle School Olivia Hwang

4. Country Springs Elementary Emma Lazaro

5. Cucamonga Elementary Ranzelle Judd

6. Dona Merced Elementary Sofia Elise Benigno

7. Edgewood Elementary Brandon Lam

8. El Rooble Intermediate Amelie Cook

9. Etiwanda Intermediate Shlok Rajurkar

10. Foothill Knolls School Royce Tuncar

11. Goddard Middle Serena Lin

12. Harry S. Truman Middle Elizabeth Ouanemalay

13. Heritage Intermediate Rendell Jacob Nunez

14. Lorbeer Middle Andrew Wang

15. Mariposa Elementary Kaitlyn Le

16. Monte Vista Elementary Austin Leong

17. Montera Elementary Anna Nguyen

18. Oakridge Elementary Daniel Chen

19. Pioneer Junior High Rebecca Norden-Bright

20. Ramona Middle Aidan Leung

21. Rancho Cucamonga Middle Youssef Adam

22 .Rolling Ridge Elementary Kaila Long

23. Rowland Avenue Elementary Spandan Suthar

24. South Pointe Middle Thordar Han

25. St.Margaret Mary Hannah Silvestro

26. St. Joseph Vanessa Rios

27. Summit Intermediate Elyssa Sefiane

28. Sutherland Elementary Miriam Tomt

29. Suzanne Middle Lynette Chan

30. Sycamore Elementary Omvikneswer Muralitharan

31. Traweek Middle Ian Hulsbosch

32. Valencia Elementary Armieta Nabati

33. Victoria Groves Elementary Matthew Torre

34. Vineyard Junior High Nourya Cohen

35 spellers advance in Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee

bee2

By Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee

Facing the possibility of heavy rain on the day of the preliminaries, the volunteers of the Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee planned for the worst. But as luck would have it, partly cloudy skies and bright sunshine  prevailed.

Excited spellers and their families, friends and teachers piled into the Design Technology Center at Mt. SAC early Saturday morning.

After the throngs of school champions were registered and given their T-shirts, they lined up and marched into the auditorium to the strains of their favorite music.

Marsha Hawkins, Spelling Bee Director introduced the announcer Ken Mok, who explained what was going to happen that day. The spellers were separated into their red, blue and yellow color groups and escorted to their venues – written spelling, written vocabulary or oral spelling.

After three tense hours the tests were corrected and the points were tallied. 35 excited spellers were asked to come up to the stage where they were presented with medallions signifying their successful advancement to the final rounds.

These lucky spellers will spend this week studying hard and fast to be ready to face their competitors early Saturday morning, March 7.

Among those advancing to the finals are Rebecca Norden-Bright of Pioneer Jr. High in Upland, who has participated for the last six years, Hannah Sylvestro of St. Margaret Mary School in Chino, our champion in 2013 and Thordar Han of South Point Middle School in Diamond Bar who is making her second appearance at the Bee.

The finals will take place at 8 a.m. in the auditorium at the DTC. All 35 finalists will be seated on stage, where they will be called up one at a time to spell their word.

If they are correct, they will sit back down. If they fail to spell correctly, they will join their parents in the audience. This will go on until one student is able to out-spell all the others.

The finals of the IVRSB have always been exciting and the children are the show. They are funny, bright, excited and above all dedicated.

Sierra Vista students in La Puente create in MakerSpace lab

 Luis Ruiz, 17, demonstrates robotic car at Sierra Vista Middle School in La Puente

Luis Ruiz, 17, demonstrates robotic car at Sierra Vista Middle School in La Puente

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Robots roamed the room, optical and ultrasonic sensors silently guiding them around obstacles. Sierra Vista students continued to work on electronic circuit boards, building security alarms, cooling fans and other whirligigs.

Others displayed the video games and computer coding they had constructed themselves. All were proud of the engineering accomplishments the seventh and eighth graders have achieved thanks to the Makerspace lab sponsored by the Alcoa Foundation.

“We’ve seen significant increases in attendance and math scores, as well a rising interest in careers in science and engineering,” said Principal Terry Ceja .

The La Puente middle school was celebrating the second anniversary of the innovative program. Sierra Vista is one of only two Makerspace labs in Southern California.

“We couldn’t have done it without close to $40,000 in grants from the Alcoa Foundation,” Ceja said.

“We want to get our students interested in science and math. These are the aerospace workers of the future,” agreed Gwen Moore, human resources director for Alcoa’s plant in Industry.

The Alcoa official said the company has been impressed with the growth of the program over the past year. It now offers two classes for seventh graders as well as an advanced class for eighth graders.

“We need more engineers. Anything we can do to get the students interested in a technical career is good for everyone,” said Jeff Railton, engineering manager at Alcoa Fastening Systems.

The local company makes a variety of aerospace fasteners. The local plant employs about 350 workers, but it’s always looking for more highly skilled workers.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story MAKERSPACE.

School champions compete in Inland Valley Spelling Bee

bee

On Feb. 28, 106 school champions will gather at the Design Technology Center on the campus of Mount San Antonio College to compete in the eighth annual Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee.
Spellers represent cities from Baldwin Park to Fontana and the foothill cities to Ontario and Chino.
Manuel Baca, professor and Mt. SAC trustee, and Carolyn Anderson, Community Relations Director for Waste Management will join Chief Judge Steve Lambert as judges for the finals to be held on March 7.
The champion will go to Washington DC to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. There, the winner will face close to 300 of the best spellers from all over the English speaking world.
Hannah Sylvestro, winner from 2013, is returning along with several others who have competed before. Spellers range in age from a 7-year-old first-grader to 14-year-old Rebeccah Norden-Bright, who’s returning for her sixth competition.
When the competitors arrive at 7:30 a.m., they’ll be divided into three groups. Over the next four and a half hours they will compete in three contests: oral spelling, written spelling and written vocabulary.
At the end of the morning, spellers with the top 30 scores will go on the finals on March 7. At that event, they will participate in a traditional spell-off, competing head to head until one speller is left.
The top speller will be presented with the traveling trophy, a copy of Mirriam Webster’s Third Edition and an all expense paid trip to Washington DC provided by Quest Literacy Consortium.

Los Altos High teacher charged with sex with student

By Ruby Gonzales, Staff Writer

A Los Altos High School chemistry teacher was charged Wednesday for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old student.

District Attorney spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child were filed against David Park, 37, of Chino Hills.B-pSaNkVEAEnYPl

Investigators alleged he molested the girl after school in a classroom and at his home from September to November 2014.

Wearing a gray T-shirt and with his hands handcuffed behind his back, Park appeared Tuesday afternoon at Pomona Superior Court for an arraignment which was continued to March 9.

Park’s bail was $1 million after deputies arrested him Monday night. The bail for the charges filed is $75,000.

“I think it requires a deviation from $75,000 just for protection of the community,” Commissioner Wade Olson said.

He set bail at $150,000. Olson said if Park is released on bail, he must have no contact with the victim. He reminded Park that there is a protective order.

Park’s father and another relative attended the arraignment. They declined comment.

Read more in Ruby Gonzales story BAIL.

Los Altos teacher accused of having sex with 15-year-old student

Deputies arrested a Los Altos High School biology and chemistry teacher Monday night for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old student on campus after school hours and at his Chino Hills home.

David Park, 37, was booked on suspicion of oral copulation, lewd acts with a child 15 years old and sexual battery. He is expected to be arraigned today at Pomona Superior Court and is being held on $1 million bail.

Hacienda La Puente Unified Superintendent Cindy Parulan-Colfer said a faculty member noticed that the teen seemed very upset Monday afternoon.

The sophomore said she’d been molested by Park since September, according to Lt. Andrew Meyer of the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau.

Los Altos Principal Cheli McReynolds called the Sheriff’s Industry station.B-pSaNkVEAEnYPl

Sgt. Al Fraijo said detectives discovered written evidence that substantiated the allegations. He didn’t give details on where evidence was found or what kind.

Read more in ARREST.

Immersion programs hold showcase in Hacienda Heights

The Dual Immersion programs in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District at Wedgeworth and Los Altos Elementaries as well as  Valinda School of Academics present their first showcase and silent auction.

On Tuesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m., students from Mandarin and Spanish programs will perform at the Hacienda Heights Community Center at 1234 Valencia Avenue.

The silent auction includes:
• La Libreria Books, an independent book seller that features English language children’s books along with authentic Spanish language text.
• Conmigo, Affinity Insurance – Family literacy outreach program.
• Chinese book and education vendors.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Rosalie Sinapi, Principal at Los Altos Elementary School at (626) 933-2302.

Kiwanis Club gives 100 shoes to Rowland kids

Katherine Rodriguez helps Edgar Hernandez  put on his new shoes.  (Photo Correspondent by Shilah Montiel/

Katherine Rodriguez helps Edgar Hernandez put on his new shoes. (Photo Correspondent by Shilah Montiel/

The Kiwanis Club showed a lot of Heart and Sole on Friday during its fourth annual shoe giveway. The Hacienda Heights club gave more than 100 pairs of new shoes to students in the Rowland Unified School District.

The Kiwanis set up camp at the new Family Resource Center in La Puente. There, they greeted the families as they arrived for their special treats.

“This year, we’ve helping 106 students who have been preselected by the school district,” said Kiwanian Dave Malkin. “Much of the money was raised by the Rowland Heights Senior Pathfinders group. Ashika Shoes also helped a lot.”

After registering, children moved over to a large book case, where they got to pick out a free book.

Little 4-year-old Brianna Cazun chose a colorful children’s book, while her mom picked out another for older daughter, Janeli, who attends Telesis Academy.

Another 4-year-old, Edgar Fernandez, finally decided on an alphabet book. The colorful pages were full of everyday items that began with a letter in the alphabet.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story SHOES.