Rowland thanks community for its generousity

Photo courtesy of Rowland Unified

Photo courtesy of Rowland Unified

The Rowland Unified School District would like to thank the community for participating in the annual Adopt and Shop program organized by the Family Resource Center.

On Dec. 13, there were gleeful smiles of joy as more than 100 families and 300 children in need across the Rowland Unified School District were given gifts to open thanks to the generosity of others.

Rowland students and Rotary build holiday baskets

Photo by Gina Ward, courtesy of Rowland Unified

Photo by Gina Ward, courtesy of Rowland Unified

Last Saturday more than 200 students and members from the Walnut Valley Rotary gathered at Alvarado Intermediate to assemble holiday baskets for families in need in the Rowland Unified School District.

Students from Interact clubs at Rowland High School, Walnut High School, ASB students from Nogales and Santana High Schools, along with college students involved with Rotary from Cal Poly Pomona and Mt. SAC gathered at 7 a.m. to assemble the 11,567 cans of food and 250 turkeys that were donated.

There were 320 holiday baskets assembled that families from across the Rowland Unified School District received.

David Hall elected president of Mt SAC trustees

Mt. San Antonio College Board of Trustees elected Dr. David K. Hall as president, Judy Chen Haggerty as vice president, and Rosanne Bader as clerk. They will serve one-year terms, effective immediately. 

Dr. Hall is currently the longest-serving member of the Mt. SAC Board of Trustees.  He was appointed to the Board in October 1995 after serving two terms as President of the Mt. SAC Foundation.  

He was later elected to four-year board terms in 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, and most recently ran unopposed in 2013.  He is Chairman of the Industry Manufacturers Council (IMC) Human Resources Committee, Vice President of the Regional Chamber of Commerce—San Gabriel Valley, Board Member of the San Gabriel Valley Civic Alliance, Board Member of the San Gabriel Valley YMCA, and Vice Chairman of the Oversight Board of the Successor Agency for both the Covina Redevelopment Agency and the San Dimas Redevelopment Agency.

Professionally, Dr. Hall is Senior Vice President of Hitchcock Automotive Resources, which owns and operates auto dealerships throughout Southern California. 

Chen Haggerty was elected to the Board in 2001, 2005, 2009, and ran unopposed in 2013. She is the first Asian-American to serve on the board. She is a practicing attorney, law professor at Rio Hondo College, and the Law Area Chair for the University of Phoenix.  

At the state level, Chen Haggerty has served on the California Community College Trustee Officers Nominating Committee. She also represented Mt. SAC in the California Leadership Alliance for Student Success statewide project funded by the James Irvine Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She currently is the co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Education Services of the Community College League of California, the Charles Kennedy Equity Awards Committee, and serves on the Evaluation Team of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. During her 30 years of community service, she has been a founding director of the FORUS foundation (Rowland Unified School District), founding president of Rowland Chinese Association, executive board member for Mt. SAC Foundation, the Advisory Committee member of Mt. SAC Regional Health Occupations, Vice President of the Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council, member of Walnut Valley Rotary Club, and 10-year board member of Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital. 

Bader was elected to the Mt. SAC Board of Trustees in 2003 and reelected in 2007 and 2011.  In 2007, Trustee Bader was elected to the California Community College Trustees Board, which makes recommendations about education policy issues pending before the state Board of Governors and the California Legislature.

She is a member of the Board of Directors of Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center and serves as a member of the hospital’s Foundation Board. She also presides over the Pomona Rotary Board.

She spent 32 years in public education, both as a teacher and administrator. Before retiring from the Pomona Unified School District in 2001, she was principal at Diamond Point Elementary School in Diamond Bar and formerly served as principal of Allison Elementary School in Pomona. 

The other Mt. SAC trustees are outgoing president Fred Chyr, trustee Dr. Manuel Baca, trustee Laura Santos, trustee Robert Hidalgo, and student trustee Paola Mendoza.

Chaparral’s not “Frozen” out of Hour of Code in Diamond Bar

Chaparral Middle School in Walnut joined millions of students in over 180 countries to participate in “The Hour of Code.”  This year, the non-profit Code.org teamed up with Disney Interactive on a tutorial that lets young programmers help Frozen sisters Anna and Elsa make ice fractals and skating patterns using basic coding skills.

The Frozen tutorial will kick off the Hour of Code campaign designed to promote participation in computer science, especially among girls.

Hour of Code launched 2013 in an effort to introduce students to computer science, demystify coding, and demonstrate that anyone can learn the “basics” of coding.  Last year, Chaparral Cougars learned to code during this worldwide event and enjoyed engaging tutorials and lessons.

Some students even started a “coding club” as a result of their experiences, which remains a viable club on the Chaparral Middle School campus!

The school is excited about the problem-solving and logic building skills that the students will be developing this year as a result of “The Hour of Code”, and is confident that the lessons learned will build a foundation for their success in any 21stcentury career path that they may choose.

‘Lucky Cat’ author visits Walnut Elementary

kat

By Walnut Valley Unified

Children’s author Sunny Seki introduced his tales ofJapanese folklore to Walnut Elementary students during a visit on Dec. 5. Before Seki was a published author, he was busy telling stories to his nine children at bedtime.

Over the years, as the stories multiplied and developed into slideshows, his wife Judy suggested that he write children’s books.  The couple eventually closed a successful photography business so Seki could pursue his dream of becoming a full-time author illustrator.

This idea for his first published book, The Tale of the Lucky Cat, was born when one of his children asked about the history of Japanese lucky cat. He couldn’t find any books on the subject, so he decided to write one.

“I’m the first one!” he said proudly of the award-winning book that retells the ancient legend of the humble toymaker who remembers a rescued cat by creating clay statues of a cat with a raised paw.

 Seki enlisted the help of a few Walnut Elementary students during a pantomime of the story. His wife narrated the book and showed slides during the assembly.

One student asked if he liked being an author. “I love it, so I can come see you guys!” Seki exclaimed.

He told the youngsters that creativity is the place where his stories begin. “Imagination comes first, then sketching, then a model (usually my kids), and then I start to draw.”

Seki shared the themes of his other published books Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll and The Last Kappa of Old Japan, along with his trove of vintage toy treasures. The author explained that the roly-poly Daruma dolls are a symbol of perseverance and good luck

“If you fall seven times, you get up eight times –and you never give up!”

The Seki Family was discovered bringing these creative stories to life with intricate shadow puppet shows and featured on the Disney Channel’s “What a Life!”

 

Another family was originally hired for the show, but they couldn’t act well in front of the camera.

“So, you never know what good luck is waiting for you!” the author said.

Diamond Bar High’s Acciani in finals for a Grammy

Diamond Bar High School Instrumental Music Director Steve Acciani

Diamond Bar High School Instrumental Music Director Steve Acciani

By Walnut Valley Unified

Diamond Bar High School Instrumental Music Director Steve Acciani has been named a finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award. Ten teachers were selected from over 7,000 nominations around the country for their significant contributions to music education. Each finalist will receive $1,000 honorarium.

“We are extremely proud of the recognition that Mr. Acciani has earned from the Grammy Foundation. He is an inspirational music teacher and an integral part of who we are as a community. We are so happy for him!” said Principal Catherine Real.

This is Acciani’s 26th year teaching in the Walnut Valley Unified School District.

“I feel so fortunate to live and work in a community that recognizes the importance of the arts for our students. The school district and community continues to provide fantastic support for our programs, allowing us to do some pretty amazing things,” Acciani said.

While the Grammy ceremony is held to present artists with the recording industry’s most prestigious award, the Grammy Foundation and Recording Company will also honor one local hero. The winner will be announced during the 57th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 8.

For the second year, the Grammy Music Educator Award will pay tribute to a special teacher for his/her remarkable impact on students. The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award, attend the Grammy Awards ceremony, and receive a $10,000 honorarium.

On Nov. 11, Grammy honorary chairman and “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest visited Diamond Bar High to congratulate Acciani on being named one of the 25 semifinalists for the award.

Diamond Bar High was named the 2014 National Grammy Signature School becoming the first high school in California to receive the prestigious award.

Mustang golfers sign college letters of intent

Walnut High senior Patricia Wong pledged to play golf and attend Pepperdine University

Walnut High senior Patricia Wong pledged to play golf and attend Pepperdine University

By Walnut Valley Unified

Two Walnut High School seniors, Serena Hou and Patricia Wong, signed letters of intent to play golf in college on November 12. “Congratulations to both of you – we’re proud and excited,” said Principal Jeff Jordan.

Their families, teammates, and coach were on hand for the lunchtime ceremony.

“I’m very excited,” said Hou, who will play at Southern Illinois University. “I’ve been working so hard all my life to reach this goal and my parents have been very supportive. And now we’re here!”

Wong will play at Pepperdine University next year. “My hand shook a little during the signing, but it’s a wonderful day,” the 17-year-old exclaimed.“I feel so blessed for this crazy opportunity!”

Pepperdine was also her first campus visit. “It went so well, I said ‘this is my last visit – I want to go here!’”

Wong said she couldn’t have achieved the dream without the support of her family.

The Mustang Girls Golf team with Coach Cecil Wood had a perfect 28-0 regular season. The team won the CIF Championship, CIF Southern Section championship, and competed in the state semifinals, explained Athletic Director Jerry Person.

New lights to save $459,000 a year in Hacienda La Puente Unified

Duy Ha installs new lights, ballast system, and motion sensors at La Puente High School .

Duy Ha installs new lights, ballast system, and motion sensors at La Puente High School .

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Who knew changing old lights and turning them off when you leave the room could save $543,692 a year? It’s a lesson that the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District has learned over the past year.

It saw big savings when it hired Schneider Electric to redo the lighting at Orange Grove Middle School and Cedarlane Academy in Hacienda Heights.

Now, it’s spending $6.75 million to modernize the lighting at its biggest energy users, the four high schools. The district figures the changes will cut the district’s electric bill by 14 percent.

Fortunately, Hacienda La Puente Unified was one of the first school districts to apply for funding from Prop 39. In 2012, California voters approved the proposition to invest $2.5 billion in energy efficiency projects at schools and community colleges.

“Among the 1,000 plus school districts in California, we are one of the larger school districts, and one of only 47 districts with an approved Prop 39 plan,” said School Board President Gino Kwok.

The district’s Prop 39 project has been approved by the California Energy Commission for the entire five-year program. It will receive an estimated $4,435,680.

“In addition to simplifying the entire process, partnering with Schneider Electric allowed us to directly address our most pressing energy efficiency problems through an integrated approach,” said Associate Superintendent Annie Bui. “We now have a full five-year energy savings plan that will help maximize every Prop 39 dollar.”

Contractors have already redone the lighting at Willow Adult Campus in La Puente, as well as district’s offices. Now, workers are shifting to the four high schools.

“These six sites use approximately 47 percent of the district’s total energy cost annually,” said Maintenance Director Mark Hansberger.

Improvements include new classroom lighting as well as sensors that turn off the lights when no one is present. Work crews will also install LED lighting on the exterior and in the gymnasiums, plus new heating and cooling controls.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story LIGHTS.

Mt SAC wins two-year college flying team trophy

The Mt. San Antonio College Flying Team won the Top Two-Year College Team Trophy for the 24th consecutive year at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s regional competition hosted recently by San Diego Christian College at Gillespie Airport in San Diego. 

“This year marks the 24th consecutive year our team has won the top community college trophy—a truly incredible run,” said Mt. SAC Flying Team Advisor and Aeronautics Professor Robert Rogus. 

The 2014 Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) is a competition for university and community college flying teams. The regional airmeet featured flying teams from six colleges, including Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, San Jose State University, and the U.S. Air Force Academy with a total of 66 students competing. 

In addition to the Top Two-Year School Award, the Mt. SAC team won the Safety Trophy. Individually, Sebastian Plaister (San Dimas) won the instrument flight event and ranked sixth as the overall competitor at the airmeet. Jason Juarez (Ontario) took third in the message drop event. 

Overall, Mt. SAC placed fifth with 43 points. The top three regional teams receive invitations to the national competition. 

Over the years, the Mt. SAC Flying Team has consistently earned top honors as one of the best collegiate flying teams in the country. The team has won the Top Community College trophy at the regional competition every year since 1991. Mt. SAC has won the Top U. S.  Community College award at the national airmeet in 1984, 1985, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014. 

Teen accused of school shooting threat Diamond Ranch High School

Deputies on Monday arrested a 17-year-old Diamond Bar boy for allegedly posting on Twitter a threat to shoot up Diamond Ranch High School. They also confiscated a 22-caliber rifle.

The alleged threat didn’t say when the shooting will occur, according to Lt. Edward Wells of the sheriff’s Walnut/Diamond Bar station. The station found out about the threat around midnight Sunday.

Well said the station got a call from someone who saw on Twitter a picture of a guy holding a rifle and saying he will shoot up the school. Deputies identified the person as a 17-year-old Diamond Bar resident who is a student at the school located at 100 Diamond Ranch Road in Pomona.

Deputies arrested the boy at his home around 1:45 a.m. and recovered a rifle, Wells said. The teen was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats. He is being held at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey. Deputies didn’t release his name because he is a minor.

The tweet with the alleged threat couldn’t be found on Twitter by Monday morning. School staff referred the paper to the superintendent’s office for comment.

Fernando Meza, administrative director for pupil and community services at Pomona Unified School District, said deputies contacted school officials Sunday night. He cannot verify yet if the suspect attended Diamond Ranch High School.

The district notified parents and school staff via email and text message that deputies conducted an investigation over comments made on social media, the person involved was taken into custody and it’s safe to be at school today, according to Meza. He said the high school has about 1,800 students.