Sky’s the limit for Baldwin Academy students in Hacienda La Puente Unified

Baldwin Academy student Jilliana Herpacio, 10, assembles a rocket to launch.

Baldwin Academy student Jilliana Herpacio, 10, assembles a rocket to launch.

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Baldwin Academy students got a chance to build their own SpaceX rockets, thanks to the Los Angeles aerospace company and the Union Pacific Foundation.

SpaceX recently won a $2.6 billion contract to build rockets to carry astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.

But last week, the lucky fifth-graders got the chance to launch the SpaceX rockets they have been working on after school for the past five weeks. The athletic field became their makeshift launch pad in Hacienda La Puente Unified.

“SpaceX has been a major sponsor of the Youth Science Center,” agreed the center’s chairman Ron Chong. “They gave us 100 SpaceX rocket kits for our students to assemble. And they’re a $5,000 silver sponsor for our annual dinner on Nov. 14.”

Model Rocketry Instructor Lyle Majeska recommended the Valinda school. He lives just down the street from the school that his own son attended.

“I thought the students would learn a lot by building their own rockets,” Majeska explained. “The model rocket classes are very popular at the Youth Science Center in Hacienda Heights.”

During the afterschool class, the fifth-graders learned about aerodynamics and thrust to build missiles that will actually fly. They even added parachutes to the little capsules.

“The students were selected based on their teachers’ recommendations,” said Principal Lila Picado. “We wanted self-starters, who could work independently on the rockets.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ROCKETS.

Marshall Tuck plans press conference in Sherman Oaks

Marshall Tuck, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, continues his statewide “School Turnaround Tour” with public events in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Highlights include an event with teachers to discuss the path forward in light of the landmark Superior Court decision in Vergara v. California, as well as an event with former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the five Los Angeles-area student Plaintiffs and their families in Vergara.

The press conference with the Vergara Plaintiffs is the first public event with the Plaintiffs since the Superior Court decision was handed down on June 10, 2014. A full schedule of events can be found below.

Who:

-Marshall Tuck, Candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

-Hon. Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles Mayor

-Los Angeles-based Plaintiffs in Vergara v. California, and their families

What:

State Superintendent for Public Instruction candidate Marshall Tuck’s Turnaround Tour is themed around the opportunity to turnaround California’s education system in light of the recent court ruling in Vergara v. California. The media event with the Vergara Plaintiffs and their families is the first public event with all Los Angeles-based Plaintiffs since the Court’s historic ruling in Vergara was announced in June. Tuck will be available for media interviews throughout the tour. Please contact the campaign for media availability or to ride on the bus.

When/Where:

  • Community Roundtable – Inglewood: Tuck will meet with key Inglewood community leaders to discuss the state takeover of the district and how to address state failures
  • Media Event with Vergara Plaintiffs: Tuck will be joined by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles-based Plaintiffs who filed the groundbreaking education lawsuit, Vergara v. California, as well as parents and teachers, to talk about Tuck’s commitment to a more equitable education system in California.
    • When: Tuesday, 3:45pm set-up, 4 p.m. Event
    • Where: 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., Ste. 200, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
    • Additional details: The Vergara Plaintiffs will be making an important announcement. A brief Q&A session with Tuck and Mayor Villaraigosa will follow the formal portion of the press conference.

Tribune looking for students’ help in Scary Story contest

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune is holding its annual Scary Story contest for area kids, and we are looking for the best entries from grades 5-12.

The details:

  • The deadline for submissions is Oct. 24. All stories must be submitted online; a form is posted on our website, www.sgvtribune.com/scarystory

  • Two categories of entries will be accepted: blood-curdling stories and works of art that scream out for attention. You may upload a story or drawing or both online.

  • Stories must be original.

  • Stories must be no longer than 650 words.

  • Artwork must be original (no tracings). Artwork files must be 5MB maximum in size; JPEG format is preferred. Please use the entrant’s name as the filename.

  • Entries will be judged on imagination, creativity and theme.

  • The Tribune reserves the right to revise contest dates and procedures.

  • The winning entries will be published in the paper on Halloween, Oct. 31, and all the entries will be posted online.

The age categories are:

Drawing: Five divisions are ages 5-6, 7-8, 9-11, 12-14 and 15-18.

Writing: Four divisions are ages 7-8, 9-11, 12-14 and 15-18.

Entries must be received through the online form posted on our website; emailed or mailed entries will not be accepted.

If you have any questions, e-mail christina.gullickson@langnews.com or call her at 310-543-6136.

Don’t forget to have fun and use your imagination! We look forward to reading your submissions.

Marshall Tuck begins School Turnaround Tour today

Marshall Tuck, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, is kicking-off his statewide “School Turnaround Tour” today with public events in San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Jose, Contra Costa and Oakland.

The race for superintendent is shaping up to be one of the most contested on the ballot.  Tuck says The Turnaround Tour is themed around the need to turnaround California’s education system, especially in light of the recent court ruling in Vergara v. California.

Walnut High dedicates athletic building to Bob Barilari

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By Walnut Valley Unified

Walnut High School paid tribute to long-time Mustang, Bob Barilari during a building dedication on October 1. Current and retired staff members, coaches, alumni, family members, and district officials gathered for the afternoon ceremony.

Barilari served as the Boys’ Equipment Manager from 1970-2004. A plaque was unveiled dedicating the Boys’ Locker Room in his honor.The special dedication celebrated Barilari’s legacy of relationships and friendships at the building where he spent over 70,000 hours of his life working and supporting thousands of people.

“Bobby started his legacy at Walnut High in 1970, and at that time, nobody would have realized the impact he would have on all of us 44 years later,” Principal Jeff Jordan said.

Barilari had many outstanding qualities, but the one that stands out the most was his ability to establish relationships with students, coaches, and teachers.

“Everyone knew Bob and Bob knew everything about everyone. Most of us that knew Bob would agree that he was caring, gentle, and big-hearted,” Jordan added.

Many of those friendships continued during retirement and through his battle with cancer. He passed away just one year ago leaving a lasting impression at the school.

“Bobby didn’t realize it, but he was very inspirational to all of us,” said Jordan.

 “I don’t know if there’s a more prestigious honor than having a building dedicated to you on a school campus. There will be many, many people that will walk by and will stop and look at the plaque and start to tell stories and learn more about Bob as long as the school is here,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

“Having someone like Bobby here on a daily basis made a real difference to students,” said Board President Cindy Ruiz.

“Bobby was a special person,” said retired principal Dr. Ken Gunn.

“No one’s going to walk through the doors of that locker room without thinking of him.”

 After the ceremony, several guests shared memories of their longtime friend.

Girls’ Athletic Equipment Attendant Connie Sanchez worked with Barilari for over 20 years.

“He remembered everybody, remembered every game, the time, and history of the football team. He didn’t even need a pencil and paper. He was a wonderful, wonderful guy.”

‘He was always there for you,” said retired coach Anthony Gomez.

“He was so loving and caring. And he made friends wherever he went,” recalled teacher Mary Jo Gomez.

Three 1970’s alumni friends wouldn’t have missed the ceremony.  They got to know him as student-athletes and stayed in touch through the years.

“Bob was the man. And that building was his house,” recalled John McIntire.

“He meant a lot to us,” said Ron and Lynn Himes.

“Bobby’s standout qualities were his genuineness and kindness,” they added.

“Bobby will never be forgotten here. His legacy will serve as a symbol of excellence that we can all strive for,” Jordan said.

Barilari was a huge USC fan.  As a tribute after the plaque unveiling, the WHS Band performed his favorite song- the Trojan Fight Song.

Mt. SAC celebrates million alumni day on Oct. 18

–Mt. San Antonio College will celebrate its more than one million alumni with a full day of activities at the second annual Mt. SAC Alumni Day on Saturday, Oct. 18, beginning at 1 p.m. 

Mountie pride will be loud and proud with over seven hours of speakers, shows, and tours as Mt. SAC showcases the successes of its many alumni, faculty, and current students. 

Just some of the activities scheduled include a presentation by alumnae Kim and Ericka Harrison, famed television writers for “Criminal Minds” and the new hit show “How to Get Away with Murder,” agriculture and wildlife sanctuary tours, planetarium shows, and a music faculty concert in the Feddersen Recital Hall. 

The day’s event will be capped off with the top-ranked Mt. SAC football team taking on Citrus College at 6 p.m., preceded by a pre-game fly-over by the college’s nationally respected flying team and a reception with a barbecue, music, and lots of Mountie spirit. 

For more information on Alumni Day, call the Mt. SAC Alumni Association at (909) 274-5443 or check online atmtsac.edu/alumni/alumniday/. 

Students whoop it up at Industry Hills Pro Rodeo

More than 4,000 school children will experience a rodeo at the Industry Hills Charity Pro Rodeo this Friday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Local school district dignitaries will take part in the festivities, including Rowland’s new Superintendent Julie Mitchell and Board Member Cary Chen will be on hand along with representatives from the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.

Students will come from Baldwin, Bassett (all schools), HLPUSD (seven schools), Montebello (2 schools), Mountain View (3 schools – 260 kids), Rowland Unified (Yorbita and Villacorta), Walnut Valley (4 schools going), Del Haven, private schools, St. Martha, St. Joseph, homeschooling groups and special needs groups.

Walnut High’s Jeff Huang a leader on and off court

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By Walnut Unified

Walnut High School senior basketball player Jeff Huang has received the 2014 Jim Staunton Champions for Character Award. He was among 14 exceptional students lauded by the CIF Southern Section during a ceremony at the Queen Mary in Long Beach on September 29.

A total of 500 nominations were received for the prestigious recognition. The award is given to student-athletes, coaches, administrators and schools who best embrace good sportsmanship and the principals of “Pursuing Victory with Honor.”

Student winners received a trophy, banner, letterman patch, and $750 scholarship. Huang is a standout student who has received numerous accolades on and off the court. He has a 3.98 grade point average and currently ranks 16th in his class of 748 students.

He was recently named a semifinalist in the national merit scholarship program among the top 1% students in the state. He was selected as the 2014 Mustang of the Year. As a junior, he placed 2nd in the nation in business communication during the FBLA competition

“Jeff is sharp, bright and social. He is one of our most amazing young people,” said Principal Jeff Jordan.

The 17–year-old- began playing on the Varsity basketball team as a freshman.  He displays sportsmanship, character, poise, confidence and calm under pressure.

“On the court, Jeff is the first person to help a teammate up from a fall, the first one to pat somebody on the back when they do well and the first to shake hands at the end of a contest,” said Athletic Director Jerry Person who nominated Huang for the award.

“He serves as a model of consistency on and off the basketball court and is a leader in everything he does,” Person added.

Huang has been president of the Class Cabinet for the past three years and an Interact Club member. Two years ago, he launched the Hoops for Hope Club to offer free sports clinics for elementary and middle school students.

“These kids can gain a lot from learning basketball. It can help you out for the rest of your life,” he said. “My parents and brother have definitely been my inspiration.”

Hoop for Kids mirrors Huang’s relationship with his older brother Brandon, who has been his longtime coach and mentor.

“He always gives me advice on how to react to certain things,” Huang said

Those words can be golden especially after a rough game.

“He’ll say, ‘its just one bad game, what’s important is what you learn from it,’” Huang recalled.

And after every loss, his brother is there to ask what he did poorly on so they can work on it together.

“He’s so supportive of me. Sometimes after the games he’s more excited about a win or good performance that I am. I learned everything I know from him.”

Huang was surprised to have been recognized for sportsmanship and praised fellow team members whom he admires.

He says during games he is “so focused on winning.”  But afterwards, he makes sure he shakes hands and shows his appreciation.

“I’ll always go thank the people who work the scoreboard. They’re the unsung heroes.”

Huang hopes to attend Stanford University or University of Pennsylvania in the fall.

Los Molinos Elementary gets National Blue Ribbon

Students learn in the computer lab at Los Molinos Elementary in Hacienda Heights.

Students learn in the computer lab at Los Molinos Elementary in Hacienda Heights.

By Sandra Molina, Staff Writer

A Hacienda La Puente Unified school has been named a National Blue Ribbon School for academic excellence and closing achievement gaps. Los Molinos Elementary School in Hacienda Heights received the honor.

“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education — that all students, no matter their name or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative and challenging learning environments,” stated U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a press release. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.”

Twenty-four California schools from a total of 334 schools nationwide earned this distinction.

At Los Molinos, third-year principal, Erin Roderick, gave credit to students’ parents working with school officials for achieving the blue ribbon status.

“We have a cohesive community of teachers, parents and staff who work together for the success of our students,” Roderick said. “Parent involvement is key.”

Los Molinos’ blue ribbon was based on exemplary achievement gap closing.

“We never give up,” she said of overcoming obstacles — such as language, socioeconomic backgrounds, lack of technological advancements at home — to educate their students.

The recognition “is a validation of what we are doing here is working,” she said. “When your kids walk through the school’s door, know that we are setting them up for a positive future.”

Both public and non-public schools are eligible for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award.  All schools are recognized in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates.

Mt. SAC opens $18 million child development center

Photo by Leo Jarzomb

Photo by Leo Jarzomb

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

The decision of paying for good day care or attending college is a heavy burden for many young families. But with the grand opening this month of Mount San Antonio College’s $18.5 million child development center, the school is helping hundreds of students bridge the gap.

“Childcare is sometimes the biggest barrier for people who want to return to college and continue their education,” said Tamika Addison, the center’s director.

The four-building complex will serve more than 210 families every semester. That’s up from the 160 the old daycare center could handle. Still, there’s a waiting list of 150.

“The new and improved CDC allows us to increase the number of CalWORKS, community and faculty families we can serve,” Addison said. “It is giving more parents the opportunity to continue their education and be away from their child, knowing that they are safe and learning in a quality environment.”

The 33,800-square-foot complex will provide quality childcare for 162 children. It serves children from infants to 5 years old.

The state-of-the-art facility offers unique perspectives, from the windows installed at toddler height to the low snack counters in each class.

To change a diaper, just roll out the built-in steps to allow the child to climb up onto the new changing tables. Then use the special chute that dumps the soiled diapers into an outside closet.

“We wanted to use natural materials and colors in the construction because research shows that primary colors excite children,” said architect Mikaela Klein, who helped design the center. She is now a Mt. SAC facilities planner.

But it’s the little touches that stand out. Like the tack strip that replaces the usual chair rails, giving teachers a chance to hang the kid’s artwork at their eye level. Or the small, private alcoves scattered throughout the center, giving excitable children a quiet place to calm down.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story CHILD.