Laker legend, UCLA dean celebrate tea at Newton Middle School in Hacienda Heights


By Newton Middle School

On April 10, Newton Middle School, in Hacienda Heights, hosted their annual “Tea of celebration” that honored their GATE (Gifted and Talented) students for all of their hard work and dedication as they strive to give their best, academically, each day.

The school has 183 sixth through eighth grade students in the GATE program. This year’s tea included AC Green, former Los Angeles Lakers legend and Luz Herrera, Assistant Dean at UCLA’s School of Law.

As Green entered the school’s cafeteria, he was greeted by the students, staff,and parents who were all very eager to hear his message for the day. The students and staff sprung to life with excitement, cheering, and genuinely star-struck as he made his way to the front of the room.

Green spoke about building character, strong bodies, strong minds, winning and losing with dignity, teamwork and sacrifice. He concluded his motivational speech by giving a high five to a student, answering questions, and making sure he reiterated that the “decisions you make today, directly impact your tomorrow.”

Herrera, the event’s second keynote speaker, also shared with the students two powerful messages of how important it is to excel in both academics as well to develop social relationships with others. She also stressed the importance of selecting a peer group that will be a supportive and positive influence in one’s life.

Overall, it was a very fun, engaging, and educational event enjoyed by all, followed by an array of light refreshments, served by the staff.

L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis joins Principal for the Day program

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis joined business and community leaders Wednesday in the Principal for the Day program in the Bassett, Rowland and Hacienda La Puente school districts.

“My home is actually about 10 minutes from here, where my mother still lives,” Solis said. “I’m a proud (La Puente High) Warrior,”

Growing up, Solis never expected to have the opportunities she has had.

“All I can tell you is that at a tender age I was once told not to dream, not to dream too big, to go along, get along,” Solis said. “Maybe just be a secretary … but I never thought I would receive a call from the White House to become the Secretary of Labor.”

PHOTOS: Hilda Solis joins Principal for the Day program

She credited local schools with giving her a good start.

“There were people in the school system that helped to direct me, to motivate me but also to give me the inspiration to go on,” Solis said.

After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona, Solis earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from USC. Solis worked for President Jimmy Carter in the White House Office of Hispanic Affairs. Later, she became a management analyst in the Civil Rights Division.

“I know there are students we are honoring here,” Solis said. “Follow your dreams, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be or do what you want to do, because I know you can.”

Ten high school and two adult education students received scholarships for their outstanding achievements.

Solis called adult education and Regional Occupational Programs very important to the economy.

“It’s about the economic development, about education and continuing to open up a career path for all of us,” Solis said.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PRINCIPAL

Los Altos High students say goodbye for Every 15 Minutes

Grim reaper greets Los Altos High students (Photo courtesy of CHP)

Grim reaper greets Los Altos High students (Photo courtesy of CHP)

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Saying goodbye to loved ones is hard, especially when they’re cut down in the prime of their lives.

Los Altos High students learned this the hard way, when they were asked to write goodbye letters to their parents as part of the Every 15 Minute event on Friday. A fake auto accident had claimed the lives of three students outside the bustling Hacienda Heights campus.

Justin Contreras broke down and sobbed as he tried to read his letter at the school assembly. The 18-year-old senior was comforted by other students who rose to hug him on the gym floor.

“If only I knew that once I left my house in the morning on March 12 that I wouldn’t return home. Maybe I would’ve hugged you longer mom and dad,” wrote Tori Sanchez in her heartfelt goodbye.

“Maybe I would’ve had told you how thankful I really was to both of you. Maybe I would’ve smiled more at both of you when you said good morning,” the 18-year-old continued. “Maybe I would’ve done a lot of different things.”

“I didn’t know that I was never going to see you both again. I’m sorry, because I made a dumb decision to get in a car with a drunk driver my life was taken away. I just turned 18 the previous day, I had my whole life ahead of me,” the senior said.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen. I was supposed to do so many other things in my life and within a blink of an eye all of my dreams and aspirations were taken away from me,” Sanchez wrote.

“I should’ve been more responsible. I should’ve listened to you both. I should not have taken life for granted,” the sad student said. “I’m sorry mom and dad that I have failed you, failed you in the way that you have now lost a daughter and have to bury me.”

The powerful prose moved her fellow students, as Sanchez warned the teens about how fragile life can be. It’s not something teens usually think about.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story GOODBYE

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.

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.

Los Altos High celebrates opening day for baseball

Los Altos High School will celebrate the opening day for baseball on Saturday. It has planned a full day of fun activities, including an alumni vs. varsity game at 9:30 a.m. and JV game at 11 a.m.
The biggest event, the annual COW POOP DEEED BINGO begins at noon. Cows will roam a large painted coordinate grid out on the field. The three first poops made where people have purchased those deed spots, win cash prizes.
There will also be food booths, games and a dunk tank

Speakers shares stories of Iraq with Sierra Vista students

Photo courtesy of Sierra Vista Middle School

Photo courtesy of Sierra Vista Middle School

By Sierra Vista Middle School

Guest speaker Lynn Matthews brought stories of her travels to Afghanistan and Iraq to the students at Sierra Vista Middle School in La Puente on Wednesday.

Many of the students are part of  TLC, the school’s Letter Club.  Students recently wrote letters and sent artistic drawings to students in schools in Jalalabad.

They received letters and pictures in return, which were drawn by their counterparts in the middle eastern countries.  The club will be teaming up with Matthews again to draw pictures and write letters of encouragement to Syrian refugees in camps in Northern Iran.

Matthews will send them along digitally, or perhaps she will hand deliver them on her next trip.  The students had the opportunity to learn about schools in these war-torn regions and ask questions about traveling in an area where terrorism has a daily impact on the lives of children.

Los Altos High choirs plan cabaret night in Hacienda Heights

The Choirs of Los Altos High School will present their annual “Cabaret Night” – a fabulous evening of music, dance, food, and fun.
The performance will be on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 8 pm and Friday Feb. 27 with two shows at 6 & 8 pm. It will be held at the new Hacienda Heights Community Center at 1234 Valencia Ave. in Hacienda Heights.
There are only 160 seats for each of the performances. Tickets are $15.00 per person which includes a reserved seat, appetizers, drinks, and a dessert.
To purchase tickets contact Jeffrey Fahey, Director of Choirs, or 626-934-5446.