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.

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.

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.

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

athlete

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.

Acciani, Clements named Grammy Music Educator semifinalists

Buddy Clements

Buddy Clements

By Walnut Valley Unified

Two Walnut Valley teachers have been named semifinalists for the 2015 Grammy Music Educator Award.

Instrumental Music Directors Steve Acciani from Diamond Bar High School and Dr. Buddy Clements from Walnut High School are among 25 semifinalists announced today by The Recording Company and The Grammy Foundation.

For the second year, the Music Educator Award will recognize an outstanding music teacher who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrates a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.

“This honor has me very humbled, but also extremely proud of what our community is accomplishing through the amazing collaborative efforts and vision of our school staff, local professional musicians, business partners, parents, and the best students ever,” Acciani stated.

 

“To have two schools in the same school district receive this distinction is amazing!” Clements said after hearing the news. Both music teachers were selected as quarterfinalists in June.

 

“It would be the ultimate honor for me to represent music educators all over our nation, especially those who have devoted decades of their lives to teach their students not only about the joy of music but also how music can touch souls, heal broken spirits, mend shattered lives, build bridges across social canyons of injustice and prejudice… and because of this our love of music can be a worthy, life-long quest for excellence, compassion, creativity and expression,” said Clements.

 

This year, 7,000 nominations were submitted from all 50 states. The 25 semifinalists come from 25 cities across 17 states.

 

All semifinalists will have the chance to earn $6,000 for their music department through the Ford Drive 4 UR School program.

Ten finalists will be announced in December and will be recognized for their remarkable impact on students.

The winner will be announced during Grammy week in February 2015 and will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award and a $10,000 honorarium.

For every performer who makes it to the Grammy stage, there was a special teacher who played a critical role in getting them there. It’s time to say thank you to all the teachers who put in the extra hours to instill the love of music in their students. And that’s just what the people who bring the Grammy Awards plan to do with this award!

Glenn Miller Orchestra swings into Walnut High on Oct. 18

The Walnut High School Jazz Orchestra will share the stage with the legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra for an evening of musical memories featuring hits from those Swingin’ Years of Big Band Era. Come join us between shows for a BBQ dinner. Proceeds from this special event will benefit the Walnut High School Instrumental Music Department.

WHO:             Walnut High School Instrumental Music Department

WHAT:           The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra

Big Band Concert and BBQ Dinner ~

WHERE:         WHS Performing Arts Center located at 400 N. Pierre Road in Walnut

WHEN:           Saturday, Oct. 18, Shows at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

HOW MUCH:   All Seats Only $30,  BBQ Dinner at 5 p.m. for $15

Ticket sales at www.seatyourself.biz/walnutmusic.

For more information, please cal (909) 594-BAND.

 

 

 

 

Walnut High drama performs “The Understudy”

The Walnut High School Drama Department is bringing to the stage The Understudy by Eddie McPherson, presented in theatre-in-the round. Drama teacher Joanne Karr directs the talented cast in this murder-mystery comedy.

Acting can be murder!  Dolores Gordon, who loves the stage, has always dreamed of stardom. But the only role she ever seems to land is that of the lowly understudy.

So she decides the only way she is going to land the lead role in an upcoming community theatre production is to murder the lead actress, Guinevere Black. And that is exactly what she does.

To make the murder more fun, Dolores hides Guinevere’s body in a large wooden trunk that is used as the centerpiece of the production. She realizes her worst nightmare when she discovers the body has disappeared.

But who took it? Find out in this comedy that spoofs Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock all in one-keep-you-guessing backstage comedy.

Shows are October 1-4 at 7 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on October 4. General admission tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Tickets may be bought online at www.seatyourself.biz/walnutdrama or at the door. For information, please call (909) 594-133 ext. 34212.

 

The Walnut High Performing Arts Center is located at 400 N. Pierre Road in Walnut.

Walnut Valley marks Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

Students place 9/11 flags in front of Walnut High School on Thursday.

Students place 9/11 flags in front of Walnut High School on Thursday.

This week, Walnut Valley schools marked the 13thanniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. 

Chaparral Middle School band, orchestra, and choir performed patriotic songs to honor and remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2011. “We want to make sure that we never forget what happened 13 years ago on this day,” said Principal Ron Thibodeaux.

The 8th grade band, directed by Leslie Schroerlucke, performed the National Anthem and the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The 8th grade Orchestra played God Bless America and Honor and Glory.

Honor and Glory was written as a dedication to all of the First Responders, fire fighters and police officers,“ conductor Greg Rochford said.

Social studies teacher Nancy Miles read the Presidential Proclamation for Patriot Day. She challenged the Chaparral students to perform service for others in the coming weeks.

“It’s as simple as writing a thank you note to a First Responder, donating to a charity, or holding the door open for someone. How will you mark this day? What will you do for service?” she said.

The program concluded with the choir performance of Blowing in the Wind and Let it Be. “These songs reflect on war and peace,” said director Richard Langham.

At Walnut High School, a score of students placed nearly 3,000 American flags on the front lawn of the campus during lunch and after school on September 10.  The event was organized by the Teen Republicans Club who had support of the Young Democrats Club, Key Club, Sophomore Class Cabinet, and numerous volunteers.

“This year, students created a memorial display with a 9-11 inside a pentagon,” said advisor and social studies teacher Brett Landis.

Walnut High offers ROP medical assistant course

The East San Gabriel Valley ROP and Technical Center offers a Medical Assistant certification program, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education programs (CAAHEP) at Walnut High School.

The class is held in the evening hours for graduating students as well as for adults in the local community interested in being trained in administrative (front office) and clinical (back office) skills. 

A great opportunity for Walnut High School students who want to pursue medical degrees but need employment to pay for their further education providing them with a head start and hands-on experience in the medical field. 

Walnut High adds ROP medical pathology class to

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Maybe a student from Walnut High will find a cure for the Ebola or West Nile virus some day. It could happen thanks to the new pathology class at the Walnut Valley campus.

Pathology is the branch of medicine that deals with the nature of disease. The new health class may be the link that drives a promising young student to go into medical research.

The class is one of several courses being offered by the high school through the East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program. ROP instructors now teach more than 300 Walnut students, according to ROP Coordinator Candice Marsano.

“The medical classes have become very popular at Walnut High,” said Marsano. “That’s why we continue to add new classes and sections.”

Principal Jeff Jordan has seen the ROP program grow from one instructor with 60 students to several teachers with hundreds of students over the past six years.

“Now, we have kids who graduate and go on to study medical careers at Cal State Fullerton, Mt. SAC and Azusa Pacific University,” Jordan reported. “They come back and thank us for giving them a head start in their medical careers.”

Marsano said two of the ROP courses, Intro to Sports Medicine and General Medical Pathologies, have been approved by the University of California.

“If our students pass the UC test, they can earn college credits here at Walnut High,” Marsano explained.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story HEALTH