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 names two new administrators

The Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees has approved two administrative positions for the 2014-2015 school year.

Dr. Sergio Canal in the new Director of Pupil Personnel

Sergio Canal in the new Director of Pupil Personnel Services Secondary Education.

Sergio Canal in the new Director of Pupil Personnel Services Secondary Education.

Services/Secondary Education in the Educational Services Division. Sergio brings 18 years of expertise in the K-12 educational system. Most recently, he served as principal at Nogales High School. He has also been an elementary teacher, middle school assistant principal, and high school administrator.

David Suarez was approved as Director of Maintenance, Operations,

David Suarez is Walnut Valley's new Director of Maintenance, Operations, Transportation, Facilities

David Suarez is Walnut Valley’s new Director of Maintenance, Operations, Transportation, Facilities

Transportation and Facilities.  David comes highly recommended and brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the district. For the past five years, he supervised over 300 employees as director of maintenance at Veolia. David is also a retired Air Force E-7 technical sergeant and served our country for 20 years.

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

Diamond Bar student takes second place in national leadership conference

Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL), the largest and oldest student business organization, held its National Leadership Conference in Nashville on June 29–July 2.

Participants from across the United States and two countries competed in more than 60 business and business-related events. Crystal Chang from Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar received national recognition at the FBLA Awards of Excellence.

Chang competed in Health Care Administration and brought home second place. The competition consisted of a timed 100-question multiple-choice test on a wide variety of healthcare-related topics such as infection control, health insurance, healthcare law and ethics, records management, and medical terminology.

“Crystal also qualified for nationals last year in Anaheim, as a freshman. This year, she placed higher than any other Diamond Bar student in the history of DBHS FBLA,” said Ty Watkins, DBHS FBLA chapter adviser.

The award was part of a comprehensive national competitive events program sponsored by FBLA-PBL that recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas.

For many students, the competitive events are the capstone activity of their academic careers. In addition to the competitions, students immersed themselves in educational workshops, visited an information-packed exhibit hall, and attended motivational keynotes on a broad range of business topics.

Walnut Valley administrators remember friends in ALS challenge

Walnut Valley administrators remembered friends and family as they joined in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It began at the high schools, before spreading to the school district headquarters.

Superintendent Bob Taylor answered the challenge from Walnut Principal Jeff Jordan on Friday. Jordan had taken the challenge during football practice the day before.

“I was happy to take the challenge because it’s a fantastic cause,” said Taylor. “It helps raise awareness for ALS. A relative of mine passed away from the disease so this has a special meaning for me.”

The challenge reached its peak on Wednesday, when six administrators answered Taylor’s challenge at the administration building. They lined up on a hot afternoon with temperatures reaching 100 degrees.

The nervous contingent included three assistant superintendents — Matt Witmer, Michelle Harold and Jeanette Ullrich. Joining them were directors Jose Annicchiarico, Sergio Canal and Jackie Brown.

The brave educators waited their turn as bucket after bucket of ice cold water doused them. The shock cause several to jump out of their plastic chairs on the front lawn.

 

 

But they all agreed it was for a good cause, raising money for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. And for one it was very personal.

“I’ve had a couple of friends die from the disease,” said Assistant Superintendent Witmer.

The gregarious administrator remembered one friend, Mark Plum, who died from the progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

“We had a group of friends who would go to Disneyland every Christmas to see the decorations and the rides,” Witmer recalled. “His family and mine always enjoyed this Christmas tradition together.”

 

 By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

After the computer businessman became disabled with ALS, his friends decided to take him to Disneyland one last time. They packed his wheelchair and headed to the “happiest place on Earth.”

“We were all so happy he could go,” Witmer said. “We took turns pushing his wheelchair and took him on a couple rides.”

The adventure gave Witmer a “lasting memory” when his friend died, leaving a wife and two young children.

“It was hard, but we pitch in help his wife when she wants to clean the garage or fix something,” Witmer added.

Read more in Rich Irwin story CHALLENGE.

Walnut Valley begins first day of school

By Kelli Gile, Walnut Valley Unified

It’s back-to-school time in the Walnut Valley Unified School District. Nearly 14,600 students began classes in the 15 campuses on Monday, August 18.

“We had a great first day,” said Walnut High School Principal Jeff Jordan. ”Students and staff were excited to be back. There was an upbeat attitude all day.”

The teens happily chatted at break time, stopped by their lockers, and checked schedules before dashing off to their next class.

Maple Hill Elementary in Diamond Bar opened doors to its completely modernized campus in Diamond Bar.

Everyone was relocated to portable buildings during the $5.6 million construction project last year.

This was the first chance for students and their families to see the new school.

“We made it!” exclaimed Principal Nancy Stingley. “Everybody’s here and inside, everybody’s happy, and everybody’s smiling.”

“Wellyn’s very lucky she’s going to a brand new school,” said kindergarten parent Jocelyn Wong.

Fourth graders Gabrielle Zabresky, Valentina Yonemoto, Carlie Law and Ella Liu were excited to see their new classrooms before the school bell rang.

What do they like best about school?

“We love math – it’s fun!’ the girls exclaimed.

“It’s really nice,” commented parent Grace Wang just outside her child’s classroom.

Fifth grade teacher Shirley Conner greeted students who were lined up before the 8 a.m.school bell rang.

“Welcome back to school. It’s beautiful inside!” she said

“It’s such a gift to us,” beamed fourth grade teacher Tami Berry.

“Everything’s new and wonderful, and different. As we had time to get to know the school, you all will have time to get to know the school,” she told her students.

“It’s going to be a very fun place to learn,” Berry added.

The school has a brand-new interior design, multipurpose room and exterior landscaping. Classrooms feature state-of-the-art technology, skylights and generous storage cabinets. Six hundred new desks and chairs were purchased for the campus.

“It’s big and roomy, everything is clean and new, and up-to-date technologically,” said kindergarten teacher Lisa Esse, who has been at the school for 20 years.

“And every teacher is excited!”

“It’s like a new beginning for us. It’s beautiful, it’s kid-friendly and we have a lot of new technology that we didn’t have before,” said third grade teacher Sue Conrad-Kanstul.

Teachers will now use wireless microphones and be able project assignments using cool mobile stations that adjust up and down, she explained.

Kanstul is happy that she will no longer have her back to the screen while at the front of the class.

“The kids used to say ‘Mrs. Kanstul I can’t see the board.’ And now I can watch what I’m projecting. I would say it’s 21st century.”

“I look forward to another great school year at Suzanne Middle School,” said Principal Les Ojeda.

“We have a great number of returning students and new students that seem incredibly intelligent, enthusiastic and eager to learn.”

Westhoff Elementary celebrated the first day of school with balloons, chalk greetings, posters, music and a staff with welcoming smiles.

“It’s going to be a great school year!” said Principal Denise Rendon.

Maple Hill Elementary reopens after $5 million renovation in Diamond Bar

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Maple Hill Elementary students found a new school when they arrived Monday morning for the first day of the new year.

Diamond Bar families have waited patiently the past year while workers renovated the Diamond Bar campus.

“The district spent $5.6 million to remodel this school,” said Walnut Valley school board president Cindy Ruiz. “I wish my children went here, it’s great environment for kids.”

Lush landscaping greets parents as they drive up to drop off their children. The vibrant shrubs and trees set the tone for the striking campus.

Inside, architects have balanced energy efficiency with high technology to produce a state-of-the-art school.

“We can have rainbows all day long,” said kindergarten teacher Lisa Esse.

Esse explained how light tubes channel sunlight into each classroom. Teachers can control shutters to allow just the right amount of light into their room.

“If you tweak the control just right, the prisms will form a faint rainbow,” Esse laughed. “The kids will love it.”

Ruiz turned off the lights to show how much natural light pours into the classrooms. It was still be easy to read a textbook.

“We have also installed new LED lighting throughout the school,” said Jeff Roule, construction manager for Walnut Valley Unified. He estimates the new lighting systems will save the school 20 percent on its electric bill.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story RENOVATION.

Vejar Elementary raises $2,875 for ill student in Walnut

Teacher Jamie Highstreet with Vejar student Andrew Orsario.

Teacher Jamie Highstreet with Vejar student Andrew Orsario.

Vejar Elementary hosted a year-end “Have a Heart” fundraiser to help a young student in need of a new heart in Walnut.
The school and community campaign brought in $2875 to help with expenses for 3rd grader Andrew Osorio who is on the national heart transplant list.
“Thank you to the Vejar family and community for their support!” said Principal Jennifer De Anda.