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.

Nogales High students learn about Holocaust

US History teacher Devon Darrow talks to students at Nogales High School.

US History teacher Devon Darrow talks to students at Nogales High School.

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Nogales High students are especially thankful for friends, family and freedom this Thanksgiving. The Rowland Unified students have been studying the Holocaust this week.

Last week, 150 history students toured the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Then, they gathered in the gym for a live Skype with a Holocaust survivor.

“I want my students to learn history from firsthand accounts and experiences. These people bring history alive, having actually lived through historic events,” explained teacher Devon Butcher.

Butcher is an enthusiastic instructor of world and U.S. history. At Cal State Fullerton, Butcher discussed how to teach students about the Holocaust after the last survivors had died.

“The fear we discussed was when this generation is gone and can’t tell their stories, how do we go forward as educators and teach this?” Butcher asked. “How can we teach this horrific event in history without firsthand accounts?”

So the Nogales teacher took his students to the Museum of Tolerance. The museum helps students understand the Holocaust as well as prejudice and discrimination in the world today.

“We watch people get bullied every day and don’t do a thing about it,” Butcher said.

Every visitor gets a different passport with the story of a child affected by the Holocaust. The passport is updated during the tour, revealing the child’s fate at the end.

“I thought it was a very sad situation, because no matter what the age the children were, they killed them,” said 15-year-old sophomore Paola Aldana.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story HOLOCAUST.

Diamond Bar golfers sign with Pepperdine, UC Irvine

Two Brahma golfers, Sahith Theegala and Jefferson Kao, who have signed national letters of intent. Shown with Coach Ty Watkins and Principal Catherine Real.

Two Brahma golfers, Sahith Theegala and Jefferson Kao, who have signed national letters of intent. Shown with Coach Ty Watkins and Principal Catherine Real.

Two Diamond Bar High School varsity boys golfers have signed national college letters of intent. Seniors Sahith Theegala will attend Pepperdine University and Jefferson Kao will attend University of California, Irvine in the fall.

“It’s exciting and kind of unbelievable,” Kao said about the receiving the athletic scholarship. Kao and Jefferson have been varsity players since their freshman year.

“Entering the Brahma team, we already knew all the players. It was like a big family because we played completive junior golf,” Kao explained. “Our goal was to help each other improve, improve as a team, and to play our best.”

He first picked up the clubs at six years old – and they were the plastic ones.  Kao, age 17, is excited about his decision to play at UC Irvine.“I’m happy with the team, I already feel like it’s a family.”

Theegala said he only needed to look at a few colleges before making his decision. “It feels awesome,” Theegala said after the signing day. “Pepperdine met all my requirements and the coaches are amazing,” the 16-year-old said. He’ll be 17 in a week.

Theegala agreed that the long-term golf relationships helped the Brahma team. “We all knew each other coming here and kind of fed off each other.  And when the golf season starts we have so much fun. It goes by too fast!”

“The Diamond Bar Golf Program has had some great success over the past few years, mostly due to the great accomplishments of Sahith Theegala and Jefferson Kao,” praised Coach Ty Watkins.

The DBHS Boys Golf Team were named 2012 League Champions, CIF Champions, 2013 League Champions, CIF Champions, and 2014 League Champions, CIF Runner-ups.

The Varsity Boys Golf team has been riding on the coat tails of these two extraordinary young men, we are hoping to make one more run at a CIF title, and maybe even a run at a CIF State championship, like the Diamond Bar Girls team.  Our team is incredibly excited for Sahith and Jefferson, and we know the Pepperdine community of Malibu and the Irvine community will benefit because these two wonderful men.”

Nogales Noble Regiment wins state championship

By Rowland Unified

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The Nogales High School Noble Regiment took state championships this weekend — second year in a row, even when they moved up a division this year to 4A — beating 19 bands!

Band Director Brad Pollock and students will gather at lunch time tomorrow at 12:15 p.m. outside the gym to celebrate their victory

“Out of 20 bands, the nobles won general effect, visual, color guard and the gold medal. What an amazing experience and memory for our seniors and for our entire organization,” Pollock said. “I can’t say anything else but wow!! No words can express the emotions. I was  more than proud of our kids, staff, parents, and we love our regiment family. Go nobles!!” Pollock said.

Shelyn students build machines in Rowland Heights

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The room was packed as GATE 4th-6th grade students at Shelyn Elementary presented their projects to classmates that they built at home that demonstrated their learning about “simple machines” and physics.

Led by educator Pam Hessom, students learned about building and designing projects by watching videos from Bill Nye and researched video of Rube Goldberg machines (She invites everyone to check out the video at www.wimp.com/gomachine !)

After studying the many types of simple machines, students designed and built projects selected from different kits that were funded with grant money from the FOR US Foundation and The Shirley Kaufman Grant.

“The idea was to promote to our students to be creative as they can. Even though they are simple machines, they are not so simple – everything from catapults, roller coasters and windmills were presented and on display and we were all so very proud and impressed with their efforts,” said Shelyn Principal Sarah Opatkiewicz.

Rowland Unified readies holiday boutique on Dec. 4

The community is invited to shop at Rowland Unified’s annual holiday boutique on Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the board room at the district offices on Nogales Street.

Don’t forget if you want to order the popular Tamales, complete order form before Nov. 25 for pick-up at the boutique on Dec. 4.

Some of the many hand-made items you will find at the Boutique are: holiday decorations, country and Victorian gifts, jewelry, doll items, purses, hair items, hats, duct tape crafts, Tupperware, books, knitted and crocheted items, sports novelty items, candied apples, pottery and tamales!

Tables Still Left for Vendors!  

 

Nasouf named principal at Nogales High School

Yousef Nasouf is the new principal at Nogales High School. He comes from the Anaheim Union High School District, where he was Principal for Orangeview Junior High School since 2011.

Before that , he was an Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction for Cypress High School/Kennedy High School where he also coordinated the IB program.

Nasouf taught eight years at La Mirada High School and was a Basketball Coach at Santa Ana College, Mayfair High School and La Mirada High.

 He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from UCLA, and a Masters of Arts in Education from Cal State University, Dominquez Hills.

Rowland Unified raises money for holiday baskets

For the past 44 years, Rowland employees celebrate the holidays by supporting the HOLIDAY BASKET PROGRAM which helps nearly 250 RUSD families in need.

This donation is carried out through the joint efforts of the students of Nogales, Rowland and Santana High School’s Interact Clubs, ASB, employees of RUSD, members of the Walnut Valley Rotary Club, and other community volunteers.

Superintendent Dr. Julie Mitchell encourages every employee to support this worthwhile program by donating at least $2. *

Please make checks payable to HOLIDAY BASKETS. You may make your voluntary contribution directly to your immediate supervisor now until Friday, December 5.

All proceeds will be collected by Rita Garcia, Executive Secretary, Administrative Services in the District Office. (Letters with additional information were sent to all sites).

Canned Goods are being collected at school sites for the baskets now untilWednesday, December 10.

 

Pomona Unified superintendent joins White House Summit

Richard Martinez, superintendent of the Pomona Unified School District, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 100 top school leaders from across America to participate in the first-ever National Connected Superintendents Summit, on Wednesday at the White House.

Superintendent Martinez is among exemplary local school chiefs who will be recognized for their leadership in helping transition their districts to digital learning. This unique conference will bring together officials from throughout America to share with one another and the Education Department promising approaches to using technology in classes.

“It is a tremendous honor and privilege to be invited to the White House to represent the Pomona Unified community and showcase the innovative ways our talented teachers are revolutionizing digital learning and education in the classroom,” PUSD Superintendent Richard Martinez said. “We are excited to be recognized for being trailblazers in the world of digital education and are proud to be a model of success that other schools can replicate.”

The Pomona Unified School District recently won two Golden Bell Awards from the California School Boards Association for its innovative use of technology in Early Childhood Education, and educational excellence at the Palomares Academy of Health Sciences. The school district offers its students career pathways in computer science in partnership with Harvey Mudd College and Microsoft Corp., and courses in robotics through Cal Poly Pomona. Village Academy High School offers career courses in Film Studies and Computer Science/Information Technology.

Every PUSD classroom has Internet access districtwide. Thirty-two Common Core/SBAC assessment-ready labs are being completed and campus-wide WiFi is expanding at all sites across the district. Mobile devices such as iPads, Chromebooks and laptops are available in PUSD’s K-12 schools, bringing educational technology into the classroom. Through community partnerships with EveryoneOn and Southeast Community Development Corp., PUSD is bridging the digital divide for Pomona USD families.

“School districts across the country are helping teachers harness the power of technology to create personal learning environments for all students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We want to make sure every child – whether he or she is in the inner-city, in a rural community or on a Native American reservation – has access to knowledge and the chance to learn 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The White House summit will be followed by a series of 12-15 regional summits that will focus on the digital progress made possible by local school districts.  The events will also include the unveiling of digital tools that facilitate incorporation of technology into short-term and long-range education planning.

To help spotlight the value of technology in schools, the Education Department is sponsoring a Future Ready Initiative aimed at showcasing outstanding school leadership and strategies.

“The Future Ready Initiative highlights the critical role of district leaders in setting a vision and creating the environment where educators and students access the tools, content, and expertise necessary for thriving in a connected world,” said Richard Culatta, director of the Department’s Office of Educational Technology.

Ryan Seacrest honors Diamond Bar teacher

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, left, celebrates with Diamond Bar High music director Steve Acciani.

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, left, celebrates with Diamond Bar High music director Steve Acciani.

“American Idol” star Ryan Seacrest visited Diamond Bar High on Veteran’s Day to honor Music Director Steve Acciani, a semifinalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award.

The event was hosted by KIIS FM, which kept the students and families entertained while they waited for the television star to arrive.

Seacrest is an honorary chairman for the Grammy Foundation. He took time from his hectic schedule to meet one of the 25 national semifinalists. Music Director Buddy Clements at Walnut High is also a semifinalist.

Photos: American Idol host Ryan Seacrest visits Diamond Bar High

The award recognizes outstanding music teachers who have made significant contributions to music education.

“I was surprised when they called me two weeks ago and said they wanted to come out to meet me,” Acciani said. “I think its great for them to help support our music program.”

The gregarious teacher had to fight his way through the crowds to get to the stage when Seacrest called out his name. It seemed like all 700 students in the Brahmas music program showed up for the event.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story IDOL.