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. 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/.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Marshall Tuck campaign released a new video this morning featuring some new endorsers. Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Joel McHale and Adam Scott have thrown their support behind Marshall in a funny new video featuring the four actors lending their political expertise to Tuck’s campaign.
Watch the video, here.
“This election is so important that I sat down with Joel McHale, Adam Scott, and some handsome devil named Dax Shepard to get the facts from Marshall and provide some high-level strategy from today’s sharpest political minds,” said Kristen Bell, actress, parent and activist. “[And] as a parent, I want to make sure we give every child access to a great education.”
While the video provides some much needed humor in the middle of a heated campaign, it does take a serious look at several key issues facing the race, including the state of education in California today,
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!
By Richard Irwin, Staff Write
The Los Angeles County Fair honored more community heroes on Friday. Every year, the fair celebrates the volunteers, students and seniors who make their communities a better place to live.
This year, Walnut chose Lou and Joanie Simonelli for their volunteer work. The couple have spent many hours working for the band boosters at Walnut High School.
Walnut’s Community Services Superintendent Alicia Jensen noted Simonelli’s dedication has lasted well past the years in which their own children went to high school.
“The Community Services Department received a letter signed by 134 kids from Walnut High School praising and thanking the Simonelli’s for their efforts,” Jensen said in her nomination.
Dubbed the Bandfather, Lou has driven thousands of miles with a pile of instruments behind him. The couple also build and maintain the play sets and pit carts. Along the way, these community heroes have touched the lives of many students, parents and teachers.