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.

Diamond Bar singer to perform with LA Opera

Sophomore Madison Landi will be performing with the LA Opera in their production of Noah’s Flood. She earned the role of “Gossip 2”. The performances will be March 6 and March 7 at 7:30pm. 

CLICK HERE for the website of “Noah’s Flood”.

Other highlights of Madison’s young singing career include performing at the House of Blues in Anaheim and at The Grove of Anaheim with her band “Matsune”. She has also worked at Disneyland as a singer. In addition to her singing, she is in Diamond Bar High School’s Advanced Drama class.

For the past seven seasons, LA Opera has been honored to work with the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Downtown Los Angeles to present free, large-scale community performances that have included Jonah and the Whale, Noah’s Flood, Judas Maccabaeus and The Festival Play of Daniel, all under the baton of James Conlon.

These community opera performances include singers, actors and orchestra members from the community, performing alongside professional soloists and orchestra members from LA Opera. 

For the 2014/15 season, LA Opera is reviving its successful production of Benjamin Britten’s Noah’s Flood (Noye’s Fludde). Conducted by James Conlon, LA Opera’s Richard Seaver Music Director, Noah’s Flood will be performed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 7:30pm.


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, atjfahey@hlpusd.k12.ca.us or 626-934-5446.


C.J. Morris kindergarteners dress up as senior citizens

Kindergarteners Rachel Peiten, Chloe Thi, and Molly Chung showed off their 100-year-old costumes.

Kindergarteners Rachel Peiten, Chloe Thi, and Molly Chung showed off their 100-year-old costumes.

By Walnut Valley Unified

C.J. Morris Elementary kindergarten students dressed up as adorable centenarians to mark the 100th day of school on January 28. The youngsters transformed into 100-year-olds with gray spray-painted hair, glasses, and canes for the day of fun and learning.

Many of the little ones had their new “mature” hair tucked up in buns with rouge on their cheeks. They wore aprons, shawls and sweater vests.

Some even had painted-on wrinkles! Chloe Thi, age 6, said she liked wobble-walking with her little cane.

“This was the first time we’ve had the students dress as old people,” noted teacher Sarah Sherman.

“They came in with little mustaches and cotton ball eyebrows – it was so cute! ”

The teaching team includes Luisa Salazar, and Kelly Revells, and Sherman, who led the activities costumed with gray wigs, floral dresses, saggy socks, and a trio of canes.

“Mrs. Salazar looks like an old lady! She’s wearing a wig,” observed a giggling Jewelina Baker. Counting to the 100th day of school serves as good practice for number recognition and beginning math skills.

It’s also the means students and their teachers made it about halfway through the school year! The kids look forward to reaching the big 100 all year long.

They counted out 100 Fruit Loops cereal rounds to make necklaces. They estimated walking a-hundred feet. They wrote little books about 100 things they’ve seen, eaten, or wanted to do.

At recess the young whippersnappers raced and played.


“We were two old ladies riding a race car!” exclaimed Rachel Peiten.

Legislators propose changes to school vaccinations

By Susan Abrams, Staff Writer

As California measles cases edge closer to triple digits, two state senators are expected to announce legislation Wednesday to change the current immunization requirements in schools.

The senators — Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician who represents Sacramento, and Ben Allen, the former board president of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District who represents much of the Westside and a portion of Torrance — would not say Tuesday what sort of changes their bill proposes.

But the state’s vaccination rate has raised concerns amid one of the worst measles outbreaks in 15 years.

Current California law allows parents to skip vaccinating their children under what is called a personal belief exemption. Parents who oppose vaccines must receive information by a health professional, unless their decision is based on religious belief.

More than 13,000 kindergartners are not vaccinated, according to published reports.

On Monday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted there were 102 measles cases in 14 states, including New York. The outbreak stems from an infected visitor to Disney Parks in late December, and cases then spread across the Golden State. Most are in California, where there are 92 cases statewide. Almost 20 percent are in Los Angeles County. An update is expected to be given on Wednesday during a news conference by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

While some school districts are telling unvaccinated children to stay home and a child care center in Santa Monica that reported one case remained closed, the Los Angeles Unified School District said there are no confirmed cases.

Measles vaccines have been available in the United States since 1963, and two doses have been recommended for infants since 1989.

The vaccine, which prevents measles, mumps and rubella, is 99 percent effective, but 1 percent of those who are immunized can still get sick, health officials have said. Those who are concerned about their safety can have a blood test to check their immunity.

Give Kids a Smile event on Friday in La Puente

On Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., more than 150 Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten and First Grade students at Hurley Elementary will receive a free dental check-up at the “Give Kids a Smile” event. Sponsored by the Chinese American Dental Society of Southern California, dentist Dr. Chester Jeng, DDS, JD, will be on hand to provide free dental screenings to students.

Hurley Elementary is located at 535 S. Dora Guzman Avenue in La Puente. www.hurleyelemschool.org.  Hurley Elementary Principal Yesenia Alvarez can be reached at (626)965-2429.

For more information about the “Give Kids a Smile” event, please contact: Dr. Chester Jeng DDS, JD, President of the Chinese American Dental Society of Southern California at (562)691-0738 or visitwww.cadssc.org.

South Pointe P.E. classes read and ride in Walnut

South Pointe students are benefitting from the new Read and Ride program.

South Pointe students are benefitting from the new Read and Ride program.

By Walnut Valley Unified

South Pointe Middle School physical education teachers are helping students exercise their brains during fitness classes.

“Our teachers read an article that said if you read while you’re working out you’re brain will actually imprint the information a little bit more,” Principal Susan Arzola said.

P.E. teachers thought it would be perfect for the 30-minute silent reading called AR (Accelerated Reader).

“We began playing with the Read and Ride program at the end of last year and decided to make it official in August,” explained P.E. teacher Ann Schnoor.

Every class is in the fitness room once a week. P.E. teachers now rotate the schedule so students climb on exercise bikes to Read and Ride twice each month.  The 6th-8th grade students get fit with cardio push music during Week 1. They stand up, tighten tension, pedal, sit down, and repeat.

During Week 2 they they Read and Ride. Week 3 is movie and ride and week four is another Read and Ride.

“The kids love the diversity of the days.  We give rewards to anyone who rides over 12 miles at a time.  Believe me, that is tough.  Yet, we have at least 10 every period who achieve that!” Schnoor said.

The room is quiet during Read and Ride weeks. “I like the peace and quiet while I read. It gives me a chance to think about a lot of stuff.  And it helps with my multitasking,” said Amir Hunter, age 14.

“You can conserve time and do cool stuff at the same time,” said 8thgrader Christine Wan, age 13.

“So if you’re studying for a test that might be a good time to read and ride as you study because your brain will start putting those tracks down in your head and you’ll remember it better,” Arzola said to students in an 8th grade class. “It will make you smarter in the end!”


La Verne jazz concert features Mt. SAC choral group

By Imani Tate, Staff Writer

Singcopation, Mt. San Antonio College’s multiple award-winning choral ensemble, and the Bonita High School Jazz Ensemble will highlight the jazz concert presented by the La Verne Cultural Arts Society at 7 p.m. Saturday in The Meeting House at Hillcrest.

Tickets are $20 per person for the concert showcasing the musical talents of teens and young adults in the Inland and San Gabriel valleys. Advance tickets may be purchased through Paypal at www.living@hillcrest.org. If still available, tickets can also be purchased at the door of The Meeting House, 2705 Mountain View Drive.

The Bonita band, directed by instrumental music educator Jeff Bird and including freshmen to senior students, opens the evening with a program featuring songs by Ira and George Gershwin, Billy Strayhorn, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Doug Beach, Paul Lohorn and Les Hooper.

The Bonita ensemble has performed at concerts, festivals and private parties throughout Southern California. Bird, who completed a bachelor of music education from Ohio’s College of Wooster and a master of music education at the University of North Carolina, has taught at Bonita for 11 years. Also a professional bassist, Bird also plays in XNA, a progressive rock band, and sings lead vocals in The Shepherds of Lies, a Genesis tribute band.

Singcopation, a 13-voice choir, has repeatedly wowed audiences in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, won a record-setting nine Downbeat jazz magazine national polls as the best collegiate choir in the United States and twice won Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Music Festival. The latter distinction also made Singcopation the nation’s best college jazz choir. It has won standing ovations from pioneering performers, legends and master artists at International Association of Jazz Educators conferences, the L.A. Vocal Jazz Workshop, New York City’s Lincoln Center.

The group recently returned from a successful tour to Guangzhou, China and won the platinum medal at the first Xinghai International Choral Competition.

Bruce Rogers, an internationally renowned choral conductor and Mt. SAC’s choral activities director, has conducted the Walnut community college singers and international choirs in America, Wales, Australia, England, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Scotland, Austria, Bulgaria, China and the Czech Republic.

For more, read Tate’s story JAZZ

Lanterman property to go to Cal Poly Pomona

By Jason Henry and Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writers

The recently closed Lanterman Developmental Center could go from the control of the state’s Department of Developmental Services to that of Cal Poly Pomona.

According to the 2015-2016 Governor’s Budget Summary, the 302-acre Lanterman property would be transferred to Cal Poly for academic purposes and to expand its Innovation Village development.

“The transfer is contingent on CSU acknowledging that state funds will not be specifically appropriated for the operation, maintenance or development of this property; and the University accommodating the needs of other state departments for a portion of the land in the area,” according to the budget summary.

Before Cal Poly can take possession of the Lanterman property, the Legislature must approve and adopt the budget, said Emily Velasco, Cal Poly spokeswoman.

“We’re hopeful and we’re in negotiations with the state, but it’s not anything definite,” Velasco said. “It’s really up to them at this point.”

For more than eight decades, the Lanterman Developmental Center was home to people with developmental disabilities.

On Dec. 31 the center closed, following a nearly five-year-long process to gradually relocate center residents to specially designed homes across Southern California.

Lanterman closed due to several factors, including the potential cost of infrastructure improvements required by state and federal governments.

Velasco said in the current negotiations, the state is negotiating on behalf of the California Highway Patrol, the California Air Resource Board and the California Conservation Corps, all of which would like use of portions of the Lanterman property.

The CHP uses a building on the property, said Nancy Lungren, spokeswoman for the state Department of Developmental Services, which operated the developmental center and is still in charge of maintaining and caring for the property until the end of the current fiscal year.

For more, read LAND

“The Filharmonic” performs at Oswalt Academy in Walnut


By Rowland Unified

Students are buzzing that the a Cappella group The Filharmonic – from NBC’s hit musical competition “The Sing-Off” and featured in the new movie “Pitch Perfect 2” – performed today at their school.

Beat boxer Niko Del Rey is an alumni of Oswalt Academy and was excited to return to perform to Oswalt 6th – 8th graders.

The Filipino-American band have had much to sing about after sharing the stage with Linkin Park, Black Eyed Peas and Penatonix from the “Sing Off” national tour and their upcoming movie.

They are known for their melodic vocal style that exemplifies an urbanesque hip hop sound with 90’s nostalgia.

The six members are passionate about their Filipino culture and love of music and have combined musical talents coming from the world of pop, jazz, a cappella, opera and theater.

To catch recent videos and learn more visit www.thefilharmonic.com or follow them @thefilharmonic.