Chaparral’s not “Frozen” out of Hour of Code in Diamond Bar

Chaparral Middle School in Walnut joined millions of students in over 180 countries to participate in “The Hour of Code.”  This year, the non-profit Code.org teamed up with Disney Interactive on a tutorial that lets young programmers help Frozen sisters Anna and Elsa make ice fractals and skating patterns using basic coding skills.

The Frozen tutorial will kick off the Hour of Code campaign designed to promote participation in computer science, especially among girls.

Hour of Code launched 2013 in an effort to introduce students to computer science, demystify coding, and demonstrate that anyone can learn the “basics” of coding.  Last year, Chaparral Cougars learned to code during this worldwide event and enjoyed engaging tutorials and lessons.

Some students even started a “coding club” as a result of their experiences, which remains a viable club on the Chaparral Middle School campus!

The school is excited about the problem-solving and logic building skills that the students will be developing this year as a result of “The Hour of Code”, and is confident that the lessons learned will build a foundation for their success in any 21stcentury career path that they may choose.

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.

Tech Trek grads to speak in Diamond Bar

Tech Trek is an annual science/math camp for Middle School aged girls held in July at UC Irvine. Four eighth grade scholarship recipients will report on their experiences at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 22 in the Windmill Room at Diamond Bar City Hall.

The speakers are Roya Rezvani of Chaparral Middle School, Theresa Lin and Kyla Jennell of Suzanne Middle School, and Ying Wang of South Pointe Middle School.

Everyone is welcome at this public event co-sponsored by the Diamond Bar-Walnut AAUW and the Friends of the Library.

GATE students building bridges at Chaparral School in Diamond Bar

Chaparral GATE students Esther Tarng, Donna Chao, Michelle Chao, Summer Wang show their toothpick bridge. (Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified)

Chaparral GATE students Esther Tarng, Donna Chao, Michelle Chao, Summer Wang show their toothpick bridge. (Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified)

Chaparral Middle School GATE students raced to build toothpick bridges during a competition held on March 6. The group of gifted 6th, 7th and 8th graders is part of the after-school Bridge Design and Engineering class.

Chaparral 7th grade Language arts teacher Heather Finch serves as the GATE coordinator. “The class worked very hard in preparation for the challenge during the past 12 weeks,” Finch said.

The four-member teams managed their own budgets to buy supplies, including land (cardboard), lumber (toothpicks), welding equipment (glue), and paint.

It took 15-20 hours to complete the detailed structures. Students had to communicate as a team in order to overcome strict time constraints.  Prizes were awarded for strongest truss bridge and for creative design.

“It was an overall fun and exciting experience building and breaking our bridges.  I was surprised to see how much weight a toothpick bridge could hold,” said 7th grader Virginia Wang,

“Our goal was for the bridges to hold 150 lbs., and our winning bridge ended up holding over 250 lbs.,” Finch said.