Language programs to entertain families on Feb. 24

By Hacienda La Puente Unified

The Dual Immersion programs in the HaciendaLa Puente Unified School District at Wedgeworth Elementary, Los Altos Elementary and Valinda School of Academics will present the first Dual Immersion Showcase and Silent Auction.

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, students from our Mandarin and Spanish programs will perform for the community. In addition, local vendors and literacy groups will be on hand to celebrate the success of our students and present materials to the community.

The event will take place at the Hacienda Heights Community Center at 1234 Valencia Ave. in Hacienda Heights from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Vendors/Silent Auction includes: • La Libreria Books, an independent book seller that features English Language children’s books along with authentic Spanish language text. • Conmigo, Affinity Insurance – Family literacy outreach program. • Chinese Book and Education vendors.

Silent Auctions items include movie tickets, vendor baskets, and special school auctions. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Rosalie Sinapi, Principal at Los Altos Elementary School at (626) 933-2302.

Los Altos High choirs plan holiday concert in Hacienda Heights

Los Altos High choir performs at opening of Hacienda Heights Community Center.

Los Altos High choir performs at opening of Hacienda Heights Community Center.

The Los Altos High School Choirs are bursting with enthusiasm to announce the performance of their Holiday Concert in the sparkling new Hacienda Heights Community Center located at 1234 Valencia Ave. in Hacienda Heights. The concert will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.

General admission is free but donations are appreciated. If you would like reserved seating for $7, contact Jeffrey Fahey, Director of Choirs via email: jfahey@hlpusd.k12.ca.us 

Visit www.losaltoschoir.org for more information. Come one and all to kick off the Holiday Season. See you there!

Chavarria Foundation hold fiesta dinner for scholarships

The Rudy Chavarria Scholarship Foundation is proud to announce our 1st Annual “Fiesta” Dinner to raise funds for the 2015 scholarship awards. Our foundation has no overhead, therefore all funds raised at this, and other events, are allocated 100% to scholarships for students graduating from the five high schools in Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.

 Come join us on November 5, 2014 at the Industry Hills Expo Center from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. You can count on a fun night filled with music, entretainment, live and silent auctions, opportunity drawings and more. You will also be able to meet the 2014 scholarship recipients.

 For information on individual seats and other sponsorship opportunities click here.

Hacienda La Puente Unified holds finals cross country meet

Maya Rodriguez of Mesa Robles won gold medal  for sixth grade girl team.

Maya Rodriguez of Mesa Robles won gold medal for sixth grade girl team.

The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District held its annual finals cross country meet at Mesa Robles Middle School in Hacienda Heights.

The first top 3 runners were given a medal (gold, silver and bronze) and runners 4 through 10 were given ribbons. They all competed based on their gender and grade level.

 

Sky’s the limit for Baldwin Academy students in Hacienda La Puente Unified

Baldwin Academy student Jilliana Herpacio, 10, assembles a rocket to launch.

Baldwin Academy student Jilliana Herpacio, 10, assembles a rocket to launch.

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Baldwin Academy students got a chance to build their own SpaceX rockets, thanks to the Los Angeles aerospace company and the Union Pacific Foundation.

SpaceX recently won a $2.6 billion contract to build rockets to carry astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.

But last week, the lucky fifth-graders got the chance to launch the SpaceX rockets they have been working on after school for the past five weeks. The athletic field became their makeshift launch pad in Hacienda La Puente Unified.

“SpaceX has been a major sponsor of the Youth Science Center,” agreed the center’s chairman Ron Chong. “They gave us 100 SpaceX rocket kits for our students to assemble. And they’re a $5,000 silver sponsor for our annual dinner on Nov. 14.”

Model Rocketry Instructor Lyle Majeska recommended the Valinda school. He lives just down the street from the school that his own son attended.

“I thought the students would learn a lot by building their own rockets,” Majeska explained. “The model rocket classes are very popular at the Youth Science Center in Hacienda Heights.”

During the afterschool class, the fifth-graders learned about aerodynamics and thrust to build missiles that will actually fly. They even added parachutes to the little capsules.

“The students were selected based on their teachers’ recommendations,” said Principal Lila Picado. “We wanted self-starters, who could work independently on the rockets.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ROCKETS.

Students whoop it up at Industry Hills Pro Rodeo

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.

Los Molinos Elementary gets National Blue Ribbon

Students learn in the computer lab at Los Molinos Elementary in Hacienda Heights.

Students learn in the computer lab at Los Molinos Elementary in Hacienda Heights.

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.

Grammy winner performs at La Puente High

La Santa Cecilia performs at La Puente High School

La Santa Cecilia performs at La Puente High School

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Grammy Award winners La Santa Cecilia brought a message of hope and happiness to La Puente High on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles band, whose recording “Treinta Días” was honored for Best Latin Rock Album this year, agreed to help the Warriors celebrate Hispanic heritage month. They had been invited by history teacher Wesley Perez.

“While this is my first year at La Puente High, I taught at Hawthorne High School for four years, where I was able to bring Ozomatli to speak and perform for my students,” Perez explained. “I believe that students need to have positive experiences in high school because they can truly change lives.”

So the enthusiastic instructor had his students share the afternoon with an inspirational band in the school’s Little Theater. They also shared dreams and goals during a question and answer session.

“Why do many women, especially Latinas, have a hard time living independently,” asked 16-year-old junior Irene Martin.

The band’s powerful singer Marisol Hernandez offered lots of interesting advice to the teens. She drew on her own experience growing up and joining the band.

“I love what I do! And I have my own place,” Hernandez said. “We can only listen to parents and families so long. We have to follow our hearts because we’re never going to make everyone happy. Do whatever you want, learn to live in your own skin.”

Along the way, everyone will face challenges, the singer said. The hard part is rising to the challenges so you can overcome them.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PUENTE.

Sheriff’s deputies give school supplies to La Puente kids

By Brian Day, Staff Writer

Sheriff’s deputies, in partnership with the La Puente and the National Latino Peace Officers Association, is in the process of distributing 100 backpacks full of school supplies to needy students.

The giveaway began last week at Workman Elementary in Hacienda La Puente Unified and Hurley Elementary in Rowland Unified. It will continue next week at Sparks Elementary School and Del Valley School, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. and La Puente Police Chief Pete Cacheiro said.

The backpacks and supplies were donated by the National Latino Peace Officers Association, and were arranged by Explorers from the sheriff’s Industry Station. Sheriff’s officials worked with the schools to identify the students most in need of the supplies.

In addition to putting smiles on children’s faces, the event exemplifies the “Community Oriented Policing” strategy employed in La Puente, fostering trust between young people and law enforcement.

La Puente City Councilwoman Valerie Munoz accompanied deputies as they distributed the backpacks at the first two schools.

“In our community, we do have students who need these services,” she said.

Students also got a chance to chat with deputies and sit in their patrol cars.

“How wonderful it is they take the time to build those relationships. They’re very present in the community,” Munoz said. “ They’re going above and beyond and making a big impact in our community by being involved.”

Cacheiro and Munoz both credited community-oriented policing with significant drops in La Puente’s crime rate this year, which is among the lowest in the county.

“The effort that they’ve made in community-oriented policing is something that’s shown a vast improvement,” Munoz said.