L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis joins Principal for the Day program

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis joined business and community leaders Wednesday in the Principal for the Day program in the Bassett, Rowland and Hacienda La Puente school districts.

“My home is actually about 10 minutes from here, where my mother still lives,” Solis said. “I’m a proud (La Puente High) Warrior,”

Growing up, Solis never expected to have the opportunities she has had.

“All I can tell you is that at a tender age I was once told not to dream, not to dream too big, to go along, get along,” Solis said. “Maybe just be a secretary … but I never thought I would receive a call from the White House to become the Secretary of Labor.”

PHOTOS: Hilda Solis joins Principal for the Day program

She credited local schools with giving her a good start.

“There were people in the school system that helped to direct me, to motivate me but also to give me the inspiration to go on,” Solis said.

After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona, Solis earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from USC. Solis worked for President Jimmy Carter in the White House Office of Hispanic Affairs. Later, she became a management analyst in the Civil Rights Division.

“I know there are students we are honoring here,” Solis said. “Follow your dreams, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be or do what you want to do, because I know you can.”

Ten high school and two adult education students received scholarships for their outstanding achievements.

Solis called adult education and Regional Occupational Programs very important to the economy.

“It’s about the economic development, about education and continuing to open up a career path for all of us,” Solis said.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PRINCIPAL

Kiwanis Club gives 100 shoes to Rowland kids

Katherine Rodriguez helps Edgar Hernandez  put on his new shoes.  (Photo Correspondent by Shilah Montiel/

Katherine Rodriguez helps Edgar Hernandez put on his new shoes. (Photo Correspondent by Shilah Montiel/

The Kiwanis Club showed a lot of Heart and Sole on Friday during its fourth annual shoe giveway. The Hacienda Heights club gave more than 100 pairs of new shoes to students in the Rowland Unified School District.

The Kiwanis set up camp at the new Family Resource Center in La Puente. There, they greeted the families as they arrived for their special treats.

“This year, we’ve helping 106 students who have been preselected by the school district,” said Kiwanian Dave Malkin. “Much of the money was raised by the Rowland Heights Senior Pathfinders group. Ashika Shoes also helped a lot.”

After registering, children moved over to a large book case, where they got to pick out a free book.

Little 4-year-old Brianna Cazun chose a colorful children’s book, while her mom picked out another for older daughter, Janeli, who attends Telesis Academy.

Another 4-year-old, Edgar Fernandez, finally decided on an alphabet book. The colorful pages were full of everyday items that began with a letter in the alphabet.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story SHOES.

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.

“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.

Rowland High students get free books today

Rowland High School will hold an “Evening at the Library” event on January 21 from 4 to 6 p.m. where students may come and pick out a book to take home!

There will also be a scholarship presentation from the Navy in the West Wing of the library for students.

Rowland High School Librarian Clare Ruesga is excited to share that 2,400 books were donated to Rowland High School thanks to a grant received from the Molina Foundation.

Their interest is in building home libraries for all children; especially for students in need. The books received vary in topic, author, and genre, but all are geared toward our secondary population.

ELD and special education classes toured the library on Jan. 14 during school to select titles. The rest of Rowland High School students are invited to the “Evening at the Library” event to pick out their book. (It will run on a first come, first serve basis with no rain checks). 

Parents cope with unruly teenagers in Rowland Unified

Many parents need help with strong-willed or out-of-control children. Rowland Unified’s Parent Project will offer 30 hours of free training over a 10-week period, beginning Jan. 20. It even provides baby-sitting.

Families can catch a preview Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Alvarado Intermediate School in Rowland Heights. They can learn about the topics that will be covered in the 3-hour classes held on Tuesday nights starting at 5:30 p.m.

Topics include recognizing drug and alcohol use, gang involvement and threatening to run away, among many other subjects.

“We help frustrated parents understand that help is out there. That they can change their teen’s destructive behavior for the better, “ said Irma Almanza, a community liaison for the local school district.

Over the past 27 years, the Parent Project has worked with 500,000 parents to create this special course, which uses UCLA self-help support group model. It has developed no-nonsense answers to many of the tough questions that local parents face.

“The program is very interactive, we not only talk about behavior modification, we help them change the way they interact with their teenagers,” Almanza explained. “They have to actually use these techniques at home if they want to see a change in their teen’s behavior.”



Naturally, this doesn’t happen overnight, which is why the classes are held over two and a half months. And parents have to do their homework if they want to change things at home.

So where do distraught parents start?

“Of course, it all has to start with your love for your children,” Almanza replied. “But you have to express your love, in many cases, teens are acting out because they don’t think you love them. The child needs to feel your love.”

Experts say love and affection are the keys to effective parent-teen communications. Often, fathers have a problem expressing their love, which needs to be done on a daily basis. Three words, “I love you,” can work wonders.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PARENTS.

Rowland students and Rotary build holiday baskets

Photo by Gina Ward, courtesy of Rowland Unified

Photo by Gina Ward, courtesy of Rowland Unified

Last Saturday more than 200 students and members from the Walnut Valley Rotary gathered at Alvarado Intermediate to assemble holiday baskets for families in need in the Rowland Unified School District.

Students from Interact clubs at Rowland High School, Walnut High School, ASB students from Nogales and Santana High Schools, along with college students involved with Rotary from Cal Poly Pomona and Mt. SAC gathered at 7 a.m. to assemble the 11,567 cans of food and 250 turkeys that were donated.

There were 320 holiday baskets assembled that families from across the Rowland Unified School District received.

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.

Nogales Noble Regiment wins state championship

By Rowland Unified


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


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.