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.

Walnut High’s Jeff Huang a leader on and off court

athlete

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.

Acciani, Clements named Grammy Music Educator semifinalists

Buddy Clements

Buddy Clements

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!

Walnut High drama performs “The Understudy”

The Walnut High School Drama Department is bringing to the stage The Understudy by Eddie McPherson, presented in theatre-in-the round. Drama teacher Joanne Karr directs the talented cast in this murder-mystery comedy.

Acting can be murder!  Dolores Gordon, who loves the stage, has always dreamed of stardom. But the only role she ever seems to land is that of the lowly understudy.

So she decides the only way she is going to land the lead role in an upcoming community theatre production is to murder the lead actress, Guinevere Black. And that is exactly what she does.

To make the murder more fun, Dolores hides Guinevere’s body in a large wooden trunk that is used as the centerpiece of the production. She realizes her worst nightmare when she discovers the body has disappeared.

But who took it? Find out in this comedy that spoofs Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock all in one-keep-you-guessing backstage comedy.

Shows are October 1-4 at 7 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on October 4. General admission tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Tickets may be bought online at www.seatyourself.biz/walnutdrama or at the door. For information, please call (909) 594-133 ext. 34212.

 

The Walnut High Performing Arts Center is located at 400 N. Pierre Road in Walnut.

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.

Walnut High offers ROP medical assistant course

The East San Gabriel Valley ROP and Technical Center offers a Medical Assistant certification program, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education programs (CAAHEP) at Walnut High School.

The class is held in the evening hours for graduating students as well as for adults in the local community interested in being trained in administrative (front office) and clinical (back office) skills. 

A great opportunity for Walnut High School students who want to pursue medical degrees but need employment to pay for their further education providing them with a head start and hands-on experience in the medical field. 

Walnut Valley begins first day of school

By Kelli Gile, Walnut Valley Unified

It’s back-to-school time in the Walnut Valley Unified School District. Nearly 14,600 students began classes in the 15 campuses on Monday, August 18.

“We had a great first day,” said Walnut High School Principal Jeff Jordan. ”Students and staff were excited to be back. There was an upbeat attitude all day.”

The teens happily chatted at break time, stopped by their lockers, and checked schedules before dashing off to their next class.

Maple Hill Elementary in Diamond Bar opened doors to its completely modernized campus in Diamond Bar.

Everyone was relocated to portable buildings during the $5.6 million construction project last year.

This was the first chance for students and their families to see the new school.

“We made it!” exclaimed Principal Nancy Stingley. “Everybody’s here and inside, everybody’s happy, and everybody’s smiling.”

“Wellyn’s very lucky she’s going to a brand new school,” said kindergarten parent Jocelyn Wong.

Fourth graders Gabrielle Zabresky, Valentina Yonemoto, Carlie Law and Ella Liu were excited to see their new classrooms before the school bell rang.

What do they like best about school?

“We love math – it’s fun!’ the girls exclaimed.

“It’s really nice,” commented parent Grace Wang just outside her child’s classroom.

Fifth grade teacher Shirley Conner greeted students who were lined up before the 8 a.m.school bell rang.

“Welcome back to school. It’s beautiful inside!” she said

“It’s such a gift to us,” beamed fourth grade teacher Tami Berry.

“Everything’s new and wonderful, and different. As we had time to get to know the school, you all will have time to get to know the school,” she told her students.

“It’s going to be a very fun place to learn,” Berry added.

The school has a brand-new interior design, multipurpose room and exterior landscaping. Classrooms feature state-of-the-art technology, skylights and generous storage cabinets. Six hundred new desks and chairs were purchased for the campus.

“It’s big and roomy, everything is clean and new, and up-to-date technologically,” said kindergarten teacher Lisa Esse, who has been at the school for 20 years.

“And every teacher is excited!”

“It’s like a new beginning for us. It’s beautiful, it’s kid-friendly and we have a lot of new technology that we didn’t have before,” said third grade teacher Sue Conrad-Kanstul.

Teachers will now use wireless microphones and be able project assignments using cool mobile stations that adjust up and down, she explained.

Kanstul is happy that she will no longer have her back to the screen while at the front of the class.

“The kids used to say ‘Mrs. Kanstul I can’t see the board.’ And now I can watch what I’m projecting. I would say it’s 21st century.”

“I look forward to another great school year at Suzanne Middle School,” said Principal Les Ojeda.

“We have a great number of returning students and new students that seem incredibly intelligent, enthusiastic and eager to learn.”

Westhoff Elementary celebrated the first day of school with balloons, chalk greetings, posters, music and a staff with welcoming smiles.

“It’s going to be a great school year!” said Principal Denise Rendon.

Maple Hill Elementary reopens after $5 million renovation in Diamond Bar

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Maple Hill Elementary students found a new school when they arrived Monday morning for the first day of the new year.

Diamond Bar families have waited patiently the past year while workers renovated the Diamond Bar campus.

“The district spent $5.6 million to remodel this school,” said Walnut Valley school board president Cindy Ruiz. “I wish my children went here, it’s great environment for kids.”

Lush landscaping greets parents as they drive up to drop off their children. The vibrant shrubs and trees set the tone for the striking campus.

Inside, architects have balanced energy efficiency with high technology to produce a state-of-the-art school.

“We can have rainbows all day long,” said kindergarten teacher Lisa Esse.

Esse explained how light tubes channel sunlight into each classroom. Teachers can control shutters to allow just the right amount of light into their room.

“If you tweak the control just right, the prisms will form a faint rainbow,” Esse laughed. “The kids will love it.”

Ruiz turned off the lights to show how much natural light pours into the classrooms. It was still be easy to read a textbook.

“We have also installed new LED lighting throughout the school,” said Jeff Roule, construction manager for Walnut Valley Unified. He estimates the new lighting systems will save the school 20 percent on its electric bill.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story RENOVATION.

Vejar Elementary raises $2,875 for ill student in Walnut

Teacher Jamie Highstreet with Vejar student Andrew Orsario.

Teacher Jamie Highstreet with Vejar student Andrew Orsario.

Vejar Elementary hosted a year-end “Have a Heart” fundraiser to help a young student in need of a new heart in Walnut.
The school and community campaign brought in $2875 to help with expenses for 3rd grader Andrew Osorio who is on the national heart transplant list.
“Thank you to the Vejar family and community for their support!” said Principal Jennifer De Anda.

Suzanne Middle students get trophies for Math Olympiad program

Suzanne 7th grade Math Olympiad winners with teacher Amy Erickson.

Suzanne 7th grade Math Olympiad winners with teacher Amy Erickson.

By Walnut Valley Unified

Suzanne Middle School students were among the 110,000 students worldwide to participate in the 2013-2014 Math Olympiad program.  The Math Olympiad contests challenged students to solve unusual and difficult problems and to think creatively.

The team participated in a series of five monthly contests of 5 problems each, from November to March, and weekly practice sessions with Suzanne math teachers and coaches Amy Erickson and Victor Lu.

“The students responded well to the challenge and were recognized for their achievements during an end of the year awards celebration,” Erickson said.

Students were awarded trophies for top scores in each grade level as well as pins and patches of recognition.

For the 6th grade, William Lin came in first with a total of 21 correct out of 25. William Lin, Darren Chen, Derek Wang, John Chou, Amber Tsao, Jennifer Zhang, Tyler Xu, and Melony Yu all received silver pins to signify a top 10% score.  An embroidered patch was also awarded to Liwen Xia, Nicole Chiang, Katherine Lee, Catherine Wang, Curtis Lin, Daniel Ahu, Marco Chan, Jeremy Hsiao, Louis Wong and Kevin Chen for placing in the top 50%.

In the 7th grade, Aaron Chang was awarded the 1st Place trophy along with a patch signifying a top 50% score. Alice Zhang, Ethan Lin, Oscar Chou, Sylvester Yue, Angela Zhu, Jordin Wang, Felianne Teng, Yi Chen, Jerry Guo, Sheldon Zhu, Derick Tseng, Phillip Leung and Jing Wong also received patches for their 50% scores.

In the 8th grade, Eugene Lo was awarded the 1st Place trophy along with a silver pin recognizing his top 10% score.  Christopher Wang was also awarded a silver pin. Kevin Jensen, Lydia Chan, Fabiola Delvillar, Charles Gu, Matthew Nguyen and Irene Zhou received patches for their 50% scores.