Westhoff Elementary holds cultural fair in Walnut Valley

Valerie Lu served up Hawaiian-style food. Shown with Luke, Monica Y., Caden, and Joyce N.

Valerie Lu served up Hawaiian-style food. Shown with Luke, Monica Y., Caden, and Joyce N.

By Kelli Gile, Walnut Valley

Hundreds of Westhoff Elementary families and friends enjoyed foods from around the world during a Culture Fair held Oct. 10. Fifteen different countries were represented at decorated booths with music, customs, and lots of delicious authentic food. Students wore traditional clothing to parade around the school while a DJ offered music for dining and dancing.

“This is one of my favorite nights of our school year.  Everyone relaxes during the cool evening, eats delicious food, and chats with other Westhoff families,” said Principal Denise Rendon.

The school’s Community Club hosts the fair where parents, students, and teachers come together to celebrate diversity of the many cultures represented at the school.

“It is an opportunity for our children to learn about their friends’ customs and share about their own, ” said President Melinda Powell.

“I like going to Culture Fair because I get to play with all my friends.  My dad likes to take me because he really likes the food, “ said 2nd grader Tiffany Fu.

Westhoff Elementary hosted its annual Culture Fair  with  traditional costumes.

Westhoff Elementary hosted its annual Culture Fair with traditional costumes.

“I dressed up in my Indian Clothes.  I like eating other cultures food, but my favorite was my families’ table of Indian food, ” added Priya Kankanala, a 3rdgrader.

Parent Valerie Lu hosted a Hawaiian booth that was a big hit with Kalua pork, spam musubi, haupia, and of course shaved ice.

“Culture Fair is such a unique tradition at Westhoff. The amount of effort put in by all the parent volunteers is tremendous and just as rewarding,” she said. Community Club member Lu serves as the school’s Coordinating Council representative.

There were many delicious dishes from around the world with pad Thai and pineapple fried rice (Thailand), cream puffs (France), tamales (Mexico), stuffed grape leaves (Egypt), chili and cornbread (USA), and more. Parent volunteers at the China table served foods representing its many different regions including Hunan, Sichuan, and Shandong.  Along with sampling tasty treats at the Pakistan booth, the kids came away decorated with beautiful henna designs.

“It’s such a wonderful opportunity to get to meet the families of our children’s new friends, catch up with old friends, all while enjoying amazing authentic food!” Powell said.

Mt. SAC dance company presents fall dance concert Oct. 24-26

 The Mt. San Antonio College Repertory Dance Company will perform a variety of dance styles at its Annual Fall Repertory Dance Concert on Oct. 24 – 26 at the college’s Sophia Clarke Theater.

Performance times are 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with a special 3 p.m. performance on Sunday, Oct. 26. 

The dance company is Mt. SAC’s elite group of student performers who showcase the talent of this award-winning dance department. The troupe performs thought-provoking modern works and entertaining musical theater pieces along with ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary dance.

Faculty and guest choreographers are highly acclaimed professionals with credits that include major dance companies, film, and television. 

Tickets are $14 for general admission, and $10 for seniors, students, and children age 12 and under. 

For tickets and more information, call the Performing Arts Box Office at (909) 274-2050. Tickets may also be purchased online athttps://tickets.mtsac.edu. 

Walnut High dedicates athletic building to Bob Barilari

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By Walnut Valley Unified

Walnut High School paid tribute to long-time Mustang, Bob Barilari during a building dedication on October 1. Current and retired staff members, coaches, alumni, family members, and district officials gathered for the afternoon ceremony.

Barilari served as the Boys’ Equipment Manager from 1970-2004. A plaque was unveiled dedicating the Boys’ Locker Room in his honor.The special dedication celebrated Barilari’s legacy of relationships and friendships at the building where he spent over 70,000 hours of his life working and supporting thousands of people.

“Bobby started his legacy at Walnut High in 1970, and at that time, nobody would have realized the impact he would have on all of us 44 years later,” Principal Jeff Jordan said.

Barilari had many outstanding qualities, but the one that stands out the most was his ability to establish relationships with students, coaches, and teachers.

“Everyone knew Bob and Bob knew everything about everyone. Most of us that knew Bob would agree that he was caring, gentle, and big-hearted,” Jordan added.

Many of those friendships continued during retirement and through his battle with cancer. He passed away just one year ago leaving a lasting impression at the school.

“Bobby didn’t realize it, but he was very inspirational to all of us,” said Jordan.

 “I don’t know if there’s a more prestigious honor than having a building dedicated to you on a school campus. There will be many, many people that will walk by and will stop and look at the plaque and start to tell stories and learn more about Bob as long as the school is here,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

“Having someone like Bobby here on a daily basis made a real difference to students,” said Board President Cindy Ruiz.

“Bobby was a special person,” said retired principal Dr. Ken Gunn.

“No one’s going to walk through the doors of that locker room without thinking of him.”

 After the ceremony, several guests shared memories of their longtime friend.

Girls’ Athletic Equipment Attendant Connie Sanchez worked with Barilari for over 20 years.

“He remembered everybody, remembered every game, the time, and history of the football team. He didn’t even need a pencil and paper. He was a wonderful, wonderful guy.”

‘He was always there for you,” said retired coach Anthony Gomez.

“He was so loving and caring. And he made friends wherever he went,” recalled teacher Mary Jo Gomez.

Three 1970’s alumni friends wouldn’t have missed the ceremony.  They got to know him as student-athletes and stayed in touch through the years.

“Bob was the man. And that building was his house,” recalled John McIntire.

“He meant a lot to us,” said Ron and Lynn Himes.

“Bobby’s standout qualities were his genuineness and kindness,” they added.

“Bobby will never be forgotten here. His legacy will serve as a symbol of excellence that we can all strive for,” Jordan said.

Barilari was a huge USC fan.  As a tribute after the plaque unveiling, the WHS Band performed his favorite song- the Trojan Fight Song.

Mt. SAC celebrates million alumni day on Oct. 18

–Mt. San Antonio College will celebrate its more than one million alumni with a full day of activities at the second annual Mt. SAC Alumni Day on Saturday, Oct. 18, beginning at 1 p.m. 

Mountie pride will be loud and proud with over seven hours of speakers, shows, and tours as Mt. SAC showcases the successes of its many alumni, faculty, and current students. 

Just some of the activities scheduled include a presentation by alumnae Kim and Ericka Harrison, famed television writers for “Criminal Minds” and the new hit show “How to Get Away with Murder,” agriculture and wildlife sanctuary tours, planetarium shows, and a music faculty concert in the Feddersen Recital Hall. 

The day’s event will be capped off with the top-ranked Mt. SAC football team taking on Citrus College at 6 p.m., preceded by a pre-game fly-over by the college’s nationally respected flying team and a reception with a barbecue, music, and lots of Mountie spirit. 

For more information on Alumni Day, call the Mt. SAC Alumni Association at (909) 274-5443 or check online atmtsac.edu/alumni/alumniday/. 

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.

Mt. SAC opens $18 million child development center

Photo by Leo Jarzomb

Photo by Leo Jarzomb

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

The decision of paying for good day care or attending college is a heavy burden for many young families. But with the grand opening this month of Mount San Antonio College’s $18.5 million child development center, the school is helping hundreds of students bridge the gap.

“Childcare is sometimes the biggest barrier for people who want to return to college and continue their education,” said Tamika Addison, the center’s director.

The four-building complex will serve more than 210 families every semester. That’s up from the 160 the old daycare center could handle. Still, there’s a waiting list of 150.

“The new and improved CDC allows us to increase the number of CalWORKS, community and faculty families we can serve,” Addison said. “It is giving more parents the opportunity to continue their education and be away from their child, knowing that they are safe and learning in a quality environment.”

The 33,800-square-foot complex will provide quality childcare for 162 children. It serves children from infants to 5 years old.

The state-of-the-art facility offers unique perspectives, from the windows installed at toddler height to the low snack counters in each class.

To change a diaper, just roll out the built-in steps to allow the child to climb up onto the new changing tables. Then use the special chute that dumps the soiled diapers into an outside closet.

“We wanted to use natural materials and colors in the construction because research shows that primary colors excite children,” said architect Mikaela Klein, who helped design the center. She is now a Mt. SAC facilities planner.

But it’s the little touches that stand out. Like the tack strip that replaces the usual chair rails, giving teachers a chance to hang the kid’s artwork at their eye level. Or the small, private alcoves scattered throughout the center, giving excitable children a quiet place to calm down.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story CHILD.

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!

Glenn Miller Orchestra swings into Walnut High on Oct. 18

The Walnut High School Jazz Orchestra will share the stage with the legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra for an evening of musical memories featuring hits from those Swingin’ Years of Big Band Era. Come join us between shows for a BBQ dinner. Proceeds from this special event will benefit the Walnut High School Instrumental Music Department.

WHO:             Walnut High School Instrumental Music Department

WHAT:           The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra

Big Band Concert and BBQ Dinner ~

WHERE:         WHS Performing Arts Center located at 400 N. Pierre Road in Walnut

WHEN:           Saturday, Oct. 18, Shows at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

HOW MUCH:   All Seats Only $30,  BBQ Dinner at 5 p.m. for $15

Ticket sales at www.seatyourself.biz/walnutmusic.

For more information, please cal (909) 594-BAND.

 

 

 

 

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 names two new administrators

The Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees has approved two administrative positions for the 2014-2015 school year.

Dr. Sergio Canal in the new Director of Pupil Personnel

Sergio Canal in the new Director of Pupil Personnel Services Secondary Education.

Sergio Canal in the new Director of Pupil Personnel Services Secondary Education.

Services/Secondary Education in the Educational Services Division. Sergio brings 18 years of expertise in the K-12 educational system. Most recently, he served as principal at Nogales High School. He has also been an elementary teacher, middle school assistant principal, and high school administrator.

David Suarez was approved as Director of Maintenance, Operations,

David Suarez is Walnut Valley's new Director of Maintenance, Operations, Transportation, Facilities

David Suarez is Walnut Valley’s new Director of Maintenance, Operations, Transportation, Facilities

Transportation and Facilities.  David comes highly recommended and brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the district. For the past five years, he supervised over 300 employees as director of maintenance at Veolia. David is also a retired Air Force E-7 technical sergeant and served our country for 20 years.