Mt SAC breaks ground for Student Success Center

Mt. San Antonio College will hold groundbreaking ceremonies for the campus’ new Student Success Center and Food Services Building on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 4 p.m., at the site of the new center, just south of the college’s Design Technology Center, building 13. 

The $13.6 million Student Success Center will house the Disabled Student Programs and Services High Tech Center and classrooms, the Veterans Resource Center, the Bridge Program, and a Student Health Center. 

“The new center shows an expansion of our programs to meet the needs of our students,” said Mt. SAC Student Services Vice President Audrey Yamagata-Noji. “It really addresses the growth of our programs and our support for student success.” 

The three-story building will afford 22,800 square feet for classrooms, study labs, offices, and lab. Construction on the project began in mid-September with a completion date slated for December 2015. 

The $12.7 million Food Services Building will replace the current Campus Café. The new 13,500-square-foot facility will seat approximately 90 people for interior dining and over 200 for outside dining on the east, west, and south terraces. The new building will house several food stations, including a deli, a grill station, Asian cuisine, and a coffee shop. 

The new Food Services Building is also expected to be completed by December 2015. 

Mt. SAC holding community volunteer fair Nov. 6

The Mt. San Antonio College Student Life Office will hold a Community Volunteer Fair for local organizations that would like to recruit student volunteers on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Student Life Center patio area, building 9C. 

The fair provides an opportunity for students to engage in public service, obtain hands-on learning experiences, and make a difference in the community.

Some of the organizations that will participate in this year’s event include the AmeriCorps, Covina Public Library, Inland Empire United Way, House of Ruth, Inland Valley Hope Partners, Just Us 4 Youth, Parent’s Place Family Resource & Empowerment Center, Rowland Unified School District Family Resource Center, Think Together, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, and more. 

Community organizations that would like to participate should call the Mt. SAC Student Life Office at (909) 274-5953. 

Suzanne students stand tall at summt in Walnut Valley

The 8th grade Summit field activities focused on team building through physical activities.

The 8th grade Summit field activities focused on team building through physical activities.

By Walnut Valley Unified

Suzanne Middle School 8th graders took a giant step forward in breaking down the walls of stereotypes and learning about the people around them during the 6th annual Summit. The exciting day of activities included workshops, discussions, and a motivational speaker.

About 475 students were divided into three groups to rotate through breakout sessions in classrooms, the field, and the multi-purpose room. The topic of the day was “Understanding and Overcoming Stereotypes”

“Students were mixed up into groups so they could get to know peers that they might not otherwise meet,” explained counselor George Ann Cusson.

The entire 8th grade class participated in a day of reflection and opportunities of personal growth,” said teacher Marla Rickard.

Classroom sessions allowed students to look at the impact of judging people and to reflect on personal impacts on all the parties. Some of the activities included If You Knew Me Well, the Tootsie Pop, and the Playing Card.

The field activities focused on team building through physical activities, a favorite was the Human Pyramid.

During the Stand Tall challenge in the MPR, students learned more about themselves and each other. They analyzed the Iceberg Theory to find ways to drop below the water level to get to know their fellow classmates.

Rickard and Cusson created the event made possible with the help several teachers and staff members, PLUS and PALS service club members, and leadership students. Thirty-one Walnut High School students and two graduates also come for the day to facilitate and lead all the breakout sessions.

“Without them the day would not be as successful. It’s a true team effort,” Rickard said.

“I think the kids are learning more about what they say to each other and to think before they speak,” said WHS senior and ASB president Phillip Silesky,

In one game, students asked their neighbor questions from a bowl. Some were serious  - what would you do if you knew one of your friends was taking drugs? And some were funny – if you were invisible for one day what would be the first thing you would do?

“I probably wouldn’t even know I was invisible and just go to school!” one student replied.

After lunch, WHS graduate and motivational speaker, Dee Hankins spoke to the class about goal setting, rising above any situation, and encouraged the students to live their life with purpose.

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.