Six San Gabriel Unified schools – Coolidge, McKinley, Washington and Wilson elementary schools, Jefferson Middle School and Gabrielino High School – were named to the 2017-18 California Honor Roll for narrowing the achievement gap and performing well on state standardized tests. All six schools were honored as Star Schools, a category for high-performing schools with substantial populations of socioeconomically disadvantaged students.
California state Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon congratulated graduates at Rio Hondo College’s 55th annual Commencement Ceremony on May 24 and urged them to “make a difference.” The ceremony recognized 1,399 students who earned an estimated 2,001 academic degrees, including 653 degrees for transfer, which guarantee admission to the California State University system. Both figures top the College’s numbers for 2016-17. Also honored were three outstanding students who overcame challenges en route to earning their degrees – Brenda Coronel, Yarisma Rocha and Jason Hoang. All three have been accepted to UC Berkeley.
Abraham Lincoln and Wesley Gaines elementary schools were named to the 2017-18 California Honor Roll for demonstrating consistently high levels of student academic achievement while closing achievement gaps. The Educational Results Partnership and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence present the annual honor, which includes a banner to display at each campus.
Lynwood High Students Win Honors at Congressional Art Competition
Three Lynwood High School AP Studio Art students were recognized for outstanding artwork at the 44th District Congressional Art Competition. Senior Evelyn Granados took first place with a piece titled, "Love is Love," while classmates Emily Medrano and Miguel Sanchez received honorable mentions. Granados and a guest will attend the opening reception ceremony of the yearlong Congressional Art Exhibit in Washington, D.C.
El Monte Union Students Compete in 16th Annual Solar Cup
Mountain View High School placed 11th in the veteran division of the nation’s largest solar-powered boat competition sponsored by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. More than 600 students from 38 Southern California high schools raced boats they built themselves during the 16th annual event. The seven-month education program enabled students to apply math, science and engineering lessons to the real-world challenge of building the fastest solar-powered boat possible.
California Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon congratulated Rio Hondo College students for their achievements and urged them to “go out there, make a difference” during the College’s 55th annual Commencement Ceremony, held May 24. The ceremony was one of three events marking graduation achievements. On May 23, the College lauded its first class of Tesla service technicians and held a pinning ceremony for nursing students.
Baldwin Park Unified Senior Wins 32nd Congressional District Art Contest
Rafael Mondragon, a senior at Baldwin Park Unified’s Sierra Vista High School, won first place in U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano’s 32nd Congressional District Art Competition. Mondragon submitted a photo titled "Awaiting a Home," taken at La Plaza at Olvera Street in Los Angeles. He received a free trip to Washington, D.C., where his artwork will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for a year.
La Serna High Teacher Named Whittier Union Teacher of the Year
La Serna High School English and Puente Program teacher Shelly DeSimone dreamed of a career in education as early as second grade, when a teacher asked her to help a struggling English learner. For DeSimone’s efforts in preparing La Serna English learners for college, she was named Whittier Union High School District’s 2017-18 Teacher of the Year. Over her 34-year career, DeSimone has helped hundreds of students to speak, read and write English, guided La Serna’s Puente Program since its inception and established herself as an author of teen fiction written for English learners.
Lynwood Unified School District students experimented with static electricity, observed models of city landscapes and reviewed book reports during the annual Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Fair where students explored the work of their peers across the District. Each of Lynwood Unified’s 18 schools contributed projects that were publicly displayed on May 16 in the city’s Bateman Hall, where the community could take the educational tour. Elementary schools visited the showcase in shifts throughout the day, while some children brought their parents for demonstrations of engineering, science, history and world geography.
Rosemead High School will add an unusual component to its student-run organic herb and vegetable gardens – a garden of weeds to examine how common intruders such as dandelions, clover and nettles can benefit the ecosystem. The “Wisdom of Weeds” program will be developed with a $3,000 Budding Botanist Grant, awarded to the school for its commitment to environmental sustainability and biodiversity. The grant – consisting of a $2,500 check and books/materials valued at $500 – was provided through a joint partnership between Klorane Botanical Foundation and KidsGardening.org. It was presented during a ceremony and garden tour on May 17.
Roosevelt Elementary sixth-grader Stephanie Reyes’ eyes lit up when she described the famous alumni of Princeton University – from former First Lady Michelle Obama to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and President James Madison. Reyes joined classmates Estevan Sandoval and Kianna Jimenez as representatives of Princeton for their school’s fourth annual College Fair on May 22. Nearly 650 Roosevelt students in preschool through sixth grade were taught college options by their peers, detailing school colors, mascots and programs of more than two dozen universities.
Paramount High School senior Noah Endo captured first place in the 40th Congressional District’s 25th annual Student Art Competition held by U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard. Endo won a $1,000 scholarship, $200 for art supplies and a trip to Washington, D.C., with a parent to attend the national exhibit opening. Endo was honored for his piece, titled “A Growing Threat,” created with color pencil, marker and pen. Fellow senior Susana Muñoz took third place, earning a $500 scholarship and $150 for art supplies. Photos are available.
More than 250 seniors from Baldwin Park Unified’s Baldwin Park and Sierra Vista high schools visited their elementary schools on May 24 and 25 to thank teachers for guiding them on their educational journeys and to inspire younger pupils to pursue their dreams. At the events, seniors received high-fives, posters and leis from the schools. Seniors, often tearfully, urged the younger students to treasure their time at Baldwin Park’s schools.
Two Santa Fe High School graduating seniors, who have developed a passion to give back to their community and inspire those around them, have collectively earned $30,000 in scholarships from the Santa Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce to pursue their dreams as first-generation college students. Students Sarah Garcia and Jennisa Casillas are among seven recipients of a Destiny Scholarship, awarded by the Chamber/League Youth Enrichment Fund. Casillas won $10,000 while Garcia was named the winner of the $20,000 Destiny Scholarship, aimed at providing students the opportunity to change their direction in life, or their “destiny.”
Baldwin Park Unified’s Adult and Community Education program lauded more than 190 graduates of its academic and career technical training programs during commencement exercises held May 24 at Baldwin Park High School. The festive event included the National Anthem performed by the Baldwin Park High School band and speeches by valedictorian Tarah Zharny Abregana Amor and salutatorian Lourdes Suastegui Melchor, as well as the awarding of scholarships
Bassett High School Health Academy Seniors Recognized
Bassett High senior Huong Nguyen celebrated with her peers at the Kaiser Permanente Health Academy’s Recognition Ceremony, where she was awarded a $1,000 scholarship – an achievement she credits to the support of Linda Howard, the program’s 15-year coordinator. Nguyen was one of more than 30 students recognized for their completion of the three-year program on May 17. During the ceremony, administrators and educators from Bassett Unified and Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center honored Howard for her years of service and upcoming retirement.
5 Fontana Unified Seniors Named Dell Scholars
Five Fontana Unified High School graduates who have juggled personal challenges with academic excellence were named 2018 Dell Scholars, earning a collective $100,000 in scholarships for higher education costs. Kaiser High School’s Syeda Arif will attend UC Berkeley to study nutrition and public health; Fontana High School’s Victor Iribe will major in mechanical engineering at Cal State L.A.; Summit High School’s Mary Ambriz will study political science and women’s studies at Occidental College; Summit’s Melissa Cruz will attend UC Irvine to study biological sciences; and Summit’s Maria Medina will major in political science at UC Berkeley.