Whittier Union High School District

  • Legendary Whittier Union Coach Jack Mahlstede Loses Battle with Cancer

    The Whittier Union High School District community is remembering the life of inspirational educator, mentor and former Santa Fe High School athletic coach Jack Mahlstede, who died Jan. 24 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 80. Mahlstede, who dedicated more than 42 years of his career to Whittier Union, began as a varsity assistant football coach for Santa Fe High School in 1969 and became head varsity football coach in 1970. He served as Santa Fe’s head varsity coach for football, track and cross country until 2011, when he retired. In 2014, the District dedicated Santa Fe High School’s football field to Mahlstede.

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  • Whittier Union Teacher and Coach Shares Inspirational Stories of Struggle, Triumph in New Book

    La Serna High School teacher and 2012 California State Teacher of the Year Ken LaVigne has been recognized for his compassion and integrity, touching the hearts of hundreds of students, teachers and administrators he has worked with over his 30 years as a teacher and football coach. LaVigne, who \ created the school's revered Organized Academic Support in School (OASIS) program, has worked to help at-risk students regain their joy for learning and set them on the path toward graduation. He has documented his experiences in an inspirational new book, "Coach the Soul," telling heartwarming and occasionally heartbreaking stories of his students' struggles and triumphs.

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  • Whittier Union Athletes Bring Holiday Cheer to UCLA Oncology Patients

    The La Serna High School Lancer wrestling team brought holiday warmth and cheer to cancer patients at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica on Dec. 15, handing out more than 50 blankets donated by La Serna students and honoring the doctors and nurses who provided a touching final Christmas gift to a La Serna family member in 2017. La Serna freshman Elijah Villatoro created the donation drive to honor his late uncle, Henry Morales, and the caregivers who helped fulfill Morales’ wish to spend a last Christmas day in the snow with his young daughter.

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Whittier Union Board of Trustees Selects Final Trustee Map, to be Presented to County for Approval

The Whittier Union High School District Board of Trustees at its Feb. 19 meeting adopted a final trustee map – NDC Green – and sequence of elections as it prepares to transition from at-large elections to by-trustee area elections beginning in November 2020. The Board made its decision following hundreds of comments taken during several community open houses, feedback submitted on the District Formation website and input provided during seven public hearings at the Board of Trustees meetings.

Legendary Whittier Union Coach Jack Mahlstede Loses Battle with Cancer

The Whittier Union High School District community is remembering the life of inspirational educator, mentor and former Santa Fe High School athletic coach Jack Mahlstede, who died Jan. 24 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 80. Mahlstede, who dedicated more than 42 years of his career to Whittier Union, began as a varsity assistant football coach for Santa Fe High School in 1969 and became head varsity football coach in 1970. He served as Santa Fe’s head varsity coach for football, track and cross country until 2011, when he retired. In 2014, the District dedicated Santa Fe High School’s football field to Mahlstede.

Whittier Union Teacher and Coach Shares Inspirational Stories of Struggle, Triumph in New Book

La Serna High School teacher and 2012 California State Teacher of the Year Ken LaVigne has been recognized for his compassion and integrity, touching the hearts of hundreds of students, teachers and administrators he has worked with over his 30 years as a teacher and football coach. LaVigne, who \ created the school's revered Organized Academic Support in School (OASIS) program, has worked to help at-risk students regain their joy for learning and set them on the path toward graduation. He has documented his experiences in an inspirational new book, "Coach the Soul," telling heartwarming and occasionally heartbreaking stories of his students' struggles and triumphs.

Whittier Union Athletes Bring Holiday Cheer to UCLA Oncology Patients

The La Serna High School Lancer wrestling team brought holiday warmth and cheer to cancer patients at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica on Dec. 15, handing out more than 50 blankets donated by La Serna students and honoring the doctors and nurses who provided a touching final Christmas gift to a La Serna family member in 2017. La Serna freshman Elijah Villatoro created the donation drive to honor his late uncle, Henry Morales, and the caregivers who helped fulfill Morales’ wish to spend a last Christmas day in the snow with his young daughter.

11 Whittier Union Students to Perform in Tournament of Roses Parade

Whittier High School baritone player Jacob Cortes will perform for the second year in a row in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade Honor Band on New Year’s Day. He is one of 11 Whittier Union students to win a coveted spot in the nearly 250-member Honor Band, which involved a rigorous audition process that included hundreds of high school musicians from throughout Southern California. Joining him are seven band and four color guard members. From Santa Fe High School, they are Korey Allen (clarinet) and Dominick Bonelli (trumpet). From California High School, they are Kaelee Chavez (clarinet), Seth Diaz (tenor sax), Mark Gonzalez (trombone), Roberto Haro (trumpet), Isabella Bocanegra (banner), Lauren Hernandez (tall flag and also a second-year ToR performer), Erika Leal (banner) and Chole Martin (banner).

Whittier Union Board of Trustees to Consider Selection of Final Trustee Map on Feb. 19

The Whittier Union High School District Board of Trustees has selected three draft trustee area maps to consider as the District transitions from at-large elections to trustee-area elections and members prepare to select a final map for adoption at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19. Following comments from the community at a Jan. 15 public hearing, as well as feedback taken during several community open houses and previous public hearings, the Board narrowed the number of draft maps for consideration from six to three. The Board of Trustees will adopt a final map from the following drafts: NDC Green, NDC Orange, NDC Purple. The community is encouraged to review and continue submitting feedback on the maps at the WUHSD District Formation Process website.

Cal High Condor Boys’ Water Polo Team Celebrates First-ever CIF-SS Division 5 Title

California High School boys’ water polo team celebrated its first CIF-Southern Section Division 5 title, edging out Brentwood High 10-9 at the William Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine in November, capping a successful year in which the team compiled a 28-6 record. The CIF title is the first for Cal High in any sport since 2000, and only the fourth title in the school’s 65-year history. Cal High’s title run caps a remarkable month of November for Whittier Union athletics, with many student-athletes distinguishing themselves with personal bests and triumphs.

Whittier Union Students Ring in Holidays with Choral Festival

Whittier Union High School District students rang in the holidays, singing traditional songs and holiday favorites as part of the annual Choral Festival on Dec. 5. Choral groups from California, La Serna, Santa Fe and Whittier high schools received evaluation from this year’s adjudicator, Michelle Jensen, an assistant professor at Azusa Pacific University, clinician and conductor of the APU Chamber Singers.

Whittier Union Scholar-Athlete Counters Adversity through Physical Challenges, Academic Success

Pioneer High School senior Raylene Cosio has never been one to back down from a challenge – whether it’s running a 26.2-mile marathon, taking a six-week accelerated geometry class or leading the varsity girls’ basketball team to victory. Cosio’s constant resilience is a character trait developed as a result of the adversity she faced growing up, including losing her home on two separate occasions and dealing with difficult family relationships.

Whittier Union Freshman Fresh Start Offers New Students a Smooth Transition to High School

The transition from middle to high school can be difficult for students who are having trouble acclimating to the intensified academic rigor. Sierra Vista High School, Whittier Union’s independent study campus, provides a bridge for these students through the Freshman Fresh Start program. Launched in 2013, Freshman Fresh Start is designed to support ninth-graders who are behind in credits, have poor attendance or need one-on-one teacher support. The result for many Sierra Vista freshmen is better social skills, better grades, a restoration of confidence and new friends.