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 2018 Band Jam to Celebrate Student Music, Dance

Whittier Union High School District will celebrate student musical and dance performances at its 2018 Band Jamboree, an annual event that features the District’s five comprehensive high school marching bands, cheer squads and drill teams. The Band Jamboree will begin at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5 at Sandra Sanchez Thorstenson Stadium at California High School, 9800 Mills Ave., Whittier.

Whittier Union Leaders Take on New Roles to Steer Student Achievement

Familiar faces have taken on new roles at Whittier Union, continuing a history of strong leadership that has led to rising student academic achievement. Frontier High School Principal Dr. Margie Moriarty will also lead the Whittier Adult School. Richard Rodriguez will serve as assistant principal of Frontier High School. Allison Huntley will serve as assistant principal of guidance at Whittier High School. Craig Fox will serve as Pioneer High School’s assistant principal of business and activities. Together, the four have served Whittier Union for nearly 60 years.

Santa Fe High to Host Parent Education Day to Ensure Student Success

Santa Fe High School will offer parents the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops on topics ranging from teens’ social media use to college and career information during its annual Parent Education Day from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 10400 Orr and Day Road, Santa Fe Springs. Launched in 2003, the program is an informal and free way to gain knowledge on topics and issues that impact teens today.

Whittier High Senior Honored for Balancing Academics with Community Service

Whittier High School senior Ava Sanchez is determined to make a difference – whether its empowering her peers to give back to the local community or inspiring younger students to achieve academic success. Recognized for her leadership skills, integrity and work ethic, Sanchez – a straight-A student who is on track to be one of Whittier High’s class of 2019 valedictorians – has found a way to balance academics with community service.

Whittier Union Student-Athletes Enjoy New Athletic Fields at La Serna

La Serna High School student-athletes are enjoying newly renovated athletic fields, including a nine-lane synthetic athletic track, new high jump, long jump, pole vault, discus and shotput areas. The $9.8 million project was completed with Measure W funds. Playing fields will serve a variety of sports, including football, soccer, and track and field.

Whittier Union Releases 3 Initial Draft Trustee Area Maps

Whittier Union High School District has released three initial draft trustee area maps as it shifts from at-large elections to by-trustee area elections, effective November 2020. The District is seeking public input on the initial draft maps – NDC Green Map, NDC Orange Map and NDC Purple Map – which were developed by professional demographers based on comments from previous public hearings. The public may submit input regarding how the trustee areas are divided through comment boxes available at the five comprehensive high schools, District office and WUHSD District Formation Process website, www.elections.wuhsd.org. The District will host two rounds of community open houses during which attendees may provide structured input on the maps. The first round will take place 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26 at Whittier High School; 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27 at Santa Fe High School; and 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28. A second round will be held in December.

Whittier Union Lauds National Merit Scholarship Commended Students

The Whittier Union High School District is celebrating several students who were named Commended Students in the National Merit Scholarship Program. They are Matthew Rios, Olivia Genoa and Colin McKenzie from La Serna High School; Santiago Lopez from Whittier High School; Miranda Diaz-Infante and Leah Kim from Santa Fe High School; and Matthew Ponce de Leon from California High School. National Merit Scholarship participants are selected based on how they score on their Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) scores, generally taken in junior year. Of the 1.6 million students who took the exam for a chance to win the prestigious $2,500 scholarship, 34,000 top scorers received a commendation and 16,000 were selected as semifinalists.

Whittier Union Selected as a ‘Bright Spot’ District for Advancing Equity, Closing Achievement Gap

Whittier Union High School District has been selected as one of three “Bright Spot” honorees – along with Pasadena City College and Chula Vista Elementary School – by Education Trust-West for advancing equity and strengthening the pipeline to college. Bright Spot districts and college campuses demonstrate a commitment to excellence and implement strategies and practices that have led to positive outcomes for students of color, low-income students and English learners.

La Serna English Teacher Named a Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year

La Serna High School English teacher Shelly DeSimone was named a top 16 Los Angeles County public school teacher for 2018-19 by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) during the organization’s annual banquet on Sept. 21. DeSimone was selected to represent the profession’s “best of the best” from among 72,000 L.A. County teachers. DeSimone will advance, along with other county teachers of the year from around the state, to the California Teachers of the Year competition.

Whittier Union English Learner Overcomes Adversity to Become Straight-A Student

California High School senior Avigahy Garcia’s childhood included moving from California to Mexico and back, challenging her to learn and re-learn the different languages and cultures. Garcia returned to California in her sophomore year and enrolled at Cal High, leaving her parents behind in Mexico, but working arduously to excel in her studies with the help of the school’s support program, Expanded Horizons. She was honored with an Award of Merit by the Whittier Union High School District Board of Trustees on Sept. 11.