Cal High Senior’s Resilience After Tragedy Recognized by Whittier Union
California High School senior April Ramirez was a happy, high-achieving student when her father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away when she was 9 years old. Dedicating herself to a life of great accomplishments, Ramirez enrolled as a freshman in Cal High’s acclaimed college prep and academic support program, Puente, feeling that attending a university would be the best way to honor her father’s memory. She has gained acceptance so far from San Jose State University and has earned a full-ride scholarship to Whittier College. She was recognized with an Award of Merit from the Whitter Union High School District Board of Trustees.
To drive home the perils of operating a car while distracted or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Pioneer High School on April 4-5 hosted an “Every 15 Minutes” program, a two-day event featuring a simulated car crash, rescue efforts and the dramatized deaths of students, as well as a candlelight vigil and mock funeral.
The Whittier Union High School District’s five comprehensive high schools are inviting future freshmen and their parents to attend Future Frosh Night on Thursday, March 22, where the members of the class of 2022 will receive valuable information about the classes and programs available at each campus. Teachers, students and administrators at the high schools will host the eighth-graders for an evening of exploration of exemplary programs for ninth-graders, including: Advanced Placement courses and challenging Honors programs; rigorous academics; college preparation and counseling; innovative career academies; top athletics programs; visual and performing arts programs; extensive support services; and exciting extracurricular activities.
Future Whittier Union Freshmen Invited to Learn About Schools, Programs
The Whittier Union High School District’s five comprehensive high schools are inviting future freshmen and their parents to attend Future Frosh Night at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 22, where the members of the class of 2022 will receive information about the classes and programs at each campus. Teachers, students and administrators at the high schools will host the eighth-graders. Locations are as follows: California High School, 9800 S. Mills Ave. in the large gym; La Serna High School, 15301 Youngwood Drive in the Locke gym; Pioneer High School, 10800 Benavon St. in the quad; Santa Fe High School, 10400 S. Orr & Day Road, Santa Fe Springs in the Mendez gym; and Whittier High School, 12417 E. Philadelphia St. in the auditorium.
Follow-up Story: Santa Fe High School English language arts teacher Isela Garcia-Valencia was beloved on campus for the empathy she offered all students, particularly those struggling with language barriers and economic hardships – challenges she was all too familiar with. Garcia-Valencia died on Jan. 30 after a four-year battle with cancer. She was 41. Garcia-Valencia joined Whittier Union's Santa Fe High School in 2005, passionate about working with first-generation English learners and advocating for mental health services for students. First diagnose with breast cancer in 2014, Garcia-Valencia continued to work while undergoing treatment, defying the odds before falling ill again late in 2017.
Follow-up Story: The Whittier Union High School District held a safety review meeting for dozens of District administrators, safety personnel and partner elementary school districts to review the District’s security practices and mental health services, as well as learn about the psychology of attackers from noted expert Dr. Manny Tau, incident responses from the Whittier Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department as well as the post-incident response. The District is constantly reviewing school and district safety plans and held the meeting in response to the recent school shooting in Florida.
Sal Rodriguez, a 1996 graduate from Pioneer High School, returned to his alma mater on March 5 to share with students that his journey to higher education was not a direct line from high school, with trial and error playing a significant role in helping him find his niche in the workforce. Rodriguez was one of more than 50 alumni to take part in the Alumni Career Day, aimed at inspiring students to pursue their college and career aspirations. The speakers included lawyers, firefighters, school psychologists and special effects makeup artists.
Follow-up Story: Sixty Whittier Union High School District students demonstrated their mastery of physics during the District’s inaugural Science Cup, held March 2 at the Sierra Education Center. Student teams from all five Whittier Union comprehensive high schools competed in three separate events: building and racing mousetrap cars, designing and launching bottle rockets and creating a Rube Goldberg machine. Medals were given at the end of each event, with a cup awarded to the overall winner
Follow-up Story: California High School senior Kelly Clavel’s dreams of finding a cure for cancer were nearly shattered as a child when a south Los Angeles elementary school teacher advised her to choose a more realistic goal. Using the slight as a stimulus to not only excel academically, but to inspire young Latinas in impoverished areas to strive for the impossible, Clavel has become an exemplary leader on the Cal High campus and a standout student in class. Clavel can now demonstrate that anything – including becoming a surgeon and find cures for the incurable – is possible after gaining early admission to Stanford University, one of the top biomedical research colleges in the country
Follow-up Story: Frontier High School is one of 32 schools in the state to be recognized by the California Department of Education as a 2018 Model Continuation High School for creating innovative programs that address the academic, social and emotional needs of students who need added support as they pursue their paths toward graduation. This is the seventh time Frontier has been honored with the three-year designation. It will be recognized at the 2018 California Continuation Education Association (CCEA) State Conference in April.