Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ready, set, apply!

The folks who bring the world to Monterey County now want to send us out of space.
The Lyceum of Monterey County is taking application for its first ever "Space Adventure" camp -- a five-day class that will take students to the NASA Ames Research Center (and take a flight simulation class!!!), the Naval Postgraduate School (and take special guided tours of robotics, lasers, satellites, labs); and the Ching Planetarium.
So, if you are going into 5th, 6th, or 7th grade, write an essay explaining why you should be chosen to be in this planetary program, and send it to the folks at Lyceum. Deadline to apply is May 15. Happy travels!

Greenfield girls are gearing up for a day of healthy and informative Sunday. A group of teenage girls organized a conference that will touch on delicate topics such as reproductive health, drug and alcohol prevention, and self-esteem and emotional health. The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Greenfield Community Center (YMCA) at 1351 Oak Avenue in Greenfield. Registration is required, so contact Tobi Marcus at the Women’s Fund of Monterey County at (831) 375-9712 x125 or

And speaking of South County, a new class is being offered for Spanish-speaking families to create their own digital family album. Free!! Classes began Monday, but there's probably room for more people to start next week. The group meets from 3 to 5 p.m. at Gabilan Elementary School, Rm 27, 330 N. Walker Dr, Soledad
Lunes, 3pm - 5pm / 26 April - 21 June. Llame al 831-678-6300 or 831-869-6055 para más información. O presione aquí.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Of artists and inventors...

Kudos to Francesca Flores and Makena Ehnisz, students at Santa Catalina Middle School, who have been recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers for their whimsical photographs and will be honored at Carnegie Hall. A pretty impressive feat, considering that a record 165,000 pieces of art were submitted for the competition this year.
Francesca, an 8th grader, will receive a gold medal for her photo Evening Windows. Makena, a 7th grader, will get a silver medal for her photo Wind Swept. You can see the photos here.

And speaking of geniuses -- artistic or otherwise -- the Monterey County Fair wants young inventors to come up with your most creative innovations for their fall fair. Grab a copy of Jo Mora's "Chippie de Munk: The Great Inventor" and get inspired to enter in any of the fair's five categories:
* Dude Beagle’s Nut Cracker – Build a Working Nut Cracker
* Grandpa Gopher’s Marshmallow Shooter - Build a working Marshmallow Shooter.
* Terry Pin the Turtle’s Wind Generator – Build a working wind Wind Generator
* Brother Jack Rabbit’s Ready to Launch Rocket – Build a working rocket. Rocket Launch will be held during the Fair.
* Chippie De Munk’s Flying Machine Contest – Build a working paper airplane/glider. Kit to be provided to entrant. Glider competition will be held during the Fair.
Fair promoters are adopting Tom Friedman's recent statements regarding our economy: "We might be able to stimulate our way back to stability, but we can only invent our way back to prosperity.” So boys and girls, go on and invent some prosperity for us!!!! For more information about the contest, click here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth to earth

Following a tradition he began a few years ago, Jerry Gleason will take a team of five students from the East Salinas afterschool program (L.I.F.E.) to the 2010 Tech Challenge at Tech Museum in San Jose this weekend. The group had to devise a "robot" to mount two rocket thrusters on a immobile model satellite to kick a piece of "space junk" out of earth orbit from a simulated base on the International Space Station. They will have three minutes to accomplish this task.

Here is a photo of the 5 member team: Bryan Escamilla, Jonathan Duenas, Antonio Pedraza, Nestor Garcia, and Guillermo Montano -- all of them students from Fremont Elementary.

What Mr. Gleason teaches these children goes beyond mechanics and aerodynamics: he's teaching them how to dream. My sombrero goes off to him.

But you don't need to orbit the earth to care for it -- as demonstrated by hundreds of children who celebrated Earth Day this week. The fun continues this weekend when Lagunita School, one of the smallest schools/districts in the county, hosts its FIRST EVER recycling event fundraiser on Saturday. The newly formed Lagunita School Foundation is hosting the fundraiser to help pay for the renovations needed for the Library/Media Center. You'll have a chance to see A&S Metals' notorious "Car Crusher," the SVSWA's "Bag Monster," educational booths and crafts, a "Whack the Car" game, and refreshments sold by the Lagunita Parent Teacher Association.

Lagunita School is located at 975 San Juan Grade Road outside of Salinas.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The importance of being recognized

Folks at ARIEL Theatrical want you to nominate a special teacher for the "Important to Be Nice" Award -- and let me tell you, promoting niceness in this day and age of grumpiness could go a long way.
Three special teachers and their nominating students will be recognized on stage during ARIEL’s production of "Miss Nelson Has a Field Day" in May. But hurry! The deadline to nominate that special teacher is April 22. "Miss Nelson" will play April 30 and May 1, 7, 8, 14, 15.
Find the nomination form here.

And speaking of being nice, some students at Sacred Heart School in Salinas are taking lessons on such niceties as table manners, acceptable conversation, hand shaking and making eye contact. The classes on etiquette (taught by Kathleen Guice of Pacific School of Etiquette) focus on "providing the students with the skills to succeed in the world, we needed to include how to be successful in social settings as well. ” said principal Jennifer Dean.
Over 90 students are taking part in the class, and administrators find it so successful they're planning to offer an advanced class for next school year. Mmmmm. I know some adults who could benefit from this type of lessons - but my manners prevent me from disclosing their identities. ;-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dancing your heart away

Why would you want to watch a kids dancing contest when your children are not competing?

Because it's madly fun.

It's hard to see fifth graders move to the Rumba, Salsa or Tango and not want to jump up and join them. And hearing the laughter and wild screams of their classmates is simply irresistible. So if you're in the neighborhood of the Salinas Community Center in Sherwood Hall Tuesday at 6 p.m., I heartily suggest you check the Colors of the Rainbow Team match, where the fifth-graders of Salinas City Elementary will compete for the right to represent their district in the upcoming regional competition.

This is how Diane Franciscovich, board member of Dancing Classrooms Monterey County, puts it: "Everyone who attends leaves with a warm feeling in their hearts and huge smile on their faces."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fun is in the air!

In preparation for summer, Carmel Middle School will be hosting its ALOHA Adventure Fair, where kids and their parents can choose from dozens of exciting summer activities: camps, volunteering and much more. Check it out Friday, April 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Carmel Middle, 4380 Carmel Valley Road. No need to wait for summer to begin the fun: there will be live music, a BBQ, wiffle ball, video games and more.

In Gonzales, the eighth-graders of Fairview Middle School won't have to wait till summer for the fun to begin.
Tomorrow, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System will bring them the LiVe Campaign, a program to encourage young people to be more physically active, eat healthier foods and invite their siblings and parents to share in these healthy choices. Special guests at the event will include Kafu and Derek from Pro Wrestling Revolution who will share insight on the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

It's not just Mrs. Obama who gets to promote healthful habits, huh?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Welcome to School Bytes!

So much happens in Monterey County schools.

There's adventure fairs, science fairs, spelling bees, automotive skills competitions, mock trials, dancing demonstrations, talent shows, volunteering, playground beautification projects, scholarship winners, and business showcases. There's the stuff children do (go on field trips, win competitions) and there's the stuff that adults do (make decisions at school boards, issue studies and reports).

Most importantly, there's thousands of students in Monterey County -- and we want to make sure we cover as many of them as possible. That's why my editors and I thought it would be a good idea to launch "School Bytes," a blog to let Monterey County readers know what's happening in our schools. These will be quick takes on upcoming events, scheduled meetings, and developments on education.

So email me with your thoughts, suggestions, and your events. And if you have story ideas, please let me know as well!