Dancing Classrooms of Monterey ended its second year with an all-county final where Laurel Wood Elementary students became the dancing champions. But the real champions here are Dancing Classrooms. In their short life, they've raised the profile of arts in the classroom as not only fun, but essential. Those children are transformed by the dance and become the embodiment of self-confidence and poise, qualities that I'm sure carry over to the classrooms. Here's to the Laurel Wood kids -- who are quite the dancers, indeed -- to Ingrid Tower, for her idea to bring this fantastic program to Monterey county, and to Scott Moore for letting me use his photos for my blog.
Everyone looks forward to Memorial Weekend for the hot dogs and lazy days on the beach, but there's actually two groups who will spend the day doing scholarly stuff. One is the Soledad High School, which is organizing a conference on Sunday to inform parents and high schoolers about the path to college. The event begins at 1:30 at the high school. For more information, click here or call Eliza Gonzales at 521-5035.
The second group is the he MECHA-LULAC club of North Monterey County High School, which will host a safety awareness fair for teens from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Castro Plaza Family Resource Center. Young people will have a chance to learn what their rights are at the workplace, and also advice on safety. For more information, contact Omar Mercado at 233-8696.
Michelle Donohue-Mendoza, daughter of Hartnell trustee Pat Donohue and sister of the Mayor of All of Salinas Dennis Donohue, was one of the 10 students graduating from the Ed.D. program in educational leadership at San Francisco State University. Donohue is a native of Salinas and now works as an administrator at West Valley Community College. Mmmm, this community college thing appears to run in the family.
First graduates from stem cell master's program
Another Salinas native also graduating from SF State is Marisa Leal, who will be among the first group to complete the university's stem cell training program. Marisa had no idea where a science degree could take her until she came to SF State. As part of the master's program in stem cell science, Leal quickly learned how to grow stem cells in the lab and has investigated how to turn stem cells into skeletal muscle cells during a year-long internship at University of California, San Francisco.
Speaking of graduates, this weeks marks the beginning of graduation for all high and middle schools in Monterey County -- that's a lot of young people, many of them going into the "real world." It's an exciting time for them and their families, and I wish each and every one of them all the luck in the world. Felicidades!!!!
The Santa Catalina School Choir brought home two trophies after participating in the "Music in the Parks" competition last weekend at Milpitas High School. They nabbed place in the women's choir division and the "finest overall choir," a great achievement considering the small size of their choir. And they had the chance to spent the day at Great America. What a weekend!!!
And speaking of accomplished females, Rachel Asendorf, a junior in the Teledramatic Arts and Technology Department of CSUMB was selected as the 2010 recipient of the $1,000 prize in the Monterey County Film Commission Film Student Scholarship and Awards Program. Rachel is putting herself through college, currently working as a news intern in the office of strategic communications at CSUMB, learning how to merge news and technology. She is also a production assistant for the Monterey Teen Film Festival, helping manage media and marketing. Rachel had her own political talk radio show, “Raving Raven,” focusing on issues such as media influence, and next semester she’ll be hosting the radio show, “Cult Pop.” In other words, the lady rocks!!!
I will admit I was taken for a loop when I saw the Boys & Girls Club announcement for its 13th annual senior prom. Is this for all "high school" seniors or just for a particular school? Is it for low-income kids who can't participate in their schools' celebration? Silly me. The free, fun-filled event is for real "seniors" -- the AARP kind. It's Boys & Girls way to give back to the community, and this year's them is the '50s. The dinner will be followed by Bingo (that should have been a major clue right there) and the crowning of the prom's royalty. Arrive early because the event fills up quickly: from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club in Seaside, 1332 La Salle Ave.
And speaking of seniors -- the other kind -- CSUMB is inviting everyone to attend Capstone presentations on Thursday and Friday. At CSUMB, all students must complete a capstone project in their final year, publicly presenting and defending the project or portfolio of work that demonstrates what they have learned. They do this each spring at the Capstone Festival, which is organized by academic departments. Capstone projects include research presentations, original poetry, oral histories, installation art, photography, performances, tabletop exhibits, films and videos, multimedia works, computer visualizations, and more. Presentations will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 20 and from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on May 21 at various locations around campus. A complete schedule is available here.
They're not quite seniors yet, but judging by their achievements, they probably should be graduating ASAP. Four Monterey County students have been given major awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), held last week in San Jose at the San Jose Convention Center. The Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition. The Monterey County students competed against over 1600 students from 59 countries. Junior Dylan Freedman of Carmel High got an $8,000 tuition package in a Special Award by the Office of Naval Research on behalf of the Navy and Marines. The IEEE Computer Society also presented him with a second-place award of $500. Frances Atkins, also a junior at Carmel High, received a $24,000 per year, full tuition scholarship by the Sierra Nevada College. What do they give these kids in Carmel, may I ask? I'd like some. In the Categorical Awards, the team of brothers Michael and Jimmy Lin, junior and sophomore at Stevenson School, placed second in the environmental management category. They were given a $1,500 award, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), through the CERES Program, is naming a newly discovered asteroid after the brothers. An asteroid!!! Way, way cool.
Not only is good for the health, it's good for the environment, and to celebrate Bike to School Week, all students in Soledad are being encouraged to get their two-wheeled vehicles out of the garage and pedal their way to school Thursday is Bike to School Day and Frank Ledesma Elementary school will celebrate it by hosting a bike train, a group of students and parents who ride together. The bike train will meet at the Soledad Library Parking lot at 7:15 am and leave for Frank Ledesma promptly at 7:25 am. At the school students will receive a free light breakfast and an incentive gift.
And since we're on the topic of exercise, it's time again for the 3-on-3 basketball tournament at Closter Park in Salinas. Organized by the Cesar Chavez Parent-teacher's Association, the Gil Basketball Academy and the City of Salinas, the tournament is a way to "take back the park," which is sometimes frequented by unsavory individuals. It's also a way to unify the community. So put on your shorts and join in the fun. Team check in begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, and games at 9 a.m. Cost- $40.00 per team, and there are 5 divisions. For more information, contact Jose Gil at 710-1499.
The rain appears to finally be over, the days are longer, and there's an air of restlessness in the air. Which can only mean one thing: school's almost over. With the waning days of schools, many scholarships and awards are announced, so I'll list some of the few who've come across our way in the last few days.
Kyle Pelot from North Salinas High won a $500 scholarship from the Local 234 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, located in Castroville. Kyle, who will be attending Hartnell in the fall, wrote an essay on the Employee Free Choice Act. Kyle's mother is a member of the California Teachers Association. Congrats, Kyle!
Moving south to Monterey... Santa Catalina High School senior Catherine Armanasco took the first place in the 7th annual Weston Scholarship Photography Competition. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship toward college from the Weston Scholarship program. Catherine's photos are also being featured in the "Cameras for Kids" charity photo auction at Santa Catalina School. The dollars raised from this event will go to a children's charity in India. For more information, press here. Catherine is heading to New York in the fall to pursue her passion for photography. We look forward to seeing her pictures in Vogue in the not-so-distant future.
Moving down to Carmel Valley... Sophie Claudel has been accepted to attend the 2010 Vanderbilt Summer Academy, a program for gifted students in grades 8-12 hosted by Vanderbilt University's Programs for Talented Youth. Students who attend VSA are among the brightest in the country, scoring in the top tier on academic achievement tests such as the SAT and ACT. Sophie is enrolled in the Med School 101 Program.
All this brilliance makes me wanna reach for my sunglasses...
"Los Hijosdel Sol," the talented bunch of young artists led by muralist JoséOrtíz, are putting up the finishing touches on a mural that will serve as the backdrop for the California Shakespeare Theater production of Steinbeck's "The Pastures of Heaven." Adapted by renowned playwright Octavio Solis, the play will open June 2 and Los Hijosdel Sol are scheduled to be part of the inaugural festivities in Berkeley. As a long time, devoted fan of José, I can't help to be excited for him and for the amazing work his students are producing. You rock, hermano!
We continue to celebrate teacher's recognition week, and here's a shout out to the Salinas teachers who have been awarded the "Important to be Nice" prize by ARIEL Theatrical. Teachers from all over Monterey County were nominated and the three finalists are:
* Sharon Nelson, Laurel Wood Elementary School, nominated by Evan Liddle and will be honored on stage with an award presentation at the Saturday, May 8 matinee (2:00) performance of Miss Nelson Has a Field Day at The Wilson Children’s Theatre, located at 320 Main Street, the home of ARIEL Theatrical.
* Lisa Parker, Toro Park Elementary School, was nominated by Hailey Sjoblom and Cole Burk and will be honored at the Saturday, May 15 matinee.
* Jacqueline Bartlett, Buena Vista Middle School, was nominated by MariahO'Grady and received her award at the May 1 performance.
May 4 is National Teacher Appreciation Day -- actually, the whole week is dedicated to teachers -- so make sure to give yours or your children's more than an apple. A hug would be nice, a thank you letter would certainly be welcome. Often when I'm out on assignments, I run into teachers who attend meetings hauling papers around to grade them when they have a tiny window of opportunity in their hectic schedule. It certainly reminds you of how demanding their work is, how crucial and how often it goes uncelebrated. So here's to you, maestr@s. You're shaping the future of thousands of youngsters out there, and for that, we thank you.
And speaking of adults looking out for children, the folks at the International School in Monterey are hosting Master of Wine Tim Hanni for a school fundraiser. The sommelier is in a quest to dismantle old ideas about consuming wine, focusing more on a "let it be" attitude, which is causing quite a buzz in wine connoisseur circles. If you want to know what's the buzz about, the event will take place May 15, and for more information, click here.