Friday, April 28, 2017

Monterey area girls chosen for AAUW science camp

Brenda Ortiz Cardenas from Los Arboles Middle School in Marina, Anna Chassion from Buena Vista Middle School in Las Palmas, and Olivia Pearman from Pacific Grove Middle School will be attending this summer's STEM Camp Grace Hopper at Stanford University, courtesy of the Monterey Peninsula Branch of American Association of University Women.

Seventy-one girls were nominated by their math or science teachers, 34 girls applied, ten girls were interviewed and these 3 girls were chosen for the camp, said Marilyn Erickson, Tech Trek Coordinator of the AAUW Monterey Peninsula Branch.

"AAUW branches raise the funds for each camper, $1,000 for each girl. This year we raised the $3,000 by member donation and by a grant from the Yellow Brick Road Benefit Shop in Carmel," Erickson said.  "Our 3 girls will join 75 other girls from Northern California to live at Stanford University for a week, living in a dorm, eating in the student dining hall, and attending classes at the university."

The girls select their core classes of Forensic Science, Marine Biology, Engineering/Motion, Cyber Security, 3D Math, or Applied Inventor/Coding. The camp was started in 1998 at Stanford with AAUW sponsorship. A 7th grade girl can only go to this camp if chosen by her AAUW branch and paid for by the AAUW Branch.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Carmel High School students deliver groceries to Big Sur families

A group of Carmel High students, teachers and administrations trekked across the woods to deliver groceries to 11 families stranded on the south side of Pfeiffer Canyon this week.

According to Health Teacher Leigh Cambra, student Chantal Gonzalez went around to her neighbors in Post Ranch to see what they needed. With a grocery list for 11 families in hand, a group went grocery shopping, bagged the goods, and trekked hiked in the woods to deliver the bounty. Joining Cambra and Spanish Teacher Bridget Randazzo were students Caroline Mierzwa, Diego Cabrera, Diego Salinas, Katya Fredericksen, Hailey Rowe, Coral Barrett, Alex Myers, Julia Kurz, Nick Haws, and staff members Diana Vita, Patrica Hunt, Shannon Rains, and Tammy Waldman.

 "It ended up bring the perfect amount of people for the amount of food we had," Cambra wrote.

"Now, we kept hearing about a trail. Caroline warned that it was steep and slippery after the rains. I guess, in my mind, I kept thinking 'it’s just a trail connecting two sides of Big Sur.' Well, I was wrong. There is a path that’s maybe a quarter of a mile and then you get to this new trail. The trail itself is a half mile that zig zags up the side of a hill, elevating 500 feet. We were carrying gallons of milk, beans, rice, eggs, diapers, juice, and more. We ended up meeting the families at the post office and they were very happy to have the fresh food.

"The walk back is mostly downhill and pretty fun. But what you start reflecting along the way back is that we have students having to walk that everyday to get to a bus (and then that long bus ride). I don’t know if I would want to come to school very often if that’s what I had to do."

Cambra and her Big Sur team are planning another delivery soon. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ahad Anwar keeps getting kudos

Last week, I wrote a profile of Ahad Anwar, a Pakistani teen studying in Monterey High School. The young man is very dedicated to promoting a good image for his country, something that leaves most who met him with a good impression. If you miss the story, you can find it here.

It turns out, he's made good impressions even when he doesn't meet people personally. Scott Webb, a career advisor at MIIS, read the article and sent this anecdote:

"About a week ago my wife Andrea lost her driver's license around the edge of DLI at Pacific and Scott. We were going to report it, but Ahad sent the license and letter below.

"I thought you'd like to see it and know. He is a great example for his country and proof that there are good people everywhere."

Scott gave me permission to publish this, so there you have it. Ahad, thanks for being such a cool kid and such a fine human being.

Congressman Panetta announces 2017 Congressional Art Competition

Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) announced Tuesday the annual Congressional Art Competition for high school students. High schools throughout California’s 20th Congressional District are invited to participate by submitting up to five pieces of original student artwork. Exceptions will be made for schools that have 7th through 12th grades on one campus. All submissions are due by May 1, 2017.

The winning entry will be displayed in the corridors of the Capitol in Washington, DC. The winner and a family member will also be invited to attend a special ceremony with other young artists from around the country in Washington, DC at the end of June.

The Congressional Art Competition encourages and recognizes the rich artistic talents of young Americans. Students are allowed to submit various styles and types of art, ranging from paintings and drawings to photography and mixed media pieces. The winners will be determined using criteria based on originality, skill of execution, excellence in use of materials and conceptual strength of the project.

For further questions and full details, click here, or contact Bertha Munoz, congressional aide, at 831-424-2229 or email at

Luke and Victoria Phillips, recipients of 2017 MPC President's Award

Luke and Victoria Phillips will be honored on April 28 for their contributions to the Monterey Peninsula College and the community at large.

Luke and Victoria grew up in the Monterey Peninsula and graduated Monterey Peninsula College. Luke was a prominent athlete and co-captain of the college's first football team in 1947, and later became the first football coach, according to the Monterey Peninsula College Foundation. After retirement from coaching football, he spent 14 years coaching golf teams. He retired in 1999 and has been inducted in several halls of fame, honored in various committees, and helped raised over $150,000 in scholarships for students.

Victoria received a degree from MPC in secretarial sciences and worked for 43 years on campus as secretary to the registrar then as administrative assistant to the dean of instruction. She dedicated the last 23 years of her career as executive assistant to the superintendent/president and the governing board. She has raised about $200,000 for scholarships for students.

Victoria and Luke have been married for 40 years, have six children, 14 grandchildren, and 23 grandchildren.

The couple will be recognized during the 11th Annual President’s Address to the Community from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Monterey Marriott, 350 Calle Principal, Monterey, CA 93940.

Cost: $60.00 individual Tickets, $800 Table of 10 seats Sponsorship.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here or call (831) 646-4120

Friday, April 14, 2017

Help Mary Chapa Academy win a garden grant

Mary Chapa Academy is asking community community members to vote for its application for a "Seeds of Change" grant, which  would help them to grow their gardening program. From now through April 19, the community can vote to support their local gardening and farming programs by visiting the Seeds of Change™ website here and voting once per day. You can find Greenfield's Garden by searching for Greenfield, Mary Chapa Academy, or MCA Garden.

Seeds of Change™ is awarding $310,000 in total grants to 24 garden projects around the country.

After voting closes on April 19 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, the top 50 organizations with the most votes will move on to the final judging phase. Around May 8, Seeds of Change™ will announce 24 grant recipients: 12 school garden recipients and 12 community garden recipients. Of these grant recipients, (2) two school gardens will receive $25,000, two (2) community gardens will receive $30,000 and ten (10) school gardens and ten (10) community gardens will receive $10,000.

For more information about Seeds of Change™ or the Seeds of Change™ Grant Program, visit

Vote early and often!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pacific Grove Unified Seeking Trustee

Trustees with the Pacific Grove Unified School District are seeking candidates to replace John Thibeau, who resigned from the board as of March 31.

Trustees approved a process to fill the vacancy at the April 6 board meeting. The appointed trustee will serve the remainder of Thibeau's term, which ends Dec. 2018. An election for the next four-year term will be held November 2018.

Anyone interested in being considered for the position may request an application by contacting the Superintendent’s Office at 831-646-6510 or visiting the District’s website here.

Applicants must be registered voters, living in the district and not otherwise disqualified from holding public office. Applications are due in the superintendent’s office no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, April 28.

The Board will review the applications and conduct the interviews of the final applicants at a special Board meeting on May 16. After conducting the interviews in open session the Board will finalize their selection and make the provisional appointment at the following regularly scheduled Board meeting on May 25. The selected candidate will then be sworn in and take their seat at the Board table.

For further information contact the Superintendent's Office at 646-6510.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Preparing Students for Industry Careers or College -- panel discussion and demonstration

The Media Center for Art, Education and Technology, MCAET, invites the public, including industry professionals, community leaders, educators, and artists to a community presentation, panel, and facility tour on Wednesday, April 26, from 10 am  to 3 pm at 901 Blanco Circle, Salinas.

Learn how the Media Center for Art, Education and Technology is developing the arts, media, and entertainment industry’s future as a State designated Career Technical Education Demonstration Site.

Tom Torlakson, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, referred to MCAET studios as one of “The Best in the State." The Career Technical Education division has also named MCAET and the Millennium Charter High School one of eight statewide “Career Education Demonstration Sites."

At MCAET, students from throughout Monterey County are learning alongside Industry Professionals: • Radio, T.V., Film • Advertising • Promotions • Web Design • Broadcast Journalism • Sports Broadcast • Engineering • Animation • Game Design

Wednesday, April 26
10:00am to noon - Presentation & Panel Discussion
“Preparing Students for Industry Careers or College”
Noon - Complimentary LUNCH
1:00pm to 3:00pm - Open House Tours
MCAET Studios, Production Truck, Mobile Digital Media Studio

For more information or RSVP, contact Hamish Tyler, MCAET Director, or 831-784-4192