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Celebrating The Good In Education

Hart District highlights good news in local schools

The William S Hart School District issues a publication called “What’s Good In Education” that features the positive news coming out of local High Schools and Jr. Highs.


Below are some excerpts from that publication. This is your way to find out what’s going on around the district and a chance to shed some light on students and programs that are doing great things for Santa Clarita!


Concert To Benefit Hart Music Department  

Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night fame will be the featured performer in a Celebrate Music of the Hart concert June 2 to benefit the Hart High School Music Department. The program also will feature performances by the Hart High

Show Choir and Jazz Band. The performance is scheduled for the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center, with show time at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 for balcony, $75 for box and $100 for VIP seating and can be reserved by calling (818) 486-5987 or e-mailing


Field Trip Explores Automotive Careers

A group of 20 Saugus High students interested in automotive technology recently visited

Universal Technical Institute (UTI) to explore careers in the automotive industry. The

institute offers programs in automotive, diesel, industrial, Nascar, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technology. Teachers Joe Stehle and Howard Siegel accompanied the group. UTI not only provided bus transportation for the visit, but also donated the shirts and fed the group snacks and lunch.


Rio Norte Volunteers Walk for Autism

Elizabeth Meddaugh, Nancy Brown, Kimberly Atkin, Betti Sternberg, Dawn Ferrier and

Sharon Amrhein of Rio Norte Junior High School recently completed a 5K walk at the Rose Bowl to raise funds to support help for those with autism. The Rio Norte campus is host to a special education class for students with autism, which now affects one in every 150 births. Team R Squared raised nearly $1000 in advance of the event and is still going strong. This was the team’s first time to participate in the annual walk, but members plan to participate each year, according to enthusiastic team members.


Workshop Explores Carpentry Careers

Leonard Friedman, woodshop instructor at Saugus High School, and Ron Rudzinski, coordinator of career technical education and workforce preparation for the Hart District, recently attended an open house at the OntarioCarpenters Apprenticeship Training Center. The facility provides state-of-the-art training in the carpentry area of the Building Trades & Construction Career Cluster. Purpose of the visit was to gather ideas for a possible construction program within the Hart District, using related day time classes (such as wood shop and drafting), and the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) to provide after-school courses. There is also the potential for articulation to courses such as College of the Canyons’ Construction Management Program.


French Students Among Top in Nation

Twelve French students from Saugus High School ranked in the top 20 in Southern

California on the basis of the Grand Concours (National French Exam) and two were among the top 10 in the nation. Thirty-five Saugus students took the voluntary exam this spring, at four different levels depending on how many years they had been studying French. Jacob Trautman ranked eighth in the nation for third year French, while Dane Vandermark earned eighth place for fourth year French. The two will be honored at a ceremony this month.


Families Explore Science at Final Workshop

Sierra Vista Junior High School's Family Resource Program hosted their last family workshop of the year on May 9. Over 300 family members showed up to learn how to find science in their everyday life. A full campsite was set up on the outdoor quad so that families could explore the science of camping, students showed parents how to use microscopes for investigation and how to collect data in an everyday experiment, and the evening concluded with everyone making slime!


Foods Class Honors Teachers

Dana Bobek’s Advanced Foods class at Golden Valley High School honored the school’s teachers recently with a “Mocktail Party” at lunch. They tested a variety of recipes, created the menu and sent out invitations, divided up the duties, shopped for ingredients, made the decorations and set out to whip up a selection of tasty hors d’oeuvres. The day was part of Teacher Appreciation Week celebrated by a number of schools across the Hart District.


La Mesa Students Lauded for Art Entries

The English Language Development class at La Mesa Junior High School received a VIP visit recently from officials of the Santa Clarita International Program, saluting students who entered their work in the 2007 Sister Cities Showcase of Young Artists poster and essay contest. Students drew picture essays on the contest theme: “Do we live in an open and accessible world for all?” Seventeen students who submitted their work received certificates of participation and book bags full of school materials from the City of Santa Clarita. Honorable mention certificates went to students Hye Hwang, Olga Carig, Jasson Reyes and Juan Trejo.


Exhibit to Spotlight Hart Student Artwork

The best work from Hart High School’s student artists will be on display in the gym lobby on campus from Tuesday, May 22, through noon on Friday, May

25. The exhibit will display over 250 pieces of art including illustrations, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, electronic art, and photography. The show will feature the work of the 2007 Visual Arts School-to-Career certificate recipients. The 19th annual Hart High School Student Art show is open to the community during school hours.


White Ribbons Signify Safe, Sober Graduation

During White Ribbon Week (June 3 – June 10), a deputy from the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s station will visit senior class assemblies in local high schools and distribute white ribbons attached to cards listing the names of Santa Clarita Valley youth ages 14 to 20 killed in traffic collisions in the past five years. The deputy will ask the teens to wear the ribbons during their graduation ceremonies in memory of those who have lost their lives in car collisions.

The ribbons also provide a drive-safe message in hopes of preventing any further traffic collisions.


Death Valley Offers Field Opportunities

David and James Duncan, brothers and teachers at Valencia High School, took James’ AP Physics C students to Death Valley for three days over spring break to study the scientific method of observation and hypothesis. The group camped, cooked over an open fire and had a great time. One of the experiments included a study of projectile motion using a potato launcher atop a mile-high cliff—an experiment that could not have been duplicated on campus!


Seven Win Rotary Essay Contest

Seven students from Hart District junior high schools were honored at the SCV Rotary Club luncheon today as winners of the club’s annual Four Way Test essay contest. Winning students were recognized along with their teachers and the “heroes” about whom their essays were written. Winners include Malia Turner and Kristen Farrel, Arroyo Seco Junior High; Steven Schmidt, Kaitlin Phillips and Emily Morgan from Rio Norte Junior High; and Audrey Whelan and Gracie Bauer from Placerita Junior High. Their teachers include Nancy Durham and Brenda Monteleone from Arroyo Seco; Elizabeth Sullivan, Rio Norte; and Sophia Fernandez, Placerita.


Saugus Students Explore Culinary Industry

Saugus High students recently toured the Culinary Arts Department at Los Angeles Trade- Technical College, one of the oldest cooking schools in the nation. The college offers an extensive hands-on and theory based culinary arts education that prepares students to enter the highly competitive hospitality industry. Students also gained information about the wealth of career opportunities within the food service industry.


COC Production Features Hart Dramatists

Students, staff and alumni from the Hart District’s theater arts programs were very much in the forefront during the recent production of “Mother Courage and Her Children” at the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center. The drama by German author Bertolt Brecht was directed by Stephen Whelan, drama teacher at Valencia High School. Hart High drama teacher Brent Christensen played the pivotal role of the Cook, and the play also featured two Valencia students and several Hart District alumni. The play concerns Mother Courage as she and her three children follow a Protestant regiment into the great war of the 17th century. She and her children pull a horseless wagon that acts as a canteen for selling their various wares to soldiers and peasants. As the war wreaks more and more havoc on the northern European continent of the 1600s, Mother Courage becomes even more prosperous due to the misery of others, a universal message that resonates in the world today.


Valencia Softball Cinches Seventh League Title

The Valencia Vikings have captured their seventh consecutive Foothill League championship, recording a perfect 10-0 record in league competition, and taking a

28-1 record into the CIF division I playoffs. The team is currently ranked No. 1 in California and in the nation. Pitching ace Jordan Taylor (U of Michigan) holds the state single season strike-out record and is on pace to break the state career strikeout record as well. Four other seniors are Division I college bound, including Kristen Aidem (Michigan State), Nicole Matson (U of the Pacific), Torrie Anderson (CSU Fullerton), and Alyssa Ishibashi (North Carolina State). Junior slugger Jessica Spigner is orally committed to the University of Tennessee. Coach Donna Lee, who has piloted the team since the school opened in 1994, is assisted this year by Carrie Mitchell, who played for the Vikings from 1996 to 2000.


Boutique to Feature Woodcraft Items

Saugus High teacher Leonard Friedman oversees one of only two high school woodshop programs in the Hart District. The students in his woodworking class are currently working on constructing nightstands and tables. He hopes to develop their practical skills using a variety of hand and power tools with an emphasis on safety and craftsmanship. Plans for next year include a "Woodshop Boutique" where staff and students can order and purchase special wood items.


Canyon Math Students Fare Well in National Exam

Nearly 400 students from Canyon High School took part in the American Mathematics Competition this semester, organized by Canyon math teacher Lisa Craig. Students across the nation take the challenging exam, which covers topics through pre-calculus. Highest score at Canyon was achieved by Weilin Tan, who scored among the top two percent of those tested nationally and represented the local school in the American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME), a qualifying test for the International Math Olympiad. Other high scoring 11th and 12th grade students who took part in the AMC-12 included Rebecca Lozingot. Bryce DeFigueiredo, A.J. Wallerstein and Jason Medley. Robert Wright was Canyon’s highest scorer in the AMC-10 for ninth and tenth graders. Other top scorers included Leah Carrillo and Chika Kondo, who tied for second place, and Martha Arriaga and Thomas Mallik. Food,


Shirts Inspire AP Calculus Students

How do you inspire AP Calculus students heading into a four-hour test? Golden Valley Damon Goar did it by creating T-shirts with the message – “Enjoy Cal- Culus Class,” based on a soda machine advertisement he saw. On the back of the red and black shirts were ingredients and calories (calculus terms and nicknames for each student) to meet the “nutrition guidelines statement.” Students started the day with a healthful breakfast, then a rousing send-off from school administrators and other math teachers, plus a pep talk from Goar.


Jazz Ensemble Closes Ninth Year of Performances

It was standing room only at Vincenzo’s for the last jazz night performance of the year for the Saugus High Jazz Ensemble. The group has performed monthly for the last nine years to the delight of jazz aficionados. Under the direction of Bob Gibson, the evening featured selections from all styles of music ranging from early blues to big band classics to contemporary. Graduating seniors were also honored.


Concert Promotes Social Awareness

The Hart District’s Yes I Can program is sponsoring its annual Summer Meltdown Social Inclusion and Autism Awareness concert from 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 19, in the Golden Valley High School amphitheatre. Tickets are available for $10 in advance at ValSurf, Billy's Surf Shop or at or at the door for $15.

Yes I Can combines special education students with a wide spectrum of disorders with regular education mentors. The students spend the majority of the year working toward the common goal of producing the district-wide concert, featuring professional music groups. Students work throughout the year raising money to fund the concert, which helps Yes I Can participants work together and practice the techniques they’ve been taught through the program.

Information is available from Bret Lieberman at Golden Valley High School.


Valencia Sculptors Show Their Work

Talented Valencia High School students exhibited at the Ceramic Sculpture Conference at UC Davis, which was held April 27-29. Over 30 universities and colleges join together each year to exhibit, attend workshops and lectures, and learn from each other. Betty Woodman, who had a show at the Met this summer, was there to meet students, sign her book, and talk to them about her life's work. Students who participated included Tommy Sirchia, Amber Gaines, Kaitlyn Hollister, Chelsea Palmer, Brenton Henriques, Stephen Sanchez, Brittany Spaulding, James Duus, Lisa Ferkel, Makayla Hambek, Kayelin Slaton, Ryan Morton, Ryan Smith, Edward Valdez, Beatriz Franklin, John Hong, Cory Johnson, Andrea Black, Jordan Taylor, Alex Beam and Jonathan Herrera.


Monopoly Mania Earns Funds for School-to-Career

Some 200 community leaders and members of the School & Business Alliance turned out for the third annual Monopoly Mania, a sold-out crowd for an increasingly popular fundraising event. The program is expected to net some $23,000 to support the alliance’s school-to-career activities such as Groundhog Day Job Shadow, internships, mentoring, Educators in Industry and

Ann Kerman is executive director of the program.


Bowman Artists, Poets in Spotlight

Bowman High Schools top student artists and poets put their work on display this week at the school’s annual Day of the Artist and Poet. This year’s event was a poignant farewell to English teacher Richard Weekley, who will be retiring at the end of the year. He has organized the event since its inception, encouraging students to express themselves through poetry, then publishing their work in Bowman’s literary journal and encouraging them to read their work to an appreciative audience of students, staff and family members. An art exhibit featuring both sculpture and two-dimensional artwork preceded the reading in the campus quad.


Celebrating The Good In Education

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