Tag Archives: Diamond Bar High School

33 WVUSD Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

By Kelli Gile 

WalnutThirty-three Walnut Valley USD seniors from Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools have been distinguished as 2019 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

Congratulations to the following teens who have been recognized for demonstrating exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies:

Diamond Bar High: Grace Ge, Samantha Hong, Wesley Ip, Christine Lee, Ryan Li, Amy Miyahara, Isaac No, Ashley Pang, Phoebe Scaccia, Andrew Seo, Alice Wang, Yuwen Wang, Keith Wong, Ted Yarmoski, Timothy Yeh, Angela Zhang, Catherine Zhang, and Christine Zhou. 

Walnut High: Angela Cao, Jeremy Chang, Ashley Chen, Flora Jin, Karen Liu, Amy Lo, Dylan Song, Jordin Wang, Justin Wang, Christopher Yang, Michelle Yee, Tiffany Yeh, Brandon Young, Alice Zhang, and Angela Zhu.

 “We are extremely proud of these 33 seniors for receiving this nationwide honor!” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

 “This level of success is a testament to the caliber of educational experience they are receiving at our high schools each and every day.”
More than 1.6 million students entered the Merit Program as juniors by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

High scorers were designated semifinalists, representing less than 1% of the state’s graduating class.

In total, just over 16,000 talented seniors qualified nationwide.

These students will continue to compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships that will be offered in the spring.

The WVUSD senior scholars will advance to the finalist level upon completion of additional requirements.

They must maintain an outstanding academic record throughout their senior year, be endorsed and recommended by their principal, submit SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test, and complete an essay and scholarship application detailing their leadership and community activities.

The 2019 National Merit Scholarships will be awarded beginning in April and concluding in July.


Diamond Bar, Walnut High Schools America’s Best!

By Kelli Gile

WALNUT – Hats off to teachers at Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools for grabbing medals in U.S. News & World Report’s Best High School rankings for 2018.

The annual list looks at nearly all public high schools in the country – more than 20,500 in all – to sift out the best with an eye on college readiness.

Diamond Bar High earned a gold medal, ranking 59th in California and 376th in the United States.  Additionally, Diamond Bar placed 146th in STEM high schools.

Walnut High earned a silver medal, ranking 111th in California and 639th in the United States.

Both standout schools have been included in the report every year since the publication began its ‘Best High Schools’ search in 2009.

U.S. News looked at overall student performance on state-required tests, high school graduation rates, and evaluated on how they prepare students for college using participation and performance data from AP and IB exams.

Diamond Bar and Walnut offer an extensive roster of IB and AP courses to provide teens with an opportunity to challenge themselves with college-level course work during high school.

This year, 85 California schools received gold medals, 439 received silver medals and 82 received bronze medals.

“I’m so proud that our premier high schools continue to be recognized on a state and national level for preparing students for college and beyond,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.


Diamond Bar High presents ‘The Little Mermaid’

By Kelli Gile

DIAMOND BAR, CA–The Diamond Bar High School Performing Arts Department opens up its spring season with the Disney musical “The Little Mermaid” showing April 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21 at 7 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinee on April 14.


Fans of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and musical theatre won’t be disappointed with the live version of this beloved animated film that will soon splash onto the Diamond Bar High stage.


“The Little Mermaid” features memorable songs including “Kiss the Girl, “Under the Sea”, “Part of Your World” by Alan Menken (music) and Howard Ashman (lyrics).


From stellar performances — including a scene-stealing Ursula — to gorgeous costumes, beautiful sets and fun ensemble dance numbers, everything those who enjoy live theater could want they will find in the production.


Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and may be purchased online at seatyourself.biz/dbhsdrama.


Diamond Bar High School is located at 21400 E. Pathfinder Road in Diamond Bar.

Diamond Bar High Robotics Team Headed to World Championships

Regional Champs!

By Kelli Gile

DIAMOND BARAfter a long weekend of broken parts and design flaws to overcome, Diamond Bar High’s Team Sprocket took home the prestigious blue banner as winners of the 2018 Orange County Regional FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) on Saturday.

The team has now qualified for the World Championships that will be held in Houston, Texas on April 18-21.

“We couldn’t have done this without all of the support from our members, alumni, parents, mentors, teachers and our sponsors,” said senior captain Karen Tan after the four-day competition held at UCI Bren Events Center.

“We will first celebrate the accomplishments of our hard work over the course of the season, and then we will focus on learning from the mistakes we made this year, so we can improve our program and grow to be even more successful in the future.”

On Friday, the competitive robotics team hosted 36 students from Chaparral, South Pointe and Suzanne Middle Schools to tour the FRC competition pits and enjoy matches in an effort to inspire the next generation of engineers.

After two days of game play, Sprocket #3473 finished qualification matches with a record of 7-3-0 and ranked 12th out of 52 teams.

The team was then selected as the 1st pick for the 3rd Ranked Alliance, including alliance members “Assembly Required” (Santa Margarita) and “The Midnight Mechanics” (La Jolla).

In the exciting Finals match, Team Sprocket defeated the 1st ranked alliance (2-0).

“This accomplishment is even more impressive considering that the #1 Alliance consisted of the #1 & #2 overall ranked teams. Team Sprocket and their alliance members stunned the arena by taking down “Goliath” in two straight matches with an unconventional defensive strategy… securing the title of FRC Orange County Regional Winners,” said instructional dean and advisor Gabriel Aguilar.

This is the second year in a row that the Diamond Bar High team qualified to compete at the World Championships.

“This is a testament to the high-quality instruction that these students are receiving in DBHS STEM classes!” Aguilar added.

Diamond Bar High Loses A Hero In Brandon Riley

Journey to the West coming to Diamond Bar High stage


Diamond Bar – The Diamond Bar High School Theatre Company begins its fall season with a performance of Mary Zimmerman’s Journey to the West. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults. The show times are November 3-5, at 7 p.m. and November 6 at 4 p.m. in the Diamond Bar High School theater. Tickets may be purchased online at seatyourself.biz/dbhsdrama.

 Journey to the West is taken from one of the four great Chinese classical novels from the sixteenth century and adapted from the translation by Anthony C. Yu. The play mixes whimsy with spiritual weight, and combines comedy, adventure, and satire to tell the rambling story of an unlikely foursome – an insatiable pig, a ferocious river monster, and a very energetic naughty monkey king, who become both disciples and protectors of Tripitaka, a monk, on his quest to Central Asia and India to obtain sacred texts.

“Part vaudeville, part mystical dreamscape and Eastern-inflected ballet, Zimmerman’s meticulously choreographed production is a fabulous balancing act that stunningly juxtaposes the rambunctious energy and low comedy of a Wizard of Oz-like trip with the lyrical beauty of Chinese poetry and the mysterious revelations of a religious search.” –Chicago Sun Times

Diamond Bar High School is located at 21400 E. Pathfinder Road in Diamond Bar.

Diamond Bar High Ranked #1 in CA!


Diamond Bar — Diamond Bar High School has been ranked the #1 high school in California for college readiness, grad rates, and more.

The educational research group Start Class reviewed data from the some of the best high schools in the country to determine how student performance in the classroom impacts their future college applications.

The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Civil Rights Data Collection was used to determine the top public high schools in every state.

The report released on September 21 was based on exam passing rates in math, reading and language arts over the last three years; college preparatory measures including the number of students who pass an AP exam, or take the ACT or SAT; student-teacher ratios; disciplinary actions; and graduation rates.

Diamond Bar High, with an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, received a 9.64 rating. Learn more about the rankings at:  www.public-schools.startclass.com/stories/19685/top-high-school-every-state.

“This recognition is tremendous and I am so honored to be at Diamond Bar High School serving our students, teachers, and staff,” said Principal Reuben Jones.

Diamond Bar High has also been ranked among the best public high schools in the nation in 2016 reports by Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and the Washington Post.

National Merit Winners In Walnut Valley

12 seniors named National Merit winners

By Kelli Gile

Diamond Bar – Two distinguished 2016 Diamond Bar High School grads have joined the ranks as National Merit scholarship winners. Angela Song (Pomona College – History) and Melody C. Guo (Northwestern University – Science/Research) are among over 800 additional winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by colleges and universities announced on July 18.

These Merit Scholar designees join approximately 3,000 other college-sponsored winners who were selected in June. College-sponsored awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years for undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. The final group of winners brings the number of 2016 National Merit Scholars to more than 7,300.

This year, a total of 12 Diamond Bar and Walnut High School seniors were named National Merit winners for demonstrating exceptional academic ability and potential for success in college studies. Congratulations again to previous 2016 DBHS and WHS winners: Crystal Tin-Tin Chang, Eric Chen, Charlene L. Hsu, Betty Jung Hyun Kim, Letitia So, Jonathan Sun, Miriam Hsuan-Te Sun, Margaret Wang, Dalton Trinh, and Angel Wong.


Welcome Back to Walnut Valley!

Reuben Jones returns as new DBHS principal, Petria Gonzales named WHS assistant principal

By Kelli Gile

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile The WVUSD Board of Trustees unanimously approved Reuben Jones as the new principal at Diamond Bar High School.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
The WVUSD Board of Trustees unanimously approved Reuben Jones as the new principal at Diamond Bar High School.

Walnut–Two veteran educators will soon be coming home to the Walnut Valley Unified School District: Reuben Jones and Petria Gonzales.   

Reuben Jones has been named the new principal at Diamond Bar High School.

He brings 20 years of educational experience to his post as the 5th Brahma leader in the school’s 34-year history.

Jones will return to DBHS after being first hired in 1996 as a social science teacher and basketball coach.

He later served for a decade as instructional dean and grade level coordinator at Walnut High School. He also worked as summer school principal for four years.

Prior to working at Walnut High, he was an Academic Counselor at Cal Poly Pomona from 1999-2003.

For the past three years, Jones was assistant principal at Centennial High School in the Corona-Norco Unified School District, where he oversaw the International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Science, and Career Technical Education programs.

Jones officially began duties on July 1. During the past several weeks, he spent time meeting with staff members and immersing himself school life.

He expressed hope in maintaining the school’s tradition of excellence and credits its stellar success to the caliber of teaching and wide-range of opportunities offered to the nearly 3,000 students.

“I’m thrilled to be coming back to Walnut Valley as principal of Diamond Bar High School,” said the school chief.

“My excitement to return largely stems from the rich history and meaningful traditions of Brahma culture. We have a legacy of strong relationships, teamwork, and pride in the job we do for our students!”

Jones received his bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly Pomona, master’s degree at Cal State Long Beach, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at University of La Verne.

He lives in Walnut with his wife Elisabeth, a Collegewood Elementary teacher, and three children.

Interim principals Denis Paul and Guy Roubian led the school for nine months after the departure of Catherine Real last August.


Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile The Board of Trustees appointed Petria Gonzales as the new assistant principal at Walnut High School.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
The Board of Trustees appointed Petria Gonzales as the new assistant principal at Walnut High School.

The Board of Trustees also approved the appointment of Petria Gonzales as assistant principal at Walnut High School on June 15.

Gonzales, a WHS graduate, is very familiar with both the school and community.

She began her career in education 15 years ago as a Language arts teacher.

From there, she returned to Walnut Valley as director of activities for six years at Diamond Bar High School.

For the past five years, she served as assistant principal at Santiago High School in the CNUSD.

Gonzales holds a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly Pomona and a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. Her husband, Rich, is a DBHS grade level coordinator.

When she graduated from WHS 20 years ago, Gonzales (then Petria Biller), delivered a welcome address during the commencement ceremony, thanking the Mustang faculty for their dedication to education.

In fact, she predicted that a few members of the Class of 1996 “would be after your jobs!”

Twenty years later, Gonzales is proudly joining the staff as a key administrator.

“I look forward to working with the students, teachers, staff and community, continuing the tradition of excellence and coming home to my alma mater, Walnut High School,” she said.

Gonzales began her new assignment on July 1.



DBHS Athlete Headed To The Midwest

By Kelli Gile

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile Brahma Andrea Gonzalez commits to play softball at William Penn University.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
Brahma Andrea Gonzalez commits to play softball at William Penn University.

Diamond Bar—Diamond Bar High School softball standout Andrea Gonzalez will soon take her game to the collegiate field.

Gonzalez scored a full-ride softball scholarship to William Penn University in Iowa.

The 18-year-old pitcher signed a national letter of intent during a ceremony with coaches, family, and teammates on June 9.

“I’m so excited!” the proud athlete and recent grad exclaimed before making it official.

Although Gonzalez had several offers, she chose William Penn for its outstanding reputation and plans to enter the school’s nursing program.

“It’s a really good school,” she said.

Gonzales played all four years on the DBHS varsity team.

“She’ll be missed, but I’m looking forward to seeing her carry on the Brahma tradition of playing at the next level,” said coach Roberta Garcia.



7 WVUSD Schools Selected for California Honor Roll

Leaders in Student Achievement 

Suzanne Middle School 6th graders score a great time during field day with teacher Lauri Ujita

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
Suzanne Middle School 6th graders score a great time during field day with teacher Lauri Ujita

By Kelli Gile 

Walnut – Seven Walnut Valley USD schools have been named to the 2015 CBEE California Honor Roll for consistently demonstrating high levels of student academic achievement.

Scholar schools are Evergreen Elementary, Quail Summit Elementary, Chaparral Middle School, South Pointe Middle School, Suzanne Middle School, Diamond Bar High School, and Walnut High School.

The program is sponsored by the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE) and Educational Results Partnership (ERP).

After an extensive analysis of every school in the state, Honor Roll schools are identified as clear leaders in getting students to grade level and beyond.

This year, the California Honor Roll recognized 1,714 high-performing public schools who are successfully preparing students for college and careers.

Congratulations to our dedicated principals, teachers, and staff members who work tirelessly to help Walnut Valley students achieve such success!


Brahma Science Bowl Team Competes In DC

By Kelli Gile   

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile Diamond Bar High took 3rd-place awards in their division at the 2016 National Science Bowl. Shown: Advisors Jose Marquez and Latitia Thomas, with students Brandon Hung, Jeff Chow, Miriam Sun, Leslie Sim, and Ben Chen.

Diamond Bar High School Jose Marquez, coach, Latitia Thomas, assistant coach, Brandon Hung, Jeff Chow, Miriam Sun, Ben Chen and Leslie Sim of Diamond Bear, CA, pose for a team photo during the 2016 National Science Bowl competition, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jack Dempsey, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science)

Diamond Bar—A stellar group of Diamond Bar High School (DBHS) students took 3rd place in their division during the 2016 National Science Bowl held this month in Washington, D.C.

DBHS team members Miriam Sun, Jeff Chow, Leslie Sim, Ben Chen, and Brandon Hung qualified for nationals after winning the regional competition in February.

The academic competition tests students’ knowledge in all areas of science and mathematics, with more than 14,000 students from across the country participating in the bowl each year.

“Our students played brilliantly, showing strong competitive spirit, and sportsmanship,” said science teacher Jose Marquez, who coaches the team with math teacher Latitia Thomas.

Teams face off in a fast-paced format as they answer questions about biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy, and math.

After getting off to a slow start and losing the first two rounds, the Diamond Bar students regrouped and won six consecutive rounds by impressive margins.

In the exciting last round, while down 14 points, DBHS buzzed in and answered the final question, along with a bonus question, earning the needed points to end the game in a tie.

“I have never been more proud to be a Brahma!” said Marquez, adding that DBHS, one of the largest public schools at the competition, was just one point away from moving on to the next round. “Our students achieved academic success while competing with class and poise. They left an indelible mark at the event.”

The National Science Bowl was created in 1991 to encourage students to excel in math and science and pursue careers in those fields. The two seniors on the DBHS team are doing just that.

Next year, Miriam Sun will study biology at Caltech, while Jeff Chow plans to focus on bioengineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Attending the National Science Bowl with some of Diamond Bar’s best and brightest was definitely a highlight from high school!” Chow said.


Signed, Sealed, and Delivered!

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile Diamond Bar High School senior Tony DiDonato signed to play soccer at California State University, San Bernardino.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
Diamond Bar High School senior Tony DiDonato signed to play soccer at California State University, San Bernardino.

By Kelli Gile

Diamond Bar—Three talented Diamond Bar High School (DBHS) athletes have been recruited to play sports in college.

Senior Tony DiDonato, 17, will continue his successful run on the soccer field next year at California State University, San Bernardino.

“I’m happy and can’t wait to join the program!” he said during a scholarship signing celebration last month.

A Brahma team member all four years, DiDonato most recently captained the league championship team with one of the best records in school history.

Along with being a leader, DiDonato is also known for the versatility of being able to handle every offensive and defensive position.

“When I first started playing, I was always a forward, then on club I began playing on defense,” he explained.

DiDonato began playing indoor soccer at four-years-old in Diamond Bar, graduated to AYSO, and has played on Legends for the past seven years.

“I’ve been wanting to play college soccer since I was 10-years-old; it’s a dream!”  he said.

He has an interest in pursuing criminal justice and business in college, and maybe one day going into law. “My mom’s a lawyer; it might just fit in with the family name!”

But for now, you can bet that being on the soccer field is Tony DiDonato’s favorite place to be.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile Centerfielder Keola Viloria received a scholarship to play baseball at University of Antelope Valley.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
Centerfielder Keola Viloria received a scholarship to play baseball at University of Antelope Valley.

“There’s such a rush of adrenaline and emotion, especially when you play with teammates that you love. There’s nothing else like it!



Centerfielder Keola Viloria, 18, received a scholarship to play at University of Antelope Valley.

Viloria played Brahma baseball all four years, securing his first varsity start during sophomore year.

He picked up a baseball glove before starting kindergarten, and never put it down.

“When I’m out there (on the field) all worries just go away. It’s my getaway zone!” he commented.

“I love baseball! Every single team I’m on those guys become my brothers!”

Safety Connor Donohue, 17, will play football as a preferred walk-on at Colorado State Un

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile Diamond Bar High School senior Connor Donohue has committed to play football at Colorado State University.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
Diamond Bar High School senior Connor Donohue has committed to play football at Colorado State University.



“I’m really excited to be on the team,” said Donohue, who goes off to camp to begin training on June 13, which just happens to be his birthday.

Donohue didn’t begin playing football until his freshman year because before that he was focusing on soccer.

But it was a foregone conclusion that someday, he would end up picking up a pigskin.

“My dad was a big Cowboys fan and we always watched football,” he said. “So, I always knew I was going to play!”

He made the varsity team his sophomore year.

Donahue plans to major in business administration or mechanical engineering.





DBHS Announces New Volleyball Coach

Staff Reports

Photo courtesy: DBHS Katie Swetnam was announced as the new DBHS Head Volleyball Coach

Photo courtesy: DBHS
Katie Swetnam was announced as the new DBHS Head Volleyball Coach

Diamond Bar– Diamond Bar High School recently announced their new Head Volleyball Coach, Katie Swetnam.

“We are excited to welcome Katie Swetnam back to Diamond Bar High School,” said Athletic Director, Kevin Ferguson in a news release. “Coach Swetnam is a young, enthusiastic coach who has instant rapport with our student-athletes based on her collegiate playing experience. We expect she will provide stability to our volleyball program and begin the process of building the kind of success we expect to see at Diamond Bar.”

Swetnam is a first-year Spanish teacher at DBHS. But she is also a Diamond Bar graduate. She graduated in 2009, after she led the Brahmas to a league championship in 2008 and was named 1st Team All-League and Offensive MVP in volleyball.

“Swetnam continued on to play Division 1 collegiate volleyball as a full athletic scholarship recipient at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where she lead her conference in blocks in the 2011 season,” according to DBHS.

Swetnam was also named the 2011 Comeback Player of the Year after she had two shoulder surgeries; she came back strong and became team captain in 2012. After earning her degree, she started coaching club volleyball. She also became the DBHS Varsity Assistant last season, under Becky Bevans.

“I am honored to be chosen to lead the Diamond Bar volleyball program,” said Swetnam. “I’m looking forward to getting in the gym right away in preparation for the upcoming season.”


7 DBHS Seniors Receive National Merit Scholarships

By Kelli Gile


Diamond Bar—Seven Diamond Bar High School (DBHS) seniors have won prestigious $2,500 scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Congratulations to the following DBHS students: Eric T. Chen, Charlene L. Hsu, Jung Hyun Kim, Hsuan-Te Sun, Jonathan Sun, Crystal Tin-Tin Chang, and Margaret Wang.

The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees around the country were chosen from a talented pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program, according to a May 11 release from the non-profit corporation.

National Merit Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

They were judged on their academic record, scores from two standardized tests, contributions and leadership in school and community activities, an essay, and a recommendation written by a high school official.

The competition for the 2016 scholarships started in October 2014, when more than 1.5 million juniors applied for the 7,500 scholarships, which will have a total value of more than $33 million.

Theatre Students Bring Musical And Literary Classic To DBHS Stage

By Kelli Gile

DIAMOND BAR-Diamond Bar High School’s Theatre Department will present a production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Les Misérables, based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same title. Les Misérables is a story of justice and redemption in a time of social and political revolution. DBHS’ production will feature students from the Diamond Bar and Walnut area who auditioned for the children’s roles in the piece.

“We wanted to extend the great learning experience that comprises the production of our Spring Musical to younger children in our district. They are learning not just acting, music and vocal technique, but they are also having a great time learning about French history and the events that the story is based on,” said director Beatrice Casagran. “I am amazed at the depth of insights and questions that are being raised by some of our youngest cast members during our character preparation discussions.  It just highlights that theatre is a great way to for young people to access literature,” she added.

DBHS theatre productions are student-run shows, with students involved in every aspect from publicity to production management.  In fact, the ambitious, Gothic inspired set is being built by DBHS Stagecraft students.

Set in 19th-century France, Les Misérables follows the life of Jean Valjean, a man released from 19 years of unjust imprisonment. The kind act of a stranger gives Valjean resolve to turn his life around.  Hoping to find a new beginning, he breaks his parole, initiating a life-long struggle for redemption as he is relentlessly pursued by police Inspector Javert. Set during the years around the Paris student uprising of 1832, Les Misérables paints a striking portrait of the dark world within the City of Light, and is a sweeping history of a turbulent age through an unforgettable cast of characters.

Shows are April 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, & 30 at 7:00 p.m. in the school theatre located at 21400 E. Pathfinder Road in Diamond Bar. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students. Proceeds go directly to help fund the DBHS Theatre Arts Program. Tickets are available online at www.seatyourself.biz/dbhsdrama.

Diamond Bar High Water Polo Coach Dies After Practice

Photo courtesy of GoFundMe.com/AlanRuizFamily

Photo courtesy of GoFundMe.com/AlanRuizFamily

Staff Reports

DIAMOND BAR– An assistant coach for Diamond Bar High School’s water polo teams collapsed in the parking lot after Tuesday’s practice and died a short time later.

Alexander Ruiz, 45, a walk-on coach for the Brahmas water polo and swim teams, has been with the school since 2013.  An avid sports lover, Ruiz was also a martial artist and black belt student.

“He (Ruiz) was leaving campus late in the afternoon and he collapsed when he got to the parking lot,” Interim Principal Guy Roubian said. “He was with other assistant coaches who are trained in CPR and they initiated CPR until the paramedics came. He had a heartbeat when they transported him, but he died shortly after reaching the hospital.”

“It’s a terrible tragedy and it shook the whole school and the program,” Roubian said. “It has hit us all pretty hard. It was a shock to everybody.”

Ruiz leaves behind a wife and 3 children, including two sons who attend DBHS.  He was the sole breadwinner in the family, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with expenses. Donations can also be dropped off or mailed to: Diamond Bar High School, Attention: Water Polo – Coach Alexander Matal, 21400 Pathfinder Rd, Diamond Bar, CA 91765.

Brahma Mathletes named National Champs

Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley U.S.D.

Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley U.S.D.

By Kelli Gile

DIAMOND BAR Diamond Bar High’s Math Team wrapped up its undefeated season in dramatic fashion.

After eight weeks of exciting competition against hundreds of schools across the nation, the Diamond Bar students were named the national Math Madness champions on December 11.

Math Madness is a national online event inspired by college basketball’s March Madness tournament. Teams in the contest, which is sponsored by the American Mathematics Association (AMA), play in a round-robin format and then are seeded into a draw of 64 teams.

First reports from the December 9 finals ranked the Brahmas as second place finishers against competitors from Valley Christian High School in San Jose.  Two days later, officials announced that the first place team had cheated, and named the Brahmas the winners

“We knew that the final match was going to be very, very close,” commented math teacher and advisor Jeff Brose.   Teachers Dena Lorde and Jimmy Kuo served as co-advisors and retired teacher Howard Alcosser as Coach Emeritus.

Each 30-minute weekly match contained a set of 10 questions which became more difficult as the competition progressed.  “In one of our matches this year, we earned the deciding point with just seconds remaining,” said Brose, whose team played in the Division IIE, which is the division made up of teams with more than 20 active members.  “Making it to the finals this year was a pretty big thing,” Brose said. The school’s best finish to date was making it to the quarterfinals.

“They (Valley Christian) had been performing on par with us through the tournament,” he added.

Playing other opponents in the semifinals, DBHS earned 69 points and Valley Christian earned 70 points. The team score was comprised of the top players’ scores.  In the final match, Diamond Bar earned 62 points, with about 60 students competing.  “Valley Christian shocked everyone by earning a whopping 93 points,” Brose said.

Diamond Bar’s top performer was Benjamin Chen, who was able to earn 9/10 on the final.  Ben is ranked #21 in the nation out of over 17,000 students.  Runner-ups Sabrina Tseng and William He each scored 7’s on the exam.

“When Valley Christian turned in an unbelievable six perfect 10/10 scores, AMA’s Tim Kelley determined they had cheated,” Brose said.  In the end, Diamond Bar was awarded the championship.   “This capped a truly unforgettable season,” said Brose.  The students learned some lifelong lessons, including the value of working as a team toward a goal and performing under pressure with poise and integrity, Brose said.  “And they learned some cool math too!” he quipped.

Diamond Bar High was among a select group of schools invited to join the new Math Madness competition when it began a few years ago.  Since then the contest has grown tremendously.
“Being named the champions is a major accomplishment, because a large number of the schools involved in the contest are private schools, prep schools, and specialized math and STEM academies,” Alcosser said.


Brahma Athletes Sign National Letters Of Intent

Photo Courtesy: Kelli Gile Diamond Bar High golfer Josephine Chang committed to University of Kentucky.

Photo Courtesy: Kelli Gile
Diamond Bar High golfer Josephine Chang committed to University of Kentucky.

By Kelli Gile/WVUSD


DIAMOND BAR—Diamond Bar High School (DBHS) golfer Josephine Chang and swimmer Jenna Lloyd will be taking their skills to compete at the collegiate level after signing national letters of intent on Nov. 13.

Chang, 17, will attend University of Kentucky in the fall on a coveted full-ride scholarship.

Louisville coaches contacted the teen last summer and came to watch her play in an East Coast tournament.

That same week, she visited the college to meet the athletic department staff and check out the indoor facilities and university-owned golf course. It was love at first sight.

“It was everything I possibly needed to pursue golfing,” she said during the signing ceremony with school officials and families.

“The coaches genuinely want me and made me feel welcome. And it’s beautiful and green and the trees change colors,” she added.

Chang began playing golf for fun with her big sister and cousins at age 7. Chang has golfed all four years on the DBHS varsity team that has won three CIF Championships, one Runner-Up CIF, and two CIF State Runner-Up awards.

In fifth grade, she met two coaches who introduced her to the world of competitive golf. She soon began playing junior tournaments.

“They helped shape me into the golfer I am today,” she said.

In 2014, the team claimed the State Championship against reigning champion, Torrey Pines High School.

“It was an amazing feeling when we came in and realized that we finally achieved the goal we’d been chasing since freshman year,” said Chang, who advanced to the State Semi-Finals as an individual player this year.

Photo Courtesy: Kelli Gile Diamond Bar High senior Jenna Lloyd signed a college national letter of intent to attend San Jose State University. Pictured with Interim Principal Denis Paul, swim coach Darlys Ankeny Grade Level Coordinator Ginger Auten, and Athletic Director Kevin Ferguson.

Photo Courtesy: Kelli Gile
Diamond Bar High senior Jenna Lloyd signed a college national letter of intent to attend San Jose State University. Pictured with Interim Principal Denis Paul, swim coach Darlys Ankeny Grade Level Coordinator Ginger Auten, and Athletic Director Kevin Ferguson.

Lloyd, 17, will attend San Jose State University on a full-ride scholarship.

“I was so happy when I got the offer,” she said. “I love the school!”

The sprinter’s favorite race is the 100-meter breaststroke and her best time is an impressive 1 minute, 3 seconds.

“I’ve been swimming ever since I was little, about 4 years old,” she said. “And it’s fun!”

Lloyd made a competitive national team in the eighth grade and has qualified for a national contest. She now competes at the junior national level, which is just two levels below the Olympic trials level. This is Lloyd’s fourth year on the school’s varsity swim team.

“I love the new pool,” she says about the aquatic center that was dedicated in December 2013.

“It’s a beautiful facility, compared to other schools,” she said. “Having home meets gives us a boost during competitions.” Prior to the opening, DBHS teams practiced and competed at Walnut High. Lloyd plans to study communication disorders to pursue a career as a speech therapist.


Diamond Bar: The Skin Of Our Teeth

Thorton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning Play Makes Its Way to DBHS Stage


Courtesy of Diamond Bar High School Drama Department
DIAMOND BARThe Diamond Bar High School Theatre Company begins its fall season with a performance of Thornton Wilder’s play The Skin of Our Teeth in the DBHS Theatre, with show times at November 6, 7, 13 & 14 at 7 p.m. Pre-sale tickets are $11 for adults and $9 for students; at the door adult tickets are $14 and students are $12. Tickets are available online at seatyourself.biz/dbhsdrama.

Written immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, The Skin of Our Teeth is an allegory dealing with themes of human nature, human struggle, and humanity’s search for higher purpose and meaning in times of turbulence. The story follows the trials and tribulations faced by the Antrobuses, a sort of “Everyman Family,” whose members are archetypes found throughout human societies. Though the story is imbued with the concerns of America at the inception of its involvement in WWII and allusions to biblical characters, its themes of recurring violence and the effects of hedonistic lack of concern with the consequences of humanity’s actions speak to the current concerns of modern audiences in the turbulent beginnings of the 21st century.   The audience’s glimpse into the lives of the Antrobus family and their struggle for survival in a world on the precipice of ending, gives insight into the boldness and resilience of the human spirit.  Wilder’s play sees humanity as Phoenix-like ever rising from the ashes and never giving up hope for a better future.  Though the play deals with heavy themes, its anachronistic self-referential, theatrical approach is still fresh and packed with very funny moments.

Advanced Theatre Arts students at Diamond Bar High School work in a company structure to create and produce all aspects of their shows from design, to set construction, to publicity and performance.  Students are working hard to achieve high production values since this is the first time that a DBHS production has been submitted for adjudication by the California Educational Theatre Association.  The production will highlight the play’s theatricality by featuring several elements of audience participation that seek to immerse the audience into the drama and make them part of the creative process.

Celebrated playwright, Paula Vogel, has written, “For an American dramatist, all roads lead back to Thornton Wilder…The Skin of Our Teeth was a remarkable gift to an America entrenched in catastrophe, a tribute to the trait of human endurance.”