Diamond Bar – Unprecedented times are challenging educators to go to great lengths for their students amid the global health crisis.
Take Diamond Bar High School grade level coordinator (GLC) Dave Desmond, for example.
For the past eight weeks, he has been sending video messages to homebound students using social media.
From his living room, Desmond presents counseling strategies in easily digestible bites, capped off by performing a song on his acoustic guitar.
“We’re still in coronavirus time and unfortunately it looks like we will be here a longer,” he said on April 9.
The 27-year veteran educator has literally opened up his home for the virtual sessions directed to his sophomore class and he doesn’t seem to mind.
“This isn’t something I would have done in the past,” he shared.
“I normally keep my private life to myself, but these are strange times.”
His only fear was playing and singing in front of the world.
“I thought, man, if there’s some way that me providing a little entertainment for my students will distract them from the general sadness of this time for a bit, well, that would be cool,” he said.
“And hopefully they’re listening to the counseling as well!”
His colleagues are also reaching out with regular communications via videos, newsletters, and emails.
“The other GLCs and I really miss seeing the kids and having that daily connection with our students,” he added.
Desmond said the team relies on seeing kids face-to-face and “counseling via the phone, email, or zoom is kind of tough.”
“This is just another way to let them know we care about them and are thinking about them.”
Each week, Desmond clicks through a PowerPoint presentation featuring topics normally discussed during the school year.
Themes have ranged from goal setting and college applications to financial aid and preparing for SATs.
Knowing that students are facing increased anxiety due to COVID-19, Desmond admitted that he’s also struggling while living in quarantine on the May 10 broadcast.
“Just like you, I’ve been having a tough time and I think it’s good for all of us to find ways to relieve that stress.”
With that, he began demonstrating how he’s been keeping busy around the house, beginning in the kitchen with a pink frosted cake he baked for Mother’s Day.
Next, he dashed to the dining room for a hand of gin rummy, a game he’s currently playing with his daughter.
“Break up the day by playing a game with your family,” he offered the teens.
“Hey, I just won – that was fun!”
He suggested using DBHS online mindfulness resources including meditation, listening to waterfalls, drawing, music, and even a koala cam.
“Doesn’t he look relaxed? Aren’t you more relaxed just watching this guy?”
Then Desmond pivoted to a doorway to demonstrate a few pull-ups, sprinted to the backyard to hit golf balls, and pull a few weeds.
“Maybe you can help your parents clean up the house a bit,” he suggested to the high schoolers.
Desmond even shared a weekend project he’s been working on.
“See this patch of dirt – it will soon be transformed into a putting green!”
Being sheltered-in-place is the time to set small goals each day including academic, physical and social activities, and finding a way to help the family, Desmond suggested.
“Make dinner or write a letter to grandma and grandpa.”
“But, one of my favorite things to do to manage stress is playing a tune,” he said wrapping up the segment.
And with that, he picked up his guitar and belted out “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.
Desmond coordinates his tunes with each video theme from a memorized playlist of about 50 songs, including “Where is My Mind” by the Pixies, “Midnight Special” by Credence Clearwater Revival, and “Help Me, Stranger” by Jack White of the Raconteurs.
“Hold on, Brahmas, we’re going to get through this!” he exclaimed with a fist pump to the camera.
His message during May’s Mental Health Awareness Month is for students to keep doing their best.
“Do your best to live your life with some sense of normality while staying safe, do your best to help your family and friends get through this odd, difficult time, and do your best to take care of yourself. There’s so much about this situation that is beyond our control, so focus on what you can control and be good to yourself and to everyone around you.”
Diamond Bar – Diamond Bar High School made some special deliveries on Saturday afternoon.
Students are missing out on end-of-year experiences due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the “Night of a Thousand Lights” Prom which was to be held that evening.
So, Class of 2021 advisors Shari DeCambra, Jazmine Silver, Lisa Arionus, with class officers Daniel Min, Philip Ma, Aileen Park, and Chris Tan quickly began brainstorming ideas.
“As soon as our school was closed, staff went to work planning activities and trying to create memories for our students,” said Principal Jones who was excited to join the coronation.
A crew of Brahmas gathered up the glistening crowns, personalized banners, candy necklaces, and buttons and carpooled to homes to crown the royalty right in their front yards.
“We love our students and are determined to make the most of this difficult time,” he added.
Wearing protective masks, junior class vice president Philip Ma and committee member Cameron Tsai took turns ringing doorbells and then the royal winners were greeted with shouts of congratulations by the group.
King Irwin Chen, Queen Charlotte Tu – Class of 2020 and Prince Cristian Vargas, Princess Keili Ishitani – Class of 2021 were selected by student body online nominations and voting.
“It was exciting to still have a vote for prom court and honor the winners!” DeCambra said afterward.
Families marked the moment joining the celebratory photos on the lawn.
Walnut — Over the past several weeks, tech savvy teens from Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools quietly answered a call to aide first responders during the global pandemic.
When students learned of the dire shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff and how anyone with a 3D printer could fill the void – they sprang into action.
Diamond Bar High’s DB Engineering and Team Sprocket robotics partnered with parent Joe Bloomfield, owner of Spyder3D, to design and manufacture reusable 3D printed facemasks and face shields.
Six members of the school’s Printed Works Club are creating a facemask that must be easily printable by those new to 3D printing, require little post-production work, be reusable, and accept multiple types of filters.
“Our team has developed a working prototype that meets all of our requirements,” said senior Logan Tang of the facemask that can also be easily scaled to fit different face sizes.
Next steps include calibrating the strap attachment points to increase comfort while holding the mask in place, he said.
Instructional Dean Gabriel Aguilar’s living room is currently in production mode on the project.
Since the school is shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Diamond Bar High administrator brought a bay of 3D printers home to aid a special effort.
“Several community partners contacted us to see how we could leverage our 3D printing and manufacturing capabilities to support the need for face shields,” Aguilar said.
“Rather than collecting dust, these machines are now producing 30 face shield frames per day, using materials donated by Spyder3D.”
WVUSD FIRST Robotics Teams joined forces with the SoCal Makers COVID-19 Response Team to create face shields using 3D printed frames and clear plastic transparency sheets.
To date, Team Sprocket, Walnut Valley Robotics, Aluminati and 2nd Rebellion have provided approximately 600 free face shields to this initiative, which has supported nearly 100 medical centers, including West Covina Medical Center, Pomona Valley Medical Center, and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
Walnut High’s Wolf Corp Robotics team members are making do-it-yourself (DIY) face shields for health care workers and those providing essential services, including Walnut Valley USD Nutrition Services staff serving weekday Grab & Go meals.
The shields are low cost and very easy to make with three main components: foam, elastic band, and a transparency sheet.
Each member has pledged to construct 15-20 protective face shields from home and over the weekend 50 additional gifts were delivered to essential workers in the community.
Aerospace engineer and mentor Eric Gever established the SoCal Makers initiative organizing groups of colleagues, robotics students, and local makers interested in making a difference and helping to produce the face shields.
Teens are not only solving real-world problems, but getting more interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic.
“While many students may be thinking of this time away from school as an extended break, those who have remained involved in the Socal Makers Response Team have stood to benefit greatly though their participation in this project,” Gever said via Go Fund Me.
Diamond Bar — Diamond Bar High School senior Sean Chang is one step closer to realizing his dream of becoming an engineer.
This week he was named a 2020 Edison Scholar, a prestigious award that comes with a $40,000 college scholarship from Edison International.
A surprise announcement had been planned during Sean’s fourth period orchestra class with school officials, parents, and a representative from Southern California Edison.
There would have been lots of cheers and maybe a few tears when the big check was revealed.
But, it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 epidemic and resulting school closures.
Sean instead received an email video notification with the news, and he’s OK with that.
“This scholarship means a lot to me because it lifts a huge burden off my parents’ shoulders and will grant me additional education opportunities in the future,” he said.
Sean is among an elite group of 30 dynamic and innovative high school seniors in Southern California Edison’s service territory to receive a total of $1.2 million through the Edison Scholars Program this year.
Edison Scholars have bright futures ahead and these scholarships help turn innovative ideas into real-world solutions.
Sean loves the beach and has always been troubled by the amount of trash and pollutants that he sees sprawled across the shores.
After a summer internship at Boeing, he realized that he wanted to build a machine to clean up these pollutants while protecting aquatic ecosystems.
“As an aspiring engineer, I hope to create hundreds of cost-efficient ROVs (remotely operated underwater vehicles) that are connected through a large network, that can automate and expedite the clean-up of our oceans,” he said.
Sean plans to attend University of Pennsylvania next fall and study mechanical engineering.
He is captain of the Walnut Valley Hydromechs Robotics team and a member of the Diamond Bar Symphony Orchestra.
Each Edison Scholar will receive a scholarship, paid over four years, to further their academic pursuit of STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, or math studies – at a four-year accredited U.S. college or university.
Walnut – Thirty-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.
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, 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.
DIAMOND BAR—After 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 – 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 — 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 – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.