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A monthly update from the Whittier Union High School District.
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Sandra Thorstenson, Superintendent
Sandra Thorstenson
Superintendent
As we approach the end of yet another successful year, I am reminded of what a wonderful place Whittier Union is and what an exciting and transformative year it has been for our District. The transitions that will soon be taking place will build on the tremendous work and success Whittier Union is recognized for locally and nationally. Our District organizational culture, which thrives on the mantra that demographics do not determine destiny, is deeply rooted among teachers and staff, with collaboration and unity as the foundation of our students’ continual achievement.
 
 
California High School
California High School varsity softball player Sierra Rodriguez recently signed a letter of intent to play softball at Whittier College, home of the Poets. The student-athlete is a four-year varsity letterman who has played both outfield and second base. To top off her achievement, Rodriguez also earned a prestigious $100,000 John Greenleaf Scholarship from Whittier College, an NCAA Division III school. Congratulations, Condor!
La Serna High School
Nearly 100 La Serna High School anatomy students recently learned to conduct rescue breathing, chest compressions and choking assistance during a training exercise in adult CPR, successfully earning a two-year certification in the life-saving technique. Students from the anatomy classes of Araceli Ross and Stacy Jackson were trained in the school's small gym by teacher and athletic director Steve Hemenway, a certified CPR/First Aid instructor for Red Cross of America who has certified more than 600 anatomy students over the past several years. The training included lectures, handouts, video clips and physical demonstrations. Students practiced on mannequins and were granted certification after demonstrating proficiency in the skills taught during several emergency situations they responded to correctly.
Pioneer High School
Pioneer High School ASB member Allie Estrada has been selected to be a southern representative on the California Association of Student Leaders (CASL) State Board. She is the first Pioneer student to apply for and achieve this distinction. CASL is the largest state association for high school and middle school ASB cabinets and leadership groups. Estrada is one of the 33 ASB students who spend nearly every day throughout the school year finding ways to engage their peers, planning large- and small-scale celebrations on campus, including dances and Homecoming, crafting themes, brainstorming ideas and collaboratively putting their plans into action. Santa Fe High School student Valeria Restrepo also received a position on the CASL State Board. Congratulations to our inspirational ASB students for achieving this rigorous state-wide recognition!
Santa Fe High School
Hundreds of Santa Fe High School students on April 21 showcased artistic creations, drawings and sculptures, modeled fashionable works of art on a lit runway and put their individualism on display during the Visual and Performing Arts Department’s 13th annual Art and Fashion Show. The Santa Fe High gym teemed with artistic displays encompassing the event's theme, “American Volcano,” which celebrated diversity and cultural pluralism of the arts, ethnicity, gender, politics and contemporary society. The event inspired students' imaginations to erupt in a creative flow of paintings, dress designs, dance performances and much more during the day’s three shows, including an evening extravaganza open to the community. To view more photos, click here.
Whittier High School
Academy Award-winning filmmaker and Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter recently returned to his old stomping grounds to be inducted into the Whittier High School Alumni Hall of Fame. Lasseter, class of 1975, was among five alums to receive the honor during the Whittier High School Alumni Association and Educational Foundation’s 17th annual Hall of Fame dinner held in the school’s library on April 17. During the evening, $13,000 in scholarships were awarded to 12 seniors. This year’s inductees included Lasseter, his art teacher and mentor Marcelo Bermudez (faculty, 1965-2001), Heber Holloway (faculty and coach, 1937-53, and superintendent, 1958-69), businessman Steve Saleen (class of '67) and Whittier College professor Ivannia Soto (class of '94). Click here to read more.
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