A monthly update from the Whittier Union High School DIstrict.
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February 2017


As we move swiftly into the second half of the school year, I am inspired by the many success stories coming out of our schools, from our students being accepted to top universities and Ivy League institutions to our hardworking staff members being recognized for simply doing what they love to do – supporting and guiding our kids as they prepare for their futures. We are proud of our longstanding commitment to fostering an inclusive environment in which all of our students can overcome any obstacle to realize their potential.

California High School

California High School senior Lauren Anderson was recently accepted to Harvard University for the 2017-18 academic year as part of its early admission program. Only 14.5 percent of early applicants – or 938 out of 6,473 students – were admitted to the school's class of 2021. The overall acceptance rate is 5.4 percent. Anderson, who holds a 4.53 GPA, earned a five out of five score on all six of her Advanced Placement exams. Talented in shot put and discus, she advanced to the California State Championship Track and Field Meet last year and was named the Whittier Daily News 2016 Athlete of the Year. Anderson plans to major in government and minor in English or art history at the Ivy League. Click here to read more.

Frontier High School

Frontier High junior Janice Palapa recently earned the Girl Scout Gold Award from the Girl Scouts of America for successfully executing a project in which she fundraised and collected donations to put together 50 backpacks for Healing Hearts Across Borders. The nonprofit organization provides free medical and dental care, as well as food and clothing to impoverished families in Tijuana, Mexico. To ensure her community service project was successful, Palapa organized two fundraisers, which raised more than $600, and collected donations from local stores, churches and surrounding community. With the funds and donations, Palapa put together 50 backpacks filled with basic school supplies. Palapa was selected as one of the 50 Gold Award Girl Scouts who marched in the 2017 Rose Parade carrying the banner for the Isabella Coleman Award.

La Serna High School

Senior Carissa Perez was recently accepted to Brown University, where she will be a member of the Ivy League school's water polo team. A senior utility player, Perez has scored 113 goals this season and 463 over her four years as a varsity starter, a school record. With the critical help of the student-athlete, La Serna has won the Del Rio League for the last six consecutive seasons, with 11 League Titles overall. In addition to being a dominant player and a three-year captain, she has prioritized her academics, maintaining a 4.31 GPA and ranking 28 in a class of 651. Brown was her top choice. The La Serna water polo team finished the season this month in double overtime for the CIF quarterfinals. Although the team lost, the girls made an excellent effort to take the tournament's No. 2 seed into overtime.

Pioneer High School

Pioneer High School senior Lazarus Casillas endured great emotional hardship after the death of his mother six years ago, a struggle that spurred academic instability during his formative middle school years. Since finding a home at Pioneer, he has emerged as a student leader whose resilience and maturity serve as an inspiration to his schoolmates and the Titan faculty and staff. Through his personal resolve and with generous assistance from the staff in the Student Well-Being Program – a District mental wellness program that provides students and their families with social emotional support – Casillas transformed himself into a model student. He was recognized by the Whittier Union High School District Board of Trustees on Feb. 14 with an Award of Merit. Click here to read more.

Santa Fe High School

Cheryl Redgate, a 35-year counselor at Santa Fe High School, was recognized by U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez as part of National School Counseling Week, celebrated during the first full week of February to recognize the tremendous impact counselors have on helping students realize their potential. Redgate was recognized for empowering students to achieve their academic, professional and personal goals through compassion, guidance and support. Over the years, Redgate has established the Service Learning Program and spearheaded the school's mission to increase parent engagement. She founded philanthropic programs like the Christmas Family Program and the Gratitude Project, which provide essential items to community members in need. The Whittier Union High School District Board of Trustees recognized Redgate on Feb. 14. Click here to read the Congressional Record.

Whittier High School

Whittier High's successful Academic Mentor program has blossomed, boosting the number of student mentors over the last six years, creating a systematic support system for freshmen and earning a Golden Bell Award. The Academic Mentor program began as a strategic intervention initiative in the 2011-12 school year. The program included 45 student mentors when it launched; now there are 192 junior and senior mentors. The percentage of ninth-graders who are on track to graduate increased from 89 percent in 2011 to 91 percent in 2016; for 10th-graders, on-track percentages have grown from 87 percent to 92 percent. Those who have met college entrance requirements increased from 45 percent in 2011 to 57 percent in 2016. New this year is a Mentor Advisory Committee, as well as the addition of AVID tutors and Whittier College students who mentor juniors and seniors.

Whittier Adult  School
The Whittier Adult School actively promotes civics activities among its students, many of whom are enrolled in the citizenship and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. As part of the activity, students participate in citizenship testing, where they practice their language skills and newly learned knowledge with an assessment technician. Students undergo mock interviews testing their familiarity with American history, government and culture. Other civics activities that instructors implement include lessons on day-to-day issues, including banking, buying a home, traveling, car insurance and internet safety.
Tim Schneider

Martin J. Plourde

Dr. Ralph S. Pacheco

Loring Davies 



Dr. Monica Oviedo 

Jeff Baird

Kevin Jamero 

Leighton Anderson

9401 S. Painter Ave.,
Whittier, CA 90605-2798
(562) 698-8121
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