Bravo! to middle school students discussing literature and teens doing good in the community

Orange County Register

By Brian Whitehead, Staff Reporter

September 11, 2017


Performing arts: Robert C. Fisler students were awarded prizes this summer for winning a contest requiring middle schoolers to film student-led literary discussion groups.


The Fullerton school won the Top Production award for its analysis of Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for death;” the Best Middle School Ensemble Cast award for its production of Henrik Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House;” the Best Actress award, won by Gianne Veluz, for her discussion of John Green’s novel “The Fault in our Stars;” and the Best Actor award, won by Carson Kim, for his video about David Halberstam’s “The Fifties.”


Fisler teacher Elizabeth Ellison received a $500 Amazon gift card for classroom supplies.


“Seeing students so inspired and creative was the most gratifying part of this competition for me,” Robert Romano, CEO of contest sponsor StudySync, said in a release.


The national contest is in its fourth year.


Literacy boost: This summer, Rosary Academy sophomore Isabella Tejeda, of Yorba Linda, partnered with Higher Ground Youth and Family Services on storytime sessions for at-risk youth.


Incorporated into the Anaheim nonprofit’s intervention program, Tejeda hopes her initiative, “Read a Story, Change a Life,” fosters a love of reading and improves literacy in the community, Amy Paino, volunteer coordinator at Yorba Linda Public Library, said in an email.


This summer, Tejeda and a team of high school volunteers held puppet shows and workshops for dozens of children.

By training others, Tejada, a Girl Scout working on earning her Gold Award, set the program up to continue for years to come.

Getting outside: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire recently hosted a sports day for more than 300 children and their mentors.


The event, held at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center in Orange, offered zip lines, wall climbing and water fun to promote exercise and better health.



Robot building: Children at Project Access’ Family Resource Center at the Park Vista Apartments in Anaheim have been learning about robots. Through a partnership with Child Creativity Lab and employees of Hyundai Capital America, the children recently received robots built by volunteers.


Later this month, they will be building their own robots using upcycled materials.  The children won't be working with instructions, instead they will be using their own creativity to design their robots.

Cheers: Yorba Linda gymnast Isabella Dominguez, who has Down syndrome, won a gold medal for her rhythmic performance at the recent 2017 Summer Games.


Held at Cal State Long Beach and sponsored by Special Olympics Southern California, the event drew more than 1,100 athletes to compete in track and field, basketball, bocce, golf and other sports.


Dominguez, a 14-year-old at Yorba Linda Middle School, earned eight medals in all.


Annie Sanchez, a senior at Fullerton Union High, interned at Goodwill Industries this summer as part of Bank of America’s Student Leaders program.


Intended to build the workforce and leadership skills of high school students, the program seeks teens engaged in their communities. In July, Sanchez and four other Orange County teens joined 200 other students from around the country at Bank of America’s Student Leadership Summit. …


Orange’s Allen Rivada earned the rank of Eagle Scout last month.


For his project, the El Modena High senior built a two-sided display board for the El Modena Nature Center. Rivada, an 11-year scout and a member of Troop 243, has served as a senior patrol leader, troop guide and a guidemaster.


The 16-year-old also is a member of the Order of Arrow - the Boy Scouts of America honor society.