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December 16, 2009 > News from New Haven Unified School District

News from New Haven Unified School District

Submitted By Rick La Plante

New Haven Unified has been chosen to receive a Green California Schools Leadership Award. The award, in the "energy" category, was presented on December 10 at the Green California Schools Summit in Pasadena. The award recognizes a school or school district for its innovation and dedication to energy efficiency. New Haven "has clearly demonstrated both of these qualities through its solar installations and other sustainability projects," according to the organization Green Technology.

New Haven became the first district in Alameda County to make solar power the source for a majority of a school's energy needs, when Conley-Caraballo High School went online in 2007, a year after it opened. The District since has installed solar systems to supply most energy needs at Kitayama Elementary School and part of the energy needs at James Logan High School.

Conley-Caraballo High School librarian, Martha Utley, has been awarded a $3,000 grant by the Lois Lenski Covey Foundation. The award is specifically for the purchase of library books, and Ms. Utley says she plans on purchasing books "to support curriculum as well as fiction and non-fiction books that meet student interest and needs."

The award honors Lois Lenski, children's book author and 1946 Newberry medalist for "Strawberry Girl," who had a life-long concern that all children have access to good books. In pursuit of this goal she established a foundation to provide grants to agencies serving disadvantaged populations. This year's grants ranged from $500 to the maximum $3,000 that CCHS received.

Emanuele Elementary School students who might not be able to afford
holiday gifts will have a chance to get them thanks to school staff members who have put together a clothing boutique.

Teacher Stephanie Harms reports that one of her colleagues, Sheilah Stettler recently organized a staff effort to donate clothing, shoes and accessories and submit the names of children from low-income families who were be invited to "shop" the boutique. Fourth- and fifth-grade teachers gave up their lunch periods to staff the boutique.

Logan student Gagandeep Gill, a senior in the school's Marketing & Management Academy, won first place over the weekend in the "Apprenticeship" category at the 11th annual Virtual Enterprise national competition in Bakersfield. The event included more than 100 schools, from as far away at New York, teacher Wil Richberg reports.

Two other Logan students, Richard Diaz and Julian Kamlley, finished third in the "Best Company Newsletter" competition, and Mandeep Singh and Harsimranjet Singh earned honorable mention for "Best Company Website." Junior Zahid Sharif finished in eighth place for "Best Video Commercial."

Marketing & Management Academy business students will host their own business student trade fair March 7-8, and they have been invited to compete in New York City, March 24 - 25.

Logan High's annual Winter Canned Food Drive is under way, giving the New Haven community a chance "to reach out and help our less fortunate neighbors," in the words of Student Activities Director Francis Rojas. The drive will continue through Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Logan students are being encouraged to bring donations of canned/non-perishable food, new toys, and money to their second-period classes. The three classes that bring in the highest number of donations will be treated to a continental breakfast.

A container has been set up in the front office for anyone from the community to donate.

In addition, Logan's Humanitarian Assistance Club is in the middle of a Hope Phones Campaign, collecting old phones, working or not, to be recycled and using the proceeds to purchase usable phones for community health workers in Africa, according to advisor Stephanie Papas.

Specifically, the phones purchased by Hope Phones will be sent to FACE AIDS clinics in Rwanda. FACE AIDS is a student-run organization that helps spread awareness about HIV and AIDS and provides antiretroviral treatment to those infected with HIV and AIDS. A $10 phone can give 50 families access to medical care, student leader Emerald Mann reports. And "this entire process is also ecologically friendly, a wonderful plus," Emerald adds.

Logan's marching band and color guard, performing "Where the Wild Things Are," completed what has become a fall ritual by winning another championship at the Western Band Association finals at Buchanan High School in Clovis. In one of the closest competitions of its 11-year championship run, Logan scored 97.70 points to edge Ayala High School of Chino Hills, which finished second with 97.05. Previously this fall, Logan won the Live Oak, Gilroy and Valley Christian field shows and, as usual, stole the show with an exhibition at its own field show. Pictures from Clovis can be seen online (

Teacher Vince Rosato's fourth-grade students at Searles Elementary School are inviting the New Haven community to their production of "The Environmental Show," a play designed to teach simple ways to cut down on pollution, save water, use less energy and avoid the landfill. Their performance will be Wednesday, Dec. 16, starting at 7 p.m., on the Benny Brown Memorial cafeteria at Searles. The cast will be receiving donations of canned food, blankets or warm coats to be distributed to needy individuals through local non-profit, charitable organizations.

Former Major League baseball player Aaron Ledesma, who last month was part of the first full class of inductees into Logan's Athletic Hall of Fame, will held lead a clinic Monday, December 28, to benefit the school's program. The clinic, for boys and girls ages 8-18, also will feature several other former Logan players who went on to professional careers, including Archie Gilbert, Gabe Garcia, Junior Ruiz, Willie Garza, Gary Alexander and David Flores. Cost is $20 per student and $10 for siblings. For information, contact Coach John Goulding (

Services for retired Searles Elementary and Educational Services Center secretary Barbara (Irons) Young were held on December 12 in Fremont.

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