Just a few weeks ahead of prom, Santa Fe High School seniors witnessed a gruesome car crash in front of the campus in which one of their peers died, one was airlifted to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries and another was arrested for drunk driving. Students, families and loved ones gathered to mourn the losses and pray for the injured during a funeral service the next day. The sobering event was all part of an Every 15 Minutes simulation program meant to inspire teens to think twice about driving under the influence.
Whittier Union High School District has partnered with Rio Hondo College to offer students in its three alternative programs the opportunity to take a college-level course at their home campus. Nearly 40 students from Frontier High School, a continuation school, Sierra Vista High School, an independent studies school, and Whittier Adult School are taking a 3-unit introductory sociology course that is transferable to a community college, four-year California State University or University of California institution.
When Alison Johnson was 10 years old, she began staging plays on orange crates in her back yard. She knew even then that her life would revolve around drama. Today, the Santa Fe High School teacher is one of California’s leading advocates of theater and arts education in public schools. Johnson, who has been teaching English and theater arts her alma mater since 1990, was recently appointed to the inaugural class of the Advocacy Leadership Network (ALN).
A La Serna High School senior who has skillfully combined talent in the swimming pool and determination in the classroom, while being continually inspired by her family, is heading to the storied halls of Brown University to play water polo and pursue a degree in bio-medical engineering. Carissa Perez is the high school’s three-time girls water polo captain and all-time leader in goals scored with 463. Her prowess in the water is matched by her academic brilliance, maintaining a 4.31 GPA.
Pioneer High School’s thriving college-going culture and strong academic curriculum has put the Whittier Union campus in the national spotlight, earning distinction as a National Demonstration School for AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a college-readiness system designed to increase the number of students who enroll in four-year colleges. Pioneer is the second school in the District to receive the honor, held by fewer than 3 percent of AVID schools across the nation.