This edition of the VHHS Update or the Verdugo Update is dramatically different from the past issues. The new format will be easier to find and navigate online. Be sure to click the hyperlinks below each story to go to photo albums or websites where you can find more information. Also be sure to go to our website regularly and check in with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.There is so much going on and so much good news to report! Already half way through 2015-16 and lots has already happened in this, my 5th year as principal of Verdugo! We have a slightly different staff (smaller in several areas) and are so fortunate to be able to add such talented teachers and staff to our ranks including Ms. Kaufman and Mr. Elkins (SPED), Mr. Potter (Video/Tech Theatre), Ms. Swann (Theatre/English), Mr. Espindola (SPED/Math), and more. Our magnets are going strong. The Multimedia/Communications Magnet led by Ms. Huete is excited to be adding a STEM focus to their work as teachers are incorporating more and more STEM-related lessons to their curriculum and VAPA, now in Year 3, will be adding the 11th Grade Job Shadow experience this Spring. Spring awaits us with a WASC Visit, Smarter Balanced Tests and AP Testing, and more! Be sure to go to our website regularly, "Like Us" on Facebook, "Follow Us" on Twitter, and subscribe to our weekly podcast on i-Tunes or PodBean for important updates.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!! Though Verdugo Hills High School campus and offices are officially closed Dec. 19, 2015-Jan. 10, 2016, please see coaches and directors for Winter practices, tournaments, and rehearsals. On January 11, 2015, student go to their OLD Period 1 class (from Terms A and B) for breakfast and to pick up their new schedules for Terms C and D. Breakfast in the Classroom Ambassadors, please pick up/return Breakfast Equipment on January 11.
Spreading holiday cheer to our community, on December 17 the Verdugo Voices including the show choir, jazz choir, a cappella singers, and glee club sang for 4 elementary schools (Plainview, Apperson, Pinewood, and Stonehurst), Mt. Gleason Middle School, Totally Kids Hospital, Oakview Convalescent Hospital, and Foothill Retirement. It's always a wonderful day of singing, building camaraderie between the students, and connecting with our community in a very rich way, unlike any other. The singers see their former teachers, sometimes their relatives that work at the schools (like the grandma of one student who worked in the cafeteria, of course we went and sang for them!), and siblings at other schools. Our ASB/Student Leadership also visited
Pinewood ES with a special visit by Santa Claus who was bearing gifts!
STAFF BREAKFAST Traditional Event Marks the End of Fall Semester
A tradition at Verdugo is the annual Staff Breakfast, before school on our last day of school before Winter Break. Thank you to all of our teachers and staff for a great semester! Thanks also to the administrators, coaches, coordinators, and teachers who came in extra early to cook and prepare the breakfast! Thanks also to our Verdugo Voices advanced vocal groups directed by Mr. Daniel Lopez who provided the entertainment.
On December 17, we saw some amazing performers! Marching Band, Orchestra, Jazz Band, Color Guard, Makeshift Harmonies A Cappella, Fiesta Forte Show Choir, Java Jive Jazz Choir, and Harmonic Possessions Glee Club all led by our outstanding teachers and principal, Mr. Lopez, Mrs. Lopez, and Dr. Trimis! Great job to all of the performers, and thank you for coming out to support us! Keep a look out for our Spring Concert date as well as our Verdugo Voices Spring Tour!
On Nov. 27, Verdugo's own Makeshift Harmonies, Java Jive, Fiesta Forte, and Glee Club Collective, AKA Verdugos Hills' Choral Union as well as Makeshift Harmonies A Cappella Singers, performed for the Opening of the LA Zoo LIghts! The high profile event featured speeches by local politicians and a performance from a Cirque du Soleil cast member! It was amazing!
Congratulations to Verdugo Hills High School Vocal program which has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 4 1/2 years with the vocal renaissance at Verdugo. The Verdugo Voices Glee Club, founded by Dr. Trimis in November, 2011, just 1 month after he came to Verdugo as principal, has since paved the way for 5 vocal groups, a Visual and Performing Arts Magnet, a choir teacher, and recognition by the district and recently the Grammy Foundation when Verdugo was recognized as a Semi-Finalist for the Grammy in the Schools Signature Schools Program. The Glee Club first performed for the Annual Chamber of Commerce Holiday Mixer way back in 2011; what the groups did at the Mixer performance this year was a wonderful example of how the groups have grown in size and quality. The groups now typically sing in 3-5 part harmony, the advanced a cappella singers regularly record music videos and several of the groups compete in festivals. The groups recently performed for the opening of the LA Zoo Lights, last year went on a tour to San Francisco (and going to San Diego this year), and have performed for the Opening Superintendent's Meeting for Administrators and the LAUSD School Board. The current groups (who performed for the event) were Verdugo Voices Glee Club & Harmonic Possession, Fiesta Forte Show Choir, Makeshift Harmonies A Cappella Singers, and Java Jive Jazz Choir. The school also has a rock band (a la School of Rock) and full instrumental program including orchestra, concert band, marching band and color guard, beginning band, and beginning orchestra.
Congratulations to Sara Weed and Angie Villela, Verdugo performers who have made it to Round 2 of Music Center's Spotlight Awards Competition! The prestigious competition promotes excellence in performance and finalists perform at the Music Center in a special concert and compete for college scholarships! We are so very proud of both of you! Good luck in Round 2!
Sara Weed has passed Round 1 and will now proceed to the second round in Acting. Sara (2017) is very involved at Verdugo in the drama program, having acted in the Fall Play and singing, dancing, and acting in the Spring Musical where she will play Penny Pingleton. Sara is also a member of the Marching Dons Color Guard and is a founding member of the VAPA Magnet at Verdugo. Sara is also a member of the Writing for Musical Theatre Workshop and will be submitting her original musical for the national Show
Search competition this Spring.
Angie Villela has passed Round 1 in two different categories, Classical Voice AND non-Classical Voice, and will now proceed to Round 2 in both categories. Angie (2019), AKA Angel Ng,
Angie Villela (Angel Ng)
has amassed quite a resume and developed many skills which by many accounts exceed all expectations for someone her age. She is a continuing student at Colburn Music School, studying opera, while she attends Verdugo as a ninth grade VAPA Magnet student and still finds time to perform at major events and festivals both in Los Angeles and Mexico. Always proud of her school, she is enjoying our "big, little school" in the hills. Angie is also in the Writing for Musical Theatre Workshop with Sara and will be submitting her original musical to the Show Search competition as well this Spring.
Once again, congratulations to Sara and Angie and good luck!.
Congratulations to Verdugo band members and color guard members who will representing our school in this year's All City Marching Band and All City Jazz Band. Both groups have been rehearsing most of the Fall and many performances scheduled including the Tournament of Roses Parade and Bandfest (All City Marching Band) and the Playboy Jazz Festival (All City Jazz Band). Student performers in the All City Marching Band include William RJ Torres (tuba), Adrian Gonzalez (trumpet), Roger Puc (baritone), Giselle Palacios (trumpet), Kevin Callejas (snare drum), Tessa Fowler (shield), Shelby Haas (shield), Emely Callejas (shield), and Kelly Sachs (flags). All City Jazz Band performers include Milad Aakra and William RJ Torres.
Congratulations, LAUSD and Verdugo Cyber Patriots!
Verdugo had two teams competing in the competition in December (continuing in January). The teams are coached by Dr. Marcel Van Baal.
The names of the boys team is
Mario Alfaro, Jesus Gallardo, Norberto Huerta, and Wyatt Hanna. The names of the girls team is iForgotTwice: Fritzi Landeros, Rosycela Munoz, Veronica Eudave, Lizette Macias, and Yvette Martinez.Sub: Karla Martinez.
In the national competition, LAUSD had:
* 19 Platinum ranked teams (Go Reseda Open!),
* 27 Gold ranked teams, (Go Canoga Park, Reseda, Boyle Heights STEM, and Verdugo Hills!), and
* 34 Silver ranked teams, (Go JFK, Verdugo Hills, San Fernando, and Monroe.)
That's 80 teams in the top ranks of the nation - a remarkable achievement!
Congratulations, Taylor Hanes, 1st Runner Up for LAUSD Board of Education Student Member of the Board Seat! Taylor ran against potentially thousands of students and was selected as one of seven finalists. The finalists were then placed on a ballot and, on December 7 after hearing introductory speeches from each of the candidates, one was elected along with a first and second alternate. This latest accomplishment is on top of all that is going on for Ms. Hanes. She is the Verdugo Student Body Vice-President, #2 on the 10 member LAUSD All City Army JROTC Staff (earning that spot out of 5000 cadets in LAUSD), and for the 4th year in a row is the winner of the Voice of Democracy Essay Contest, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and will be traveling to Sacramento for the state competition in January. Taylor is also Verdugo's Social Media Director and president of the Social Media Photography Team at Verdugo.
DON/DONA OF THE MONTH Top Students Get Recognized
Congratulations to the Dons and Donas of the Month for Fall, 2015-16. The students are nominated by classroom teachers or other school staff for this honor.
We were there at 4:15 am and went live starting at 5 am at the event on October 23. Most sports teams and clubs or groups were represented from football and cheer to band to a cappella to JROTC and everything in between. Many students were interviewed on camera. Golf Team and Tennis Team gave demos. Everyone cheered! It was a great day for the Dons!
There is budding talent here at Verdugo Hills that we saw during our Visual And Performing Arts (VAPA) / Multimedia Magnet (MM) Showcase! On December 11 we saw drama, music technology, dance, and art! Thanks to our outstanding and talented freshman, awesome teachers, counselor and principal!
At Verdugo, the programs you may not have heard about are the visual arts and dance programs. Visual Art is taught by Tina Staley with Media Arts taught by the trio of teachers who have worked for years as media pros, Tony Potter (video and tech theatre), Kevin Yip (digital media), and Paul McGlothlin (photography). The dance program including both beginning dance and advanced dance is taught by Nancy Meraz. We also have a Cheer Team and a Dance Team (coached by Meraz) and a Hip Hop Club sponsored by Ms. Donnela Wilson.
On Nov. 14, 2015, our Marching Dons and Color Guard received 1st place in their division! Percussion made 2nd place! So proud to be a Don! The Band competed in the LAUSD City Championships at East LA College on Dec. 5th.
Verdugo Hills HS students got a surprise on December 4 when they went to lunch! The Dons Marching Band and Color Guard presented a surprise "Flash Mob" performance of their 2015 show, "A Night at Gatsby's", in the quad. Their show features music from the Great Gatsby era and film including Rhapsody in Blue and others. The band is directed by Victoria Lopez with Drum Major RJ Torres and Color Guard Captain Shelby Haas. The band and color guard competed in the LAUSD Band and Drill Team Championships at East LA College on Dec. 5 when the band placed 3rd and the Color Guard won morning sweepstakes!
We have lots of student success to celebrate in the Verdugo Theatre program!
Jai Carson was selected as a finalist in the Center Theatre Group's August Wilson Monologue Competition.
Luz Rodriguez and Sara Weed have been granted scholarships by the CA State Thespians to perform at the CA Youth in Theatre Day in Sacramento this Spring.
Basia Cherbony was selected by the Center Theatre Group to be on the Young Arts team of the Student Ambassadors as a paid intern. Only 24 students were selected from the Los Angeles area.
In October, twenty students participated in the annual Drama Teachers Association of Southern CA Varsity Fall Festival. Michaela Mahoney advanced to semi-finals. Another twenty students participated in the JV division in November, with group musical earning an honorable mention.
The Verdugo Thespian Troupe, a part of the International Thespian Society, reinstated #3192. This is an honor, arts and service organization that meets Wednesdays at lunch in the auditorium.
On Nov. 13-21, the Verdugo Hills High School Theatre Department presented the annual Fall Play, "The Iliad, The Odyssey, And All Greek Mythology In 99 Minutes or Less" Great cast and crew! The performances were outstanding! Congratulatulations to director Amanda Swann and the cast and crew. Special thanks to our Tech Theatre Department led by Tony Potter.
Congratulations to Verdugo Hills Theatre Department who went "out in to the big world" to compete in the varsity and JV Drama Teachers of Southern California Festivals/Competition this year! We had several teams perform on each of two different days, Varsity at Kennedy Community High Schools and JV at Wilson MS in Glendale on Oct. 19 and 24. Several students and groups were recognized. Great work!
Nosferatu's Bane, a Nareg Production produced and directed by Nareg Aghajanian (2016, VHHS MM Magnet), held a special Pre-Halloween screening at the iconic McGroarty Theatre on the campus of beautiful Verdugo Hills High School, October 30, 2015 at 6 pm! The film is a classic B/W horror silent horror/suspense thriller featuring Nareg as the terrifying Nosferatu, Narbeh Zakani as the inimitable Dr. Van Helsing, Kallie Kain as the beautiful Mina Harker, Sydney Donovan as the alluring Mary Morris, with Dimitrios Aguilar, Tori Powers, Christian Barron, and Ricardo Sosa. The film was aired in it's entirety along with the prequel on KLCS on December 5!
Nov. 14, 2015 Awesome Dons Battalion JROTC Color Guard Competition at Hollywood High School today! Congratulations on a 1st place win for the second year in a row! Next competition: All-City Drill Comp. was at Monroe HS on Dec. 12th!
Congratulations to our very own Dons Battalion, Army JROTC, who competed in the annual Drill Competition at Monroe High School on December 12. The competition marks an important point in the annual JROTC competition in LAUSD. Schools participate in 44 member large group drill competition, a 25 member competition, 8 member competition (squad), unarmed drill team and armed drill team (armed with plastic rifles, no worries...). What you may NOT know about the Dons Battalion: 1) The group is relatively new, having started in the early 2000s at VHHS. 2)The army funds 1/2 of the instructors, uniforms, equipment and more, so the cost to the school is minimal. 3) The program is primarily a leadership training program. In addition to leadership, service to community is a very strong focus as are academics. 4) Our school is in the top 3 of the district competition nearly every year alongside well established programs such as Monroe HS and Manual Arts HS. 5) Our school wins the academic challenge part of the competition nearly every year. 6) We have had winners and students who placed in the top ten for the Voice of Democracy Essay contest several years in a row. Taylor Hanes ('16), the Battalion Commander this year was not only 1st place in the competition (again) but will be going to Sacramento representing LAUSD in the state and competition. 7) There is an All City Leadership team for AJROTC in the district. Each year, we have students who compete and are on this team as members (top 10) or alternates (top 20). Out of over 5000 students, Verdugo had the #2 student (Taylor) and #7 student, and two alternates. Last year we had the #1 and the year before #2 and 3. 8) AJROTC students are super involved. For example, Taylor is the school social media director/social media photo team president and was elected as 1st alternate to the LAUSD School Board and many of the students are in sports, vocal groups, drama, and more. 9. AJROTC is arguably the humblest, most giving, and least recognized program on campus donating thousands of hours to the community, putting in thousands of hours of practice, day and night, developing academic skills, leadership skills, and a sense of right and wrong students often do not get in school, and all with not enough recognition and support. We love our Army JROTC program. Congratulations for all you do and thank you.
In order to be a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, you need to go through an extensive application process which includes sample lessons, videos or your teaching an more.
It is quite an honor and most schools only have a few teachers who qualify. We are super proud of our Nationally Board Certified Teachers (left to right in the photo) Mr. Romuald David, Ms. Raquel Franco, Mr. Romuald David, Ms. Gevarra-Lewis, and Mr. William Graves!
All schools who issue diplomas go through a six accreditation cycle in order for their schools to be accredited which is necessary for colleges to accept student transcripts. The six-year cycle starts with a full 3 1/2 day visit at the end of a self-study process which typically takes 1-3 years, if not ongoing prior to the visit. Verdugo had the last full visit in 2013 and was awarded a 6-year term with a 1-day mid-term visit following the school's completion of a progress report and updated Action Plan. Our visit is scheduled for April 6 and the Progress Report is currently being completed and the Action Plan updated.
We have a (fairly) new set of standards and tests. The Common Core State Standards are taught throughout our schools replacing or in some cases merged with most of the content covered by the California State Standards. The 11th Grade students are testing (not 9th-11th) in the Spring using the computer adaptive Smarter Balanced Assessments. Schools use either i-Pads, or computers to take the tests. For the 2015 tests, Verdugo did very well scoring above many high schools and the district averages in both math and English Language Arts (the only two areas tested). Also, the California High School Exit Exam is no longer a requirement for graduation. Check out the links below for more information.
It was a busy summer this year! In addition to summer school, Verdugo hosted Jr. Cheer Camp, Jr. Football Camp, Jr. Glee Camp, several teams practices, and we hosted the Gold Drum and Bugle Corps Los Angeles Camp and LA Show!
Verdugo Hills High School was once again out in full force representing all of the Dons in this year's July 4 parade! Congratulations to Band, JROTC, Glee, Cheer, and all of the rest of the Verdugo groups and students! July 21-25 Verdugo Hills School proudly hosted the Gold Youth Arts' Gold Drum and Bugle Corps for their final Los Angeles Camp and Send-Off Show. Gold performed their send-off show at Turner Stadium, Verdugo Hills High School, on Friday, July 24, at 8:30 pm. Gold will also hosted a band and color guard clinic for Verdugo students and local high schools on Saturday, July 25, at Verdugo from 10 am to 1 pm. Gold hit the road for their national tour on Sunday night.
It's the way we start every year. The Freshman Orientation, led by our amazing Link Crew Members, is followed in the next few weeks by the Aloha Assembly, and Back to School Night. The events all set the tone for common expectations, the understanding of our mission and what students and families need to know about Verdugo. We believe in Academics, Arts, and Athletics. We believe every student can and must succeed to the highest level possible and that we must always raise the bar and expect more that even our students believe is possible. We believe in family, in community, and in closing gaps in achievement, technology, and social capital.
One of the annual traditions of the great american high school is the Homecoming Game and Dance. Verdugo maintains this proud tradition! At Verdugo, we also have a community parade that precedes the game. Homecoming Game and Parade were on October 23 this year and the dance was on Oct. 24.
The Homecoming Dance was on October 24. The theme was Romeo and Juliet's Ball. The gowns were beautiful and the tuxes were dashing. A diamond ring was given away. The Homecoming Court was stellar. The DJ was great. Friends and snacks were plentiful. What else can you ask for in a Homecoming Dance?
Our Future Farmers of America Chapter and Animal Sciences classes hosted their Farmer's Market by the Verdugo Farm on Dec. 11. The event gave our students the opportunity to sell eggs, produce, animals and more that they raised or cultivated in the program. It was a great event!
CROSS COUNTRY GOES THE DISTANCE City Finals Success
Congratulations to the Verdugo Hills Cross Country Team who were in City Finals on Nov. 21!
Varsity Boys Won 2nd Place! VeeJay Jones went to State finals on Nov. 28, 2015! Varsity Girls and JV Boys did a great job, Girls placing 3rd!
We now have wrestling! We had over 60 show at the first informational meeting. Thanks to Beat the Streets and the hard work of our athletic director, Tami Revel, Assistant Athletic Director, Darren Fitzgerald, and AP over Athletics, Arturo Barcenas, we have wrestling! Congrats to h
ead coach Christian Fagan and his girls team and boys team! Both the girls team and boys team are off to great seasons. The opening match against Monroe HS in the historic Ruth Knapp gym was magical! So much excitement filled the packed room as our wrestlers hit the mats. Head coach is Christian Fagan. Congratulations to all!
You may be surprised to find out the city owns the pool which you can access from the Verdugo campus.You may be even more surprised the pool is drained during the school year so PE classes and teams from Verdugo cannot access it. What you need to know, though, could be the biggest surprise of all. Verdugo operates a very successful aquatics program all year long! Boys Water Polo, Girls Water Polo, and Swim Team are typically League Champs and are some of the highest achieving scholar-athletes at Verdugo! The team travels every day to another pool at East Valley High School to practice.The teams are all coached by Dave Warren.
Verdugo Girls Volleyball defeated Arleta HS, 3 games to zero, at Roybal HS to win the city crown on Nov. 21! They went on to the CIF Play-Offs to the So Cal Championships on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015 at 7 pm vs. St. Monica's Academy at Chavez Learning Complex. The team is coached by Head Coach Will reinhart and Assistant Coach Daryn McCrary.
Winter Sports are here. Time to put away the football and get out the soccer ball and basketball (boys and girls). We also have Girls Water Polo and Boys and Girls Wrestling. Game info including times and places are posted on our website.
We now have the ability to accept donations online for various programs and initiatives at Verdugo Hills High School. with the funding crunch we are feeling your donation is especially appreciated! Follow these steps:
Enter an amount (Click or do not click "recurring")
To donate with credit card, complete info on the left. To donate with PayPal, sign in.
Review your donation info.
Click "Add Special Instructions" and specify which program you want to donate to (or indicate "general student body")
Click "Donate" (orange button on the right)
Spring Tour Fund (Vocal Music)
Instrumental Music Instruments Fund
Music Dept. Spring Festival/Competition Fund
Music Dept. Facilities Fund
Library Media Center Fund
AAA Sports/Special Olympics Fund
Classroom Materials and Supplies Fund
Field Trips Fund
SOCIAL MEDIA@VERDUGO "Like" Us and "Follow" Us
Did you know that Verdugo Hills High School is very involved with all different kinds of social media? Did you also know that is is easy (and fun) to use these social media tools and stay very connected to Verdugo in a very real and powerful way? Did you also know that you do not need to have personal accounts on Facebook and Twitter to connect with us? Go to the links below and explore, either on your cellphone or computer. There is a world awaiting you on Verdugo Social Media! Verdugo even has a student Social Media Photography Team and Social Media Director!
Did you know that your favorite weekly announcements are also available as a podcast on both I-Tunes and PodBean? In addition to weekly announcements, you can also hear podcasts including special interviews with students and staff, features on testing and classroom updates, accreditation, and more. Check out the links below to see how to subscribe.
We are excited to offer one of the best educational experiences around! At Verdugo, we combine a rigorous A-G academic program with unparalleled support for the arts and academics all supported by a loving and nurturing community, which we, in turn, give back to on a regular basis. Please stay in touch, stay connect, and see us at school!
Dr. Edward Trimis
Verdugo Hills High School