EFO Logo (as of 2011)

Funding excellence
in education

~ June 2017 ~ 
When everyone gives, everyone wins! 
EFO benefits every Orinda student every day!
Help us raise the last $100,000! 

Did you know? Orinda remains one of the lowest publicly funded districts in the state with per-student funding of $6,857, compared with a per-student state average of $10,288 (as of 2014-2015). The US average is $12,528 and the highest states are above $20,000 per student. And yet, Orinda schools are consistently in the top 1% of California schools!

Your help is needed to bridge this gap. Thank you for your support! 
Arts Ambassador Exhibit showcases talents across all grade levels 
In its eleventh year, the A nnual Arts Ambassador Exhibit once again had a prime venue at the Orinda Library Gallery for the entire month of April. The Exhibit is a collaboration between EFO, Lamorinda Arts Council (LAC) and all the Orinda public schools. With artwork contributed by nearly 200 students from 1st to 12th grade, the exhibit represents a comprehensive showcase of incredible student talent and a testimony to the dedication of the visual art teachers as well.
The April 19th reception highlighted student talents across a broad spectrum of the arts - visual, musical and theater. Guests enjoyed listening to musical selections performed by elementary school string ensembles, the OIS Jazz Band, and the Miramonte Jazz Band. The grand finale was a dramatic Macbeth performance by the Miramonte Drama Department.
Much of the event's success can be credited to EFO Volunteer Jackie Noyes who has served as the Arts Ambassador Liaison for the past four years. Special thanks to the fantastic and dedicated teachers who inspire creativity on a daily basis at all Orinda schools: Stacey Churchill, Heather Cousins, Deborah Hovey-Lacour, Gavin Kermode, Greg Mazmanian, David Morritt, Gretchen Neilson, Hillery Paterson, David Uyeno , Susan Weiss, Cody Wilson, and Susan Zib. And, a shout out to EFO Volunteer Lori Brook for her tireless efforts as Miramonte's VPA Coordinator.

EFO would also like to thank our parent and community supporters whose financial support ensures that all students from kindergarten through 12th grade have access to an enriched arts program. A strong arts program is one of the many unique strengths of Orinda's public schools.

Photo credits:
Elana O'Loskey, The Orinda News; Ann Murphy, EFO Volunteer.
EFO congratulates every Orinda student
on another year of growth, exploration and achievement!

Whether preparing to start kindergarten in the fall, move up to the next grade level, transition into middle school or high school, or head off on exciting post-graduate adventures, every Orinda student will take a big step forward in June!
Congratulations and enjoy your summer!  
Latin Program and Latin Club continue to thrive at Miramonte 

It's impossible to convince anyone at Miramonte that "Latin is dead" given the overwhelming popularity of the Latin language program, and the success of the school's Latin Club, a local chapter of California Junior Classical League (CJCL) and the biggest club on Miramonte's campus.

For the fifth consecutive year, Miramonte Latin took home the top prizes at the CAJCL Convention in April: First Place Overall (large high schools), First Place Spirit (large high schools), First Place Publicity High School, as well as a slew of other accolades and an impressive sixty-eight awards for individual participants. To quote a famous  Roman, "Veni, vidi, vici"! Photographed below are just some of this year's glorious victors.

At Latin Convention, students compete over two busy days in a series of academic tests, classical art competition, sporting events and a spirit competition. The annual convention not only represents the culmination of a lot of hard work and preparation, but highlights the relevance of Latin in modern culture by offering a wide range of fun activities for students to join. In fact, the Convention itself is a big draw for students to enroll in Latin and the Latin Club, currently led by President Sophie Hammond and Vice-President Zahra Hasanain.

Latin's popularity at Miramonte is in large part due to the lively, interactive and fun teaching styles of Mr. Matt Davis and Mr. Nick Carpenter. Classes offer more than just memorizing difficult grammar lessons but involve spirited sessions focused on culture, history and daily Roman life.

"Taking Latin for me, and many others, makes us more aware of the world around us. I like to think that learning Latin mixes all the skills you need in other subjects - to translate sentences without any real sentence structure requires problem solving skills you use in math, to interpret the meaning of Latin sayings requires the analytical skills you use in English, and you need to learn the history to understand the overall context." ~ Zahra Hasanain

Many students would also agree that the school's Latin Club benefits from an unparalleled sense of camaraderie and student diversity. Says Vice-President Zahra Hasanain, "the Club allows members to feel a part of a community that has a unique passion for a language that isn't so common these days". Through weekly Wednesday lunches and countless hours prepping for Convention, the Latin Club brings students together for fun and learning. And, let's not forget, bringing home those First Place trophies!

EFO proudly supports all World Language classes at Miramonte as well as the student enrichment Latin Club. Congratulations to everyone on five straight FIRST PLACE titles!
Making music - one of many EFO-funded electives at OIS

EFO believes that music is an integral part of a well-rounded education and our support of school music programs follows Orinda students from day one. Beginning in elementary school with full funding of vocal and instrumental music instruction, it continues into the middle school years with sponsorship of OIS music electives in partnership with OIS Parents Club. Starting in sixth grade, students can explore and finesse their musical talents through participation in Chorus, Strings Ensemble, Bulldog Band, Concert Band and Jazz Band. Fundamentals of ensemble playing, music reading skills, techniques and tone quality, and an appreciation for different music genres are all introduced in classroom settings by teachers Christina Holling and Greg Mazmanian. Students perform throughout the year at school assemblies and concerts, community gatherings and competitions. And, for those who seek further music study, OIS choral and music electives prepare students well for the larger stage expectations of high school.

Advanced Chorus participates in the annual CMEA Choral Festival and the Six Flags Music in the Park showcase in late May. This year, the OIS Advanced Chorus (photographed below) earned superior ratings for their CMEA performance! Well done everyone!

The final Chorus showcase will be a pop-solo concert at the upcoming
OIS Open House on June 1st. Many choir students will have the opportunity to sing solos and duets from a variety of popular musicals and movies, including La La Land and Hamilton. Don't miss the chance to hear this talented group (or to hum along with familiar tunes)!

Similar to Chorus, the various OIS Band ensembles have showcased their talents at several venues and events during the year, including Great America Amusement Park and the Arts Ambassador Reception.

Their final appearance will be during OIS Open House on June 1st. All ensembles will perform a variety of entertaining music. From Maurice Jarre's "Lawrence of Arabia" to Sia's "Cheap Thrills" to Bizet's "Farandole" - this promises to be a concert in which everyone will recognize a tune they admire and love!

Thank you to Christina Holling and Greg Mazmanian for their inspiration, guidance and teaching! Their love for music shines on in their students! 
A few of their favorite things...

EFO's funding of arts and music instruction at the elementary school level has inspired some remarkable talent and creativity for young students, and we are proud to highlight just a few of these rising stars!

Will Lincoln,
Sleepy Hollow 3rd-grader
With a big grin, Will Lincoln proudly points to his artwork displayed at last month's Arts Ambassador Exhibit. The assignment - to replicate an original piece of artwork - was his favorite project of the year, and Will did a great job capturing the many colors. His favorite part of Art class is 'free draw' sessions. Says his mother, Sage Lincoln, "any program that can have a 3rd grader paint this well has to be amazing!"
Nicole Hui, Wagner Ranch 5th grader
Nicole Hui started playing the flute in fourth grade as part of the instrumental music program at Wagner Ranch under the instruction of
Gretchen Nielson. She has enjoyed playing in the Spring band concerts each year, and she is a big fan of Ms. Nielson, "a very experienced and patient teacher who taught me how to play the flute!" 
Casey Yung,
Glorietta 4th grader 
This was Casey Yung's first year in Glorietta's music program and his first time playing an instrument. He impressed his parents by setting his own daily practice schedule, even fitting in practice session while waiting in the car and asking friends to bring their instruments on playdates so they could play together. Casey's favorite thing to do is to learn new songs.
"I never really listened to just the music until I learned how to play. I was always focused on the words of songs. Now I listen for the tune behind the song and I am able to enjoy music on a new level."
Mackenzie Finegan,
Del Rey 5th grader  
Mackenzie Finegan has been a dedicated participant in the arts and music programs during her years at Del Rey. Her teachers note that she is a focused artist and talented singer. She is " always very positive and eager to learn about music while being kind and supportive to her peers." Mackenzie is pictured at right ready t o perform in this year's Del Rey musical production of HONK, Jr!.
Thank you to the elementary school teachers who inspire such impressive creativity every day: Christina Holling, Gretchen Nielson , Hillery Paterson, Ron Pickett, and Susan Zib.
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