Funding Excellence in Edu
~ May 2019 ~
In this issue:
Freshmen Yosemite NatureBridge Trip; Computer Classes at OIS; Arts Ambassador Exhibit; Miramonte Latin Club; Miramonte Senior Profiles.
When everyone gives, everyone wins!
every Orinda student
As another school year ends, we proudly celebrate
Orinda's history of community-supported public education
and the continued success of EFO-funded programs at our schools.
It's not too late to make your 2018-19 gift! We are close to reaching our goal for the 2018-19 campaign, but with over $100,000 left to raise, we aren't there yet.
YOU can make a difference and YOU can help us reach out goal!
Miramonte freshmen expand their horizons with outdoor education in Yosemite!
Everyone knows that EFO dollars support education IN the classroom, but you might not know that EFO dollars also support education OUTSIDE the classroom. Just like the annual senior class trip to Olympic National Park in Washington, Miramonte freshmen enjoyed their own outdoor NatureBridge experience with in Yosemite National Park.
The goal of the three-day excursion was multidisciplinary: the study and application of environmental science concepts in conjunction with their freshmen year's Living Earth curriculum; the practice of observational and reflective writing in line with English 1 and World History standards; and the practice of mindfulness, respect, and teamwork. Students were given the opportunity to make meaningful connections with nature, with classmates and teachers, and with themselves.
Here's what some students had to say about their Yosemite experience:
I discovered that teachers are more comfortable around students when you can spend quality time with them outside of the classroom. I deepened my friendships with many people when I had time to just walk in the wild and talk. (Joe Gonzales)
Being without technology pushed me and others to talk to new people. As I learned how to start conversations with those who I have never started them with before, I began to become better at socializing. This trip caused many of my peers and myself to be more welcoming and open to talking with different people. (Andrew Robinson)
I enjoyed being away from the Miramonte campus. I need routine, but breaking my daily routine was refreshing. (Lily Wood)
Learning in Yosemite felt like an adventure. I really liked taking a break from the indoor classroom atmosphere of sitting at a desk for an hour and a half. I think the outdoor environment also made people more creative and willing to learn. (Grace Pang)
Thank you to all the teachers, student leaders and freshmen participants! And thank you to EFO donors for making this possible!
Computer electives appeal to
OIS technology wizards
EFO programs are not all about the arts! Orinda Intermediate School students with an interest and budding skills in computer-based fields have several appealing electives to choose from every year: Web Design, Computer Programming, and Computer Graphics. All taught by teacher Leslie Millstone, these fascinating electives not only teach students vital computer-orient
ed skills, but help prepare them for a future work environment based solely around technology.
In Web Design,
students are currently working on designing their own escape rooms. Crafted in teams, these detailed works of technology are completed by one student team, and then other students attempt to solve them. In Computer Programming, students are currently creating their own games, and in the process, learning and understanding how programs are written. They are not only learning how to play the games, but how coders create the games. The Computer Graphics elective teaches students how to create digital art on the computer, using difficult, intricate programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and, occasionally, Google Draw. Thanks to EFO and Parents Club donations, OIS students are fortunate to be able to expand their learnings and gain valuable skills in these computer classes.
Thank you Ms. Millstone!
EFO and Parents' Clubs work together all year long to support the excellent educational experience that benefits ALL students attending Orinda public schools.
Lingua Latina est vita!
Guided by stellar teachers Magister Davis and Magistra Mullowney, the Latin program at Miramonte is thriving, offering students opportunities to not only learn the language but also to engage in activities that deepen their connection to Latin language and culture.
Throughout the year, Miramonte Latin students, as part of the Junior Classical League, come together at local, state, and national events to deepen their study of the ancient world and compete in academic, artistic and athletic events revolving around the ancient world. EFO donations help support travel to events, publishing the national winning newsletter, scholarships, and hosting this year's state convention.
At the end of March, Miramonte hosted the California Junior Classical League (CAJCL) State Convention with 968 students attending from 43 different schools all over California as well as Nevada and Washington. This was a massive undertaking by CAJCL Presidents and MHS seniors Kiana Hu and Brendan McFeely and Latin Club President Gil Peled: including coordinating all 151 Miramonte participants, organizing 34 planning meetings and work days, and arranging for over 4,000 meals to feed the hungry Latin convention attendees.
In addition to hosting a successful convention, Miramonte's teams secured many awards: our competitive certamen teams (Latin quizbowl) won first place in both Latin 2 and Latin 4 (a first!); Miramonte students won four of the top scores in academic tests for the entire state of California; and the Miramonte Latin delegation won first place overall for the seventh year in a row. Kudos on a job well done! And thank you to Mr. Davis and Ms. Mullowney for their continued leadership of this great program!
Celebrating the arts in Orinda:
13th Annual Arts Ambassador Exhibit
This year's Annual Arts Ambassador Exhibit gathered students, parents, teachers and community supporters together at the Orinda Library Gallery for a celebratory reception showcasing artwork from all elementary schools, OIS and Miramonte.
In addition to the artwork, attendees were treated to musical performances by the OIS band, the beautiful voices of the Miramonte Choir, and the talented elementary school strings ensembles. Fifth grader violinist Sam Cao entertained everyone with two incredible solos accompanied by his brother on the piano.
A consistent message by the administration and district representatives was how fortunate Orinda schools are to have access to musical, visual and performance arts instruction. Thanks to EFO supporters, all Orinda art students can routinely use their creativity to problem solve, express their ideas and explore the world around them.
Special thanks to the fantastic and dedicated teachers who inspire creativity on a daily basis at all Orinda schools: Erica Amundson, Stacey Churchill, Heather Cousins, Meredith Hawkins, Christina Holling, Gavin Kermode, Greg Mazmanian, David Morritt, Gretchen Neilson, Margaret Niles, Ron Pickett, David Uyeno, Susan Weiss, Cody Wilson, David Wilson and Susan Zib. You all make a difference every day in the lives of Orinda students!
Much of the event's success is credited to EFO Volunteer Bene Streubel who tirelessly orchestrates EFO events all year long. And, a huge shout out to EFO Volunteer Lori Brook for her amazing efforts as Miramonte's VPA Coordinator! Her words offer the perfect summary of Arts Ambassador:
"Every year, I am always surprised by the reaction of the younger visual artists and their families when they come to the reception and see their artwork on public display for the first time. Their artwork takes on a new meaning for them when it is placed in the context of an art show in a real art gallery. I see overwhelming pride in their own work, wonder at the wide variety of artwork on display, and I hear over and over again, the general amazement that students have created this fantastic display. It is a tangible moment for me: the moment when the hard work we do behind the scenes in support of arts education really comes to fruition. This is such a valuable celebration of the arts in our community." (Lori Brook, EFO VPA Coordinator)
A strong arts program is one of the many unique strengths
of Orinda's public schools.
Miramonte Senior Profiles
As their senior year comes to a close, EFO celebrates the achievements of several outstanding VPA students.
Paul Legallet began his acting career early, starting with the Glorietta musical in fourth grade, then OIS theater productions, and finally the Miramonte Drama program. Paul found drama classes gave him the tools to pursue his passion with opportunities for acting, writing, directing, set and light design. "The reason I am continuing with acting in my future is because of drama at MHS. Mrs. Cousins has inspired me and showed me the power of theater in our society. When I am in the theater at Miramonte I am happy, and I did not want to let that feeling go." Paul will be attending the University of Michigan as a BFA acting student in the fall.
From her first
lessons at Glorietta, to
semester art classes at
to expanding and
passion for art
, visual arts student
Jennifer Atkins has embraced arts education at every level
. As she
he visual arts program at MHS has made the biggest impact on my life out of any other. I've been given the tools and techniques to blossom these past years, inspired by Ms. Amundson and Miramonte's strong artistic community beyond the paintbrush."
In her senior
year, Jennifer has taken three visual arts courses, including the rigorous
AP Portfolio which
students to submit a wide range of original artwork
evaluated on quality, sustained investigation, and range of approaches.
continue her arts education in college this fall at the
Rhode Island School of Design
Henry Conner also participated in a fourth grade musical, but it wasn't until arriving at Miramonte that his "love for theater sprouted." The MHS Drama program inspires creativity and passion, with an emphasis on collaboration, "it has made me a better person due to the people I am surrounded with who are so positive and also helped me become a better artist". Henry will be attending the University of Michigan as a BFA Acting student next year.
Daniel Pliskin's musical education began early and he has received formal training for 12 years. Prior to Miramonte, he attended the Pacific Boychoir Academy in Oakland.
Next fall, Daniel will be attending CU Denver as a vocal performance major, and he believes that Miramonte was key in his earning admission: "Without a doubt I would not be there without Miramonte choir. Choir really helped me feel confident in my ability and fall in love with the art form - not to mention the incredible amount of creative education I've received throughout the VPA programs."
Grant Peters took his first theater class at OIS and was inspired to pursue the arts at Miramonte. Grant participated in a wide range of performing arts courses such as Public Speaking, Musical Theater and Drama. "I have loved being a part of MHS Drama...it has given me a chance to express myself creatively, and has helped solidify my love for acting, as well as writing." Grant will be attending University of Chapman's Dodge College of Film to pursue a BFA in Screenwriting.
Dylan Smith began acting in school plays and musicals at Sleepy Hollow and continued at OIS. However, it has only been in the past two years that she became involved in the Miramonte Drama program. "I wish it had been more, as the drama program at this school has been intrinsic to my growth as a high school student. The drama classes at MHS offer both dynamic acting training, and an unbelievably supportive community." Dylan attributes her growth as an artist to the "transcendent experience" of the MHS Drama program. Dylan will be attending The New York University Tisch School of the Arts to study drama.
Congratulations on your accomplishments and good luck in the future! We can't wait to see where your journey takes you!
Miramonte Players: Where are they now?
This year marks Heather Cousins' 20th year as Drama Teacher at Miramonte as well as the Miramonte Players' 20th year. In 1999, Ms. Cousins wanted to create a theater company that provided advanced drama students with rich performance opportunities within an ensemble setting. She has certainly achieved that and more! To read about where some of these talented students have taken their studies and their careers, click here.
"The Miramonte Players have exceeded my wildest expectations for 20 years. What better way to celebrate than to celebrate the amazing theater accomplishments of so many past Miramonte Players. I am eternally grateful and proud of them all - past and present." - Heather Cousins
Here's to twenty years of curtain calls and finale bows!
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 this month!
Congratulations and enjoy your summer!
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