Archive | August, 2015

Breaking from the Past

Breaking from the Past

Posted on 21 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

Washington Middle School moves forward to become award-winning school.

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

It was an ordinary school day in early May when the notification came. Washington Middle School was named a Gold Ribbon School, one of the only junior high or middle schools in the area to receive such recognition and the first such recognition for Washington in decades.

The faculty, staff and administrators of Washington Middle School.

The faculty, staff and administrators of Washington Middle School.

Principal Mario Carlos smiled because he knew he was going to be able to tell his faculty and staff that their hard work and dedication the past couple years have been recognized. His smile got bigger as he thought about how he can tell his students that they can walk the halls with pride, knowing they are attending an award winning school.
That is a slight change for Washington. The school has been mired in the stigma of its turbulent past. It’s a past that consisted of under achievement, vandalism and gang violence.
“It went through some rough years,” said Sandi Baltes, who served as a teacher and assistant principal at Washington in the early 1980s.
Over the last 10 years, the school, which is located on the grounds of the original school in La Habra, has seen a substantial decrease in violence and gang activity, and has seen increases to student success.
Since his arrival eight years ago, Carlos has worked to change the culture at Washington.
“It is our moral imperative at Washington Middle School that we instill in our students the personal responsibility and love for learning, this way they can reach their full potential for a successful life,” Carlos explained.  “If our students value their education it will open up endless doors of opportunities.”
Working to create an environment of mutual respect and fostering the feeling of hope and success is something Carlos has done in collaboration with the entire staff since his arrival as a vice principal eight years ago.
Carlos and former vice principal George Lopez worked to implement the positive change in the middle school.  Lopez has since moved on to be principal of Ladera Palma.
In addition to being named a California Gold Ribbon School, overall test scores at Washington have improved over the last decade. Students have been recognized by individual and group achievements by regional, state and national organizations. Washington was also named a California Title 1 High Achieving School.
The faculty has been working on transformation of instruction due to all team members taking risks. Examples: Global read alouds, flipped instruction, blogging in the classroom, use of Google Docs, QR codes used in lessons, student created yearbooks, etc.
The students have achieved success with the Academic Pentahalon with Top 5 finishes for all grade level and over 100 individual medals earned.  The schools Robotics team also took 2nd place at the Cal Poly Competition.
With the La Habra City School District creation of academies at the middle schools, Washington has been integrating technology across all content areas through the use of iPads, Kindle Fires, Computers, smart phones, etc. The school has created 15 sections of STEM related electives and is in the running for Golden Bell Award for their STEM programs.
Dr. Susan Belenardo and the LHCSD administration have welcomed and supported the changes at Washington.
Washington has implemented a campuswide recycling program and offers a host of after school programs to help keep students involved.
There is an obvious feeling of hope and enthusiasm for learning on the campus.  Students are smiling and excited to be in the classrooms.  You can easily get the impression that the students have a strong support system from the faculty, who really want to see their students succeed.
“Mario had the courage to do what’s right for the kids,” Baltes added.  Baltes is the former president of the La Habra City School District Board.  “He believes in what he does and he gets others to believe in it too.”
Carlos is quick to explain that it’s the work of the outstanding teachers on campus that has helped change the culture.  He said that getting the faculty to come on board with his vision when he became principal was his largest priority.
“Dr. Carlos has been the driving force behind this change,” said Carin Verdugo, a teacher at Washington.  “He is a leader by example and supports the teachers 100 percent. Without his guidance and leadership, we would not be the school we are today.”
Carlos explained that teachers are initiating new concepts and programs as well as volunteering their time to help make more opportunities for the students.
However, despite changing the campus culture to one of support, respect, enthusiasm and initiative, Washington still battles the stigma of the school’s past.
The stigma is something Carlos and the staff continues to work to erase.  Carlos and his staff have worked to reach out to the parents and inform them of the changes at Washington.  Like he did with the faculty, Carlos has sought the support of the parents to support what is happening at the school.
“I have been really pleased with Washington,” said Andrea Carey, whose oldest daughter graduated from Washington and youngest daughter just started sixth grade.  “When my oldest attended, I was impressed with the emphasis on the kids being responsible. Academically, we had some really strong teachers that ended up being influential in her direction in high school.  They were encouraging and seemed willing to give as much as the kid was willing to put in.”
Carlos has the ability to connect with families. Recently earning his doctorate, Carlos is an example of the spirit of pursuing your goals that he promotes at Washington. He grew up in Boyle Heights and worked his way through schools in what can be considered rough neighborhoods.  He attributes having good teachers  who motivated him and  helped to make him want to become a teacher and pursue education.
His humble upbringing allows him to connect with the parents and help them understand the philosophy at Washington.
La Habra Police Officer David Morrison, who was the former school resource officer, noted the difference in philosophies at the campus. He explained that when a child needed to be disciplined, Carlos would “not so much lecture students about right and wrong as he would lead the student to take responsiblity for their actions and draw out of them the desired character quality.”
Morrison too noted that the changes are a result of the entire effort of the staff.
“The rest of the staff is also deeply committed to the education and welfare of the students,” Morrison said. “I was constantly being amazed at the devotion given to the WMS students by the staff.”
The changes happening at Washington are becoming noticeable outside of the community.  Students are winning state and national recognition for their work and presenting their projects to faculty at statewide conferences.
Administrators and faculty from surrounding school districts, like Fullerton and Whittier, are touring Washington Middle School to see just what it is they are doing. Many left the tours with ideas to apply at their campuses and thinking that Washington has truly changed.
The school has come a long way and continues to move away from its troubled past. Carlos knows that it will continue to be an ongoing project by the entire campus community to keep moving forward.  He feels that while they have had much success, the best is yet to come for Washington Middle School.

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Heights to see road repairs

Heights to see road repairs

Posted on 21 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Heights City Council approved a plan at its August meeting to repair the worst parts of the dilapidated roads in the city.
After eight paving companies submitted bids to the city, The R.J. Noble Company’s bid of $568,656 turned out to be the lowest plan and much lower than the estimated cost for the road construction project.Seal_La Habra Heights
“Their unit price for the grind and pave is what got them this job. It’s a really, really good price,” said Dave Nichols, La Habra Heights public works manager.
Because the bid was lower, city staff asked council to approve an increase in the expected contingency plan and raise it from 15 to 38 percent.
The $133,235 contingency plan allows Nichols to use his own discretion with change orders or extra work to the areas planned for work. The total amount approved for this project is $787,189.
According to the council, the plans are to repair the worst parts of East, Fullerton, Hacienda and West roads. The project is expected to take about two months to complete, according to La Habra Heights City Manager Shauna Clark.
Clark and her staff were able to scrounge the nearly $800,000 for the patchwork road repair job from six different funding and tax sources, $150,000 of which is from an expired city road tax.
The largest of the funding source, $300,000 is from an already existing gas tax.
“The staff did an incredible job of squeezing every nickel out of the budget and re-directing it towards roads,” LH Heights Mayor Michael Higgins said.
City Council members voted unanimously  to award the contract to R.J. Noble of Orange, authorize the contingency plan as well as authorize Nichols with a counter signature by the city engineer to issue change orders as necessary for this project.
According to its website, R.J. Noble has been around for over 60 years.
“The R. J. Noble Company is a Class A, General Engineering Contractor specializing in grading and asphalt paving, subcontracting underground, electrical and concrete work,” the company’s website stated.
During the road construction the streets will remain open, but residents will have to drive on rough roads for a couple of days, Nichols said.
Council members at the meeting were handed pictures of some of the biggest problems with the streets in LH Heights, using the images captured by Nichols back in April and May as a description of the work needed to be completed.
Although the pictures were available to council, Mayor Pro Tem Kyle Miller hopes city staff will be able to share these images with the public in an effort to help the community understand the need for more public funds for more major road repairs.
In 2012 a road tax that would have raised $1 million annually was defeated by voters, and since that time council has mulled different ways the city might be able to better educate community members about the need to repair the aging infrastructure.
“You can’t walk 500 feet down any street … without seeing a pothole in the making or cracks or alligatored asphalt,” Nichols said. ”We’re still hopscotching around and taking care of the worst problems.”
The city does not have the funds to do a complete job to repair the roads, Nichols noted.
The damage to the city roads is from normal wear and tear, according to Nichols.
With this patchwork road repair job the city hopes to alleviate some of the worst problems, so when a larger solution arises, the costs are not too large.

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The ‘king’ of helping the community - Paul Goldenberg 1928 - 2015

The ‘king’ of helping the community – Paul Goldenberg 1928 – 2015

Posted on 21 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

Paul Goldenberg, known as the “King of Big Screens” and community philanthropist died Friday of natural causes at his La Habra Heights home at the age of 87.

Paul Goldenberg 1928 - 2015

Paul Goldenberg 1928 – 2015

Goldenberg was best known to the community for his local TV showroom that was located on Harbor Boulevard. However, he was a philanthropist and his generosity greatly benefited a number of charities and organizations, many of which were local.
Over his life, Goldenberg donated more than $20 million to nonprofit organizations like the La Habra Boys and Girls Club, The Gary Center, Help for Brain Injured Children, Blue Star Families, and many more.
He helped fund scholarships for students, the City of Hope and the Los Angeles Jewish Home.  He was also a major donor to the Democratic Party.
Goldenberg was born in Los Angeles on April 22, 1928 to his parents who were Jewish immigrants.
An admitted movie buff, Goldenberg would recycle bottles in the 1930s to collect money to pay to watch movies on the weekends.
He graduated early from Dorsey High School and started at UCLA when he was just 16.  However, he decided college wasn’t for him and after two weeks, he left school.
He started his media career as a photographer in the U.S. Army in the 1940s.
After taking a $1,000 loan, he opened his first repair shop in Los Angeles in the early 1950s. He quickly moved into the retail end, selling televisions from his repair shop.
After moving to La Habra in 1964, he opened his first showroom on Harbor Boulevard.
He focused on customer service, making sure his employees were courteous and efficient.  He instructed his workers to always answer questions and his delivery teams to always wipe their feet before entering a person’s home.
As technology advanced to include projection television, Goldenberg moved to specializing in selling big screen televisions, where he became the self-proclaimed “King” in his advertising campaigns.
While his business grew and he was delivering televisions from Ventura to San Diego counties, he never forgot the La Habra community and what it meant to him.
Aside from his philanthropy, he tried to use resources in La Habra. For one of his commercials in the late 1980s, he filmed it with the La Habra High School football team at the school’s stadium.  When he saw that the filming was going longer than expected and that the players had not eaten, he ordered that the shooting be stopped and had a local restaurant bring in food for everyone.
In 2006, Goldenberg sold Paul’s TV to a private equity company that decided to keep his name. He then focused more on his philanthropy.
While he gave a lot to the community, he often would request to be anonymous. Despite his picture with his crown, he preferred to remain out of the spotlight and just described himself as just a guy who used to own a TV shop.
Services were held Sunday at Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Goldenberg is survived by his son, Douglas, his granddaughter Lucy and Douglas’ mother, Carol Toni Goldenberg.
It is requested that in lieu of flowers, people should make a donation in memory of Paul to the Los Angeles Jewish Home or the City of Hope.

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En busca de la fama sin perder la humildad

En busca de la fama sin perder la humildad

Posted on 21 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

Por Genesis Miranda
La Habra Journal

Nacido en Fullerton y criado en La Habra en una tradicional familia mexicana, Leonardo Méndez se dio a conocer como Leyo, un cantautor latino.

Foto cortesía Kimberly Cioffii La artista: El natural de La Habra Leyo tiene una canción popular y un papel en un espectáculo de Internet pero se queda humilde y relacionado con su comunidad.

Foto cortesía Kimberly Cioffii
La artista: El natural de La Habra Leyo tiene una canción popular y un papel en un espectáculo de Internet pero se queda humilde y relacionado con su comunidad.

Aunque el canto es más bien a lo que Leyo se dedica, fue una gran oportunidad para él ser parte del programa de internet en Hulu, “East Los High”.
“Todos los que están ahí son muy trabajadores, las personas que avanzan son las que le echan ganas”, Leyo dijo.
Una de las canciones originales de Leyo, “Vete Con Él”, fue incluida en la tercera temporada del programa.
Leyo también tuvo una escena pequeña como artista invitado donde apareció junto a la cantante Christina Milian.
Desde entonces Leyo ha estado tomando clases de canto y de actuación, aprovechando todo su tiempo para cualquier oportunidad nueva que se le presente.
“Esa es la realidad, tienes que estar preparado”, Leyo dijo.
Un programa como “East Los High” es interesante por su elenco, el cual es completamente latino.
“No lo logras en un día”, Leyo dijo hablando de triunfar en el mundo de entretenimiento. “Hay trabajo que hacer para llegar a donde estas”.
Leyo dice que mucho antes de que pensara en aplicar para “East Los High”, el encontró el programa por medio de su cuenta de Hulu.
Después mando su música para ver si podría ser presentada en la segunda temporada del programa, y aunque no fue aceptada a la primera vez, sí lo fue para la tercera temporada.
“Yo creo que todo pasa por una razón”, Leyo dijo. “Creo en Dios y que Él nos abre puertas”.
“Quien sabe si estaré en la próxima temporada”, Leyo dijo, “a ver qué pasa”.
Cuando era joven Leyo, se pasaba su tiempo en su iglesia y cantando en las casas de convalecencia.
“Mucho servicio a la comunidad, recaudaciones de fondo y más que nada la iglesia”, Leyo dijo.
Durante la preparatoria, Leyo fue parte de grupos como M.E.Ch.A. y fue el líder Cristiano de su escuela.
Leyo fue a la primaria en Las Lomas y Las Positas, la escuela secundaria Imperial Middle School y se graduó de La Habra High School.
Leyo recuerda al señor Montoya, un maestro de la preparatoria quien él dice fue una gran inspiración y le brindaba su apoyo.
Después de graduarse fue dos años a la universidad de Cal State Fullerton, antes de enfocarse por completo en su carrera musical.
Desde muy pequeño Leyo tuvo un interés por la música, cantando los temas musicales de las novelas para sus hermanitos.
Él recuerda aquel día en su iglesia cuando una señora durante la alabanza le dijo que el debería de cantar al frente porque tenía una voz hermosa.
Desde ahí Leyo se involucró con el coro de su iglesia y se enfocó en su sueño más grande, el canto.
Después de graduarse de la preparatoria, Leyo decidió aplicar para la quinta temporada del programa de Telefutura, Objetivo Fama.
Este programa era una competencia de canto pero a la vez un programa reality.
Leyo dice que ser parte de Objetivo Fama le enseño que lo importante es tener carácter y ser persistente.
Después de llegar al Top 12 del programa, Leyo no siguió mas pero por su gran carisma y personalidad fue invitado de regreso para ser un correspondiente y entrevistar a otros artistas.
Desde entonces Leyo decidió que eso no era lo que él quería hacer y se enfocó en la música. Ahora está trabajando en nuevos proyectos.
Sus proyectos más recientes incluyen su primer álbum de estudio y ser parte del programa “East Los High”.
Leyo trabaja con el productor Cory Rooney, quien ha trabajado con otros grandes artistas latinos como Jennifer López, Marc Anthony y Thalía.
“Básicamente tengo un buen equipo detrás de mí”, Leyo dijo.
Por ahora, Leyo se está enfocando en darse a conocer en la industria musical en español.
“Mi corazón y mi alma están en la industria en español”, Leyo dijo. “No lo puedo explicar pero hay cierta energía que te da”.
Leyo vivió toda su niñez y parte de su juventud en La Habra. Y aunque ahora pasa la mayoría de su tiempo en Los Ángeles, Miami y Nueva York ensayando o trabajando, de vez en cuando regresa para visitar a su familia y amigos.
Este fin de semana pasado, Leyo se presentó y canto en la feria anual de La Habra “Corn Festival”.
Ir a esta feria y después comer en T&S burgers era costumbre de cada año para Leyo y su familia.
“Mi corazón siempre estará aquí. Mire a esta ciudad cambiar completamente y mejorar”, Leyo dijo.
Regresar a La Habra le trae muchos recuerdos buenos a alguien como Leyo. Dice que le alegra ver a su madre feliz y tan orgullosa de él.
“Me da un sentido de humildad. Yo siempre voy a ser Leonardo, el hijo de Esperanza Méndez”, Leyo dijo.
Incluido en su álbum hay una canción llamada “La Flor”, la cual fue inspirada por el padre de Leyo.
Él dice que aunque su padre ya no vive, siempre recordara la dedicación y el amor que su padre tenía a su trabajo de jardinero.
“Él tenía muchas fallas y tal vez no fue el mejor padre, pero sigue siendo mi padre”, Leyo dijo.
Son emociones y recuerdos que inspiran a Leyo a escribir nievo material para sus canciones.
“Por eso amo a nuestra cultura mexicana, se siente más, es más dramática”, Leyo dijo hablando de la música en español. “En nuestra cultura somos tan apasionados”.
Leyo se inspira por sus experiencias pero también por otros artistas latinos como Juan Gabriel, José Feliciano y Luis Miguel.
“Ese es el tipo de artista que yo quiero ser”, Leyo dijo. “Cuando estén tomados que toquen [música de] Leyo, cuando estén contentos que toquen [música de] Leyo”.
Leyo ya tiene tres canciones en iTunes, “Vete Con El”, “Ya No Recuerdas”, y “Dime Que Sí”.

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LHPD K9, officer  receives award by  OC Sheriffs Dept.

LHPD K9, officer receives award by OC Sheriffs Dept.

Posted on 21 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

Nick and Prinz2

LHPD Cpl Nick Baclit and Prinz

Corporal Nick Baclit and his police dog Prinz received forward looking award for their work in apprehending suspect.

By Taylor Engle
La Habra Journal

The Orange County Sherriffs helicopter “Duke” and representatives from Orange County Air Support landed in the parking lot of the La Habra Police Department in order to present Corporal Nick Baclit and his police dog Prinz with an award on July 31.
The police department and members of the La Habra community gathered in the parking lot to witness the sheriffs explain the significance of the award and why the winners were chosen.
Every year, the Air Bureau presents the national two-part award in Texas at the Airborne Law Enforcement Association Conference known as the Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) Vision Award.  It goes to instances of the best air support and service dog apprehension.
Representatives of each county submit the top videos and the panel then chooses the winner. This year, Orange County had the honor of winning both parts of the award: the Orange County Sheriffs for the best air support and Baclit and Prinz for the service dog apprehension.
This award was earned based on an act that took place on December 13, 2013.
The La Habra Police Department was pursuing a subject with an outstanding warrant for his arrest when they called in the Orange County sheriffs for air support with “Duke,” the name of one of the OCSD’s helicopters.
Through the air, the sheriffs deputies were able to locate the suspect with infrared, providing Baclit with the ability to deploy Prinz and detain the suspect.
The sheriffs were able to travel to Texas to officially accept the award; since Baclit and Prinz were not able to join, the sheriffs chose to fly it home to them.  Upon arrival, the sheriffs not only explained the award to the attentive crowd but also played the video of the arrest that got them the award.
Baclit was then awarded his plaque. However, the more unique part of the award was given to Prinz; the Air Bureau had a crystal water bowl made with his name engraved on it, a dog collar, and a leather leash.
After the awards were presented, the Orange County sheriffs opened the helicopter for the police officers and La Habra citizens and demonstrated all the functions and mechanisms.  “Not only did they present mine and Prinz’s awards in such a great fashion, but they were very transparent with the public,” said Baclit.
Baclit was extremely honored to receive the award.  He and Prinz have been partners for the past five years, and he has loved the experience.  They have made a great team; Baclit was awarded La Habra Officer of the Year in 2014 based on his thorough career with Prinz.
Baclit was passionate about working with service dogs from the very beginning of his career.  As soon as he was eligible, he tested for the K9 program.  Baclit was immediately selected and paired up with Prinz.
“I attribute the award to the work of those pilots and to my dog, Prinz,” said Baclit. “They are the real award winners.”  Baclit, Prinz, and the sheriffs may have won the award, but the collaborative efforts of the Orange County Sheriffs and the La Habra Police Department is an award for the entire community.

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Raider Water Polo  focused and ready

Raider Water Polo focused and ready

Posted on 20 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

After two years of development, the Sonora Boys Water Polo program is beginning to take shape.
Two years ago Jim Sprague took over the program. One of his first changes was implementing morning practice.
“We had two and three kids per morning workout. Seven of the seniors said they were not coming, so they played JV,” head coach Jim Sprague said.sonora_raiders
Their first season didn’t come easily, they lost nine of 10 games in league that season, but it created an atmosphere designed for winning based on effort and hard work.
The next season they finished tied for second in league.
Two years later, that hard work is beginning to take shape.
Last season the Raiders season came down to a three way tie for second with Troy and La Habra.
To settle the tie, they played Troy first, then the loser would play La Habra.
“We really came into our own after our first playoff game,” head coach Jim Sprague said.
Sonora lost the first game against Troy, then 20 minutes later started a game against La Habra.
“I think it was only the greatest coaching pep talks I’ve ever given, I came up and told them they weren’t tired, they’re only rested,” Sprague said, joking.
The Raiders went on to control the game, beating La Habra by double digits.
Sprague has focused his attention on putting players in the best possible position to be successful. Combined with all the time the players are putting in is leading to their quick development.
One unique thing Sprague did was recruit a handful of baseball players to play for their team.
“We got a couple of the baseball players who were freshman to come and lift weights and spend a little bit of time here, and after baseball season, they dropped baseball,” Sprague said, “they’re two of our best players.”
As the program continues to grow, Sprague makes a point of pushing his players to be involved in sports.
“I’d never work in a program where I didn’t ask my kids to swim,” Sprague said.
He made an exception for players who were involved in other activities and sports.
“If you’re going to sit at home while the rest of your teammates are working, then you’re not really part of the team,” Sprague said.
The Raiders this season will be led by Juniors, Conrad Napier and Ben Angulo.Ben is moving from the goal in order to help them in other spots, and moving into the goal is an athletic sophomore, Kyle Boland who’s learning the position.
“Most people feel that 90 percent of a goalie’s job or almost 100 percent of a goalie’s job is blocking the ball. I feel that 40 percent of his job is blocking the ball, 30percent of his job is to run the offense , and 30 percent is to run the defense,” Sprague said.
The Raiders biggest issue this season will be learning how to play against good teams.
The Raiders have used film sessions in order to watch their games and practices and learn from the mistakes made.
“What I had them watch were the first three plays of a 35 minute scrimmage. It took two minutes, but there were enough mistakes made there,” Sprague said.
As the team continues to learn and develop, the program is growing in depth and knowledge.
The Raiders Boys’ water polo team now has more than 50 players enrolled in the program. Of those 50, all of the young players are routinely showing up to morning practice.
“They’re all learning that, gee, I’m supposed to be there,” Sprague said.
This change in attitude and experience give him confidence that their trajectory for success will only continue with time and practice.
“I guarantee you, there’s not a team around here who’s frosh/soph kids are getting two and a half hours of work a day,” Sprague said.
Sprague’s focus remains on the development of all his players and sees all this as learning experiences for life.
“You want good grades? Then you work for them, if you don’t work for them, then don’t expect them. You’re going to get what you put into it,”
That attitude and approach is what allows somone to take a one win team and turn them into a contender. With Sonora’s top players only Juniors, they are poised for success, as long as they continue to be disciplined.
The Raiders’ season begins on September 8, with a srimmage against Buena Park and Brea. Freeway League games will begin later that month on the 30th with Sonora hosting La Habra played at Fullerton High School.

Raider Water Polo Schedule

9/8 Brea – Buena Park Scrimmage 3:15
9/10-12 Ayala Tournament
9/17 Valencia  3:15
9/18-19 Los Alamitos Tournament
9/21 Don Lugo
9/23 @Milliken
9/25-26 Bull Run Tournament
9/30 La Habra @Fullerton
10/7 @ La Habra
10/14 Troy
10/21 Sunny Hills
10/22 @Whittier
10/23 @Esparanza
10/28 @Buena Park
11/2-4 Freeway League Tournament
11/6 @Canyon

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La Habra  hitting the links with first girls golf team

Tags: , , , , ,

La Habra hitting the links with first girls golf team

Posted on 20 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Shanin Thomas
La Habra Journal

The La Habra High School Highlanders will field their first women’s golf team for the 2015 season.
Last year, La Habra High School created a women’s golf club in preparation of creating a competitive team for this upcoming fall season.

2015 LHHS Girls Golf Team

2015 LHHS Girls Golf Team

About 15 girls joined the club with little to no experience but lots of enthusiasm and interest.
Head Coach Cody Verdugo said that most of the girls had never played before. “Only three girls had golf clubs, but at least 10 took a liking to golf. I am very pleased with the growth we have seen,” he said.
The golf club at La Habra High School included instructions for the basics of the sport. Not only did the girls in the club learn to hit a plastic golf ball in the football stadium, Coach Verdugo also taught the girls golf etiquette.
“Golf is like an onion. There are layers to the sport. It is not just about hitting the golf ball,” Verdugo said.

Interest in girls golf has not only sparked at La Habra High School but in other Freeway League schools as well.
Fullerton, Sunny Hills and Buena Park have decided to field a girls golf team this season. They will join Troy, which already had a team in place.

Troy High School will be the most competitive women’s golf team this upcoming season because they previously fielded a girls’ golf team and have competitive returners.

Mandy Arriola finishes a swing during practice.  The lefty looks to help lead the Lady Highlanders during their inaugural season.

Mandy Arriola finishes a swing during practice. The lefty looks to help lead the Lady Highlanders during their inaugural season.

In fact, last season Troy’s women’s team ranked No. 1 in Orange County, No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section, and No. 5 in the state of California.

Preseason will begin in late August and league competition will start on Sept. 13.
For Verdugo, the decision to move from being on the coaching staff of La Habra Football to take up the challenge of starting a girls golf team was to follow his passion.

Verdugo fell in love with the sport of golf in his senior year of college at Chapman University. Although he has played football his entire life, golf has become a sport he has become passionate about.
Additionally, Verdugo’s son and three daughters have also taken a liking to the sport and participate competitively as golfers.

Coach Verdugo proved his coaching ability last season as the La Habra men’s golf team finished eighth in the Southern division, the best finish in the school’s history. The Whittier Daily News honored Verdugo as 2015 Coach of the Year.

The amount of money invested in women’s golf college scholarships is another reason Coach Verdugo has created a women’s golf team to accompany the men’s team.

Although the growth rate of participation of women has almost tripled men in the last few years, women still make up less than 25 percent of golfers, according to athleticscholarships.net.

According to scholarshipstats.com, in 2014 the number of male high school golfers is double the amount of female golfers. However, Division I universities offer six scholarships to female golfers as opposed to the four and a half to male golfers.

Alyssa Heidrich takes a swing during practice.

Alyssa Heidrich takes a swing during practice.

That growth rate was shown during the first day of La Habra’s women’s golf tryouts Wednesday afternoon at Westridge Golf Club.

Twelve returners from the golf club were present as well as eight additional girls. The additional girls who showed up at tryouts did not know much golf etiquette, but they were athletic, Coach Verdugo said.

“It would be rare for someone to show up and be completely ready,” Verdugo said.

Coach Verdugo is looking to field a team between 15 and 20 girls. Although only seven players compete in a match for both varsity and junior varsity, 20 girls is a good number to manage girls who are still developing their skills as golfers, he said.

“Returners will be the foundation of the varsity team,” Coach Verdugo said.

The Lady Highlanders hit the links for the first time on September 9 against Empire League champion Valencia at Alta Vista Country Club in Placentia at 4 p.m.

 

2015 Lady Highlander Golf Team Roster

Mandy Arriola
Alex Barber
Nikki Chamberlain
Kira Cauley
Alyssa Enriquez
Haylee Enriquez
Alyssa Heidrich
Aurora Heuermann
Charlotte Irirzarry
Samantha Parr
Janet Romero
Julia Sanchez
Jena Schuh
Dominique Tosunian
Galina Tressler
Frankie Valencia

LHJ LHHS Girls Golf 2015

Coach Cody Verdugo gets the team ready for its first season.

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Lomeli name to national team

Lomeli name to national team

Posted on 05 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

La Habra resident Carlos Lomeli, was named to the USA Baseball 2015 17U National Team Development Program last week.

Carlos Lomeli

Carlos Lomeli

The right handed pitcher was selected after competing in West National Team Championships in Arizona.  During the USA Baseball Championship Tournament in Arizona earlier this summer, he joined the 90 mph club with his max velocity at 92 mph.
Lomeli will start the program next week. The week-long 2015 National Team Development Program will be held in Orange, Calif., at Lutheran High School.
The National Team Development Program offers identified athletes with an opportunity to connect with USA Baseball staff to better prepare for a future national team experience.
The program includes skill development sessions, off-field education seminars and intrasquad Stars vs. Stripes games to help develop the athletes as both a player and a person.
Lomeli honed his love of baseball while playing in the La Habra Little League as well as his travel team the SoCal Bombers.
The St. John Bosco junior verbally committed to St. Mary’s College after graduation. In his sophomore year, Lomeli, a scholar athlete, received offers to play at UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, US Naval Academy, USC and San Diego State.
According to USA Basebal, players are selected for the National Team Development Program based on their participation and performance at USA Baseball events.
Recommendations from professional scouts, USA Baseball scouts and collegiate, high school and youth coaches at USA Baseball events, play a role in the selection process for the National Team Development Program.
USA Baseball is the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee and the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

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LHHS senior medals in surfing competition

LHHS senior medals in surfing competition

Posted on 05 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal    

La Habra resident Nikki Chamberlain has been surfing for five years and competing for two years.
The La Habra High School senior took the gold medal in the girls longboard competition at the California State Games on July 16-19 in San Diego.

LHHS Senior Nikki Chamberlain with her Life Rolls volunteers and participants show their love of surfing.

LHHS Senior Nikki Chamberlain with her Life Rolls volunteers and participants show their love of surfing.

This is the second year Nikki has participated in the California State Games, which is a multi-sport festival of Olympic-style competition for California’s amateur athletes of all ages and abilities.
State Games is a community-based member of the United States Olympic Committee.
Chamberlain is currently ranked No. 13 for Girls U18 Longboarders by the Western Surfing Association, which is the oldest and largest amateur surfing association in the US.
Last year, Chamberlain placed fifth at the China Uemura Longboard Classic in Hawaii among an international field of girls from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Guam.
Chamberlain surfs as much as she can with her busy schedule.
She will be starting her senior year at LHHS, where she is the senior class vice president at La Habra High, an AP/Honors Heritage student,  a member of National Honors Society and California Scholastic Federation.  She also volunteers with the La Habra Leo’s Club.
Chamberlain also works with Life Rolls On, an organization that takes those with spinal cord injuries on surfboards especially fitted for their needs.
In addition to surfing, this year Nikki will be a part of La Habra High School’s first girls golf team.

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LHPD joins Moto-United for motorcycle safety event

LHPD joins Moto-United for motorcycle safety event

Posted on 05 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Katelyn Chavez
La Habra Journal    

Motorcycle riders, families, volunteers, and La Habra police officers attended this event to talk about motorcycles and what you can do to ride just as good as the officers last Saturday at the Moto-United parking lot.
The LHPD and Moto-United, teamed up to inform the community on motorcycle safety.Motorcycle
LHPD officers gave demonstrations on how to properly ride motorcycles. Information and safety  fliers were also given out at the event.
Officers were there to explain why it’s important to know how to ride a motorcycle, with tips, and tricks for anyone interested.
La Habra motorcyclist Wayne Talbott brought his son over to the event to help him become better aware of motorcycle safety.
Talbott has been riding since he was a kid and keeps the tradition with his young son.
Talbott suggests people look for motorcycle classes at community colleges. He feels that there should be more events like the one the LHPD and Moto-United put on.
“Since14 percent of all fatalities are on motorcycles, this shouldn’t be taken lightly,” he said.
Saturday’s event marks the second year that LHPD has been involved in promoting an event like this one.
“It’s a highly informative and beneficial piece of information for anyone riding, or anyone on the road,” said LHPD Sgt. Jim Tigner. “Now that there are more motorcycles there are higher chances of collisions, and these accidents are either life altering or life ending.”
Tigner and the other motorcycle officers stressed the importance to always brush up on safety measures and laws regarding motorcycles.
Officer Tam Do added, “You can never be too sure or safe.”

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