By Elizabeth Gillingham
PHHS Student of the Month
Alyssa Lozano was nominated as our Kiwanis’ student of the month for November because of her dedication to the students and staff at Patrick Henry High School.
Vice Principal Jennifer Pacofsky stated, “Alyssa always has a smile on her face and goes out of her way to acknowledge everyone on campus.”
Her teachers describe her as, “simply amazing! She is kind, caring, genuine, and an all-around good-hearted person.”
Alyssa does so much for her school and peers. She is a peer tutor for students with moderate-to-severe disabilities, cheer captain, president of Circle of Friends, and is president of Drama Club. Not a day goes by that she won’t make time for someone or help out someone in need. She goes above and beyond for everyone to make them feel included, important, and lets them know that they matter. She has great leadership abilities and is a great role model to all she comes in contact with.
Her theater teacher, Mrs. Chris Carr, described her as an excellent role model, a leader, and a mentor. She stated, “Alyssa not only makes sure every student in my class feels included in our activities and productions but makes them feel confident and comfortable on stage.”
Her cheer advisor, Mrs. Terri Clark, described her as the “first person to step up and lead. Whether it’s in cheer or her drama classes, she is a leader through and through. She leads with respect for others and a work ethic that shows she’s not afraid to work hard and follow through, even when others don’t. She is a pleasure to teach, coach, and watch grow into an amazing young adult.”
Alyssa has a heart for those with special needs and when the students were asked about her they said, “She is my friend. I am proud of her. She always helps me with drama class and she makes me laugh. She always helps me and gives me high fives. She is very good. I love her smile. Alyssa is funny. We love Alyssa.”
We know that Alyssa has a great future ahead of her and we can’t wait to see where her leadership skills will take her. She has a tremendous heart, work ethic and grit — three characteristics that you cannot teach.
PHHS Marching Band rocks
Last month, PHHS Spirit of 76 Marching Band was seen all over San Diego County performing and showing off their talents both on the football field for our fans and on the streets competing against other bands.
The Marching Patriots performed a near-sweep at the Mira Mesa Field Tournament and Band Review, winning first-place awards in our division in Field Show for both Band and Color Guard and a second-place finish for our percussion team. We also took first place in our division for Parade Review. This is an exciting conclusion to our field tournament season.
The band also participated in the annual Veterans Day Parade for the community and participated in the Arcadia Festival of Bands that took place on Saturday, Nov. 23, where they marched in a Parade Review.
National Letter of Intent Signing Day at Petco Park
Olivia Tracey, Max Jones, Mateo Medina, and Lauren Nett were all recognized and awarded athletic scholarships to their perspective colleges. Each student signed a letter of intent to study and play in a sport.
Olivia signed to go to Loyola Maryland to play Division 1 tennis. Max is going to University of San Francisco to play Division 1 baseball as a pitcher; Mateo is a baseball center fielder is on his way to the San Francisco State University; and Lauren is playing at Boston University as a softball utility player.
We are proud to have these students recognized by their coaches and future universities and wish them well next year!
Photography students in the community
Henry photography students Tessa Gervase (Class of 2021) and Marlena Bunch (Class of 2022) were selected to be photographers at the Blue Tech Gala during Blue Tech Week. This local convention was devoted toward businesses with renewable and sustainable resources. It was held at the Sheraton Bay Tower Hotel and Marina on Harbor Island in San Diego
Photography teacher, Mr. Thom Hunt, attended the conference and got to see them share their talents with others in this professional setting.
In addition, Malia Daft (Class of 2021) had her photo selected to be used for the cover of the holiday card for San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten. It is the second year in a row that a Patrick Henry photography student has been honored to be featured on the annual gift cards given out by Mrs. Marten.
Unified Physical Education at Patrick Henry
[Editor’s note: This section is written by PE teacher Terri Clark]
This year, I have been given the unique opportunity to be a part of Unified Physical Education at Patrick Henry High School. I am partnering with our Adapted Physical Education specialist Chris Ahrens to create a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to providing quality physical education for all of my students.
Unified Physical Education is a unique program that allows students with all types and ranges of disabilities to participate, to the best of their abilities, in a general education physical education class alongside their peers. It typically looks like 10 to 15 students with special needs who are mainstreamed into general education physical education classes. Special needs students are paired up with mainstream students who act as peer buddies to assist with the learning process in class.
When I was first approached with this opportunity, I gave an enthusiastic “yes” to Mr. Ahrens, though I had no real idea what I was saying yes to. What I did know was that over the past four to five years at Patrick Henry, I have had a few special education students mainstreamed into my classes, working to provide them with the least restrictive environment to experience high school physical education, and I liked what came from those experiences. What I learned alongside my students was that every student has the potential to grow, develop, and gain new skills and knowledge when they are in an environment that provides social, emotional and physical support to do so. What I also learned was that my students grew in compassion, empathy and understanding for other students who were different from themselves.
What I am learning so far this year: high school students are so much more capable of kindness and compassion than they are ever given credit for (I witness it every day); change does not come easily, but it’s well worth the work; and that even the most physically challenged students are capable of participation in physical education when given the right opportunities and environment.
There are a few amazing programs like Unified Physical Education that exist at Patrick Henry: Circle of Friends, Peer Buddies, Athletes Training Athletes and Special Olympics are the ones that come to mind. I’m very proud of the work Patrick Henry is doing to include, teach and provide equitable experiences for all students.
— Elizabeth Gillingham is principal of Patrick Henry High School.