By Elizabeth Gillingham
Circle of Friends annual dance
On Friday, Dec. 6, the Circle of Friends Club held their Winter Wonderland Dance at Ascension Lutheran Church in Allied Gardens.
Parents had the chance to see their children interacting in a fun, accepting, safe and wonderful environment. Students pitched in to set up, break down, contributed food and drinks and supported the club’s objective of providing positive interaction both in and outside the school environment and to help the students with special needs grow socially.
“Ms. Reitman and I are always grateful when other teachers support our efforts. Lisa Achenbach, our new speech and language pathologist joined us for the first time, and English teacher Katie Scarafone and our new moderate to severe special education teacher Chelsea Scarafone were in attendance — a mother-and-daughter teaching team,” said club advisor Jim Achenbach. “I’m always really impressed when our support staff turns out.”
The following special education technicians also came this year: Tiffany Newman, Stephanie Nenigar, Russ Hall and Jessica Villa.
PHHS is happy to host our annual eighth grade articulation night to help families understand the process of enrolling their student for the fall at Henry. Everyone is invited to join us on Tuesday, Feb. 4, in PHAME (Patrick Henry Arts, Media and Entertainment) Center. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and is scheduled to last one hour.
At articulation night, you will learn about:
New student enrollment (by appointment, call 619-286-7700)
College entrance preparation
The eighth grade tour and pep rally coming on March 20 from 10-11:30 a.m. (All families are welcome, please put this date on your calendar.) Students from Lewis and Pershing will arrive on a school bus but all local schools are encouraged to join us as well.
You will also have the opportunity to meet the PHHS counselors!
Student of the Month
We are proud to have Zyah Cephus named as Patrick Henry High School’s Student of the Month for December. She received this recognition due to her involvement in many student activities on campus and the glowing recommendations from her teachers and advisors.
Zyah is one of the standouts in our Choir Department. She has a tremendous voice and she sang the national anthem at our fall pep rally!
She has also been a member of our cheer program for all four years at Henry. She is a student athlete who is a leader on and off the field and court.
Zyah can always be counted on to support her teammates, provide words of encouragement and sets a good example for all. She is also the AVID Club secretary and the president of Henry’s BSU (Black Student Union).
This year as BSU president, Zyah helped organize a field trip to SDSU and is about to start a volunteer group at Green Elementary to help tutor/mentor the elementary school kids. This volunteer effort will include many more members of the BSU and the plan is to go there bi-monthly during late start Mondays.
One of Zyah’s teachers said the following: “She has been a pleasure to teach, coach and have in class. She is one of those students who leads by example and her joy and enthusiasm are contagious. Zyah is an awesome leader in my class and always brings a positive attitude. She’s such a pleasure to have in class because she not only is super positive and kind with all of her peers, but she also works hard to create the best work she can. Some of her greatest gifts are bringing people together in community, an energetic FUN and infectious spirit, and she’s always willing to help and go above and beyond what is asked of her. She is most-deserving of this honor.”
Unicef Club holds ‘Big Sleep Out’
PHHS’s UNICEF Club hosted the first ever “Big Sleep Out” as a fundraiser on Dec. 7. The Big Sleep Out involved spending the night “under the stars” at Henry in the quad as an act of solidarity with the homeless population across the globe.
The fundraiser was hosted and endorsed by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). UNICEF aids more than 1,990 countries faced with disaster. The Big Sleep Out was meant to give students a tiny insight into the reality of homelessness. Another hope was to send a message to the world’s political leaders to enact compassionate policy or find solutions for homelessness locally and the global refugee crisis that affects us all.
Club advisor Nicole Sakelios and teacher Karl Bolton sponsored the event with the help of club president Layla Karim. The night included playing board games, watching videos about homelessness problems, eating pizza, and sleeping outside on a cold December night (which included rain).
“We had a great turnout, 25 of my fellow students came to Henry with their sleeping bags in hand, ready to spend have a sleepover under the stars at school,” Karim reported after the event. “All participants, myself included, had such a fun, valuable experience watching movies, eating pizza, and playing spikeball. Although the ground was wet from rain and temperatures reached the 40s, the next morning we all debriefed the event and came to the consensus that having a bed to sleep in and a roof over our heads are privileges that we should never take for granted. The act of sleeping outdoors on the hard concrete, in similar conditions faced by homeless every day, allowed us to show our solidarity with the 70.1 million refugees and homeless globally. Coordinating and participating in this event was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that has broadened my gratitude and completely transformed my outlook on homelessness. I’m extremely grateful for participants’ cooperation, Henry faculty’s support, and UNICEF Club officers for allowing me the opportunity to bring UNICEF’s Big Sleep Out event to my community.”
PHHS robotics program needs mentors
Patrick Henry Patribots program is looking for mentors. Can you help? Please fill out the form through the link provided below. They’re looking for mentors in the following areas:
- Programming (Java)
- Design (SolidWorks/CAD)
- Electrical, pneumatics
- Build (fabricating parts)
- Marketing (sponsor letters, etc.)
- Financial (budgeting)
- Carpentry (building the practice field)
Times and commitments are flexible, anything from five hours and up. With some areas, such as marketing or finances, it can be a mix of classroom time with the kids and email for follow up.
We are going to need people to support the team from Jan. 4-April 1. Meetings occur at 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and after school until 9 p.m.
To volunteer, fill out the online form found at bit.ly/39yx8bb.
Henry choir shines on KUSI performance
The award-winning Patrick Henry High School Choir performed on KUSI’s “Good Morning San Diego” on Thursday, Dec. 5. The local school’s on-air performance of “Christmas on Broadway” and “Silver Bells” were featured in the annual “Songs of The Holiday Season” that aired Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. and Christmas Day at 11 a.m. on KUSI.
Each year, only a few school choirs out of hundreds are selected for this wonderful opportunity. It’s the second year Patrick Henry High’s Bel Canto choir has been tabbed to perform live on air and at least the fourth year in a row they were featured in the annual holiday program.
The group’s in-studio performance earned applause from the cast and crew of the morning show and an emotional reaction from one of the experienced volunteers on hand to usher the students on and off stage.
“It’s the first time in 10 years that a choir has made me cry,” said Debra Brallas, after hearing Bel’s rendition of “Christmas On Broadway.”
A community member, Barbara Martinez, sent Principal Gillingham the following note after hearing the performance, “I heard your choir sing this morning on KUSI. I would like to say I thought they were just awesome! They were so sharp and the medley was perfect. Please pass on to the gifted group of students and the faculty involved how wonderful they sounded, as well as the stunning presentation as the students performed. It was a real pleasure.”
The upbeat holiday medley was also featured in the group’s Winter Concert held Dec. 12.
Patrick Henry cheer competes in first CIF competition
The Patrick Henry cheer team went to its first CIF competition on Dec. 7, at Carlsbad High School where the team took third overall in the “Spirit Side-Line” category.
Henry had a perfect score on its side-line spirit cheer. The cheer team would have been more competitive, however 10 minutes prior to the final performance, there was an injury that caused a few last-minute changes, including re-working two whole stunt groups, that caused the team to lose a few points overall.
“I’m super proud of our team for the first efforts in the competitive arena,” said cheer coach advisor Terri Clark. “They worked really hard over the past month.”
Henry presents ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at PHAME!
Winner of nine Tony Awards in 1965 and still touching audiences worldwide today with its humor, warmth and honesty, “Fiddler on the Roof” is a musical theater tradition.
Set in the little village of Anatevka, the story centers on Tevye, a poor dairyman, and his five daughters. With the help of a colorful and tight-knit Jewish community, Tevye tries to protect his daughters and instill them with tradition in the face of changing social mores and growing anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia.
Rich in historical and ethnic detail, this universal theme cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality, and religion, leaving audiences crying tears of laughter, joy and sadness.
The vision of this production’s creative team is to preserve the honesty of the period, yet create an experience for the audience that is both uplifting and historically accurate. “Fiddler on the Roof” is one of the best written stories in musical theater history. Its universal themes of the importance of tradition in community, the conflict between generations, the struggle of co-existing cultures, and the strength of family touch us all.
Bringing this vision to PHAME! will be artistic director Christine Carr, technical director Matthew Kalal, costume designer Jan Wilson, choreographers Chelsea Montgomery and Astrid Pett, and music director Luis Sherlinlee.
Also helping lead the way are the following students: stage manager Joel Tanner, assistant stage manager Brianna Aguilera, orchestra conductor Ethan Ackland, lighting tech Laura Schull, sound tech Cori Andrews-McIntosh, and actor/singer Diego Luis Sherlinlee as Tevye. In addition is a very, very talented group of actors, singers, dancers, musicians and crew who will be working hard to complete this wonderful show!
Don’t miss this universal story of hope, love and acceptance, a stunning, joyful and jubilant musical masterpiece. “Fiddler on the Roof” runs Feb. 6-8 at 6 p.m. in the PHAME! theater on the Patrick Henry campus. There will also be a special matinee performance Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the ticket office 30 minutes prior to showtime. Check the Patrick Henry website for more details to come.
Patrick Henry Teacher of the Year
Patrick Henry High School is proud to announce that World Language Department chairperson and Spanish teacher extraordinaire Mr. Edward Stanko was named as our Teacher of the Year for 2020!
Stanko was born and raised in San Diego. From birth to 4 years of age, he spent weekdays with his grandparents while his parents were busy working; his grandparents, David and Mary Diaz, would speak to him and spend time with him in Spanish, and it was during these years that his exposure to the Spanish language and culture began. All throughout his childhood, he would be exposed on a daily basis to Spanish and English, and would experience the culture — including his favorite tradition of the tamalada — when his family would gather to make tamales, a traditional Mexican food made during the holidays.
When Stanko was a freshman at Mt. Carmel High School, a California Distinguished School in San Diego’s North County, he began his formal study of Spanish and excelled in it all through high school. It was during his junior year of high school that he knew he wanted to teach Spanish. He majored in World Literature at UC San Diego, received his teaching credential from CSU San Marcos, and in 2018, earned his MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) from SDSU. He is currently working on his second master’s degree in Foreign Language Teaching from Michigan State University via their online program.
Stanko’s philosophy of teaching language is simple: “As language teachers, we need to be teaching in the language, making it accessible to all students, rather than teaching about the language.” He believes in the power of comprehensible input, showing students that it is possible to understand and communicate with Spanish, and that communication is not simply a conjugation list of verbs in the different tenses. He emphasizes that language is much more than what we traditionally think of such as translating and conjugating accurately; language is culture, communication, and the ability to see the world and its peoples through another lens.
As the World Language Department chair, Stanko has shared his teaching philosophy with the department and district through special pull out meetings. He is credited for transforming the language department from using worksheets and book work toward using real world texts, articles, songs, and short stories that carry interesting facts for the students grappling with translating the information. It has made learning language fun and interesting as students are able to respond to the new vocabulary as it’s introduced in the text.
Mr. Stanko is admired and loved by his students because he makes learning Spanish fun and interesting every day.
— Elizabeth Gillingham is principal of Patrick Henry High School.