By Elizabeth Gillingham
Special Olympics sponsors event
The last Friday in April proved to be a day that many of our athletes with intellectual disabilities will never forget. Henry students competed against three other district schools in soccer, earning gold, silver, and bronze medals for their efforts.
According to the Special Olympics website, their mission statement says, “No matter the person’s age or skill level, Special Olympics Southern California has something for every person with intellectual disabilities. We deliver high-quality, year-round competition and training opportunities in an inclusive culture that stresses athletic excellence, rewards determination, emphasizes health, and celebrates personal achievement.”
With the direct coordination from Henry teacher Tianna Reitman and the Circle of Friends club, we were able to sponsor this event that honored close to 100 different students with moderate to severe learning disabilities. We had law enforcement officers on board to donate their time to help give out awards. Many other Henry students were also helping by refereeing the games, announcing the school winners and scores, and helping with other tasks.
Watching the students was a treat as there were smiles everywhere while students played a fun game of soccer with their friends. Much appreciation goes to Henry teacher Tianna Reitman and the families that donated water and other beverages!
PHHS Student of the Month
Bria Combs was selected for PHHS Student of Month for April and attended the Kiwanis breakfast with her sister, and Vice Principal Bill Miller.
One teacher stated in his recommendation, “Bria Combs has played a major part in the broadcast journalism class this year. Not only is she a natural talent for being an anchor and news reporter, she has made a huge contribution to our story development and interview segments. She is always happy to get involved in whatever story comes up and is often the person taking the lead and making things happen.”
Another teacher stated, “Bria is an exemplar student in AVID. She is a collaborator, a leader, and extremely kind-hearted. I have often seen her work hard to make students feel included in a group setting, or give students excellent advice or a pep talk when needed. I think that is one of her more endearing qualities, the fact that she can motivate others around her to work hard, and to continue working hard —even when times are tough.”
Her English teacher stated, “Bria is passionate, informed, and inquisitive, demands the most of herself and her peers to question, to challenge, and to change the status quo. In the process, she has helped others to examine closely and critically their beliefs, their thoughts, their very being. And she does so with a depth of character and persistence that few her age possess, even though it has not always been easy. A woman with voice, Bria commands a presence that makes it difficult not to notice her.”
Mr. Miller noted that she is a polite and courteous student monitor who helps out tremendously in the front office. She greets all of our visitors with a “hello” and a smile as they enter, making everyone feel welcomed at Henry.
PHHS Bel Canto Choir wins at Music In The Park
The sun had not yet begun to peak out from beyond the horizon as the Patrick Henry High School students representing the Bel Canto Choir stepped on the bus on Saturday morning, March 16. But neither the early start nor the nearly two-hour bus ride would deter this group of talented local singers from being at their best when their best was required.
Under the direction of choir teacher Rachel Samuelsz, Patrick Henry High’s advanced choir performed beautifully in front of the judges at the Music In The Park Festival in Orange County. Not only did Bel Canto earn a superior rating for its performances of “Psalm 150” and “Sing,” the choir earned first place in the large school, mixed choir competition. The trophy presentation took place at the Fantasyland Theatre outdoor amphitheater in Disneyland with hundreds of choir and band students and their teachers in attendance.
“We are thrilled to be recognized as one of the top student choirs,” Samuelsz said. “The students worked very hard to be in a position to sing their absolute best when it came time to perform. I’m incredibly proud of all of them.”
Each year, ensembles from all over the United States and Canada participate in Music In The Parks. For school choirs like Patrick Henry’s Bel Canto, the festival provides a year-end assessment by an outside panel and nationally known adjudicators. This year’s first-place award marks the best achievement by the Henry choir in several years.
PHHS junior Sean McClure competed in Long Beach at the Region 1 Championship against other level 10 gymnasts aged 15-16 years old. Amongst the 16-year-olds, he earned a fourth-place medal for his routine on the pommel horse and placed 15th for his all-around score. For the 15-16-year-old level 10 combined group, he placed 22nd and has qualified to compete at the national level at the Men’s Junior Olympic National Championships, which will be held in Reno, Nevada in May. He also earned an All-American academic award for maintaining a high GPA while practicing 18-plus hours of gymnastics per week.
Marissa Mae G. Crispino, 11th grade art student, attended the recognition award ceremony for the 2019 Congressional Art Competition sponsored by Rep. Susan Davis (CA-53). This special event was held at San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. Marissa won honorable mention and was one of the top six choices with her original drawing.
Alyna Uribe, grade 10, created a work of art for the SDUSD Student Art Exhibit 2019 and was chosen to be shown at the inaugural SDUSD Seaport Village Student Art Exhibition!
PHHS wins EDCO Challenge again
Congratulations to PHHS, who was named the first-place winner in the high school category of the 2018-19 EDCO Recycling Challenge. PHHS waste reduction and increased recycling resulted in a 39.97% waste diversion rate (an 11% increase from last year), garnering Henry the top district honor and a $1,250 prize award.
The goal of the Recycling Challenge is to reduce waste and increase recycling in our schools to facilitate compliance with state law requiring school districts to divert 75% of our waste from landfill disposal by 2020. Winners were determined based on overall waste diversion (i.e. waste vs. recycling service), bin fullness and weight surveys, and level of recycling education and outreach programs implemented on campus through March 31, 2019. Results were also based per capital student enrollment.
On April 23, Principal Listy Gillingham, POS Cathy Murphy, and teachers Lara Dickens and Ron Flaherty attended the board meeting to accept the award. Student leaders Vy Nguyen and Tram Bui, of the JROTC Community Service Club, were formally invited by PHHS to accept the award on behalf of the students of PHHS. The cadets help on and off campus with litter removal and recycling events. They collect commingled recycling bins from classrooms and take them to the recycling dumpsters. They also do campus litter patrols every Thursday after school.
Henry surf team undefeated
We are very proud to announce that the Patrick Henry surf team finished the season undefeated!
This past month, our surfers beat out Mission Bay and Grauer High School of Encinitas to earn the CIF title. Many of our top surfers such as Ruben Allen, Zack Lauerman, Max Zimmerman, Carlos DeCastro, Davyn Mikulanis, Crew Jenkins and Bella Ledford finished the season by advancing to the semi-finals and final rounds in their events. PHHS sent our top surfers (Allen, Mikulanis, Zimmerman and Zach Stulls) to the California State Competition held last month in Oceanside.
Thank you to all of the support from our parents, coaches and Henry staff. We are proud of our surfers!
PHHS thanks administrative professionals
In support of National Administrative Professional week, the PHHS Administrative Council team honored the office staff at Henry with their annual luncheon held at Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant on Fletcher Parkway. We are very fortunate to have staff members who readily greet and work with our families whenever they need help navigating their way through high school. Special thanks to:
- Administrative assistant John Ortler for running our office, dealing with rentals, and paying our staff members who work beyond the school day.
- Administrative aide Lorrie Harper, who assists our principal and handles special projects.
- Secretary and receptionist Nancy Passmore, who works with our substitutes and is our athletic secretary as well.
- Attendance secretaries Nita Brown, Carlos Luna, and Chris Genung, who assist our students when they come in late or are returning after an illness.
- Health technician Sharon Hackett, who helps our students when they are sick.
- Counseling secretary Sara Guinn, who is ready to assist when a student is in crisis.
- Registrar Vera Li, who helps with our records and transcripts.
- Site tech Angie Figueroa, who maintains our computer system and school records.
- Media technician Jim Spradlin, who helps maintains all the technology (hardware) on the campus.
- Financial secretary Lucia Pineda/Maria Hoelck, for paying our bills all year.
It takes a village to run a school the size of Henry and we could never do the work without the dedication and support of this staff! Thank you for your service to our school!
— Elizabeth Gillingham is principal of Patrick Henry High School.