WE are happy to announce that Milpitas Unified School District has teamed up with the City of Milpitas to bring back the Milpitas Elementary Olympics!
Please join us on Saturday, May 5 to witness students (explain a little bit about the event and what attendees can expect to see) at the Milpitas High School football field. To ensure sufficient time for parking, please plan to arrive early, as the opening ceremony will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m.
Parking will be available at the following locations:
For immediate release Contact: Shannon Carr,
Board Support & Communications Specialist
(408) 635-2600, ext. 6031
Before Camp Everytown, Milpitas High School junior Eigen Edward Gacho was full of negativity and traumatic experiences. But attending the four-day residential, intensive leadership development program based on core values - respect, acceptance, and responsibility - allowed him to not only open up in a way he never has before but share his experiences about being bullied, and truly heal and grow.
Gacho was one of 44 Milpitas High School and Calaveras Hills High School students, accompanied by six staff members, who headed up the hill March 28 to Camp Harmond in Boulder Creek.
“The tenets of the program are for those attending to be willing to openly share their prejudices, views and beliefs surrounding race, religion, social position, gender, religion, culture, law enforcement,” said MHS Assistant Principal Cheryl Rivera, who has attended the camp since approximately 1999. “Those attending must be willing to ‘hear’ and ‘empathize’ with what's being shared and discuss strategies to ameliorate bullying, sexism, and other campus concerns.”
Students participated in activities that identify opportunities, obstacles, and solutions to human relations issues specific to their school, according to Silicon Valley FACES, which runs the program.
Seniors Tariq Bracy, Verenice Gomez, Lanazia Greene, and Brianna Williams; juniors Travis Lloyd and Gacho; sophomore Carlson Cabatotan and Josue Torres; and freshman Lailani Esparza recently met to discuss the camp, and the impact it made on them.
“I just think it’s cool because it teaches you not to take life for granted, not to judge other people so quickly, ” Lloyd said. “…now I get to take into consideration and take the time to get to know a person to actually see what they’re like.”
Williams said a highlight activity for her was the ability lunch.
“We counted off numbers and when we went into the cafeteria, some people were blindfolded, representing the blind, some people had one arm, and people had no hands,” she explained. “So we had to adapt. It put us in other people’s shoes… seeing how they have to go through life.”
She added that during another activity, specific people from different ethnic groups were asked to walk out. While they were gone, the remaining people in the room would say stereotypes about the ethnicities and write them down. Then those people would have to return, look at the posters, take them in, and express their feelings about what was shared.
Gacho said he enjoyed hearing about different cultures and Lloyd said he enjoyed the gender exercise.
“There are many highlights,” Rivera said. “The gender exercise is profound. With facilitation, both genders develop a deeper compassion and empathy for one another. Learning that you are ‘not alone’ is major. Students see that there are many feeling and/or encountering similar obstacles. This is for staff as well as students. Delegates (as students are called) form a close bond with their peers as well as the adult staff who attend. Truly ‘learning’ about another person's culture is enlightening and makes the attendees thirst for more.”
Bracy said he didn’t know what to expect of the program, but is happy to have attended.
“It opened my eyes to different stories being told, and knowing that I’m not the only one with problems going on in my life,” he said.
Rivera said the school has participated in the program around 25 years, with every year being as valuable as the last.
“I believe that I gain valuable experience every time I attend this camp,” she said. “I love seeing our students making lifelong connections and most importantly empathy for others. Each group that attends brings enthusiasm and positive energy back to campus. The smaller family coming back to campus can and does impact the attitudes and beliefs of not only their inner circle, their inner circle extends well beyond the 50. I've seen students turn their lives around and define purpose for their own next steps. I have also seen and heard students address racial slurs with a non-threatening positive demeanor. “
The group acknowledged just that, saying they are experiencing life differently upon their return, specifically in how they are with their friends.
“It’s made me also realize to not be afraid to be a leader,” Bracy said. “Some people just like to run with the crowd. It’s made me feel like it’s alright to have your own platform, your own voice because people are going to follow what you do, especially if it’s good.”
For Williams and Esparza, the name calling has completely stopped.
“I think it’s made me put an impact on my friends,” Esparza said. “…It’s affected them because they watch what they say because they know I don’t like that.”
The program has grown through the years, Rivera said, explaining the group has received additional financial support for students to attend.
FACES has teamed Milpitas High with other schools and the experience is shared through the lens of "privilege versus non privilege." An example of this, she said, is when students attended with Palo Alto High School and Fremont High School.
“Students have preconceived views about the ‘haves’ vs the ‘have nots,’” she explained. “Learning that the student experience is similar in many ways is profound. There are exercises that clearly negate many of the stereotypes our students believe about gender, disabilities, ethnicities.”
When the students returned from the camp the following Monday morning, they returned with much more than new friends meeting around the MHS flagpole to welcome the new delegates back to campus. Any current or past camp attendees stood together for a "Welcome Home" morning "song fest."
“The students attending, for the most part, are a mixed bag of jewels when they arrive,” Rivera said. “Coming back down the hill they are all ‘diamonds’ eternally connected.”
For more information about Camp Everytown, visit the website.
We all know that the best solutions to the challenges we face come from the community—especially when we work together.
Please join the County of Santa Cara at its Community Summit on Firearms and Safety from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Road, San Jose.
Entry and parking are free, and a continental breakfast and boxed lunch will be provided. We will have translators for those who wish to participate in a language other than English.
This is not a townhall meeting. Participants will be expected to roll up their sleeves and begin working together in professionally facilitated roundtable discussions from beginning to end.
The event will be hosted by my office and the County of Santa Clara, with support from key partners from different perspectives on firearms and safety. We hope to draw a diverse array of participants, viewpoints and ideas in order to have a balanced dialogue. We’ll cover a broad spectrum of topics, from gang violence prevention to school safety, from suicide prevention to legal rights and duties of residents – wherever they stand on firearms related issues, and lots more. Participants will be asked to commit to engaging in civil discourse about difficult issues. A final report of the findings and recommendations may be shared with the Board of Supervisors at a later date, and will be shared with our community at large. We will be able to incorporate many ideas into the report, and all opinions will be shared with other communities throughout the County and beyond.
All we need for you to do is to register. If you would like to volunteer the day of the summit, please click here to sign-up.
For more information, please contact Mario B. Lopez at 408-299-5030 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Milpitas High School hosted the Trojan Olympics Friday, March 23. During the event, classes battled it out by performing their prepared dance, pyramid, and competing in several games! In the end, the Senior Class of 2018 came out victorious as they took home the Trojan Olympics trophy. Juniors came in second followed by Sophomores in third place and Freshmen in fourth. Videos of the event can be found on Milpitas High ASB's Youtube channel at tinyurl.com/milpitasyt.
--Submitted by Angelie Hoang
Milpitas High School teacher Kaila Schwartz's Theatre Workshop class has been working with guest artists from TheatreWorks Silicon Valley creating a 60-90 minute devised theatre performance. Her students have been writing to various prompts given by Meghan Hakes, the associate director of education outreach, and they have been working with other local theatre artists (Rebecca Longworth, a local director; and Kimberly Braun, a theater professional) with the integration of movement and music. Right now, the working title for their piece is My Own.... The performances are scheduled to coincide with the MHS Art Show on May 25 and 26. The project is fully funded by DonorsChoose and ArtsEd
Zanker Elementary's Parent Teacher Association hosted a Canvas and Cookies Night for approximately 215 students and their parents March 28 in the school's multipurpose room. Canvases were purchased from Michael's and easels were created by Milpitas High School students from Stuft Pizza pizza boxes.
Sixth grade teacher Rebeca Rios - who has provided art enrichment previously - led the instruction, with her work of a giraffe being displayed via Chromecast through a projector. Cookies were donated and gathered by the school's PTA, who also donated canvas aprons to the art enrichment program in conjunction with the night. All the paint and brushes were donated to the art program as well.
Tiger students and families had the chance to see Principals and teachers in a different role, when Rose Elementary School staff took over the McDonald's on Landess 5-7 p.m. April 3 for a fundraiser.
That evening, they took orders, worked the counters and drive thru, made fries, and had fun serving the students.
It was a fun and lively event that included the school's Rosie the Tiger mascot, dance music, and raffles to keep the event going. The children and families had fun, dancing and singing along with Rosie and our teachers. It was a very successful Rose PTO event that made us almost $800 total for just a two-hour event. That included our raffles, food sales, cookie sales and tips for teachers. We now look forward to doing this every year, and encourage other MUSD schools to do so too. It was definitely one of our most favorite events. We received many positive comments from our teachers, the McDonald's staff, our students, and their families.
--Submitted by Valerie Negrito
For immediate release Contact: Shannon Carr,
Board Support & Communications Specialist
(408) 635-2600, ext. 6031
When Calaveras Hills High School Principal Carl Stice takes to the track for Relay for Life on April 28 at Townsend Field in Santa Clara, he will be joined in solidarity with more than 30 students (nearly a third of the school’s population) and staff members, cheering him on. The first lap of Relay is called the Survivor Lap, when survivors and people currently affected by cancer walk the track to be cheered and supported by everyone in attendance.
“I actually cried in front of the students when explaining how much it will mean to me to have them there during the Survivor Lap,” Stice said.
Stice found out he had squamous cell carcinoma in his throat and mouth in 2003, at the age of 33.
“I had a sore throat that would not go away, and upon finally going to the doctor, he said, ‘This looks like a tumor,” Stice recalls. “I was sent to get an immediate biopsy and it came back that it was cancer the next day.”
Because it was an aggressive cancer, Stice had to undergo both chemo and radiation simultaneously. He was in treatment for five months. He has been cancer free since treatments ended in 2004.
“It is like a full circle for me - something that caused so much pain in my life has given me a new appreciation for life, and to have students and staff be there will be incredible,” Stice said. “I am also walking in honor of my sister, who died of cancer a few years ago at 49 years old.”
Not only will the students be standing by Stice’s side during the event, but they are currently fighting cancer one dollar at a time by fundraising for Relay, being held 10 a.m. Saturday, April 28 through 10 a.m. Sunday, April 29. The “Cal-Hills Mustangs” group has raised $4,002.73 to date - with a goal of $4,000 - for the 24-hour walking event that raises money and awareness about cancer prevention, research, and services through the American Cancer Society.
“We are actually one of the highest grossing teams for the whole Relay right now,” said Cal Hills teacher and Relay coordinator Tabitha Kappeler-Hurley. They are fifth out of 30 teams “That’s really, really good, and it’s all due to the kids’ dedication.”
Fundraising kicked off with a community dinner, where the students explained what and why they are participating in the cause, and has also included speaking in front of the district’s administrators, a bake sale, selling luminaries, asking for donations from District Office employees, staff emails, and personal asks.
“They’re doing it from their heart, but they’re also learning how to fundraise, how to talk with administrators. It’s really becoming a larger project than I thought,” Kappeler-Hurley said.
She led the effort in getting students involved for a variety of reasons.
“Relay is really one of the most accessible community service type big events that you guys can do as students,” Kappeler-Hurley said. “Some are big like Avon Breast Cancer Walk, Susan G. Komen. You have to raise thousands of dollars. But with Relay, you only have to raise $100. So that’s number one; it’s really easy to feel like that’s possible. But the biggest reason is because I knew so many of them had connections to cancer through family and friends. And it empowers you to know you can do something to fight cancer. It’s also a really fun event.”
Seniors Leslie Magallon and “Kal”mintas Kupciunas and junior Jamina Williams shared their firsthand experience preparing for the event, their first time being a part of the cause.
“I want to help people,” Magallon said. She shared that her sophomore year, she was lucky to have the doctor’s detect and treat what would have later evolved into cancer.
Williams said her uncle has cancer, and she also knows some family and friends who have the disease.
While Kupciunas doesn’t know anyone directly impacted by cancer, he is excited to see the amount of people getting behind such a good cause.
Kappeler-Hurley said it is her 10th year participating in Relay for Life.
“Relay is incredibly important to me,” she said. “I have lost multiple friends and family members, and have lots of family members who have dealt with cancer. So cancer is around me all the time.”
Kappeler-Hurley is joined with four other staff members who are leading the fundraiser: Kimi Schmidt, Sridaya Mandyam-Komar, Raquel Mendoza, and Betty Won.
“Although I mentioned the four teachers who are leading the Relay effort, this has truly been a school and staff-wide effort,” Kappeler-Hurley emphasized. “All (and I mean all) of the teachers have donated, and most are coming during the Relay for a few hours to help chaperone. The teachers and staff are really into the cause and supporting the students in this effort.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit the website.