As we share stories of excellence within the Claremont Unified School District, we pause to acknowledge the significance of today, Veteran's Day. We extend our deepest gratitude to all veterans who have served our country with courage and dedication. It is in the spirit of their commitment and service that we celebrate the achievements of our own community members who strive to make a difference in the lives of our students and staff.

CUSD Celebrates Claremont High School's Historic Victory at Mt. SAC Invitational

In a remarkable display of athleticism and teamwork, the Claremont High School Cross Country Team achieved a historic victory at the prestigious Mount SAC Invitational. This notable event marks the first time CHS has triumphed in the sweepstakes race, setting a new standard in the school's cross country history.

The sweepstakes race, a highlight of the meet, features the crème de la crème of cross country teams handpicked by meet directors. This race is unique as it brings together the top teams in a single race, unlike other events that are divided by divisions. Claremont High School's win in this elite and competitive field is a testament to the team's exceptional talent and hard work.

One of the team captains, Denise Chen, shared her insights and experiences about this incredible accomplishment. The victory was significant given last year's group was filled with young runners with no varsity seniors. The team's journey from a relatively inexperienced group to champions is a narrative of hard work, dedication, and growth.

As a senior and a captain, Chen reflected on the significance of this win during her final year at CHS. She highlighted the team's extensive preparation, including summer training and consistent effort throughout the last season, which was crucial to their success. The sense of accomplishment and reward for their efforts was palpable in her words.

Chen's commitment to running continues as she plans to attend college locally. Her proximity to CHS will allow her to maintain a connection with the team, offering support and sharing her experience. Chen also expressed excitement and anticipation for the California state meet, underscoring the team's aspirations to excel and make a mark at the state level.

Leading the charge for Claremont at the Invitational were standout performances from L'Mio Edwards, Jie Yi Denise Chen, and Isla Bulmer, alongside their teammates Emily Noyes and Alexa Gossett. Their collective efforts and synergy were vital in securing the top spot in the Division 1-2 team sweepstakes division.

This victory at the Mt. SAC Invitational is a triumph in physical athleticism and a reflection of the mental strength, strategic planning, and collaborative spirit of the Claremont High School Cross Country Team. The Claremont Unified School District proudly celebrates this exceptional achievement and looks forward with great anticipation to the team's future endeavors, particularly at the upcoming State meet. This historic win is a source of inspiration and pride for the entire Claremont community.

A Dance with CHS Student Daniel Novikov

At just four years old, many kids are still getting the hang of walking without tripping, but for Daniel Novikov, it was at that age he decided to ballroom dance. Now an 11th grader at CHS, Daniel has a wealth of experience and achievements on the national stage. 

"I first got into it because my parents were dancers," Daniel shares. Their influence didn't simply end with introducing him to the dance floor. By the age of four, Daniel and his mother were already dancing as a duo, participating in competitions. His journey into the competitive world of ballroom dancing started in 2012, and since then, his passion has only grown.

Daniel holds 18 national titles through the National Dance Championships Administration (NDCA), the premier dance competition organization in America. He has been an undefeated champion in his age category, winning five times in a row when he was under 12. Daniel's expertise spans across different categories in ballroom dancing, excelling in Latin and Ballroom.

It's not just the competition or the titles that keep Daniel going. "For me, it's the music. I enjoy music a lot," he says. Beyond the steps and the rhythm, ballroom dancing is a physically demanding sport. For Daniel, it's a combination of the physical aspect, the music, and the joy of sharing the dance with a partner that makes it so compelling. His dancing journey has allowed him to travel worldwide, developing friendships from the USA to England and beyond.

However, with the rigorous training and travel for competitions, balancing academics is no small task. "It's become harder in high school. But I get to work ahead of time," Daniel says. Despite his travels, he's managed to foster strong friendships at CHS. The school's supportive environment has played a significant role in this. Having transferred from a nearby high school, Daniel appreciates CHS's understanding staff, safe space, and positive atmosphere.

Daniel's not just a dancer; he's also a musician. Part of the jazz band at CHS, he often plays the very music he dances to, giving him a deeper understanding and appreciation of the songs. He credits his teacher, Mr. Melanson, for being supportive and understanding of his unique position as a musician and a dancer.

His final message to the CHS community and everyone reading: "Try ballroom dancing. Even if it's not for you, it's something that I have found to change my life." For those interested, Daniel invites you to Edelweiss Premier Ballroom in San Dimas, a place he's been training his whole life.

So whether it's on the dance floor or in the music room, Daniel Novikov is a name to remember. He embodies passion, discipline, and the spirit of celebration that CUSD cherishes.

Andrew Soto's Triumphs – An Embodiment of Resilience and Determination

The Claremont Unified School District is thrilled to honor Andrew Soto, a remarkable Claremont High School (CHS) student, for receiving the ACSA's Every Student Succeeding award. This award is a testament to Andrew's exceptional dedication to his academic pursuits and outstanding contributions to the school community, which have distinguished him from his peers.

Andrew's journey is one marked by personal dedication and communal support. Raised in a bustling household with a single mother and five older siblings, he navigated life's complexities with remarkable poise and focus. His academic vigor is evident in his pursuit of an International Baccalaureate Diploma, and his role as a senior class leader reflects his commitment to his studies and peers.

In addition to academic achievements, Andrew's active involvement in extracurricular activities demonstrates his multifaceted talents. His participation in the Key Club and the Red Cross Club, where he achieved Gold Recognition, highlights his dedication to service and leadership. Alongside service, Andrew is also a scholar-athlete, being on the Cross Country and Track Team. Andrew is a two-time Palomares All-League Athlete, with a personal record of 16:27 for three miles. 

Andrew's narrative underscores the district's core values of excellence, equity, innovation, and integrity. These values guide the belief that every student can succeed. We congratulate Andrew on his remarkable achievements and look forward to witnessing the continued impact of his passion for science and community service. His story resonates with hope and the profound impact of perseverance, and CUSD is proud to celebrate such an exceptional student.

John Ramirez, Student Board Member  – A Senior with Vision and Determination

As the academic year at San Antonio High School (SAHS) unfolds, it's not just the seasons changing but also the perceptions and voices echoing in the hallways, thanks to dedicated students like John Ramirez. A senior interested in cooking, photography, and gaming, John embodies the spirit of involvement and leadership that SAHS prides itself on.

Numerous roles mark John's journey at SAHS: he captures moments as the ASB Historian/Photographer, voices concerns as a member of the Student Site Council Committee, and leads as the captain of the football team. But his commitment doesn't end there. Inspired by Mr. Baugh, a teacher who believes in making "good life choices," John has embraced the role of CUSD Student Board Representative, a position that symbolizes trust and responsibility.

The road hasn't been without its challenges. John is his own harshest critic, striving to meet high standards while grappling with the fear of making mistakes. His mantra? Embrace imperfection and learn from it.

John's vision for SAHS extends beyond the school grounds. He is determined to dismantle misconceptions and advocate for a true representation of his school, asserting that SAHS students are as vibrant and promising as those from any other institution.

A firm believer in the power of student voices, John underscores their critical role in school decisions. To him, students offer invaluable perspectives on how changes will impact their day-to-day experiences.

Balancing school responsibilities, John credits his teachers for their understanding and unwavering support, ensuring that every student can thrive on campus and maintain a balanced life.

For those considering a leadership path, John's advice is clear: Be confident, take pride in your role, and seize the day. High school is fleeting, and leadership is an opportunity for growth and self-assurance.

Only a few short months away, John reflects on his growth. Once shy, he uses his voice to share reports with the Board of Education and the greater community. His experience as a Student Board Member has been transformative, equipping him with public speaking skills and a readiness to face the future.

John Ramirez stands as an example of progress, embodying the potential of every student at San Antonio High School. As he looks ahead, he carries the invaluable lessons and support that have shaped him, ready to tackle the world beyond high school, forever grateful, and undeniably prepared.

CUSD celebrates John's achievements and the memorable mark he's left on SAHS. His story is a testament to the power of student leadership and the importance of supporting the voices that will shape tomorrow.

Spotlight on Excellence

CUSD Celebrates Joseph Galindo with Spotlight on Excellence Award

The Claremont Unified School District (CUSD) takes immense pride in recognizing Joseph Galindo, CHS Education Specialist, as the Certificated Spotlight on Excellence recipient for the 2023-2024 school year. Joseph has been a part of the CUSD family since 2017, dedicating himself to students with unwavering passion and exceptional organizational skills. Praised for his strong leadership abilities, Joseph has been instrumental in managing the paraprofessional staff, ensuring that their contributions magnify students' learning experience. A colleague who nominated him commended Joseph's deep compassion for students, highlighting his ability to lead with empathy, a testament to his role in our community.

During the Board Meeting, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rick Lopez expressed the district's gratitude for Joseph's contributions. The recognition stems not just from his professional achievements but also from his attributes that have positively impacted everyone he works with. Joseph's dedication to Special Education shines as a beacon of excellence within the CUSD, making him a truly deserving recipient of this honor.

Brennan Hester Honored with CUSD's Classified Spotlight on Excellence

CUSD honors Brennan Hester, a committed member of the Technology Department, as the Classified Spotlight on Excellence recipient for the 2023-2024 school year. Brennan, who has been with the district since 2002, has stood out as a pillar of support for the El Roble teachers, providing them with unwavering technical assistance. His innovative approach to problem-solving has notably enhanced the efficiency of desktop support, earning him high praise for his creativity and technical expertise. Nominators have highlighted Brennan's role as a mentor to new technicians, sharing his extensive knowledge of the systems and demonstrating an exceptional sense of humor that has been a source of joy for many colleagues.

During the Board Meeting, Dr. Rick Lopez acknowledged Brennan's significant contributions to the district, praising him for always going above and beyond. His name, now etched on the plaques of honor along with other exemplary employees, serves as a reminder of the positive influence and the light-hearted spirit he brings to the workplace. Brennan's recognition celebrates his dedication, expertise, and delightful humor that resonates with everyone he assists.

Previous Editions of CUSD Celebrates!

Stay Connected with CUSD

You are signing up for the CUSD Celebrates! mailing list. If you are interested in being featured, please email