A Holiday Message From

Superintendent Dr. Jim Elsasser

Rotary Club of Claremont and Interact Club Unite in Annual Bike Giveaway

The Rotary Club of Claremont, in collaboration with the Interact Clubs of El Roble Intermediate and Claremont High School, recently held its 23rd Bill's Bikes for Kids Giveaway. This heartwarming event, hosted at the Claremont Presbyterian Church, showcased the constant spirit of community and charity.

Ron Coleman, former Rotary President and event organizer, shared the history and significance of this tradition. Originating in the late 90s under then-president Bill Grover, the project began with Rotarians assembling and donating bicycles to underprivileged children. This year marked a new milestone with 31 bikes given away, each costing approximately $150, including a helmet and lock.

The unique aspect of this initiative is the involvement of Claremont Unified schools. Children are selected through essays submitted to their teachers, expressing their desire for a bicycle. This practice rewards deserving students and encourages them to articulate their dreams and aspirations.

Thomas Shelley, the committee chairman and an avid cyclist, played a pivotal role in securing these bikes. His connections with bicycle companies and the participation of the Claremont Senior Bike Club were instrumental in the success of this year's event.

The choice of gifting bicycles has significance. Coleman emphasized their timeless nature, citing their ability to provide physical exercise, mental well-being, and opportunities for exploration.

The event also highlighted the Interact Clubs from El Roble Intermediate and Claremont High School. These clubs, part of the global Rotary community, engage in similar fundraising and community service activities, instilling the values of giving and service in young minds.

The atmosphere was festive, with food, drinks, and a bike safety presentation by Officer Tristan Vargas.

Each recipient's moment on stage, receiving their bike to applause was a testament to the community's support and encouragement. For many, it was their first bike.

As the event concluded, seeing children riding away on their new bikes was a powerful reminder of the joy and hope that community initiatives like this can bring. The Rotary Club of Claremont, along with the Interact Club members, have given these children a gift and a memory that will last a lifetime.

Andrew Soto's Stanford Scholarship and Every Student Succeeds Award

The Claremont Unified School District's latest Regular Board Meeting, held on December 14th, was marked by a noteworthy celebration as the Board of Education honored Andrew Soto, a distinguished senior from Claremont High School. Soto, known for his remarkable academic achievements and inspiring character, was recognized by the Claremont Management Association as their recipient of the Every Student Succeeding Award from the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), Region 15. 

Dr. Christine Malally, President of the Claremont Management Association, presented the award and said, “Andrew's academic achievements go beyond this significant award. His success story is one of resilience and determination. Andrew was recognized for his success in school and positive spirit. Against all odds, Andrew has brightened the lives of those fortunate enough to engage with him in school, from administrators, to teachers, to friends." Dr. Malally continued, highlighting his influence on everyone in the school community, from peers to staff members. The Board joined Dr. Malally in congratulating Andrew on all of his accomplishments.

The recognition didn't stop there. In a thrilling acknowledgement, Dr. Malally shared, "Adding to his list of achievements, Andrew has recently been accepted to Stanford University on a full scholarship." This announcement was met with an outpouring of pride and admiration from the board members and attendees.

Andrew's journey to Stanford on a full scholarship, coupled with the Every Student Succeed Award, is a testament to his hard work, perseverance, and positive impact on the Claremont educational community.

Service Day at Sycamore Elementary School

Sycamore Elementary School recently celebrated Service Day, inviting various speakers and volunteers to engage and educate students on various important topics. The day was filled with valuable learning experiences for the students, highlighting the importance of community involvement, environmental awareness, and personal well-being.

Scripps College Students and the Green Thumb Initiative

Two former Sycamore students now attending Webb School educated Sycamore students on enhancing the school's garden. They discussed their efforts to bring native plant seeds and maintain green spaces. This hands-on learning experience was educational and inspiring for the students, promoting environmental stewardship.

Parent Volunteers Teach Mindfulness

A group of parent volunteers, including Jessica Waterson, led a session on mindfulness. They showed students techniques for self-regulation and coping with intense emotions. These invaluable skills help students navigate their feelings and maintain mental and emotional well-being.

Introducing the Green Team Share Tables

Highlighting a practical approach to sustainability, Ms. Nora from the Nutritional Services team along with students from Sycamore's Green Team introduced the Share Tables concept. This initiative, starting in January 2024 at Sycamore Elementary, aligns with the USDA's strategy to minimize food waste in school programs. The session educated students about the impact of food waste and the importance of resourcefulness.

USDA Initiative Emphasizes Food Sharing and Waste Reduction

The USDA promotes share tables to encourage the consumption of nutritious foods and reduce waste in various food programs. This initiative supports schools in creating strategies to ensure meals are both appealing and environmentally responsible. Focusing on food safety and compliance with local health codes is paramount in this initiative, ensuring that the shared food is safe and beneficial for all students.

A Day of Learning and Growing Together

Service Day at Sycamore Elementary School was more than just an educational event; it celebrated community, environmental consciousness, and personal growth. These sessions impart knowledge and inspire students to be active, aware, and responsible community members. The Claremont Unified School District proudly recognizes the efforts and contributions of all the volunteers, speakers, and students who made this day a resounding success.

CHS Cheerleaders Shine at Pearl Harbor Day Parade in Oahu, Hawaii

Claremont Unified School District takes immense pride in celebrating the remarkable achievements of our students, Kori Epling and Jayden Garcia, who represented Claremont High School at the prestigious Pearl Harbor Day Parade in Oahu, Hawaii.

A Journey of Dedication and Excellence: Kori Epling, a junior, and Jayden Garcia, a sophomore, earned their places on the USA cheer team through sheer determination and skill. This honor is a testament to their hard work and dedication. Kori, a three-time All-American, has consistently demonstrated her excellence in cheerleading since her freshman year. On the other hand, this achievement marked Jayden's first year of trying out and making the team.

The Path to Success: When asked about their inspiration and preparation for this opportunity, Jayden shared a story of resilience and determination. Despite initial setbacks, she practiced tirelessly, driven by a desire to emulate her mother's achievements as an All-American Cheerleader. Kori's journey, on the other hand, has been one of continuous growth and learning, motivated by the opportunities and experiences cheerleading has offered her.

Overcoming Challenges: Jayden spoke openly about the challenges she faced during her first year trying out for the team. Balancing the demands of schoolwork with rigorous cheer practice schedules required immense dedication and time management. Kori similarly emphasized the importance of focusing on goals and managing different aspects of life separately.

Memorable Moments in Hawaii: The Pearl Harbor Day Parade was not just a performance but a profound experience for both Kori and Jayden. Jayden recalled the honor of representing her school and hometown, while Kori cherished the moment when she and Jayden were handpicked to lead the front of the group during the parade.

Lessons in Teamwork and Leadership: Participating in such a significant event impacted their views on teamwork and leadership. Jayden learned the importance of each team member's contribution, while Kori's experiences have fostered a sense of leadership in her everyday life.

Future Aspirations: Looking forward, both cheerleaders see their experiences shaping their future goals. Jayden aspires to continue her cheerleading journey, aiming for the varsity level, while Kori hopes to cheer in college and potentially work for Varsity's USA summer camps.

A Beacon of Inspiration: Kori and Jayden are inspiring examples for younger students aspiring to achieve greatness in cheerleading. Their advice emphasizes hard work, determination, and the ability to focus on goals.

CUSD celebrates these young athletes' accomplishments and is proud of how they have represented their school and community on a national stage. Their journey is a testament to the fact that dedication and hard work truly pay off.

Leadership and School Spirit Shine at Oakmont Outdoor School

Oakmont Outdoor School recently showcased its students' remarkable talents and spirit through two inspiring events that brought the entire community together.

A Day in the Shoes of a Principal

The festivities began with Beckett Cooper, a student who had won the chance to be 'Principal for the Day' through a raffle at the Family Costume Ball. Embracing this special role, Beckett demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. From ensuring everyone was in their proper places to expertly handling communications with staff during recess, he showed that age is just a number when it comes to effective leadership and responsibility.

The Unveiling of the Oakmont Owl Mascot

The highlight of the day came during the middle of the school day, at the much-anticipated Accelerated Reader (AR) assembly. It was here that the Oakmont Owl Mascot was revealed, marking a special moment for the entire school. Chosen through a selection process where 5th and 6th-grade students submitted anonymous applications to wear the mascot uniform, the selected student's heartfelt message struck a chord with the selection committee: "I wanna do something for the school. I want to be the mascot to make the kids here happy. I've been at Oakmont Outdoor School since TK through 6th, and in my last year as an Oakmont Owl, I want to do something good. I think you should choose me because I wanna make me a better me." This sincere desire to contribute and spread joy in their final year was a powerful representation of the students' bond with Oakmont.

Celebrating Academic Achievements

Principal Beckett and the Oakmont Owl Mascot played key roles in the AR assembly, a crucial event recognizing students who met their AR test goals and motivating those still working towards them. The presence of these dynamic figures - one embodying youthful leadership and the other school spirit - added an extra layer of excitement and encouragement for the students.

The Impact of These Events

These events reflect Oakmont Outdoor School commitment to fostering student leadership and community spirit. The Oakmont Owl Mascot symbolizes the passion for making a positive impact, and Principal Beckett, with his hands-on approach to leadership, has set an inspiring example for their peers. They remind us that every student has the potential to make a significant contribution to their school community.

Oakmont stands out within the CUSD as a place where students can rise to the occasion, demonstrating their remarkable capabilities with enthusiasm and heart.

CUSD Classified Orientation

Newly hired classified staff gathered for their first orientation. CSEA and the Human Resources Department teamed up to welcome these new hires, enhancing the onboarding experience and providing them with the knowledge of their new position with CUSD. We are fortunate to have each person on our team.

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