Lynwood Unified Elementary Students’ Original Play to be Performed in Africa
Lynwood – Fifteen Abbott Elementary School students will soon be globally known for their playwriting talents when their story is performed in Rwanda in July about two neighboring families who decide to end their prejudiced ideologies and tear down a wall commissioned by President Donald Trump.
The play, called “The Wall,” is one of 76 productions created by Lynwood Unified’s elementary and middle school students as part of the Building Relationships and Inspiring Dialogue through Global Exchange (BRIDGE) Theatre Project. Abbott Elementary’s play will be performed by Rwandan children during the Ubumuntu Arts Festival on July 14.
“We are very proud of our Abbott Elementary students for all their hard work in creating such a lively and introspective play with great political and social commentary,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “The District is heavily invested in providing programs like this to stimulate student participation and creativity, which we know supports academic achievement.”
The District has partnered with the BRIDGE Theatre Project for the last three years, teaching Lynwood Unified students in grades four through eight how to write short plays, perform the plays and study other cultures. The program provides 19 workshops for nearly 500 District students over eight weeks to teach students the basics of improvisation, character creation, writing conflict and dialogue, and how to collaborate with other student writers.
BRIDGE cofounder Adam Kalesperis said “The Wall” was selected for its relevant topic, well-written script and humor, and how the threat of xenophobia is a subject that can be relevant to many countries – not just the U.S.
“Our mission is to educate, inspire and connect young people around the globe through intensive theater education programs,” BRIDGE Theatre Project cofounder Joe Quintero said. “This program is meant to encourage self-expression, foster self-confidence, promote cultural tolerance, expand world views and perspectives and explore solutions to community problems.”
While this is the first international project that Lynwood Unified has participated in with the BRIDGE Theatre Project, Kalesperis and Quintero said they hope to make it an annual event, giving more Lynwood Unified students the chance to have their work showcased across the globe.
“Our partnership with the BRIDGE Theatre Project is a great way for our elementary and middle school students to gain interest in writing and the performing arts while simultaneously promoting tolerant beliefs,” Lynwood Unified Board President Alma-Delia Renteria said. “We’re so proud to have our students’ work reach a global audience.”
Lynwood Unified to Host Scholastic Literacy Event for Families
More than 250 Lynwood Unified students and their families will engage in reading activities, photo booth fun and conversations with District administrators during the District’s first Scholastic Literacy Event.
Clifford the Big Red Dog® will join parents and guardians in encouraging children to bolster their literacy skills. All students will also take home up to three books provided by the District, Scholastic and community partners.
Wednesday, June 28
Lynwood Unified School District Board Room
11321 Bullis Road
Scholastic Literacy Events are specially designed to empower families to support their children’s academic achievement through interactive activities – giving them the tools and skills necessary to build a culture of literacy at home.
According to teacher survey data released by Scholastic, 98 percent of teachers said greater “family involvement and support” has a strong impact on academic achievement.
For on-site event information, contact Lindsay Ivins at 480-335-3149.
1,000 Lynwood Unified Graduates Flip Tassels During Three Commencements
Lynwood – Lynwood Unified celebrated nearly 1,000 graduates from Lynwood, Firebaugh and Vista high schools and Pathway Independent Studies program during commencement exercises on June 13 and 14, with the exhilarated Class of 2017 Knights, Falcons, Eagles and Panthers ready to take their next steps toward college and careers.
“We are all so proud of our graduates and what they have accomplished, and we know their families are too,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “Graduations mark the culmination of all their hard work and determination, but this is also just the beginning. We know the best has yet to come from our Class of 2017 graduates.”
Lynwood High School – 468 graduates
On June 14, Lynwood High held its graduation on the District stadium athletic field, with nearly 500 students flipping their tassels from right to left as family and friends cheered them on. Valedictorian Alexandra Monterrosa, who graduated with a 4.52 GPA, addressed the graduates. Lynwood’s salutatorian, Ebony Gonzalez, graduated with a 4.48 GPA.
Monterrosa is a California Scholarship Federation seal bearer and a member of the National Honor Society, Advanced Placement (AP) Club and Education Talent Search. She will attend UCLA in the fall. Gonzalez, a member of Lynwood’s AP Club and vice president of the National Honor Society, will attend USC.
Firebaugh High School – 376 graduates
Firebaugh High held its commencement on June 13 at the District stadium for 376 graduates. Valedictorian Harmony Esqueda, who graduated with a 4.6 GPA, addressed the graduates.
Esqueda, an IB full diploma candidate and captain of the girls varsity golf team, president of Mock Trial, member of the Society of the Hispanic Professional Junior Engineers Chapter and vice president of the Engineering Club, will attend USC in the fall. Salutatorians Aidee Rodriguez and Eduardo Flores are both graduating with 4.5 GPAs.
Rodriguez, an IB and AP student and a member of the Engineering Club, will attend UC San Diego. Flores is an IB and AP student and a member of the marching band, Mock Trial, MESA, Book Club and the Sueños Club. He will attend UC Merced in the fall.
Vista High School and Pathway Independent Studies – 220 graduates
Vista High School and Pathway Independent Studies held a combined commencement on June 14 in the Lynwood High School gymnasium, with 220 graduates receiving diplomas.
Valedictorian Karina Ortega-Cota plans to attend Cal State Dominguez Hills and salutatorian Kimberly Reyes will continue her education at Cerritos College.
“I am so blown away at how many graduates we have each year – the number keeps growing,” Lynwood Unified Board President Alma-Delia Renteria said. “I am so proud to be at all these graduations and watch our students take the next step in their lives. Congratulations Class of 2017!”
Soon-to-Be Grads Take Final Stride Down Lynwood Unified Hallways During Senior Walk
Elementary, middle schoolers cheer on their cap-and-gown clad peers
Lynwood – Nearly 850 Lynwood and Firebaugh high seniors marched with smiles, others with tears streaming down their faces, as they took some of their final steps on their old stomping grounds.
Seniors were honored throughout Lynwood Unified June 8 during the District’s Senior Walk, celebrating soon-to-be graduates for their accomplishments and motivating younger students to graduate.
“This is a truly exceptional event that motivates everyone on campus, especially teachers and younger students,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “When we see this many seniors accomplishing their goals and moving on to the next phase of life, they deserve to have the spotlight on them during this time.”
Seniors clad in caps and gowns toured the District’s 12 elementary schools and three middle schools throughout the entire day to remind their young peers of what they can achieve in the future.
“All of them grew up and finished what they started,” Abbott Elementary sixth-grader Ilene Cardona said. “Anything is possible when you try your hardest.”
“This was really emotional for me to come back to Abbott Elementary and see the teachers who pushed me from the start to get where I am today,” said Firebaugh High senior Aileen Banuelos, who will study nursing at Cal State Fullerton. “I hope these younger students are inspired to graduate just like I am.”
Younger students created posters exclaiming “Congratulations!” and “You did it!” and screamed and clapped as the high schoolers walked on by, spreading a barrage of high-fives. Some seniors even stopped to sign elementary school yearbooks.
“This is a way we can tell younger students that if we can do it, so can they,” said Lynwood High senior Ernesto Lozano, who plans to study business and accounting at Cal State Los Angeles. “Despite any problems they might go through, they can always pull through.”
This is the second year Lynwood Unified has held a Senior Walk.
“Not only does this bring all of our students together for one of the last times, but it really shows everyone in our entire District and the community how much our students have accomplished,” Lynwood Unified Board President Alma-Delia Renteria said. “This is not only a celebration for our seniors and their families, but also for the teachers and staff who helped them along the way. Congratulations, Class of 2017!”
Lynwood Celebrates Class of 2017 with Graduation Ceremonies
Lynwood Unified School District will host two graduation ceremonies celebrating the academic achievements of its Class of 2017.
Marco Antonio Firebaugh High School will hold a ceremony for its 376 graduating seniors and Lynwood High School will celebrate 468 graduating seniors.
6 p.m. Tuesday, June 13: Firebaugh High School ceremony, Lynwood Unified field.
6 p.m. Wednesday, June 14: Lynwood High School ceremony, Lynwood Unified field.
Lynwood High School
4050 Imperial Highway
The graduating seniors from both schools will attend prestigious colleges from around the country, including USC, UCLA, Arizona State University, Columbia University and Lane University.
Top Firebaugh High School seniors and special recognitions:
• Valedictorian Harmony Rose Esqueda, 4.6 GPA, attending USC
• Salutatorian Aidee Rodriguez, 4.5 GPA, attending UC San Diego
• Salutatorian Eduardo Flores, 4.5 GPA, attending UC Merced
• 16 California Scholarship Federation sealbearers for high academic standards
Top Lynwood High School seniors and special recognitions:
• Valedictorian Alexandra Monterrosa, 4.52 GPA, attending UCLA
• Salutatorian Ebony Gonzalez, 4.48 GPA, attending USC
• Sergio Bobadilla, Middlebury College and Columbia University full-ride scholarships
• Elizabeth Valenzuela, Columbia University full-ride scholarship
• 100 seniors will receive the state Seal of Biliteracy, which recognizes fluency in two or more languages
For on-site event information, contact Lindsay Ivins at 480-335-3149.
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Community News (Lynwood Unified School District)