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Celebrating VAPA

CUSD dance teacher to be honored for exceptional leadership and arts instruction

CUSD dance teacher to be honored for exceptional leadership and arts instruction

San Juan Hills High School Dance group photo
 
By CUSD Insider
A San Juan Hills High School dance teacher is about to be recognized for a second time by the Orange County Department of Education.
Kristine Calder, the San Juan Capistrano school’s dance program director and choreographer, will be one of 12 arts teachers honored at the 2024 Orange County Music and Arts Administrators (OCMAA) Awards Ceremony on Feb. 27. The annual event recognizes exceptional leadership and arts instruction as well as supportive administrators and community arts advocates.
“I put so much work into my program,” Calder said. “It’s thriving. I have a very low turnover rate. The kids just really enjoy it, and I’m excited the program is getting recognized.”
Calder is in her 24th year at Capistrano Unified, with 16 of those years at San Juan Hills. OCMAA last recognized her in 2005.
“The Orange County Music and Arts Awards is the premier recognition for Orange County’s outstanding arts educators and is highly regarded within the community for its recognition of quality instructional service,” Orange County Department of Education arts coordinator Scott Fitzpatrick stated in a news release.
 
 
Calder was born in the Philippines, moved the United States at age 13, and grew up in Alhambra. This year, she has about 170 students, and she also manages guest artists and oversees instruction for future choreographers and the senior showcase. Most seniors participate in the showcase before graduation.
The lifelong dancer and Cal State Long Beach alumna enjoys being creative.
“I love forming the relationships with my students, teaching them about dance,” Calder said. “I want them to be as passionate for dance as I am. I try to make it really fun. It’s like learning without knowing that you’re learning.”
San Juan Hills High puts on four shows a year with a variety of genres, from jazz and lyrical to musical theater and hip hop. The school also offers a modern dance conservatory aimed at students who want to pursue dance degrees at universities.
 
 
Brooke Valderrama, San Juan Hills’ activities director, added that Calder’s artistic vision always tells a story, and its backed by amazing costumes, lighting and music.
“She is her dancers’ biggest fan,” Valderrama said, “and she has made such a positive impact on so many students, whether they are performing on stage or watching from the audience.”
Calder’s students have gone on to prominent dance schools and positions, such as on the Disneyland Resort parades, Laker Girls, Clippers Spirit, and BlazerDancers.
Calder noted that she has seen as many as eight of her students performing at once for Disneyland.
“Kristine is the type of teacher that goes all in,” Valderrama said. “She is truly passionate about dance and has so much pride in her dancers and their abilities. Every show, pep rally and chance to perform, her students wow the audience with their skill and choreography.”
San Clemente High Yearbook Honored

San Clemente High Yearbook Honored

The SCHS Thalassa Yearbook program received "First Place with Special Merit, Outstanding Photography" from the American Scholastic Press Association for their 2023 publication.
Tesoro Chamber Orchestra performs at 2024 Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association conference
 

Tesoro Chamber Orchestra performs at 2024 Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association conference
 

Yeon Choi conducts the Tesoro High School Chamber Orchestra during a performance at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association conference in January. Photo by Steven Georges/CUSD InsiderThe Tesoro Chamber Orchestra recently performed at the 2024 Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association conference. 
 
During the conference, Newhart Middle School teacher Valerie Petty was named the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association Middle School Educator of the Year.
 
Newhart Middle School teacher Valerie Petty was named the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association Middle School Educator of the Year during the Association’s conference at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove on January 26. Photo provided by the Capistrano Unified School District
 
 

Arroyo Vista holds 2nd Annual Madrigal Dinner

 
A madrigal dinner is a holiday tradition of the Middle Ages, featuring food, songs and dancing. The Arroyo Vista music and drama department held a fun, festive madrigal dinner for the second year, with students performing traditional songs and dances of the times. Students dressed in medieval costumes and entertained their families, while they feasted on meals provided by Porchbox.
 
 
Madrigal Students
Titan Regiment Performs at SCSBOA Championships

Titan Regiment Performs at SCSBOA Championships

Performing their 2023 field show entitled "Mythos", please welcome to the field the Tesoro High School Titan Regiment! Crowds cheered as the top 12 4A division bands performed at championships held at Downey High School on Saturday Nov. 18th. The Titan Regiment placed 9th overall with a score of 82.65. Congratulations to all staff, members and families of the Titan Regiment!
 
Tesoro Titan Regiment poses with SCSBOA Championship trophy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
San Clemente quilting group keeps music alive for elementary music program

From the CUSD INSIDER
San Clemente quilting group keeps music alive for elementary music program

music students
Music students from Benedict Elementary show off their custom fabric recorder cases donated by the Surfside Quilters Guild. Photo by Steven Georges/CUSD InsiderBy Cindy Arora
 
Sharon Evans gets to introduce the recorder to a new group of fourth graders in the Capistrano Unified School District every 12 weeks.
 
The students learn the charm of playing the traditional “Hot Cross Buns” song, “Happy Birthday,” and the occasional jazz improvisational piece. The recorder, according to Evans, is the perfect starter instrument for elementary-age children to dip their musical toes into.
 
This school year as Evans prepared to take her recorders on the road to schools and introduce them to kids, she realized the cases that kept each recorder protected weren’t doing their job, plus she no longer had enough for every recorder. With broken zippers and cloth cases that had shrunk, the cases desperately needed to be replaced but Evans couldn’t find a cost-effective solution. It was time for new cases, but how to get them, without buying new recorders, she wasn’t sure. So, like the music teacher she is, Evans improvised.
 
quilting club
Vickie Janis, Linda Chiu, and Nancy Pestal deliver over 200 custom fabric recorder cases to the music students of Truman Benedict Elementary in San Clemente. From left, Juliet Janis, Vickie Janis, Linda Chiu, Nancy Pestal, Lyla Moorhead, Paisley Brennan, Sharon Evans and Pepper Jones.
Photo by Steven Georges/CUSD Insider
 
She bought paper wine bags when she ran out of the other cases. The wine bags were the perfect size for the narrow recorders, a temporary solution until she came up with a Plan B.
 
“Every year we loan recorders out to kids, we clean them up, sanitize, and send them back out. But the little sleeve bag, over time, began to shrink and you couldn’t close them and protect the recorder,” Evans said. “I started to wonder if there was a group of grandmas out there who liked to sew and who could make some for us.”
Enter the Surfside Quilters Guild in San Clemente.
 
The 200-strong quilters group in South Orange County holds meetings during the day, with most of the members retirees and grandmas who have the time to spend practicing the beautiful craft of quilting.
A big part of their organization is philanthropy. Members are busy each year making pillowcases and blankets for children at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, quilts for Marines, for seniors in the Meals and Wheels Program, and for kids in the foster system. Quilters from the Surfside Guild make and donate about 400 quilts a year.
 
CUSD Students holding custom recording cases
Music students from Benedict Elementary check out their new custom fabric recorder cases donated by the Surfside Quilters Guild.
Photo by Steven Georges/CUSD Insider
 
This year when Co-Chairperson for Philanthropy Linda Chiu got the letter from Evans, the unique project was quickly approved, and the ladies of the Surfside Quilters Guild got to work.
 
“The recorder covers are something we’ve never done before, but we had the fabric, and it was a simple project, we just needed to form an assembly line,” Chiu said. “Someone ironed, someone was on the sewing machine … Everyone worked on it together and it came together fast.”
 
Surfside Quilters Guild member Vickie Janis has two grandchildren in the Capistrano Unified School District. She took the lead on the project and tried to get as many recorder covers done as possible before the group got busy with the holiday season, including their biggest fundraiser of the year, the Fall Fest.
 
“We’ve been able to finish about 100 covers, and it has been great to see the kids get excited about them,” said Janis, a retired seamstress. “It’s been such a fun thing to do for the school and for Mrs. Evans. She’s an exceptional music teacher.”
 
recorder cases
The Surfside Quilters Guild made custom fabric recorder cases for students in the CUSD.
Photo courtesy of Sharon Evans

Titan Regiment Birthday Surprise
 

Titan Regiment Birthday Surprise
 

Tesoro HS Titan Regiment performed in Coto De Caza for a 13 year olds birthday surprise. The community rallied around it and approved having members from the Titan Regiment march down their street and play Happy Birthday in front of the birthday boys driveway on Sunday 9/3. The neighborhood was excited for us to come play for them and the family was so gracious. There were many posts in the community regarding the band playing Happy Birthday and putting on a small performance in the street for the family.