Celebrate Kids Helping Kids’ 10th Anniversary

NeedtoBreathe (l) and Andy Grammer return to perform at the 10th Annual Kids Helping Kids benefit concert. Courtesy photos.

NeedtoBreathe (l) and Andy Grammer return to perform at the 10th Annual Kids Helping Kids benefit concert. Courtesy photos.

Kids Helping Kids celebrates its 10th Anniversary at the beautiful Granada Theatre (1214 State St.) January 12-13 with performances by NeedtoBreathe and Andy Grammer.

Andy Grammer performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

Andy Grammer performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

Kids Helping Kids is an entirely student-run nonprofit organization lead by the students in the Advanced Placement Economics classes at San Marcos High School. The group works  to help children in need both locally and globally and has raised an amazing $2.5 million to date.

NeedtoBreathe performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

NeedtoBreathe performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

The annual benefit concert looks back on the legacy built by the students of San Marcos and the support of our community, bringing back two of the past favorite performers, Andy Grammer (Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.) and NeedtoBreathe (Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.).

Past artists who have performed at Kids Helping Kids benefit concerts include:

  • Toad the Wet Sprocket and Tyrone Wells (2009),
  • Five for Fighting (2010),
  • Mat Kearney and Tyrone Wells (2011),
  • Sara Bareilles and Tyrone Wells (2012),
  • Switchfoot and Brad Corrigan from Dispatch (2013),
  • Andy Grammer and Tim Lopez from Plain White T’s (2014),
  • Ingrid Michaelson and Jon McLaughlin (2015),
  • NeedtoBreathe and Johnnyswim (2016),
  • and Gavin DeGraw and Parachute (2017).

In addition to the local chapter, the Kids Helping Kids model to is now in place at two other high schools in Sacramento and Dana Hills, California.

For more information click here, and to purchase tickets, visit the Granada website.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 6, 2018.

Celebrate Family Holiday Movie Weekend at the Granada Theatre

Granada Holiday Movie Weekend

Enjoy the magic of the holidays at The Granada Theatre’s Family Holiday Movie Weekend on Saturday, December 13 and Sunday, December 14!  In addition to screening holiday movie favorites with the only 4K cinema projection system in the region, Santa Claus will make a special visit to The Granada Theatre to greet children, and there will be special seasonal musical performances by local school and musical groups including Montecito Union Elementary, La Colina Junior High, San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara High School and local public elementary school students from the Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN) program.

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday, December 13

11 a.m. Music by Montecito Union Elementary

Movies: Merry Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda

noon to 1:30 p.m.   Meet Santa Claus!

3 p.m. Music by San Marcos High School Madcappella Choir

Movie: White Christmas

7 p.m. Music by La Colina Junior High Outburst Choir

Movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Sunday, December 14

11 a.m. to noon Meet Santa Claus!

noon Music by Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN) group Pacific Choir

Movie: Miracle On 34th Street

5 p.m. Music by Santa Barbara High School Madrigals Choir

Movie: Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas

General Admission tickets are just $5 and include open seating. Reserved seating in the Loge is available for $10 per ticket. Click here to purchase tickets for each music and movie performance, or by calling The Granada Theatre’s Box Office at 805/899-2222.  The Granada is located at 1214 State St.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 10, 2014.

Santa Barbara Spotlight: Local Photographer/Teacher Judy Duchesne-Peckham Shines a Light on One of Afghanistan’s Bright Spots

A welcome sight, girls returning home from school, Kabul, photo by Judy Duchesne-Peckham

A welcome sight, girls returning home from school, Kabul, photo by Judy Duchesne-Peckham

Though she had traveled extensively around the world, when Judy Duchesne-Peckham first traveled to Afghanistan in 2003, she was amazed at what she saw. “Seriously, it was like being in another planet. … I’ve been to a lot of poor places and I photographed in Vietnam and I kept thinking how can this be different,” says Duchesne-Peckham, taking a short break from her work as a photography and French teacher at San Marcos High School.

 

“I had never been to a country that was currently at war before and it was very different. I had just never seen so much suffering and trauma in people’s faces,” she says. “But I had never met such a generous and sweet and loving group of people. They were so hospitable.”

 

Original residents at House of Flowers, photo by Judy Duchesne-Peckham

Original residents at House of Flowers, photo by Judy Duchesne-Peckham

Throughout her multiple trips to Afghanistan, Duchesne-Peckham documented much despair, but also found many images of hope, particularly in a small Montessori-based orphanage school called The House of Flowers, founded by Dr. Mostafa Vaziri and Allison Lide, both of whom contribute essays in the book, along with family therapist Casi Kushel and educators Dr. Inayatullah Majaddiddi, Amanullah Nasrat and Faheem Abrahimi.

 

It’s this positive light in country of darkness, which Duchesne-Peckham has chosen to spotlight in her new book, Healing Afghanistan: Hope for the Children, a high quality, coffee table photo and essay collection containing the faces and stories of “a small number of people and children who represent the dazzling spirit of this country.” She is donating 100% of the profits from book sales to The House of Flowers orphanage.

 

The contrast between what she describes as “the prevailing despair in the large government orphanages and the beginning of hope in one small Montessori-based ophanage/school” is what really struck Duchesne-Peckham, who describes her work as documentary photography.

 

Zacki welcoming visitors to House of Flowers, photo by Judy Duchesne-Peckham

Zacki welcoming visitors to House of Flowers, photo by Judy Duchesne-Peckham

 

“I always teach my students lessons about what an amazing impact documentary photography has had on the world and how people need to see it. It’s not always easy to see it, but they need to know and a picture is worth a thousand words as they say, so you want your photography to have an impact on people,” she says.

 

Her work has already had an impact on donations to the school, and she’s just getting started.

 

“(The House of Flowers) was beautiful and quiet and peaceful. I just fell in love with the kids. If they had let me take them home I probably would have been an instant mother of about seven children. … Everything was just well cared for. All of the kids had jobs to do. They cleaned up and they prepared the meals they roll the tablecloth off the floor and sweep the crumbs up afterward and recite poems by Rumi,” says Duchesne-Peckham. “They are learning English they were learning Farsi and their letters. It was fabulous. I just want to do what I can to help.”

 

Duchesne-Peckham will sign and discuss Healing Afghanistan: Hope for the Children on Thursday, January 9, at 7:30 p.m. at Granada Books, 1224 State St. For more information about The House of Flowers and its parent nonprofit MEPO (Medical, Education and Peace Organization) visit mepoonline.org.

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 8, 2014.

 

San Marcos High to Celebrate 50th

San MarcosSan Marcos High School alumni and supporters are planning a gala event to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary in 2008. Anyone who is interested in helping to plan the event, or would like to be on the mailing list for invitations and updates should email Cara Gamberdella (Class of 1990) at cara@villagesite.com or call her at 683.7336.

“I am committed to giving back as a proud alumna and community supporter,” says Gamberdella, a former SMHS English and journalism teacher. “San Marcos has been a very important part of my life and my family’s life here in Santa Barbara.

The committee, headed by Assistant principal Ed Behrens , also includes Debbie Keys Thomas, Diane Dodwell, Holly Eubank, Joan Cotich, Shawn Ricci, Helen Murdoch, Aaron Solis, Sadie Hall and Susan Kipp.

The date of the celebration –which will be an evening of dinner, dancing, entertainment and Royals’ nostalgia and will be open to all former students, staff and community supporters–is not yet determined, but the party is slated for February or March of 2008.

Originally published in Noozhawk

La Cumbre principal goes recruiting

La Cumbre Junior High, courtesy SBUnified.

Touting a closer-knit junior high community, one school aims to turn tide of enrollment

The vibe is different at La Cumbre Junior High these days. While the enrollment numbers are still down, new principal Jo Ann Caines’ dynamic energy seems to be resonating, at least with the people who know the native Santa Barbaran.

Students at Adams School (where she was principal until a few months ago), once a symbol for white flight, are now flocking to La Cumbre.

While only about 450 of the approximately 600 eligible students will attend La Cumbre in the fall, “the composition of our student body is going to be drastically different,” said Caines, “with more of the middle-income and middle- and high-achieving students that didn’t come here before.

“We’ve turned a huge corner thanks to Adams School,” she said, with all but 11 of the more than 100 sixth-graders planning to attend La Cumbre. “So while we’ll be very similar in size, we’ll be hugely different.”

This fall, Caines and assistant principal Jorge Fulco will concentrate on Monroe and Washington schools. Caines has even recruited an Adams fourth-grade parent, Katie Parker, to help her with the outreach.

“Jorge and I have been on the road since Feb. 1 doing outreach,” Caines said. “We gave more tours here … than they have in the prior five years combined.”

Of course, pitching the school is one thing, but telling a compelling story is another — and Caines certainly has one with her reorganization plan.

It might seem to be by design that, when Santa Barbara Community Academy upper-grade students move to La Cumbre’s campus in the fall, the junior high will begin to implement a core knowledge learning community that builds on the same concepts the academy has used successfully. But Caines said she did her research on the core knowledge curriculum (a sequenced, coherent program that uses a grade-by-grade core of common learning) prior to the school board’s decision to move the academy there.

Caines also has a Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)/pre-advanced placement learning community planned, a liberal arts/college preparatory group, and an intensive English development/newcomers community similar to the successful program she implemented at Adams.

Caines emphasized that the communities — which will be separated geographically to make it easier on students — are not tracks.

“Students can participate in any one that they choose or they qualify for,” she said.

Each student will also have a homeroom class where she hopes the smallness of the school will work to its advantage.

“Teachers will not only know their students but the students in that community,” she said.

The staff is coming on board after what Caines characterized as lots of “not easy” discussions.

“Change is hard,” she said. “They’ve been through four principals in two years, so it’s hard to say, ‘Is this really a change or is it going to be different next month kind of thing?’ So what I said to teachers is if it’s not a match for you then you should put in for a transfer because part of what I’m doing is building a new team, and more than anything I want people to be here because they want to be here.”

Three teachers have put in for transfers, but Caines said others are anxious to come to the school because of the new programs.

“Let’s be real. If you asked 100 adults about junior high, 97 of them will say they hated junior high,” she said. “It’s all about friends … Even though we’ll do outreach to the parents, … we’re going to put a lot of energy into the kids, because kids really do decide …They want to go where their friends are.”

Blurred boundaries

Transfers are one of the hot topics of discussion where school needs are concerned. When students transfer in from other districts, the district gets additional money, but intra-district transfers don’t change the funding and campuses like La Colina Junior High (which had only 591 students in 1993-94 and was up to 1,027 students in 2004-05) are getting overcrowded while campuses like La Cumbre Junior High (which had 1,030 students in 1993-94 and now has 433 students) have empty rooms..

Here’s a snapshot look at where secondary students are going (all figures are from the 2004-05 school year):

Junior High

Goleta Valley Junior High School

Incoming: +21 students from other districts; +48 students from within the district (total +69)

Outgoing: -1 student to other districts; -79 students to another school in the district (total -80)

La Colina Junior High School

Incoming: +29 students from other districts; +250 students from within the district (total +279)

Outgoing: -0 students to other districts; -50 students to another school in the district (total –50)

La Cumbre Junior High School

Incoming: +14 students from other districts; +41 students from within the district (total +55)

Outgoing: -2 students to other districts; -257 students to another school in the district (total –259)

Santa Barbara Junior High School

Incoming: +43 students from other districts; +154 students from within the district (total +197)

Outgoing: -2 students to other districts; -107 students to another school in the district (total –109)

High School

Dos Pueblos High School

Incoming: +74 students from other districts; +218 students from within the district (total +292)

Outgoing: -0 students to other districts; -101 students to another school in the district (total –101)

San Marcos High School

Incoming: +61 students from other districts; +325 students from within the district (total +386)

Outgoing: -7 students to other districts; -382 students to another school in the district (total –389)

Santa Barbara High School

Incoming: +151 students from other districts; +268 students from within the district (total +319)

Outgoing: -7 students to other districts; -328 students to another school in the district (total –335)

— Source: PAT SALEY

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on June 2, 2005.

For professionals, Career Day a full circle

US Navy Capt. Ricks Polk, commanding officer of Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific answers questions from students during a Career Day at Iroquois Point Elementary School, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

US Navy Capt. Ricks Polk, commanding officer of Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific answers questions from students during a Career Day at Iroquois Point Elementary School, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Face to face with the past, adults turn kids’ attention toward their future

I went back to high school last week.

No, it wasn’t for a Fast Times at Ridgemont High investigative article about San Marcos High School. I was there for Career Day, along with more than 240 other local professionals.

I’m not sure how impressed the students were by the movers and shakers moving among them — including Goleta Mayor Jean Blois, Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum, Olympic volleyball star Dax Holdren, sculptor Bud Bottoms (of Dolphin Fountain fame) and Santa Barbara Fire Chief Warner McGrew — but I sure was intimidated, especially when I spotted the sleek race car that NASCAR driver Greg Voight brought along.

Was that what they meant by props? All I brought with me was some copies of that week’s Beacon, which just happened to feature student body president — and Beacon intern — Eric Lauritsen on the cover.

But when I reported to the King’s Page classroom, I immediately felt right at home. While the adviser, Cara Gamberdella, was a few decades younger than my adviser, Virginia Chennell, seemed when I was 15, she had the same efficiency Mrs. Chennell did, as she introduced me to the first group of students and simultaneously recruited new editors for the paper.

I told the students the best way to find out if you’re cut out to be a journalist is to give it a try. There were definitely sparks in the eyes of a few students. They were the ones who asked good questions, like, “What’s your work environment like?” (Answer: Noisy, but fun.) and, “Do you spend a lot of time chained to your desk?” (Answer: No, as little as possible.)

One girl, who I’m sure is destined to be an investigative reporter, even asked me how much money I made. (Answer: Not enough.)

Another favorite question was, “What do you like about being a journalist?” As I told them, “It’s never boring and it’s really fun to do something different every day and be learning all the time.”

Later when I peeked in on Chief McGrew’s presentation, he said something very similar about his career as a firefighter: “I can’t wait to get out of bed and go to work.”

I hope those students get to go back to school and say the same thing someday.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on February 14, 2005.