Monthly Archives: December, 2018

The Tribune’s Top 18 of ‘18

1 SMUSD Keeps On Rollin’…to the Top of the State A local school official once joked that the San Marino Unified School District had been ranked #1 in the state for so long that bureaucrats changed the standards in an effort to get a different result. It didn’t—and hasn’t—worked, as the SMUSD once again finished tops in California, based on data that was released in late September. According to the 2018 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, scores, the San Marino Unified School District still leads the way. Before CAASPP, the district had ranked first among the state’s unified school districts for a remarkable fifteen consecutive years due to its percentage of students meeting and exceeding state standards as reflected by the Academic Performance Index. This year, the SMUSD was ranked tops in the state due to 87% of its tested students meeting or exceeding standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. La Cañada scored 87% in English Language Arts and 85% in Mathematics for an average of 86.5%. a half point off the pace. “San Marino students speak to the possibilities in public education that success is attainable by those who take advantage of every learning opportunity, and that there is a value in continually striving for academic excellence,” then-School Board President Shelley Ryan told The Tribune. “Congratulations to our amazing students, and to the families, the San Marino community, administrators, teachers, and support staff that work so hard to support them.” Piedmont (3rd), Palo Alto 4th), South Pasadena (5th), Manhattan Beach (6th), San Ramon (7th), Pleasanton...

Pasadena Guild of Children’s Hospital’s “Home for the Holidays” Event Gathers 2019 Debutantes and Parents

During December’s Christmas season, the Pasadena Guild of Children’s Hospital hosted the 2019 June Ball debutantes and their parents for a “Home for the Holidays” social at the home of Beth Price, who is an active member of PGCH and board trustee of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Debutantes and their parents were treated to appetizers and cheer while meeting members of the PGCH Board and getting to know one another. As is true each year, the highlight of the evening was witnessing the excitement of the 2019 Debutantes. President of PGCH, Sarah Shelton, and her husband, Jim, attended the evening event, which was chaired by Pasadena Guild Actives Beth Price and Debra Whitehouse. 2019 June Ball Chairs, Cherie Harris and Sarah Miller, were also in attendance at the festive and lovely event. The June Ball will take place at the Langham Hotel on June 15, 2019. Established in 1947 by a small group of dedicated hospital volunteers, the Pasadena Guild has raised more than $30 million for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. They have completed Guild Endowments in Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Pediatric Eye Cancer, Pediatric Surgery, Adolescent Medicine, and Bone and Soft Tissue Research. They also funded a room in the Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion during that capital campaign.

New Church is Founded in Love of Neighbors

Pastor Sam Park to lead the new “church-plant” ministry at the historic United Methodist Church. Photo by Steve Whitmore It was a simple desire to minister to his neighbors in the region, including San Marino. This pastor just wanted to have a church in the region he’s lived in with his family for the last, nearly, three decades. “I wanted to provide a ministry to my neighbors in my home town,” said the Rev. Sam Park, who is going to start what is called a “church-plant” on the campus of the historic South Pasadena United Methodist Church (UMC) at 699 Monterey Road. “I will be planting a new ministry here in South Pasadena called ReNEW. It will be beginning in the New Year.” The first service will be the first Sunday in January 2019. Park, the lead and founding pastor of the Community Church at Holliston UMC in Pasadena, said this “calling” to start a new ministry at the local historic campus began “accidentally” several years ago. He was listening to a presentation by The Cathedral of the Rockies First United Methodist Church Boise, ID and their ministry-model of revitalizing nearby historic church sites and planting a team of members for new congregational development. He began to wonder if a similar approach could be implemented here in South Pasadena with members from Community Church. “I definitely wanted to retain the church site not only because of its own history and its ties to the history of our city, but also because it holds so much potential for ministry.” The parcel sits on top of an elevated hill overlooking the city. It has a three-story house, which has a fellowship hall, several rooms for classes, and offices. The campus has a regulation-sized basketball court, and even a small amphitheatre area in the back. Park wants to create a space where not only is everybody welcome to worship, but also to play and connect. He wants people to explore different ideas and approaches to faith, family, community, and cause. “We are bringing a plant team from our Holliston ministry, about 20 of us, and there’re about 10 members of the South Pasadena community that are also going to be starting with us.” Sam and Linda Park have been residents of South Pasadena for the last 27 years. They have three children. They are Mathew, 21, a senior at the University of California at Berkeley; Samantha, 18, a freshman at Brandeis University; and Carissa, 15, a sophomore at South Pasadena High School. His wife, Linda, is a fifth-grade teacher at Marengo Elementary School in So Pas. “Both she and I have been active members of the community by way of the PTA, AYSO and SP Little League,” Sam said, adding, “Carissa is a talented singles’ player on the SP varsity tennis team. “It's long been a dream of mine to start a church right here in my home city of South Pasadena,” Park continued. “The thought of renewing the ministries of the historic South Pasadena United Methodist Church excites me.” The Methodist Church was the first protestant church in South Pasadena, with a founding date of Oct. 1887, Park said. Park also said he doesn’t want anybody to think he didn’t love being the founding pastor of Community Church at Holliston. He loved it and is grateful for the last 20 years. But at 49, he felt the time was right to come home. “After pastoring in Glendale and then Pasadena for the last 20 years, I am coming home,”Park said. “It’s a dream come true.”

The Tribune’s Top 18 of ’18 Sports Edition

1 Lady Titan Spikers End 28-Year Title Drought  The 28-year wait ended on Tuesday, October 9 at 4:42 p.m., the celebration of the moment rather underwhelming, especially when compared to the magnitude of the accomplishment. For it was then that San Marino High School’s girls’ varsity volleyball team swept La Cañada by scores of 25-22, 25-21 and 25-12 before a raucous crowd in Dingus Memorial Fieldhouse to secure the school’s first Rio Hondo League championship in that sport since 1990. Jenna Dizon and Erin Loyd captained that 1990 squad, but it was their long-ago coach who just might have provided a little incentive for the 2018 team to clinch the title. Cynthia Chubbuck, still a respected science teacher at San Marino High School, decided to drop by a practice to teach a little history lesson. “I had been plowing through the yearbooks to figure out when the last championship was,” Chubbuck said the day after the game. “I decided to write a letter to Joe and then thought I should go talk to Joe. Then I decided I would go talk to the girls.” Although it was in Chubbuck’s words “one of the last 100º days of the year,” the former coach—whose career spanned the years of 1987-96 and included Rio Hondo League titles in 1988, 1989 and 1990—donned her SMHS letter jacket while explaining the importance of the moment. It worked. La Cañada was never really in the match as the Lady Titans improved to 9-0, 16-4 overall. “It feels great to see San Marino volleyball back,” said Chubbuck, who watched Tuesday’s game from her typical vantage point on the upper east landing. “We have had promising teams in the past, but they have just never put it together like this group has. This team is fun to watch.” Senior Keila Barra led the team with 13 kills, followed by sophomore Erin Hill, who added a dozen. Sophomore Leela Anvekar added four blocks and was a difference maker at the net. Rios also praised his senior setter for her performance and leadership during the big game. “Hanna Wang had an excellent game on her senior night,” said Rios. Senior outside hitter Morgan Wong put together yet another consistent performance and middle blocker Lauren Eriksen occupied the Spartans all afternoon. Defensive specialists Conner Sund and Caitlyn Nguyen were on point and libero Madison Kaufman provided solid passing and timely second setting to pace the Lady Titans. Two days later, the Lady Titans received a scare at South Pasadena, but emerged with their undefeated...

Matthew Ary: Eagle Scout, Football Player

Vincent Matthew Ary, Jr. May 24, 1999 – December 14, 2018 Vincent Matthew Ary, Jr., known to his legion of admirers as Matthew, passed away unexpectedly last Friday, December 14 in Tucson, Arizona. He was 19 years old. Matthew was a sophomore in the University of Arizona’s highly regarded Eller School of Business at the time of his passing and was also a proud member of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. Almost immediately, the portrait of a very caring, yet carefree young man described by many as a “Gentle Giant” has emerged through accounts from those who knew him best. Owen Koch graduated from San Marino High School in 2017 with Matthew, who Koch said he had known “all my life.” “I remember every summer hanging out with him,” Koch recalled of his onetime neighbor. “We...

Neighboring Fire Depts. Now Sharing Workers

To alleviate staffing shortages that occur from time to time, the South Pasadena and the San Marino fire departments have joined forces in a program where the two agencies share workers. While adding historical perspective, San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda told The Tribune the agreement has been very successful. “In July of 2017, the cities of San Marino and South Pasadena agreed to the sharing of command officer response coverage,” Rueda said. “This was a step forward in ensuring proper supervision for both cities’ fire departments and good government by sharing resources.” In September 2018, the cities of San Marino and South Pasadena again came together to agree to share personnel between the fire departments when...

SMFD Advises Residents On Holiday Fire Safety

The San Marino Fire Department issues this friendly reminder during this holiday season, when decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of a serious fire. Following these few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever-popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. *If your household includes a natural tree in its festivities, take to heart the sales person’s suggestion – “Keep the tree watered.” Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are usually not a problem. A dry and neglected tree can be. *The San Marino Fire Department provides a service referred to as Operation Fire Safe. Operation Fire Safe is a home safety inspection survey to help residents identify fire and life safety hazards in their homes. The program is available year-round, and available to any resident of the City. If any resident has questions concerning holiday fire safety feel free to contact the San Marino Fire Department at (626)300-0735 or fire@cityofsanmarino.org Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. Do not leave it up for longer than two weeks. *When disposing of your tree, never burn your tree or any parts of it. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. Athens Services collects holiday trees each year, from the day after Christmas through the second week of January, on your normal pickup day.

Schools Foundation Asks for End-of-Year Donations

The San Marino Schools Foundation kicked off its year-end giving campaign by hosting a successful #GivingTuesday on November 27 that raised over $68,000 in one day. #GivingTuesday supports charities, and takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving following the consumer spending days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Over 60 people responded to the Foundation’s call to action and made contributions online, in person, or by phone. These funds will go directly towards helping fund teacher positions at all four school sites and helping fund innovative programs throughout all of SMUSD. Even though #GivingTuesday is over, the Foundation is still accepting year-end donations, which not only invests in the education of students in San Marino public schools, but could also help to reduce the tax liability of donors. The Tax Cuts and Job Act, signed into law in December 2017, made a number of changes to our tax laws. It nearly doubles the standard deduction for individuals and families, limits the aggregate amount of state and local income taxes, including property taxes, that can be deducted, and reduces the cap on home mortgage interest deduction for new loans. An additional change is that tax filers can deduct a larger percentage of their charitable donations, increasing from 50 percent to 60 percent of their adjusted gross income. Charities, including San Marino Schools Foundation, could potentially receive larger individual donations. To take advantage of charitable giving opportunities in 2018, below are some of the ways that you can maximize your giving in 2018 and beyond. Of course, each person’s tax situation is unique, so please do consult with your tax and/or legal advisors. Appreciated Securities (Stock) Receive charitable tax deduction at fair market value of publicly traded securities and bypass tax on the embedded capital gains. Consult with your tax advisor to determine the amount of any deduction you may be able to claim for a gift of appreciated securities. To donate stock/appreciated securities, please visit the San Marino Schools Foundation website and download the stock donation directions. Please call the Foundation office at (626) 299-7014 if you need any further assistance. Donor Advised Fund A donor advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving program that allows you to combine the most favorable tax benefits with the flexibility to support your favorite causes. If you have a donor advised fund, you may recommend grants to SMSF directly. Matching Gifts Did you know that many companies offer their employees a matching gift program to encourage them to be active in their communities? Some companies offer as much as 1:1 or even 2:1 in a matching gift of their own. That means if you give $100 your company might match with a $100 or even $200 gift of their own, doubling your donation! Contact your company’s HR department and discover how you might be able to stretch your generosity. IRA Charitable Rollover Gifts If you are the owner of an IRA and are at least 70-½ years of age, you may make a charitable gift directly from your IRA to the San Marino Schools Foundation. An IRA Charitable Rollover of up to $100,000 will count toward a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) effectively minimizing taxes on the transfer. Gifts must be made directly to the Foundation before the end of the tax year (2018). San Marino Schools Foundation will remain open during the holidays (closed on December 24 and 25) and can accept donations in person by visiting its office at 1665 West Dr., by phone at (626) 299-7014, or online at www.smsf.org/donate.

Things Get Creative at Southwestern Academy

The best vegan cupcake substitutions. The best cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches. Rube Goldberg projects the size of a small couch. Southwestern Academy’s Annual Science Fair had it all. Students in grades 6-12 participated in the San Marino campus’s fair, consisting of various experimental projects and “Rube Goldberg” creations. Although this year’s science fair showcased a couple of changes, students quickly adapted to the new rules. The Southwestern Science Department decided to shake things up a bit by having students decide on working on bigger, better Rube Goldbergs or following...

Water Warriors Hoping to Race Past the Competition

He’s the dean of San Marino High School coaches, but even Mark Barr isn’t immune to the graduation bug that has bitten just about every sports program on campus. Barr has been the head coach for every single girls’ water polo game since its inception 21 years ago and saw a substantial exodus at graduation six months ago. But a little thing like roster depletion won’t deter Barr, whose relentlessly positive attitude continues no matter what the circumstance. “Well, actually I thought be might have somewhat of a drop-off losing as many seniors as we had last year, but we are actually moving along pretty well,” said Barr, who came to San Marino High School in 2016 to coach swimming and water polo. “We lost two very solid players in Annette Aladefa and Marika Brunochelli, but we are finding ways to fill in and I like the direction we are headed.” The Lady Titans finished fifth in the Rio Hondo League a season ago, but based on a solid non-conference schedule qualified for the CIF playoffs, where they suffered a first round overtime loss. But that’s old news, and anyone familiar with Barr’s work knows he is deeply rooted in the present. “If I had to put it on one thing, we brought back a good core of the team,” Barr said about the Lady Titans’ 5-3 start. “But what is making us solid is how well junior Hannah Collazo is doing in the set position. She plays the spot well enough to where the other players are able to play their more natural positions and that makes us much better from a team standpoint.” The “set” position in water polo is tantamount to a center or post player in basketball, a player lined up near the goal to whom the ball can be passed for either a shot or distribution. Collazo’s skills have allowed San Marino’s offense to hum sufficiently enough for the Lady Titans to have recorded an 18-3 win over Alhambra earlier this week as well as landmark victories over Burroughs (11-0), La Salle (15-2) and Hoover (8-5). But water polo requires a true team effort and Barr has a small, but solid roster. Senior two-meter defender Ashley Mao has stepped up nicely. “Ashley is filling Marika’s spot and doing it well,” Barr explained. “Ashley is a technical guard, more so than a physical guard and she is very skilled at that position. Currently, she is leading the team in steals.” Sarah Mao, Ashley’s sister, played varsity last year as a freshman and the driver is making waves. “Sarah has picked up right where she left off last year,” Barr said. “She was a pleasant surprise last year as a scorer but this season she is playing good defense, too. She is second in steals behind her sister.” Sophomore Isabella Lee is a utility player, someone who can play all the positions in the pool. “Isabella is benefitting from Hannah’s presence at set,” said Barr. “Isabella would be playing that spot but with Hannah there, Isabella can play on the perimeter where she is a much bigger threat. Isabella has 12 goals, making her the second-leading scorer on the team.” Senior Elizabeth Lee is also a utility player. “Elizabeth is our team leader,” said Barr. “She is by far our most consistent player. She can play every position and she also has an even temperament, which has a profound effect on our team. Elizabeth keeps us emotionally balanced.” Senior Jan Estandarte, a three-sport athlete, plays the driver position, an offensive specialist located on the perimeter. “Jan is a great kid to have on our team,” Barr said. “She does a lot of things away from the pool and her biggest attribute is experience. You may have younger players who are bigger and faster, but they don’t have Jan’s experience. She knows where to go and some of our younger players don’t have that instinct yet.” The aforementioned Hannah Collazo, a junior, starts at set. “Hannah for the first half of the season has been our biggest bright spot,” said Barr. “She has put in so much work and it has really paid off. She is leafing us I scoring with 20 goals and shooting 60%, which is outstanding. Other coaches are now starting to double team her, but Hannah is able to find the open player and that opens up our outside shooting.” Junior Katelyn Salim also plays set. “Katelyn does a great job of backing up Hannah,” Barr said. “She does not make a lot of mistakes and that allows Hannah to get some rest and other girls to move to different positions. If she just comes into the game and keeps everything even, that actually helps us a lot.” Freshman Ashley Salim has made an immediate impact as a two-meter defender “Ashley is 5’9” and very aggressive,” Barr exclaimed. “We brought her up to varsity and she has really held her own. Ashley just gets better every day. For a young player guarding the other team’s set, she doesn’t have a lot of ejections. Few young players can pull that off.” Driver Cassie Liong, another freshman, plays a key role in the substitution rotation. “Cassie is usually our first player off the bench and for a freshman, she has really good speed,” Barr said. “She is also aggressive. With every game, Cassie is starting to push a little bit more. This allows us to get our starters a little rest.” Liong had four steals, a goal and an assist in the Lady Titans’ win over Alhambra on Monday afternoon. Goalkeeper Jasmine Lau, a senior, has steadily improved since taking up the sport as a freshman. “Jasmine has been a goalkeeper since her freshman year and last year was a breakout year for her,” Barr noted. “She has continued improving through this season and has also become a threat to shoot, which is a great asset to have in a goalkeeper.” Lau is blocking opponents’ shots at a 45-50% clip for the season. “When you can block that many shots, you are really allowing your field defense to play more aggressively. Jasmine gives us that luxury.” Rio Hondo League competition—which has approached the status of water polo royalty in recent years—will provide anything but “luxury,” and the Lady Titans Might need to hope for a repeat procedure to make it back to the playoffs. “La Cañada is still far and above everyone else,” Barr told The Tribune. “They have a lot of seniors who are club players and so all of that experience is at its apex. After that, Temple City, South Pasadena, Monrovia and us will be battling it out. We might be able to match up with some of the teams. We played well against Temple City in our league opener. There were times we were hanging with them, but a slip here and they get a goal. A mistake there and they get another. We lost but we played really well against them.” That’s right: more than a week before Christmas and San Marino has already played a league game, the earliest start ever as the CIF rollback impacts the winter sports season. With a young roster, Barr will have to take a fresh tack on the course towards success. “We may not be as big as other teams in our league, but we can stay with them speed-wise,” Barr concluded.
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