If you caught the big finale of “So You Think You Can Dance” this week, you saw another of example of an Orange County alum doing something extraordinary.
Hannahlei Cabanilla, who graduated from Canyon High School in the Orange Unified School District in 2017, was named the winner of the popular Fox show’s 15th season, capping weeks of high-stakes competition and riveting performances.
Along with taking the title of “America’s Favorite Dancer,” Cabanilla earned a cash prize of $250,000 and the opportunity to tour nationally with the show’s other top performers. She’ll also appear in Fox’s live television production of the musical “Rent,” set to air in January.
Cabanilla, 18, started dancing when she was 2 years old, and an Orange Unified news release says she grew up in the Orange County Performing Arts Academy dance studio.
At Canyon, she was enrolled in the Career Technical Education dance program and was a member of the Comanche song team. She also served as the president of Canyon’s dance program, “The Company,” under the direction of Andrea Greene.
“Hannahlei has a beautiful spirit and possesses extreme motivation, determination, and strength while remaining positive and humble,” Greene said. “She is destined for greatness.”
You can learn more about “So You Think You Can Dance” on the Fox website. For more information about “The Company” and Canyon High School’s CTE dance pathway, visit www.canyonhighschool.org/arts/dance-the-company.
And here are some other stories we’ve been following this week:
- In the latest episode of OCDE’s The Deeper Learning Podcast, Orange County Superintendent Al Mijares chronicles the history of bilingual education in California, shows how dual immersion works in the classroom and examines the developmental benefits of fluency in more than one language.
- OCDE and its counterparts in Butte County received a $15 million state grant to expand training for the Multi-tiered Systems of Support framework designed to address each student’s academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs.
- The Capistrano and Santa Ana unified school districts issued a joint press release calling for “dialogue, collaboration and mutual understanding” following allegations of racism at a high school football game that spilled over to social media.
- School buses in Orange Unified are equipped with new technology designed to ensure that all students disembark at their proper stops.
- Cypress College will hold a dedication ceremony next week for a new center serving the first crop of students associated with the Anaheim Union High School District’s Education Pledge partnership.
- A law signed by Governor Jerry Brown officially bars for-profit companies from operating taxpayer-funded charter schools.
- After nine years as president of Orange Coast College, Dennis Harkins has announced his plans to retire at the end of the fall semester.
- California’s scorching housing market has been tough for teachers and other school workers, but EdSource reports that thousands of K-12 educators are getting help through a special state program.
- Calling youth vaping an “epidemic,” the FDA has threatened to halt sales of e-cigarette products if major manufacturers don’t come up with comprehensive plans to keep the nicotine-delivery devices out of the hands of teens. Meanwhile, the OCDE Newsroom recently published some common questions and answers about vaping for parents and educators.
- The Tustin Unified School District cut the ribbon on a new two-story building at Heideman Elementary School. The $8-million project, which houses 12 classrooms, was completed with funding from Measure L.
- More students in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District are taking Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, and greater percentages are earning passing scores at most campuses.
- According to an EdSource report, the vast majority of large urban school districts are complying with the California Healthy Youth Act, but in some regions its implementation has been met with opposition.
- At Corona del Mar High School, altruistic teens can sign up to mentor elementary students through the High School Bigs program, overseen by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire.