That’s a wrap: The top OCDE Newsroom stories of 2016 Staff reports December 29, 2016 Before we finish the 2016 chapter, let’s flip back through the pages and revisit some of the top Newsroom stories from this year. VIDEO: Student-built Viking ship at Marina High takes its maiden voyage | Marina High in Huntington Beach is the home of the Vikings, and the shipbuilding project served as a fun way to inspire school spirit while promoting hands-on STEM education, project-based learning, historical research and art. Orange County Department of Education to launch One Billion Acts of Kindness initiative | In May, the Orange County Department of Education embarked on a new campaign encouraging students, educators and community members to help reach the goal of registering one billion acts of kindness. Laguna Beach fiscal chief tapped to be OCDE’s next associate superintendent of business services | Dean West, who has led the Laguna Beach Unified School District’s business services department, will succeed Wendy Benkert, who retired in December after nearly 27 years of service to OCDE. VIDEO: Santa Ana elementary school becomes first in California to install mini-soccer pitch | There is nothing “mini” about the mini-soccer pitch to the students of Santa Ana. Three Orange County schools earn National Blue Ribbon honors | Three Orange County schools earned the country’s highest academic distinction as 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools. VIDEO: OC’s top educators honored at 2017 Orange County Teachers of the Year awards dinner | Sixty-three superstar educators from Orange County school districts and community colleges were honored during a special dinner celebration at the Disneyland Hotel. Garden Grove Unified School District opens district’s first dual language immersion academy | The Garden Grove Unified School District held a ceremonial opening of its first dual language immersion program, joining 13 other Orange County school districts offering two-way language education. Placentia student wins OC Spelling Bee for second time in three years | After 11 rounds and about three and a half hours, it came down to one word — “cataclastic.” Tustin school staff, police officer recognized for saving boy who collapsed at school | A school nurse, an assistant principal and a Tustin Police Department motor officer were credited with saving the life of a 13-year-old boy who went into full cardiac arrest at school. OCDE in 30 Seconds: A traveling scientist from Inside the Outdoors brings a guest | OCDE’s popular Inside the Outdoors program boasts 14 field trip sites in Orange County and another one in Los Angeles County. Five OC campuses named among California’s Model Continuation High Schools for 2016 | State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson announced the designation of 37 Model Continuation High Schools for 2016 — and five of them are in Orange County. From all of us at OCDE, have a safe and happy new year.