The Orange County Register announced its 2021 Artists of the Year in seven visual and performing arts categories.
Announced May 2, the Orange County Artists of the Year are:
- Dance: Shreya Patel, Troy High School
- Film: Nolan Hieu Trifunovic, Orange County School of the Arts
- Instrumental music: Brian Lin, Orange County School of the Arts
- Vocal music: Catherine Johnston, Orange County School of the Arts
- Theater: Ariyah Brown, Orange County School of the Arts
- Computer-assisted visual arts: Mia Diaz, Crean Lutheran High School
- Handcrafted visual arts: Yici Chen, Orange Lutheran High School
As the Register noted, even through a pandemic student-artists found ways to create, often in digital spaces.
“Music and art find a way,” said Orange County School of the Arts senior Catherine Johnston, who was named Artist of the Year in vocal music.
And here are some of the other stories we’ve been following this week:
- A self-described “literature nerd” from La Quinta High School who wants to major in sociology and comparative literature has been accepted by 16 of the country’s most elite universities. Julia Do said she’s 90 percent sure she’s picking Harvard.
- A diverse panel of Asian American voices will share personal experiences and perspectives on issues including representation, education and recent anti-Asian incidents across the country during an online symposium to be hosted by Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares on May 12.
- The OCDE-led Student Advocates for Mental Health initiative trains young people to raise mental health awareness and to reduce stigmas through peer-influencer campaigns, workshops, activities and an annual video contest. So far, 34 schools are participating in 18 districts, including 21 high schools.
- Competing in a virtual format, cheerleading teams from Costa Mesa and Marina high schools won championships in their respective divisions at the Universal Cheerleaders Association High School Nationals.
- A Garden Grove special education teacher who shows her students how to cook, clean, fold laundry and take care of other everyday chores was surprised with new appliances for her classroom by SoCal Honda Dealers and Helpful Honda this week. Thuy Tran of Bell Intermediate School was nominated by one of her aides for the recognition during Teacher Appreciation Week.
- U.S. News & World Report has ranked nearly 18,000 public high schools based on their state assessments and how well they prepare students for college. Once again, a number of Orange County campuses can be found high on the list.
- A math teacher from Woodbridge High School in Irvine is in the running for what’s billed as the highest level of national recognition for science, technology, engineering and math educators. Kristie Donavan, who has been teaching math courses for 13 years, is one of six California finalists in the 2021 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program, or PAEMST.
- Academic Decathlon powerhouse Granada Hills Charter High School won its eighth national championship in 10 years after scoring 52,656.7 points out of a possible 60,000. In March, Granada Hills Charter won the California Academic Decathlon, which saw a pair of Irvine teams place in the top 10.
- Ten Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL) programs and more than a dozen advisors have been recognized for their efforts to stay connected and support their schools despite the challenges of the past year.
- Misinformation continues to spread locally about COVID-19 vaccinations for minors, the Orange County Register reports. As we’ve noted more than once, parental consent is required for anyone under 18 to get a vaccine, and COVID-19 vaccinations are not mandated for any residents of the state of California, including students.
- With the State Board of Education recently approving a model ethnic studies curriculum, and several Orange County school districts already offering ethnic studies, the OCDE Newsroom posted a few questions and answers about the interdisciplinary subject.
- With alternative assessment options on the table this year, EdSource is reporting that hundreds of thousands of California students won’t be taking traditional Smarter Balanced tests this spring.
This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroom, subscribing for emailed updates and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.