Weekly roundup: Back Bay High’s dance team, Astronomy Night in Buena Park, targeting fentanyl traffickers, and more

Like most continuation schools, Back Bay High School in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District is primarily focused on credit recovery. But a dance team at the Costa Mesa campus is giving its students the chance to connect with one another and their school as they learn a new art form.

As the Daily Pilot reported, a small group of Back Bay students began assembling last spring under the direction of instructor Cami Marseilles. Along with overseeing the school’s Associated Student Body, Marseilles teaches yoga and dance.


“A lot of our kids come to school with trauma and have been through difficult situations,” she told the Pilot. “And the relationships that have happened in this room, and having an adult they can trust, has really helped them heal.”

The student dancers now meet daily during fourth period to learn and practice choreographies. Despite some initial nerves, the group has even participated in public performances.

“This group, to me, seems more like a family,” junior Gwen Alvarado said. “You don’t just have acquaintances, you have friends. And then friends turn into family.”

And here are some of the other education stories from the week ending April 1:

  • Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares participated in a news conference this week with state Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris and Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes to discuss proposed legislation that would increase penalties for fentanyl trafficking.
Astronomy Night participants
  • Students from Emery Elementary School in the Buena Park School District gazed in wonder at constellations, the moon and a highly visible Venus during Astronomy Night, which also featured games, music and a visit from some familiar “Star Wars” characters. The March 30 event was organized to increase excitement about science learning and future STEM careers.
  • Newport-Mesa Unified’s storied Battle of the Books event returned to an in-person format this year. The contest, a local version of America’s Battle of the Books, challenges students to demonstrate their knowledge of books read throughout the year.

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