Weekly roundup: Brea Canyon High creates ‘Care Closet’ for students, national Blue Ribbon school, Hispanic Heritage Month, and more

Brea Olinda school care closet
A Brea Canyon High School student shows the “care closet” to reporters. (FOX 11 News)

When high school student Nathaniel Ornelas needed a suit to wear to a job interview, he turned to Brea Canyon High School’s “care closet.”

“They always have your back, and they’re very caring,” Ornelas said. “They actually want to know what’s happening in your life.”

For the past five years, the teachers and staff at the Brea Olinda Unified School District campus have donated food, hygiene products, clothes and other items for students to access in times of need.

“These kids have gone through things in their personal lives that many other students have not,” teacher Jesus Horta said. “It used to be called the kindness corner, but it grew to racks full of clothes and even more than that.”

Featured in Fox 11 Los Angeles’ Destination Education segment on Thursday, Principal Kristen Risberg said the students know that no judgement is cast on anyone who accesses the closet.

Here are the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • State health officials cautioned school leaders about a new and alarming version of the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl. The potentially fatal drug comes in a variety of forms and bright colors.
Blue Ribbon Schools Program logo
  • Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber is encouraging young people to use their voice and pre-register to vote during High School Voter Education Week.
  • The students and families of Murdy Elementary School celebrated as a community to welcome the full harvest moon — a symbol of peace, prosperity and togetherness.
Hispanic Heritage Month virtual forum title card
  • County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares hosted an online colloquium reflecting the theme “Know My Name, Face and Story” in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The panel of distinguished speakers spoke from their memories of personal stories and perspectives on building student agency.
  • Inspired by his uncle’s story of losing farmland in India and being forced to move into the slums, an Oxford Academy high school student wrote a book to educate young people on financial literacy. The Anaheim Union High School District plans to order over 100 copies.
  • A math teacher in Los Angeles is incorporating storytelling to help her students learn mathematical concepts and boost literacy through a program called “Communities that Read Together, Grow Together.”
  • More than 600,000 users had to reset their passwords after hackers cyber-attacked the Los Angeles Unified School District.
  • At least seven teens in Los Angeles, including a 15-year-old high school student who died a week ago, have overdosed in the past month from pills believed to be laced with fentanyl.
  • In response to a devastating epidemic of student overdoses, the Los Angeles Unified School District will distribute Narcan — life-saving opioid overdose treatments — to junior and senior high schools.
  • The University of California system is launching a new dual admissions program that will help high school student graduates with at least a 3.0 grade-point average but without all the required A-G courses.
  • Registered voters in California will soon have to make a decision on who they want to lead the state’s public schools. Spectrum News 1 interviewed incumbent State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and challenger Lance Christensen.

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