Weekly roundup: Canyon High grad wins ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ podcast explores bilingual education and more

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.

Hannahlei Cabanilla
Canyon High grad Hannahlei Cabanilla can add “America’s Favorite Dancer” to her resume after winning season 15 of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

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 websiteFor 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.
  • 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.
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