Weekly roundup: Children collect 115 pounds of trash, filmmakers address mental health, longtime teacher retires, and more

Kids Ocean Day Aerial
Nearly 600 Orange County elementary school students combined to make human art Tuesday at Huntington State Beach. (Courtesy of Peter Pham / Orange County Coastkeeper)

Nearly 600 elementary school students from inland Orange County displayed acts of kindness toward the environment as they collected more than 115 pounds of trash at Huntington State Beach.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, the organization Orange County Coastkeeper held its annual Kids Ocean Day celebration, sponsored by the California Coastal Commission, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began. Students from nine elementary schools in Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange and Stanton participated, picking up trash at the beach north of Magnolia Street.

Kids Ocean Day 2022
Third-graders from Handy Elementary School in Santa Ana collect trash during Kids Ocean Day at Huntington State Beach on Tuesday. (Kevin Chang / Los Angeles Times photographer)

Kids Ocean Day is an annual statewide celebration to protect the world’s oceans. The theme this year was “Discovering Joy in Nature.”

After picking up trash, the children then posed for a human aerial artwork display. Their bodies spelled out “Share Joy.”

“This has a dual purpose,” Ray Hiemstra, associate director of programs for Orange County Coastkeeper, said. “Certainly bringing kids down to learn about ocean issues and trash in particular, but also, for a lot of these kids this is the first time they’ve been to the beach. You know, once you’ve been someplace, then you feel more comfortable coming back.”

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

  • Student filmmakers from Orange County schools were recognized during an annual statewide film contest for creating impactful 60-second films addressing mental health and suicide prevention.
  • An eighth-grader from McAuliffe Middle School in Los Alamitos was off by one letter when he was eliminated in the fourth round of the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee quarterfinals. The student qualified for the national bee by winning the Orange County Spelling Bee in March.
  • Chapman University awarded a team from Irvine High School with the Emerging Entrepreneurs Award for their project, “Overhead,” which employs an artificial muscle to help individuals with upper-body disabilities. These students, along with more than 650 others, showcased their projects at the ocMaker Challenge.
Sunkist Elementary student tries on her new glasses.
  • Studies have shown elementary and middle schools students who received prescription glasses have been proven to improve their reading scores. The Anaheim Elementary School District partnered with a nonprofit organization to give students proper eye care needed to be successful in and out of the classroom.
  • Child care facilities and providers were hit hard during the COVID-19 crisis. The Orange County Child Care and Development Planning Council, which is based at OCDE, held an OC Child Care Provider Appreciation Event to recognize 920 providers for their heroic work.
  • Authorities likely won’t arrest or file criminal charges against a person who sent a threat to Mater Dei High School, prompting the campus to shut down due of safety concerns. As the Orange County Register reported, the threat came a week after a gunman killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
  • Contenders in the OC Superintendent of Schools race, the county’s longtime Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares and challenger Stefan Bean, answered key questions submitted by the Voice of OC ahead of the election.
  • Voters in Orange County will decide who holds three seats on the county Board of Education. The Voice of OC reached out to all nine candidates and sent them a list of questions to answer.
  • And finally, Parker Elementary in East Oakland was officially closed by the district on May 25, but families and activists have been sleeping in the auditorium in an effort to reclaim the building for their own with a plan to being a community school.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.