Weekly roundup: Students raise over $137K for cancer research; SAUSD honored for building preservation; and more

A team of students from Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar high schools leveraged marketing, entrepreneurship and project management to generate $137,245 for leukemia and lymphoma research.

As the Daily Pilot reported this week, Newport Harbor students Julian Knott, Luca Curci and Murphy Malouf led the group of high schoolers known as Team Cancer Crushers, which won a national fundraising competition held by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The team reportedly engaged in a seven-week campaign that included personal inquiries, events, sponsorships and even a Super Bowl pool.

TypewriterThe Pilot says Team Cancer Crushers actually amassed the largest single donation to date for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Orange County and Inland Empire chapter. With contributions from a dozen other participating teams, the organization collected a total of $447,201 to further research on blood cancer.

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

  • The Santa Ana Unified School District was honored for its efforts to preserve and restore a historic building that was once an integral part of OC’s Red Car railway system. The structure has since been transformed into a wellness center for students and parents.
  • University and Woodbridge high schools in Irvine both posted top-10 scores last weekend at the 2021 California Academic Decathlon. While no OC squads will advance to the national finals, 2021 will be remembered as the year 10 local teams made it all the way to the state competition, setting a new record.
  • Orange County is officially an “orange” county. With key COVID-19 infection rates continuing to fall, OC now qualifies for the orange tier of California’s color-coded tracking system, signaling moderate transmission. Meanwhile, state health officials have released new guidance for graduation ceremonies.
  • While urging vigilance, experts say schools can open safely during the pandemic if they use overlapping layers of protection, embracing what’s known as the “Swiss cheese” model. The term acknowledges there can be gaps in individual precautions, but when multiple precautions are piled on top of each other, the holes are closed off.
  • With COVID-19 rates dropping and vaccine supplies increasing, the Newport-Mesa Unified, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified and Ocean View school districts became the latest to announce plans to resume in-person instruction five days a week for elementary students, the Register reported.
  • Last week, the California Department of Education announced the selection of 11 Orange County campuses as California Distinguished Schools. The OCDE Newsroom asked a few of this year’s winners to share some of their signature practices.
  • A Santa Ana High School sophomore will have her artwork displayed on posters aimed at promoting the importance of arts education in Orange County schools. Esmerelda Espejo, 15, was recently named the winner of Imagination Celebration’s poster contest for her design titled “A Thought Outside of the Universe.”
  • Distance learning has allowed some students — teenagers in particular — to sleep in a little longer. Experts believe this development could help inform the ongoing debate over school start times.

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.