by Mitch Lehman
San Marino High School has been honored with the Civic Learning Award of Excellence – the State of California’s top award for civics learning – which was presented by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Only two other schools in California received the top award.
Representatives of the SMHS were invited to attend the Civic Learning California Summit, which was held recently in Sacramento, to receive the award from the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, the Honorable Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Tom Torlakson, who serves as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Chief Justice Sakauye will also visit San Marino High School later this school year to observe the school’s programs in action.
The San Marino delegation included senior students Bailee Pelham and Alfred Hwang, Government teacher Peter Paccone, Principal Keith Derrick and School Board member Chris Norgaard.
The keynote speaker at the Summit was former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who has made the promotion of civics education her primary focus after stepping down from the high court.
The San Marino delegation also met with a number of other government and education leaders, including former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana and state Senator Carol Liu, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Education.
Qualification for the award is based on a comprehensive application process that considered the high school’s curriculum, teaching and activities – including San Marino’s nationally recognized speech and debate program – its mock trial team and a number of student clubs that are involved with civics.
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