Category

Features

Category

The abrupt resignation of San Marino school board member Julie Chan Lin on May 25 means the beleaguered panel now must search for not one but two replacements.On Tuesday, May 11, Corey Barberie resigned his position on the board in anticipation of a family move to another state. On May 18, the panel opened a 17-day application period to commence efforts to fill the vacancy created by Barberie’s exit. That period ends Friday, June 4, at noon.  

The San Marino City Council has unanimously approved the creation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and will seek to contract with a specialist who can facilitate the panel.The group’s establishment was enthusiastically approved at last Friday’s meeting, along with its price tag of up to $45,000. The decision came on the heels of a proclamation for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and a similar decree lauding the Chinese Club of San Marino for its work, council actions that also dealt with the theme of diversity.Vice Mayor Susan Jakubowski had proposed exploring this issue at a prior meeting.“This is a ‘big heavy’ that we are taking on,” Jakubowski said Friday. “As we all know from our life experiences, many times we avoid and fear those we don’t know. We are hesitant to learn more, to ask questions, and I think the end product we’re looking for is a way to bring us all together.”San Marino’s commitment to a DEI reframing comes on the heels of a well-documented rise in hateful rhetoric and violence directed toward Asian and Pacific Islander Americans throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Much of this seems to be related to the virus’ apparent origins in China, and commentators often charged former President Donald Trump with fanning those flames by insisting on using phrases like “China virus” or “kung flu,” which often complemented his seeming political hostility to migrants.As noted in the city’s report preceding the vote on the task force, around 60% of San Marino’s…

Caroline Lichtman Life is finally returning to normal for Caroline Lichtman, San Marino’s star hometown gymnast. After a year of stay-at-home orders, Zoom practices, virtual meets, reduced training hours and general uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lichtman has advanced to compete at the USA Gymnastics women’s national championships that will take place this weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida. It’s quite an accomplishment even under normal circumstances. But during a pandemic, it’s downright astonishing. Not only are gymnasts essentially required to stay in elite physical shape, but the sport requires the mastery of apparatus and equipment where literally every centimeter can provide the margin between success and failure. That’s not exactly an environment that is fostered by gym closures or anything that can be classified as “virtual.” Like any top athlete, he or she must train on a daily basis – and train hard – to stay on top of their game. Caroline started off the 2020 season in fine form, but before she could compete at state and regional competitions and, ultimately, qualify for nationals, the season was upended by the pandemic. It is only through the perseverance that is necessary for – and ultimately fortified by – the daily rigors of the sport that she finds herself at the upper echelon of gymnastics.

Photo courtesy Claudia BolesMany of Grad Night’s volunteers assisted this past Saturday to help work on the set. Front row, from left: Richard Boutin, John Dustin, Cynthia Ary, Alice Song Ulrich, Doris Cheung, Julie Wong Tam and Ping Lit. Second Row: Ann Ettinger, Angela Sze, Grace Navarrete, Bobbie Parwar, Nicolette Fuerst, Kim Sutherland and Bob French. Third Row: Rick Gute, Thomas Yee, Daryl Chan, Leslie Long, Pete Manning, Bernard Lim, Will Rose, Steve Talt and Leslie Ford. Back: Vincent Ary, Paul Callahan and Bob Horgan. There was perhaps no other development that signaled the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic last year on a local level than the cancellation of San Marino High School’s annual Grad Night celebration. The district acknowledged the graduating class of 2020 in a drive-thru ceremony, which was delayed until July 31 and allowed for the graduate to leave their automobile for a few brief seconds in order to receive a ceremonial diploma and pose for a couple photos.Though it was organized with the most pomp and circumstance possible, community members have been pining for a return to their familiar celebration. Their diligence will pay off in two weeks when Grad Night returns in its familiar form…sort of. Modifications to keep the students safe from possible infection will include mandatory mask-wearing and holding all activities outdoors on the upper basketball courts under a “big top” tent, in concert with its “Circus” theme.

SMHS Principal Jason Kurtenbach U.S. News and World Report has ranked San Marino High School to be in the upper level of the nation’s public high schools, grading the school at a stellar 98.1 out of 100 in its annual evaluation.This grade slotted SMHS at No. 339 nationwide out of more than 17,000 high schools. In California, it was listed as the No. 46 out of nearly 1,700 evaluated, and it was the No. 17 high school in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Nationally, it was ranked an impressive No. 90 in STEM high schools.“San Marino High School has not only persevered through the COVID-19 crisis, but in many ways, we have triumphed,” said SMHS principal Jason Kurtenbach. “We maintained high levels of attendance and performance with our students throughout school closure due to our faculty being able to expertly rise to the challenge of teaching and learning in a digital environment and our hybrid learning plan. Moreover, in an effort to support our students we added SAT and ACT tests to our offerings during school closure so that our students would not need to travel in order to take the exams, which are valuable for college applications.”In specific grading breakdowns, U.S. News rated SMHS as No. 433 nationally in its college readiness index, which is based on the number of students who took and passed at least one advanced placement, or AP exam; No. 331 in college curriculum breadth, which is based on how many students took or passed…

Photo courtesy San Marino Recreation DepartmentApproximately 600 participated in last Saturday’s Great San Marino Egg Hunt, which began here at Stoneman School. San Marino has hosted an egg hunt in some iteration for several decades, but the success of one held last Saturday might just change all that for good.Dubbed by the Recreation Department as “The Great San Marino Egg Hunt,” the event drew almost 600 participants. They cruised via automobile through town on the “bunny trail,” using a map to solve riddles and spot clues while searching for “Mr. and Mrs. Bunny” along the way.To sweeten the pot, Recreation Department staffers hid 10 “golden tickets” in eggs that were distributed at eight stops along the way.

Matthew Lee Based on an enthusiastic recommendation from Kristine Franco, a member of San Marino High School’s counseling staff, senior Matthew Lee was named the Rotary Club of San Marino’s student of the month for February.And for good reason. Lee has a glittering dossier, topped by his recent acknowledgement as a National Merit Finalist, thus remaining in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million.The son of Yun (George) Li and Linda Jing Yang, Matthew is also the engineering president of Titanium Robotics team at SMHS and captain of the school’s math and science teams.For the past year, Lee has also operated a group called TitanHacks, where he manages sponsorships and event planning for a what are called “hackathons,” where programmers team up to create original projects. With the leftover funds, TitanHacks operates a weekly food drive with the First Baptist Church of Alhambra.

Jim Folsom Jim Folsom, who retired in December from the Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Gardens after a long and award-winning career, will be the featured speaker at San Marino City Club’s meeting on Tuesday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m.Folsom was the Telleen/Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens at the Huntington Library. He joined the Huntington staff in 1984, serving as assistant curator before becoming director in 1987. As director of the Huntington’s gardens, he oversaw more than a dozen thematic gardens covering 120 acres of the 207-acre grounds.He served as a visionary and project head for the development of new gardens and botanical facilities and restoration of historic gardens and maintenance. He dedicated much of his efforts at the Huntington to education programs that increase public interest and understanding of the science, culture, and history of plants and gardens.

The San Marino school board has been busy with the work of getting students back to school.Earlier this week, they took the first step in hopes of keeping all campuses open and avoiding dramatic employee cuts.At a special meeting Monday night, the board voted 5-0 to take another crack at passing Measure E, a $968 per parcel education tax, which will now go before voters at a June 29 special election. The parcel tax — which generates approximately $4.1 million per year — was defeated by voters on March 2 because it did narrowly missed receiving the required two-thirds majority.