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The San Marino City Council last week reversed course and removed Carver Elementary School and Del Mar Field from a draft of the city’s housing element that was released to the public late last month.
The inclusion of the two properties in the early version of the state-mandated document had raised concern among many community members who were caught off guard when the locations were listed as possible sites for future development.
But at a special council meeting on Aug. 3, both were removed from the draft. In fact, the city had announced the removal of Carver before the meeting, then voted to officially scrub Del Mar during the session at the San Marino Center.

Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE The San Marino Unified School District held a new employee orientation and luncheon for the 16 recently hired educators who reported for work Tuesday morning, with some SMUSD veterans also present. Those in attendance included SMUSD human resources officer Judy Correnti (front row, from left), Candice Choi, Natalie Badalof, Amanda Zia, Nicole Kwok, Kellee Sung, Judy Lewes, Nicole Mendoza, Vanessa Zamalloa and Acting Superintendent Linda de la Torre. Back: Assistant Superintendent Stephen Choi, John Franklin, Stephen Lane, Daniel Hernandez, Stephanie Egger, Megan Rauch, Heather Smith, Vanessa Acosta, Graham Lewis and Assistant Superintendent Lena Richter. For more information on the new hires, see page 14.

Commodore David Guluzian

United States Navy Capt. David Guluzian, a native of San Marino, assumed command of Amphibious Squadron SIX on July 20, thus earning the nautical title of commodore. The six warships include USS Wasp (LHD 1), USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), USS Arlington (LPD 24), USS Whidbey (LSD 41), USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44).
Commodore Guluzian is also the commander of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, consisting of Kearsarge, Arlington, Gunston Hall and the 2/2 Marine Expeditionary Unit. Together, it comprises a total force of three warships, dozens of fixed and rotary wing aircraft, multiple landing craft, and more than 4,500 sailors and Marines. The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group is scheduled to depart on a seven-month deployment in the spring of 2022.
Dave Guluzian attended Carver Elementary School, Huntington Middle School and San Marino High School, where he was a member of the graduating class of 1986. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in physics and was accepted into the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program as a surface warfare officer. He has served on eight

The soundtrack was straight out of the ’70s and featured Boston, Journey and Lynyrd Skynyrd, with a dash of Sister Sledge tossed in for good measure. The event? A creative yet increasingly familiar “drive-by” celebration, this one acknowledging the retirement of three iconic Carver Elementary School educators who were wrapping up their stellar careers.
Maps were distributed for the conga-like car line that snaked through San Marino and San Gabriel and ended up where just about everything ends up these days: on a huge Zoom call.
Martha McInnes, Ann Matthiessen and Karla Domier stood alongside spouses and family members in their front yards as a combined 85 years of memories cruised past, accompanied by the requested soundtrack mentioned above.
Already an experienced teacher, McInnes joined the San Marino Unified School District in 1998, teaching at both Valentine Elementary School and Carver through the years. She volunteered at Carver, where she was in the classrooms of her four children: Alesandro, Christian, Thomas and Margaret.

Students at Carver Elementary enjoying the Titan marching band. Mitch Lehman Photos

On a typical Friday, the only sounds heard on the athletic fields behind Carver Elementary School are laughter, bouncing balls and the occasional adolescent screams of joy. But last Friday was anything but typical.

Enter San Marino High School’s award-winning marching band and color guard, which paid its annual campus visit to entertain and educate the community’s young ‘uns.

The long-standing tradition was started by Musical Director Ben Ubovich during his long tenure at SMHS as a means to recruit elementary school students to join the district’s instrumental music programs that are made now available to students starting in the 5th grade. It’s a convention that Shota Horikawa, the current musical director at SMHS, is more than pleased to continue.

“The visits are a fantastic way to introduce elementary school students to the different instruments that they have available to them as they go through middle school and high school,” Horikawa told The Tribune. “They are also a great way to start exposing students to special programs that we have available such as drumline and color guard, which are typically not offered at the elementary or middle school levels.”

The students received an extra bonus as Christina Chu, a second grade teacher at Carver and 1994 graduate of San Marino High School, is a former drum major, one of just seven females to serve in that capacity in the band’s rich history. Chu was asked to come forward and lead the assemblage in a rousing rendition of the school’s fight song.

“It was great,” said Chu, who flawlessly reprised her former role. “The movements have stayed exactly the same and I love getting out there.”

By the actions of the students and faculty members, the feeling was quite mutual.

The First Lego League teams assemble for a group photo at last weekend’s competition, which was held at Carver Elementary School. San Marino High School’s Robotics team helped out.

This past weekend, the Valentine and Carver FIRST Lego League teams competed at the long-awaited regional hosted at local Carver Elementary School. A total of 21 teams gathered in the school gymnasium to showcase their season of hard work optimizing a Lego Mindstorm robot for the 2018-19 Into Orbit FLL Challenge.

At the competition, Titanium Robotics members volunteered as judges, pit runners, and referees making sure the tournament would run as smoothly as possible. Judges met with each other to decide on what they were looking for and the questions that would settle that search before interviewing five teams each, pit runners made sure each team knew exactly where they needed to be at what time, and referees oversaw each match to verify and score a fair game.

Along with competing on the field, each FLL team presented a project that identified a physical and/or social problem faced by astronauts on long-term missions. These projects were scored based on their presentation, problem, research, and solution. They were then each questioned about their robot design, mechanical engineering, programming, strategy, and innovation. Finally, team members described the FLL CORE values and how they demonstrated them before being rated on their inspiration, teamwork, and gracious professionalism.

The FLL team Titanium Robotics mentored, now officially dubbed as the Carver Coding Crashers, debuted at the Carver Regional, placing eighth in their rookie year! The judges were especially impressed at their accomplishments as a rookie team and looked forward to future appearances by the Coding Crashers.

Please make sure to support Titanium Robotics at the Mendocino Farms fundraiser on December 2nd from 5 to 8pm. Find the flyer at titaniumrobotics.com. Also look forward to Maker Faire on December 1 and Walk the Town down Huntington Drive on December 8.

Titanium Robotics is a team consisting of over 100 students, mainly from San Marino High School, who come together with a common interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students learn from professional engineers and mentors to build and compete in the annual FIRST Robotics Challenge with a robot of their own design. Programming, electrical work, computer-aided design, and business management are all run by student representatives, making the entire organization student-led from start to finish.

Members of San Marino High School’s Titanium Robotics Team, including Elizabeth Cameron, right, are helping out at Carver.

During the past month, Carver Elementary School’s First Lego League teams have been working hard to prepare for their upcoming competition on Saturday, November 10. These weeks, team members worked on building new mechanisms for completing missions and coding new paths for achieving these missions.

First Lego League is a program for elementary and middle school students meant to foster excitement in STEAM for the youngest students. This year’s challenge, entitled “Into Orbit,” forces students to engage with the real-world challenges of space travel by creating their own contraptions to overcome the challenges. Besides building the robot itself, students must also create a presentation explaining a real-world problem before introducing a pragmatic solution.

For this challenge, Carver Elementary School students are at the forefront with San Marino High School’s Titanium Robotics members, acting as voices of wisdom for more complicated issues. The students split themselves into two groups: mechanical and programming. Mechanical students individually designed and built mechanisms, which are attachable robot contraptions to achieve different missions, and were led by Engineering President Olivia Cameron, Electrical Captain Brian Chu, and 11th grader John Chon.

The main goal for students in this group was for them to engage with the creative process through pragmatic testing and refinement. Meanwhile, programming students learned about the basics of coding using the language designed specifically for First Lego League. The language heavily resembles Scratch, since it uses a drag and drop block format for different methods that the robot can execute; however, the program is more complex, because it gives the option of using various sensors that feed the robot information. Students learned how to use conditional statements, upload programs to the robot, and test their code for accuracy. These students were guided by Business President Kimia Hassibi, Business Correspondent Edmond Wen, and Events Coordinator Justin Jang.

The most exciting part of the experience was seeing how thrilled each student was about exploring his or her own creative ideas. It was also incredibly impressive seeing elementary school students grapple with concepts, like wheel rotations, that are normally reserved for older students.

Titanium Robotics is a team consisting of over 100 students, mainly from San Marino High School, who come together with a common interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students learn from professional engineers and mentors to build and compete in the annual FIRST Robotics Challenge with a robot of their own design. Programming, electrical work, computer-aided design, and business management are all run by student representatives, making the entire organization student-led from start to finish.

Students at Valentine Elementary and Huntington Middle Schools returned from winter break and were met with bright lights in this not-so-big city.

Both campuses received new interior LED light fixtures as part of a district-wide program that – when fully implemented – will save the SMUSD more than $45,000 per year.

“We are happy to have our new LED lights in all areas of our school,” said Jason Kurtenbach, principal of Huntington Middle School. “We can have half of the lights on and be as well-lit as we were with all the lights on in the past. We are also happy to know that this is a long-term money saver for the district as the lights use significantly less energy than the fluorescent lights of the past.”

In October, 2016, the San Marino Unified School District’s Energy Expenditure Plan was approved by the California Energy Commission. The district is eligible to receive $583,064 in Proposition 39 grant funding. Proposition 39 allocated more than $500 million to California public schools for energy efficiency projects.

The program includes the cost of retrofitting all interior classroom and office lighting with LED fixtures. The interior light fixtures at Valentine Elementary School and Huntington Middle School were replaced over the recent winter break, and the interior lighting at Carver Elementary School and San Marino High School will be replaced over spring break. The new light fixtures have a life expectancy of up to 50 years.

“I am extremely pleased that we were awarded this grant funding to improve our classroom lighting and at the same time, provide the district with energy cost savings,” said Superintendent Dr. Alex Cherniss. “We have made significant progress in improving our energy use by replacing old and inefficient light fixtures. The district is appreciative to receive the Proposition 39 grant funding to help improve our learning environments.”

Partnership for Awareness is once again collaborating with the San Marino School Board and the San Marino Unified School District to bring a variety of Red Ribbon Week activities to the district’s campuses next week.

Red Ribbon Week, which occurs this year from Oct. 24-28 across the country, is a national campaign to educate school-aged children about the dangers of drug and alcohol use and to encourage participation in drug-prevention activities.

“Partnership for Awareness is honored to ‘partner’ with the school district and PTA/PTSA’s on each of SMUSD’s school campuses to bring programs and messages to reinforce healthy choices and alcohol, tobacco, drug education,” PfA President Helen Kim Spitzer said. “It is wonderful that our school district finds value in the national program such that it has officially adopted a resolution at the Oct. 11 Board Meeting in support of Red Ribbon Week, designating the week of October 24th to 28th as the commemorating time and encouraging all citizens to participate in alcohol, tobacco, drug education and other prevention activities – strongly committed to a drug-free lifestyle.”

“Each year, Partnership For Awareness supports Red Ribbon Week on all four San Marino public school campuses,” PfA Red Ribbon Week Chair Lindsay Lytle said. “In order to do that, a parent liaison is chosen at each campus, and that parent decides on the activities that will occur on his or her campus that year, with the approval of the site principal. This is why the activities vary from year to year and campus to campus. PfA does provide one signature event per campus each year for Red Ribbon Week.”

For example, last year there were professional BMX Bike Riders at Carver and Valentine Elementary Schools. This year, HoopItUp Kidz will perform a hula-hoop presentation.

This year’s signature event at Huntington Middle School will be a school-wide Shoe and Kindness Drive to support Soles4Souls.

San Marino High School’s signature event will be an assembly on Monday, where San Marino Police Chief John Incontro will address the entire student body.

“I will briefly talk about safety and outcomes from alcohol or drug use from our perspective,” Incontro said. “I will then open it up to any questions.”

This is the first time that Incontro will be addressing the student body as a whole in this manner.

The age-appropriate Red Ribbon Week messages will differ on each of the four SMUSD campuses.

“The Red Ribbon Week message on the elementary campuses is geared toward healthy eating, healthy lifestyle choices—including lots of exercise, and drinking water and other non-sugary liquids for hydration,” Lytle said. “The middle school presents Red Ribbon Week as an opportunity to remember how important it is to be drug free, and to be kind to ourselves and others. The middle school students are encouraged to be kind to those in need through very specific activities. At the high school, Red Ribbon Week is a time to provide clear anti-drug and alcohol messages, along with resources our students can use to inform them of how to make and keep these commitments to themselves.”

This is Lytle’s second year chairing Red Ribbon Week. She said it’s a privilege to do so.

“The coordination and cooperation of so many people on the four campuses, the District Office, the School Board, Partnership for Awareness Board members and the entire community is powerful and moving,” she said. “This community cares so much about each other, and this is a great opportunity to demonstrate this meaningful commitment.”