February 1, 2008
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De Anza senior receives county Student Humanitarian of the Year award
De Anza High School’s Jessa Mabellin, flanked by her parents Jover (left) and Marilyn, holds her Contra
Costa County Student Humanitarian of the Year Award held on January 15 in the chambers of the Contra
Costa Board of Supervisors. (Photo: WCCUSD/Ken Gardner)
“IT WAS HOW I WAS TAUGHT,” De Anza High School senior Jessa Mabellin said modestly of her
affinity for community service. “My mom always likes to help, and she’s open to people.” By
watching her mother’s example over the years, community service became second nature for Jessa,
and her penchant for giving of herself was recognized—fittingly on January 15, Martin Luther King
Jr.’s birthday—by Contra Costa County officials. The county recognized Jessa at its 30th Annual
Commemoration and Humanitarian of the Year Awards, honoring
her as the Student Humanitarian of the Year.
Jessa was born in the Phillipines and arrived in the Bay Area on
June 29, 2001 at the age of 11. She attended El Sobrante
Elementary School as a sixth grader and then Crespi Middle
School before attending De Anza. As a freshman, through a
program called the non-profit organization Building With Books,
Jessa traveled to Mali, Africa where she helped organize and build
a school in the village of Diamou. Jessa with her counselor, Michele
Jessa’s community service work at De Anza is extensive and varied, and has included cleaning up
local parks and beaches, visiting the elderly, serving food at the Bay Area Rescue Mission, and
organizing fundraisers and toy donations for children in need, just to name a few. “Young people
usually focus more on socializing, but community service opens you to the world,” Jessa observed.
“You live in the world, so you should care. Be out there, be active.”
Community professionals visit Adams classrooms for Career Day
A HIGHER-THAN-USUAL NUMBER of adults
walked the halls of Adams Middle School on
January 23, looking for their classroom
assignments. On that day they had been asked
by Career Day organizers to speak to students
about their jobs.
The day began with an assembly for the eighth-
graders, who listened to Donald Lacey of the
Lovelife Foundation advising them to be aware
of the decisions they make, and that making
good, responsible decisions will create a positive Keynote presenter Donald Lacey addresses Adams
impact for the rest of their lives. Middle School eighth graders in the cafeteria during
At Helms, artist at work: Channeling graffiti’s creative energy onto canvas
Helms students (above) are entertained by the artist Rigel
(right), who answers questions after his whirlwind painting
session that produced three paintings.
THE POWER OF ART was on display for students at Helms Middle School when special guest
artist Rigel—to the beat of pulsing music—painted three large pieces in less
than 30 minutes.
The Thursday school-wide assembly kicked off a series of activities to help prepare Helms
students, their families, and the community for the transition into the new new school campus
that is currently under construction and due to open its doors in 2009, said LaZeena Jones,
director of the Helms Community Project.
One seventh grader attending the assembly, Bradley Morton, said the artist Rigel’s painting style
caught his attention. “It was how fast he did it, and how he used bright colors that interested me,”
said Bradley, who added that he’s been interested in art since the age of nine. The graphics of video
games he played as an elementary student is what drew him in; today he mostly draws animé but
he’s also intrigued by abstract art. “I like the freedom to just draw what’s in your mind, whatever it
is you’re thinking about,” he said.
In March, Rigel will return to Helms to lead two instructional workshops and share his story of
growing up in an urban environment and his path that led him beyond street tagging to his current
ways of creating art.
DeJean Middle School holds special event for female students
Lovonya DeJean Middle School students take part in a dance activity on February 1 that opened up
panel and table discussions about common issues facing adolescent girls. The event was organized
by After-school Program Coordinator Vanessa Calloway.
Board of Education meeting: February 6
The next regular meeting of the Board of Education takes place on Wednesday, February 6 at
Lovonya DeJean Middle School. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Upcoming committee meetings
February 13: Board Facilities Subcommittee
February 14: Community Advisory Committee for Special Education
For meeting details, see http://www.wccusd.k12.ca.us/committees/index.shtml.
New/updated on the district website
The following information is now available on the district website:
▪ February Message from Superintendent Bruce Harter: Keeping the Focus on Learning
▪ High school scholarship information as of January 30 —
▪ February 6 Board of Education meeting agenda and packet —
▪ Apple Bite news release #0708-10: District to apply for after-school grants —
▪ Apple Bite news release #0708-11: District to hold first of six community meetings on
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