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    PG High School Graduation 2019

    Governor’s January School Budget Proposal 2015-16

    Stevenson Junior Presents Research at National Medical Conference

    Chapman Caddell, Stevenson Class of ’16 Shares Research Findings with 200 of the Country’s Best Cancer Surgeons

    Read more…»

    School’s In! Reminder: Give Bicyclists At Least 3 Feet

    Mock Trial Begins This Week

    High School Mock Trial competition Grapples with Second Degree Murder and Unlawful Search and Seizure

    Pacific Grove, Monterey, Carmel, Palma, Salinas and  Santa Catalina high schools are preparing for their annual competition at the upcoming Monterey County High School Mock Trial program to be held January 27, 29 and 30 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The final event will be on Feb 1  from 9:30-4:30. the Lyceum of Monterey is the sponsor. Read more…»

    CCS Playoff: Pacific Grove 77 – Carmel 53

    Photos by Peter Nichols

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    Lighting the City Christmas Tree: Young and old alike join with joy

    zchoir jewels of jewell park kid crowd kids line up PGMS Hliday Brass Duet santa arrives

    Mike Niccum steps down from school board

    by Michael Sizemore

    cropped-BThe November 21 meeting of the Pacific Grove United School District Board was Mike Niccum’s last as a member of the board. After 10 years as a school board member, of which four (2007-2011) were served as president, Niccum felt it was time for him to step down.

    Part of  the reason that he stepped down, he said, was the fact that he no longer has a child in the system. His daughter was a powerful link to the schools. He said that after Allison graduated from PG High in 2011 he found he “didn’t have the pulse” as much as before. “You don’t have the chance to talk to as many people,” he said. Read more…»

    What Shoe?

    cover photoBreakers varsity squad celebrates a record-breaking win (77-53) over Carmel in the CCS Div. IV playoffs Friday, Nov. 29. Next up: Championship game against Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton on Dec. 6 at Independence High in San Jose. And who knows? Win that one, and the Breakers “stand a very good chance of being invited to the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) Regional Bowl game, according to Mark Tennis of Cal-Hi Sports. CIF indicates they do not know where the game would be played, pending the outcome of Friday’s game.

    (Photo by Peter Nichols)

    Breakers in Playoffs

    Jason Leach, Pacific Grove’s #5, escapes the clutches of Carmel players at the Shoe Game Nov. 15. The Breakers are now in the playoffs, though they lost the Shoe Game.

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    Student Conducting Toy Drive as PGHS Senior Project

    Samantha Wagner collected toys last week-end and will do so again Saturday and Sunday. The toys benefit at-risk youth.


    CPY drive

    Honoring Vets at Robert Down School

    Robert Down Elementary School on Pine Avenue honored veterans and active military personnel on Friday, November 8.  In the school “Ottertorium,” the students heard inspirational words from United States Army Sergeant First Class Timothy Keesecker.  Sergeant First Class Keesecker and his sons, Carter and Jack, were the Masters of Ceremony for the event. Sergeant First Class Keesecker explained the history behind Veterans Day.  Carter and Jack Keesecker lead the students in the Pledge of Allegiance and in singing a patriotic song. A moment of silence was held in honor of deceased military members for their service and protection of our country.

    Special guests included veterans and uniformed fathers, mothers, brothers, aunts, and grandparents representing the United States Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force and the Norwegian military.   Children of the military personnel present announced each person to the crowd of 500+ students, staff, and parents. Both of Bella Green’s grandparents, John Goulart and John Lomato, attended.  Bella told the audience that her Grandfather Lomato was in the U.S. Navy and her 92 year old Grandfather Goulart was in the Air Force during World War II.  It was evident how proud all the students were of their family members in the military.

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    Just Run posts record numbers at school year start

    Just Run is off and running. The youth fitness program aimed at children five-12 has been experiencing phenomenal growth in the first two months of the school year. Already, more than 8,300 students from 70 schools in 13 states have been enrolled.

    “This year’s initial growth is unprecedented,” said Susan Love, the program’s director. “Last year at this time we only had 2,000 children; this increase in number is extremely rewarding as well as motivating.”

    Love attributes the early rise in the program to several factors. Of major significance is Just Run’s outreach into Santa Clara County, a largely populated area adjacent to the program’s home county of Monterey. The program, which offers free incentives marking mileage accomplishments within Monterey County, is also providing tokens, wristbands, t-shirts and other items free of charge to the Santa Clara schools. In addition, the team continues to make presentations and face-to-face contact with school principals, teachers and leaders to explain how to implement the program and the myriad benefits it brings to the children and the classroom setting. These efforts have succeeded in increasing the early sign-ups by 400 percent.

    Just Run is a free, website-based program which was developed by the Big Sur Marathon non-profit running organization in 2004 as a way to combat childhood obesity and to promote physical activity. The annual enrollment has been steadily increasing over the years from a first year total of 4,376. Last year, a record was set with 11,418 students enrolled, and now the program is on a fast track to surpass that on its way to a goal of 15,000 children in the 2013-14 academic year.

    In addition to running drills, relays and goal races, the program incorporates Just Deeds, acts of good citizenship, and Just Taste to encourage children to make healthy eating choices. The website tracks group mileage on a virtual run across the United States where the children can learn about the geographic and cultural aspects of areas through which they run.

    While the physical benefits of running and exercising are obvious, numerous studies have shown an increase in classroom attentiveness and faster cognitive processing speed following exercise, as well as higher academic scores among those who are more physically active.

    A recent testimonial comes from Amanda Johnson at Frank Ledesma School in Soledad, CA, a teacher with 31 students enrolled in her second grade class. When asked how she finds the time to incorporate Just Run, she replied, “How can I not do it?  I start my day with the program and the kids are so much calmer when they get to class.” For more information call 625-6226 or visit www/bsim.org.

    Bibliophile heaven

    Forest Grove Elementary was transformed into a book lover’s paradise as the Scholastic Book Fair was held recently. Kids and parents walked on clouds as they browsed hundreds of age-appropriate books in many genres, knowing they could buy them and them home! (Photos by Robin Lewis)

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    Barbara Martinez is the new leader at two Pacific Grove school sites

    by Laura Emerson

    barbara martinezThe recent leadership vacancy at Forest Grove Elementary School provided District Superintendent Ralph Gómez Porras the opportunity to promote well-qualified District employees into new leadership roles. Barbara Martinez, previous assistant principal at Pacific Grove High School is now principal at the Pacific Grove Adult Education Center (AEC).

    “Barbara has been the consummate professional during her continued tenure in the Pacific Grove Unified School District,” said Porras. “In fact, she is a perfect example of ‘the lifelong learner’.” Read more…»

    Two Named to High School Alumni Hall of Fame

    Don Mothershead and Jayne Gasperson were named to the Pacific Grove High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame at a pep rally there on Friday, October 11, near the culmination of Homecoming Week. Mothershead is well-known in town as the senior recreation coordinator for the City and as the head of the recent campaign to rebuild the Lover’s Point Swimming Pool. Gasperson, the former Jayne Dix, was mail coordinator for the schools and is an active PG citizen and volunteer.

    mothershead 2Mothershead has worked with the City of Pacific Grove Recreation Department since 1981. Born in Chicago, he has lived in Pacific Grove since the age of four, when his parents retired here after serving on three continents with the US Army. He has been a starter for track meets at Pacific Grove High School for 32 years, ran the City’s youth soccer and basketball leagues for 27 years, still officiates some competitive basketball and has many other ties to the community, in which he and his wife, Rosemarie, raised their three now-grown children. They have two grandchildren.

    He graduated PG High with the Class of 1971. He went on to Monterey Peninsula College and then to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where he graduated with a degree in physical education and also earned a teaching credential in 1977.

    Mothershead was active in college sports. Returning to Pacific Grove, he taught for four years with the Pacific Grove Unified School District before joining former Recreation Director John Miller in 1981 to create Youth Soccer and Basketball leagues and operate the Youth Center (then called The Rec. Club) in PG. “I am blessed to be tied to the community in many ways,” he says.

    jayne gaspersonGasperson has dedicated her life to her family and community. After graduating from PG High School in 1949, she married her high school sweetheart, who also graduated from PG High.

    Don, with Jayne’s support, went on to a career in the PG Fire Department, retiring in 1984, and then spending 12 years on the PG City Council. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 2010. He died in 2010.

    The couple’s two sons live nearby. Brent lives in PG with his wife Monica; Gary lives in Monterey with his wife Jane. Jayne has four grandchildren: Lia, Joey and Jordan live in PG and Michael lives in Portland, Oregon. They have three great-grandchildren, Bella in PG and Hudson and Harper in Portland.

    Jayne is inspired by her late husband. She says, “I try to follow in his footsteps, volunteering and helping to do all I can to serve our wonderful city; to matter, to be productive and make a positive difference.”

    Current Breakers Give Alums a Great Homecoming Game

    From the National Anthem to the final play, Pacific Grove had it all over Soledad in the Oct. 11 Homecoming game at Breakers Stadium.


    Golf Standout Credits Coaches

    DSC02700_webShe started her brief golf career at age 10, when her parents signed her up for day golf camp. And it’s become a passion for Lauren Molin, standout on the Pacific Grove High School Girls’ Golf Team; so much so that she spent her fall break days touring five colleges to help her make a decision about her next few years of schooling. She has had one offer from a Pennsylvania school already, and believes that, for family reasons, that’s where she’ll be heading next year.

    “Golf is not as competitive in Pennsylvania [where she’s looking] as in California,” says the senior. But competition – and fun — is keeping her on the golf course.

    “My PG Middle School coach, Debby, was the first to make golf fun for me,” says Lauren. “She boosted my confidence. She saw my potential and wanted me to keep pursuing golf.”  That first coach found that putting was Lauren’s strong suit.

    She also credits her current golf coach, Marcia Waitt, with shaping her to be a team player. “She has had a huge impact on me,” says Lauren.

    DSC03535_webShe’s also seeing a personal performance coach to help her with her game. “If my shot is not perfect, I must learn to accept it,” she says. “It’s a game! Tee to fairway to green is boring. If I made a bad shot before, it would ruin my whole day. But now I can rebound.” She adds, “I’ve learned not to give up and to stay positive.”

    Lauren Molin is likely in the top 6 of the CCS, though current standings are not out yet. Her team plays in the final league tourney at Salinas Country Club on Mon., Oct. 21. The team is 9-2. Pacific Grove is ranked second, with Stevenson.

    Her major will not be golf, though lessons learned on the golf course will carry through to her chosen career. Her major will be electrical engineering.


    PG High welcomes new assistant principal

    by Michael Sizemore

    peep sean kellerThe recent resignation of Mariphil Romanow-Cole, former principal of Forest Grove Elementary School, who accepted a position at the Monterey County Office of Education, set off a quick shuffle of administrators in Pacific Grove Unified School District, sending former Forest Grove principal Craig Beller back to Forest Grove from his position as principal at the Adult School and Community High School; moving Barbara Martinez away from the position of vice principal of Pacific Grove High into the breach to fill the principal’s position at the Adult and Community High schools, and moving Sean Keller from his English teacher position to become assistant principal at the high school. Read more…»

    New Playground at Lighthouse Preschool

    by Kim Biggio

    image008A ribbon cutting was held this past Monday at Lighthouse Preschool, a parent cooperative preschool under the umbrella of Pacific Grove Adult school. A beautiful new play structure has been installed on the site to enhance the play experience of all of the children.

    Kim Biggio, lead teacher of Lighthouse Preschool, wrote a grant proposal to the Monterey Peninsula Foundation and was awarded $10,000 towards the purchase of the structure. Pacific Grove Unified School District contributed the additional $15,000 necessary to make this dream come true. Read more…»

    75 Years of Celebrating Butterflies

    by Dixie Layne

    Nate Harvey and Connor Bo 2012The costumes are ready, the bands are arranged, banners are set to wave, and the air is filling with excitement as Pacific Grove prepares for its annual Butterfly Parade and Bazaar on Oct. 5th.  For 75 years, Pacific Grove’s schools have joined together in the fall to form a parade that welcomes the monarchs back to their overwintering home, Butterfly Town USA – America’s Last Hometown.  This year the parade will line up at its host school, Robert H. Down Elementary, and begin its procession at 10:00 a.m. from Pine Street to Lighthouse Avenue and back again. The Bazaar will be held behind the school from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

    1940 Butterfly Festival Ticket edit“Each year the Butterfly Parade takes us into winter – it marks the end of summer and the start of the holiday season,” explains parent and Butterfly Parade Committee member, Elizabeth Harvey. “You can feel a change in the air; it is quintessential fall.” she continues. “It is the first occasion many of our new military families see Pacific Grove in action; they see what Pacific Grove is all about.”

    The 75th anniversary of this iconic event will be marked by a special exhibit celebrating the Parade and Bazaar’s history with photos, memorabilia, and stories from 1939 through 2012. The exhibit’s tent will be part of the Bazaar and open to the public.  Don’t miss this opportunity to visit the exhibit. For many of us it will provide a chance to relive the joy and pride we felt during our own march through the streets of Pacific Grove.

    1939 Butterfly Pageant Program 1st AnnualThe first Butterfly Parade was held in 1939 and was part of a much larger celebration called the “First Annual Butterfly Pageant and Golden Anniversary Celebration,” whose purpose was to mark the City’s 50th anniversary.  According to the event’s Program, the Celebration started at 10:00 a.m. at Pacific Grove’s Municipal Ball Park with a social get-together and impromptu talks; the PTA bazaar booths opened at 11:00, and at noon the Golden Jubilee program began.  At 1:00 p.m. the Kidddie Wheeled Parade started at the Post Office, preceded by the high school band and butterfly banner with the PTA Dad’s Club supervising. Parade judges were Mrs. C.C. Stewart, A.B. Ingram, and Mrs. W.G. Cook. With the parade’s arrival at the Ball Park, prizes were awarded followed by talks about the monarchs, music, a play of four scenes described as an Indian Legend written and performed by residents. Then Leo Weber and his trained horse performed, and the event closed near 10:00 p.m. when the final curtain came down on the play – the history of Pacific Grove performed in six episodes.

    The Pageant was presented again in both 1940 and 1941, but World War II put the Pageant on a five-year hiatus. In 1947, the Pageant was revived as a three day celebration with a Parade of more than 800 children being held the preceding Saturday.

    Ford Times cover Oct 1977 editJayne Dix Gasperson recalls the 1947 Pageant. “It was a big deal. I remember performing as a soloist opening night at the Ball Park.”  News reports of the day and the 1947 program describe more than 150 local actors performing in the Butterfly Play; a lavish production with a set built by The Lighthouse Club and City employees who donated their time. The set included a real waterfall and the representation of a pine forest. The costumes were said to be treated of colorful luminous paint that provided a special effect with the use of a dark light. The Monterey Peninsula Masonic Choir performed, of which Mrs. Gasperson was a member.

    By 1950, the Butterfly Parade and Bazaar was a school event, kept alive by Pine Street School teacher Millie Gehringer and the PTA. The Parade started at Pine Street School and finished at the Boy Scout Hall where the Bazaar was held.  Although there were only 25 children marching in the 1939 Parade, in 1951 more than 1,500 costumed children from public and parochial Pacific Grove elementary schools marched in the Parade, including 34 class groups, two bands, baton groups, school clubs, Scout troops,  decorated horses, bikes, wagons, and costumed dogs and cats. In 1968, First Lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson visited Pacific Grove and was welcomed by some local “butterflies” – costumed elementary school children.National Geo 1963

    With thanks to those who have kept this hometown tradition alive for 75 years, we thank this year’s team for reminding us of our heritage; Robert H. Down principal Mrs. Linda Williams, Butterfly Parade Committee co-chairs Steve Rodolf and Rachel Hunter, and Historical Exhibit chair Elizabeth Harvey and her husband James.  And in turn they would all like to thank everyone who contributed to this year’s Parade, Bazaar, and Exhibit.

    Mr  Gary Williams Class 2012 majorettes c1950s edit James, Elizabeth, Connor, Dexter Harvey 2edit 1958 Rbt H Down Marching Band Btrfly Parade



    Major Staffing Changes at PGUSD

    At last night’s regularly scheduled meeting, the Pacific Grove Unified School District Board of Education accepted the resignation of Mrs. Mariphil Romanow-Cole, Principal of Forest Grove Elementary School, who has accepted a position at the Monterey County Office of Education. Read more…»

    Schools Measure G Offers Voters a New Type of Bond

    by Marge Ann Jameson

    Imagine a school technology bond which does not outlive the equipment it’s meant to purchase. Voters will be asked on Nov. 5, 2013 to approve an assessment  to issue a series of short-term bonds with a finance term of three to five years, meaning that the term of each financing will match the expected useful life of the technology. At the current breakneck speed of technological innovation, it’s an important distinction. Read more…»

    Common Core Comes to Pacific Grove

    by Marge Ann Jameson

    Common Core State Standards have come to Pacific Grove Unified School District. Teachers and administrators are embracing CCSS and are looking forward to its implementation in 2014, and the anticipated results, in a big way as they attend a set of workshops scheduled before implementation of the standards in 2014-15. Read more…»

    Readin’, Ritin’ and ‘Rithmetic … and Thinking

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    Classroom_View web

    Common Core State Standards have come to Pacific Grove Unified School District. Teachers and administrators are embracing CCSS and are looking forward to its implementation in 2014, and the anticipated results, in a big way as they attend a set of workshops scheduled before implementation of the standards in 2014-15.

    Common Core is a set of expectations that set out what students should be learning in language arts and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through the senior year in high school. Read more…»

    Shrunken revenues threaten PG school budget

    by Michael Sizemore

    The Pacific Grove United School District has been forced by diminished revenues to engage in deficit spending for the most recent three years, according to Assistant School Superintendent Rick Miller, speaking at the PG School Board’s regular meeting September 5. Miller said that funding has been reduced for the schools by a shrinking of property tax revenues in recent years. Read more…»

    No election for PGUSD Board This Fall

    As the deadline for filing has passed, Monterey County elections Department announced that there will be no election in the Pacific Grove Unified School District for three empty seats on the board. With three candidates filing, there is no need. John Thibeau and Bill Phillips each announced they will stand for another term, filling their own spots once again. The seat to be vacated by Mike Niccum will be filled by John Pfaff, a stalwart of most school board meetings for years.

    Pfaff and the two incumbents will be sworn in in December, 2013.

    Common Core Standards for Schools Offer Academic Success

    National Standards Ensure Uniformity of Instruction Across the Board

    by Kacie Clark

    Pacific Grove Unified School District (PGUSD) teachers and staff have one more year to prepare for the nearly nationally adopted Common Core State Standards, which go into effect for the 2014-15 school year.

    The Standards have been adopted by 45 states nationwide. According to the California Department of Education Standards web page, the program is designed to equalize American education.

    Read more…»

    Reconfiguration may spell answers to class size problems for Pacific Grove’s school district

    by Kacie Clark

    The school board officially reintroduced the topic of school reconfiguration during the Thursday, June 13 board meeting.

    The idea, which has been introduced and failed three times previously, consists of reconfiguring Pacific Grove Unified School District (PGUSD)’s campuses by grade level, so that all of the students in the same grade attend school together.

    Possible splits include kindergarten through second grade at Robert H Down Elementary School, and grades three though five at Forest Grove Elementary School. There are also possibilities of bringing the sixth grade students back into an elementary setting, creating a middle school of grades seven through nine, with the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades remaining at the high school level.

    Last time the plan was introduced, it met resistance from parents, according to board member Tony Sollecito, because of the perceived inconvenience of having children at different schools, therefore requiring more driving and scheduling.

    Suggested solutions to this issue included an alteration of the bell schedule and transportation between schools to make sure children could be picked up at the same school, at the same time.

    Read more…»

    Spectre of school layoffs gone with state’s May budget revision

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    The governor’s May revision to his proposed budget caused sighs of relief at schools around the state, and no where more so than Pacific Grove Unified School District.

    The governor backed down on his January proposal which would have shifted all adult education to the community colleges, a move unpopular with both adult education institutions and community colleges. Instead, there will likely be a two-year study about how to best provide education services to adult learners, whether in core programs such as high school diploma and English learner categories or in the leisure learner categories such as exercise, computers, and art. The adult education program at Pacific Grove Unified School District provides a broad spectrum of instruction, some of which may be shifted to Monterey Peninsula College in years to come. Read more…»

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