DUBLIN, CA: While the Dublin Unified School District moves into a “quiet” week for the Thanksgiving holiday, it was a very busy week on the campus of Valley High School. Not only do they have a new Principal, but the community banded together to provide some families a happier Thanksgiving Day celebration. Earlier this summer, long time VHS Principal Rinda Bartley, accepted the position of Director of Student Services in the Castro Valley Unified School District. Ms. Bartley was also responsible for running the Adult Education at the locale adjacent to VHS. It was an unexpected departure and the district was left to fulfill a critical position in relatively short order. The process went into motion and the interviewed candidates were winnowed down to the finalists. In the end, the district and the Board of Trustees advanced with a nomination for Mr. Thomas Orput. Mr. Orput commenced his position a week ago and OneDublin.org was graced with the opportunity to meet him.
Thomas has an interesting and varied background. After a successful career in the United States Coast Guard, he took advantage of the “Troops to Teachers” program which provided a path for veterans to continue their lives in the educational field. It was also a mechanism for him to achieve multiple college degrees. We asked Mr. Orput to share his journey and to help us understand how he ultimately secured his position as Valley High School Principal. He comes to Dublin from the Newark Unified School District.
Onedublin.org: You had mentioned the “Troops to Teachers” program upon exiting the armed forces. Please detail how the existence of this avenue motivated you to pursue a path in education.
The headline is “Dublin High School Varsity Boys Cross Country Team Qualifies for CIF State Championships” which will be held on Saturday November 29 in Fresno. The team qualified after placing second at the NCS Finals event in Hayward earlier today. The girls team had a respectable showing that bodes well for future wins.
The theme of this post is, however, “and yet they run”. Today’s NCS Cross Country Finals saw both the Dublin High School varsity boys and girls compete for the Division II title in conditions that would postpone a baseball game. The rain started early as a fine mist and built into a healthy downpour with umbrella unravelling bursts of wind. Yes we are in a brutal drought but couldn’t, perhaps, the rain delay it’s entrance for a few hours? No, and yet they run.
Today’s drenched race was balanced by conditions at the other end of the spectrum earlier in the season – triple-digit heat with the student athletes seeking shelter from the sun (not rain). Heat, cold, rain, fog – and yet they run. And if the Bay Area were home to snow, I’d bet they’d be running still.
For decades, the San Francisco Bay Area has been acknowledged as the epicenter for technological innovation. From Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Google and Facebook, many of the greatest technology trends have found their birthplace in our own backyard. Last Friday, there was an intimate but boisterous celebration occurring in Pleasanton. At the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, the Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group (ITVLG) hosted a luncheon to honor some of the great young minds that are currently paving their own paths which may lead to great innovations in our future. The ITVLG is a collaborative group of industry leaders who are building a robust ecology of innovation in the Tri-Valley. Their purpose is to improve the business climate of the region and to spur job growth. Presently, this organization geographically covers Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore.
The invitees were treated to a luncheon and a keynote address from David Hemker from Lam Research. Mr. Hemker is a Senior Vice President and CTO with 25 years of experience in the semi-conductor industry. In general, he spoke to the importance of innovation in an ever-changing world. Subsequently, the individual awardees were recognized.
As it relates to the Dublin Unified School District, there were two honorees. Earlier this spring, we had the pleasure of reporting on the accomplishments of a current 10th grader Kumaran Ratnam. Kumaran was a Grand Prize Recipient at the Alameda County Science & Engineering Fair. His project revolved around an energy harvesting system that could power a visual prosthesis for the condition of Macular Degeneration. His project is not just in concept as he is continuing his research with scientists in Boston to further perfect the technology. His research later received a notice through Popular Mechanics Magazine with a “Visionary Breakthrough Award.”
The second honoree is also a DHS Sophomore, Mr. Armaan Sengupta. Along with his partner, Neil Gupta, these two enterprising students sought out to construct a viable online platform for peer-to-peer support for homework related questions. The result is the website: http://www.teenmesh.com/. The genesis of this project was hatched by Neil, a junior at Monte Vista High School in Danville. After Neil visited India, he formulated an alternative platform where students could thrive. Further, this free network could support any student – regardless of socio-economic background. Armaan was a willing partner and served to provide the “second push” in terms of gaining more users and also has served as one of the leading users that provides peer tutoring.
The two most popular series of articles we’ve published in our five year history are the Life in College Series and Women in STEM Series. This next story combines both into one, featuring Dublin High School Class of 2012 alumni Crystal Fisher who is currently attending Purdue University in pursuit of a degree in chemical engineering.
OneDublin.org: What inspired you to leave California for college and apply to Purdue?
Crystal Fisher: “Both of my parents went to Purdue. My dad is an aerospace engineer and my mom is a nurse. I visited Purdue in the middle of the winter and thought ‘absolutely not, I don’t want to go here, it’s freezing!’. Indiana in the winter is nothing like California.
“My parents encouraged me to apply because Purdue is a great engineering school; I was accepted and was awarded a scholarship which helped with the out-of-state tuition. I actually applied to 22 schools, because at the time I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, but I knew I wanted to do something involved with chemistry, maybe pre-med or chemical engineering.
“After being accepted I visited Purdue over Spring Break and I fell in love with the campus. Purdue is very different from California schools because of the brick buildings and ivy; it has a different feel. The people in Indiana are really nice: I’ve never felt unsafe, and feel like I can go up to anyone and ask them a question. My grandmother lives about 90 minutes from Purdue so I have family nearby which helps with the homesickness.”
OneDublin.org: Why did you end up choosing chemical engineering?
Every year high school students across the country elect a student to serve as the student body representative during his or her senior year of high school. The role of Student Body President has been caricatured in movies from “Election” to “Mean Girls” as merely a popularity contest or role without substance. While that stereotype may make for entertaining movies, the reality, at least in our experience profiling Dublin High School’s ASB Presidents over the years, is very different.
We are pleased to introduce Dublin High School’s 2014-15 ASB President Tatiana Bouri, who combines academic success, athletic prowess and limitless enthusiasm for the student body and her school.
OneDublin.org: You have a reputation for being extraordinarily enthusiastic when leading spirit cheers at Dublin High School events, in particular football games in Gaels Stadium. Where does that enthusiasm come from?
Tatiana Bouri: “I have a great passion for the school. When I’m at a game and we’re winning, or at an event we’re supporting, I think of how important it is to cheer on the students and represent Dublin High School. I get caught up in and love promoting the school.”
OneDublin.org: What are some of the other responsibilities of the Student Body leadership beyond the very visible presence at school events?
The Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines the word “tradition” in the following way: n: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth of by example from one generation to another without written instructions. For the past nine years, a very important tradition has been conducted at Frederiksen Elementary School. Guided by first grade teacher Catherine Brown and fine arts instructor Jamie Perez, hundreds of elementary students have benefited in at least two ways. They have been taught the importance and impact of the Veterans Day Holiday. Secondly, they have been provided with the opportunity to personally thank scores of Veterans and active service-people. Given its close proximity to Camp Parks, RFTA, Frederiksen has served as an almost natural conduit to welcome troops and their families to this school site.
Last Friday, the multi-purpose room at Fred began to fill starting at 9:15 AM. A mere five years ago, the number of enrolled students was just over 500. In 2014, the general population is now approaching 800. So, it required a high level of coordination and cooperation to efficiently seat the kids and the attendees. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6298 of Pleasanton posted the Colors. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by DUSD Superintendent Stephen Hanke and all of those in attendance sang the Star Spangled Banner.
To all the parents who are dreading the moment when their first born daughter or son leaves home to attend college, you have my sympathies. Given Thanksgiving has yet to arrive, you are likely in the middle of the college application gauntlet. You are likely trying to help your child while at the same time stepping back and letting your child choose. And as Dublin High School senior and Student Body President Tatiana Bouri notes, ‘Applying for college is stressful, not only because of the essays you have to write, but because it’s probably the first time you’ve had to sit down, stare at a computer and write down what you want to be.’
I’m a parent of two daughters – Emily a sophomore at The University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), and Evelyn a Dublin High School freshman. The senior year college application whirlwind for Emily is still fresh in my mind along with the multiple moments of stress that year brought. I offer advice in five phases.
Phase 1: Getting the college applications done. I helped with the clerical tasks, while Emily focused on the college essays required by many competitive colleges. For reasons that baffle me in the twenty-first century, it is necessary to take high school grades from one computer system and then type them manually into another computer system – multiple times. I advise creating a simple spreadsheet with all high school courses and grades in rows, and columns for each college. Tick off cells as you enter the required information, and mark N/A where the information is not required. You’ll be stressing about whether the application is complete, and this will approach will alleviate some of that stress. I also advise caution when providing feedback on your child’s essays – offer advice and help catch typos but do not re-write. Your child’s voice needs to be heard, not yours. And to help with Phase 2, make sure your child applies to at least one college that is as close to a guaranteed acceptance as possible (the ‘safety school’).