by Jennifer Strasser (Dublin High School Class of 2014)
“The Laramie Project” opens this Thursday, April 24 for a four performance run: 4/24 -26 at 7pm and 4/27 at 2pm in Dublin High School’s Little Theatre. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students.
“Hate is not a Laramie Value,” reads a sign right on the outskirts of the town of Laramie, Wyoming; a place defined by a severe anti-gay hate crime. The sign speaks volumes for how residents felt after the brutal beating of a gay university student made national headlines and became the trademark crime associated with this small town. People struggled to get through the traumatic event and the aftermath it left behind.
The Tectonic Theatre Project travelled to Laramie and interviewed the residents, gathering opinions and experiences from all different viewpoints after the tragedy became public. From these interviews, they compiled the play that Dublin High School is putting on for our final show in the Little Theater; it is called The Laramie Project, written by Moisés Kaufman. This show encompasses the viewpoints of friends and family of the victim, Matthew Shepard, as well as the opinions of local priests or ministers, and follows these people through the townʼs grieving period.
As students we learn something new every day at school. However, there are things we just can’t learn or experience by reading a textbook or listening to a lecture, this is where music comes in. On April 5th, at 2:30 am, the Dublin High School Irish Guard Band met up in the band room, got our bags on the bus, and made our way to the airport to fly out to Chicago. It’s safe to say most students couldn’t sleep the night before or on the plane, all that was on our minds was the fact that in just a few short hours we would be in Chicago, seeing the beautiful buildings and city lights for ourselves, the trip we have been preparing for this entire year.
When we landed, we celebrated in the most logical way possible: with a slice or two of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza at Gino’s. After this amazing dinner with the entire band, we made our way over to the John Hancock Building to view the city from 94 stories up. With a 360 view of the entire city, it was hard to soak up the breathtaking image of the beautiful city lights. This was the trip we had all been waiting for, working hard for, for over a year, and there we were, we had finally made it.
When one visits a bank, it is usually to either place a deposit or to make a withdrawal; earlier this year, however, Dublin High School Transition teacher Bree LeMoine was leading a visit of her students to Patelco as an element of their weekly activities. Transition refers to a post-high school program for special needs students (aged 18-22) which places an emphasis on life skills. During this trip, Ms. LeMoine had a chance meeting with another client in the branch. Major Edward Worthington III noticed this group and was intrigued. He immediately introduced himself to Bree and the students. Maj. Worthington told the students that he was based at Camp Parks and inquired how he and his staff could support their development. Consequently, Ms. LeMoine asked “How may we help you at Camp Parks?” This fast developing friendship spawned a meeting shortly thereafter at the base.
By invitation, Bree and her colleague, Cheryl Phipps attended a meeting at Parks. It was held at the Headquarters. The meeting was very formal and the staff members introduced themselves and explained their respective responsibilities. Bree and Cheryl went on to explain how the Workability program supports the Transition class and further detailed how vocational training is a key element to the further development of their students. The spark was immediate. It was clear that a partnership could be formed. Further, Maj. Worthington could foresee additional partnership opportunities – including the support of the Special Olympics.
You’ll never know who you might meet in a nail salon. Though the conversation may be casual, the impact might be far-reaching. This was the case as DUSD parent Maddie Romero-Salas struck up a conversation with another Tri-Valley parent, Annette Musso. The two mothers shared one thing in common – a child that was impacted across the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Let’s go back. Last fall, OneDublin.org covered a story centered on Dublin High School sophomore, Matthew Romero-Salas. At the time, his mother, Maddie, was battling breast cancer. As a member of the Pleasanton Chapter Order of DeMolay, Matt wanted to direct a fundraiser that would benefit a local organization. While the Romero-Salas family never utilized their services, the Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation received the benefit from an October dinner feed and silent auction held at the Pleasanton Masonic Center. The Foundation provides funds so that cancer patients can experience the immediate benefit of complementary therapies to help alleviate the side effects caused by radiation and chemotherapy.
As part of OneDublin.org’s Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Series, we recently spoke with Gayle Laakmann McDowell, a University of Pennsylvania computer science graduate, founder & CEO of CareerCup, and former full-time Google software engineer (and programming intern at Microsoft and Apple during college). Ms. McDowell is also the author of three books targeted at helping candidates secure positions in leading technology companies (The Google Resume, Cracking the Coding Interview and Cracking the PM Interview).
OneDublin.org: What inspired you to pursue computer science in college and as a career?
Gayle Laakmann McDowell: “I actually came from a long line of female engineers. My grandmother is a mechanical engineer, my mom has a PhD in electrical engineering, and two of my three aunts also have engineering degrees. My father and grandfather are also engineers, so engineering is in my blood.
“When I entered high school my mother told me and my sisters that we had to take one computer science class before graduating high school. I fought and fought my mother on this because I had zero interest in computers at the time, but eventually realized I wasn’t going to win this fight. I decided if I had to take programming I might as well take it in my freshman year and get it over with.
“I signed up and ended up really loving the programming class. It was different than what I expected. I expected the class to be a lot of memorization, just like other science classes I had taken before. Programming was very different – more like playing with LEGO when I was a kid. Programming gave me the chance not just to study how problems are solved, but to actually create and build new things, to be really creative. I loved programming from the first week or two of the course, so I kept up with programming throughout high school, built a bunch of games and decided computer science would be my major in college.”
OneDublin.org: What should high school students considering computer science in college expect at the college level, and what can they do in high school to better prepare for college?
The 2014 National Geographic State Bee was held April 4th at Fresno State University. 600,000 students from 13,000 California schools competed in a series of elimination rounds leading to the top-100 finalists who were invited to participate at the State competition.
Dublin resident and Quarry Lane School 6th grade Rhea Mitr won the 3rd place in competition (repeating her performance from last year’s competition), and also recently qualified in the National History Bee Regionals that was held at Pleasant Hill. Rhea was placed in the top-5 and has received an invite to participate in the Nationals held at Atlanta during June.
Rhea’s mother Mamatha Mitr: “The morning was bustling with students and their families from all over the state. The students went through several preliminary rounds. Only the top-10 were allowed to advance to the next level of the competition. However, there were 28 students who got the perfect score and Rhea was the only girl among them. They all faced off once again and through several tie-breaker rounds, the top-10 finalists were determined.
Congressman Eric Swalwell’s Grassroots Approach Delivers the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act
OneDublin.org recently met with Dublin native and Dublin High School alumni Congressman Eric Swalwell to learn more about how the freshman Congressman successfully took a voter’s concern to Washington, led a bill through the powerful Committee on Ways and Means, both Houses of Congress and ultimately President Obama’s desk to turn that bill into a law.
OneDublin.org: Before we talk about how a bill gets from being an idea to the law of the land, talk about your first bill to be signed into law – “H.R. 3771 – The Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act” which is now Public Law No: 113-92.
Congressman Eric Swalwell: “We recently passed our first bill, which is the ‘Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act’, and what it does is let any person who makes a contribution to a charitable organization supporting Philippines typhoon relief make that contribution up to April 15 of this year and count the donation on their 2013 tax return. The intent is to provide an incentive for people to donate more money to this worthy cause.
“The importance helping the Philippines came from knocking on the doors of constituents last November. I knocked on the door of a a Filipino gentleman in Hayward and he was pretty distraught so I casually asked ‘Is everything ok?’. He said that he has a brother over in the Philippines and that he had not heard from him because of the typhoon, and was in grief about whether or not he would hear from him. For me it was a reminder that a typhoon across the Pacific Ocean was more than a news story on CNN and that real people in the 15th District were being affected.
“So we went to work. First, we found State Department resources that could help our constituents connect with family members in the Philippines who had not reported back home. We identified 5,000 15th District families with Filipino last names and shared this information. The largest Filipino church in the Bay Area asked us to speak about how we could connect people to family members in the Philippines, and how to make donations in support of typhoon relief efforts.”
OneDublin.org: What is the process of taking an idea sparked from a door-to-door contact and turning it into a bill signed into law by the President?