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Art mentors, cocaine, Ag, Scientopia, ViVO, CSI and golf

Schools Education

Lorna Sheridan/Index-Tribune Education Editor

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Sonoma middle and high school students were hired to beautify the high school campus this past summer. Sonoma Valley Unified staff report that students really took pride in their work and in fixing up their school campus. Senior Cristofer Goodman Chavez edited and produced a great video about the project that can be seen on the district’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/watch?v=MciqkyuOCP4.

The Arts Guild of Sonoma will display the artwork of local students as well as new work by guild members at its next show, which opens Friday, Sept. 6, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. This show is the culmination of an annual summer mentor program in which local students are paired with working artists. This year Janis Kobe mentored Sonoma Valley High senior Maya Harris and sophomores Kaylin Riebli and Gracie Bundschu; Thena Trygstad mentored sixth-grader Sebastien Ingham; Martin Munson mentored sophomore Ian Bon; and Steve Manfre mentored Presentation School eighth-grader Genaro Pamatz.

I am embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t ever been to or heard of Napa’s Scientopia hands-on discovery center. The business was on the brink of closing but it has been saved by a conversion to nonprofit status. The center looks terrific and it offers classes, camps, field trips, birthday parties and features climbing structures, racetracks, railroad sets, “dig” pits and a pretend grocery store. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays are set aside for events and parties. scientopiadiscoverycenter.com. 1785-B Tanen St. (near Soscol and Lincoln).

If you missed the Valley Vibes Orchestra (ViVO) at the sold-out Red & White Ball, you can next see the talented tykes, ages 5 to 10, perform at the 27th annual B.R. Cohn Music Festival. El Verano’s El Sistema-inspired orchestra will go on right after the Doobie Brothers on Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22.

A new study out of UC San Francisco and Berkeley found that just one use of cocaine may rewire the brain and drastically affect future decision-making. Other studies have shown the damage cause by long-term use but this study found that the wiring in the brain’s frontal lobe (the area of the brain that handles decision-making and memory) was altered after just one use. newscenter.berkeley.edu/2013/08/25/miceoncocaine/

The annual Sonoma Valley High School agriculture program fundraiser is Saturday, Sept. 14 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Larson Family Winery. The theme is “From Classroom to Farm to Table: Support Youth in Agriculture.” The ag program supports pathways for students in animal science, plant and soil science, ag mechanics, agriscience, ag business management and forestry and natural resource management. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. The agriculture program at Sonoma Valley High School currently has three agriculture teachers and more than 300 students participating. The high school farm provides hands-on learning experiences. For more information, email SONOMAFFA@yahoo.com.

Parents, teachers, coaches and friends have a new way to get news of students after they head for college. Meritpages.com is used by almost 500 colleges to verify and promote achievements and create a positive online presence for students. Parents can “follow” a student’s merit page and receive updates when a college verifies an accomplishment, like making the dean’s list or winning a scholarship. Students can also add campus activities, leadership positions and work experience. The thought is that employers and graduate schools will also find the free site helpful when Googling candidates.

Sonoma Valley High School has filled perhaps the toughest job on campus with the announcement of its new registrar. Amber McCann-Howlett started last week. She is also an alumnus.

The Sonoma Valley High Boosters are inviting the community to the eighth annual Sonoma Home Winemakers Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 2 to 6 p.m., at the Swiss Hotel. Guests can taste more than 20 local wines, gourmet foods and bid on wines and other auction items. Tickets are $35. Visit Sonomahomewine.eventbrite.com for more information.

Hanna Boys Center is holding its annual Golf Classic tournament at Sonoma Golf Club on Monday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. This is one of the major events that Hanna runs in order to raise funds for its residential treatment program and education center for at-risk boys. The event will include participant gifts, hosted cocktail hour and dinner. Registration is $275 per person. Register on-line at hannacenter.org/HannaBoysCenter/golf-tennis.aspx.

There is a new in-home preschool in town for ages 2 and up called Learning Ladder Preschool. Director Tricia Ladouceur has 20 years of experience as well as a master’s degree in speech and language development, and coursework in early childhood education. Contact learningladder@comcast.net.

Kudos to new Sonoma Charter School director Kevin Kassebaum who hit the ground running with the launching of new technology and communications initiatives for the school as well as a new Back to School fair which drew 300 people from the community. The school distributed school supplies, including 67 backpacks, to more than 100 children from all public schools in Sonoma. The Friends of the Library gave away 100 books and signed 20 students up for library cards. The Sonoma Community Health Center screened 30 people for vaccinations. Girl Scouts, La Luz, Nuestro Voz, St Joseph’s Health System, Boys & Girls Club, John Caris Insurance and Kid Scoop News handed out information. A few weeks later, in a letter home to parents, Kassebaum stressed how seriously he is taking the Charter’s memo of understanding with the district, calling upon SCS to increase the diversity of its student body.

In the most recent issue of Kids Scoop News (available at every school campus) eighth-grade Altimira Middle School student Kimberly Uzzo interviewed Nascar superstar Danica Patrick. Extra copies are available in the Altimira office.

I read this week that 31 percent of kids ages 8 to 10 now have their own cell phone. That number increases to 69 percent of 11- to 14-year-olds and 85 percent of those ages 14 to 17. Wow, will the age keep getting lower or are we at the youngest possible point today? (Fast Company)

The Silver Moon Theater is offering a chance for adults and students ages 7 and up to participate in a theatrical crime scene investigation, called Untangle the Mystery: CSI Style, on Sunday, Sept. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Sonoma Community Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students 7 to 12 years old. Tickets are sold at the door. For information, call 483-5582. Participants are asked to bring a camera or a cell phone capable of taking photographs.

High school students who are interested in medicine, public health, pharmacy, dentistry or nursing should consider attending UC Davis’ college admissions conference centered on those fields on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12 to 13.  Stop by the Sonoma Valley High School College & Career Center for more information.