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Free art classes, free bike class, theater camps, free coding workshop, college is worth it, college athletes, Snipz, Stanford’s d. school

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Lorna Sheridan/Index-Tribune Education Editor

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There is a free art class again this summer at the No Name Café (in Sonoma Valley High School) from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays from June 18 to July 30. The class is taught by volunteer Annie Falandes from Sonoma Valley Teen Services, the sponsor of the workshop. “This summer’s art classes are a way to play with colors, different artistic media, learn art techniques and have a good time. Kids of any age are welcome.” For information about the classes, email or call Falandes: 938-3209 or lna@falcast.com.

There will be a free Bicycling Street Skills 101 class for ages 14 and up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 7, at the Sonoma Community Center. This class is for novice to expert cyclers and will be taught by nationally certified instructors. To register, email wakins@sonomacity.org.

I love to hear about computer coding classes in Sonoma. Spaces are filling fast in the free Coding Camp being offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 19, at the Sonoma Valley Regional Library. This “Coding Camp for Kids: Minecraft Mods” workshop is designed to teach basic programming concepts to kids. It uses the popular game, Minecraft to learn about object-oriented programming principles by creating modifications in the game. This is a first of its kind workshop in a public library and was recently highlighted, by the School Library Journal. Kids entering sixth through ninth grade in the fall are eligible to enroll. There is a limit of 20 participants. Enrollment began June 1, call 545-0831, ext. 1553.

You can support our local schools by purchasing new “Market Dollars” at the Tuesday night Farmer’s Market. Market Dollars can be used everywhere at the market, any time this season. Fifteen-percent of the Market Dollars purchased on June 3 benefit Sassarini Elementary School and Altimira Middle School. On June 10, the recipient is Dunbar Elementary. Stop by the market manager desk on the west side of City Hall for details.

Sonoma is becoming known for its theater offerings and this summer there are several exciting new theater camps in town as well.

Camp Broadway, this summer, will be taught by veteran Broadway actress Ellyn Marsh who currently is part of the 2013 Tony Award winning musical, “Kinky Boots.” She is flying in from New York to work with these campers on singing, dancing and acting. The Broadway camp is at Burlingame Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Friday, July 21 to 25. A wide variety of other camps are available from for ages 4-16 from Sonoma Academy of Dance & Arts. Specifics can be found at sonomasummercamps.com.

“Create Your Spotlight” summer theater camp with Kathryn Del Charo is for ages 6 to 12 from 9 a.m. to noon from July 7 to July 25.  Del Charo is a well-known local actress who can be seen on stage this summer in the Avalon Players “The Taming of the Shrew.” More information can be found at crescentmontessori.com.

The Theater School is a new children’s program that will be offered July 21 to 25. Students will be grouped by age, 9 to 12 or 13 to 17. The camp will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Vintage House. All students who enroll will get a professional headshot. Signups are going on right now at thetheaterschool.com.

It is every high school athlete’s dream to play at the college level. According to the student newspaper, as of right now, three Sonoma Valley High students will be living the dream next year at a four-year university: Madeline Cline will be rowing for UC Berkeley; Amber Rose will be playing softball at Humboldt State; and Dan Deely will be playing baseball for Sacramento State. Others hope to walk on or are competing at local junior colleges. Congratulations to all of our local hard-working scholar-athletes.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, new data proves that college is worth the investment and in fact has never before been more valuable. There was been a lot written about the rising cost of college, but according to MIT economists, the true cost of a college degree today is about negative $500,000 – not going to college will cost about half-million dollars. The pay gap between college graduates and non-grads reached a record high last year, according to Labor Dept. statistics. Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a four-year degree. That’s up from 64 percent in the early 1980s. Said reporter David Leonhardt, “College debt may still be a real fear and hardship, but it’s a relatively small cost in the long term. The average $25,000 in student debt doesn’t hold a candle to the $500,000 to be made over a lifetime.” http://tinyurl.com/pabbakr

The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation awarded $17,200 in scholarship funds to the college-bound children of Sonoma Valley winery or vineyard employees this year.  Over the past 20 years, the SVVGF has awarded just under $225,000 to deserving high school seniors who have at least one parent employed by a winery or vineyard within the Sonoma Valley region.

This year’s local scholarship recipients and their affiliations include:

• Madison Burningham, Sonoma Valley High School – Benziger Family Winery

• Osvaldo Dagio-Cervantes, Archbishop Hanna High School – La Prenda Vineyards Management

• Delaney Gold-Diamond, Sonoma Valley High School – Bartholomew Park Winery

• Erica Larson, Sonoma Valley High School – Larson Family Winery

• Max Schimm, Sonoma Valley High School – Muscardini Cellars

• Lily Shapiro, Sonoma Valley High School – Ravenswood Winery

• Julio Villa, Sonoma Valley High School – GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery

The scholarship committee consisted of Pat Stornetta from Leveroni Vineyards; Danny Fay from Envolve Winery; Brian Shepard from Jack London Vineyard; and Tish Ward from Atwood Ranch.

Sonoma Valley High School was pleased to receive word from the Western Accrediting Commission for Schools that its accreditation has been renewed through 2020, with a one-day review after three years that will require a written progress report and site visit.

There will be a free entrance day at Jack London State Park on June 9, July 14 and Aug. 11. On those days, there will be a special focus on educational and family-friendly activities ranging from story telling to science presentations. More information can be found at jacklondonpark.com. Also available online are advance orders for picnic boxed meals, with a portion of the proceeds supporting the park. The park is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. On the third Thursday of each month through September, the park is open later until 9 p.m. for a Sundown Music Series.

Snipz Hair Salon has just announced a $2,500 contribution to the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation. If you haven’t checked out this new children’s salon on Andrieux Street yet, you can learn more on its website at snipzsalons.com.

The second annual iesonoma (innovate/educate) event will explore the research, theory, and practice of education for the 21st century. The 2014 event will be held from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 9 at Sonoma Country Day School in Santa Rosa. The program features educational researcher Sugata Mitra and filmmaker Nirvan Mullick, as well as a panel of educators discussing Design Thinking. The cost is $40, but students and current classroom teachers attend for free. iesonoma.org.

Stanford University’s d.school is reimagining a college education. “What if you were admitted to college not for four years at age 18, but for six years you could use at any time in your life? What if you declared a “mission” rather than a major? What if your transcript displayed not the courses you have taken, but the skills and ideas you have put to work in the world?” This is the first time the university’s famous d.school has applied its “design thinking” processes to the undergraduate experience. The results should be interesting. http://tinyurl.com/lvls44l

Megan Lee was recently elected to the Sonoma Charter School governing board and Juan Hernandez will serve as the new community representative. Hernandez is the executive director of La Luz Center.