On Campus

On Campus: Travel by search engine and hauntingly good times in Modesto area

naustin@modbee.comOctober 30, 2013 

Halloween seems to have struck a chord this year. Red Ribbon Week’s serious message likely prevailed at many campuses this week, but the flood of press releases we got in the newsroom were all about the bewitching science angles of spiders and worms, scaring up funds with haunted houses and a creative array of dance and drama activities.

Combining several categories is an Enochs High School play, opening tonight, that features a monster played by a different guest performer each night. Principal Deb Rowe, the school’s three assistant principals and teacher Chris Montalbano will all take a turn at outdoing students’ worst fears of school authority figures. “I’m Sorry the Bridge is Out, You’ll Have to Spend the Night” plays at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday and Nov. 8-9 at the school multipurpose room, 3201 Sylvan Ave. Cost is $8 for students, $10 adults.

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From the overstuffed inbox:

BRET HARTE CHESS PLAYERS shined in Santa Clara last weekend, coach Kevin Cripe writes. Mohamed Abdullah took first in the 400-599 rated section, Liliana Flores took first in the 200-399 section, which was also clenched by the team as a whole. On the team: Liliana, Bryan Figueroa, Ibraham Abdullah and Ethan Baritta-Castellanos. The full Bret Harte team has about 30 members, Cripe said.

TEENS IN CAREER-LINKED CLASSES talking to leaders of Modesto high school feeder districts drew these reflections from Sylvan Union board member Jennifter Miyakawa.

“After chatting with many of the students, I left with the overall impression that these kids are far better prepared for future careers/opportunities than I was upon graduation. They had a purpose and focus that was absent from my high school experience, and everyone I met was excited about the learning track they were on,” she wrote in an email.

“Without exception, they all shared that the benefit of following a track system, in an area of personal interest, with the same group of kids (who shared their interests) made a huge difference in their engagement in the learning process,” she commented. Their clear-eyed view of community and world issues, as well as their personal futures impressed her.

“I wonder how much time and money I could’ve saved from my six-year college experience had I had a clearer idea of what I wanted to pursue from the launching pad of high school graduation,” she concluded.

Speaking as five-year collegian who planned to be an architect, graduated in economics and ended up in journalism, I can relate.

But wandering around the educational thicket also included a lot of growing up, mind-widening and learning about faraway places, which back then took more than a mouse. Students today drive search engines, wandering farther than we ever even thought to wonder. Mind-widening, far away places are part of everyday travel.

I loved the comment of Downey Principal Richard Baum, watching animated teens explain their passions at the same event.

“There is a future,” he said with a knowing smile.

Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at naustin@modbee.com or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter @NanAustin.

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