GATE Talent Academies cultivate creative connections

Some 100 students from Fullerton School District learned about ideal communities during this year’s GATE Talent Academies at Hermosa Drive School. The focus of the academies is cultivating creative connections through fostering creativity, solving problems and developing talent.

The students brainstormed what makes up an ideal community, what components, structures and people are important to include, and then they created visual representations of their community.

Past GATE Talent Academies focused on identity in the community and the impact of communication and the use of arts to better understand one’s inner self.

More information about GATE Talent Academies is available on the FSD website.

– Submitted by Fullerton School District

Fullerton School District students at GATE Talent Academies explore the idea of an ideal community.
(Photo courtesy of Fullerton School District)

Corey Elementary School kindergarteners Olivia F. and Brayden M. show the medals they earned for participating in Buena Park School District’s Kinder Kindness Week.
(Photo courtesy of Buena Park School District)

Corey Elementary School kindergartener Patrick T. shows his superhero cape, signifying him as “super kind,” during Buena Park School District’s Kinder Kindness Week.
(Photo courtesy of Buena Park School District)

Huntington Beach High School took a delegation of 30 students to the Harvard Model United Nations conference. Two of the students received Aase Fund grants that covered half the cost of attending.
(Photo courtesy of Lynn Aase MUN Legacy Foundation)

The team from University High in Irvine won the 2023 regional Science Bowl at JPL. From left: coach David Knight, and students Nathan Ouyang, Yufei Chen, Benjamin Fan, Wendy Cao and Julianne Wu.
(Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Trabuco Hills High School student Dain Kang is a semifinalist for a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program. Kang is passionate about studying the human brain and wrote a book about it.
(Photo courtesy of Dain Kang)



Buena Park School District students learn about compassion during kindness week

Buena Park School District students learned about charity, friendly attitudes and helping others during the district’s second annual Kinder Kindness Week celebration.

Some 375 kindergarten students were given medals and superhero capes for learning ways to make their campus, community and homes better by spreading kindness. Students also created artwork about how they’re reaching out to make new friends, planting trees, cleaning up their neighborhoods and being polite.

Each elementary school in the district is showcasing the artwork in multipurpose rooms and classrooms to spread goodwill to the rest of the student body and visiting parents. The Kinder Kindness art exhibit can also be viewed online at

– Submitted by Buena Park School District

Huntington Beach High School alumni help students attend model U.N. conference

Some teachers you never forget. Lynn Aase at Huntington Beach High School, who started an award-winning Model United Nations (MUN) program 50 years ago, is one of those teachers.

When Aase died in April 2021, alumni wanted to honor him and came up with the idea of establishing the Aase Fund, which would help send current HBHS MUN students to top national MUN conferences.

At the end of January, the group’s dream came true when the Aase Fund paid half the costs for two of 30 students to attend the Harvard MUN conference in Boston, where they represented Kuwait and Mozambique. Recipients were chosen based on merit and need.

“Mr. Aase would be proud that his students launched a new legacy of HBHS MUN alumni supporting current HBHS MUN students,” said Doug Bradley, president of the nonprofit. “Aase not only built the top Model United Nations program in the country, but behind the scenes, he also personally helped many students struggling to pay costs.” Costs include travel, lodging, meals and registration.

After Aase, then a new teacher at Huntington Beach High School, started the school’s MUN program 50 years ago, he quickly led it to national dominance. Now, the alumni are trying to raise $50,000 by the program’s 50th anniversary in July to help ensure that future qualified students can participate – regardless of their families’ ability to pay the costs.

Model United Nations is a simulation of the United Nations where students play the role of delegates from different countries, debating and attempting to solve real-world issues. Conferences are held at colleges and high schools throughout the world.

The current HBHS program, one of the largest in the country, has about 350 students each year ranging from freshmen to seniors.

For more information, go to

– Submitted by Lynn Aase MUN Legacy Foundation

University High reclaims victory at JPL-hosted National Science Bowl

A team from Irvine’s University High School prevailed over teams from 19 other schools at the regional competition of the National Science Bowl, hosted for the 31st year by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Pasadena.

The victory marked a return to form for the school, which won four years straight until its streak was disrupted in a narrow loss at last year’s tournament.

More than 100 Southern California high schoolers competed in the tense, fast-paced academic challenge after months of preparation.

University High team captain Benjamin Fan revealed the secret to the team’s success: He and his teammates simulated the event during sessions when they practiced with a buzzer like the one Science Bowl competitors use to signal they’re ready to answer, “Jeopardy!”-style.

The team also attended an invitational science competition at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and participated in online scrimmages against other schools, said David Knight, a science teacher who is in his 19th year coaching University High teams.

Teams are composed of four students and one alternate, plus a teacher who serves as coach. Schools from Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties competed at the event, which is so popular that teams are selected by lottery. Round-robin and double-elimination rounds led to final matches, where Troy High School in Fullerton earned second place and Santa Monica High placed third.

Students have mere seconds to answer difficult science and math questions, such as “What intermolecular force is responsible for the secondary structure of proteins?” and “What is the sum of the squares of the first 19 positive integers?”

In the final rounds, students’ answers often provoked a quiet murmuring of appreciation from fellow competitors in the auditorium.

Now, University High students will go on to compete against winners from dozens of other regional competitions across the country at a national tournament in Washington April 27 through May 3. The National Science Bowl is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

– Submitted by JPL

Trabuco Hills High School student named semifinalist for prestigious scholarship

Trabuco Hills High School student Dain Kang was recently selected a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program.

Kang is one of 626 high school seniors competing for the highly selective scholarship, which provides high-achieving students with financial need up to $55,000 each year to cover the costs of college.

The scholarship semifinalists were selected from a pool of over 5,600 applicants. The recipients will be announced in March. The scholars are selected based on exceptional academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, service to others, and leadership.

Among Kang’s accomplishments is the study of the human brain. She wrote and published the book “A Dive Into the Human Brain: For Young Students to Learn About Brain Science.” As part of her community project, she has been involved in bringing information about the U.S. health care system to immigrants through a multilingual website.

The Bravo! section highlights achievements of our residents and groups. Send news of achievements for consideration to

Related Articles

Local News |

Students inspire others; theater keeps people engaged … Bravo!