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Author Archives: WSS News

Entertainment Journalist Launches Socially Consciousness Apparel and Accessory Line

Men’s Purpose Tank available online now. Photo by Naomi K. Bonman

Men’s Purpose Tank available online now. Photo by Naomi K. Bonman

RIVERSIDE, CA- Defining and bridging the gap between entertainment and socially consciousness news for millennials of color, veteran journalist Naomi K. Bonman decided that to launch a new platform under her entertainment platform Sophisticated Relations. 

Purposely Awakened was officially launched in Summer 2016 with the sole purpose of making millennials more aware of their culture, history, and business perspectives because in order for change to be created, you first have to know who you are, where you come from, and where you are going. When you know where you’re going, then you know your purpose and are ‘Purposely Awakened’. 

Just has Sophisticated Relations, Purposely Awakened started as a media site and Instagram page for people to go to and receive news and information on the things that really matter and makes a benefit in life. Now the site is expanding and offers clothing and accessories that promote brand identity and culture awareness.

To check out the store and to make a purchase, please visit www.purposelyawakened.com/shop. Also be sure to follow them on Instagram @PurposelyAwakened_, Twitter @PurposelyAwake_, and Facebook: PurposelyAwakenedMovement.

Fontana Unified Wins 2016 Golden Bell Award for Freshman Success Intervention Program

FONTANA, CA – Fontana Unified’s Summit High School has been awarded a 2016 Golden Bell Award for a program that successfully supports freshmen as they shift from middle school to high school – a transition made easier with the mentorship and guidance of junior and senior students, called Link Crew leaders.

Of the almost 300 entries that were submitted for the award, now in its 37th year, Summit’s Freshman Success Intervention Program (FSIP) was selected to win the most prestigious honor awarded to California school districts by the California School Boards Association (CSBA).

The school and District will receive the award at a recognition ceremony on Dec. 3 at CSBA’s annual Educational Conference in San Francisco.

“I cannot express how proud I am of Summit High School and its Link Crew program, especially our juniors and seniors who play a critical role in the development of our incoming freshmen, who are gaining the skills to succeed in high school,” Fontana Unified School District Board of Education President Lorena Corona said. “This Golden Bell Award validates the hard work of everyone involved in making this program a success, and I want to congratulate the Summit High community for its commitment to working together for the benefit of our students.”

Summit High School’s 2016 graduates were the first freshmen to participate in the Link Crew program, which began in 2012. Over the years, students and staff saw the program evolve from one of social and emotional support to one that uses data and statistics to improve student academic performance by reducing failing grades.

“Link Crew has transformed our school, with our upperclassmen leading the charge,” Summit High School Interim Principal Mike Micallef said. “They have experienced much during their years at Summit and have enough insight into the challenges and opportunities high school offers to effectively mentor our newest students. It is because of them, our teachers, staff and parents, that our school has seen such marked success.”

FSIP consists of 175 junior and senior Link Crew members who are extensively trained to serve as tutors, positive role models, motivators, coaches, leaders and teachers to freshmen, facilitating their academic success during their first year of high school and beyond.

While the program initially focused on social and emotional support, FSIP shifted its concentration to one of strategic intervention and support focused on academics after school data showed that a substantial number freshmen were failing first-year classes.

In the 2015-16 school year, administrators launched a number of strategies to remedy the situation, including creating a Freshmen Tutoring Lounge with the help of 130 Link Crew leaders and 45 Peer Link Tutors. The lounge serves about 40 students a day.

Other programs conducted throughout the year included freshmen parent nights and outreach opportunities, study skills and technology workshops, and parent support phone call events. Additionally, teachers, staff and administrators have supported the initiative, with freshmen teachers working in Professional Learning Community (PLC) groups to coordinate their students’ needs with how Link Crew could support them.

Link Crew leaders review missing assignments and low test scores to manage ongoing student assessments while providing guidance on academic performance goals. During the 2015-16 school year, 200 students applied for 130 positions Link Crew leader positions.

A review of data showed that Summit was able to close the achievement gap by 35 percent over the previous year, demonstrated by the reduction in the number of freshmen classes failed and an increase in students passing core classes.

“The Link Crew program is built on the belief that students can help other students succeed. With the support of our incredible teachers and staff at Summit, this program has made a substantial difference in the lives of both our freshmen and mentors,” Interim Superintendent Fontana Unified Superintendent Randal Bassett said. “I want to congratulate everyone in the Fontana Unified family for nurturing such a transformative program and earning well-deserved prestige for it.”

2nd Annual Real To Reel Global Youth Film Festival Once Again A Smashing Success

Filmmakers of the future from across the country, ages 14-23, participated at this year’s 2nd Annual Real To Reel Global Youth Film Festival. The festival producers were excited at the results and are working to gear up for next year. The film festival was spearheaded by Better Youth executive director Syd Stewart and 23-year-old program director Johna Rivers, an emancipated foster youth from the community of Watts, California. Better Youth is an urban technical and media arts development agency for youth ages 12-24 to develop technical skills through mentoring and media arts training. The youth who participate in the program are at risk or victims of incarceration, gang violence, and abuse. Better Youth is committed to helping urban youth by cultivating multicultural experiences through digital media arts; in addition to fostering life skills, character development, creativity, leadership skills, advocacy and civic engagement.

Real To Reel Global Youth Film Festival is created for youth by youth providing an amazing platform for youth filmmakers to tell their own stories and highlight issues of importance from a youth perspective. The festival was free and open to the general public thanks to its sponsors The National Endowment for the Arts, The Los Angeles Film School, City National Bank, United Nations Foundation, Final Draft, NAMAC, Girl Up, Trader Joe’s and Film Freeway.

The event took place at the Los Angeles Film School on Saturday, October 8th where filmmakers, celebrities and VIP guests enjoyed an afternoon of panel discussions, screening films and celebrating the winners of this year’s film festival. Panel discussions about the importance of media arts and the power of youth voice in cinema were presented by executive director Syd Stewart, youth producer Johna Rivers, producer/writer Meg DeLoatch, TV writer Shawn Boxe and City National Bank’s Portfolio Analyst, Andrea Collins. Other scheduled events included an acting workshop with actor Melvin Jackson Jr. and a media literacy discussion with actress Monique Coleman.

Celebrities and VIP guests included Monique Coleman of Disney’s High School Musical, Melvin Jackson Jr. of BET’s The New Edition Story, Kacey Spivey of FOX’s Glee, Jax Malcolm of CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Chloe Noelle of HBO’s True Blood, Justin Tinucci of Cartoon Network’s Incredible Crew, Sara Barrett of CBS Criminal Minds,Meg Deloatch creator of UPN’s Eve, Shawn Boxe a TV writer, along with a special performance by Enny Owl and Raquel Wilson. A representative from Congresswoman Karen Bass office was there to present executive director Syd Stewart with a Congressional Certificate.

This year’s film festival winners included:

BEST FOREIGN FILM: Shivangi Mittal (“Tremors”)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Ghandi Bridgade Youth Media (“Juvenile Justice”)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: James Williams (“Victors Not Victims”)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Niajea Randolph (“Poems Protests & Power”)

BEST BIOGRAPHY: Rosalind Krabill (“Little Girl”)

BEST BIOGRAPHY: Maya Suchak and Darian Henry (“Finding Strength”)

BEST BIOGRAPHY: Lauren Rothman (“Embargo On Love”)

BEST BIOGRAPHY: Sergio Conriquez, Tommy Cabral and Jacob Lout (“Into Sergio”)

BEST ANIMATION: Gracie May (“Deadpan”)

BEST ANIMATION: Azure Allan (“One Day On Carver St.”)

BEST DRAMA: Spencer Muhlstock (“Wheels”)

BEST DRAMA: Jayden Gillsepie (“Slide”)

BEST DRAMA: William Leon (“Attached At The Soul”)

BEST DRAMA: Whitney Stephenson (“Dreamkeeper”)

BEST SOCIAL CAUSE: Maya Hinkin, Nicole Kim, Tarin North and William Park (“Daughters Of Cambodia”)

Concluding the event was a special awards presentation to individuals who support Better Youth and the Real To Reel Global Youth Film Festival. Award recipients included:

THE CRYSTAL AWARD FOR DEDICATED SERVICE: Actors Monique Coleman and Melvin Jackson Jr.

BEST PRODUCER AWARD: Johna Rivers, Ruben Garcia, Tynisha Lewis, Kaija Johnson, David Vera and Olympia Auset.

BEST MENTOR AWARD: Syd Stewart, Tess Canfield, Stephen Canfield, Shawn Jackson, Miguel Coleman, Deborah Griffin, Jarvis Robertson, Phil Chiu and Matthew Farrell.