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SPRING DANCE CONCERTS: EXCELLENCE IN ARTISTRY
ONTARIO, CA; (04/26/2014): This week's Spring Dance Shows were a resounding success... what follows is the review by professional music critic Milt Wilson, (many thanks to Mr. Wilson for granting permission to WeRtheO.com to repost his article):
Dance Director Purwin and 156 OHS Students Wow Audience as Beatles Are Honored in Fantastic Program
by Milt Wilson, Music Critic for the Claremont Plaza Coffee Gathering Gazette
This reviewer normally does not waste his time in attending amateur productions, particularly those involving teenage high school students. These performances are, well, you know, often very amateurish, and we all know those teens have a problem, don’t we? The only problems that the Ontario High School Dance Company group would seen to have are (1) not knowing the meaning of “amateur,” (2) not being yet well enough known that a large paid audience would partially reimburse them for their time spent learning 24 complex routines, and (3) their recent performance was not on the stage of one of the five principal musical theater venues in downtime Los Angeles, where this Gazette reviewer would have been joined by his colleagues from The L.A. Times and a few national magazines.
Putting on an entertaining, yet meaningful, musical show involving dance is definitely not for amateurs. The school’s Dance Director Rhonda Purwin is obviously a professional, and one that knows more than the theory and teaching of dance, as she vividly demonstrated by joining one of the groups in a “Show Me How To Burlesque” number just before the intermission. Most Broadway or London West End musicals have at most seven choreographed scenes. In electing to serve us up 24, Mrs. Purwin not only had to face up with developing and then teaching the routines to students as young at 15, with few having had any musical education at all, but to hold the audience’s attention through a wide variety of styles over the course of those 24 tunes. And to write the script holding the whole evening together. Train two young boys how to best use the MC portions of that script to keep the scenes moving from one to the next. And to select talent to operate wonderfully appropriate and inspiring lighting effects from start to finish. And to select specific CDs (sorry, no 30-piece union orchestra to rehearse!) for use for her choreography and that of her guest choreographers. And to often remind that huge cast to keep smiling no matter how far you were run down and a bit achey from all those rehearsals.
The show was entitled “10 Minutes That Changed The World.” This refers to the time allocation that the Beatles were given in the debut of their music and style on the Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago now. How less than a quarter of an hour not only changed the length of men’s hair, but influenced clothing styles, how celebrities are to be treated and worshipped, and, without much exaggeration, how life was to be lived. I have not settled the argument with myself whether this title and theme chosen by the Dance Director complicated or simplified the CD choice, but it sure made assuring variety a problem. Using some non-Beatle performances helped, as did slipping in a few other “iconic” artists right up to last month’s Chart Toppers. The choice and blend were ideal and I would suggest that some neighboring school district just might learn a lot by next year working around a new theme of “120 Minutes That Changed The Way That Once-Amateurish High School s Put On Dance Company Shows.”
I sincerely wish that I could say “Hey, don’t miss this outstanding show.” Say, “Hey, don’t forget to go back stage and thank Mrs. Rhonda Purwin for devotion far beyond the call of duty.” But, shucks, friends, the show closed on April 25th. I will try to give you a pre-view next year, not just a re-view!
PADILLA SETS RECORD-BREAKING SWIM
ONTARIO, CA; (03/15/2014): Senior Varsity Swimmer and two-time CIF Qualifier Jeremey Padilla broke Ontario High School's long-standing Men's 100yd Butterfly record at the 2014 Jag Swim Invite. Padilla swam his race just over eight tenths of one second ahead of the previously held record. His record-breaking 0:54.12 time was a credit to his extensive training and strength, both of which have continued to increase since he was a freshman.
After his swim, Jaguars' teammates were quick to embrace him and offer words of congratulations. "I can't believe I did it. This is awesome," Padilla exclaimed after verifying his time.
EDUARDO ZALDIVAR APPOINTED PRINCIPAL 2014-2015
ONTARIO, CA; (03/11/2014): The Chaffey Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees confirmed the appointment of Montclair Assistant Principal of Instruction and Guidance Eduardo Zaldivar as the new Principal of Ontario High School effective with the 2014-2015 school year. Zaldivar, 38, a graduate of UC San Diego with double majors in History and Political Science, was a member of the first graduating class of Rancho Cucamonga High School in 1994, which is in the Chaffey District. In a March 7, 2014 E-mail to the Ontario staff, District Superintendent Mat Holton said, “You will find him to be accessible, ease to speak with and a willing listener,” and as one who “will be a strong force to help OHS continue to be an exceptional high school.”
Zaldivar is a native of Mexico who came to the United States as a young child, where through the years he has developed a heart for education. “I am very student-centered. This is the reason for my existence, to see our students achieve success and fulfill their potential.” His reputation of being a thoughtful, collaborate and passionate leader was evidenced through his past positions, which include principal of a Las Vegas middle school, and at the high school level as a social science teacher, coach, student activities director, career advisor, and dean of discipline.
WeRtheO.com was given an exclusive interview with Zaldivar who was engaging and elated to be joining the Ontario Jaguar family, “I’m beyond thrilled. I consider myself to be extremely lucky to be walking into a school like Ontario. Mr. Willborn has done a phenomenal job and he is leaving some very large shoes to fill.” He considers his strengths to be his ability to work and connect with his students. “It’s all about getting to know them and being genuine. They are here for a reason and I want to help them find that reason.” Throughout the interview, his passion and genuine interest was evident.
Mr. Zaldivar is married to his wife Melissa and together they have four children ages 2 to 7.
WILLBORN TO LEAVE IN JULY
ONTARIO, CA; (03/08/2014): On Friday, February 28th, Cary Willborn announced to his staff and students that his tenure as Ontario High School’s Principal was coming to a close after five years. The students reaction was measured, but not without many tears and much sadness. Mr. Willborn, who is an iconic figure around campus, has accepted the principal job at Rancho Cucamonga High School starting this summer. He will replace Dr. Virginia Kelsen, who will become the Executive Director of Instruction at the District after approval by the Board of Trustees on Tuesday.
Around the Ontario campus, it was a very difficult time. Chelsea Veldman, teacher and volleyball coach at Ontario, tweeted, “Very depressing day today. I cried all day. I can’t believe!” (@chelsveldy). Those sentiments were echoed by more than a thousand additional tweets and retweets, nearly all of which expressed sadness and even anger about Mr. Willborn moving on. “We can protest. We should protest!” one tweeter wrote.
WeRtheO.com sat down with Mr. Willborn shortly after his announcement. “It was the hardest decision ever. I love these kids so much and this school, (he paused briefly to contain himself)… these years here have been the best of my life.” To a school that was arguably struggling in a lot of areas, Mr. Willborn brought hope, a sense of positivity and most-importantly, results. After spending four years as an assistant principal, Willborn took the reins and never looked back. According to the California Department of Education, when he took over Ontario had an API (Academic Performance Index) rating of 706. As of this year, that rating has increased by nearly 40 points to 745.
Improving the school’s API is one success, but to do it while at the same time increasing graduation rates and reducing the number of below-passing grades his students receive is truly remarkable. “I’m so proud of what we’ve done here. We have instilled something into our students. They know what they’re capable of and I’m glad we played a role in that.” It was difficult not to notice his use of ‘we’ even though the results were firmly rooted in an environment he cultivated. “Moving to Rancho is going to be a huge change. It’s my hope that some of the great things we’ve done here [at Ontario High School] can be shared up there and we’ll all grow together.” He summed it up this way, “ I’m a Jaguar at heart. I love this school and I always will.”
Mr. Willborn will be missed by the staff, students, faculty and parents of Ontario, but at least he will remain in the District that he loves. His replacement will be named at the Board Meeting on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.
ONTARIO SCORES BIG WITH NEW HEAD COACH, JOHN KUSLEIKA
ONTARIO, CA; (02/04/2014): The Chaffey Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees confirmed long-time coach John Kusleika as the Ontario High School's newest football head coach. Kusleika, 45, succeeds OHS Athletic Director Ryan Alvarez who took over mid-season last year when the position was vacated by Ron Stocking, Jr. "Coach K," as he is called, is currently an educator at Los Osos and comes with a wealth of experience and enthusiasm, having coached at both the collegiate and high school levels over his 23 years of coaching. "I want to do this. I'm so excited. I can't wait to start. I think it's a perfect match. [Ontario] is a school that's had a football team and really needs a football program. I know that it's been rough for Ontario over the last ten seasons. I think I can help and I think they can help me, too. I considered this position when it was open three years ago, but the timing wasn't right," Kusleika told WeRtheO.com.
Kusleika has coached inside the Chaffey District as the head coach at Alta Loma and Montclair and as an assistant at Rancho Cucamonga, and taught at Los Osos and Etiwanda since entering the District in 1999. His history is solid. After playing for the University of LaVerne, he returned in 1990 as an assistant coach. He went on to coach at the University of Redlands, Fresno State and other schools. His last outing was as the Offensive Coordinator for Redlands East Valley (REV) last season.
Some of Coach K's players have gone on to be very successful. He speaks very highly of Eric Weddle, free safety for the San Diego Chargers, whom he coached at Alta Loma. "I'm pretty proud of [him] because I had the opportunity to coach him in high school and help him through that last little bit of the recruiting process." During the course of his interview, Kusleika repeatedly made the point that a goal of his is to get his players to college. "I don't care if it takes hours or days, if I can get even five-hundred dollars to help one of these guys, it's worth it.
Ontario Principal Cary Willborn told WeRtheO.com, "I am so pleased that John is coming to Ontario. He brings a proven track record of success and I truly believe we are fortunate to have him. I have no doubt in his abilities and know that he will build a program here that we can and will all be proud of."
"[I want my players to know] we're going to be sound fundamentally. We're going to play together. We're going to be tough. Those are the maxims that I learned very early in my coaching career." Along with those maxims, Kusleika is clear about the togetherness and interdependence needed amongst his players. "Because football is the consummate team sport, we can't have individuals out there with their own agenda, because all that's going to do is tear us apart. We're going to have to learn how to give 100%. I don't believe in 101%. I don't believe in 110%, but I also don't believe in 99%. High school players need to be taught what that is; what giving that much of your time, effort and energy means, because it's a lot. They may not like what it takes to get there, but they're going to be satisfied when they do."
Coach Kusleika will meet with his returning players on Thursday night at OHS. This is an intriguing time to be a part of the Jaguars football program. With a stadium on the horizon, a new head coach, new staff and a revamped Mt. Baldy League for next season without Chino or Garey High Schools, this is a time of great expectation.
BUTANDA CLOSES SEASON AT TOP OF THE STAT SHEET
ONTARIO, CA; (11/7/2013): Ontario Jaguars FB Robert Butanda (12) closed the regular season in the same position he held for the final three games, at the top of the scoring stats for the Mt. Baldy League. Butanda finished the season with 84 points. Colony's Devan Imbach closed to within two points entering week seven before Butanda raised the bar. Butanda came in second in receiving yards with 675; just four yards behind Colony's Kyle Curry (679 yards). He was third in rushing yards with 784 yards, placing behind Chaffey's Jesse Robledo (956 yards) and Colony's Devan Imbach (884 yards).
On special teams, there was no one better. Butanda led all kick-off returners with 333 yards on 14 attempts, averaging 23.79 yards per return. He also placed atop the league in punt returns with 143 yards on 6 attempts (23.83 yds/att).
On defense, the league's sack leader was Ontario's Stephon Randolph (12). Randolph (7.1 sacks) edged out Chino's Malik Demby (7.0 sacks). Junior Anthony Fuentez, the Mt. Baldy League's tackling leader in 2012 fell to 2nd place this season with 89 total tackles. This year's tackling leader was Colony's Brendan Hadley with 106 to his credit. Ronald Robison III (11) came in seventh in the league and second on the team with 71 total tackles.
ONTARIO SOCCER ALUM CONTINUES TO SHINE
LOS ANGELES, CA; (11/8/2013): Soccer alumus Adrien Perez, whose accolades were fast and furious last spring, continued his winning ways tonight in Los Angeles. Perez scored three goals, commonly referred to as a 'hat trick,' in Loyola Marymount's victory over Portland. Perez' hat trick was the first by an LMU freshmen since 2001. During the 2012-2013 season, Perez, class of 2013, earned many league titles and was named CIF Player of the Year after Ontario's 2013 CIF D4 Championship run.
LMU currently has a four-game lead in the WCCA and with tonight's victory has won six straight.
JAGUARS VARSITY STATS 2013-2014