Tag Archives: emerson elementary

Emerson Elementary Multicultural Celebration Participants Recognized

Dance performers and PTA volunteers were recognized on Friday, March 29, by the Burbank Board of Education and local lawmakers for their efforts in presenting the Ralph Emerson Elementary Multicultural Celebration, which was held on February 22.

Board of Education member Dr. Armond Aghakhanian spoke at the ceremony and presented certificates from Board President Roberta Reynolds and Superintendent Matt Hill. Additionally, certificates of recognition from Senator Anthony Portantino and Assemblymember Laura Friedman were presented.

Hill and Dr. Peter Knapik from BUSD attended the event, along with Arda Tchakian from Portantino’s office and Friedman’s field representative Maria Azilazian.

Performers and PTA volunteers were recognized by the Burbank Board of Education and local lawmakers for their efforts in putting on the Emerson Elementary Multicultural Celebration. (Photo By Ross Benson)

Those honored included the PTA’s Multicultural Celebration committee members Ellen Sedrakyan, Dipali Patel, Carla Eilering and Cristi Castillo, along with the committee chair Julie Cho.

Two Emerson teachers, Vivian Zakarian and Arpine Shazarian, who performed with the Gevorkian Dance Academy, were recognized along with Peter Hosharian, who is the father of fourth- and second-grade students at the school.

Others honored included Tracy Kochout, parent of a fifth-grader, from Clearly Irish Dance Studio and Trina Robinson, owner of Rock Star Dance Fitness and a parent of second-grade and kindergarten students at the school.

Burbank Board of Education member Dr. Armond Aghakhanian recognizes the volunteer efforts by those who presented Emerson Elementary’s Multicultural Celebration. (Photo By Ross Benson)

The second annual Emerson Elementary Multicultural Celebration featured performances by the Gevorkian Dance Academy, The Hosharian Brothers, Clearly Irish Dance Studio, Mexico Azteca Dance Company and Rock Star Dance Fitness.

During the day of the event, “students and staff wore clothes to represent their culture and that evening families were invited to continue with the celebration of all the beautiful cultures our students represent,” explained Kaitz.

The evening included a potluck dinner, arts and crafts for the students and the multicultural dance performances.

Students and teachers each also had an Emerson passport with their photo made. Their passport was stamped with the particular country of the food or craft that they tried at the different food and craft stations.

“Many parents dressed in their cultural wear for the show and it was a beautiful sight to see so many different cultures all together in celebration of our Emerson community,” commented Cho.

“It was a full house with dancing, singing and eating authentic dishes which are families brought to share,” Kaitz added.

Emerson Planting Day Brightens Up School Campus

Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary School held Emerson Planting Day on the morning of Wednesday, January 30. Members of the school community, including staff, PTA members and volunteers, joined forces with Burbank Unified Facilities workers, the City of Burbank Recycling Center and Tree People to install plants and trees throughout the school grounds.

“Four years ago when I began my principal position at Emerson, one of my fabulous parent volunteers had reached out to me about developing a garden at Emerson,” explained Emerson Principal Jennifer Kaitz.

“There had been one which had not received much attention or love. Melissa Burton, the parent volunteer/PTA member, has such a passion for taking care of our planet and teaching our students that they, too, have a responsibility in caring for the land and plants. So, Melissa and I worked with PTA/Boosters to get families to come help weed in the garden, water the plants, etc.”

Emerson Elementary School Planting Day brought together members of the school and business community. (Photo By Ross Benson)

Recently, Burton applied for a grant through Tree People. Emerson Elementary was selected to receive a $1250 grant to purchase new plants and three trees for the school grounds.

“Melissa and I wanted to ensure that whatever was planted would be suitable for the weather here in Burbank and could be sustained so the garden would continue to grow and flourish for years to come,” Kaitz continued. “Melissa worked with Diana Sherwood from Theodore Payne and Michelle Bagnato from the Tree People to select a variety of plants and trees.”

After several months of meetings with BUSD Director of Elementary Education Peter Knapik and BUSD Facilites Grounds Lead John Uribe, the group of Kaitz, Burton, Sherwood and Bagnato chose a selection of native California plants for the project.

“We walked the campus to locate prime areas for planting and needed to ensure that the locations would be able to be watered consistently,” Kaitz said. “All plants/trees had to be approved by John prior to anything being selected and purchased. The team was very methodical with every detail for this project.”

On Emerson Planting Day, Kaitz, Burton, Sherwood and Bagnato were joined by Kreigh Hampel from the Burbank Recycling Center, City Councilmember and Master Gardener Sharon Springer, Emerson PTA VP Erin Konstantine, Emerson PTA President Cathy Biermann, and Emerson Stars Booster Club President Joel Taylor.

Rudy Uribe and Juan Uribe from BUSD Facilities were on hand to assist with planting.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

“I had two assemblies in the morning to share with our students the wonderful gift we received from the Tree People and how it will be our responsibility to care for these plants from this day on,” said Kaitz. “During the assembly for grades JK – 2 [they] were able to watch Melissa and Kreigh actually take a plant and transport it to a pot with soil.”

“Third grade, fourth grade and fifth grade classes were brought to different areas to observe the planting.  All fourth grade students actually helped in the different areas to weed and plant with help from all of the adults.”

(Photo By Ross Benson)

Also joining in the efforts was Principal for a Day, Kevin McCarney, founder and President of Poquito Mas, who attended the assemblies and visited the planting areas.

“Overall, this day was a perfect example of how wonderful the Emerson community is working together to make students’ school experiences that much richer!”

Multiple areas throughout the large property of Emerson Elementary were planted with the new plants and trees. The Emerson PTA spent $200 from its garden budget to pay the garden design consultant.  The school used $900 of the $1250 grant to purchase the new plants. The remaining balance of the grant will be used for future garden and planting needs.

Nickelodeon Brightens Emerson Elementary Student Pick Up Area

Nickelodeon employees flexed their creative and physical muscles at Ralph Emerson Elementary School last Friday. As part of parent company Viacom’s annual Viacommunity Day, Nickelodeon installed a garden, built several benches and a planter box and painted a Mission-themed mural in the previously drab student pick-up area.

Photo Courtesy of Peggy Flynn

Photo Courtesy of Peggy Flynn

“Students were thrilled and filled with excitement. Teachers brought students out to watch the artists at work,” said Emerson Principal Linda Acuff. “Many returned to their rooms to make thank you cards for the gift of Nickelodeon.”

“The project enhances the dreary pick-up waiting area at Kenneth and Cypress,” continued Acuff. “It adds a vibrancy to the once desolate, dilapidated gate. Our neighbors should be impressed.”

Photo Courtesy of Peggy Flynn

Photo Courtesy of Peggy Flynn

In temperatures over 100 degrees, with smoke from nearby fires in the air, the team from Nickelodeon worked through the day.

“The Nickelodeon team was in perpetual motion the entire time – never missed a beat, never complained, never stopped smiling,” commented BUSD Visual Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn, who connected Nickeodeon and Emerson for the project.

“I think we went through about 12 large bags of ice that day, cases and cases of water, ice cream and Popsicles.”

Photo Courtesy of Peggy Flynn

Photo Courtesy of Peggy Flynn

At one point, the entire third grade visited the work site and serenaded the volunteers with Nickelodeon theme songs.

“Team members from the Dora the Explorer show especially appreciated third grade teacher Mrs. Lori Paccino’s solo performance of their theme song!” Flynn added.

“Viacommunity Day is a Viacom global initiative that allows its employees to take the day off and give back to the communities they work in,” commented Carson Smith, Human Resources Manager at Nickelodeon.

Photo Courtesy of Peggy Flynn

Photo Courtesy of Peggy Flynn

“We are proud to be a part of the Burbank locale, so for this year’s event, Nickelodeon Animation Studio and its talented artists teamed up with the local students to decorate a corner of their school,” explained Smith.

“While the heat wave didn’t escape us, we truly had a great time and look forward to future projects with the community and its schools,” he also said.

“Our heartfelt thanks goes out to Carson and the ‘Dora’ team,” added Acuff. “Their vision has transformed a section of our school.”

Photo Courtesy of Peggy Flynn

Photo Courtesy of Peggy Flynn

“They have created something from nothing,” commented Flynn. “They designed a mural that was in keeping with the beautiful period architecture of Emerson Elementary, replacing an unused and weathered marquee and transformed the surrounding space into an area that students, teachers, and parents will want to spend time.”

“I would not be surprised if the newly orange painted bike racks encourage more kids to ride bikes to school!”

“’Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,'” concluded Flynn. “This is the quote I have on replay in my mind every time we work with Nickelodeon.” 


Photo By Lisa Paredes

Photo By Lisa Paredes