Tag Archives: John Muir Middle School

Muir Empowered Day Focuses On Student Health And Wellness

In concert with World Mental Health Day, John Muir Middle School held MUIR EMPOWERED, an all-day health and wellness conference for students and staff on Thursday, October 10.

Mindfulness, ways to deal with stress and anxiety, yoga, nutrition, vaping awareness and suicide prevention were all discussed. Parents were able to attend sessions as well, and the school held a resource fair for students, parents and staff.

Students try out yoga at MUIR EMPOWERED health and wellness day. (Photo By Ross Benson)

“MUIR EMPOWERED focused students on their mental and physical health,” explained Principal Greg Miller. “The day was designed to provide students with strategies to improve themselves and equip them as they face challenges in life.”

“The 47 different presenters that came to Muir for the day talked with students about self empowerment, mindfulness, nutrition, yoga, anti-vaping awareness, and suicide prevention,” Miller also said. “The students were given tools to deal with stress and anxiety; different ways to be physically healthier; and motivation to be more proactive in their own physical and mental health.”

Jessie Funk, a renowned teen self-empowerment speaker, and Robb Holladay, a national anti-vaping speaker, gave presentations for MUIR EMPOWERED.

Jessie Funk, who’s been speaking to students for 15 years, talked about teen self-empowerment to John Muir Middle School students. Photo By Ross Benson)

Other participants included Mindfulness USC, The Institute for Girls Development, The National Center for Child Traumatic Stress at UCLA, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Kaiser Permanente, CSUN Psychology Department, American Diabetes Association, Burbank Family Services Agency, Didi Hirsch, Resilient Heart, TEEN LINE, Hope Therapy Center, Counseling 4 Kids, Destinations for Teens and a large group of yoga instructors.

“We wanted to take back the term ‘mental health’ and remove any negative connotation,” he added. “We tried to teach students that just like it is important to take care of their physical health, they must similarly be intentional in taking care of their mental health.”


Muir Middle School Celebrates Japan Day, Sister School Status With Rebun School

John Muir Middle School and Japan’s Rebun High School cemented their ongoing friendship with a Sister School proclamation at Muir’s seventh annual Japan Day celebration on Friday, September 20.

During the Burbank Board of Education meeting on Thursday evening, September 19, officials from the Consulate-General of Japan and Rebun High School joined visiting ninth-graders from Rebun, Muir teachers and administrators and Burbank Unified School District officials to officially announce the two schools Sister School status to the Burbank Board of Education.

John Muir Middle School announced Sister School status with Japan’s Rebun High School at a recent Burbank Board of Education meeting. Pictured are: (back row, left to right) Yaeko Hosobuchi, Deputy Consul General Hiroki Matsuo (Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles), Teacher Ted DeVirgilis (JMMS), Principal Dr. Greg Miller (JMMS), Rebun Principal Hiroyoshi Sakano, BUSD Board President Dr. Roberta Reynolds, BUSD Superintendent Dr. Matt Hill, Rebun Mayor Toru Ono, Rebun School Superintendent Osamu Iwaki, Rebun Town Exchange Coordinator Mamoru Suda, Rebun Town Councillor Yuichi Kashiwaya, Rebun Town Vice Superintendent Tatsumi Miura, Madam Fumi Akutagawa; (middle row, left to right) Exchange Coordinator Dr. Akiko Agishi, Rebun students Kaito Takagi, Noa Sasaki, Jin Tsushima; (front row, left to right) Rebun students Haruto Soma, Kansuke Kawamura, Kizuku Takamichi, Koya Komoto, Takeru Tada, Keisuke Nozaki. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Visiting students from Rebun also performed the “Nanchu Sōran Bushi,” a traditional dance performed before fishing in the northern Hokkaido region of Japan where Rebun Island is located for school board members.

At the Friday afternoon Japan Day celebration, which is sponsored every year by the John Muir Booster Association, Muir students watched a short presentation on science teacher Eric Blinder’s visit to Japan this past summer, as he shared what he learned from visiting the country and meeting its people. He noted the similarities and differences between the school system in Japan and the U.S. and talked about his new experiences with food and the ease of public transportation.

Students at John Muir Middle School enjoy a shamisen musical performance at Japan Day festivities. (Photo By Connor McCrory)

“The students at Muir will remember the events of this week for some time – I know I will!” commented Muir teacher Ted DeVirgilis who has coordinated the annual Japan Day program at Muir for the past seven years. “The board meeting was a public proclamation of Muir’s commitment to deepening our international friendship with Rebun High School.”

“The Sister School commitment is basically to host each other’s students, strive to have our respective English and Japanese classes communicate (a la Skype or similar) intermittently, and look to connect via technology when we can,” explained DeVirgilis. “We are sending a group of students, teachers and Dr. Miller to Rebun Island next June and Rebun has agreed to have our students do a homestay there.”

At the Japan Day event, the nine visiting ninth-graders from Rebun High School all introduced themselves to the Muir students and each shared something they really liked as a hobby or about America. Muir students responded loudly to many of the shared interests and hobbies, such as music, basketball, hamburgers and more. The Rebun students again performed the “Nanchu Sōran Bushi.”

(Photo By Connor McCrory)

Visiting guest artist Sasaki Mitsuru performed traditional folk songs on the shamisen, a Japanese stringed instrument that was prominently featured in the 2016 stop-motion movie Kubo and the Two Strings. Mitsuru plays the tsugaru style shamisen, a fat neck type that is the largest and loudest of the shamisen.

“The dance by the Rebun students and the shamisen performance by guest artist Sasaki Mitsuru were loved by the whole school,” added. DeVirgilis. “Two Muir teacher-musicians, Steven Moos and Glen Jaffe, even joined the shamisen players onstage in an improvisation with mandolin and guitar.”

Every year, students from Rebun Island visit the U.S. and include a stop by Muir Middle School’s Japan Day, during which Muir students explore different aspects of Japanese arts and culture. In previous years, students learned about flower-arranging, origami, yasakoi dance, taiko drumming, paper cutting and tea ceremony, among other arts.

Rebun Principal Hiroyoshi Sakano (left) and Muir Principal Greg Miller (right) sign the Sister Schools proclamation at Muir’s Japan Day celebration on September 20, 2019. (Photo By Connor McCrory)

At Friday’s event, after the cultural activities, all Muir students joined the visiting Rebun students and officials, along with school faculty and administration on Mustang Field to witness the unveiling of the Sister School flag, which was designed by Muir teacher Amy Prosser and features the mascot of each school.

Muir Principal Greg Miller and Rebun Principal Hiroyoshi Sakano both said a few words and signed the Sister School proclamation.

Vice-Consul Yuichiro Tanaka, of the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles, also spoke. He mentioned that when he was the age of Muir students, who are in their early teens, his family moved to Australia.

Tanaka said the experience changed his life and opened up many possibilities. He encouraged Muir students to visit other countries and expose themselves to other cultures.

(Photo By Connor McCrory)

“I love that we now have a Sister School flag that will be raised below the American Flag for future Japan Days,” DeViriglis also said. “The support from the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles was incredible.”

“We were visited by the Deputy Consul, a Vice Consul, and the actual Consul General over the course of three days. On Saturday at a small event at Japan House (Hollywood/Highland), Akira Muto, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, congratulated Muir and Rebun High School on our Sister School status.”

“It’s amazing what can happen if your show an appreciation for another culture,” DeVirgilis added. “Muir was already ‘famous for friendliness’ but now Muir and Burbank are known in Japan and the Japanese-American community as a place where Japanese culture is appreciated.”

Students from Rebun High School in Japan perform “Nanchu Sōran Bushi,” a Hokkaido fishing dance, for Burbank Board of Education members during the school board meeting. (Photo By Ross A Benson)

Forty-seven Muir students, along with school officials and chaperones, are planning a trip to Japan in 2020.

“For Muir’s trip to Japan next May and June, the Governor of Hokkaido Prefecture will be meeting us to honor our continued exchange with Rebun, and the U.S. Consulate in Sapporo will be hosting a barbecue for us,” DeVirgilis said.

“All of this is because Japan Day – and our friendship with Rebun – has grown over the past seven years.”

JPL Scientists Visit John Muir Middle School For STEM Workshop

Scientists, engineers, researchers and staff from JPL visited John Muir Middle School on Friday, November 9, for a STEM event that combined hands-on projects, an up-close interaction with a Mars ROV-E 6 wheel rover and short presentations on exploring space and other planets and searching for extraterrestrial life.

Shannon Statham and Mana Salami held a joint talk on “How to Build an Interplanetary Exploration Mission.” Douglas Isbell spoke about “NASA’s Mars Rovers and the Power to Explore.” Curt Henry presented “Extremophiles,” a look at life that exists on Earth in extremely hot, cold, salty, dry or other intense conditions and how their existence affects the probability of finding life beyond Earth.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

Fabien Nicaise, Christopher Esquer-Rosas, Tony Tran, Lori Shiraishi, Yvonne Chen and Bryce Page from JPL were also on hand to answer questions and facilitate the paper rocket launch contest. They also helped students build an origami Starshade (https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/details.php?id=1284.)

Hands-on display items included a Mars 2020 aluminum wheel, Mars Globe, Dawn spacecraft model, relief model of Gale Crater, 3-D surface model of Jupiter’s moon Europa and more.

Rows of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders lined up to lay down and be “run over” by the Mars ROV-E 6 wheel rover, which depicts current rovers Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity.

John Muir Middle School students had fun being “run over” by the Mars ROV-E 6 wheel rover. (Photo By Ross Benson)

“STEM outreach events provide students the opportunity to engage with scientists and engineers who actually create science instruments and rovers that are sent into space,” commented JPL Instruments Division Facility and Safety representative Nga Vu-Lintag, a Muir parent, who coordinated the event.

“It can spark excitement in the fields of STEM and help them understand what a future in STEM might look like. Hopefully, it encourages them to look into career paths they might not think of. Who knows, they could be the next generation of JPLers!”

(Photo By Ross Benson)

Muir parent volunteers, Paula Trubisky and Mindi Bedaux, helped out with the event and State Senator Anthony Portantino stopped as well.

One week previously, on November 2, Muir eighth-grade science students got to experience what it feels like to visit other planets, stars and galaxies by entering a 35′ wide by 15′ high inflatable Planetarium set up in the school cafeteria by JPL.


Three Muir Parents Honored For Muir Woods Mosaic Art

Three John Muir Middle School parents were honored by the school for their work in creating a large tile mosaic of Muir Woods on an exterior building wall next to the site’s Outdoor Classroom. The Muir community gathered on Friday, October 26, to recognize the parents’ efforts.

Erica Bootchk, Yukako Inoue and Kristina Panfilova worked for more than 1000 hours over the past year to create the 23.5’ by 9.25’ tile mosaic. The three parents used more than 18,000 tile pieces for the wall.

The women also worked with students and staff during the 2016-17 school year so that everyone on the campus that year has a piece they designed included on the wall.  From August to November 2017, they installed the pieces on the wall.

muir woods

Artists L/R Yukako Inoue, Erica Bootchk and Kristina Panfilova. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

“The result is nothing short of a masterpiece,” commented Muir Principal Greg Miller. “It has taken an already incredible space and added a beautiful work of art for generations of Muir students, staff and parents to enjoy.”

Students in Lynn Rothacher’s seventh-grade English class wrote a poem in honor of the occasion, based on a poem by Deborah Pope. The school choir and band performed at the ceremony and Bootchk, Inouye and Panfilova were presented with certificates of recognition.

Representatives from Senator Portantino and Assemblymember Laura Friedman’s offices were also on hand to make a few remarks.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

“The mosaic mural that these three parent volunteers created is truly amazing in its beauty, its scope and its impact on generations of John Muir students,” added Miller. “I love that their passion and talent adds to our incredible Outdoor Classroom in such a unique way.”

“The Muir Woods Mosaic project  grew into a memorable experience that will stay with me always,” said Bootchk. “There is nothing more moving than creating art as a community.”

“Truly being able to incorporate clay tiles created by all the students, faculty and custodians and sharing their appreciation as we watched the forest unfold before our eyes was transformative. We created a moment in time together that is more meaningful than any one part by itself.”

“We are very honored to have been a part of the Outdoor Classroom project,” Panfilova said. “What we were interested in was the challenge: not only was this the largest project we have ever worked on, it also had to be integrated into a very specific space, the Outdoor Classroom. And I believe the Outdoor Classroom turned out to be a really beautiful and special place for everyone at Muir. It definitely is for us.”

“We were embraced by the kind and welcoming community of Muir’s teachers, staff, and students while we worked on the project for more than two years,” commented Inouye. “We would like to thank all of them for creating a home for us with the genuine support, which was led by Muir’s Principal, Dr. Miller.  He truly cares to bring art to our beloved school and continues to be the great leader who spreads goodwill each and every day.”

Bootchk, Inoue and Panfilova will also be recognized by the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education at the Thursday, November 1, meeting.

Muir Middle School Hosts Sixth Annual Japan Day

Nine high school students from the tiny island of Rebun, Japan, visited John Muir Middle School on Friday, September 21, for the sixth annual Japan Day cultural appreciation activities.

Principal Dr. Greg Miller welcomed the visiting students and their two teacher chaperones and addressed the Muir student body. He showed photos from his recent summer scholarship trip to Japan and Rebun Island and talked about learning from different cultures through travel and international exchange.

Gankyo Nakamura, the first American to be accepted to Japan’s top kabuki school, gave a presentation on kabuki theater in the auditorium and answered students’ questions after his performance.

L/R Muir’s Asst Principal Catherine Celeya, Rebun International Exchange Program Dir. Dr. Akiko Agishi, Rebun Town Education Superintendent Mr. Kono and Ted DeVirgilis (Japan Day Chair and English Teacher.) (Photo by Ross A Benson)

The day ended with a collaborative taiko drum performance by the nine students from Rebun High School and a Little Tokyo taiko group, Chikara Daiko, on Muir’s Mustang Field. The musicians exchanged videos over the summer, each group learning one of the other’s songs, in order to perform at Japan Day, explained English teacher and Japan Day Chair, Ted De Virgilis.

“To have their first performance come off without a missed beat was staggering,” commented De Virgilis. “You can’t help but feel moved—literally—by over a dozen drums pounding in sync to a packed house on Mustang Field.”

Muir students sit on Mustang field enjoying a collaborative taiko drum performance by the students from Rebun High School and Little Tokyo group Chikara Daiko. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Muir does a great job of teaching kids about cultures around the world,” added De Virgilis. “Rebun High School and Muir have agreed to become ‘sister schools,’ which unlike Sister Cities, is an unofficial term, and we are figuring out what that could lead to in the future.”

“In the short term, we are hoping to have Muir students take part in a live stream with the English class at Rebun High School—as soon as December.”

“Because the interest in Japanese culture has grown so much over the past six years, the BUSD board approved the creation of a Japanese culture class as part of the 10-week sixth grade wheel program (along with Cooking, Art and Spanish classes),” said De Virgilis.

japan day

The combined drum players from Rebun High School and Little Toyko taiko group Chikara Daiko are joined by members of the Muir Japan Go! class. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

“This summer I developed the [Japan Go!] class based on my experiences studying Japanese language, visiting Japan and learning from the many Japanese-American teaching artists who have taught Muir students as part of Japan Day. The first 10-week class is going quite well, and had the bonus of preparations for—and special access within—Japan Day.”

As the northernmost island in Japan, Rebun and its fishing industry have been negatively affected by rising sea temperatures and many people have left the island. Every year, some students from Rebun High School, with a total enrollment of 24, travel to the U.S for a two-week visit. The island of Rebun is a national park, so Rebun students visit different U.S. National Parks each year, in addition to other cities and points of interest.

Drummers from Japan’s Rebun High School and Little Tokyo Chikara Daiko perform. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The cultural exchange program was created to encourage families to stay on the island, by providing students with the chance to travel and learn abroad and return with their new knowledge and experiences. The Rebun International Exchange Program is supervised by Akiko Agishi, president of Creative Enterprise International Inc & Japanese Language Scholarship Foundation (Aurora Foundation).

Muir families hosted the Rebun students in their homes for five nights during their visit, before the group left to visit the Grand Canyon. Muir’s annual Japan Day is sponsored and funded by the John Muir Booster Association.

In June 2020, a group of 20-30 students from Muir Middle School will visit Japan and Rebun Island for the first time as part of the “sister schools” cultural exchange.


Dellutri Sets Record in All-City Middle School Track Meet

Ryan Dellutri wasn’t sure he would be able to run in the Burbank All-City Middle School Track Meet at Burroughs High Friday night.

The seventh grader at Jordan Middle School came into the meet having not done much in the two previous weeks.

“I pulled my right quad two weeks ago and I haven’t done much training since,” Dellutri said.

Dellutri not only ran, but won three events and set a meet record in the boys’ 400 meters, finishing in 58.1 seconds.

“Today I put it all out there and all the training before the injury paid off,” Dellutri said.

Dellutri also won the 100 (12.9) and the 200 (26.4). He is the son of former Burroughs and USC wide receiver Todd Dellutri, who also later coached football and track at Burroughs.

Fellow Jordan seventh grader Nathan Perez also set a meet record in winning the long jump with a best of 18 feet.

Muir seventh grader Sattwik Banerjee set a meet record in the seventh grade boys’ shot put with a best of 44-4.

Aubrey Eaton set a meet record in the elementary girls 800, running 2:48.

See the full results below.

6th Grade Boys

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Carson Chase   (M)11.91Jonathon Vasaquez  (J)64.91Jaylin Fletcher   (M)4’2″
2Anthony Morse   (L)12.12Bryan Juarez  (M)66.92Quinn Zeigert  (J)4’2″
3Daniel Schnek   (M)12.33Connor Durmick  (L)70.63Dylan Conahan  (J)4’2″
4Cody Hauser  (L)13.64Aiden Berry  (J)754Ryder Hoffman  (M)4’1″
5Bailey Cervantes   (J)13.75Shane Blanchard  (M)775Kai Cruz  (M)4′
Event:  200mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Jonathon Vasquez   (J)29.61Dylan LaMarsna   (M).           2.491Ben Cushine  (L)12’9″
2Kingston Askerneese  (J)31.62Ryan Lee   (J)                            2.582Ryder Hoffman  ( M)12’9″
3Anthony Morse  (L)323Brian Butchko   (M)                3.023Rainer Labus  (M)12’8″
4Ben Cushnie  (L)32.54Frank Hernandez  (L)            3.104Anthony Morse (L)12’6″
5Ryan Viyar  (M)32.75Bradyen Spence  (J)                3.135Dylan Conahan   (J)11’11”
Event:  100mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Jonathon Vasquez  (J)141Jonathon Vasquez1Jackson Middleton  (M)31’4″
2Bryan Juarez  (M)14.7Dylan Conahan57.52Jackson McBratney  (J)28’10”
3Kingston Askerneese   (J)14.8JordanKingston Askerneese3Daniel Luga  (M)27’9″
4Shane Blachard  (M)15.2Aiden Berryman4Michael Guiterrez   (L)27’6″
5Alex D’Addario  (L)15.65Rogelo Marquez  (M)26’11”
2Shane Blanchard
Brayn JuarezEvent:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mMuirNichiketh Bellamkonda57.91Bryan Juarez
PlaceRyder HoffmanRyan Viyar5:06
1Dominic Quinadu   (L).         5.49MuirCarson Chase
2Steven Payne  (L)                   5.533Adrian SanchezJames Basco
3Andy Rodas  (L)                      5.56Bryan Juarez59.4
4Jivon Galstian   (L).                6.02LutherDominic Quijado2Francesco Sabato
5Henry Owens   (M)                6.14Conner DurmickLutherRoberto Guiterrez5:08
Teshhawn Barron
Event:  Pole VaultSonny Arana
1Total Pts.
2Muir833Aiden Berryman
3Jordan67JordanSebastina Ulloa5:20
4Luther57Hudson Nichols
Daniel Erickson


Sixth Grade Girls

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Jailynn Turner  (J)12.21Olivia Sanchez (L)70.91Samantha Aguinaldo  (M)4′
1Alanna Neal (M)12.22Alanna Neale  (M)72.22Evalyn Rodriguez  (M)3’10”
3Danielle Bax   (J)12.63Juliette Lambert   (M)74.83Kelsey Finnegan  (M)3’8″
4Kaia Couden  (M)12.74Madison Evans-Armandariz(L)82.24Gracie Miller  (J)3’8″
5Sarabeth Palacio  (L)13.25Alexis Gentry  (J)103.65Payton St.Clair  (L)3’6″
Event:  200mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Madison Williams  (M)311Julette Lambert  (M).    2.581Mia Reese  (L)12’8″
2Olive Sanchez  (L)31.82Tara Rauenswinder  (M).   2.592Jailynn Turner11’8″
3Danielle Bax  (J)32.23Canizales  (J).                  3.203Alexis Bell  (M)11’5″
4Alaleh Dolatshahi. (M)32.84Faith O’Keefe  (M).        3.264Alyssa Allen  (L)11’1″
5Stephanie Domine. (J)36.555Natalie Romero  (L)10’5″
Event:  100mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Maddison Williams  (M)14.21Madison Williams1Daniela Alvarez.  (L)27’8″
2Polien Abovian (M)14.8Riley Jenkins2Riley Solares. (L)27’2″
3Leanne Santos-Cerdo. (L)15.1MuirAlanna Neale58.73Danielle Bax. (J)25’7″
4Sadie Lomet. (J)15.2Polien Abovian4Riley Valento. (M)25’4″
5Alyssa Allen  (L)15.35Sydney Lin.  (M)24’10”
2Sadie Lomet
Jessica WardEvent:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mJordanJanelle Ward621Juliette Lambert
PlaceDanielle BaxAlanna Neale5:17
1Alyssa Allen  (L).                6.43MuirAlexis Bell
2Alexandra Slek. (M).         6.493Maddie DemmertEvalyn Rodriguez
3Kelsey Finnagan. (M).      6.50Mackenzie Meisenbach64
4Ashley Sosa. (M)                6.53LutherBridget Crenshaw2Mattiasi Gonzales
5Claren Merrill. (M).           6.57Olivia SanchezLeela Vonderhey5:30
JordanJanelle Moreno
Event:  Pole VaultNatalie Patrick
1Total Pts.
2Muir1073Olive Sanchez
3Jordan41Alyssa Allen5:50
4Luther58LutherMackenzie Meisenbach
Bridget Crenshaw

Seventh Grade Boys

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Sattwik Banerjee. (M)11.21Ryan Dellutri  (J).        Rec58.11Jagg Richer. (J)4’8″
2Jagg Richer. (J)11.32Sebastian Zamora. (L)642Koji Nakazawa. (M)4’8″
3Dylan Robinson  (M)11.43Branton Lewis  (M)64.33Joe Maslyk. (M)4’6″
4Damien McNeely. (J)11.54Dylan Webster. (J)64.94Kenzie Sawyer. (L)4’6″
5Sebastian Zamora  (L)12.75Zakk Estrada. (M)65.85Reece Adams. (L)4’4″
Event:  200mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Ryan Dellutri  (J)26.41Siyoung  Heo. (M)         2.231Nathan Perez. (J). REC18′
2Johnny Osequeda  (L)27.92Kevin Pereira  (M).       2.322Gabriel Mier. (L)16’6″
3Kyle Rodriguez. (M)28.23Nathan Shindich. (J).    2.333Koji Nakazawa  (M)15’4″
4Ronny Preza. (L)28.64Andy Rodas   (L).           2.344Joe Maslyk. (M)14’8″
5Zakk Estrada. (M)29.55Sebastian Zamora. (L). 2.355Kaleb O’Neil. (L)13’10”
Event:  100mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Ryan Dellutri  (J)12.91Zakk Estrada1Sattwik Banerjee. (M)44”4″  Rec
2Patrick Masoudi. (M)13.3Patrick Masoudi.            Rec52.32Eddie Antonio  (L)42’1″
3Sebastian Zamora. (L)13.5MuirKoji Nakazawa3Garik Kirkosyan. (M)35’8″
4Zakk Estrada. (M)13.9Joe Maslyk4Marlon Rivas.  (L)35’6″
5Gabriel Meir. (L)145Sebastian Zamora. (L)33’11”
2Rony Perez
Gabriel MillerEvent:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mLutherJosh Novarro54.61Brenton Lewis
PlaceCameron SinkoskiKyle Rodriguez
1Siyoung Heo. (M).         5.17MuirSiyoung Heo
2Kyle Daou. (L).               5.323Ryan DellutriKevin Pereira
3Dylan Robinson  (M).   5.33Jagg RicherDQ
4Andy Rodas.  (L)            5.35JordanNathan Perez2Rony Preza
5Ozzie Gara. (L)               5.54Dylan WebsterReece Adams
LutherJosh Navarro
Event:  Pole VaultKyle Daou
1Total Pts.
2Muir923Jagg Richer
3Jordan55Kyle Rodriguez
4Luther59JordanDamien McNeely
Nathan Shindich

Seventh Grade Girls

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Madison Soforenko. (M)12.61Joanna Camcho. (M)701Kara Aldana-Pera  (L)4’4″
2Dylan Berger. (L)12.92Vivi Cannon. (J)70.42Anna Hidalgo. (M)4’2″
3Annabelle Steel   (M)13.33Julia Narmore. (L)70.53Elodie Lambert. (M)4’2″
4Linday Mazarei.  (J)13.44Jolene Molina. (M)714Ivana Rasov. (L)4′
5Victoria Krol  (L)13.55Eden Butcher. (L)71.55Mia Castro  (M)3’10”
Event:  200mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Mia Castro  (M)29.81Vivi Cannon. (J).            2:561Maleya Gould  (J)12’4″
2Jolene Ngo. (M)31.82Annalise Gonzalez. (M).     2:582Victoria Krol. (L)12’2″
3Eden Butcher  (L)32.73Kiara Bolger  (M).         3:043Luna Wyatt. (M)11’4″
4Otelia Lighthill. (L)33.14Rachel Little. (L).           3:054Daphne Sakavellas  (M)11’3″
5Amy Pelico. (J)33.65Nicole Mirales. (L).        3:075
Event:  100mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Mia Castro   (M)14.21Anna Hildago1Brooke Bailey. (L)31’5″
2Delilah Alvardo. (L)14.4Mia Castro2Karen Castillas.  (M)31’4″
3Anna Hildago. (M)14.6MuirMackenzie Salerno3Leanna Tatarian. (L)28’2″
4Luna Molina. (J)14.7Samantha Reyes4Irene Abramyan. (M)27’6″
5Kylie Severson. (L)15.15McKenzie Nuss. (J)27’1″
2Leanna Tatarian
Julia NarmoreEvent:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mLutherMaria Pilavian1Joanna Camacho
PlaceKylie SeversonJolene Ngo
1Samantha Buckley. (M).     6.27MuirDanirlle Roarke
2Jolene Ngo. (M).                    6.293Vivi CannonSamantha Buckley
3Kiara Bolger. (M)                 6.30Montana Benz
4Madison Soforenko. (M).   6.46JordanLuna Molina2Rachel Little
5Milly Dmitrieff. (M).            6.47Maleia GouldEden Butcher
LutherAnika Lingad
Event:  Pole VaultJulia Narmore
1Total Pts.
2Muir1143Ava Moore
3Jordan30Vivi Cannon
4Luther62JordanCaitlyn Mendoza
Adira Fogleman

Eighth Grade Boys

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Joseph Zimmermann. (L)10.21Brennan Dragomer. (M)57.81Blaine Austin. (M)5′
2Rudy Perez. (L)10.32Anthony Reyes. (L)58.11Joseph Zimmermann (L)5′
3Joseph Santorico. (M)10.53Jonathan English. (J)59.43Caed Ceuvorst. (M)5′
4Sebastian Ottoson  (M)10.64Dylan Stewart. (M)59.94Joseph Santorico. (M)4’10”
5Luke Dearth. (J)11.85Adrian Flores  (L)60.25Rudy Perez. (L)4’8″
Event:  100mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Sebastian Ottosson. (M)12.51Jalen Leighton. (L)                  2.181Joseph Zimmermann (L)17’11 1/2″
1Aiden Kaloustian. (L)12.52Mason Ortega. (L).                  2.232Rudy Perez. (L)17’11”
3Kylen Gibson. (J)12.73Dylan Stewart. (M).                2.243Caed Cuevost. (M)15′
4Brennan Dragomer. (M)12.84Xander Peneflor. (L).             2.264Seven Spaulding  (M)14’8″
5Carlos Rodriguez. (J)12.95James Kwon. (M).                    2.285Ethan Wertlieb. (L)14’5″
Event:  200mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Aiden Kaloustian. (L)25.61Sebatian Ottosson1Isaac Reyes. (L)38’2″
2Sebastian Ottosson.  (M)26.5Caed Ceurvost                Tie Rec50.12Michael Mansour. (M)37’1″
3Carlos Rodriguez. (J)26.4MuirJoseph Santorico3Joseph Zimmermann. (L)36’8″
4Brennan Dragomer. (M)26.5Chirasak Phongsapan4Dylan Stewart  (M)35’4″
5Kylen Gibson. (J)26.65Diego Salas. (J)34’1″
2Anthony Reveles
Aiden Kaloustian50.3Event:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mLutherJade Vasquez1Brennan Dragomer
PlaceEthan WertliebDylan Stewart4:09
1Mason Ortega. (L).                     5.04MuirFreddy Cardenas
2Jalen Leighton  (L)             5.053Jonathon EnglishCaleb Fauntleroy
3Xander Penaflor. (L).         5.06Kylen Gibson50.7
4Freddy Cardenas. (M).      5.20JordanKarmello Allipio2Anthony Reveles
5James Kwon. (M)                5.28Carlos RodriguezJacob Fabian4:11
LutherRocco Morse
Event:  Pole VaultJaden Vasquez
1Total Pts.
2Muir783Karmello Allipio
3Jordan18Gunnar Nichols4:55
4Luther111JordanDrake Vickers
Aristotle Bianchini

Eighth Grade Girls

Event:  70m HurdlesEvent: 400mEvent: High Jump
1Emma Cusumano. (M)1Natalie Perez. (L)69.61Emma Cusumano. (M)4’8″
2Elli Sumera. (M)2Zoe Askerneese. (J)70.42Paige Cizek. (M)4’8″
3Brielle Williams  (J)3Adeline Thrope. (M)70.93Piper Loring. (M)4’4″
4Natalie Perez  (L)4Elli Sumera  (M)714Anaiya Harvey. (J)4’2″
5Dani Solarzano. (L)5Jenny Redillo. (J)74.85Charlotte Sanchez. (L)4′
Event:  100mEvent:  800mEvent:  Long Jump
1Emma Cusumano. (M)13.71Charlotte Sanchez. (L).       2:531Megan Schmidt. (J)13’11”
2Megan Schmidt. (J)14.62Adeline Thorpe. (M).           2:542Paige Cizek. (M)13’10”
3Julie Kim  (M)14.613Jenny Radillo. (J).                  2:553Meghan Lynch. (J)11’9″
4Anaiya Harvey  (J)14.94Evaluna Oleas-Mekitarian (M).  3:064Elisa Laloudakis. (M)11’3″
5Faith Perera  (L)16.65Judith Marando. (L).             3:085Dani Solarzano. (L)10’9″
Event:  200mEvent:  4x100m RelayEvent:  Shot PutDistance
1Megan Schmidt. (J)30.21Emma Cusumano1Stephanie Wilson. (L)34’5″
2Zoe Asakerneese. (J)30.4Julie Kim2Kelly Volpe. (J)30’7″
3Julie Kim. (M)30.91MuirMadison Chase56.63Katherine Bui. (M)30’1″
4Elli Sumera  (M)30.92Aviah Priestly4Kiara Hernandez. (L)29’2″
5Natalie Perez. (L)31.35Kelly Long. (L)28’3″
2Megan Schmidt
Jenny RadilloEvent:  4x400m RelayTime
Event: 1600mJordanZoe Askerneese58.51Jensen Campbell
PlaceAnaiya HarveyMia Brumbaugh
1Charlotte Sanchez. (L).       6.13LutherCharlotte Sanchez5:01
2Sukruti Shome  (L)              6.143Faith PereraLilliana Noriega
3Christina Ohanians. (M).    6.39Hailey Dowthwaite61.3
4Evaluna Oleas-Mekhitarian. (M). 6.45LutherSukruti Shome2Adeline Thorpe
5Isabella Smith. (M)              6.55Kendall St. ClaireElli Sumera5:02
MuirCalista Espino
Event:  Pole VaultLilit Khulyan
1Total Pts.
2Muir913Esabella Munguia
3Jordan61Zoe Askerneese21:00.0
4Luther55JordanSarah Valenzuela
Sophia Lazzar
2018 All City Elementary Final Results -800m
Boys Record
2:40    Nicholas Schlander    Brett Hart  2015
1Henry Virtue.                     2.45.7
2Dominick Ybarra              2.45.9
3Julian Stevens                    2.55
4Kyle Smith                          3.02
5Andrew Cox                       3.04
6Connor Calett                    3.09
7Keawe Kalama                  3.11
8Tripp Raitt                         3.16
Girls Record
2:55    Kaylee Hirsch    Roosevelt  2015
1Aubrey Eaton           Rec   2.48
2Angelina Dellutri              2.55
3Avery Brown                     2.58
4Olivia DelCastillo              3.04
5Jessica Han                         3.10
6Morgan Schmidt               3.14
7Jamielyn Villalobos.         3.17
8Hannah Mendoza.            3.23

Scoring by School

2018 All City Track Results
Overall Points
John Muir565
Luther Burbank402
Grade Level
8th  Boys8th  Girls
7th  Boys7th  Girls
6th  Boys6th  Girls

Muir Around The World Day Jousts With History

Seventh-grade students at John Muir Middle School were immersed in Medieval-era history during the school’s annual Around The World Day on Friday, March 16.

As part of the curriculum for Social Studies, the students have studied cultures and histories from throughout the world during the Middle Ages, roughly the historical time period from the fifth century to fifteenth century of the Common Era.

around the world day

(From left to right) Jousters Anthony Parvino and Bryce Abernathy in blue. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The European Medieval era is book-ended by the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Renaissance culture in the early 1400s.

“This day is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the societies we’ve studied,” commented Social Studies teacher Shelly Burish.

“It is a cultural appreciation day that includes a Peruvian musical ensemble, Taiko drumming, a swordplay performance, speakers, Nigerian drummers and a jousting event with horses and Medieval knights.”

Students spend the entire school day with hands-on activities connected to the Medieval time period.


Muir United Focuses On Tolerance And Diversity For The Future

Four-time Emmy-Award-winning actor Jim Parsons gave the keynote speech to students at John Muir Middle School for Muir United on Thursday, November 16, a day filled with presentations focusing on diversity and tolerance for the entire student body.

“Muir United was a day devoted to bringing our students together on issues of acceptance, tolerance and unity,” explained Principal Greg Miller. “Through a great lineup of speakers, we were able to have a day of dialogue with students about their feelings and perspectives on our differences and similarities across race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and more.”

muir united

Emmy-Award-winning actor Jim Parsons gave the keynote speech at Muir United, a Muir Middle School event focusing on tolerance and diversity. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

More than 25 different presentations ranging from live music, visual arts, comedy and drama to straightforward discussions were given throughout the day for Muir United.

In addition to Parsons, the list of presenters included: Teen Truth, Chris Hendricks of Perfectly Afflicted, Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A., Ten West, Special Olympics, USC Interfaith Council, PFLAG, Eva DeVirgilis, Kourtney Kang, Armenian National Committee of America, Survivors of the Holocaust, Soraya Deen/Muslim Women Speakers Movement, John Muir Drama, Dr. Faustin Uzabakiliho, Shahe Mankerian, Sheldon Borenstein, Shelly Barish, Tori Cuseo, Cathy Howard and Julie Van Lohn, Jose Gonzalez and Amelia Cheatum, Chuck Rhodes, Joanna Vargas, Dr. Davina Kotulski, Brenda B. Smith and Erica Orozco Cruz.

muir united

Dr. Faustin Uzabakiliho, a survivor of the genocide in Rwanda and author of “Flight For Life: A Journey From Rwanda,” spoke to students at Muir Middle School. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Parsons, perhaps best known for his portrayal of the character Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, confided to the Muir student body assembled on Mustang Field that he was still nervous to stand and speak in front of people.

“Middle school is so appropriately titled – it is the middle of a young person’s life,” he said. “Middle school is this really awkward middle bridge between that childhood bubble and that young adult bubble.”

“I don’t think there is a better group of people or age for a day like this – to talk about and to think about what it means to be tolerant of other people, accepting of other people, non-judging of other people – than you who stand here on this very odd bridge,” Parsons continued.

Gay Men’s Choir of Los Angeles performed in the Muir cafeteria. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

“It’s equally important to think about what [the presenters] say in relation to how you treat yourself. Think about what it means to be tolerant and accepting of yourself, too.”

“Be patient with yourself,” Parsons also counseled. “At this age you don’t have to know exactly who you are or what you want to be in order to have room in your heart to be accepting of others who are different.”

“Try to learn from [mistakes], forgive yourself and move on,” he said. “As you go through today, listen for two people – your neighbor… and… yourself. Be kind to your neighbor and be kind to yourself.”

Survivors of the Holocaust gave a presentation in the Muir library. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Principal Miller noted the outpouring of interest from the school staff and the community when the school site team first decided to organize the Muir United event, earlier this year in April.

“We never envisioned it this big, involving this many presenters,” Miller said. “People are interested in the topic – this idea that you need to educate kids on the need to be accepting… to embrace this idea of unity.”

“The kids were completely engaged and the speakers delivered,” Miller added. “Our hope is that our students are more tolerant and kind to one another and that, rather than this being a great day, it is the start of a great movement and mindset for all of us.”

Muir Middle School Teacher Becomes Published Author

Bill Esparza, a Special Education Teacher at John Muir Middle School, recently had his book, L.A. Mexicano, published.

A recipient of a James Beard award for his coverage of the L.A. taco scene in Los Angeles Magazine, Esparza is considered one of the country’s leading experts on Mexican food. 

In addition to hosting the annual Tacolandia festival in Los Angeles, he also appears regularly on CNN and KCRW’s radio show Good Food

Last weekend, he was a featured speaker at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Muir Shrew Day Engages Eighth-Graders

Eighth-grade students at John Muir Middle School participated in the fourteenth-annual Shrew Day festivities on Thursday, February 2. Sponsored by the PTSA, Muir Shrew Day was the culmination of four weeks of English class study of William Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew for all 150 students.

Muir Shrew Day began with a shortened performance of The Taming of the Shrew, produced by Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, a professional theatre group located in Topanga Canyon.

“Taming of the Shrew” day at John Muir Middle School in Burbank. (Photo Courtesy Jennifer Moses)

The students then split into groups and 15 actors from the troupe led them through Shakespearian-related workshops on juggling, fencing, scansion (metered poetry typical of the time), Elizabethan song and dance and commedia dell’arte characters (stock characters like the fool, an old man, a peasant.)

Each eighth-grader was able to rotate through three workshops in the morning before breaking for lunch. Then students enjoyed original Shakespeare-related songs played by the Shrew Band.

The two-hour student production of The Taming of the Shrew was a group effort by all eighth-grade students, several PTSA parent volunteers and eighth-grade English teachers Justin Riner, Rod Rothacher, Ted DeVirgilis, Mark Norberg and Steven Moos.

“Taming of the Shrew” day at John Muir Middle School in Burbank. (Photo Courtesy Jennifer Moses)

In preparation for the performance, each English class worked on one of the 17 scenes of the play during class time in the weeks preceding Muir Shrew Day, explained DeVirgilis.

“Students either acted in the scene – complete with costumes by costume/foods teacher, Donna Collier – or help to direct it,” DeVirigilis added. “Language learners and special needs students also acted in the student performance of The Taming of the Shrew.”

“The complex play, in which a domineering Petruchio ‘tames’ a shrewish (read: wild) woman, is also an opportunity for teachers to discuss how the roles of men and women have changed over the centuries,” DeVirgilis went on to say.

“Although the play has been called misogynistic by a few critics, Kate, the shrew, delivers the most powerful lines of the play: ‘My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart, concealing it, will break. I will be free as I please in words.'”

“Students are better for analyzing and reciting the words of William Shakespeare,” he said.

“Taming of the Shrew” day at John Muir Middle School in Burbank. (Photo Courtesy Jennifer Moses)

“Students had a blast speaking the words of ‘The Bard’ and seeing their friends dressed up in Elizabethan garb,” DeVirigilis added. “Following the performance, students had a chance to ‘Win Dr. Miller’s Money’ if they could answer trivia questions on Shakespeare and Elizabethan life.”

The John Muir PTSA supplied all the funding to bring in the Will Geer professional and teaching artists.

“The eighth grade English teachers at Muir are proud that the thousands of students who have gone through our school over the past fourteen years have had a positive first experience with Shakespeare,” DeVirgilis said.

“The Taming of the Shrew is successful at Muir because the only way to truly appreciate and understand the greatest English playwright is to ‘speak the speech…trippingly on the tongue,’ as Hamlet, from another Shakespearean classic, once said.”