— In the News: Farmers market unit sprouts ideas for community, business

Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on June 14th.

Sea Crest students ground learning at farmers market. By Sara Hayden.

Farmers Market

The Sea Crest School first-grade farmers market was a chance for kids to do some hands-on learning

Out of the fog came sparks of color at Sea Crest School — blushing nectarines and cherries, blue hydrangeas in mason jars and purple eggplants no bigger than a palm. With the sharp tang of garlic in the air, first-graders gathered on a cool Friday morning to manage their school’s annual Box Town Market and sell their wares.

It was the last event of their social studies unit. They had rolled up their sleeves and dug into the dirt, planting fresh lettuce, beets and carrots, connecting the food on their tables to the ground in which it’s grown, as well as others who would eat it.

Farmers Market“It’s all about self and how we fit into the world,” teacher Stephanie Hanepen said. “We talk about what makes Half Moon Bay such a unique community to live in … We talk about seeds, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting.”

“They get a grip on and an exposure to one of the things I see as one of the miracles of the world,” said Coastside Farmers Market manager and Half Moon Bay Farmer of the Year Erin Tormey, who had the honor of cutting a ribbon to kick off the event. “It’s such a holistic, healthy thing … There’s work involved, there’s science, there’s effort and attention. I think they get that early on.”

Students managing such stands as Baking & Taking (selling gluten-free baked goods, hummus and Sea Crest-grown lettuce) and Awesome Everything (boasting duct tape wallets and packs of handmade greeting cards) carefully counted dollar bills and quarters in exchange for their homegrown goods.

Farmers Market

They donated proceeds to support Market Match, an incentive program for people to buy wholesome foods.

First-grader Autumn Seaborn showed off fresh apricots, leeks, plums and pumpkin bread.

“Everyone wants peaches,” said Seaborn, working quickly to meet queuing customers’ demands.

“It was really fun,” Paxton Holden chimed in. “When we first planted, it was really small, but then it gets really big, and it’s surprising.”

Ashleigh Evans was also proud of what she had grown with her business partners.

“I feel awesome because we grew all this for a while,” Evans said. “I hope people like the taste of them.”


 

— In the News: Sports participation nears 100 percent for 6th- and 7th-graders at Sea Crest

Sea Crest School fifth- through eighth-graders gathered in the school gym for the end-of-year sports recognition assembly last week. Photo courtesy Ambar Pina.

Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on June 14th.

A unique approach to play. By Sarah Griego Guz.

In early June, Sea Crest School hosted a special athletics recognition assembly. The Kohrs Family Center erupted into thunderous applause as the coaches reflected on the banner year.

The girls volleyball and soccer teams as well as both the girls seventh- and eighth-grade baseball teams had earned championship titles. The golf team had also won a championship.

Even more impressive than the highlights was the school’s philosophy: Sports should be accessible to everyone, and all students should be able to take risks while learning something new.

This is not an “everybody plays” approach. Students who have put in the time to master athletic techniques are rewarded with increased playing time and opportunities to play at a high level.

The athletic department, however, has mastered the art of allowing all students to participate without compromising the degree of competiveness needed to win championships.

“Sea Crest Athletics has a no-cut policy and a philosophy of participation stemming from our daily P.E. program where risk-taking is not only encouraged but also celebrated,” said Craig Strong, director of athletics at Sea Crest School in an emailed statement. “We regularly ask students to take risks by giving a particular sport a try and see how it goes. We have generally had a very high participation rate because of this philosophy.

“Sea Crest Athletics relies on the participation of our fifth-grade and middle school students,” he continued. “This year, once again, we had great participation from our student athletes.”

The school experienced participation levels of 94 percent for fifth grade, 99.5 percent for sixth grade and 99.5 percent for all seventh-grade students. The total participation rate for all middle school and fifth-grade students slid in at 95 percent.

The impressive level of participation was evident when the last student athlete was called to the stage to be recognized — the section of the gym where the middle school students had been sitting was virtually empty.

“Children often play a sport because they feel part of something. They want to be included and be part of what all their friends are doing,” said Strong.

Strong also feels that including fifth-graders in the middle school athletics program not only provides an opportunity for students to get a taste of athletics, it also provides them with a foundation resulting in a stronger program overall.

“Including fifth-graders in our middle school program has proven to capture the attention of students due to the level of enthusiasm at this age,” said Strong. “Once we have them engaged, we focus on player development to give them the skills to be able to continue playing at the next level.

“As our athletes begin to develop a passion for a particular sport, we continue to encourage them to play as many sports as they can manage,” he continued. “And, as our students end up in the upper grades, they typically have an extra year of experience from their fifth-grade season, leading us to the number of competitive teams at the varsity or A level.”


 

— In the News: Coastside kids help give hope to those in need

Students from Sea Crest School gathered at Coastside Hope recently to prepare hygiene products for delivery to those in need. Sarah Griego Guz / Review

Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on May 23rd.

Students pack hygiene products for Coastside Hope. By Sarah Griego Guz.

Sixth-grade students from Sea Crest School gathered outside Coastside Hope’s warehouse in Princeton on May 17 with a clear purpose in mind. For over a month, the civic-minded children had been doggedly collecting hygiene supplies for needy families. This was the day that they would package the supplies into “kits” so that they could be given to people in need.

As they stood around a horseshoe of work tables, the students listened as Coastside Hope’s Community Development Director Keith Terry provided insight.

Terry explained that Coastside Hope was started in 1976 and is now considered to be a core agency within San Mateo County.

“Coastside Hope takes care of the Midcoast, which is basically Montara down to La Honda,” said Terry, addressing the students. “Last year we gave away 450,000 pounds of food. That’s a lot of pounds. We gave away food to about 3,400 people.

“Summertime is when we run short on food, because in November and December everyone donates food,” he continued. “And then we put that on our pantry shelves and we give it away. Then our next big dose is what we just got, the 35 barrels from the Postal Workers drive, and then, there’s not a really big one until the Boy Scout drive. And guess what? That’s in the autumn too.”

Properly educated, the students set to work unpacking the hygiene products. They labored together in groups. There were animated discussions as to the best way to accomplish their goal.

“We’re organizing all the hygiene products,” said Ben Cleary as he packed a gallon-sized bag with toothpaste and shampoo.

“We’re sorting them and organizing them into packs to give them to people so they can use them,” added Luke Aranda. “We try to maximize what we put in each pack, so usually they have some basic supplies that people might need at home, like deodorant, toilet tissue, shampoo and conditioner.

“Some other necessities that some homeless people might need are like a can opener,” he continued. “Which is very important when they get food, because if they don’t have a can opener they can’t eat the food.”

“The most needed product, surprising when you’re dealing with food, especially with a homeless person, is a can opener,” said Terry. “Can openers are really important, especially for a homeless person because they lose them and then can’t get into their food.

“As far as specific food items, we always need soups, breakfast cereals and oatmeal,” he continued. “We always need basic staples like oil, flour, sugar, things like that that people can turn into food, so they can make their own bread, their own tortillas. They make things out of that.”

Terry also stated that cake mixes are always welcome as well as any food staples.

Because of the influx of food resulting from Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, Terry estimates their supplies will last one or two months.

“We always welcome food donations, regardless of the time of the year,” he stated. “Fresh produce, if someone has a backyard tree (and) they want to pull their lemons down, those go really fast.”

In addition to food donations, neighbors wishing to support the safety net programs at Coastside Hope are invited to attend the annual barbecue scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 21 at Mavericks Event Center. Tickets go on sale in early June and will cost $40 to $50 at the door.

For more information, visit coastsidehope.org.

 


 

— In the News: Coastside sixth-grader heads to Washington

Chase Urban is going to Washington D.C. to raise awareness about type 1 diabetes. Sara Hayden / Review

Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on May, 23rd.

By Sara Hayden.

Between writing letters to lawmakers and preparing for a speech to present at Levi Stadium, Chase Urban has been busy. But not so busy that he can’t find time to play basketball, dedicate himself to his sixth-grade studies at Sea Crest School and hang out with his two cats.

This is all in a day’s work as the 12-year-old rallies awareness about Type 1 diabetes. Next stop: Capitol Hill, where he intends to solicit support from Congress.

“I really want to change the world,” Urban said. “I really want to get (Type 1) diabetes out there and tell more people about it and educate people about what diabetes is and that we need to find a cure for it.”

About 1.25 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease for which there is presently no prevention or cure. At its onset, the pancreas stops producing insulin — a necessary hormone that helps the body derive energy from food.

Without it, people living with Type 1 diabetes must carefully balance activity and eating, around the clock, as well as monitor blood sugar levels and inject or infuse insulin with a pump, which can be expensive. If blood sugar levels aren’t managed, it can cause long-term complications for nerve, kidney, eye and cardiovascular health.

The majority of people with Type 1 diabetes are adults, and minors represent 16 percent. Urban will join more than 150 other children from all 50 states in Washington, D.C., to draw attention to the importance of eradicating the condition.

“The U.S. government funds research for Type 1 diabetes,” Urban said. “We want them to continue doing that so hopefully we can get a cure someday.”

That’s the ultimate goal. Technological advancements in managing the disease are important objectives in the meantime. In 2013, Urban participated in a clinical trial for an artificial pancreas from Stanford University as well as a new sensor that monitors blood sugar levels. He says these advancements make it easier to do the things he loves.

The Children’s Congress trip is supported by JDRF, an organization dedicated to funding research for Type 1 diabetes, a disease that annually incurs $14 billion in health care costs nationwide.

Advocacy feels ever more urgent as the passage of the American Healthcare Act earlier this month leaves people with pre-existing conditions, including Type 1 diabetes, vulnerable to increased insurance costs.

“These children and their parents face the burden of Type 1 diabetes every day, and, by sharing their stories, they become the most powerful advocates we have in fighting Type 1 diabetes,” JDRF President and CEO Derek Rapp said in a statement.

Urban said he was first inspired to get involved with JDRF the day after he was diagnosed when he turned on the TV. There was a broadcast of the JDRF One fundraising walk, and Urban found his calling, getting his family and others from Half Moon Bay onboard to participate.

Over the years, dozens of Chase’s Champions have collectively raised more than $100,000. They intend to do it again this fall.

“We’re totally going to be walking,” Urban said.

“It’s Chase’s favorite day of the year,” his mother, Jenny, confirmed. “We’ll be doing it for a long time.”

“I’ll find a way to get there in college,” Urban added.

Urban has also gone on to be a junior spokesman for JDRF. He’ll be giving his 10th speech on May 31 at Levi Stadium to address the people of Silicon Valley about Type 1 diabetes.

“We have this thing around the office — ‘Chase for president,’” Shelly Jensen, a member of JDRF’s marketing and communications team, said. “He’s an incredible young man … He’s taken it to heart that he is raising awareness for our community.”

 


 

— In the News: Sea Crest kids come clean for good cause

Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on April 19th, 2017.

 

By Sarah Griego Guz.

Sixth-grade students at Sea Crest School were hard at work in their Health and Wellness classes the week before spring break.

Colorful handmade posters announcing the upcoming hygiene drive fanned out across work tables as students concentrated on adding lettering to cardboard boxes.

Hudson Webster hoisted a cardboard box with the words “Hygiene Drive” inscribed across the surface. It was punctuated with smiley faces.

“We are bringing this box to the fourth-grade class for the hygiene drive,” he said. “It’s so they can put all the donated items in there.”

Now in its third year, the hygiene drive offers something good for all involved. The students collecting the donations are flexing their organizational, communications and leadership skills while Coastside Hope benefits by receiving the items collected during the drive.

“A lot of people, when they donate, they donate clothing or food,” said sixth-grade student Carla Roberts. “They forget about hygiene even though it’s necessary for staying healthy, so we’re trying to raise awareness for that.”

The hygiene drive goes hand-in-hand with what the students are learning in class.

“It’s great, because it fits into the curriculum and they are giving back,” said Director of Physical Education Katie Moore. “In class, the students are learning about deodorant and bacteria. We also talk about how in some schools there are kids who are unable to come to school with clean clothes.

“That’s the thing that we talk about here, what’s it like to only have five things, a pair of shoes, a shirt, underwear and have to wear those same things to school every day,” she continued. “Nobody here knows what that’s like, but there are many families in our community that do, and they may not have laundry detergent because they need to use that money for food or to pay a bill.”

Their mission clear, the students were divided into groups and set out to accomplish a laundry list of tasks, including creating an online form so members of the community could sign up to donate specific items.

“You feel like you’re doing something for people,” said Kaylani Guevara. “It just feels good.”

The students are hoping others in the community will donate to the worthy cause.

In addition to soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, they are hoping to collect items such as deodorant, face wash, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, combs, hair brushes, razors, shaving cream, foot powder, lotion, sunblock, Q-tips, tweezers, nail clippers, laundry soap, wash cloths and towels.

The deadline for donations is April 28. For more information email Katie Moore at kmoore@seacrestschool.org.


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