South LA tech mentor contender for national STEM award

Daphne Bradford invites Mayor Eric Garcetti to watch her students tackle coding projects. | Willa Seidenberg

Daphne Bradford invites Mayor Eric Garcetti to watch her students tackle coding projects at the “Coding with STEAM” event held at Dorsey High in July 2014. | Willa Seidenberg

The nationally acclaimed founder and president of a South L.A. tech-education nonprofit, Daphne Bradford, was nominated this fall for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The White House Office of Science and Technology and the National Science Foundation gives this award to organizations and individuals who have shown outstanding leadership with aspiring scientists and engineers from underrepresented communities.

Bradford will be competing against college level professors for this award; her students are high schoolers. The teacher said she feels younger students have not had enough exposure to science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their schools’ curricula. Her program, Mother of Many, which offers digital media skills for students at Dorsey and Crenshaw high schools, aims to bridge this teaching gap. [Read more…]

Dorsey High holds memorial for student

By: Tiffany Taylor;  Video by: Madison Mills and Emily Mae Czachor

Jennifer Bonilla, a Dorsey High School senior killed in Thursday’s tour bus crash, was remembered with a memorial outside the school on Monday. Students and faculty brought flowers, candles and signs as they continued to mourn her loss.

Bonilla was killed when a bus carrying Los Angeles area high school students to Humboldt State University was struck by a FedEx truck that crossed lanes of traffic on Interstate 5 near Orland.

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Dorsey High celebrates new building


Hundreds of students, teachers, and parents cheered today as Dorsey High School unveiled the first renovation in more than half a century.

[Read more…]

Expo Line critic Damien Goodmon sounds off

More than 700 Dorsey High School students have to cross the Expo Line train tracks at the intersection of Farmdale and Exposition in South L.A every day — a major concern of local residents.

Standing at the intersection this Monday afternoon, Damien Goodmon of the Citizen’s Campaign to Fix the Expo Line, Damien Newton of Los Angeles Streetsblog and Molly Gray of Intersections South L.A. watched the students cross in a mostly orderly fashion. The system of bells, lights and gates kept the students separate from the train when it slow-rolled into and out of the station.

As Metro prepares its weekend-long Expo party, reporters are highlighting the efforts of transit advocates to push the line forward for the last quarter of a century. Absent from the accolades is Goodmon, who has as much to do with the look of the Expo Line, especially at stations and crossings in South L.A. Where Fix Expo regularly lambasted elected officials, Metro, the Expo Construction Authority and anyone else that they felt dismissed their concerns about safety.

Goodmon isn’t looking for accolades — he doesn’t believe his work is done.

When asked about the station, and whether he was happy with it, Goodmon gave a complicated answer, “Absolutely not. But it’s hard not to claim victory when you see what they were going to do at this intersection and others … I want to believe the kids are safer than they would have been. Safe would have been grade separating it.”

Goodmon and Newton talked for almost an hour on Monday, but here are the highlights.

Dorsey High students dance into USC

imageListen to the audio story from Annenberg Radio News:

It’s Friday morning at Dorsey High School and second-year math teacher Edward Kusell-Zigelman (better known as Ed KZ) is about to start a class that has nothing to do with adding or subtracting.

“One of my coordinators proposed the idea to me last year to teach any elective I wanted. She said we have this empty space, empty class, what do you wanna teach?” he said.

For KZ, the choice was easy. He’s a member of Break-On 2, the University of Southern California’s premiere salsa performance group. So KZ started a Partner Dance Class at Dorsey last fall and it’s open to students of all shapes and sizes. That is good news for athletes like Jovonte Warren, who says that when his friends hear Jovonte is in dance class “they laugh because I’m freakishly tall and when they come here to see, everybody else is short.”

KZ’s Partner Dance Class makes Dorsey High one of the only schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District to have an organized dance class. But dancing isn’t the only thing the class teaches.

“This class in particular is something special for the kids, not just because it’s the arts but because it’s partner dance,” KZ said. “So what’s really neat and unique about this class and would be at any program at any high school is that they’re really learning how to socialize with each other.”

Whether it is dancing the tango, doing the cha cha, or shuffling to the salsa, KZ emphasizes the importance of social etiquette and mutual respect.

“It’s been pretty cool, I kinda opened up as a person. I used to be kinda like shy and stuff but now, dance… it helps me like be able to walk up to a person and make conversation,” said Shelton Sanders, a senior who says Partner Dance has helped him open up his social life.

“Mr. KZ came in and asked us about the dance team and he said it was with girls so I was like ‘Yeah, this is awesome!’”

Girls aren’t the only attractive aspect of the course. The Dorsey students get to interact with USC students and alumni through a mentorship program set up by KZ, a USC graduate of 2010. The High Schoolers recently visited USC to perform in USC’s Break-On 2 salsa club. Armand Jordan said the experience helped get him excited about attending college this fall.

“Through this program I was able to go to USC for one of the first times and meet some of the college students and listen to some of their experiences,” Jordan said. “It’s definitely made me want to go to college.”

Almost all of the Partner Dance students are college bound and we’re not talking about your average two-year community college. Many Partner Dance students are headed to prestigious universities such as UCLA, USC, and Stanford.

But KZ’s mentorship program doesn’t just benefit the students of partner dance.

Erika Soto graduated USC in 2011 and she mentors the Partner Dance students every week at Dorsey High School.

“Every student has a USC college mentor and we basically write to each other back and forth,” Soto said. “I feel like we’re making a really great impact on their lives. We’re really influencing them in a positive way and it also reminds me of who I’m trying to be and keeps me motivated to stay in a positive path and move forward in a positive direction.”

The Partner Dance class will return to USC this spring for another performance, this time at Bovard Auditorium for the Break-On 2 Showcase April 19th.

Local high school student shares Thanksgiving recipe

By: Tracy Rivera
If you’re one of those people who don’t like the taste of turkey, you may be looking for a different way to cook the big bird. Tracy Rivera, a student in the culinary arts program at Dorsey High School, has a recipe that uses unusual ingredients to add some flavor. Hear her tell the recipe for Pavo en Especias, or Spiced Turkey, from her classroom at the Dorsey culinary kitchen.

Listen to the audio story:


Here is Tracy Rivera’s recipe:

Pavo en Especias
“Spiced Turkey”

1) 16 to 18 lb turkey
2) 4 tbs (tablespoons) of sesame seeds
3) 3 tbs of pumpkin seeds
4) 1 can (326 g) of Planters Mixed Nuts or nuts of your choice
5) 2 oz (ounces) of chocolate
6) 6 garlic cloves
7) 6 black peppercorns
8) 2 large tomatoes
9) 1 large onions
10) 4 dried plums

1) Fabricate the turkey into 10 pieces (or however many you desire), cutting the breast in half.
2) Put the turkey into a heavy duty pot. Cover it with water, salt to taste and simmer.
3) While the turkey is simmering, toast the sesame and pumpkin seeds in a skillet over low heat.
4) Put the seeds, nuts, chocolate, garlic, tomatoes, onions and dried plums in a blender with some of the cooking water. Blend until smooth.
5) Add the mixture to the pot when the turkey is half way cooked. Then, finish cooking until fully cooked.

**You may serve the turkey with fried rice, or tear the turkey into pieces and put the meat between two pieces of bread.

Students and volunteers reflect on trip to Washington

image“Students will actually benefit from this program, people start to look up to these students,” Daniel Reyes said, an alum of Crenshaw High School who works with the program Mother of Many and was one of the 18 students that went to the White House this past September.

The group, who is made up of students both from Crenshaw’s Digital Media Team and Cooking Live with Dorsey High raised all the money themselves through fundraisers and drives.

“We got to meet with President Barack Obama’s Digital Web team, we met with the First Lady’s nutrition campaign, the ‘Let’s Move’ campaign and we got to see her garden, which was very cool,” said Mother of Many board member Lauri Burrier.

The students were so inspired that they want to start their own First Lady Garden on a already existing 2.5 acre plot at Crenshaw. Mother of Many served healthy popcorn at the Taste of Soul Festival on Crenshaw Boulevard October 16.

“Our big dream is to start a farmers market that would work with the community, so we really want to get out into the community to give the kids more incentive to feel an involvement and feel leadership in their community and stay in school and go to college,” Burrier said.

Voices of Dorsey High School Alumni

Produced by Denise Serrette

Alumni of Dorsey High School in Los Angeles enjoy the annual 2010 all-class reunion picnic and talk about the positive impact that the school has in the community.

Crenshaw High School sends off students to White House

Students from Crenshaw’s Digital Media Team and the Cooking Live with Dorsey High members said goodbye to their parents, schools, and California on Wednesday for a few days.

On Friday, the 18 students will meet with President Obama’s Web Team and Mrs. Obama’s Nutrition Team to discuss how they can create a partnership. Crenshaw has a 2.5-acre garden on campus that they propose to name “Let’s Move Garden” in order to promote the cause of fighting childhood obesity.

Crenshaw Principal Carrie H. Allen congratulated the students and expressed her pride in seeing off the two classes to “one of the best cities in the world.”

“I’m so proud of you; more than you could ever imagine,” Allen told the students.

Parents were also present at Wednesday’s send-off celebration to support their children.

Rodney H. Fairweather, parent of a Crenshaw student, said the opportunity for the group to visit the White House is “phenomenal,” and “should be life changing.”

“You go to school, read about the Constitution, and they actually now get to see how it takes place. This is where the commander in chief…orchestrates world events,” said Fairweather.

Many students said they were most excited to get on a plane for the first time, to visit the White House, and to possibly catch a glimpse of the president himself.

Laurie Bailey, mother of a Crenshaw student, said she was really excited for the students to take the trip to Washington, D.C. because they did a lot of fundraising.

“It’s a really exciting time. This is something these kids will remember for a lifetime,” said Bailey.

Crenshaw High School Principal Carrie H. Allen congratulates students as they head to the airport.

More Intersections coverage of the Journey to the White House:

South Los Angeles students to visit White House

Crenshaw digital team goes straight to the top

Dorsey High School’s culinary program

Dorsey students speak out for change

Taylor Broom clung to a printed speech while walking up Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles Thursday, as she marched with a moving crowd of frustrated students, parents and teachers in a rally for public education.

At the end of the march, Broom mounted a truck and read that speech to the massive crowd of protestors.

The 16-year-old Dorsey High School student spoke for her classmates who continue to see fewer textbooks and crowded classrooms.

“In my history class, there are 41 students in there. It’s affecting everyone’s learning,” said Brown during her speech.

Dorsey High School also lacks textbooks for students.

Brown said not every class has a set of books for class and for home. Students don’t lug their heavy books from home because they don’t have enough lockers to store them. They are then reprimanded for not having their books.

“I want students to have access to the best education. If we have a good education, students can’t make excuses for failing,” said Brown.

She said too many classmates are bored with school and use that as an excuse not to graduate.

Brown also talked about budget cuts last year that led to the layoffs of three counselors. Her fellow classmates mentioned long lines when trying to register for classes.

“We know [the cuts] are real and it’s happening and that we have to fight more,” said Brown.

Brown represented her school’s student group Coalition for Educational Justice.

When a teacher saw Brown in debate class, the teacher insisted she join the coalition because she “had the perfect voice for change.” She has been attending the coalition’s lunchtime meetings since November.

In the future, Brown wants to become a registered nurse.

“College was already expensive to me at first, but now it’s even more [so],” said Brown.