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Principal Greg Camacho-Light said Brownell is proud to be recognized this year as a Gold Ribbon School with an emphasis on “whole child”education. “There are plenty of factory schools that focus on data and ignore the human spirit. We’ve put in place initiatives like the Bear Den, which helps students who are falling behind. We won a school district award for our PE Department’s Conditioning and Fitness Program, which focuses on developing habits to stay fit for life. And several years ago we launched a Bullying Prevention Program. The entire school read a book entitled The Revealers as part of curriculum. We brought in guest speakers and provided opportunities for all of our students to be part of the conversation.” South County schools are seeing positive results through anti- bullying efforts that include peer mediators, restorative justice programs, integration of civic duty into history classes, promoting open discussion among students, and giving positive rewards for positive behavior. “Bridget has been a great representative of our school,” Winslow said. Two schools that provide a faith-based component as part of the educational experience include Crossroads Christian School (K through 5th Grade as of 2015-16) and St. Catherine Catholic School (K through 8th Grade). A new Catholic High School, Saint John XXIII College Preparatory, is now in planning and development stages and is slated to open in Morgan Hill in the fall of 2018 (see separate story). At Crossroads Christian School, monthly “Fruit of the Spirit” awards recognize students who exhibit strength of character in core values. As Dr. Lynn Willis, the school’s principal, explained, “We find that children flourish when they can learn in a nurturing environment where we guide them holistically.” When Crossroads took an all-school field trip to spend the day with the San Francisco 49ers, it wasn’t all about athleticism. Students went on a tour of the new Levi’s Stadium and learned about its eco-friendly features. They got a first-hand look at the changing world of broadcast journalism, and exercised their math skills by studying the use of statistics in sports. And they learned about “design thinking” that goes into protective helmets and other professional sports gear. Looking Ahead Bridget Brown with her father Randy, Susan Valenta, and her mother, Stephanie. Inset: Bridget competing in track and field. Christopher High School Principal Paul Winslow said he is heartened by the recognition being given to well-rounded students who not only excel in their studies and extra-curriculars but dem- onstrate commitment to their school. He said graduating senior Bridget Brown is a good example. Brown served as the school’s ASB President and won the Susan Valenta Youth Leadership Award from the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce. During her four years at Christopher High she promoted ASB’s support of U.S. troops with care packages and letters from home as part of Operation Interdependence. She also competed on the track and field team. Brown plans to pursue a Biology degree at UCLA this coming fall and hopes to work in the non-profit sector providing healthcare services to people in need. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Principal Winslow said that, looking ahead, he wants to see Christopher High School continue on its trajectory, excelling in technology and the arts. “We want to solidify who we are as a school. We are working to meld the qualities of a 21st century school with a celebration of the arts. Our hope is that our students can go into industry, and change industry, by bringing technology skills as well as creative, inventive thinking.” Superintendent Flores said that next year Gilroy High will graduate its first seniors from its Biomedical Academy, which is part of America’s Project Lead the Way, a rigorous program of advanced science and math classes preparing students for medical, biomedical and biotech college studies and careers of the future. “Colleges are actively seeking out qualified high school students for their new degree programs.” Principal Camacho-Light echoed the sentiment of South County educators and educational leaders throughout history when he said, “We’ve come a long way, and there’s still a lot of work to do.” Superintendent Betando sees continued progress and bright days ahead, summing it up with the lyrics from a popular Louis Armstrong tune… I hear babies cry, I watch them grow.  They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know.  And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.  JULY/ AUGUST 2015 gmhtoday.com 17