Trailblazers Open New Stadium and Season With A Win
The first pitch at Sierra Canyon School’s new baseball stadium took place after a heartwarming ceremony honoring one of the founders of Republic Pictures, an early movie studio in Chatsworth. When the Trailblazers took the field to start the game, it was like a field of dreams for boys.
“It’s been a long time coming, but we’re all very excited to finally open our new stadium,” said Rock Pillsbury, Sierra Canyon’s Athletic Director. “The boys have been practicing and getting ready for this moment – they’re ready to see who will hit the first homerun at Siegel Stadium.”
The stadium has been named in honor of M.J. Siegel, a self-made entrepreneur and a pioneer in Hollywood who served as one of the founders of Republic Pictures and its president from 1937-44 while the studio was located in the San Fernando Valley. He was instrumental in accelerating the early careers of Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Gene Autry and John Wayne, and a huge fan of baseball. Tragically, Siegel died unexpectedly in the late 1940s.
Siegel never met his grandson, Mike Singer, who currently serves as the board chairman for Sierra Canyon School, but Mike heard dozens of stories about his grandfather and his passion for baseball. Singer, who also loves baseball, wanted to provide something special for the Sierra Canyon students while also honoring his grandfather and his contributions to the San Fernando Valley’s film legacy. Naming the new baseball stadium in honor of M.J. Siegel was fitting.
“This baseball stadium is a special place,” said Jim Skrumbis, Sierra Canyon’s head of school, “I am very grateful to Mike for his generous leadership gift to establish what is undoubtedly the most outstanding baseball facility of any independent school in Southern California.”
Saturday’s events began at 12 noon with a special ceremony hosted by KTLA’s Glen Walker, during which Mr. Skrumbis thanked Singer, a local philanthropist and businessman, for his generosity and presented him with a framed photo of the new stadium’s scoreboard. Singer then spoke to those in attendance, sharing his recollections about baseball and his grandfather, and how the new stadium provides Sierra Canyon students with the best possible high school facilities for baseball in Los Angeles.
Singer then threw out the first pitch to inaugurate the stadium, the players were introduced, and the umpire shouted, “Play Ball!”
When it was all finished, the Trailblazers won the season opener 2-0 over the Maranatha Minutemen.
Skrumbis is proud that every element of the complex evokes the spirit of Sierra Canyon and the level of excellence the school is known for providing. “From the seats along the field to the seats in each classroom, we take pride in providing the best environment for every student.”
Tuesday, March 03, 2015 3:22:00 PM
This Is Not Your Average Gala...
It’s no joke, the best seats in the house for the Give It Up Comedy Night are filling up fast.
So don’t miss out on the hilarity as our own Anthony Anderson and Royale Watkins give it up at The Canyon Club on Saturday, February 28, 2015.
Join the fun and laugh along with us, purchase your Give It Up tickets here
Watch a sneak peak from comedian Royale Watkins here.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 5:00:00 PM
Honor Book Reflects Sierra Canyon’s Tradition of Excellence
On Wednesday, January 21, the Sierra Canyon Honor Book was unveiled at Community Time for Upper Campus students. The school-wide publication is the result of an on-going initiative to promote integrity at Sierra Canyon School.
“This initiative is designed to promote and foster a deeper campus commitment to personal integrity,” according to Hutch Bibby, faculty advisor for the Sierra Canyon Integrity Committee. “A more vibrant honor system allows us to celebrate two of the school’s core values: integrity and community. Each of us can more clearly model the value of being honorable in all that we do.”
Bibby believes every student has the opportunity to freely choose whether to sign the Honor Book or not, but ultimately, signing a book only represents a gesture and a pledge, “This is a dignified opportunity for each student to show their commitment to the idea of embracing the values which inspire us to do our best.”
During the Community Time gathering, students also heard from Girls’ Soccer Coach, Kristy Walker, and Head of School, Jim Skrumbis. Both shared experiences in their lives which emphasized the importance of character and integrity.
Skrumbis spoke about the idea of philoptimo, an ancient Greek word which is difficult to translate because it suggests a number of universal ideals for how one feels about humanity. “If we live for something other than ourselves, we show our philoptimo – our decency, respect, and compassion – and act with love and honor towards others,” Skrumbis said.
Coach Walker spoke about her personal commitment to never cutting corners, and doing her best with character and respect. “Life is always better when you go beyond your limits and work hard to get to the next level,” Walker said, adding, “But when you cheat, you cheat yourself, your opponents, and it cheats you from your true potential.”
In inaugurating the Honor Code book, members of Sierra Canyon’s faculty were the first to add their names. “There should be a sense of honor and pride in signing this book – as a gesture and a pledge of who we are. Intellectually we agree with what the Honor Book represents, that we get it,” said Skrumbis, who was the first to sign, adding, “More importantly, that we live it and try to do our best to honor and do what’s right in every situation we find ourselves.”
The leather bound embossed book was made available for Upper School students to sign and will be shared on the Lower Campus in the coming weeks. The book features the school’s Honor Code and enough pages for generations of Sierra Canyon students and faculty to make a commitment to integrity and honor. “For me, having an Honor Book means the Sierra Canyon community shares the same values of morality and integrity,” said senior Carly Gilmore and member of the Integrity Committee. “It's amazing to know that my school believes in these values and supports them to the fullest extent.”
Each classroom will feature a new Honor Affirmation poster, and computers on campus for student use will also have the Affirmation as the screen background. As part of the Integrity initiative, the Sierra Canyon Mission Statement and Core Values is posted around campus, and the teaching tool (www.turnitin.com) is being used to help educate students on the ethical use of technology.
In some ways, having a formal Honor Book represents the larger values of Sierra Canyon, and the importance of honor, character, and integrity. “We’re currently in the process of creating a ‘Sierra Canyon Style Guide’ which will provide easy to understand and easily accessible guidelines for students on how to properly credit source material in their writing,” Bibby said. “Every student understands the importance of being good citizens and classmates – it’s part of who we are.”
Friday, January 23, 2015 9:57:00 AM
Lower School Winter Concert
On Wednesday, December 10th, Lower School parents were treated to a concert of classical music performed by their students. Beginning violin and cello students performed a variety of string exercises and nursery rhymes showcasing their first accomplishments, while the Sierra Canyon String Ensemble, featuring five violin students, performed songs like Pachelbel’s Canon in D, au Clair de la Lune, and the Twinkle Twinkle Trio.
The Sierra Canyon Orchestra performed more advanced pieces including C Jam Blues by Duke Ellington and Handel Rocks, a piece featuring music by George Frederick Handel, a 17th century German composer. The orchestra features students on violin I and II, viola, cello, harp, trumpet, trombone, percussion, and piano.
The concert concluded with the Sierra Canyon Orchestra performing a Holiday Medley. Led by Jenice Rosen and other Sierra Canyon music faculty, Yi-Huan Zhao, Jen Choi-Fischer, Beth Park-Zhao, and Briana Bandy, the Lower School music program will have their Spring 2015 concert on Wednesday, May 13th at 7:00 p.m. in Founders’ Hall.
Click Here to watch a slideshow from the Lower School Winter Concert!
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 8:27:00 AM
Week of Giving: A Sierra Canyon Tradition
In the spirit of the recent holiday season, and part of Sierra Canyon’s long-established tradition of service to others, the 2014 Week of Giving culminated on Wednesday, December 10th with an Upper Campus gathering to organize and prepare resources which were donated to local, national, and international charities.
Click Here to view a slideshow from this year's service projects!
“The generosity of our students and their families is amazing,” according to Shelley Deutsch, Sierra Canyon’s Service Learning Coordinator, “The donations we received for this year’s Week of Giving provided support for hundreds of people in the Valley, Los Angeles, and even around the world!” Among the agencies receiving donations from Sierra Canyon were FISH of the West Valley Food Pantry which received one thousand pounds of food and toiletries, Hope Gardens Homeless Shelter, which received 162 bags of clothing, Foster Children’s Resource Center which received 250 backpacks, Little Dresses for Africa, which received dresses sewn for girls in Africa, and various military organizations which received care packages and cards from students for military personnel serving overseas.
These donations were made possible by the generous contributions by Sierra Canyon families who dropped off clothing, food, toiletries, school supplies, and miscellaneous household items in early December during morning car pool.
Mrs. Deutsch and other parent volunteers then set the items aside for the Week of Giving project when all seventh through twelfth grade students gathered during Community Time to organize, package, and transfer everything to staging points for pick-up by local charitable groups.
The on-going relationship between Sierra Canyon School and the LAPD provided thousands of individual stockings stuffed with candy and goodies for children in Watts, dozens of holiday cards were made for the seniors Emeritus Senior Living Center, fleece blankets were made for rescue dogs at Blankets of Love, school supplies were gathered for distribution through the charitable organization Rainbow Pack started by ninth grader Riley Gantt, and hundreds of origami birds were created by Sierra Canyon’s international students and included in different donation packages for various charities.
“Many of the items, especially the food and toiletries, are things most of us would take for granted, but are critical for survival by local families on limited income,” said Mrs. Deutsch, adding “The volume of donations reflects the spirit of Sierra Canyon - the service projects we do at Sierra Canyon reinforce what students are learning at home.”
The long-term success of Sierra Canyon’s service program, established in 1992, reflects the character values being taught by parents at home. With the completion of this year’s Week of Giving, plans are under way for next year’s, because there are always families whom we can help. Families interested in volunteering time or making donations directly to local organizations can contact Mrs. Deutsch for suggestions or assistance.
Click Here to watch a student-made video about Week of Giving!
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 8:22:00 AM