Southwestern Academy Awarded Mini-Grants from the San Marino Rotary

Published : Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | 7:09 PM

Five Southwestern Academy teachers were the proud recipients of mini-grants awarded by the San Marino Rotary to fund new projects on campus. The small, non-profit private boarding and day school is home to international and domestic students who wish to prepare for their future in higher education. Southwestern offers many extracurricular activities for its students to participate in.

With these newly acquired grants, students will be able to learn how to use modern technology to make art, engage in the world of robotics, explore the nature surrounding the campus, and bring back to life the student garden.

The grant recipients and their clubs include:

Lauren Brunjes

Lauren Brunjes (Physics/Math): With FIRST Tech Challenge program, students will learn engineering, programming and logic skills. The robotics program will teach students various skills including how to keep a detailed engineering notebook, learn to budget, raise money, find sponsors, design their team brand and market it (website, social media), engage in public speaking and community outreach, and work with other teams from other schools in a competitive and collaborative manner. This will allow for a variety of students to participate and also allow for some to emerge as leaders. The students will then train other students in the various areas of construction and programming which will allow this to continue from year to year.

A.J. Cabalu (ESL/World Cultures): The mini-grant benefits ESL and history classes and is entitled “Printmaking 101″. With the funds, students will be able to use new equipment to help them practice a variety of printmaking methods for art that will be presented during the annual ArtsFest celebration. Included are woodblock and linocut prints as well as silkscreen printing. This is a way to incorporate art with other subjects, which leads to good discussions and hopefully a fresh perspective/appreciation for art.

John Kohn (l) and A.J. Cabalu (r)

John Kohn (Art): “Designing a Constructivist Typographic Poster”. Students will use a large format printer to create their own original poster design in the Constructivist Style, an art movement which took place in Europe starting in Russia in 1913. They will be able to print out high quality photos that they will cut out and place in their poster along with printing out text that resembles the same used in the post-World War I era. Students will learn about how artists such as Rodchenko, Kandinsky, and Lissitzky used the graphic design medium to design propaganda and movie posters. In the 1980′s Neville Brody revived the constructivist style and then Shepard Fairey continued the revival with his work such as his “HOPE” poster that contributed to Barack Obama winning the 2008 presidential election.

Darlene Osmonson (English): The Rotary Grant will be used by Southwestern Environmental Association (S.E.A.) to purchase equipment necessary to backpack Mt. San Jacinto. Students will experience the change in biomes first hand as they travel through five distinct biomes (desert zone to arctic/alpine zone). They will plan a backpacking trip, learn how much a liter of water weighs, how much water will be needed for the trip, how much weight you should carry based on your body weight, etc., but the most valuable thing students receive from this project is a sense of accomplishment when they summit the mountain at 10, 834 feet.

Michele Russo (l) and Darlene Osmonson (r)

Michele Russo (Science/ Math/Life Skills): Gardening Project- Biology students will be able to till their own garden. With the mini-grant, there will be a new drip system installed with automatic times to keep the garden going through any vacations or time off school. Life Science students will also be doing some container gardening on the porch by their classroom. These hands-on gardening experiences are not only for their education but also for their inspiration.

Southwestern Academy is excited to explore these new horizons!

Southwestern Academy, 2800 Monterey Road, San Marino, (626) 799-5010 or visit














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