by George J Elbaum
Monte Vista High School (MVHigh) is a 9-12 public school with a student body of almost 2500 students which is 61% Caucasian, 21% Asian, 9% Hispanic, and 9% for all others. The school has a strong focus on academic excellence, which results in significantly increasing SAT scores for the last 3 years consecutively, and in recognition as a 4-time California Distinguished School and a National Blue Ribbon School. MVHigh even has College Connect, which allows students to enroll in a shortened high school schedule to attend college courses in their 11th and 12th grades and complete up to 30 units aligned with UC and CSU requirements. Thus 73% of graduating students attend a 4-year college and 23% attend a 2-year college. Athletics are not short-changed by academics, with MVHigh teams winning league and even state championships in 2016-2017 in football, baseball, women’s tennis, volleyball and swimming, and men’s golf.
MVHigh is also responsive to student initiatives, as I witnessed regarding my talk. One of its students, “Sasha,” attended a talk I gave last year at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, and afterwards he contacted me and asked if I would be willing to give it at his school in Danville. I agreed, and he took it upon himself to bring it to MVHigh. Relying on his energy and diplomacy, he obviously succeeded, convincing his History teacher, Alison Perruso, to organize the event, which she did expertly and smoothly. My genuine thanks to both of them, and also to Tracy Johnson, MVHigh staff, for her timely “guidance” of a traffic-worn traveler. Other Monte Vista teachers and their classes attending the talk were Jennie Drummond, Gina Henehan, Tommy Greenless, Kristina Zhebel, Bill Powers, Chris Connor and Irene Hashimoto, as well as Assistant Principals Liz Pagano, Kenny Kahn, and Cheryl Di Grazia.