Local Students Celebrate Advancement

From Westlake Village to Newbury Park, the caps and gowns are coming out this June with over 2,300 high school grads leading the procession. The Conejo Valley Unified School District’s 28 schools, representing more than 19,300 K-12 graders, and local independent and magnet charter schools, comprising some 3,000 students, are all celebrating some form of graduation this month.

Celebrate the hard work of area youth as they commemorate the completion of their school year and begin the next phase of their educational and life journeys. Local ceremonies take place throughout the month.

May 18-19—La Reina High School and Middle School in Thousand Oaks kicked off the graduation season last month, holding middle school promotions on May 18 and senior graduations the following evening. The commencement is always held on the campus front lawn, where some 1,500 students and guests gather. The senior class numbers 85 this year from a total student body of 547. La Reina is in its 52nd year of operation and is an independent, Catholic, college-preparatory high school and middle school for young women in grades 6-12. The schools are sponsored by the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame.

June 1—Oaks Christian Middle School in Westlake Village will celebrate its 8th grade students, who start high school in the fall. The ceremonies take place at the Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village. The independent, Christian middle school was founded in 2000 and enrolls more than 500 students.

June 2—Oaks Christian High School will congratulate its 231 graduates at the Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village with valedictorian and class leader presentations, student performance awards and other recognitions. The independent, college preparatory, faith-based school was founded in 1997 and has over 1,000 students enrolled.

June 2—Conejo Adventist Elementary School, which was started in 1963 in Newbury Park, is a Christian-based K-8 school that will be conducting its graduation of 8th graders on June 2. The high academic standards maintained at Conejo Adventist are noted by the fact that some 85% of the school’s graduating classes end up going to college after high school, compared to the national average of 42%.

June 7—Conejo Elementary School will hold its “Culmination” ceremony for 73 students. A family and teacher potluck will take place during the day. The Thousand Oaks school was the first elementary school in the Conejo Valley and is celebrating its 135th anniversary this year.

June 7—Conejo Elementary’s Leadership Magnet School in Thousand Oaks will have its “Stepping Up” celebration for 115 students in its multi-age, “Open Classroom” program that will feature presentations by graduating 5th graders. A dinner for families will follow. Since 2009, the Open Classroom concept was adopted to teach students the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” developed by Dr. Stephen R. Covey.

June 8—Century Academy in Thousand Oaks will hold its “Grad Nite” at Magic Mountain June 2. On June 8, the school will present diplomas to 32 seniors at the Thousand Oaks Teen Center. With such a small graduating class, the ceremony is an intimate event, wherein every student is personally recognized by his or her master teacher, who speaks about their accomplishments and aspirations after high school. The students have completed a rigorous “blended learning” curriculum that included digital and individual instruction, plus small group interaction. Students work from home and on campus several days a week, covering traditional, core subject matter and technology. The alternative high school—grades 9-12—was opened in 2010 and has had many of its students go on to colleges nationwide.

June 9—Ladera Elementary School in Thousand Oaks is graduating 61 5th graders. There will also be a breakfast and kickball game with students, parents and teachers. Ladera’s pupils are being guided by the school’s “Dragon Code,” which means Choose character, Own your learning, Demonstrate respect, and Envision success.

June 9—Thousand Oaks High School will hold its “Grad Nite” the evening before graduation at Disneyland’s California Adventure. The school’s 540 graduates will receive their diplomas at ceremonies held at the school’s Lancer Stadium the following evening. As part of the June 9 program, the school will also memorialize a teacher and two students who tragically passed away this year. In May, the school’s newspaper published a map of the United States that noted where its grads would be going to college, with over 96% of the class going on to some form of higher education.

June 9—Westlake High School will also have its “Grad Nite” at Disneyland June 8 and the following evening its 566 graduates will receive their “sheepskins.” Of the school’s 30 valedictorians, some will speak on the theme “Adventure Awaits.” The program, held at Westlake’s Warrior Stadium, will also include student musical performances. Westlake High School has a #1 ranking in Ventura County, a #29 placement in the state of California and scores at the #72 position nationwide in testing and academic excellence. The student body is 2,400 strong.

June 9—Conejo Valley High School in Newbury Park is expected to fete 44 graduating students at ceremonies held at the school’s athletic field. Speakers will include representatives from the Thousand Oaks Teen Center. Scholarships will be given during the celebration. The state of California designated the school as a Model Continuation Education High School in 2012. The former Timber School, originally built in 1924, is a City of Thousand Oaks historic landmark.

June 10—Newbury Park High School will hold its graduation celebration at its Panther Stadium. A student-voted speaker from the graduate ranks is selected to keynote the program. Recognition is given to the valedictorians, major students, special graduates and the honoree for the Superintendent’s award. Newbury High School is ranked in the top 5% of all schools in California, is recognized as a California Distinguished School and has received a National Blue Ribbon School designation. Its student enrollment of 2,550 makes it the largest in the area.

June 10—Los Cerritos Middle School in Thousand Oaks will hold its 8th grade promotions on its softball field for 330 students. Outstanding students will keynote the presentation and school musicians will perform.

June 10—MATES Charter School in Thousand Oaks will hold its “Culmination” exercises at the school, recognizing 61 5th graders for their achievements before they head off to middle school. The ceremonies will include handing out of academic awards, student musical performances and a slide show highlighting the year’s best memories. The top students will also give presentations. MATES, which stands for Meadows Arts and Technology Elementary School, has its origins dating back 45 years and currently has 386 K-5 children registered. It is a National Blue Ribbon School winner, three-time California Distinguished School award recipient and has been designated as an Extraordinary Arts School.