Taft Union High School District

Excellence by Design

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Taft Union High School District

TUHSD Mission Statement



    Taft Union High School District’s vision is “Excellence by Design”



    Taft Union High School District’s mission is to provide engaging rigorous curriculum with global applications.




    The Taft Union High School District has three overarching goals:

    1. To provide rigorous and relevant instruction that prepares students to be career, college and future ready.
    2. To assist students and staff in developing personal awareness skills so they may contribute to a positive and collaborative learning/work environment.
    3. To increase parent and community participation that supports the preparation of students to be career, college and future ready.




    The following are the principles that will guide the work of Taft Union High School District:



    Continually acquiring new information and modifying existing knowledge and skills



    Working collaboratively toward common goals



    Operating in a manner that is visible, predictable and understandable



    Demonstrating fairness, honesty and consistency



    The will to do the right things and to do things right




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  • The concert band, jazz band, and string orchestra will perform on Tues., Dec. 11 in the
    TUHS auditorium at 7:00 p.m. “This year’s Christmas concert will be a celebration of the
    holiday classic ‘Silent Night.’ The song was first performed 200 years ago on Christmas Eve. We are honored to play it for our family and friends.” said Amanda Posey, the TUHS instrumental music director.


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  • Choir Christmas Concert


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  • TUHS Senior Grad Night

    May 31, 2019

    Tickets on Sale Now!!

    $150.00 Includes:

    Your Year. Your Park. Your Party.

    Share a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you and your friends get to create one final night of high school memories. Celebrate this unforgettable event with a full day to experience both Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park during normal operating hours 9:00am-10:00 pm with a Grad Nite ticket. In addition, all seniors with a Grad Nite ticket will enjoy an exclusive, private party at Disney California Adventure® Park from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM.

    Disneyland® Resort Grad Nite Includes:

    • Arrival with your school during the park hours offered as part of your Grad Nite Ticket.
    • Time to enjoy Cars Land with your friends.
    • A private Disney California Adventure® Park experience with dance parties from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM.
    • For TUHS Seniors, a Grad Nite Ticket granting you a full day's access to Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park during normal operating park hours.

    Senior trip package  



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    TUHS faculty members honor “Wildcats to Watch”
    By, Jacquelyn White, Public Information Officer
    Twenty students were chosen for recognition by TUHS faculty during the inaugural
    “Wildcat to Watch” event. Principal Mary Alice Finn conceptualized this idea in order to allow
    faculty to recognize students for any reason, and each could nominate only one student for this
    special recognition. “These students are examples to their peers for what is possible when you
    put in hard work, overcome odds, and be kind and courteous to those around you.” Families and
    friends were invited to celebrate the exceptional students and their diverse talents and
    contributions to TUHS and our community.
    Half of the certificated staff members were invited to nominate one student for the fall
    “Wildcat to Watch” event, and the other half will be asked for nominations in the spring. Finn
    said, “I’m excited for this opportunity to recognize students for a variety of reasons and
    appreciate the opportunity to do it in front of their families and the faculty that has chosen to
    recognize them.”
    Students chosen for the award include: Jonah Armstrong, James Burell, Kayna
    Cuthbertson, Marline Figueroa, Jeanette Gamez Gill, Sergio Gomez, Eder Gonzalez, Ally
    Houghton, Colt Matthews, Chloe Parmenter, Ashley Pence, Millie Reynoso, Kimberly Rivera,
    Garrett Rolin, Roxana Rojas, Blake Smith, Jackson Van Roekel, Cenobio Velasco Hernandez,
    Macayla C. Wells, and McKenlee Wescott.
    Nominated by Dr. Jacquelyn White, Jonah Armstrong is the chief photographer for both
    the Gusher and the Derrick. Armstrong, “has a special way of capturing each moment that will
    live on forever in our student publications. Jonah spends countless hours of his free time
    capturing these moments…” said White. According to White, Armstrong “joined yearbook this

    year in order to continue his contributions and to help make it an incredible book of memories.
    This year, he even went a step further to spend a Saturday, and many other days during the
    school day, taking senior portraits for those who were unable to have them taken...he does
    things like this daily and never asks for extra credit or anything else in return. He is truly an
    inspiration and I hope other students and families see how much his pictures, words, and
    student memories will provide priceless reminders of our times here at Taft Union High School.”
    James Burell was nominated by Mr. Carlos Chavira. Burell would like to attend culinary
    school and this created a special bond with Chavira, the TUHS foods teacher. Chavira said,
    “James goes above and beyond with the culinary program. After his high school job, he will
    immediately volunteer to cook for fundraisers and events.” Burell smiled as Chavira described
    how he conceptualized the menu for the Wildcat to Watch event and told a story about how he
    wanted to make hamburgers for his final last year. Chavira was skeptical, but then James baked
    his own bread for the buns and showed him how talented he truly is.
    Kayna Cuthbertson was nominated by music teacher Mr. Aaron Mosely. Cuthbertson,
    “came in almost every Tuesday and Thursday to work on her voice over a period of 10 weeks.
    When most students would have given up, Kayna was faithful to accomplishing her goals.”
    Mosely congratulated Cuthbertson for her hard work by nominating her for the recognition.
    Marline Figueroa was nominated by Ms. Lisa Borrecco for her intelligence and hard
    work. “She gives 100% on every assignment and values her education. I can always rely on
    Marline to show up to class on time, prepared, and ready to participate. She is respectful, always
    has a smile on her face, and never complains.” said Borrecco when she described Figueroa’s
    traits in the program.
    Jeanette Gamez Gill was nominated by Mrs. Emmy Lou Heber for her involvement in
    extra-curricular activities and grades. According to Heber, “She is self-disciplined and takes
    initiative to ensure she masters all content. She’s quick to volunteer and answer questions. She’s
    an absolute pleasure to have in class and I don’t think she gets the recognition she deserves.”

    Sergio Gomez was nominated by Ms. Michelle Lopez for his perseverance and drive to
    better himself. Lopez said, “Sergio is capable, smart, and a very respectful young man. In
    addition to those great characteristics, Sergio’s current grades and varsity football experience
    reflect promises kept.” Lopez recalled times when Gomez’s character and work ethic was
    demonstrated. He was recognized for overcoming personal and academic setbacks and is,
    “destined for great things.”
    Eder Gonzalez was nominated by Mr. Jim Uline, history teacher. Uline’s reason for
    nomination is Gonzalez’s work ethic and efforts to overcome language barriers. Gonzalez has a
    92% in Uline’s World History class, which is very hard to do for many students and Uline knows
    how much harder Gonzalez has worked to achieve that goal. “Eder is quite remarkable...He’s an
    extremely hard worker. I look forward to grading his papers and it’s very often that I use his
    paper as an answer key because I know that Eder works hard. He goes to tutoring almost five
    days a week...he’s an extremely hard worker and his parents must be extremely proud. I wish I
    had more students just like him.”
    Ally Houghton was nominated by Mrs. Amanda Posey, TUHS band director and music
    teacher. Posey remarked about how, “Ally goes over to Lincoln four days a week and helps with
    young band students learning to play. She helps with percussion and clarinet. She does not play
    the clarinet but is learning and teaching at the same time. Her quiet confidence is so peaceful
    and comforting. She is a treasure and a wonderful influence on these young students.”
    Colt Matthews was nominated by Mr. Steve Parker. According to Parker, “Colt always
    enters my classroom with a smile on his face and a ‘high-five’ to start the class. He is a true
    delight to have in class.” Parker said, “[Matthews] enjoys the class, and he works hard. He
    makes others feel happy in the class and enjoy being part of the class.”
    Mr. Eric Newton nominated Chloe Parmenter, who “always has a great attitude. She is
    very dedicated to doing well and tries her hardest at all times.”

    Ashley Pence was nominated by Mrs. Jan Ashley and Mrs. Staci McMinn. Pence is “quiet
    and thoughtful. She always has her work done well and on time. [Pence] had a personal tragedy
    this last year, but she did not let it derail her from her goals. She wants to be a psychiatrist and
    will probably succeed.”
    Millie Reynoso was nominated by Mr. Ryan Hickman. Although Hickman was attending
    another Taft High event, he wrote a lengthy tribute to Reynoso, which included the following:
    “She is one of the friendliest, most caring, compassionate, humble, and respectful students with
    whom I have had the privilege to interact. I am a father of five young boys, and I hope that all of
    them will one day grow up to be as respectful, as polite, and as quality an individual as Millie is
    today. These qualities are why she is a leader in the community and is a recipient of numerous
    academic and athletic awards.”
    Kimberly Rivera was nominated by English teacher, Mrs. Stacy Lackey. Lackey wrote,
    “The list of reasons why I’m nominating this outstanding student is long, but I will (try to) be
    brief. She’s always motivated to do well, she helps others, and she’s extremely polite and kind.
    When she knows she’s going to miss class (usually because of sporting events), she asks in
    advance what assignments she needs to complete...Kim is wise beyond her years; she ‘gets
    it.’...She appreciates and takes advantage of the educational opportunities our school has to
    offer. And if these reasons were not enough, the fact that she runs in the summer heat of Taft on
    our cross country team is reason enough to honor this impressive young lady.”
    Garrett Rolin was nominated by Mrs. Kara Ranney for his musical talents. “He has a
    great ear for music and an amazing memory that he uses to play his songs. Garrett doesn’t just
    learn the music, he learns the SONG. It’s not just notes for him; it’s music. Garrett doesn’t just
    learn the notes to a song, he plays the music in his head, which makes the music come out of
    him. On Friday, for recital time, he always learns an extra song to share with the class.”
    Roxana Rojas was nominated by Mrs. Monica Toro, TUHS Assistant Principal. Toro
    nominated Rojas after having exactly four conversations with her. Toro commented that,

    “Roxana is resilient, determined, and dedicated. She has faced adversity and challenges, yet
    maintained her academics. I’m proud that she is a Taft Union High School student.”
    Blake Smith was nominated by Mr. Josh Tofte, mathematics teacher at TUHS. Tofte
    wrote: “Blake is always willing to help. He is a very humble student and person. He has a great
    attitude and is an extremely hard worker. He is always wanting to help someone when they need
    it. He is also very encouraging and always has a smile on his face. I never hear him complain. He
    is always positive and enjoys making other people laugh. He is a great kid.”
    Jackson Van Roekel was nominated by Mr. Matthew Davis, teacher and coach at TUHS.
    According to Davis, “Jackson is the epitome of a successful student-athlete. He somehow finds a
    way to balance an incredibly challenging academic course load, a grueling athletic schedule, and
    a vibrant social life. I have seen him grow as a person these last four years, and I am proud to be
    a part of his journey towards becoming a successful young man.” Davis commented that Van
    Roekel would work on statistics homework on a Friday afternoon, right before a big game,
    showing his dedication to both academics and athletics. “He does not allow any time to go by
    him. He works hard every moment he gets.” said Davis.
    Cenobio Velasco Hernandez was nominated by Mrs. Mallory Peters for being polite and
    respectful. Peters wrote, “He has shown maturity in the time that I have known him.” Velasco
    Hernandez was unable to attend the event, but Peters said many nice things about this “Wildcat
    to Watch.”
    Macayla C. Wells was nominated by Ms. Marsha Eubank as an exceptional student and
    athlete. According to Eubank: “Macayla is a 4.0 student participating in multiple sports. She has
    numerous honors and awards yet still displays a humble demeanor...She loves what she does.
    She aims for excellence. She and her family create the best possible conditions for her success.
    She has a learning mindset instead of a fixed mindset. She keeps herself encouraged not
    discouraged. She keeps her eyes on her goal. She perseveres when others give up. Macayla is a
    true example of what a student-athlete looks like. She is a sophomore with great potential.”

    McKenlee Wescott was nominated by Mr. Tom White. White discussed her dedication to
    the CTEC law enforcement program and her fantastic abilities as a leader and Captain in the
    program. White commented, “Every year I wonder what it going to be like when the seniors
    leave and how I’m going to replace the captains that I have...I’ve never had the feeling like I have
    this year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to find a right hand this good next year...She is the backbone
    of law enforcement at this school and without her we wouldn’t have the program that we have.”
    The students recognized as “Wildcats to Watch” are truly special and faculty enjoyed
    having a chance to acknowledge their contributions.

    Photo captions:
    All photos by Jacquelyn White with the exception of one.
    1. Aaron Mosley and Kayna Cuthbertson pose for a picture at the end of the evening.
    Cuthbertson was nominated for her diligence in choir.

    Aaron Mosely and Kayna Cuthbertson
    2. Emmy Lou Heber smiles as she talks about Jeanette Gamez Gill and her reasons for
    nominating her for “Wildcat to Watch.”

    Emmy Lou Heber and Jeanette Gamez Gill
    3. Jacquelyn White and Jonah Armstrong pose for a picture after the awards. Jonah was
    nominated for his dedication to photography and student publications.

    Jacquelyn White and Jonah Armstrong
    4. James Burell shows off his culinary skills as he serves the dinner for students and guests.
    Burell was nominated by Carlos Chavira for his culinary talents and dedication.

    James Burell
    5. Jan Ashley speaking about Ashley Pence and her nomination by herself and Staci

    Jan Ashley and Ashley Pence
    6. Kara Ranney awarding her “Wildcat to Watch” award to Garrett Rolin for his musical
    talent and sharing this talent with his piano class.

    Kara Ranney and Garett Rolin
    7. Marsha Eubank gives a hug to Macayla Wells as her proud family watches her receive
    recognition for her athletic and academic abilities.

    Marsha Eubank and Macayla Wells
    8. Matthew Davis poses with Jackson Van Roekel, his nominee for “Wildcat to Watch.”

    Matthew Davis and Jackson Van Roekel

    9. Michelle Lopez smiling proudly next to her nominee, Sergio Gomez.

    Michelle Lopez and Sergio Gomez
    10. Stacey Lackey entertained the audience and made Kimberly Rivera smile as she
    commented on Rivera’s motivation and how much she appreciates her diligence.

    Stacy Lackey and Kimberly Rivera
    11. McKenlee Wescott humbly accepts her award from Tom White for her dedication to
    CTEC law enforcement.

    Stacy Lackey and Kimberly Rivera
    12. Wildcats to Watch pictured left to right: Kimberly Rivera, Garrett Rolin, Jeannette
    Games Gill, Kayna Cuthbertson, Sergio Gomez, Eder Gonzalez, Jackson Van Roekel,
    Macayla Wells, Chloe Parmenter, Blake Smith, Marline Figueroa, James Burell,
    McKenlee Wescott, Jonah Armstrong, Ally Houghton, Roxana Rojas, and Ashley Pence.
    Not pictured: Colt Matthews, Cenobio Velasco Hernandez, and Millie Reynoso.

    Wildcats to Watch Fall 2018


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