A school transformed

Since becoming a resident of Altadena four years ago and working at a Christian school in Pasadena for those four years, I have heard from countless parents the story of Blair High School. 

A lot of hard work from dedicated people turned a failing school into a success, and the school has even more potential to grow and continue to re-establish its extracurricular program. Last year I had the privilege of attending a performance of the choir’s show "Ovations," and I was very impressed with the students’ hard work and talent.

From the International Baccalaureate Magnet Program to the smaller, more comfortable campus, Blair has been rebuilt into a school that people want their children to go to. I know several parents who sent their children to Blair after years in private school. It is the only public school in Pasadena they would consider. 

Please keep Blair open. It is not right to build up a success story like Blair only to knock it down. Blair’s turnaround should be rewarded and held up as an example for the rest of the PUSD.


A promise is a promise

There are many good, legitimate reasons to keep Blair open, and you will be receiving many messages enumerating these reasons. The reason I, a simple teacher from the school, am writing is to remind the district that they made a promise to Blair — a promise that we believed and took seriously.

Yes, there are many financial challenges in the district currently, but it is simply not fair to fix them on the backs of our students, at the cost of the program(s) that are working at Blair, and at the cost of your honor.

Our kids, our teachers and our leadership have stepped up to every challenge you and the state of California have thrown our way. We have done everything you have asked us to do, and yet you are still talking about breaking the promise you gave to us: that you would support Blair and the IB program.

I find this absolutely appalling. You are all honorable men. Please act with honor toward Blair.


Blair’s the one

I am a Blair parent of a seventh grader and I am really concerned about her future education at Blair. The possible closure of the school scares me.

As a former Blair student myself (1979-82), I can’t imagine it no longer being there. My classmates and I felt so much pride here. We weren’t the best in sports, but we were No. 1 in scholastics. We were the smartest school in Pasadena, and proud of it!

I have had a child in the Pasadena school system for the last seven years, graduating from Eliot Middle School and Pasadena High School in 2004.

I am writing to state my appeal on behalf of my seventh grader at Blair Middle School. Out of her choices for middle schools, she chose Blair because of its IB program. She is a gifted child and this is the best place for her to expand her mind. The curriculum is awesome! The classes offered are for the betterment of the student, school and community. The small campus is safe and comfortable. There is no overcrowding of students.

Mr. (Rich) Boccia is a superb principal. In all the years I have been involved in the PUSD, I can’t give you the name of one other principal. They were never present on a campus when I visited. I can honestly state that each and every time I was on the Blair campus, Mr. Boccia was out walking around and greeting students, parents and visitors. I don’t think he uses his office at all. He takes time to speak with each child concerning school, home and if they have any concerns. Mr. Boccia knows each student by name (You try that!).

Blair has improved since Mr. Boccia has come aboard. Blair is no longer under state authority and API test scores have increased by 71 points since his coming. There is a waiting-list for the middle school, and this is due to Mr. Boccia and the IB program.

This is my appeal to leave Blair in its present location. Blair’s IB program is recognized by state colleges and universities as an accredited school. Students are selected from Blair before some private schools.

You hold the future of our children in your hands. Do not destroy what is working for our students and the community.



Thanks for everything

It is with pleasure that I share what is most important to our fifth and sixth grade writing students this holiday season.


First, I am thankful for my family. I love my mom, dad and little brother. Second, I am thankful for my home, school and city. I enjoy my school because I have many friends and teachers there. I love my city because it has anything I could ever want.    


I am very thankful for people who invented things to make our lives better. People like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Alexander Graham Bell were the best inventors who changed our lives. I am thankful to them a lot.


I’m thankful for my mom, dad and my sister. My dad always protects me and is always helpful. My mom takes care of me whenever I’m sick. My older sister, Sky, is always helpful with my homework. Whenever I go somewhere, she always keeps me company and makes me feel safe.


I am thankful for my mom and dad. I am thankful for my teachers and our policemen who teach the schools about DARE, a program that tells you not to do drugs. I am grateful to our firemen who protect us and our nurses who take care of us.


I am thankful for my family and friends who help me. I am thankful to the people who helped after the hurricanes. Moreover, I am thankful for the president for making the world better. In addition, I am thankful for the inventors because I would have nothing to play with or write with.


I really want to say thanks to my parents. They gave birth to me; they treat me like a king and never give up when I still don’t get something. They aren’t rich, but I know they are the people who are special to me.


I am thankful for freedom and peace. If not for the brave soldiers who fought for us, our country would not be independent.


The ‘Right’ season?

I appreciate your article, "What would Jesus do … about the IRS?" (Nov. 10).

I am a proud member of All Saints Church and believe the IRS has singled out my church because we support same-sex marriages, are pro-choice and oppose the Iraq War. We’re called a "liberal church," but I think of us as simply good people who love God and aren’t afraid to act as Christ would, advocating for peace and justice around the world. 
The Rev. Ed Bacon spoke about how the IRS is modifying its complaint to allow for discussions on Christian values so long as they’re in the "right" season (not during election time). Last I understood about the Constitution and the agreements between church and state, there is no such thing as a season, especially when truth needs to be told — especially the truth about how this war is a war without end.

Thus, the parish consensus is to invite the IRS to come to church, but not to the pulpit, and so long as this is a free country, we are going to continue behaving like Christians and advocate for peace.