Welding students create sculpture

Welding students from Eden Area Regional Occupational Program are creating a 10-foot-tall sculpture that will be displayed at a Hayward recycling company.

The sculpture is made up of scrap metal donated by Sims Metal Management.

When complete, it will be a figure resembling Atlas holding up a recycling sign. The sculpture is a way to raise awareness for the welding program, said Mike Holmes, Sims operations manager.

"It was an opportunity for students to combine their imagination and creativity and apply the skills that they are learning to produce a work of art," he said.

When complete, the sculpture can be seen at Sims' facility, 30104 Industrial Parkway Southwest. The students attend Barbara Juarez's welding class at Eden Area ROP, which includes students from the Hayward, Castro Valley, San Leandro and San Lorenzo school districts.

Holmes took part in metal training programs in high school and Chabot College. "I know schools are always looking for raw materials," he said.

Union City school band wins national percussion contest

The James Logan High School Concert Band has defeated several schools from around the nation to capture the student percussion championship.

The 23-student squad, led by Logan percussion instructor Vince Oliver, won the title in dramatic fashion in a competition held April 18-20 in Dayton, Ohio.


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"I've seen many of these students since they were in elementary school, and it's great to see them be so successful as upper classmen," Oliver said.

His Union City students were in fourth place going into the final day of competition at the WGI Percussion World Championships, making it likely that the trip would end in disappointment for them. "No group had ever gone from fourth to first," he said.

Given their long odds, Oliver gathered his squad for a pep talk moments before the band took the stage for their last performance.

"Mr. Oliver told us that regardless of what happens, he couldn't have asked for a better year and that he was happy for us," said Connie Truong, a Logan 12th-grade student.

Truong and her teammates then played an Oliver original composition titled "Sacred Ritual," which is about a boy's journey up a mountain in order to prove himself a man. They used all types of percussion instruments -- including cymbals, xylophones, timpani and an assortment of drums -- to give their best performance yet, allowing them to dream a little of an unlikely victory.

The judges, basing their scores on the categories of artistry and performance, made that dream a reality.

"Did we go crazy? Oh, yeah," said Truong, who plays the marimba. "Jumping so many places from one performance was very unexpected."

Oliver, a Logan teacher for the past 10 years, said he was "shocked and excited" when his students took home the top prize. "It's part of the transcendent joy of teaching," he said. "It's why we do this, and I'm super proud of the students."

Fremont students win state history competition

Two Mission San Jose High students won the 2013 California State History Day contest for creating a website about a major turning point in Chinese history.

Catherine Wang and Laura Chen, both of Fremont, captured the website category in a competition held April 26-28 in Sacramento. The contest's theme was "Turning Points in History."

Wang and Chen won by starting a website that focuses on China's Third Plenum in the late 1970s, when the country's government instituted major economic, political and cultural reforms.

The students now will advance to a national competition scheduled June 9-13 in Maryland.

Other contest categories included museum exhibits, documentary films, dramatic performances and historical papers.

Katrina Cherk, who also attends Mission San Jose High, finished in the Top 10 in the historical papers category for creating a presentation on polio epidemics in the United States.

Homeroom is a weekly roundup of news from schools in the greater Hayward and Tri-City areas.