North County School News, December 19


PacRidge students connect with veterans

Ruth Gunther and Hugh O’Donnell recently spoke to Pacific Ridge students about their military service.

(Courtesy photo)

Pacific Ridge School students were treated to a special segment of community life for Veterans Day, where several faculty members and members of the PacRidge community discussed their time in service or time passed by their relatives. Among them were the stories of Royal Air Force rear gunner Ellis Markson, who served in World War II and was the grandfather of English teacher Jeremy Rosen. Math teacher Amy Wasserman spoke about her father, retired Major Roger Wasserman, and his time with the US Air Force and his work on NASA’s Columbia mission. A parent of former United States Marine Corps Lt. Col. Hugh O’Donnell discussed his time in service; in the service of his father, Sgt. Co. Arthur Robb, with the 308 Infantry; that of his father, Captain Hugh O’Donnell, with the United States Army during World War II; and that of his son, Kevin O’Donnell, a former student of Pacific Ridge School, now in the United States military. Students also heard the story of Winona Ruth Gunther, 102, a WWII US Navy WAVES veteran, the grandmother of science teacher Julie Gunther. Ruth Gunther was recently honored at the Women’s Memorial in Washington, DC, as a Living Legacy. Visit


Teacher receives Ford Freedom Award

Juel copeland

Juel copeland

(Courtesy photo)

Juel Copeland, professor of social studies at Orange Glen High School, was one of 25 teachers and only two in California to have recently been honored by the Ford Motor Company. The teachers were winners of the “Ford Freedom Unsung – Teacher Heroes of COVID-19” awards, honoring 25 American educators who, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, decided to reach out and teach students. Copeland will receive a $ 1,000 reward and a gift card for classroom resources. She is the leader of her school’s Future Lawyers Club, helping students learn to defend themselves. During the pandemic, she delivered supplies and also led study sessions and tutorials for students and parents. The public was invited to nominate K-12 educators nationwide and the winners were announced at the World Auto Summit in Detroit sponsored by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Ford Freedom Unsung is an annual awards series supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of the automaker, which celebrates individuals doing extraordinary deeds in the African American community.


Local students graduate

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY: Justin Vaughn from Carlsbad, Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development; Jacob Lin d’Encinitas, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado: Nate DeCremer of Poway, Bachelor of Arts in Adventure Education and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Multimedia Studies


MiraCosta offers a new virtual tour video

The MiraCosta College Public Information Office launched a virtual tour experience showcasing the various academic departments and services on the Oceanside Campus, as well as a taste of student life. The five minute video was created in partnership with the MiraCosta College Outreach Department and the International Office and gives potential students hundreds or thousands of miles away a chance to experience MiraCosta. PIO worked with San Diego-based video production company Fifty Square Feet Productions to bring the campus to life virtually. All crew, college staff, and students involved in the project used appropriate safety protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face masks, hand hygiene, and physical distancing . To view the video of the tour, visit To learn more about MiraCosta College, visit


Free COVID-19 vaccination clinics

The San Marcos Unified School District is hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 15 at the San Marcos Elementary School’s multipurpose room, 1 Tiger Way. Walk-ins are welcome. The vaccines are intended for people 5 years of age and older; sponsored by San Diego County and the Universidad Popular. To reduce wait times, make an appointment in advance at Additionally, the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos and TrueCare run weekly immunization clinics for ages 5 to 18 with the Pfizer vaccine. Hours of operation are 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Wednesday at 1 Positive Place. The parent / guardian must be present. First come, first served, while supplies last. Walk-ins are welcome. To avoid waiting times, make an appointment by calling (760) 736-6777.


Families participate in Donuts and Drones

The joint effort of two PTOs for two schools in the Solana Beach School District, Carmel Creek and Solana Pacific, recently brought families to the Solana Pacific School playground for a Donuts and Drones play date with their drones and their remote-controlled cars. Jonathan Szymanowski, father of two and head of the dads clubs for power take-offs at both schools, brought the participants together for a discussion on general drone safety and the capabilities of his drone. Children ran and flew their devices in specific areas, with parents demonstrating how to use the technology safely.

Please send the articles to [email protected] at least two weeks before the events take place.

About Frances R. Smith

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