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Program Aims to Make Science Fun for Kids

October 07, 1998|DIANE WEDNER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Forget TV. Put away the computer games. Instead, say hello to rocketry, creepy crawlies and Morse Code machines. That's what a lucky group of Valley Alternative Magnet School students get to look forward to as they embark on the Science Adventures after-school program beginning next week on their Van Nuys campus.

Created in 1977 by South Bay teacher Bill Gregory in conjunction with the Cal State Fullerton Arboretum, the hands-on, science-based program introduces young people to physics, chemistry, botany and biology through experiments.

Among the projects the young scientists will work on is the creation of hatcheries and "wormeries" and some close encounters with tarantulas and hermit crabs in weekly sessions, which will run throughout the school year.

"We want to make learning a fun experience for kids, especially in science," said Kerry Deline, co-director of Science Adventures in Huntington Beach. "We want to spread science literacy through our partnership with schools and park and recreation departments, making it exciting so they can apply it in their everyday lives."

EVENTS

Supporting Cancer Research: In an effort to raise money for the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the students and staff at Louisville High School in Woodland Hills will don bluejeans and donate $5 each as participants in the Lee Jeans-sponsored National Denim Day fund-raiser on Friday.

"This is an important issue that affects women, and we, as a girls' school, are eager to support it," said Assistant Principal Marirose Dirstine, who added that last year the school raised more than $1,700 for the nationally recognized research foundation.

Back-to-School Night: After a month of attending classes and buckling down to homework assignments, students and teachers at Northridge Middle School are geared up for their annual Back-to-School Night and Book Fair Thursday. Parents, students and the public are invited to join the teachers and staff at 17960 Chase St., from 6 to 7:30 p.m., to learn about this year's curriculum and program goals.

PROGRAM NOTES

Computer Grant: Students at Viewpoint School will test their technical skills on new computers this year, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation. The grant will allow the Calabasas school to update its three computer labs, one phase of a long-range plan to link the campus' 60-plus computers.

KUDOS

High Note: Ray Burkhart, director of the Glendale Community College Jazz Band, was recently honored with a Special Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The music instructor was recognized for his performances and catalog of compositions, including a series of fanfares he wrote for the Pasadena City College Herald Trumpeters, who performed them at the Rose Parade.

Marching to Fame: The Granada Hills High School Highlanders Marching Band has been chosen to provide the music for a football game scene in the upcoming Adam Sandler movie "The Water Boy." The award-winning band was approached by Touchstone Films after its performance in June at a school celebration at which the football field was renamed after alumnus John Elway, the Denver Broncos' quarterback.

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Class Notes appears every Wednesday. Send news about schools to the Valley Edition, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth, CA 91311. Or fax it to (818) 772-3338. Or e-mail diane.wedner@latimes.com.

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