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Taft High School

July 18, 1985
Doug Smith's "Around the Valley" article (June 12) was an extremely rational comment about Ed Asner's cheap shot at "lying President Reagan" during Asner's "arranged forum" of 200 history/government students at Taft High School. The press and TV news have already provided Asner with plenty of opportunity to express his dislike of the president and vent his own frustrations as president of the Screen Actors Guild. Asner's one-sided diatribe against a "lying and dishonorable President Reagan" and his categorical assertion that anyone in the Administration whose views on Nicaragua differ from Asner's is "a liar" are the railings of a truly frustrated man. Next time "Lou Grant" wants to vent his wrath to a group of public-school students, please notify the public in advance.
June 2, 2013 | By Dalina Castellanos, Los Angeles Times
A plastic drink dispenser filled with a brilliant green liquid sat on the classroom counter, but no one dared take a sip. The murky water contained goldfish, and a small hose carried its waste into a container full of leafy greens. "It's a self-sustaining aquaponic garden," said Jordan Keligond, a sophomore at Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet High School, as if it were as common as a toaster. The waste gives off nitrogen for the lettuce to grow, and in turn, the plants provide filtered water back to the fish.
November 16, 2005 | From Times Staff Reports
A jury found two men guilty Tuesday in a 2003 gang-related shooting outside Taft High School in Woodland Hills that left several students wounded. Terry Taylor, 22, and Jeffrey Young, 23, were each convicted of three counts of attempted premeditated murder and aggravated mayhem for shooting into a group of students in what authorities said was a gang dispute. The men are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 12.
January 10, 2013 | By Ann M. Simmons and Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times
TAFT, Calif. - A 16-year-old was in critical condition Thursday night after a fellow student interrupted a first-period class at Taft Union High School southwest of Bakersfield, confronted him by name and fired a round from a 12-gauge shotgun into his upper body. The assailant, also 16, tried to shoot a second student and missed before a science teacher was able to talk him down, apparently taking the shotgun as the other students fled from the classroom through a door. Police officers arrived after the teacher had disarmed the assailant and took the teenager into custody.
November 11, 1994
Vandals set early morning fires at Taft High School on Thursday, throwing an incendiary device through one classroom window and torching seven exterior doors in three different school buildings, fire officials said. There were no injuries. The fire in the classroom had been extinguished by the building's sprinkler system before school workers arrived on campus and called authorities.
Six teachers at Taft High School in Woodland Hills recently received written death threats apparently related to grades, Los Angeles police said Friday. No suspects have been arrested, police said. A Taft teacher found six threatening letters in her mailbox on April 11. One was addressed to her and the others were addressed to five other teachers, according to authorities.
October 17, 1993
Despite having faced a meeting of more than 100 angry parents and clergymen earlier in the year, the Sulphur Springs School District board in Santa Clarita has unanimously approved an AIDS education program for its elementary school students. And south of there, at Taft High School in the San Fernando Valley, a couple of thoughtful seniors helped make sure that the attire at the fall formal dance included AIDS awareness ribbons.
A hotel that sued the parents of 16 Taft High School students after the teenagers allegedly vandalized rooms and disrupted guests following a homecoming dance was awarded $375 in Small Claims Court on Monday, far less than the hotel asked for. Airtel Plaza Hotel sought $3,327 in damages, mostly to cover the cost of reimbursing about 30 guests whose bills were canceled to mollify them when they complained about the disturbance.
Los Angeles police released a composite drawing Wednesday of an assailant who stabbed a 15-year-old Taft High School student to death while the boy was waiting at a Woodland Hills bus stop. "We're appealing to everyone in the community who knows anything about this crime to call us and help us," said Deputy Chief Mark Kroeker, commander of the Los Angeles Police Department in the San Fernando Valley.
May 1, 1994
In all the fine publicity for the deserving Academic Decathlon team from Taft High School, we have only spotted one small reference to the coach(es) whose help, enthusiasm and expertise enabled the young people to do so well. Some recognition for the adults involved would be appropriate and welcome. JANICE LA MOREE Los Angeles
July 1, 2012 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
ALBUQUERQUE - As he strode into the hotel ballroom, scores of high school students swarmed the man they know as DemiDec Dan, a legend in the world of Academic Decathlon. The students, competing for the national decathlon title, clamored for the chance to shake his hand. They posed for pictures with him. They reached out for one of the colorful wool finger puppets he has turned into the unofficial mascot of the academic competition. "I'm meeting DemiDec Dan!" one boy exclaimed.
February 25, 2009 | Jason Song and Eric Sondheimer
Six employees at Taft High School were reassigned Tuesday while school district and law enforcement officials investigate an alleged hazing incident in the boys locker room on the Woodland Hills campus. Los Angeles Unified School District officials declined to identify the employees who were removed from the school and assigned to district offices, but district sources said Principal Sharon Thomas and volleyball coach Arman Mercado were among them.
August 18, 2008
Re "Slow progress on college prep goal," Aug. 13 The A-G program, instituted by the Los Angeles school board to make university prep classes standard by 2012, came about because of political, not educational, pressure. Thus, it has never taken into account the less politically correct realities of student motivation. Yes, there are many minority students who want to succeed in academic classes and go to college, but there are also many who don't. Mandatory A-G classes will be filled with hundreds of students who come late to class, lose their books and don't study.
April 11, 2008 | Eric Sondheimer
When sophomore track standout D.J. Morgan of Woodland Hills Taft was 5, he tried to leap over a thorn bush in the frontyard of his parents' house in Pacoima while his older brothers watched in amusement. Morgan ended up landing on top of the bush, cutting his legs. As he cried, his brothers laughed. "That just made me jump higher and learn to get over it," he said. "Now, falling over hurdles is nothing compared to that because I remember the stinging sensation in my legs."
April 30, 2006 | Valerie Reitman, Times Staff Writer
Taft High School won the U.S. Academic Decathlon championship Saturday night, the third consecutive year a Woodland Hills team has captured the top national honors in the rigorous competition that tests high school students' mettle in areas ranging from calculus, economics, art history and music to impromptu speaking and writing. By the time the winner was announced at the end of the awards banquet, there was no suspense about which team would win.
April 29, 2006 | Valerie Reitman, Times Staff Writer
Taft High School students celebrated what they hoped would not be their sole victory here Friday after they won the "Super Quiz" portion of the U.S. Academic Decathlon championships. Although the win makes up just 4% of the total team scores, it was nevertheless a psychological victory for the Taft seniors as they wrapped up the last of 10 grueling tests and presentations in the rigorous two-day competition. The winner of the national title will be announced Saturday night.
April 9, 1995
Although I appreciate the coverage given to our school ("Identity Problem," Feb. 20), I never said the name of Taft High School should be changed to Wilson High. We already have a Wilson High in the Los Angeles Unified School District (in El Sereno, not Lincoln Heights as the article stated). I would like to see Taft (generally considered by historians as an unsuccessful president) changed to Harry S. Truman High. Truman was a gutsy activist who never hesitated to accept responsibility for his decisions.
April 24, 1994
Thank you! The Taft High School victory in the 13th U.S. Academic Decathlon was front-page news April 18 and the subject of editorial recognition April 19. I feel fantastic for the Taft students, and I feel grateful to The Times for honoring the Taft achievement. The students of Taft deserve a pat on the back. Kudos to you. DOUGLAS A. BROWN Burbank
April 26, 2006 | Valerie Reitman, Times Staff Writer
Coach Arthur Berchin has seen the striking contrast between his students winning the U.S. Academic Decathlon competition and placing oh-so-close. After winning the California championship in 1988, his team at William Howard Taft High School in Woodland Hills captured the silver medal at the national finals in San Antonio -- no small feat in this teenagers' battle-of-the-brainiest.
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