LCHS Crooner Named a New Ambassador for Songbook

Photo courtesy Great American Songbook Foundation Finn Sagal, a senior at La Cañada High School, earned the title of 2017 Songbook Youth Ambassador with his performances last month at the Great American Songbook Foundation’s Songbook Academy.
Photo courtesy Great American Songbook Foundation
Finn Sagal, a senior at La Cañada High School, earned the title of 2017 Songbook Youth Ambassador with his performances last month at the Great American Songbook Foundation’s Songbook Academy.

La Cañada High School senior Finn Sagal is starting to get used to the sound of it: 2017 Songbook Youth Ambassador.
His new title certainly has a ring to it.
“This is such an amazing opportunity,” said Sagal, who was named the top singer at the Great American Songbook Foundation’s Songbook Academy this summer at the Palladium concert hall in Carmel, Indiana.
This week, he signed a contract for three high-profile performances with Michael Feinstein, the Songbook Foundation founder, in addition to a date singing the national anthem at an Indianapolis Colts game — all part of his duties as ambassador. There also will be a handful of other yet-to-be-determined events around the nation, perhaps including stops at important venues such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Continue reading “LCHS Crooner Named a New Ambassador for Songbook”

Eagle Scout Project at PCY

Nathan Snow, a sophomore at La Cañada High School, has been involved in Scouting since he was in kindergarten and is currently a part of Troop 502 at La Cañada Presbyterian Church. He attended Paradise Canyon Elementary and wanted his Eagle Scout project to benefit his former school. Snow raised $1,500 by selling fall wreaths in 2016, having two bake sales in the park and a Blaze Pizza fundraiser last summer. He used the funds to purchase an 8-foot bench for kids to sit on while they waited to be picked up after school. He had a crew of Scouts and family members landscape the area near the bench and installed a PCY marker made out of the lawn edging and decomposed granite. Lastly, he installed solar lights that gently illuminate the marker.

ALFie Players to Perform ‘Jungle Book’ in Fall

Photo courtesy ALF
ALFie actors participate in last year’s production of “Peter Pan Jr.”

Students entering 3rd-6th grades are invited to join the ALFie Players Fall Drama Program, which will showcase a production of “Jungle Book KIDS.” Later this school year, students in 5-10th grades will have an opportunity to join the ALFie Company Winter production.
Assistance League of Flintridge offers the after-school drama programs to students in La Cañada Flintridge and surrounding communities. Each program culminates with a public performance at Lanterman Auditorium.
The fall production of “Jungle Book KIDS,” is adapted from the classic Disney animated film “The Jungle Book.” Students will rehearse during September and October with a performance on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.
The winter production will be “Shrek the Musical Jr.,” based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and Broadway musical. Rehearsals begin in January with a performance on March 2 at 7 p.m.
Katelyn Fike will return as drama director of the ALF program. She is also the drama instructor for the La Cañada Unified School District Elementary schools. Her assistant director and choreographer is Greta Taylor. The programs are designed for beginners and experienced drama performers. Students will learn songs and choreography and practice fundamental drama skills. They often create their own costumes and sets. Students meet at Lanterman Auditorium on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15-5 p.m.
Online registration begins Monday, Aug. 7, at Early registration is highly recommended. A program fee of $275 per program session is charged. For more information, contact or call (818) 790-2211.

LCF Chamber Mixer Gets Groovy

Photo by Mary Emily Myers / Outlook
Mark Alexander (from left), Brenda Gant, Steve Del Guercio, Terry Walker, Len Pieroni and Ann Wilson turned back the clock to the colorful 1960s as the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce held a July “Summer of Love” mixer and business expo recently in Olberz Park at the Town Center.

LCHS Grad Sets Sights on Pro-Motorcycle Racing

Photo by Max Zeronian / Outlook
Tanner Giao practices recently for the upcoming season aboard his Yamaha R6 on the Streets of Willow at Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond.

With great risk comes the potential for great reward, especially in the sport of motorcycle racing, where racers push machines to their limits simply to cross the line first. Although the reward is somewhat fleeting, to those who truly understand it, the taste of victory is a feeling unlike any other.
Tanner Giao understands it.
Giao, a 2010 La Cañada High School graduate, developed his skills in the mountains above Los Angeles. He began riding dirt bikes at a young age before making the switch to street riding in 2012.
“Growing up, I was never stellar at anything,” Giao said. “When the motorcycle came into my life, I had no idea what it was going to turn into. I don’t know if it was natural ability or that I learned quickly, but for the first time, I knew what it’s like to be truly good at something.”
Continue reading “LCHS Grad Sets Sights on Pro-Motorcycle Racing”

Local Freshman Composer Shines With Musical Spirit

Photo courtesy Xia Qiu
In 2015, La Cañada Flintridge resident Sydney Wang performed on a music tour for her first winning composition competition, traveling to Austria, where she played in the Mozart House.

Years ago, Zhen-Gang Wang was at the piano, practicing, while his then-5-year-old twins played together on the ground nearby, seemingly engrossed in their own activities.
But then one of them spoke up.
“Dad,” Wang’s daughter, Sydney, said, “You’re playing the wrong key.”
After a moment’s reflection, the Caltech chemical engineering professor agreed: “Oh, darn! I am.”
So goes the story, one of many chronicling the La Cañada High School freshman’s natural musical aptitude, a gift that’s already opening doors and garnering international acclaim.
At 2 years old, Wang could play a simple song on a piano, her mom, Xia Qiu, said. By 6, Sydney could hear a pop song once and sing it back, hitting each note perfectly. Professor Ian Krouse of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music took her on as a private student at 11, agreeing to meet with her a couple of times per month to help cultivate her budding composing skills.
And earlier this year, Wang, now 14, was invited to New York City to receive the 65th annual BMI Student Composer Award for her ambitious four-movement symphonic work, “Tales from the Sea.”
Continue reading “Local Freshman Composer Shines With Musical Spirit”

Class Prepares LCHS 7th Graders for Day 1

Photo courtesy Samantha Sharman
Alex Higa, Kai and Dalen Larsen, Austin Joo, Tara Brennan, Kathryn Brandeau, Kayla Perez, Praveen Brar, Adam Daghlian, Dylan Luu, Lucas Dien, Sam Parks and Christopher Tu

Incoming La Cañada High School 7th-graders were prepped for what’s to come in 7th-Grade Prep Summer Class, which was held from June 19-30. The class was designed by LCHS alumni Samantha Sharman, a local tutor and parent in La Cañada Flintridge.
“The students usually start class with nerves and excitement, and by the time the class is over, they all say, “I’ve got this,” which is the reason Sharman started the prep class seven years ago. The students get motivated on Motivated Monday; go over the five-paragraph essay on Tea Tuesday; explore the campus on Campus World Wednesday; review math concepts on MaTHursday; and learn how to take notes, study for tests in each subject and to advocate for themselves on TGIP Friday (Thank Goodness, I’m Prepared).
Another short session starts Monday, July 24, and runs for one week, two hours each day. For more information, email

Hillside School Staffer Celebrates Retirement After 36 Years

Photo courtesy Hillside School
Hillside School and Learning Center Founder Bob Dannenhold and his wife, Kathy, celebrate the retirement of Margaret Johnson (far right), with her daughter, Patty Johnson.

Family, friends and Hillside staff, present and past, gathered recently for an afternoon of reflection on the 36 years of service that retiree Margaret Johnson gave the Hillside School and Learning Center.
Johnson was hired as a front office secretary who moved to administrative secretary and financial officer before scaling back to part-time and returning to her role as the front office secretary who “knew how to do everything,” as Bob Frank, the school’s current director put it.
Bob Dannenhold, who founded Hillside in 1971, flew down from Seattle with his wife, Kathy, for the event at the Montrose Town Kitchen & Grill. Both gave a brief history of the school and how Johnson came to start her 36-year career there with some humorous stories.
Frank and Cyndi Hatcher spoke to the wonderful qualities that made Johnson so unique and special for the job.
During her career, Johnson saw several directors who managed Hillside, each with individual styles and characteristics. Dannenhold was followed by Liz Campbell, with Descanso Pediatrics managing general and fiduciary policies during those times.
Frank assumed the reins in 1991 and moved the facility to its current location.
Johnson discussed all the changes she witnessed, from a small one-room storefront to a three-building elementary school, to the current high school and educational support programs serving nearly 500 students each year.

Decision Pending, LCUSD’s Sagebrush Enrollment Grows

As Sagebrush residents wait to learn whether their neighborhood will, at long last, be redistricted from Glendale Unified School District to La Cañada Unified, 59 additional students from the 385-acre westernmost slice of La Cañada Flintridge are expected to enroll in LCUSD on permits in the coming school year.
This year’s anticipated influx would bring the total of Sagebrush students attending LCUSD schools to 159, according to Superintendent Wendy Sinnette.
Continue reading “Decision Pending, LCUSD’s Sagebrush Enrollment Grows”

LCHS Hires Two New Assistant Principals

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette is flanked by new La Cañada High School Assistant Principals Kip Glazer and Jonathan Lyons, who were introduced Tuesday.

The administration at La Cañada High School is back at full strength entering the 2017-18 school year with the hiring of two new assistant principals
Jonathan Lyons will take over as the assistant principal of curriculum and instruction, stepping in for Jim Cartnal, who was promoted to executive director of pupil and personnel programs and services. Kip Glazer will serve as assistant principal of athletics, activities and discipline, replacing Mary Hazlett, who resigned to take a position at Agoura High School.
Continue reading “LCHS Hires Two New Assistant Principals”