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Words of praise were raised for two student council members for their efforts to help California High School become more culturally inclusive at the Oct. 16 school board meeting.

CHS principal Sean Kirksey said junior Johnny Garcia and senior Angelica Lemus have been working to restore Hispanic heritage activities within the district.

"Angelica has been very nice and gives a student here that doesn't speak much English rides to school every day," Kirksey said.

Garcia and Lemus have communicated with Kirksey to put "Football Friday" into play, as well.

"For a few years, I've had several students come up to me to ask about putting in a soccer program," he said. "I let them know that we weren't going to be doing that, so we tried to think of something else. Here, we grow up throwing a baseball around with our dads, but in Hispanic cultures, they kick around a soccer ball. So we're going to have Football Friday where about 40 students can get together and play soccer for about an hour. We just wanted to give them a way to express themselves through their cultural experience and have it grow into more of a community event."

On an academic front, CMS principal Matt Abernathy shared exciting news from his campus. Middle school students recently completed testing to evaluate how they would perform in the MAP test in the spring. Traditionally, the scores turn out lower, but this was not the case this year.

"We got the results back and two of the three grade levels for the ELA test came out proficient," Abernathy said.

Abernathy said the test reveals a second set of standards for the course of a year, especially in English and reading. The sixth-grade class, as a whole average, set a 64 percent in proficiency while the seventh grade tested at 70 percent proficient.

"That is just outstanding," Abernathy said. "And we're only two months in. I'm so stoked about where we're going to end up in March."

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of custodians Spencer Kimball and William Roberts and elementary school special education teacher Dylan Newman.

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