Mark your calendar! Tickets on sale now!
This Tony Award winning Broadway show centers on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School where six quirky adolescents compete in the Bee, run by three equally quirky grown-ups.
Here is what Dave Masterson, Chaffey High School Department Chair for the Visual and Performing Arts, says about the show:
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is perfect for our quaint historic Merton E. Hill Auditorium located on the corner of Fifth Street and Euclid Avenue in Ontario. Hill Auditorium is our home away from home while our beautiful Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium is being renovated. With just at 500 seats, Hill will allow our patrons to be up close and personal for this great musical.”
In May 2018, the Theater Arts Department performed Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! The department includes not only performers, but students learning stagecraft. Here are some photos of Oklahoma! sets being built in Merton E. Hill Auditorium in Tower Hall. Hill Auditorium is being used for performances while Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium is closed for renovation.
Sunday, May 20, 2018 was a day of celebration for the Class of 2018 and CHSAA as the graduating class participated in its Baccalaureate Service. CHSAA 2018 Tiger of the Year Phyllis White Bogard ’57 was one of the speakers, and she greeted students at an informal reception immediately following Baccalaureate.
In 35th annual Academic Decathlon, the Chaffey High School 2018 Academic Decathlon team won its 7th consecutive San Bernardino County championship and its 9th county championship in ten years. CHS placed 6th out of 69 competing teams at the state level competition, tying with the finish of the 2014 CHS team. The state results mark Chaffey’s 5th Top 10 finish in the last 10 years. Here are the previous rankings: 11th (2017); 13th (2016); 6th (2014), 7th (2013), 8th (2010), 9th (2009), 17th (2010) and 20th (2011). The team’s 2018 score ranked as the 13th highest in the nation.
CHS is one of only two schools in California to finish in Division 1 in each of the past ten years. The only other is 8-time state champion El Camino Real Charter High School. Chaffey’s 10-event score is the highest in San Bernardino County history: 49,352.8 points.
Each Academic Decathlon team is made up of nine students, three from each grade point category: “A” (Honors), “B” (Scholastic) and “C” (Varsity). Students compete for individual and team awards. CHS decathlete Diana Jimenez finished with an overall score of 9,132.3 — the highest individual score ever posted by a San Bernardino County decathlete in the county’s 35-year participation in the competition.
Chaffey’s team is coached by Steve Mercado, Patty Gulino, Tom James and Erin Banis. Between 2011 and 2016, CHSAA donated $5000 each year toward team expenses for the Sacramento competition. In 2017 and 2018, at the request of the CHS principal, CHSAA donated $1500 each year for team sweaters.
In an Academic Decathlon, students take part in 10 academic events, including written tests in math, economics, music, art, language/literature, science and social sciences. The competition also requires students to write an essay, take part in an interview panel, give impromptu and prepared speeches, and participate in a Super Quiz, a college bowl-style round, featured 36 multiple choice questions.
Editor’s Note: the following is an introduction to new CHS principal Christina Martinez. As she relates in this account, she is very proud to be principal of CHS, but did not achieve this position without help. Here is her story:
Nuns. Uniforms. Rules. I think this is a fair description of my education from kindergarten through my sophomore year of college. It was strict, and it was orderly. It was private, all-girls, and Catholic. And then I transferred to UC Berkeley. I survived the transition, but I like to compare it to the immortal scene from the 90s action flick, Speed, in which a bus leaps over a missing chunk of interstate. Perhaps my “bus-jump” was not as preposterous, but it was definitely fraught with moments of self-doubt and a crash landing of sorts. My story, however, is not about the gaps or the falls; it is about the ramps that helped me make amazing and ultimately successful leaps in my personal and professional life. I am so proud to be the Principal of Chaffey High School, but the truth is, I did not get here without help.
Mom and Dad: My first ramp
My mom and dad recently celebrated 52 years of marriage. They grew up poor, they worked hard, and they were the first in their families to pursue higher education. They devoted all of their resources to us—me, my brother, and sister —so that we could have opportunities that they did not. They are giants to me.
Petra: A ramp that launched me to another world
Petra was my babysitter from the age of 6 until 13. She lived in our home during the week. She cooked, cleaned, and cared for me and my siblings while my parents worked. She spoke no English. I learned to communicate with Petra in a language that was part Spanish, part charades, part hugs, part kisses. Although she had no formal education, I count Petra among the best teachers I have ever had. She taught me how to read and speak Spanish without me even realizing it. She challenged me and praised me. If Petra could see me now, about to embark on this next step in my career, I think I know what she might say: Hazlo. Sin miedo, mija. Do it. No fear, my daughter.
Romance Novels: The ramp I tried to keep a secret from my parents
I developed a love of reading at the age of 12. That is when I discovered a Harlequin romance novel on the bookshelf in my parent’s bedroom. The cover drew me: a man, shirt half-torn, with longish hair blowing in the wind, standing at the bow of a ship. That’s all it took. I was hooked. I was on the literary equivalent of an all-carb, all-sugar diet for the next few years. My tastes eventually graduated to writers like Shakespeare, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison. My love of reading led me to be an English major in college, and later, to a career in education. I was an English teacher for 9 years before becoming a counselor, and then an administrator. I still love to read.
Nuns, nuns, and more nuns: My invisible, yet always present ramp
My first semester at UC Berkeley played out like an epic battle between Good and Stupidity. My shoulder angels—Sister Mary Victor, Sister Catherine Jean, and Sister Ramona—reminded me constantly to honor my parents, protect my virtue, and avoid temptation. Sadly, they were no match for my shoulder devils—freedom and fraternity parties. Without going into the unfortunate details, it is enough to say that I lost my way for a little while. By the end of my first semester, I was on academic probation. Thankfully, I battled back, raised my GPA, and graduated on time. Phew!
What I realized after the disaster that was my first semester at UC Berkeley, and what I have never forgotten since, was that I had ramps. That is to say, I had so much support, and such a strong foundation, that I could not fail. In that moment, as with so many of the challenges that I have faced in my life since then, I had to get out my ramps. I had to back all the way up, get running, and leap over whatever chasm was in front of me.
In a nutshell, this is my philosophy of education. I BELIEVE IN RAMPS. I believe that if students don’t come to us with a ramp-in-hand, then we build one together. It’s easy to point to a huge gap in an adolescent’s “stretch of freeway”. It requires patience, cooperation, and a belief that all individuals can learn, to build a ramp that can launch students, teachers, a school, a community, into the air and over to the other side. And this is exactly what I intend to do!
CHS has a new principal — its 18th in the school’s 107-year history and the third woman in the position. Before being named principal, Christina Martinez served CHS first as assistant principal of achievement, and most recently as assistant principal of instruction. She was named principal in June 2018. Christina replaces Dr. George Matamala, who served from 2015 to 2018. George stepped down in June for personal reasons and is now vice-principal of Valley View High School.
Previous principals of CHS include Jefferson Taylor, who served from 1901, when the City of Ontario formed a school district to establish Ontario High School as the successor to the defunct Chaffey College of Agriculture, to 1911 when Ontario HS was renamed Chaffey HS to accommodate the wishes of Upland students who were scheduled to begin attending.
Merton E. Hill served from 1911-1931 as both CHS principal and superintendent of the Chaffey Union High School District. Merton E. Hill Auditorium in Tower Hall is named in his honor.
Gardiner W. Spring served from 1931 to 1931 before being named superintendent of the Chaffey Union High School District. He oversaw reconstruction of CHS campus buildings following the 1932 Long Beach earthquake. The main auditorium on campus is named in his honor.
Ernest W. Fischer is the longest-serving principal (1932-1950). He was followed by Ernest A. Payne (1950-1967), a 1922 graduate of CHS and 1985 CHSAA Tiger of the Year. Payne Field for baseball and soccer are named in his honor.
Cleo D. Martin served from 1967-1972 and was followed by Dr. Fred C. Adams (1972-1984. Dr. Adams founded CHSAA in 1974. Other principals include Dr. David O. Stine (1984-1988); Karen B. Dunn (1988-1990), the first female principal; Dr. Barry W. Cadwallader (1990-1993) who left CHS to become superintendent of CHJUSD; Dr. Glen C. England (1993-199a7); Jim Brodie (1997-2001; Dennis O’Connell (2001-2005); Dr. Tim Ward (2005-2009); Thomas O. Mitchell (2009-2012); Dawn Buboltz (2012-2015), and Dr George Matamala (2015-2018).
Measure P, passed in 2012 by voters, authorized $848 million in general obligation bonds to be used for all campuses in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District. Specifically, the funds were to be spent in several areas:
- On classrooms and buildings for renovation, expansion and upgrade.
- For campus security, including earthquake retrofitting and upgrading instructional technology
- Campus telecommunications and classroom technology
- Upgrading libraries and
- Other health and safety upgrades.
Because CHS is the oldest campus in the district, it is receiving a larger portion of Measure P funds than other campuses. In addition, expenses are higher for the CHS campus because of the Chaffey District’s commitment to maintain the architectural integrity of the buildings on campus.
Globally, all buildings on campus will be modernized with double-paned windows built to look like the original architecture; removal of any hazardous materials like asbestos, upgraded restrooms, new paint, new flooring, and new state-of-the-art technology infrastructure in each classroom.
The old Math Science building — the only structure on campus that does not conform to the historic architectural style — is ultimately slated for demolition. But for now it is being used as a home for students and staff from other buildings on campus as each undergoes modernization.
To date, Measure P improvements on campus include
- 2013: Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium (theater arts classrooms, HVAC system, asbestos mitigation in ceiling)
- 2014: classrooms and building interiors; student parking lot solar panels; pool modernization; upgrade of baseball fields
- 2015: new Central Plant for HVAC throughout campus; campus fencing
- 2016: underground utilities; installation of digital monument sign in front of GWS Auditorium; new South Hall exterior stairs; demolition of parking lot south of South Hall to prepare for construction of new Math Science building
- 2017: courtyard of Tower Hall; construction of new Math Science building;
Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium was closed at the end of the 2016-17 school year to undergo its modernization. The first month was devoted to emptying the 1936 building of the many items stored there, including sets and costumes for theater arts. All auditorium seating was removed, evaluated, wrapped and moved to a storage facility in Bakersfield. Broken seats will be repaired before re-installation.
As was expected, some hazardous material was found in the building that had to be mitigated before further construction could proceed. Restrooms are being enlarged and given ADA-accessibility upgrades. An elevator is being added to the southwest corner of the building (i.e., the corner near the student store) and a walkway between the elevator and stairway is being added to the southeast corner. Both will provide access for students and others to second-floor classrooms. (Elevators exist in every multi-story building on campus. Students needing to use elevators are issued an access key. For the 2017-18 school year, 40 keys were issued.)
Aesthetically, the ceiling of GWS Auditorium is being restored to its original state. Other improvements include up-to-date technology for sound and lighting and large monitors in the lobby to provide additional viewing. The Betty Davenport Ford Siberian tiger sculpture will remain in the lobby of GWS. Auditorium construction is on schedule for completion by summer 2019 so it will again be open for the 2019-20 school year.
Finally, Measure P funds will be used to address campus landscaping needs. Trees will be trimmed regularly or removed if needed. Bushes will be trimmed; those needing removal will be replaced.
- Take any donation to the North Hall administration building and leave at the switchboard or principal’s office, marked for Backpacks for Hungry Students. The coordinators will be notified and will come pick up the donation.
- You can also contact Leslie Jensen (909-456-5917) to pick up a specific time to meet on campus and provide your donation.