Culver City High wins Grammy award

CULVER CITY — The Grammy Museum has announced that Culver City High School has been selected a Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Award recipient for 2017 for its quality music program.

“We are honored to receive this special recognition by the Grammy Foundation,” said Tony Spano, Culver City High School music teacher. “In order to provide the opportunities our students deserve, it takes a variety of support – from grants, fundraising and donations. It takes the school, district, Culver City Education Foundation and partnerships to help us sustain an active music program. With this grant, we can continue to be an innovative and challenging arts education program.”

The award will give $5,000 per year for three years to the Culver City High School music program to support the professional teaching artists who work with the music students in the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts. An additional $2,500 per year for three years will be available for field trips, festivals and other needs of the program.

Each of the schools selected for his honor was also given a full-tuition scholarship to Grammy Camp this summer, valued at $2,500. Spano and music faculty member David Brennan chose freshman Rowan Adams Waters to represent Culver City at the Grammy Camp.

“I am very grateful to Dr. Spano, Dr. Brennan and the Grammy Foundation for selecting me to go to Grammy Camp this year,” Waters said. “I am very excited and looking forward to everything that I will learn this summer. We’re very grateful to have the support of the Grammy Foundation to help continue what we’re doing in the music program.”

Other area high schools honored were Huntington Park High, Manual Arts High and Robert Fulton College Preparatory School, all in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Culver City High students are Merit Scholarship semifinalists

CULVER CITY — Culver City High School’s Simon Johnson and Rebecca Mirvish have been listed among the country’s 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists for the 2016-17 school year.

They both credit the one-of-a-kind education they have received in the arts for helping them achieve what less than one percent of high school seniors have.

Culver City High School has a great arts program, which is extremely special,” said Mirvish, who has been a part of the school’s Academy of Visual and Performing Arts since her freshman year. “It is productive, allows me to be with friends and have opportunities for real-life hands-on experience. This is a great outlet for students like myself who are not good at sports.”

Heavily involved in theater as a tech major, Mirvish focuses on doing technical theater rather than acting and performing. She is currently serving as stage manager for the play “Almost, Maine” and serves as secretary of Drama Council.

Mirvish plans to go to college as a math major and has been involved in a wide array of activities at Culver City High , including student body ambassador of the arts, the founder of the Friends for Now Club and a member of both Mock Trial and the Student on Unbiased Politics (SOUP) Club. Off campus, Mirvish is involved with Temple Akiba’s youth group.

Like Mirvish, Johnson has been involved in the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts since he arrived at Culver Cith High, both performing and working on the technical side of productions, where he has served on the lighting crew and master electrician.

He has earned a number of awards from California Educators of the Theater Arts and currently serves as the company manager, making sure everything runs smoothly in the theater company and doing all the behind-the-scenes work that makes a theater company run smoothly. The former district spelling bee champion has also spent four years as part of the school’s Improv team and serves as this year’s co-captain.

“Culver City High has been incredibly helpful both in academics and having great teachers,” Johnson said. “The arts program is huge. These programs have been really transformative for me and my identity. Doing Improv since middle school transformed me from being a shy introvert to a confident extrovert — the person who I am today.”

Johnson also is involved in Model Legislature and Court, an extension of Youth and Government at the Culver Palms Family YMCA, and is an academic mentor this year. He hopes to pursue a college career as a mechanical engineering and/or computer science major and has taken and scored fives on numerous Advanced Placement classes.

“Our school has provided a lot of advantages that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” Johnson said. “The quality of education and life at Culver City High is greater than anything you can pay for at a private school.”

Mirvish and Johnson hope to be among the 15,000 students to advance to the finalist level in February. About half of those students will earn National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million next spring.