Featured Students

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Athlete University Signing

Congratulations to River Oaks senior Alexa (Lexi), who recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play intercollegiate tennis and attend the University of Texas, Austin, in the fall of 2019! Lexi has become a valuable member of the River Oaks community, and we are thrilled that her hard work has paid off in this special opportunity to continue her athletic and academic career at one of nation's top universities! Lexi signed her letter of intent at a ceremony held in her honor at the River Oaks Westlake campus on Friday, February 22. Way to go, Lexi!

Published Book Illustrator

We are proud to introduce you to the illustrations (and publication) of A GHASTLY GHOSTLY NIGHT.  The book was illustrated by one of our own students, Marlin!

The book's author, Eileen Ray, had worked on a project with Marlin once before and decided to collaborate on an exciting story about two children left alone on a storym night while their parents go to a school meeting.  The illustrations are colorful, delightful, and keep the heart-pounding pace of the story at it's most thrilling.

Ronald Reagan Leadership Program Participant

Warren, an 11th grader at ROA, participated in the prestigious Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program!  This is a unique opportunity for motivated, high school students who strive to make a difference for the greater good.

Warren explained how he learned to “build connections, …spread ideas to people, and how to make those ideas memorable. They taught us…about being a leader” as well as “different types of communication skills that successful businesses, organizations and people use in today's world. This education was to help us grow as individuals in whatever field of work we would want to do. The program was mostly focused on how to create a nonprofit, or club for each of the students, which would give back to their community.”

Quinn Stars in "Inherit the Wind" Play!

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One of the more valuable offerings in Ventura County’s theater arts community is Literature in Action, a free play production program for teens ages 13 to 18 that focuses on classic American and world literature.

The brainchild of Jan Glasband, this Actors’ Repertory Theatre of Simi program uses live theater to help young thespians relate important historical events and concepts to attitudes in modern day society.

Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee’s landmark play pitting science against religion, “Inherit the Wind” is being staged by Literature in Action through Sun., March 27. Performances take place in the ARTSpace Black Box Theater, a block away from the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, where Glasband has produced top-flight musicals over the past two decades.

“Inherit the Wind” is loosely based on the so-called John Scopes “monkey trial” in which Scopes, a high school teacher in 1925 Tennessee, was accused of violating a state ordinance prohibiting the teaching of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

In the controversial court case that followed, three-time presidential candidate and orator William Jennings Bryan faced off against celebrated civil libertarian attorney Clarence Darrow, with the trial becoming front-page news across the nation.

Although the stage play is a thinly disguised representation of the Scopes trial, its writers made its themes timeless, resulting in a unique opportunity for students to learn and understand how its arguments relate to attitudes in present-day America. In 1960, the play was turned into a major motion picture starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March and Gene Kelly.

Glasband and directors John Dantona and Pinky Calantog spent weeks talking to the students about 1925 America. Women had been granted the right to vote five years before, but they were still deemed unsuitable to serve on juries or work as journalists, judges or attorneys.

Though this might seem like a “foreign world,” the attitudes of residents in the fictitious hamlet of Hillsboro, Tennessee, are not that different from the attitudes of some people living in the South today. As in the play, many American citizens reject scientific theory in favor of rigid fundamentalism.

Tennessee’s recent law making it illegal to teach critical race theory is an uncomfortable throwback to a time when evolution (pronounced “evil-lution” by Hillsboro residents in the play) could not be taught in public schools.

Outstanding performances are turned in by Freyr Anderson as Matthew Harrison Brady (the character based on Bryan), Ashley Gilmore as Henrietta Drummond (based on Darrow), Kaylee Ott as the judge, Kate Perry (double-cast with Coree Kotula) as cynical Baltimore journalist E. K. Hornbeck (based on the real-life H. L. Mencken) and Quinn Wells as high school teacher Bertram Cates (based on Scopes).

Other featured players include Sophie Gray (double-cast with Anthea Talman) as Cates’ conflicted fiancee Rachel Brown, Will Palo as Rachel’s fundamentalist preacher father and Audrey Fischer as Mrs. Brady.

The climactic scene comes when defense attorney Drummond calls prosecuting attorney Brady to the witness stand as an expert on the Bible, interrogating him about the questionable scientific inconsistencies of biblical stories. Both Anderson and Gilmore are solid in understanding their characters’ personalities and motivations in this important and riveting scene.

Producer Glasband and technical director/set designer Nick Caisse came up with a sturdy and effective set and Jacob Wade created an evocative sound design that incorporates an offstage recording of the gospel song “Old- Time Religion” as well as crowd effects that enhance the settings.

“Inherit the Wind” is a complex play with mature themes and thought-provoking ideas, making it a rich medium for teaching about a variety of important and relevant topics.

It runs through Sunday at the ARTSpace Black Box Theater, 2956 School St., Simi Valley. For more information, go online to tinyurl.com/artssimi.

Congratulations to Stella for getting her story published on StoneSoup.com!

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Off-Broadway Musical Star

10th grader Emma got a role in an off-Broadway musical called “Hemophilia: The Musical”, a six-song show that is the first of its kind.  It has a cast of 25 teens who, like Emma, are affected by bleeding disorders.  The show was produced at the New World Stages in New York City and was live streamed on Facebook as well.

“I love watching musicals and singing and dancing,” said Emma before leaving for New York.  “I had a lot of people help me prepare for the show, like my stepmom, who sings for her church and gave me pointers like not singing with my throat but with my diaphragm.”

Show director, Patrick Lynch, creates educational and inspirational digital content, live events, and podcasts for rare-disease communities, with a focus on hemophilia and bleeding disorders.  The script was drawn from the experiences of high school students who battle these disorders.

CompTIA Certification Earned

Fox, a 10th grader, placed at the top of his IT Fundamentals class at ROA last semester, qualifying him to take the CompTIA IT Fundamentals Certification Examination this fall.

He  passed it on the first attempt.  Way to go, Fox!

This examination is the first CompTIA recognized certification in the Information Technology industry, and is a good indicator of a person’s computer knowledge and end user skills.

Fox is currently participating in one of the capstone classes for the Networking Pathway, learning the skills necessary to qualify for the CompTIA A+ Certification Examination.  Upon completion of this course, he will have completed the CTE Networking Pathway Program at ROA – a definite feather in his cap (and on his transcript)!

(NOTE:  Students in this pathway will no longer be taking the CompTIA exams; but, will be taking an equally recognized, certification examination as part of their course).

On the Big Screen

Cree, an 11th grader at ROA, made his big screen debut with “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”.

Based on a true story, this film is about John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix), an alcoholic who likes to party too much.  One night, things get out of control and end in catastrophe, resulting in John becoming a paraplegic.  Disgruntled, he enters a treatment program at his girlfriend’s urging (Rooney Mara) “and a charismatic sponsor (Jonah Hill)”.  During recovery, Callahan discovers a talent for cartooning, which gives him new purpose and an internationally recognized career.  The film is a “poignant, insightful and often funny drama about the healing power of art”.  The screenplay is adapted from Callahan’s autobiography and directed by two-time Oscar® nominee Gus Van Sant. Other actors in this production are Jack Black, Carrie Brownstein, Beth Ditto and Kim Gordon.

Our student, Cree, plays “Skateboarder #3” under the pseudonym Cree Kawa, and can be found in the scene where John falls out of his wheelchair into the street, and a group of skateboarding teens come over to help him up.

River Oaks Academy Charter