Downey, Warren included in list of nation's top high schools

DOWNEY — Downey and Warren high schools have been named to U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best high schools in the United States for 2019.

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The ranking is based on data from more than 23,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Downey Unified’s comprehensive high schools were in the top 15 percent of all high schools nationwide, ranking No. 3,586 (Downey High) and No. 3,192 (Warren High).

At the end of April, U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in education rankings, announced the 2019 Best High Schools – a new, revamped edition of the rankings, providing the most comprehensive evaluation of America's public high schools ever produced by U.S. News.

"Our mission with the Best High Schools rankings has always been to educate families about the schools in their district," said Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News, in a release published by U.S. News & World Report on April 30.

"By evaluating more schools than ever before, the new edition expands that focus so all communities can see which schools in their area are successfully serving their students – including historically underserved populations."

The 2019 Best High Schools rankings take a holistic approach to evaluating schools, looking at six factors: college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rates. Specifically, college readiness measures participation and performance on AP and IB exams. Warren High School was ranked No. 469 and Downey High School No. 519 compared to approximately 1,350 regular/comprehensive public high schools and 259 public charter high schools in California.

“Our vision is to graduate all students with a 21st Century education that guarantees they are college and career ready,” expressed Downey Unified Superintendent, Dr. John Garcia. “Having our two comprehensive high schools ranked in the top 15 percent nationally is a testament to the amazing work we are doing here in Downey Unified, not just at the high school level but district wide as well.”

Downey High School students at the annual Vikings Awards Ceremony.

Downey High School students at the annual Vikings Awards Ceremony.

The Downey Unified School District has 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools and one adult school that are led by the district’s vision. Students are taught 21st Century skills that implement technology, collaboration, communication and citizenship. The offerings that are available to Downey Unified students continue to increase each year due to various state allocated program specific budgets and grants, such as the LCAP and most recently the K12 Strong Workforce grant.

Warren High School senior Fausto Miguel Rojas receiving the Grand Gold Bear Award at Warren’s Golden Bear Awards Ceremony.

Warren High School senior Fausto Miguel Rojas receiving the Grand Gold Bear Award at Warren’s Golden Bear Awards Ceremony.

Some examples of offerings that can be found in Downey Unified that are unique from surrounding districts include: Kindergarten through 12th grade robotics; the Femineer program, an engineering program that focuses on engaging middle and high school female students; and over a dozen industry aligned pathways and courses that are available to high school students that provide them with real-world, hands-on work experience as well as third- party certifications.

Included in these pathways are state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities that allow students to practice these skills using the equipment and software that is currently being used by industry professionals.

For example, students enrolled in the automotive engineering pathway spend their time working under the hood of cars that that are stationed in repair bays that are equipped with the latest automotive technology.

The Best High Schools rankings are available exclusively on usnews.com and include data on a variety of factors, such as enrollment, student diversity, participation in free and reduced-price lunch programs, graduation rates and the results of state assessments. U.S. News worked with RTI International, a global research firm, to implement the comprehensive ranking methodology.

Letter to the Editor: Dennis Prager's blind eye

Dear Editor:

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the irony that Dennis Prager’s assault on multi-culturalism appears in the Downey Patriot, in the deep Southwest and on the edge of the Pacific Rim, where multi-culturalism is a way of life.

To hear him tell it, some pure Christian (and white, although he won’t say it) civilization is under assault from every direction.

Prager acts as if the Western “Christian” culture developed in isolation, while in the East and other places evil was brewing. The truth of the matter is that for 500 years the West (European Countries along with our own) actively colonized the rest of the world, and specifically tried to control the Arab world in the Twentieth Century when the former colonies tried to struggle free from the West. The West is not blameless for the mess that causes migrants to want to seek a better life.

Prager is one of those “pundits” who just “says stuff,” with no rationale to back up his statements. For example, Prager states that the French Enlightenment sought the end of Christianity and the West. On the contrary, the expanding interest in science and the arts was a unifying force in Europe, and the technology that resulted from the enlightenment played a large roll in the creation of the industrial wealth of the West.

The French Revolution was a rebellion against the French state, which had tied itself to a “Christianity” that was by then rotten to the core. Would Prager prefer that the feudal kings like Louis the 14th in France had remained in power?

His analysis of the cause of the rise of Nazi-ism is equally self-serving. First, he uses a completely racist argument to say that Germans (who are of course European) were inherently violent, and that only Christianity had kept their natural violence in check. He downplays Hitler’s role as a political leader willing to play on Europe’s long-embedded anti-Semitic beliefs to whip up hatred and division as a way of maintaining power. And he most certainly turns a blind eye to the obvious parallels between Hitler’s divide-and-conquer tactics and the current hatred being whipped up against Latin-American (and almost entirely Christian) immigrants who have become the latest bogyman to supposedly threatening “our culture.”

In his grand finale, Prager says “I don’t know if a worker accident or a radical Muslim set fire to Notre Dame Cathedral …”. Well he must have cancelled his newspaper and cable TV subscriptions, because the whole world knows that so far there has been no hint of radical Muslim involvement. And we also know who burned the three churches in Louisiana, and it wasn’t the secular left, or Latin American immigrants, or other multi-cultural bogeymen that Dennis fears so much. Instead, it was a white nationalist advocating the same cultural purity that Prager advocates.

Not a word about that in Prager’s analysis of the fall of civilization.

Frank Kearns
Downey

Bears’ playoff run ends in CIF quarterfinals

DOWNEY – The Warren High School softball team saw their season come to an end last Tuesday afternoon against West Ranch of Valencia, 14-1.

The Bears were eliminated in the quarterfinal round of the C.I.F. Division 3 playoffs after defeating Chino 14-3 on May 2 in their first-round game and by defeating Sierra Canyon on May 7in their second-round game.

Warren finished their season with an overall record of 15-15 and a San Gabriel Valley League record of 6-4. The Bears finished in third place in league play behind eventual league champion Gahr (10-0) and cross-town rival Downey (8-2), respectively.

In the Warren/West Ranch game the score was tied 0-0 after two innings of play. The Bears led 1-0 after scoring a run in the bottom of the third inning. Neither team scored in the fourth inning and the score remained 1-0 Warren heading into the top of the fifth inning.

This is where things began to unravel for the Bears. West Ranch scored eight runs in the top of the fifth inning and Warren was held scoreless. The score was 8-1 after five innings of play.

West Ranch continued their offensive outburst by scoring four more runs in the top of the sixth inning while Warren could not push a run across the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. The score was now 12-1 West Ranch.

The Wildcats added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning and held the Bears scoreless in the bottom of the seventh inning to come away with the 14-1 win.

West Ranch (18-7, 8-2) went on to defeat Woodrow Wilson 9-4 in the semifinal round on May 14th and will now play Crescenta Valley (26-5-1, 14-0) in the C.I.F. Division 3 championship game tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

Coach Starksen, her staff and underclassmen will now turn their attention to next season.


MIDDLE SCHOOL DUAL MEETS: The 2019 middle school track and field season is drawing to a close after three weeks of dual meet competitions has yielded the best athletes from each of Downey’s four middle schools.

The first dual meet took place on April 18th and featured Sussman vs. Griffiths at Downey High School and Doty vs. Stauffer at Warren High School.

At Downey, Sussman defeated Griffiths in 4/6 grade level and gender competitions. The Sussman sixth grade boys defeated Griffiths 57-29, the Sussman seventh grade boys defeated Griffiths 51-31 and the Griffiths eighth grade boys defeated Sussman 49-39.

The Griffiths sixth grade girls defeated Sussman 49-37, the Sussman seventh grade girls defeated Griffiths 61-25 and the Sussman eighth grade girls defeated Griffiths 55-31.

At Warren, Doty defeated Stauffer in 6/6 grade level and gender competitions. The Doty sixth grade boys defeated Stauffer 74-12, the Doty seventh grade boys defeated Stauffer 46-40 and the Doty eighth grade boys defeated Stauffer 69-17.

The Doty sixth grade girls defeated Stauffer 63-23, the Doty seventh grade girls defeated Stauffer 78-8 and the Doty eighth grade girls defeated Stauffer 72-14.

The city of Downey middle school track and field championships will be held at Downey High School later today and six city championships will be claimed.


DUAL MEET NO. 2: The second city of Downey middle school dual meet was held on May 9th and featured Stauffer vs. Sussman at Downey High School and Griffiths vs. Downey at Warren High School.

At Downey High School, Stauffer defeated Sussman in 5/6 grade level and gender competitions. The Stauffer sixth grade boys defeated Sussman 65-21, the Stauffer seventh grade boys defeated Sussman 54-34 and the Stauffer eighth grade boys defeated Sussman 56-30.

The Stauffer sixth grade girls defeated Sussman 62-24, the Stauffer seventh grade girls defeated Sussman 67.5-18.5 and the Sussman eighth grade girls defeated Stauffer 55-31.

At Warren High School, Doty defeated Griffiths in 6/6 grade level and gender competitions. The Doty sixth grade boys defeated Griffiths 82-4, the Doty seventh grade boys defeated Griffiths 65-21 and the Doty eighth grade boys defeated Griffiths 76-10.

The Doty sixth grade girls defeated Griffiths 77-9, the Doty seventh grade girls defeated Griffiths 85.5-.5 and the Doty eighth grade girls defeated Griffiths 63-23.


DUAL MEET NO. 3: The third city of Downey middle school dual meet was held on May 16th and featured Griffiths vs. Stauffer at Warren High School and Doty vs. Sussman at Downey High School. This third dual meet marked the end of dual meet competition and sets the stage for the city of Downey middle school track and field championships.

At Warren High School, Stauffer defeated Griffiths in 5/6 grade level and gender competitions. The Stauffer sixth grade boys defeated Griffiths 60-25, the Stauffer seventh grade boys defeated Griffiths 53-33 and the Stauffer eighth grade boys defeated Griffiths 60-25. The Stauffer sixth grade girls defeated Griffiths 65-21, the Stauffer seventh grade girls defeated Griffiths 61-25 and the Griffiths eighth grade girls defeated Stauffer 53-33.

At Downey High School, Doty defeated Sussman in 6/6 grade level and gender competitions. The Doty sixth grade boys defeated Sussman 80-6, the Doty seventh grade boys defeated Sussman 70-16 and the Doty eighth grade boys defeated Sussman 77-9. The Doty sixth grade girls defeated Sussman 69-17, the Doty seventh grade girls defeated Sussman 82-4 and the Doty eighth grade girls defeated Sussman 53-33.

As the city championships approach, the sixth grade boys’ competition has Doty at 3-0, Stauffer at 2-1, Sussman at 1-2 and Griffiths at 0-3. Sixth grade girls’ competition has Doty at 3-0, Stauffer at 2-1, Griffiths at 1-2 and Sussman at 0-3.

The seventh grade boys’ competition has Doty at 3-0, Stauffer at 2-1, Sussman at 1-2 and Griffiths at 0-3. The seventh grade girls’ competition has Doty at 3-0, Stauffer at 2-1, Sussman at 1-2 and Griffiths at 0-3.

The eighth grade boys’ competition has Doty at 3-0, Stauffer at 2-1, Griffiths at 1-2 and Sussman at 0-3. The eighth grade girls’ competition has Doty at 3-0, Sussman at 2-1, Griffiths at 1-2 and Stauffer at 0-3. The 2019 middle school track and field championships will certainly be exciting. Events should begin at 4 p.m.

Downey Police makes its community proud

My heart momentarily stopped as I watched on television.

The man, later identified as 24-year-old Dylan Andres Lindsey of Torrance, slung his body over the side of the speeding gray Prius, firing his long-barreled revolver at the Downey police officers in pursuit.

The Prius eventually rolled to a stop just before the railroad tracks – ironically enough – at Downey Road in Vernon.

Lindsey was the prime suspect in the murder of a Downey liquor store clerk two nights before and police tracked him to Bell Gardens after releasing his image to the media. A side by side comparison of the weapon used by the killer and Lindsey left no doubt it was the same person.

The Prius stopped with a Downey police officer right behind him. The officer exited, shielded himself, and there appeared to be an exchange of gunfire. The Prius’ windows shattered under a cloud of white smoke.

This is where my heart paused.

On live TV, it appeared the Downey officer needed to reload. He ran to the passenger side of his SUV patrol vehicle, but the door was locked. He was vulnerable.

Luckily, at that exact moment, another police officer – this one on a motorcycle – arrived at the scene, providing cover as the Downey police officer reloaded his firearm. Soon, other officers from various agencies joined the shootout and Lindsey was heavily outnumbered and outgunned.

Authorities say Lindsey suffered at least two gunshot wounds, one of which was likely self-inflicted. Unfortunately, he won’t face the consequences of his actions, as he died of his injuries Thursday morning.

After Lindsey was taken into custody and we were assured no innocent people were seriously injured in the chase and standoff, I had a few feelings:

One, incredible gratitude to Downey Police. Since the tragic murder of Gurpreet Singh, the department clearly worked 24/7 to solve the case, showing equal parts compassion and resolve. Neighboring cities have grown so accustomed to violent crime that it’s become normalized within the community. Thankfully, that’s not the case in Downey.

Two, watching the shootout unfold on TV, it was a stark reminder of the dangers Downey police officers place themselves in for the benefit of the community they serve. It was a remarkable gesture of bravery that members of the public don’t often get to see.

The pursuit, standoff and ultimate apprehension of Dylan Lindsey was seen live across the country and even around the world. Downey Police displayed poise and unbelievable professionalism.

Downey should be proud.

Maria Lackey

October 9, 1942 - May 13, 2019

Maria Esther Lackey, 76, was born on October 9, 1942 in El Paso, Texas to Arsenio and Mercedes Villegas and entered into eternal rest on May 13, 2019 in Downey, California.

Maria was a hard-working and strong woman who took care of everyone, and managed to still be the life of the party. She loved spending time with her family. If there was an event for the grandkids, she would be there at least two hours ahead of time. She wanted to be sure she had the best seats. Plus she enjoyed socializing with anyone and everyone around her. She would be sure to tell everyone about her grandkids. There wasn’t anyone in Downey that didn’t know about Amanda, Ryan, Blake, and Cole. She protected her family and when things were stressful she was always the first to say, “Everything’s gonna be okay.” It usually did turn out Ok, because she was there to fix it or help in every possible way.

If she wasn’t buzzing around Downey delivering missing assignments or taxi’ing the boys, she was with her sister playing Bingo or with Craig at the casino. She enjoyed herself because there was laughter and stories and lots of silliness and antics taking place. Maria also had a love of sweets, there wasn’t a cake or apple pie with ice cream or dessert of any sort that was safe when she was around. The last enjoyment I want to share about Maria is her pride and commitment to her job. She loved Downey Unified. She loved the friendships she created, she worked hard, took pride in her work, and wanted to do a great job. Her warm smile and her bright personality will be missed by so many.

Maria leaves behind her loving family: Husband, Craig Lackey, Daughter, Carmen Rodriguez (Luis), Daughter, Esther Brossmer (Roger), Son, Anthony Campos, Granddaughter, Amanda Rodriguez, Grandson, Ryan Rodriguez, Grandchildren, Blake Brossmer and Cole Brossmer, Siblings, Augustin Manuel Villegas, Arsenio Villegas Jr. (Olivia), Maria Anita Villegas numerous nieces and nephews, as well as several other family members and friends who loved her and will miss her dearly.

A rosary will be held for her on Tuesday, May 21, at 6:30 pm at Risher Montebello Mortuary, and a funeral mass on Wednesday, May 22, at 10:00 am at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Downey, California. For more obituary information and to leave condolences for the family, please visit www.RisherMortuary.com 562-861-3888.

Clyde Miera

October 2, 1933 - May 11, 2019

Clyde Miera, Downey CA, Passed away peacefully on May 11th, 2019 at the age of 85. Clyde graduated High School in Bernalillo, New Mexico. He served in the army with great pride. Clyde moved to California the day after marrying his love of 62 years Lorraine. He had a successful career as a barber. He had many friends and always the life of the party. He could always put a smile on your face. He is survived by his wife Lorraine Miera. Children Greg and Kathleen. Son in Law Kenneth. Four grandchildren Shawna and her husband Bryan, Damian, Desiree and Ashlee. Preceded in death by Grandson Christopher. And two great grandchildren Melodee and Mikah.