By Jason KUROSU
With education funding taking large hits in recent years, much of the focus has shifted to the ramifications: increased class sizes, lack of updated textbooks or a lack of materials in the classroom altogether. Small Change for Big Change was created to meet the challenges that Crescenta Valley High School faced after state budget cuts, raising money for CV (over $20,000 since February 2012) and gathering donations, such as the two digital projectors donated to two CV classrooms.
Small Change for Big Change held its inaugural gala Saturday night at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, honoring CV teachers and alumni, while also raising funds through a silent auction. The auction items were donated by a variety of individuals and organizations, many with direct ties to Crescenta Valley High and La Crescenta. Items varied from tickets to concerts and venues to the tangible: wine grown from a nearby vineyard to a Glee poster signed by the cast to collector items, such as animation cels from Warner Bros. Studios. Attendees could bid on items throughout the night with the winning bids announced at the end of the night, along with an iPad mini giveaway for the winner of a “Heads or Tails” coin toss game.
SCBC president and 1991 CV alumna Alice Engh lamented the situation the school faces when funds are sparse.
“We have learned that CV doesn’t get Title I funding and we have learned that teachers pay for their supplies out of their own pockets,” said Engh. “Teachers share books and supplies because there is not enough to go around. Technology at CV is behind other schools.
“We’re hoping that with a small bit of change from alumni, we can make big changes at CV.”
Engh referred to teachers as “unsung heroes” and that appreciation for teachers was evident as SCBC awarded their Lifetime Service Award to Shirley Nute, who spent 38 years as a choir teacher at CV before retiring in 1997. Nute also taught physical education, music theory, guitar, student government and intro to education.
Dr. William Thomas, the founding CV principal who hired Nute, spoke about why he chose her. Thomas described Nute as “tough as nails,” though Nute’s sensitivity towards her students was a noted quality.
“The kids loved her. They flocked to her classes,” said Thomas.
Nute took the stand and accepted her award, in front of her family and many friends and former co-workers, while a slideshow of black and white photographs reeled on behind her, including her first days at CV, smiling and shaking hands with a young William Thomas.
“The statement in the newsletter says that I am receiving this award for my many years of service at CV as well as my work in the community through music and the alumni chorale,” Nute began. “Friends, service is not usually done by any one person alone. I firmly believe that if something needs to be done and we are capable of doing it, we should make the effort to see that it does get done and it never gets done alone. Whatever it is you think I did at CV, you need to be reminded that I could not have done anything without the support of the administration, front office clerical staff, counselors, other faculty members, parents and, oh yeah, the kids who are now responsible citizens, providing service and leadership for their own lives and community.”
Nute then asked several individuals important to her to stand, bestowing recognition liberally on the night she was to be recognized.
As one final act of reverence to the works of Shirley Nute, the entire room sang CV’s alma mater, the lyrics of which were written by the students in Nute’s class.