“Our kids are constantly in the process of learning English,” said Principal Joe Medina. “On the one hand, the kids are acquiring the same academics all the other students in the state are acquiring. But at the same time, they have the added challenge of acquiring the language as well.” Since 2000, Torch’s Academic Performance Index scores have risen a minimum of 20 points each year. At the beginning of the school year, officials hand out an agenda and a white 3-inch binder to every students to help them keep organized. “When I need to find an assignment, I just kind of quickly look through \ and find it,” said eighth-grader Rosa Gonzalez. Gonzalez belongs to Torch’s Advancement Via Individual Determination program, which prepares its students for college. The campus, which sits next to a factory, is adorned with banners from UCLA, USC, Stanford and other universities. Also on display are “A-G” planning charts listing the requirements for applying to a University of California school. “Our philosophy here is every student has the potential to go to college,” said Jimmy Lima, one of two school counselors, who often makes home visits when students don’t show up for class. Assistant Principal Robert Reyes credits Medina, who took over at Torch six years ago, with lifting expectations and putting the school on the path toward achievement. “He, in a sense, came in with hope,” Reyes said. “We fed off that desire, that vision, that hope.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2703 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! • Photo Gallery: AVID advancement INDUSTRY – Set in a low-income community with its share of drugs and gangs, Torch Middle School in Industry appears on the surface to have the odds stacked against it. About 30 percent of the school’s 800 or so sixth- through eighth-graders are learning English; 78 percent are on free- or reduced-lunch programs; and about 75 percent of their parents speak only Spanish. But any low expectations should be checked at Torch’s door. The school recently was named a California Distinguished School.
A man who has lived on a remote Donegal island for the past 20 years packed his bags and left for the last time this morning.Musician and poet Barry Edgar Pilcher, 70, moved to the island of Inishfree in 1993 with his wife Eve and daughter Alice.Eve and Alice left some time later but Barry decided to stay on and has lived alone on the island since then. For the past number of years he has lived a life of solitude, playing his saxophone and taking a boat to Burtonport once a week for supplies.There are some holiday homes on the island but Barry was the only year-round resident.Barry, who is originally from London, revealed a number of months ago that he was leaving the island as his wife was in ill health and he wanted to spend more time with his brother.This morning he began the journey to leave Donegal and to start a new chapter in his life back in England. And his wife and family were there to meet him at Burtonport when he left Inishfree this morning.Barry admitted that he had to be hardy to lead an island-life for the past two decades.He joked it was difficult to order a curry and kept in touch with friends and family through Skype.“You have to be tough to live out here,” he said. “I’ll be glad when I can move on in life.”His island cottage has served as the island’s polling booth as well, though other islanders who voted there maintained their principal residence on the mainland. Mr. Pilcher said he will miss certain aspects of island life.“It is very magical out here,” he said. “There is no street lighting so you can see the stars at night and things like that.”LAST RESIDENT OF DONEGAL ISLAND PACKS HIS BAG AND LEAVES FOR LAST TIME was last modified: March 19th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Barry PilcherdonegalInishfreeisland