Brightwood School

1701 Brightwood Street, Monterey Park, CA 91754

March 2003 | January 2003 | December 2003 | November 2003

The Brighwood Bark - November 2002
Brightwood School...A Grrreat Place To Learn

A publication of the Brightwood Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association, Alhambra Council, First District of the California State PTA. Reach us on-line at [email protected].

Principal's Message
Hello, my name is Colleen Underwood. I am the new Principal of Brightwood School. I am very pleased to be assigned to Brightwood and am overwhelmed by the open and warm welcome from the students, faculty and the parents. I hope I will be able to serve the school in a positive and creative manner. I have been in the Alhambra School District for 26 years and I have taught all grade levels from 1st through 8th.

I have been a Dean and a Guidance Counselor at San Gabriel High School as well as an Assistant Principal at Park and Repetto, and most recently at here at Brightwood. My qualifications include a Masters Degree in Guidance and Counseling, I have been in the Alhambra School District for 26 years and I have taught all grade levels from 1st through 8th. I have been a Dean and a Guidance Counselor at San Gabriel High School as well as an Assistant Principal at Park and Repetto, and most recently at here at Brightwood. My qualifications include a Masters Degree in Guidance and Counseling, a K-12 Teaching Credential, a CLAD certificate, a Clear Pupil Personnel Services Credential and a Clear Administrative Credential. I am currently working on my Educational Specialist Degree.

November is a very busy month with Thanksgiving vacation and the PTA Magician Night. I am looking forward to these events because it will give me more opportunities to meet and interact with the parents and children of Brightwood. Thank you again for such a warm welcome.

Valet Volunteers Vacate Vehicles
Who are the heroes of our morning valet service? Parent volunteers Derral Yee and Kelly Ma help get our kids to school five days a week, 40 weeks a year. The Brightwood and Hillside drop-off zones are run by Office Assistant Jane Torres and Kindergarten Supervisor Irene Padilla. Starting shortly after 7 a.m., they hustle to keep the cars moving toward the end of the zones, lift kids’ heavy backpacks out of the cars, and open and shut the car doors. Irene Padilla says, “We have to run because we have a lot of traffic. It’s good exercise.” Padilla complimented Derral Yee, “I call Derral ‘Superman’ because he works so hard. He’s great with the heavy backpacks.”

Derral Yee got his start as a valet early one day in October 2001, when the Hillside drop-off zone was unmanned. Without being asked, he jumped into service and has not missed a single day since. Derral also works full-time as a self-employed plumber and is father of Brightwood eighth grader Gerrat Yee and fifth grader Kerran Yee. Derral wakes his kids extra early so they can all go to school together. While Dad works the valet service, son Gerrat monitors the teachers’ parking lot as a Safety Patrol lieutenant.

Other early risers include Kelly Ma’s son Kevin Cheung (third grade), Irene Padilla’s sons Cesar and Ernesto (eighth and third grades), and Jane Torres’ sons Nicolas and Douglas (eighth and seventh grades) and daughter Suzu (third grade). While Nicolas and Douglas work morning Safety Patrol duties, sister Suzu helps Mom in the valet zone. Suzu says she’s an early riser and likes helping because “sometimes we get to help our friends and say ‘Hi’ to them.” Kevin Cheung also helps his Mom keep the cars moving. After a busy morning, Kelly Ma puts in a full day at her office job.

Principal Colleen Underwood has high praises for our valet volunteers and staff, “They’re wonderful! They’re out there every day and are SO generous with their time.” Third grader Marriah Gomez’ dad George said last week was his first time using the valet and it was “Great!” Parent and PTA Room Dean Coordinator Sai Dizon said, “The service is excellent. It saves us so much time!” Derral Yee says, “Most parents are nice. They say ‘Thank you’ and ‘Doing a great job’.”

Some grateful Brightwood parents, including Lisa Yee and Pauline Chang, thank our valet volunteers by bringing them some morning coffee, tea, water or holiday treat from time to time. One parent even gave a gift of Tupperware!

Several years ago, Brightwood established the first valet service in the District. Since then, it has been widely imitated at other schools. Our valet crews remind parents to pull all the way up into the drop-off zones, don’t make U-turns as you exit, and don’t jaywalk near the drop-off zones.

Buses also drop off kids in front of Brightwood. Brightwood dad Gabriel Reyes (whose daughter Susel is a fourth grader) works for the school 45 minutes each morning making sure our kids safely get from bus to campus. For the past four years he has done this before his full-time job at Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital.

Brightwood is a better school because of these dedicated people. The Brightwood PTA thanks Derral Yee, Kelly Ma, Jane Torres, Irene Padilla, Gabriel Reyes, and students Gerrat Yee, Kevin Cheung, Nicolas Torres, Douglas Torres, and Suzu Torres.

Thanksgiving Food Drive This Week
Share your bounty - please support the PTA Thanksgiving Food Drive this week! Just send a donation to class with your child to put a feast on the table of needy Brightwood families. Teach a lesson in generosity. Suggested items include: Kindergarten – canned corn or cranberries 1st Grade – canned yams or green beans 2nd Grade – canned soups or gravy 3rd Grade – canned fruit, Jell-O or pasta 4th & 5th Grades – rice, stuffing or instant mashed potatoes 6th, 7th & 8th Grades – $.50 donations to purchase turkeys.

Magic Show and Dinner This Wednesday
Did Halloween offer too many treats and not enough TRICKS? Come enjoy a great Chinese dinner and drink for only $4, starting at 6 p.m. Then be amazed by Magician Tony Daniels at 7 p.m. Scrip gift certificates will also be on sale.

Brightwood Searches for its Brightest Stars
Do our Brightwood children have talent? Of course they do! The producer of the Spring 2003 Brightwood Talent Show, Seventh Grade Teacher Barry Glick, will be conducting auditions for current Brightwood students only, in Room 29, on December 11, starting at 2:30 p.m. Please see Mr. Glick if you need an audition application. The top 20 acts will perform live on February 19, 2003 in the Brightwood Cafetorium.

Signature Rewards
Thank you to the Brightwood student body for their support of the Signature fundraiser which netted the school about $24,000! This money pays for field trips, science specimens, the Brightwood Bucks program, assemblies, earthquake supplies, holiday and end of the year parties, and Cafetorium, library and computer equipment, and much more.

Mrs. Gee (kindergarten), Mrs. Bennett (first grade), and Ms. Pellitteri and Ms. Munnecke (both third grade teachers) each received seven playground balls for achieving participation of at least 75 percent of their students. Seventeen other classes received five balls for participation of at least 50 percent. Class parties will be hosted for the six top selling classes: Mrs. Gee; Ms. Sotowa (sixth grade); Ms. McLain (fourth/fifth grades); Mrs. Bennett; Ms. Jung (fifth grade); and Ms. Makela (first grade). Brightwood’s top selling student, Lauren Saiki, received a $100 gift certificate to Toys R Us. The next six top selling students each received $50 Toys R Us gift certificates: Michelle Echeverria; Jared Roehm; Kaeyla Yip, Edward Hsi; Matthew France; and Garrett Jen.

Special thanks go to Irene Jong, Linda Roehm, Elaine Lee, Susanna Louie, Mary Ann Ragus, Lora Saiki, Yuri Sangen, Bonnie Tang, and Diane Wong for all their hard work. Irene Jong extends an EXTRA special thank you to Pat Ichiriu for crunching all the numbers!

Youth Fair Volunteers
Several dozen Brightwood parents volunteered to ensure the success of last month’s Youth Fair. The PTA is grateful for the participation of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Webelos, Mustang Basketball, AYSO Soccer, Alhambra American Little League Baseball, Manta Rays Swim Team, and Johnny Thompson Music.

Thanks to our volunteers: Adrianne Yip, Irene Jong, Stephanie Chung, Ted Esak,i Bob Gin, Peggy Gu, Maria Haluska, Scott Hara, Kumi Hasegawa, John Hatem, Donna Hihara, Laine Ichiriu, Pat Ichiriu, Vicki Iwata, Lynn Izuhara, Martha Jimenez, Alice Kansawa, Pat Kudo, Betty Low-Chang, Joe Leon, Jay Moreno, Aida Pagone, Cindy Quo,n Rolando Rocha, Linda Roehm, Lora Saiki, Yuri Sangen, Cindy Schaeffer, Esther Storbakken, Lily Seetao, Bonnie Tang, Bill Yee, Brandon Yip.

Scrip Fundraiser
Have no idea what to get Uncle Robert for Christmas? Scrip gift certificates are the answer. Just send your completed order form and check to class with your child. Extra order forms are available in the school office. All holiday orders must be received by Monday, December 2 for delivery on Friday, December 6. Brightwood PTA receives between 2 and 25% back on all purchases. Business Owners and Managers: Please use PTA scrip for holiday gifts, client gifts and employee incentives. Thank you for your continuing support.


  • November 18 – 21 * Thanksgiving Food Drive
  • November 20 * Dinner, Magic Show & PTA Association Meeting, 6 p.m. November 22 * Student Free Day – NO SCHOOL
  • November 23 * Kindergarten through College Conference, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Alhambra High School
  • November 28, 29 * Thanksgiving Holidays – NO SCHOOL
  • December 4 * PTA Board Meeting Dinner, location and time to be announced
  • December 12 * MINIMUM DAY
  • December 19 * Winter Program with 1st, 4th & 7th grade performers & PTA Association Meeting, 6 p.m.
  • December 20 * Last day of school before Winter Break
  • January 3, 2003 * Back to School

Please promote your class fundraisers, special events and student success stories through the Bark. Please send us your information at [email protected]. Thank you!

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