Brea Old and New: Tick-Tock, History Isn't So Boring After All™ ~ Charlie the Clock

brea olinda high school

  • 2003 BOHS grad Araz Pourmorad proud to serve under the Obama administration

    3 years ago by


      “Only in this great country of ours can a 13-year-old immigrant who arrived knowing just three words in English (yes, no and monkey) grow up one day to work for the President of the United States.” So said Araz Pourmorad, 2003 Brea Olinda High graduate.

        President Barack Obama has departure photos taken with Araz Pourmorad, Deputy Director of Operations and Continuity, WH Operations in the Oval Office, Oct. 31, 2014. (Official White House)

          “It was a great honor and the privilege of my life to serve the Obama administration in the White House, but now my nine-year journey has come to an end,” Araz wrote as the administration wound down this past winter.

            Araz first served at the White House as deputy director of operations and continuity, and later was promoted to State Protocol. During his years in that post, he managed the visits of heads of states and governments to the United States.

              Travel was also part of his “amazing experience,” as his work took him all over the world.

                Not one to forget his roots, Araz expressed special thanks to his parents, Fereydon “Fred” and Fatemeh Pourmorad of Brea, for making the sacrifices they did so he could have this special opportunity. While serving in Washington,D.C., he also invited three of his Brea Olinda High teachers, Barbara Arcyznski, Janet Chapluk and Marjorie Sepulveda, all of Brea, to visit the White House.

                  A USC graduate with a degree in political science, Araz said he particularly loved the First Family’s dogs, Bo and Sunny, and adored acting as the Easter Bunny in the 134th White House Easter Egg Roll.

                    Asked what he thought of former President Barack Obama, he said he believed him to be “one of the greatest presidents in history.”

                      Though sad to say goodbye to his friends in D.C., Araz has landed on his feet and now works on public policy at Google.

                        We knew him when…

                          Susan Gaede has cast her eye on local news for more than 40 years. Contact her at 714-529-8561 or e-mail

  • Fanning PTA and Stagelight Productions to present Peter Pan

    3 years ago by

    HOT BREA NEWS! Brea elementary school students in conjunction with Stagelight Productions present PETER PAN with two amazing casts in six performances! 
All shows at BOHS Performing Arts Center.

    Kaitlyn Fuller and Abigail O'Barr starring as Wendy and Peter Pan.

    Kaitlyn Fuller and Abigail O'Barr starring as Wendy and Peter Pan.

    Entire Peter Pan red and blue cast.

    Entire Peter Pan cast shot.

      Tickets Available:

Wed. 11/9 6:30 pm, Red, 110 tickets available

          Thurs. 11/10 6:30 pm, Blue, 120 tickets available

            Sat. 11/12 2:00 pm, Blue, 75 tickets available

              Sat. 11/12 6:30 pm, Red, 70 tickets available

                Sun. 11/13 2:00 pm, Red, 136 tickets available

                  Sun 11/13 6:30 pm, Blue, 110 tickets available

                    Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase about 1 hour before each show. The little ones have done an AMAZING job rehearsing for weeks.

                      Courtesy of Cindy Fuller and Crystal O’Barr

                        Tom Fuller

  • California is the first state to teach LGBT history in schools

    3 years ago by

    With a unanimous vote by the California State Board of Education in July, California public schools will now teach LGBT history. The State Board will implement a 2011 state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown which requires schools to include LGBT history as early as second grade. This decision will make California the first state in the nation to teach LGBT history in school textbooks.

      According to Peter Tira, information officer for the California Department of Education, the policy will go into effect immediately across California elementary, middle, and high school history classes, in time for the 2016-2017 school year. Tira also adds that there is a 2017 deadline for school textbooks to include LGBT content.

        At BOHS, the Social Science Department has not developed new plans as of yet to implement the new curriculum, according to Matt Rainwater, department head. However, Rainwater, along with fellow history teacher, Brian Schlueter, already include LGBT history as part of their civil rights unit, as both believe inclusion of the LGBT community is essential to teaching American history. Regarding the deadline, Rainwater notes that a majority of current history textbooks at BOHS are “almost as old as the students who study them” as many date back to 2002.

          However, at lower schools, such inclusion is not as. According to Trish Walsh, Country Hills Elementary School principal, the school currently teaches the curriculum adopted by the BOUSD School Board of Education, but no plans have been made to adopt new social studies textbooks as of yet.

            “Our students will enter college classrooms and the workplace in the next few years and they’re going to come across people of many different backgrounds. To assume that a place of higher education or any workplace is purely a heterosexual workplace would be very wrong. We have not just people of different ethnic backgrounds, but people of different gender identities and sexualities amongst us. And to pretend that they don’t exist is not just doing a disservice to them but a disservice to them as global citizens,” Eugene Lee, history teacher, said.

              From second grade, students will learn about diverse family structures, such as families with LGBT parents, to help students “locate themselves and their own families in history and learn about the lives and historical struggles of their peers,” according to the text of the framework.

                The BOHS Gay-Straight Alliance Club president Alisa Fang, junior, believes this addition is a huge step for the LGBT community. “For California to implement LGBTQ history into school textbooks is...amazing, for lack of a better word. LGBT youth are more likely to suffer bullying in school, suffer from depression, and commit suicide. This is not okay. People are substituting something as innocent and pure as love with hate and intolerance. I hope that with the aid of LGBTQ history into schools, this vicious cycle can be broken. By including LGBTQ history in our history books, we are not only acknowledging the sacrifices made, but we are also changing the perspective of future generations to a more open-minded one (hopefully).”

                  Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, believes that the inclusion of LGBT history is “a big win for our students.” “This document will improve the teaching and learning of history and social science. It will give our students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past,” Torlakson said.

                    Critics of the state decision, such as the National Association of Scholars and Breitbart News, believe the ruling is “absurd” and “the height of political correctness”. But others applaud the move, noting that this furthers California’s history of progressivism.

                      “This is a small world, this is an ephemeral life, a temporary life we live,” Lee said. “And for us to exclude people based on their gender identity is not only wrong -- it’s going to push us behind. There are many [LGBT] people who serve in the military, who are in the entertainment industry, who are teachers, who are students, and they all deserve a voice. And I think California as a progressive state is doing an outstanding job leading the nation once again in what a progressive state looks like.”

                        Author: Anabel King

                          Anabel King is a student reporter for Beautiful Brea Old and New. You can contact this writer at

  • Fairy Tale Wedding for High School Sweethearts

    4 years ago by

    Samantha Farris and Loren Cory Phillips were married May 14 in Malibu. Courtesy of John & Joseph Photography Inc.

    Samantha Farris and Loren Cory Phillips were married May 14 in Malibu. Courtesy of John & Joseph Photography Inc.

      Samantha “Sami” Farris, BOHS 2011 grad, and Loren Cory Phillips, who graduated in 2009, had a fairy tale beginning: They met in French class Sami’s freshman year and they have been together ever since September 2007. Sami even commuted five times a year to Arkansas while Corey attended college at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

        Many former BOHS graduates attended the beautiful wedding May 14 in Malibu: Debbie Farris ,Tammy (Quinliven) Phillips, Jeff Hiebert, Fayaz Chamadia, Melissa Wall, Brandon Metten, and Carly Juarez.

          Sami Farris is a wedding and event planner at Detail Wedding in Irvine and Beverly Hills. Loren Phillips is working on architecture for the Southern California freeway systems.

            Parents of the bride are Kim and Craig Farris and parents of the groom are Tammie and Dean Phillips.

              Any news? Give Susan Gaede a jingle (714)529-8561 or e-mail her at

  • BOHS officer Dan Moon to retire after 16 years of service

    4 years ago by

      Campus officer Dan Moon will retire after 16 years at BOHS. (photo source:

      Campus officer Dan Moon will retire after 16 years at BOHS. (photo source:

      A fter 16 years of service, Dan Moon, police officer, will retire as the BOHS campus officer at the end of this year.

        “I’m going to miss the day-to-day fun of getting to work with [the students] and getting to participate in school activities. It has been a tremendous blessing for me to be in this position and to be able to do it for 16 years and to know all the people that I’ve gotten to know and to see all the kids that I’ve been able to see progressing through the years,” Moon said.

          Moon graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 1983 where he earned his teaching credential. He then became a student teacher at BOHS, and eventually an academic teacher and coach for swimming and water polo. However, when the campus relocated from the Brea Marketplace, many teachers were forced to find another job, and Moon was assigned to BOHS by the Brea Police Department to curtail and stop drug use.

            “When you think of what the term a ‘school resource officer’ is, Moon really fits the bill. He worked with us in a direction that ensured we did not do anything to violate anybody's rights. Moon was always there as a safeguard, and he was always an extra set of eyes by keeping us updated with the pulse of the community,” Jerry Halpin, principal, said.

              In the future, with his Master’s Degree in Christian Theology and Doctrine from Talbot Seminary in Biola University, Moon plans to apply to Orange Luther to lead theology classes. As for his family, Moon is excited to visit his four children who are scattered across the world as well as possibly move to Colorado.

  • BOHS students participate in California primary

    4 years ago by

    An increasing amount of young people participated in the California primary, even some from Brea Olinda High School.

    An increasing amount of young people participated in the California primary, even some from Brea Olinda High School.

    Over a dozen students from Brea Olinda High School volunteered as a student poll worker for the California primary on Tuesday, many of them too young to vote. And while the California primary witnessed many surprising (and some not-so-surprising) results on Tuesday, an increased participation among the youth demographic this year follows a growing national trend.

      “I wanted to volunteer because I finally started to pay attention to politics this year,” Rianne Paracuelles, junior, said. “Even though I can’t vote, I still wanted to fulfill my civic duty by helping out. Also I learned a lot about how official the process is and how important it is that every single person votes because it really does matter.”

        BOHS student poll workers were placed all over Orange County, arriving at their assigned poll location at 6 a.m. and ending as late as 10 p.m. All poll workers are required to undergo a training session where they learn how to process voters, how to set up their location site, and how to prepare for various scenarios. At the training, volunteers were told to expect a high voter turnout this year, considering the high election turnouts across the country. In addition, poll workers learned how to set up the electronic voting booths, as Orange County is one of the two counties in California that is allowed to use them.

          “It was a really cool experience. My team worked around a 15-hour day, so it was definitely exhausting, but I got to learn a ton about what kind of things constitute a voting day,” Hannah Towbin, junior, said. “So many different kinds of people came out to vote, which I thought represented our modern American culture, and each person for the most part was really nice. We had a couple of frustrating ones though, like a man who showed up with a Bernie shirt on. Unfortunately we had to ask him to come back with a new shirt because it’s policy that he couldn’t represent any one person or party, but everything else went really smoothly.”

            Prior to the primary, many students and teachers at BOHS took part in electioneering on campus. History teacher Eugene Lee was known for his advocacy of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and decorated his room with campaign buttons and posters. History teacher Jeff Sink regularly discussed the election in his classes, educating his students on not only the political issues and candidates, but the political process as well, such as the difference between a primary and a caucus or the purpose of superdelegates. Some students went to campaign rallies, such as in April, when a group of students took off during a school day to attend a Bernie Sanders rally in Los Angeles. The group was invited to stand behind the senator, and at one point, senior Kyle Kirk fainted during the rally.

              And in early May, workers from the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaign came to BOHS during a lunch period one day, encouraging eligible students to register to vote and recruiting volunteers for the campaign. During the California primary, the high voter turnout matched the 2008 election turnout as early as 10 a.m., according to Neal Kelley, the Orange County Registrar of Voters. And from there, voter turnout continued to increase among all demographics.

                “Working at a polling place was definitely worth doing despite the long hours. Seeing how voting works today will make me a more well-educated voter in the future, I hope,” Towbin said.

  • Sharing a piece of history: 100 years in Brea

    4 years ago by


      The first photo I ever took for the Brea Progress was of Brea Olinda High School’s 1973 homecoming (and later prom) queen Karyn Fox.

        Karyn Fox, 1973 Brea Olinda High School homecoming queen, wipes away a tear. (courtesy Susan Gaede)

        Karyn Fox, 1973 Brea Olinda High School homecoming queen, wipes away a tear. (courtesy Susan Gaede)

          In honor of Brea’s centennial in 2017, from time to time I will be sharing photos from the community over the years.

            I had just started working for the paper and no one was on the field taking a picture. I told my husband I was going to run down and take a photo of the queen. He suggested I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t be stopped. Ironically I think it was the first and best photo I ever took, but then it was a pretty good subject.

              Karyn’s Aunt Rose had made her gorgeous dress. The dress was taken out of the box again when the queen’s mom, current Planning Commissioner Pat Fox, wore it to President Nixon’s Inauguration .

                Karyn still looks like a prom queen. She works as assistant director of case management at a psychiatric hospital. Attending USC football games is something she said she really enjoys.

                  Any news? Give Susan Gaede a jingle, call her at 714-529-8561 or email

  • 25th Annual Brea 8K Classic

    4 years ago by


      Brea 8K is celebrating its 25th year! It's hard to imagine that just 68 people took to the streets in the first Brea 8K Classic. Since that small start in 1992, this race has grown into a favorite community event, one which is expected to draw over 2000 runners/walkers, 600 volunteers, and almost 100 paid and in-kind sponsors.

        This will also be our third year hosting two races, the other being the USA Track and field Masters Championships 8K which brings about 200 participants from across the nation. I have been involved since 2011 and enjoy working with this wonderful, all-volunteer board of dedicated parents and advocates.

          Many of our volunteers no longer have children benefiting directly from the proceeds of this race, but continue year after year because they feel a strong sense of satisfaction that comes from the rewards it brings to the Brea Olinda High School students. It's a wonderful group of people working together for one goal. Our support from the community is phenomenal.

            Our hosting sponsor, the Brea Mall, is fantastic and without their sponsorship, we simply would not have the same event it is today. It definitely is a heartfelt, hometown fun event focused on fitness that raises funds for enriched academic and music programs at BOHS. The focus of these groups are academic achievements, scholarships and the music arts.

              We want to thank the whole community, the Brea Olinda Unified School District and board members, the City of Brea and Brea Police Department, the many fabulous restaurants that provide food in our food court, businesses and non-profits, such as the Scouts, that support and sponsor the race every year.

                Lastly, we appreciate all the participants that come out on the last Sunday in February year after year to challenge themselves to run/walk the Brea 8K Classic through the beautiful hills of Brea. Truly, the Brea 8K is a gem in our city and something to be proud of. On behalf of the Brea 8K Board , GITA (Global IT Academy), Academic Booster Club, Instrumental Music & Color Guard Boosters and Vocal Music Boosters we thank you for your continued support.

                  Jimini Ohler

                    Brea 8K Classic

                      Where: Begins on East Birch Street and Brea Mall Road and winds through the surrounding streets.

                        When: 8 a.m. Feb. 28; 1K Fun run begins at 9:15 a.m.

                          Fees: $40 for adults 19 and older and $30 for students 18 and under; $12 for the 1K Fun Run for children 10 and under.
  • Disney Friends for Change Club held class at Brea Library

    4 years ago by

    Back row, from left right, Sierra Thomas, Mikayla Brent, Choha Kim,  Carmilla Thomas, Matthews Brodani Front row, from left to right, Sophia Phiagoxiola, Jasmine Garcia

    Back row, from left to right, Sierra Thomas, Mikayla Brent, Choha Kim, Carmilla Thomas, Matthews Brodani
    Front row, from left to right, Sophia Phiagoxiola, Jasmine Garcia

      As an opportunity of interacting with children on the topic of saving an environment, Disney Friends for Change (DFFC) club members at Brea Olinda High School organized the three classes on Jan. 7, 14, and 21 at Brea library. According to Sierra Thomas, vice president of DFFC, the class held on Jan. 7’s theme was a water cycle.

        During the preparation of the classes, club members came up with an idea of singing a water cycle song altogether with dance movement. In addition, club members practiced to explain the concept of water cycle in simpler words. Lastly, they planned for coloring session so that children could participate in the class more actively.

          On Jan. 7, members set up the three outlined posters on the tables, each representing precipitation, evaporation, and condensation. Sophia Phiagoxiola, 4 year old participant, remarked that the class was very “fun.”

            Mikayla Brent, 4th grader at country hills, stated, “I liked coloring with my new friends and the class today was like the show on the television. I’d like to participate in the 2nd class if I can.”

              The DFFC members and participants are doing coloring.

              The DFFC members and participants are doing coloring.

                In addition, Brent recited perfectly what she learned throughout the class with club members and “was glad to learn the hard concepts in an easy way [by participating in fun activities].

                  The class students organized themselves not only helped participants, but also club members. According to Thomas, club members prepared for the class by late night at café. Their efforts also gave club members opportunity to learn.

                    Thomas stated, “The class activity allowed us to expand their knowledge as well as our knowledge.” One of the club members, Carmilla Thomas, freshman at BOHS, shared that “It was a new experience as a freshman to organize the actual class and interact with children.”

                      The DFFC is preparing for other two upcoming classes. The 2nd class will be mostly about the concept of 3R, reduce, reuse, and recycle and the 3rd class will heavily deal with the trophic levels. If you are interested in joining the class, you can sign up at Brea library.

                        Choha Kim/junior at Brea Olinda High School,

  • 2015-2016 PTA Reflections Program creative results!

    4 years ago by

    Helen Newland and Rosemary Kleiser co-chaired the Brea PTA Reflections program. The contest is a national arts competition. Winners were awarded a medal and certificate.

    Some of the award winners of the Reflections PTA contest included (left to right) Devin Hall, photography, Dominique Chen, literature, and Alexander Telly, film.(Courtesy Rosemary Kleiser)

    Some of the award winners of the Reflections PTA contest included (left to right) Devin Hall, photography, Dominique Chen, literature, and Alexander Telly, film.(Courtesy Rosemary Kleiser)

      “The PTA Reflections theme this year is Let Your Imagination Fly,” Helen said. “Wow, did the students from Arovista Elementary, Brea Country Hills Elementary, Brea Junior High, Brea Olinda High School, Laurel Elementary, Mariposa Elementary and William E. Fanning Elementary do just that.”

        Some 171 students entered the judged contest, which includes arts from dance choreography and film production to literature and visual arts.

          “It was a wonderful way students could express their talents and imagination,” Rosemary said. She thanked Brea Woods seniors who were the judges.

            Winners included Lexi Alives, Evelyn Burt, Dominique Chen, Nathan Doh, Devin Hall, Si Woo Kim, Alexander Telly and Nolan Witt.

              Honorable mentions went to Steve Clark, Andrew Gandora, Esmeralda Garcia, Danielle Kim, Novelly Torres and Dominique Zenzola.

                Any news? Give Susan Gaede a jingle at 714-529-8561 or email her at