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We Have Been Busy!

2019-20 School Year

  • Animation Club connected our GMS art students with their love of animation as they learned from one and another and created their own animations. The club will continue into the summer so that students can stay connected and learn of future opportunities.

  • Back To School Night:  GMS held a pre-Back To School Night event on August 28 with parents, students, and staff to inform everyone of student expectations and on-line access in increase parent involvement.

  • Buddy Meeting:  Started connecting our GMS seniors and freshmen for a Senior/Freshmen Buddy and Mentorship program.  The students met regularly to get to know each other, build relationships, and participate in fun activities.  

Career Day: On February 20, GMS had a panel of five industry professionals to speak to our students and share their experiences and words of wisdom.  

  • Yvonne Depatis-Kupka is a freelance hair stylist and makeup artist known for her work on HBO’s “Westworld,” Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful,” and the films “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Little Women,” to name just a few.

  • Donna Ross-Jones is an entrepreneur, music supervisor, music publisher and advocate for social change.

  • Marlene Sharp recently served as Director, Production at LEVEL-5 abby, home of YO-KAI WATCH and other hit video game-based franchises.

  • Rita Street is an executive producer and indie development artist under the Radar Cartoons, LLC. umbrella and the founder of Women in Animation.

  • Becca Tesarfreund, Director of Current Programming at NBC Universal and current GMS Magnet Advisory Boardmember.

  • Cinema Club started movie screenings on a regular basis after school for interested students.  In their spare time, they also film the recreations of their favorite movie scenes!

  • Climate Strike:  TIME Club held a lunch-time meeting to discuss climate issues, share information on upcoming events, and watch a clip of the documentary on the Swedish teen who started the Climate Strike movement, Greta Thunberg.  Members then participated in a beach clean-up that Saturday in Santa Monica.

Collaborative Assignments:  In addition to several smaller interdisciplinary assignments, we completed a total of eight PBL (Project Based Learning) interdisciplinary and collaborative projects for GMS students:

  • 9th Grade – Semester A = Students learned about the Hero's Journey story structure through literature and films. In their English class, they read Homer's Odyssey, and also a contemporary autobiography by Reyna Grande called The Distance Between Us, which is about a woman who grows up poor in Mexico and immigrates to the United States with her family. In their Environmental Studies and Health classes, they learn about people who have undertaken heroic efforts to effect positive change in the world. In all their GMS classes, students discussed what it means to be a hero, and also the types of journeys people may embark on in life (whether they be external or internal). Each student then chooses a hero--real or imagined, living or dead--to write a short script about. The script incorporates aspects of the Hero's Journey. In their video production class, the students choose the scripts they would like to film, and they produce the films from start to finish in their groups. 

  • Semester B = The second semesters project was “Coming of Age” with the driving questions: What does it mean to be coming of age as a teenager in 2020; What unique challenges and issues do you face that previous generations did not face; and what challenges and issues are universal to all generations?  The collaborative assignment had each student writing a “treatment” for a coming of age narrative that was then turned in a film for their your video production class. 

  • 10th Grade – Semester A = Where our families come from influences where we live, what we do, and how we see the world.  Our ancestry influences us today in different ways that may or may not be obvious.  Because of that, each family has its own dynamics in how it lives, works, communicates, and loves.  For the Fall Semester collaborative assignment, the collaborative project was called "Where I Am From." In their history class, students looked at their ancestry to learn about their heritage. In their English class, they created a poem that described with vivid imagery where they are from, discussing their childhood memories, family, friends, etc. In their film class, students created a two-minute film that is a visual representation of their poem, including a voice over of their poetry.

  • Semester B = The Driving Question for the collaborative project was “How can my narrative film on the Holocaust educate people about WWII and intolerance, and effect positive change to prevent another Holocaust?”  The “Fighting for Justice” narrative film project connected the issues of WWII and the Holocaust with current events and intolerance.  Students utilized CSUN’s Oviatt Library to conduct research through their World History class, outline the proposal and topic in their English class, and then produced their film in the Video Production class.  Students also got professional guidance during the video production phase and feedback during post-production.  

  • 11th Grade – Semester A = The collaborative project centering around a Gothic Horror Unit.  Students were posed a question to consider over the course of the unit: How does fear and the dark side of human nature overpower empathy, logic, and reason? In this unit, students read multiple short gothic horror stories, such as Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. In their history class, students learned how the anxiety of the industrial revolution spurred stories of such a frightful and compelling nature. Then, students wrote their own Gothic narrative. In their film class, they converted their Gothic narrative into a script and work in groups to execute a five-minute Gothic horror film. In their art class, students created a ten-page Gothic horror comic book based of their narrative from English class.

  • Semester B =  The 11th grade collaborative project focused on the 1920s and American Dream.  Creating a 1920’s Magazine, students developed a magazine that depicts the people and events that were responsible for the 1920’s being labeled the, “Roaring Twenties.”  They illustrated the changes that took place in the 1920’s and analyzed of the major events, people, and themes of the era by constructing the magazine.  With a driving question of “Is the American Dream a reality or illusion?,” students read The Great Gatsby and write an opinion article and an article on a moral, social, technological, economic, political, or Harlem Renaissance topic.  Video Production students created a 3 to 5 minute original piece video on your vision and interpretation of the American Dream, while Art students created a five second and 60-drawing animation piece that includes three generations of musical roots.  

  • 12th Grade – Semester A = Our seniors focused on Humanity Against Corporations and the military/industrial complex in relation to Magical Realism.  In their English class, they read the novel Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and then wrote a personal story on their own life.  If they were in Video class, their story from English class was turned into a script and then used to make a film.  If they were in Art class, students drew their self-portrait as a movie poster based on the story written.  They included at least three story elements from their story written in English class.  And to finish the collaborative project in Government class, students addressed the magical realism in the structure of the American government and focus on how lobbyists create our reality for the modern day government.  They also wrote a four paragraph essay on research on how you would make the movie based on what studio would produce it.

  • Semester B = Students psychoanalyzed human nature in the unit called "The Self." In English class, students wrote a poem analyzing themselves and their nature. Then, students read Macbeth and analyzed the ambition and greed of human nature. In Economics, students created a budget plan of all their expenses, thus, understanding their own personal greed. In their film class, students took their poem and turned it into a five-minute film with a voice over. In the art class, they created a five to ten-second animation that is a visual representation of their poem. 

  • ECCCO (Exploring College, Career, and Community Options) workbooks: We continued utilizing the workbooks in our GMS elective classes for college and career preparation and awareness.

  • Experience Day:  Organized and hosted an all-day “Experience” for 8th graders on Saturday, October 19, to come to the Media Center and make short films with other young people from across the Valley.  The students also got the chance to work with equipment, learn from industry professionals, and meet staff, current GMS students and alumni.  We also provided lunch and then had a screening of the five short films they made.  

  • Exploring Creativity: GMS staff and alumni taught creative movement for animators as part of an all-day Saturday program for 446 Jikei Com college students from Japan.

Field Trips (eight excursions):

  • Aquarium of the Pacific field trip on September 19th with nearly 100 freshmen and seniors.

  • Dr. Phil taping at Paramount studios for the AP Psychology class in Hollywood on November 6th with 46 students. 

  • Girls Build LA for a two-day excursion October 21 and 22 where they heard inspirational speakers and attended a career fair. 

  • Model United Nations (MUN) Club participated in a MUN Conference at UC San Diego on October 26.

  • DreamWorks Animation for several students and teachers, guided by our alumni, Kimberly Vanegas, who is currently has an internship there.

  • CSUN field trip on March 10th for all of our 10th graders who were able to conduct research for their narrative film project after receiving training on how to conduct academic research in Oviatt Library.  Students were then given a guided tour of CSUN’s Cinema and Television Arts (CTVA) Department which Variety magazine listed this year as one of the top 30 film programs in the world.

  • Getty Villa field trip  - After being scheduled three times due to the two different LA area fires, we finally made it there on March 10th (just before the Covid-19 shut-down).  Our 10th and 11th graders enjoyed the day exploring the museums ancient artifacts. 

  • UCLA / Fowler Museum – On January 23rd, our Health teacher took all of her GMS students to UCLA for an HIV/AIDS awareness event and campus tour.

  • Film and Cultural Festival – on December 3rd, over 300 students and parents attended our Cultural Food Fest that was from 4-6pm with student’s cultural food booths.  From 6-8pm, we screened student films and then had live student groups performing cultural songs and dances.  Several of our Advisory Board (industry professional) members were present and the evening ended with a raffle drawing for $100.  The Spring semester film festival was unfortunately cancelled due to the district shut-down.

  • GMS Magnet's ‘2020 Perfect Vision’ Film Contest on February 28th.  There were three categories for Best Film: Environment – The future of our planet, Teen Health – Physical and mental health issues that impact teens, and Teen Safety/Conflict Resolution – things that impact teen safety at home, school, or in the neighborhood.  The Best Film winners were Jocelyn Chavez, Lilia Patatanyan, and Noemie Camberos.  Each of the three winners not only received a GMS certificate, but they were also awarded $100 cash prize.

  • GMS Magnet Parents Association – The group met monthly for a very productive year planning, organizing, hosting guest speakers, and coordinating GMS events.  Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to make our magnet better!

Guest Speakers (five presentations): 

  • -- Allie Reusch from Columbia College Hollywood came to present today to all of our 

  • Media classes.  She will also present to Mr. Keady's classes, and will be offering us tours of the school.  CCH's motto is:  Tell Your Story. A perfect transition for GMS students, who Discovered Their Story here.  Students can get a BFA in Cinema (including acting), Visual Effects or Graphic Arts.  They work with hands-on projects from Day 1 and train with professionals from the industry.  They have great equipment, only 600 students (12 per class) and great facilities. 

  • -- Omid Zader – Actor, producer, and co-founder of Turbo Panda Productions came to campus and spoke to GMS students about working on films and different careers in Hollywood.

  • -- Mr. Nichan Kulukian came to speak to our 10th grade GMS class on January 28th.    He is an expert on the Armenian Genocide which occurred during WWI. Kulukian brought bread for the class because when you share bread, it means you're family.

  • -- Actress, writer, and director Cherrelle E' Lan came to Mr. Gleason's Video Production class along with cast members from her most recent film on January 31. Cherelle and cast members gave valuable advice to the young filmmakers after a screening of her film.

  • -- Tim Lovestedt is a graduate of Cleveland High School and currently works as an independent film and television writer (“Megan Leavey”, “LEGO Batman”, “Last Man on Earth”).  He spoke to GMS students about elements of story structure as well as tips for a career in the film and television industry.

  • International Youth Media Day (IYMD):  On Saturday, March 7, GMS Magnet and TIME Club held its annual celebration on Cleveland’s campus and connected numerous different countries around the globe to show the power of youth, media and the arts to communicate, inspire and entertain.  There were student song and dance performances from four schools, live music, poetry, art exhibits, and international food for sale.  Over 400 students, parents, and community members came to the celebration.  

  • International Youth Media Day (IYMD) project received an LAUSD award for the second year in a row.  The 2019/20 Human Relations Award acknowledged students who coordinated Human Relations activities among various clubs (TIME and Club Connections) and the International Youth Media Day which engaged students, parents, and local businesses in local school social issues.  The award is for going above and beyond to advance the principles of social justice and human relations at a school or in the community.  Our project, the International Youth Media Day Cultural Celebration, won the exemplary example of student leadership.

  • International Youth Media Summit (IYMS): Participated in the 14th successful IYMS Summit in Pokhara, Nepal, for two weeks from July 26 – August 10, 2019.  Cleveland Charter High School had eight students and staff members attended the Summit. Several of our delegates traveled to Nepal early to help One Youth set-up a computer lab and library for needy students in the Himalayan mountain village of Dhading, and to also work on a feature film being produced by IYMS Films.

  • International Visits:  The GMS Magnet was visited by filmmakers from Azerbaijan on Sep 24, filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa on October 14, over 50 Israeli students on October 24, and six filmmakers from India on January 29.  GMS works closely with L.A. International Visitors Council and the U.S. State Department to participate in cross-cultural exchanges. 

  • Interventions: After the 10-week and 20-week report card periods, GMS teachers met with nearly 30 students to determine what they need to raise their grades and be successful in school.

  • LA Satellite Summit (July 9-13):  The event was hosted at Cleveland High School with 30 young people making public service announcement (PSA) videos together about urgent social issues. 

  • Linked Learning:  The LAUSD program supplied GMS Magnet with a designated staff person who met regularly with our teachers to plan and coordinate all of our hands-on interdisciplinary projects, Mock Interviews, and Senior Portfolio Defense.

  • Mentor Program:  Cindy Sardo (for on-air broadcasting) visited the television broadcast class (KCAV) weekly; as well as coaching the 12th graders for their Senior Portfolio Defense projects and preparing the 11th graders for their Mock Interviews.  

  • Mock Job Interviews:  Conducted the mock interviews on February 20th for all of the GMS juniors who were interviewed by volunteers.  Our 11th grade class teachers helped prepare the students by conducting resume and interview training before the event to prepare them for summer internships.

  • Newsletter:  The GMS Magnet Newsletter, The Discovery, went out every month to inform students, parents, industry partners, and community members of what GMS had been doing recently and what to expect in the upcoming month.  A very big thank you to everyone who helped put them all together!

  • Nickelodeon Animation: Participated in Nickelodeon’s Virtual “Best Field Trip Ever” on May 21st.  We joined Jim Mortensen, Supervising Producer on Nickelodeon’s Big Nate on Zoom to learn storyboarding and animation from him.

  • Nickelodeon with Toon Boom Software:  Enabled some of our advanced animation students with equipment at home to receive free Professional Harmony 17 Animation software to learn on what professional animators are using.

  • One Youth Fundraiser:  TIME Club and Club Connections held a fundraiser for One Youth, an organization in Nepal that sets-up computer and learning labs for needy children.  We screened One Youth’s documentary of their work in Nepal and the PSAs from IYMS 2018 in Sydney. 

  • Potluck:  GMS students held a potluck at the end of the Fall semester to celebrate our successes and spend quality time together while enjoying some great food in the Media Center after school. 

  • Senior Portfolio and Defense:  Three of our GMS teachers went to an all day workshop to plan and coordinate the Senior Portfolio Defense this year.  The Senior Portfolio Defense is a graduation requirement where GMS students collect their student projects, videos, essays, documents, awards, etc. on their website.  Due to the district-wide Covid-19 shut down, our seniors did not submit their portfolium or perform their Senior Portfolio Defense this year.  

  • Sierra Club Event:  Several GMS students and teachers participated in the inaugural walk and fundraiser downtown L.A. to combat climate change on Saturday, September 28.

  • Staff Professional Development (PD): In addition to the weekly grade-level meetings held throughout the year for staff PD, curriculum design, and collaborative planning, GMS held two PD retreats on Saturday, August 10, and Saturday, January 11.  At both retreats we conducted planning for the upcoming year, collaborated on interdisciplinary projects and field trips, industry-related training and discussed Portfolium (digital portfolio) accounts.  These accounts will allow students to store their academic work, films, etc. on-line for later use during their Senior Portfolio Defense.

  • Summer Bridge program (June 24 – July 8): Incoming GMS Magnet freshmen students participated in the two-week program to introduce them to our program and expectations in high school.  In addition to collaborative projects and two field trips, they also received video training by current GMS students and produced a music video as their culminating project.  The LA Satellite Summit immediately followed the Summer Bridge program where students had an additional four days of video production training.  

Alumni Accomplishments:  

  • Mae Catt is a staff writer for Hasbro, working on the “Transformer” series.  

  • Rebecca Tesarfreund is a Director of Current Programming at NBC Universal.  

  • Mike Manning is a producer, director and special effects supervisor.  He has his own production company, BME Films, and this year directed the short “Nano”, which has screened in various film festivals around the world.

  • Michael Mazzola is a writer and producer, and his documentary “Unacknowledged” was the #1 documentary on iTunes in 2017.

  • Ben Mitnick is an independent editor working on both scripted and reality-based television shows.  

  • Sonny Menga became Head of Editorial for Rodeo EFX in Montreal and Quebec.

  • Angelina French works at Lightstorm Entertainment, James Cameron’s Production Company.

  • Antonio Manriquez, former technical assistant for the Media Academy, now works for Apple Education.

  • Billimarie Robinson works for the Message Agency, creating websites.  She co-founded a nonprofit, CLASP, dedicated to prisoners’ rights.

  • Paul Pendarvis works as an editor, online magazine producer and assistant producer.

  • Emily Greene works as an editor for FX Networks.

  • Jose Bucio works as an editor for the Nerd Mastery YouTube channel.

  • Blake Bogosian works as an editor in San Francisco, and is also producing his independent film series, “100% Human”.  

  • Spencer Thompson works as a post-production assistant on “Better Call Saul”.  

  • Brenda Hernandez and Kevin Somoza produced a short, “Harold”.  Brenda also works as a graphics and webdesigner for Van Nuys Airport, and Kevin works for a popular YouTube channel.

  • Melissa Perez works as a production assistant for reality TV shows, including, “Big Brothers” and “American Ninja Warrior” and Buzzfeed, the online news and entertainment channel.

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