201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832


201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832


201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832


Campus Update

FUHS hosts 1,200 theater students; wins top OC honor

By Sophia Goldblatt, Campus Arts Editor
The Fullerton Theater Program won first place in the Orange County division of the California Educational Theater Association (CETA) annual competition with their play A Monster Calls, surpassing 22 other schools. The show closed in November, but on Jan. 13, FUHS students performed the show at the CETA festival hosted on the FUHS campus.

CETA splits Southern California into four areas: Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and San Diego.

Junior Finley Danson (right) helps at the CETA concession stand. (Photo by Eadyn Ochoa)

In total, over 80 high school plays are judged and the first place winners from each area are invited to perform their full show at the CETA High School Theater Festival. Over the course of its run, three adjudicators came to showings of A Monster Calls, evaluating it in terms of acting, directing, and technical aspects. In all categories, the FUHS production earned nearly perfect scores from each judge.

At the festival itself, the Fullerton Theater program continued their streak of wins with additional awards that recognized the work of individual students. Senior Connor Udhus won Outstanding Mainstage Performance for his performance as Conor O’Malley. Juniors Maddie Englehardt and Katherine Timmerman along with sophomore Molly Cooper won Outstanding Mainstage Supporting Performance for their shared role as the Yew Tree Monster. Senior Katie Hudson won Outstanding Mainstage Tech Design for her prosthetics on the Yew Tree Monsters.

This was not the first CETA win for the Fullerton Theater Program. In fact, FUHS Theater has won CETA four times in the past six years with productions including Secret in the Wings in 2018 and The Foreigner in 2020. In 2021, the program won with their production of The Little Prince and were supposed to perform at the festival taking place at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga. However, due to the post-winter-break COVID-19 outbreak in many schools, the festival was canceled entirely.
“It was a decision made at the CETA level that we couldn’t move forward [with the festival],” said A Monster Calls director and Fullerton Theater program director, Michael Despars. “Every show was missing students and so there was a possibility we’d go into a festival and be missing our leads because they had COVID.”

Yew Tree Monsters, Katherine Timmerman (junior), Maddie Englehardt (junior), and Molly Cooper (sophomore) commemorate their win for Outstanding Mainstage Supporting Performance. Along with them is Connor Udhus (senior) who won Outstanding Mainstage Performance for his portrayal of Conor O’Malley. (Photo courtesy of Molly Cooper)

This year, Fullerton High School hosted the festival, making the complete restaging of the show less of a hassle.

“For us it’s a little easier because it’s our space and we know how it operates and runs,” Despars said. “The rules are that you only get four hours to set up your set. So, we do stick to that, even if it’s at our site. When it’s at another site, it’s a little more difficult because you have to load into a U-Haul all of your sets, your props, your lights, or whatever special thing you’re bringing. And anything you forget, you just don’t get to do it because you’re loading the day you’re performing.”

The Fullerton High School campus hosted 60 schools and an estimated 1,400 people on Jan. 13. Students involved in the theater program helped work the festival, making everything run smoothly.
“I am so proud of all of the actors, technicians, and students who worked together seamlessly to create one of the most memorable productions I have ever had the chance to collaborate on,” Despars said.
The City of Fullerton is holding a recognition ceremony for the program’s CETA win at City Hall on Feb. 20.

Schools who placed second and third were invited to perform a 10-minute segment of their play. (Above) The cast of El Dorado’s A Book Of Dog rehearses their scene on the grass outside of the auditorium. (Photo by Eadyn Ochoa)

Environmental Science Club

The Environmental Science club will travel to Newport Beach on Saturday, Feb. 3 to attend a trash clean-up service event sponsored by the Orange County Department of Education.

Environmental Science Club members get together for their trash clean up on Jan. 25. (Photo courtesy of Danica Perez)

The OC Department of Education recently featured the FUHS club in its publication. The news story celebrated the club’s mission and got the attention of Yarib Dheming, who works with Inside the Outdoors: an environmental education program administered by the Department of Ed. Dheming invited the club members to the Feb. 3 service event.

Multiple club members and co-presidents plan to attend and further their involvement in saving the environment.
The Environmental Science Club hosts monthly meetings to discuss sustainability and raise awareness among students on current issues like climate change and what we can do to help. Every month, they have been collaborating with the STEM club and Alliance for Sustainability club to host trash clean up days at lunch.
In their first cleanup, they had over 30 participants and collected around eight full bags of trash. When there was an upcoming storm, they had another clean up day shortly after the first one to prevent trash runoff from going into the ocean.

Six bags of trash were collected in only 15 minutes in the McDonald’s parking lot across from FUHS on Jan. 25.


Samsarahi Lopez (bottom left kneeling), Nazareth Olvera (top left in plaid), and Janeth Aburto (middle) help children at the Fullerton Public Library with a project to inflate balloons using vinegar and baking soda. The STEMup4Youth Club members also helped the children make slime. (Photo courtesy of Dylan Juarez)

Club Rush

(Top) Sophomores Shanelle Thompson and Andrea Alvarado promote their new club Serving Seniors designed to bring joy and hope to local senior citizens. The club will meet on Feb. 7 for its first meeting in Room 64 where they will create Valentine-themed goody bags to be delivered to Gordon Lane Care Center in Fullerton. (Bottom left) The Hispanic Organization of Learning and Achieving (H.O.L.A.) will host its next meeting in Room 63. They plan to play games to spread awareness about Hispanic culture. (Bottom right) MADE instructor Jim Pitochelli showcases a BEAST motor project sample. The sample resembles The Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter, perfected by BADE instructor Scott Hudson. (Photos by Audrina Quinonez)

Winter Assembly

ASB hosted a Jurassic Park themed assembly on Dec.12, welcoming students back from their winter break. Following a brief flag ceremony, students led multiple games, including a life-sized version of Hungry Hungry Hippo and a risky rope game. (Photos by Spike Lopez)

Staff members Karis Kim, Ella Kirby, Audrina Quinonez and Maggie Schulze contributed to this report.


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