Noe Valley Voice February 2013


Rocco Rips: James Lick Middle School’s Bulldog Day and Dog Show raised $16,000 and an incalculable number of spirits on Saturday, Nov. 10. PTSA president Todd Standish estimated the fundraiser drew a few hundred dogs, who showed up to perform, look pretty, and be pampered by their pals. Harvey Dent, an Old English Bulldog, won first place in the bulldog beauty pageant. Happy, a three-legged dog rescued from a car accident in Pulau, was awarded the “Mutt-astic” title. The competitor with the biggest smile was clearly skatedog Rocco (pictured above). Though he came in second in the bulldog beauty contest, he turned heads all day on the JLMS blacktop.    Photo by Beverly Tharp 


Geek Is Good

Get out that geek app and join the fourth annual Tech Search Party Saturday, Feb. 2, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. That’s when teams of neighbors, parents, teachers, and students fan out across Noe Valley in search of answers to enigmatic clues. (Sample clue from last year: “35 + 48.” Answer: Corner of Diamond and 24th, where the 35 and 48 Muni lines intersect.)

Participants check in at James Lick Middle School (1220 Noe St.), and at 6 p.m. sharp are given a map with clues. Deciphering those clues leads to answers in locations across Noe Valley. Teams take a picture of the answer and themselves and email it back to the organizers. Valley Tavern, 4054 24th St., will host the after-party. The team with the most correct recorded answers by 8 p.m. wins.

The fee is $50 for a team of up to four, and $75 for a team of up to six. Prizes include gift certificates to local businesses, a case of wine, and concert passes.

“A bargain for memories that will last a lifetime,” says organizer Tim Smith.

Sponsors include Google, First Republic Bank, UrbanSitter, and TreeRing. All proceeds go toward improving technology for students at Alvarado Elementary, James Lick Middle, and Marshall Elementary schools. For more information, visit



Students Star in Broadway Production

Return to the sheer grit and determination of the Great Depression when the students of the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts present a run of 42nd Street, starting Thursday, Feb. 28.

The show—the tale of a Pennsylvania girl turned Broadway star—doesn’t just star student actors. Students work side by side with artists-in-residence to create all aspects of the production, including sets, lighting, costumes, choreography, and music.

“It’s really hands-on learning alongside professional artists, which is at the heart of the school,” said Sandra Halladey, a parent.

Directed by Keith Carames, this year’s cast will include J. P. Viernes, who played Billy Elliott on that musical’s national tour. All shows happen Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. through March 9. Tickets cost $15 for students and seniors and $20 for general admission and can be bought in advance online. Visit for more information.

The public is also invited to two recitals and an art show. On Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m., seniors at the school will perform a vocal recital at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 101 Gold Mine Drive. Thursday, Feb. 21, at 5:30 p.m., is the time to see the visual art of junior students at the school, 555 Portola Drive. A guitar recital in the Drama Studio will follow at 7:30 p.m.


Teach a Child to Read, Change a Life

Reading Partners, a tutoring program offered in 10 San Francisco schools, is seeking volunteers to work one hour a week at one of its three nearby sites: Alvarado, Sanchez, and Leonard Flynn elementary schools.

Each volunteer is paired with a student for a 45-minute session that includes reading aloud and helping the child read. Younger students work on letter recognition and the blending of sounds. Older students work on reading comprehension.

Outreach coordinator Fatima Duran, who joined the program last year as a volunteer tutor, said she was amazed how well the program worked. For example, one of her charges, a fourth-grade boy, had a hard time sitting still and was reluctant to read even a single line.

She and the site coordinator set up goals and a reward system, she said. Not long after, her student was reluctant to stop reading when the session ended.

“It was really empowering to see what a difference I feel like I was able to make,” she said.

Children who have been identified as needing help come twice a week. Though 105 students across the three schools are participating, another 65 students still need tutoring, she said.

To volunteer, contact Duran at or call 415-306-2263. Learn more about the program at

Heather World wrote this roundup of ­local schools.