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Top 10 Roseville, Granite Bay school stories of the year

One school opens, two close; Roseville High School celebrates 100th anniversary
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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What a year - good and bad - for local schools.

We saw the opening of a campus, the impending closure of two others and the impacts of continuing budget crises faced by districts throughout the state. We're also in the middle of celebrations for Roseville's oldest high school, which is commemorating its 100th anniversary.

As students put away their school books and seniors pick up their caps and gowns, the Press Tribune has identified the top 10 education-related stories in Roseville and Granite Bay for 2011-12:

1. Oakmont's beloved principal passes away

Principal Kathleen Sirovy dies of brain cancer Aug. 19 at the age of 61, after the illness forced her into early retirement from Oakmont High School, where she began her career in 1972. Sirovy worked for the Roseville Joint Union High School District for 39 years and helped open Granite Bay High School as a vice principal in 1996. Hundreds gather for a celebration of her life in late August.

2. John Adams Academy opens

The charter school, part of the Loomis Union School District, opens in September with about 600 students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade. The students, wearing red, white and blue uniforms, learn the principles of the Founding Fathers. The school employs a philosophy called "leadership education" and aims to develop "servant-leaders." Principal Nathan Rose resigns in spring and is replaced by Eli Johnson.

3. Granite Bay High School wins section football championship

Granite Bay High School wins its fourth Sac-Joaquin Section football championship in early December. The Grizzlies run straight into the teeth of Pleasant Grove High School's defensive line and pick apart the Eagles' athletic secondary. Granite Bay's defense holds one of the most powerful offenses in the area to half its scoring average and forces the only turnover of the day with 2:56 left in a 30-24 victory for the Division I title.

4. Foundations raise much-needed funds for school districts

Roseville City School District Foundation hosts its inaugural Grub Crawl in February raising about $2,500 for local schools. The nonprofit group models itself after the 20-year-old Eureka Schools Foundation, which this year donates $600,000 to the Eureka Union School District to help keep band programs intact and prevent librarian layoffs.

5. School board votes to close Sierra Gardens

In a 4-to-1 vote in March, Roseville City School District board of trustees approves the closure of Sierra Gardens Elementary School at the end of the school year to address declining enrollment and turn Eich Intermediate School into a sixth through eighth grade middle school. The issue generates controversy with many parents opposing the change and holding protests outside the school.

6. Granite Bay High School hosts walkathon following suicides

The roughly 175 attendees of the inaugural March to Make a Difference in April walk in honor of someone they have loved and lost. The walkathon is organized by the campus Angels and Doves club to raise awareness about bullying. Some people participate in honor of friend and Granite Bay graduate Jeff Fehr, who committed suicide Jan. 1. He was openly gay. Others walk in memory of Adam Johns, who died at 18 years old.

7. Oakmont's theater show must go on

Despite the March burglary of $3,000 from the drama program's production of "The Language Archive," the high school raises the curtains for its spring musical, "Little Shop of Horrors," thanks to $11,500 in donations from community members. The drama program hosts a free performance in April as a thank you. A 17-year-old male turns himself into the Roseville Police Department for the burglary.

8. St. John's School announces its closure

In April, the 32-year-old St. John's School announces it will cease operations due to a debt of more than $500,000. The school had laid off teachers and consolidated classes to cut spending, but to no avail. The news comes amid the resignation of Headmaster Rev. Paul Hancock, and allegations of financial mismanagement. The school operates out of Barbara Chilton Middle School, which it leased from the Roseville City School District. Hancock said not having a permanent campus contributed to low enrollment and budgetary issues.

9. Woodcreek's soccer team wins section championship

Woodcreek High School, led by four seniors bound for college on scholarship, defeats Sierra Foothill League rival Del Oro 4-0 in May to earn the school its first Sac-Joaquin Section championship in girls soccer. Rachel Dortch has two goals and an assist to help the Timberwolves claim the Division II banner. Lauren Hayano and Kristin Womack also score, and Woodcreek's defense allows just seven goals all season.

10. Roseville High School celebrates centennial

Roseville's oldest high school commemorates its Centennial Celebration with a series of special events and projects throughout the year. The high school district began in 1912 when 85 students attended class in the Golden Eagle Hotel. Roseville Union High School - now called Roseville High School - was built in 1915 and classes began in January 1916.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.