Teachers to Be Honored at Cherry Blossom Festival SoCal

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The 2011 Cherry Blossom Festival SoCal in Little Tokyo will include the presentation of the Teachers Making a Difference Awards on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 12:30 p.m. on the Blossom Stage.

It is a given that these teachers have the classroom skills, but they are being recognized for that “something special” they have to make a difference in their students. They are also able to effectively interact and communicate with parents, their colleagues, and the community. The recipients are:

• Janet Bennett, first grade teacher at Brightwood Elementary School in Monterey Park. Nominated by Sylvia Karl and Kimberly Ng.

• Diane Bonfils, sophomore regular and honors English teacher at Mayfield Senior High School in Pasadena. Nominated by Katie Karl, Stephanie Stone and Maya Soni.

• Dianne Fukawa (Fujima Seiyumi), Nihon buyo (Japanese classical dance) instructor, Fujima Seiyumi Kai. Nominated by Diana Ono.

• Craig Ihara, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and founding coordinator of Asian American Studies Department at CSU Fullerton. Nominated by Susan Uyemura.

• Susie Ling, associate professor of history and Asian American studies at Pasadena City College. Nominated by Mary Schander.

• Cynthia Loo, JD, volunteer law professor at People’s College of Law. Nominated by Lisa Chong.

• Arlene Nakamura, former LAUSD math teacher and Congressional District 31 coordinator for We the People/Project Citizen. Nominated by Grace Ishihara.

• Freda Berg Yoshioka, beginning Japanese teacher for 8th-11th grade at Campbell Hall High School in North Hollywood. Nominated by Dr. Akiko Agishi.

The George Kiriyama Educational Excellence Award, Sen. Daniel Inouye Cherry Blossom Leadership Awards, Community Treasure Awards, and Blossom Award will also be presented during the ceremony.

The festival will also feature a kimono fashion show, a “Most Photogenic Dog” contest, a martial arts arena, a cultural pavilion, a Hawaiian village, a J-pop stage, a kids’ fun area, a food court, a beer and sake garden, Fred Korematsu Day activities, a preview of the documentary “Manzanar Fishing Club,” a screening of “Stand Up for Justice: The Ralph Lazo Story,” and “Lazy Yoshie,” an original production by Mezclao.

Festival hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Entrances are at Temple at Alameda and Hewitt and First Street. Admission is $1 general, free for kids under 3.

For more information, visit www.cherryblossomfestivalsocal.org or the festival’s Facebook page.

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