Westside schools:
West fundraiser for CHAMPS dog

       Le Pooch Connection may be on the east side of the city, but a West Middle School fundraising effort will benefit from people shopping at the pet store Saturday, March 15.
       The fundraising is to help West “adopt” a specially trained CHAMPS dog that will be sent to Lebanon to sniff out hidden land mines from past wars. CHAMPS is an acronym for Children Against Mines Program, which was started through the Marshall Legacy Institute and has sponsored about 100 mine-sniffing dogs to date.
       Le Pooch is at 2360 Montebello Square Drive. Ten percent of all purchases March 15 will go toward the CHAMPS effort, according to West teacher Connie Graven.
       The students have already named the dog “Pike.”
       Various fundraisers this school year have brought in $5,700. Graven believes that if the $10,000 mark is reached, there is a foundation that will donate a matching grant for Pike.
       Another part of the fundraising effort has been writing books about CHAMPS dogs. Graven's students have completed one book and plan to have three in all, she said.
       Two Coronado High students, Kali Allison, Nicolas Mahoy and Benjamen Taber are National Merit finalists, based on testing in 2007. As such, they will be considered for scholarships this year.
       With completion of the new Coronado High auditorium still several months off, school concerts are continuing to be scheduled at other high schools.
       Coronado's Spring Choir will perform Thursday, March 20 at 7 p.m. at Mitchell High ($3 in advance/$4 at the door).
       Coronado's Shomber Choir will join vocal groups from the other four District 11 high schools for an Honor Choir performance Friday, March 14 at 7 p.m. (free) at Mitchell.
       The Coronado Orchestra's Spring Concert will be Monday, March 17, also 7 p.m. at Mitchell.
       For more information, call Coronado at 328-3600.
       The Holmes Middle School Jazz Band will play again at the International Dance Club Saturday, March 15.
       The group is looking forward to it after entertaining at the longtime Westside club for the first time ever Feb. 9, band director Ken Shane said.
       One joy was seeing people dancing to their music instead of just listening, as at a concert. “The kids were like, wow, they really felt important,” Shane chuckled. “On my first song, I turned around, and the whole floor was packed with people dancing.”
       The group, including seventh- and eighth-graders, will play March 15 from 7:30 to about 9 p.m., according to Dance Club member Wanda Holt. The location is 2422 Busch Ave. In February, the Holmes band “did a fantastic job of playing for our listening and dancing enjoyment!” she enthused.
       Typically, the third Saturday of the month is a polka-only night at the International Dance Club. Shane admitted his musicians don't know any polkas, but “we'll play a lot of swing things that the crowd will know.”
       Holmes got connected with the club through a staff member, he said.
       The club has a non-member cover charge for admission. For more information, call 633-0195.

Westside Pioneer/press releases