Skip To Main Content

News & Updates

Sadie Engelhardt running
Marieanne Quiroz

Gatorade has announced Sadie Engelhardt of Ventura High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Player of the Year!

In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Sadie Engelhardt of Ventura High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Player of the Year. Engelhardt is the first Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Player of the Year to be chosen from Ventura High School.  Sadie also won this game honor for Track last year and is the current World Record Holder for the mile, 15 years or younger. 

The 2022-23 Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Player of the Year award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Engelhardt as California’s best high school girls cross country player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Player of the Year award to be announced in January, Engelhardt joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners, including Natalie Cook (2021-22, Flower Mound High School, Flower Mound, Texas), Katelyn Tuohy (2019-20, North Rockland High School, Thiels, N.Y.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester High School, Rochester Hills, Mich.) and Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, San Luis Obispo, Calif.).

The 5-foot-7 sophomore raced to the Division 2 individual state championship this past season with a time of 16:57.84, leading the Cougars to a fifth-place finish as a team. Engelhardt also won the Woodbridge Classic, the Southern Section Championships, and the Champs Sports West Regional Championships. She took 10th at the Champs Sports National Championships, earning All-America honors in the process.
Engelhardt has fundraised for Runners for Public Lands to help memorialize a teammate who was killed by a distracted driver. She has also volunteered locally at running events and marathons in addition to working at a local running store. “Sadie Engelhardt overcame illness that interrupted her training on multiple occasions to demonstrate why she is still one of the most impressive athletes in the country,” said Erik Boal, an editor for “In addition to winning a state championship and the Champs Sports West Regional title, she earned All-America honors at the Champs Sports National Championships. Sadie also produced one of the best 3-mile cross country performances in prep history, clocking 15:42.60 to prevail against an exceptional field at the Woodbridge Classic.”

Engelhardt has maintained a weighted 4.50 GPA in the classroom. She will begin her junior year of high school this fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
Engelhardt joins recent Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Players of the Year Dalia Frias (2021-22, Mira Costa High School), Riley Chamberlain (2020-21, Del Oro High School), Carlie Dorostkar (2019-20, Canyon Crest Academy), and Kristin Fahy (2018-19, La Costa Canyon High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.

Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.

police officer talking with student
Marieanne Quiroz

VUSD will create a new Public Safety/Emergency Response pathway open to all District high school students.

The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) has been awarded $1,000,000 in 2022-2023 K12 Strong Workforce Program (SWP) funds. VUSD is one of ten Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to be funded by the South Central Coast Regional Consortium (SCCRC) and will use the funds to create a new Public Safety/Emergency Response Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway at Buena High School.

VUSD's strong partnership with Ventura College, Oxnard College, Ventura Police Department, Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Ventura County Fire Department, Ventura County District Attorney's Office, and other community partners will allow the District to design and implement a robust and relevant pathway for high school students to transition into high-wage high-demand careers in Public Safety and Emergency Response after graduation. This pathway will be available to all high school students in the District via multi-site agreements.

Dr. Rene Rickard, VUSD's Chief Innovation Officer, shared, "Ventura Unified is excited to work with our community college and first responder partners to prepare our students for these critical careers in our region. We look forward to establishing this career pathway and watching it thrive at Buena."

measure e oversight committee announcement
Marieanne Quiroz

VUSD is accepting applications until 4 pm on Tues. Feb. 14, 2023.

The Ventura Unified School District is establishing a citizens’ oversight committee to oversee expenditures of Measure E bond funds, which was the bond measure approved by District voters on November 8, 2022. The District is presently accepting applications from interested citizens to serve on the committee. The committee will consist of seven to eleven members who meet, review and report on expenditures of bond funds to ensure money is used only for voter-approved purposes.

Interested persons may download the Measure E Oversight Committee Application at or obtain a paper copy from the Superintendent’s office, located at 255 Stanley Avenue, Ventura, California. Applications are due by Tuesday, February 14, 2023, by 4pm either by email to or in-person or by US Postal mail to:

Ventura Unified School District
Attn: Vanessa Cordero
255 W. Stanley Ave.
Ventura, CA 93001

students participating in music workshop
Marieanne Quiroz

After a two-year break, the Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra (CHICO) is back performing for all of the 4th graders in the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD). The program uses a ‘chef’ and food to explain how an orchestra works.

CHICO’s Young Artists Series educates VUSD 4th graders about music with food!

After a two-year break, the Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra (CHICO) is back performing for all of the 4th graders in the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD). The program uses a ‘chef’ and food to explain how an orchestra works.

Cooking with the Classics is a 50-minute program of classic symphonic masterpieces tailored to appeal to elementary school students. Using references to food and cooking techniques, program host Chef Aliza Barroca illustrates the musical concepts of tempo, rhythm, melody, and harmony as essential ingredients in music and recipes. Imagination is a key ingredient in composing a recipe and an orchestral score. The audience is encouraged to listen to the musical story the composer wants to tell and identify the characters and the musical concepts.

The 4th graders of VUSD have benefited from this educational experience since 2011. Included in the program will be one of the finalists of CHICO’s Young Artist Series concert, which will happen the following weekend, February 4th and 5th. Every year CHICO offers Ventura County’s young musicians, ages 21 years or younger, to audition for 5-7 soloist spaces during the Young Artists Series Concert. This year we have an outstanding lineup of violin, cello, flute, and piano performances.

“CHICO” was formed in 2003 by Les Vielbig, Henning Ottsen, and Bruce Walker and has been led by the dynamic and graceful conductor Dr. KuanFen Liu, since its inception. “It was a stroke of genius and has succeeded beyond belief,” says co-founder Henning Ottsen. “It has become a joy to be able to stage these wonderful concerts in front of local music lovers.” The 2022-2023 season offers five concerts between October and April, including a performance by the Grammy® Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor in March 2023. Advance tickets are not required for CHICO concerts, but attendees can make a $20.00 donation at the door.

February 4

St. Mary Magdalen Church
25 N Las Posas Rd
Camarillo, CA 93010

February 5

First United Methodist Church
1338 E. Santa Clara St
Ventura, CA 93001

Masks are encouraged at both venues.

For more information visit, call (805) 246-7316 or email inquiries to