Wednesday: Benefit Dinner at Hillside Supper Club for School of the Arts Instrumental Music Program


Neighbor Julie invites you to a benefit dinner at Bernal’s glamorous Hillside Supper Club tomorrow, Wednesday, April 23 starting at 6 pm:

Hi- I’m a long time Bernal resident, and a community organizer and activist in the public schools here in SF.

A few Bernalwood residents are working with the folks at Hillside Supper Club to host a special evening to benefit the Instrumental Music Dept at the School of the Arts, the public high school devoted to visual, literary and performing arts located at Portola and O’Shaughnessy.

The School of the Arts receives about 30% of its operating costs from the San Francisco Unified School District. It falls to the SOTA community to raise the remaining 70%. This is achieved in a variety of ways, from regular performances on the campus and at different venues around the city, to bake sales, car washes and pancake breakfasts. The Friends of School of the Arts is a non-profit foundation that manages donations and contributions and also engages in targeted campaigns.

Instrumental Music is divided into four strands: Orchestra, Band, Guitar and World Music. The funds we raise go to purchase instruments and equipment and to pay for department Artists-in-Residence– working professionals in the Bay Area who coach and mentor our students.

This year we hope to purchase music stands and three clarinets, among other numerous needs.

There will be a three course meal- the “Seafood Serenade”, wine and dessert are included, and the musical entertainment will be provided by Matt Cmiel, Director of Orchestras and Brad Hogarth Band Director.

A portion of the purchase price ($100 per seat) is tax deductible.

Currently over 50 students in the immediate Bernal Heights neighborhood attend SOTA. It should be a great evening, tasty and fun!

Tickets are limited, so get yours right here. Additional deets

Seafood Serenade- a sublime feast, plus wine and dessert, with musical accompaniment.

One sitting.
Three courses.
Twenty two seats available for purchase.

Culinary genius courtesy of Tony Ferrari and Jonathan Sutton of the local pop-up grown-up, Hillside Supper Club.

Musical genius courtesy of Matthew Cmiel (Guitar) and Brad Hogarth (Horn), Directors of Orchestra and Band at Asawa SOTA.

Internationally acclaimed guitarist Peppino D’Agostino and his daughter, Aleza D’agostino will be surprise featured guests.

Seafood generously provided by Royal Hawaiian Seafood

All proceeds to benefit Instrumental Music at the School of the Arts.


Asparagus, quail egg, and caviar

Raw oysters with a cilantro lime mignonette
Grilled Monterey bay squid, with charred spring onions, basil pesto, and lemon
Pea tendril salad of spring peas, easter egg radish, honey vinaigrette, and pecorino;

Lobster pot pie, king trumpet mushrooms, baby carrots, black truffle veloute.


Buy tickets here.

Bernal Neighbor Creates Absurdly Cool Outdoor Adventure Program for Little Kids

hillary teaching

Neighbor Regina recently enrolled her kid in Wonderbugs, and she now thinks it may be the the coolest outdoor education adventure camp for toddlers and preschoolers in the universe.

The program was created by Hilary Blum, another Bernal neighbor, so Regina wrote Bernalwood to gush about it:

Neighbor Hillary has a seriously glamorous job.

She runs a nature program called Wonderbugs that helps kids, preschoolers and toddlers explore the wonders of San Francisco city parks. The group gathers in various parks, depending on the nature theme of the day, to do a nature hunt, art project, story time and song. Special guests include wild Blue Herons and Banana Slugs that just happen to show up when Hillary references them.

The educational/ scientific content is outstanding. I’ve even seen parents’ minds blown over some of her nature facts (Fact: Did you know the little red spot on seagulls’ beaks is the spot chicks peck to get the parent to regurgitate their food?!). Then, when you think Hillary can’t get any cooler with her scientific teaching, she whips out a ukulele and plays an original song about ducks.

One day I ran into her on Cortland and, after getting over being star-struck, I finally got the nerve to ask her about her background and how she came to create Wonderbugs. Turns out, it started on Bernal Hill.

Before moving to Bernal, Hillary studied education and anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, spending a year in the Middle East “on a dig” and teaching at an outdoor school in northern Israel. She was hooked on outdoor education and returned to work at an environmental education nonprofit in Palo Alto for almost seven years.

Hillary moved to Bernal to start her family and, after having her first daughter, she started a mini Bernal nature club with hikes on the hill. Wonderbugs was launched in 2008.

Today Wonderbugs offers Summer classes (starting in May!) and a School Science Adventures program that brings hands-on ecology and science programs to preschool and kindergarten classrooms. They also offer nature discovery field trips to school groups.

At the end of every program, the kids gather in a circle and put their hands in the middle. What follows is the official Wonderbugs nature pledge. Repeat it after me, Bernalwood:

I promise (your turn)

To learn from (say it!)

And to take care of (that’s right)

(really loud) Nature!

PHOTO: via Wonderbugs

You’re Invited to the Glamorous Leonard R. Flynn School Fundraiser, Saturday


The PTA at Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School on Precita Park is having their annual fundraiser tomorrow, Saturday March 15. Neighbor Jeff extends the invitation:

This Saturday night the Leonard R. Flynn PTA will be hosting its 3rd annual “Viva la Noche” fundraiser with music, hors d’oeuvres, wine, and a silent auction.

Bid on all manner of Bernal local favorites and food, gift certificates, vacations, wine, massages, and more!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

 7:00pm until 11:00pm
@ Mars Bar, 798 Brannan Street, SF, CA 94103

Tickets are $25 in advance/ $30 at the door.

Silent Auction info viewable right here.

About the PTA and the School:
Flynn is the elementary school that borders on Precita Park. We serve close to 500 students from Kindergarten to 5th grade in both Spanish immersion and English language programs.

The mission of our school is to promote excellence in education and create a nurturing learning environment for our students. Over 65% of our students come from low-income families who qualify for free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch.

Donations to the PTA fund the programs that the district is not able to provide — things that many of us would consider essentials for a decent education for our kids:

* Physical Education – a program from Playworks that promotes physical health and social development
* Sciences – programs in partnership with Mission High School, plus gardening, and water conservation
* Arts Enrichment – Visual arts, Dance and Music education

Your donation is fully tax-deductible. Leonard R Flynn PTA is a non-profit tax-exempt organization as defined by IRS code section 501 (c)(3) and our non-profit tax I.D # is 56-2587473.

More info on our Facebook page.

PHOTO: Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School, by Jeff Luszcz

NPR Spotlights Science Education for Bernal Students


National media alert! On NPR’s Morning Edition this week, a group of students at Bernal’s Paul Revere School were the focus of a story by Eric Westervelt about Mission Science Workshop, an innovative program to make science education more unboring:

On a recent afternoon in San Francisco, 9-year-olds from Paul Revere Elementary in the Bernal Heights neighborhood are captivated by a large Van de Graaff electrostatic generator — and the prospect of gently zapping a reporter. They implore me to put the metal part of my microphone on the machine — all in the name of science, of course.

It’s semi-controlled chaos here, but that’s the point. This is free-form explore time at the Mission Science Workshop in San Francisco. The program works with low-income and underserved public elementary schools to get kids excited about science. The program does it by mixing lots of hands-on learning with specific experiments that teachers can continue back in their own classrooms.

There are a lot of live reptiles, whole animal skeletons and a handful of project stations throughout the room, a large former high school auto shop-turned science lair. Think mad scientist meets Willy Wonka, with limited impulse controls. Fourth-graders Matthew Rivera and Jamal Damon gently tussle over two pythons while teacher Sarah-Jayne Reilly stands by.

“I grew up in Ireland and really didn’t do science until I was much older,” Reilly says. “And when I came here the first time, my mind was like, ‘Wow! I just love the way the children are learning to think.’ ‘

“We always tell them, ‘Don’t just believe me, try it for yourself, test it for yourself. It’s OK to be wrong. It’s OK to say what you’re thinking,’ ” she says.

For teacher Sam Haynor, the science workshop is about using imaginative experimentation to spark learning, and to counter the idea that science is a set of known facts that students should sit back quietly and receive from on high.

PHOTO: Student at Mission Science Workshop, via NPR

Saturday: J. Serra Elementary 3rd Annual RockaPalooza Benefit


It’s that junior-rockstar time of year, as the parents from J. Serra Elementary School on Holly Park will hold their annual RockaPalooza benefit again this Saturday, Oct. 5.

Neighbor Karen tells Bernalwood:

This is our third annual fundraiser at Thee Parkside (17th and Wisconsin in Potrero). This year we have Gone to Ground headlining. Gone to Ground is fronted by iconic Mia Simmons of legendary SF all-girl punk band Frightwig.

We also have a band called the Seagulls,  fronted by our own Bernal dad, Jon Brooder (otherwise known as Martha Brooder’s husband/ George and Sydney’s dad). Finally, our opening band is Demon Dogs: One James Lick (Gaby) and two Buena Vista 6th graders;  Strummer and Mateo, all Bernal kids.

This should be a fun event! This is a “happy hour” show, TOTALLY KID-FRIENDLY We will have arts and crafts on the tables out on the patio, the kitchen will be serving up tater-tots and mac and cheese, burgers, etc. We will have a bake sale to help raise additional money. Good times for all.

4 p.m. to 7 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 5.

Benefit Walkathon and Silent Auction for Paul Revere School This Weekend

Neighbor Richard is spreading the word about a benefit this weekend for Bernal’s Paul Revere School:

This Saturday is the big annual fundraiser for Paul Revere School, a pre-K through 8th-grade Spanish Immersion and English public school in Bernal Heights, just up the hill from the Alemany Farmers/Flea Market. Join our school community for the day by cheering on our kids in the Walkathon and bidding to win at our Silent Auction.

WHEN: This Saturday, November 17th (rain or shine!)
Walkathon: 11 a.m.–12 noon
Silent Auction: 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
WHERE: Paul Revere School, 555 Tompkins St. at Banks St. (south of Cortland Ave.)

Our list of Silent Auction items is growing every day, and it includes:

  • 2 tickets to the Giants’ 2013 Opening Night game (when the World Series Ring Ceremony is anticipated)
  • 2 tickets to a pre-season Giants vs. A’s game
  • SF Youth Ballet tickets
  • Sunset magazine subscription & autographed cookbooks
  • Original artwork by legendary Bernal artist Toby Klayman

Gift certificates to:

  • American Gymnastics Club
  • Sanchez Street Studios (pilates)
  • Hair Junction (hair salon)
  • Red Hill Books
  • Barberella Hair Lounge
  • Sports Basement
  • Local restaurants, including Vega
  • Wine tasting classes at VinoRosso
  • Legarza Basketball Camp
  • & more!

We’ll be serving food, so stop by for a cheap lunch and some fun while supporting our public school.

Hope you’ll join us on Saturday!

PHOTO: Students at Paul Revere, via Neighbor Richard

Saturday: A Halloween Party to Support Junipero Serra Elementary School

There’s a Halloween benefit party at Junipero Serra Elementary School on Saturday, and monsters of all ages are invited. Neighbor Kristen says:

We’re having a Howling Hill gig this Saturday! It’s going to be fantastic.  We’ve worked with the neighborhood to block off the front block of the school from Park to Highland. One of our new families actually owns a petting zoo and is bringing it!  We’ll have pony rides, a jumpy house, a costume contest being judged by our very own district family advocate Ramon Martinez, and a pet costume contest judged by Supervisor David Campos!  Chloe’s Closet, Heartfelt, Red Hill books and many others are sponsoring us, and will have tables of items for sale.   There’s also great food and a kick-ass raffle with 49er tickets as one of the prizes.

The fun happens between noon and 4 pm on Saturday October 27 at Junipero Serra just off fashionable Holly Park.