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GreenBizz 2013!  0

Histories of Our Families by the Class of 2015  0

The first 10th grade showcase of the year was fabulous! 45 students shared stories about the love, beauty, joy, heartache, struggle and lasting commitments in our collective family histories.

Here is a brand new album showcasing all of their excellent work.

Lesliejane Pada – Histories of Our Families

Blanca Fajardo – Histories of Our Families

Gonzalo Negrete – Histories of Our Families


Magical Mayhem  1

Our first foray into special effects. Watch the blood fly…

Here’s the album.

GG NO RE!!!!!!! from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Histories of Our Families – Class of 2015  0

CS Scratch Games  0

Computer Science students published their first games using the Scratch programming tool from MIT. Check out all of the results in their gallery.


Kerouac  1

DSA 11th graders were given a quote, a piece of music and the goal of making a one minute video that fits it all together. Here are the results.

To see them all, check out the album.

Kerouac – Gabby, Allie, and Enid

Kerouac – Sunny, Angelo and Daiana

Class of 2012 Show off Production Skills  0

The Digital Safari Class of 2012, one of the most accomplished classes in Academy history, recently finished their last projects for the DSA. Take some time to explore and enjoy their last collection of short films.

Senior Movies 2012 on Vimeo


Colorblind from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

El Bien Esta En Tu Ser from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Newest 10th graders add to the HOOF Legacy with 52 new videos  5

The DSA Class of 2014 presented their family histories this past week with decidedly positive results. The 8th annual edition of the DSA 10th grade digital story festival saw the premiere of 52 new stories of family and personal triumph. We are proud to welcome our newest class officially into the DSA’s tradition of excellence. We believe they are destined for greatness both individually and as a class and can’t wait to see them respond to the next challenges ahead of them.

Click here to see all of the videos in our new Class of 2014 HOOF Album


Chelsea Taneo from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Jordyn Napier from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Angelo Nipay from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

GreenBizz!  0

2012 GreenBizz Innovation Fair January 19th  1

On January 19th, the 7th Annual Digital Safari Innovation Fair will take place at Centre Concord. The evening kicks off at 5pm with our annual Investor’s Fair during which all in attendance will receive $50,000 in “investment money” to invest in the companies on display, (the results of those investments will help determine the winning company!) and will continue with our finalist presentations, judged by members of the Contra Costa County business community. The evening is always fun and exciting. If you haven’t experienced the GreenBizz project before, you will be treated to an inspiring evening of what is RIGHT with our schools and our kids.

Winning companies will receive over $1000 in scholarship money as a reward for the hard work and dedication required to win this grueling semester long project.

For more information on the GreenBizz Project and the Innovation Fair, please visit our Digital Safari project wiki, our Innovation Fair site, or contact Randy Depew at 925-682-4030.

See you at the Fair!

DSA Officially Begins Its New Course  0

Together at last

This year, after fifteen years as a multimedia design program, the DSA is getting a face lift of sorts. As part of a planned three year expansion, we have added a brand new Computer Science pathway to exist alongside our renowned multimedia program. Now students entering their 10th grade year will have twice as much awesomeness to choose from. The new pathway will focus on developing a solid foundation in Information Technology and Java programming with excursions into game design, mobile applications, system management and technical support. We are very excited about adding the new pathway and believe it will be a beautiful compliment to the good work we’ve been doing for so long.

Stay tuned for all of the new amazingness sure to bubble out of our new direction.

DSA Students Recognized by Pittsburg City Council for Help Promoting Bike Race  1

Certificate Acceptance
Zach, Jesus, Elizabeth, Alberto and Lucia accept their certificate of recognition for their work on the Pittsburg Criterion from Council Member Pete Longmire

Digital Safari 11th graders Jesus Sanchez, Zach Asuncion, Lucia Cruz, Elizabeth Atkinson, and Alberto Moreno were recognized Monday, May 16th by the Pittsburg City Council for their work promoting the Pittsburg Criterion.

For their spring project, students took on responsibilities for providing design services for clients throughout the area, including the Pittsburg Foundation, The Cerebral Palsy Center for the Bay Area, the John Muir Association, The Willows Theatre, Candy Stripers of America, and the Northern California Family Center. Student teams worked with each of these organizations to develop graphic, web and video materials to meet their marketing, outreach and promotional needs. In all, DSA students worked with 12 different clients and all helped spread the word about the talent, good work and amazing people at MDHS to the greater community.

In their work for the Pittsburg Foundation, the team developed a series of healthy living posters that were displayed throughout the race. The brightly colored and original artwork promoted exercise, a healthy diet, and getting out and exploring nature around Pittsburg. The work was a hit with the Foundation and led to the recognition of the council.

DSA Seniors Sweep Prodiance ‘Next Entrepreneurs Competition’  0

The winners pose with Prodiance CEO Soheil Sadaat

Three groups of Digital Safari Seniors won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the 2011 Next Entrepreneurs Competition sponsored by Prodiance. The competition, open to high school students throughout California, brought over $2500 in scholarship money to the winners. The winning business plans were created as part of the DSA’s annual GreenBizz project which produced its own set of winners and scholarships this past January. However, the Next Entrepreneurs Competition allowed the students of the DSA to see where they stand against students on a regional and state level. We are very happy with the way things turned out, proving again that students at Mt. Diablo High and in the DSA can compete against anyone, anywhere.

The winners and their company summaries:

1st Place: Emerald Grow – Abegail Cariaso, Chelsea Latteri, Angelique Dawkins

Over time, the world has used up a significant portion of its oil supply with one third of it already depleted. Emerald Grow is a company that dedicates its efforts to decrease our dependency on foreign oil and increase the Earth’s sustainability.  The biodiesel Emerald Grow produces is made from selectively bred algae grown in fertilizer runoffs – thereby contributing to pollution clean-up.  Algae – it’s small enough to go unnoticed yet big enough to change the world.

2nd Place: Piezo Power – Daniel Walsh, Cesia Gomez, Jessemar Servida, Enrique Vazquez

Piezo Power believes in the viability and well being of future generations. There by Piezo Power created Electroturf™, a sub-flooring that harvests energy as it is walked on. By providing a simple and reliable alternative energy to lower the consumer’s electrical bill we can bring security from volatile energy prices. Piezo Power not only creates cleaner energy, but it also makes you money.

3rd Place: Husk Paper – Jazmine Wong, Alex Ramos, Louis Deleon

Husk Paper Products is proud to present paper products made from corn agripulp. Made using the same processes as wood-based paper, corn agripulp paper offers quality and performance that can wipe, swipe, and clean up any mess. It is an inexpensive and eco-friendly solution to the problems caused by heavy deforestation. Husk Paper Products: good for the Earth and good for your pocket!

Congratulations again to everyone in the Class of 2011, these awards belong to all of you and are a testament to the hard work you put in every day.

Speaking of I.D.entity videos on Vimeo  0

March definitely came in like a lion with a rousing and wonderful showcase by the class of 2012 on the 1st. And, now the Juniors have added their videos to the ever increasing list of awesomeness that is the Speaking of I.D.entity video archive. Please take some time to check out the newest DSA video album at Vimeo.

Anne Luong & Nina Tran “Believe” from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Bany Noguera “Turning Back” from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Speaking of I.D.entity 2011!  0

The 4th Annual Digital Safari Speaking of I.D.entity Showcase is Tuesday, March 1st at 6pm in Romaine Hall. It promises to be an amazing evening of original songs, spoken word, poetry and rap all performed by our own DSA juniors. Come and see why we this amazing night of entertainment is not to be missed.

DSA Sophomores Present HOOF  0

The newest class of DSA Sophomores made their first official project presentations with their evening showcase of Digital Stories on Tuesday and Wednesday. The 7th Annual Histories of Our Families Digital Story Showcase was a marvelous success with 44 stories of love and loss and triumph and family. And, as tradition holds, having completed their first project gauntlet, they can now officially say they are part  of the DSA.

Check out all of this years stories in our Vimeo Histories of Our Families Album.

Congratulations to everyone who presented. It was one of the best shows we’ve ever had.

Isela Gonzalez – “A Mother’s Love” from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Lorenz Miguel – “The Queen of the Navarro Family” from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

The Digital Safari Innovation Fair 2011  0

The 6th Annual Digital Safari GreenBizz Competition and Innovation Fair is this Wednesday at Centre Concord (see details above). For the second consecutive year our seniors will be competing against MDHS’s International Hospitality and Tourism Academy (IHTA). Come and see the next generation of DSA students compete to be the best and who will join the long distinguished list of GreenBizz winners.

New Junior Music Videos!  0

The class of 2012 just finished putting their spin on some popular music with the creation of 11 new music videos covering the artists from the Rural Alberta Advantage to the Blind Pilots to Ben Kweller. One of the first of many forays into the world of video for our juniors turned out to be a very nice warm-up for their official coming out party with Speaking of I.D.entity. Can’t wait to see what they have in store for us then.

All 11 of the new videos can be found in our Music Videos 2012 Album on Vimeo.

In The Summertime from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Sundress from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

The senior camping trip was over two weeks ago…Randy writes about it two weeks later  0

Our 38 seniors and 4 brave teachers returned from our annual Senior trip unscathed. Days exploring Shelter Cover Regional Park, beautiful sunsets over the ocean, and nights around the campfire made up the moments of an amazing trip.

Some highlights: cliffs, rocks, quad decker sandwiches, dancing at the edge of the ocean, elizabeth’s 5 touchdowns, zzzh zzzh zzzh zzzh, peanut butter and jelly and turkey and cheese and mayo and mustard and jalepenos, Santiago can fit his whole fist in his mouth, Enki telling me to go to #$@#, mike and ike fights, Ashley wins chubby bunny with 15, the epic shoe fight, broken ribs courtesy of Alex, can you hear it in the wind? willllleeey, Battle Royale, Ricardo never knew what hit him, ropes to the beach, caves with all natural graffiti, the sun is bright, I’m Daniel Walsh, kindness and generosity, scaling rocks and feeling cool, rock baseball, who ever knew there was this much kelp in the world? Ashley and Santiago’s 3 hour stories, seaweed whips, more Bacon than you could shake a stick at, fresh hot coffee at the store, fresh Hot Cheetos at the store, Eric’s and Jeanelle’s onesies, the ceaseless sound of the ocean, Chelsea’s jeggings, I just never knew Elaine and Jazmine were ready for the Octagon, the cool spider, great friends, shooting stars and the milky way, a porta-potty just for us boys, random violent tackling/wrestling type action, showering under the sky, I used to like Jeanelle, the tree tunnels, Willey falling in the fire ring…”I’m open!”, grammar lessons on a secluded beach, Ms. Stirton and her cabana boys, drawing light pictures, curfew violations, s’mores, smores with reeses, Alex doing the break dancing on the rock, Megan’s pancakes, Megan’s pancakes with McCollum’s touch, washing the rice three times, Anna is our mom, Santiago beating Danny so badly at Yu-Gi-Oh (or so he says), Yessica’s space sandals, screaming into the abyss, the seventh wheel, where’s Megan? wow that fire is hot, Pauline’s summer winter beach outfit, and lots of love.

Please, those of you who went, comment on your own memories of the trip.

See all 400 some odd pictures here.

15 Years of Redefining School, Redefining Cool  0

15 years.


I certainly wasn’t sure when we started that we would have been able to say that. It certainly is gratifying to have been part of this experiment from the beginning. To build something and watch it grow into something as special as the Digital Safari is just so awesome. Our founder, Ted Maddock’s vision for how school should be is being realized daily. Thanks Ted. Our lives have all been blessed by what you imagined so long ago.

I just realized we have reached the point where some of our newest students weren’t born when we began. That’s cool.

And, I’m getting old.

But, you know what? We’re getting better and better every year. I fully expect year 15 to be the best year in the DSA ever. This will be our second year offering summer internships to our Seniors (after an amazing trial run this year). We have college visits planned for everyone. We have field trips planned to see the workings of real media companies up close and personal. We have camping. We have snow trips. We have so much more.

We also have our award winning curriculum that produces the finest high school designers and film makers in the state and, produces graduates every year who are poised and ready for the challenges ahead of them in life and college. And, we have our projects that are the envy of everyone. Ready for GreenBizz, Seniors? Ready for I.D.entity, Juniors? Ready for the hardest and best work you’ve ever done Sophomores?

Oh, and we have the best teachers and students around.

I’m just so proud of everyone who’s been a part of it all from the teachers who helped change the way education is done to the administrators who trusted we knew what we were doing to the 500 plus graduates of our program out there making the world a better place.

WooHoo! 15 years!

And, we haven’t even gotten started.

Legacy of Imperialism Year 6 – The Best Competition Yet!  1

On Wednesday, June 2 the 6th annual DSA Legacy of Imperialism competition took place among DSA sophomores at Diablo Valley College. The quality of student work and the energy in the competition were the best ever – showing the continuing trend that in the DSA things do continually get better with age.

In this year’s competition the team representing Rwanda (Jesus Sanchez, Karen Paredes, and Kaitie Brooks) took home top honors with their plans for a school and community garden to address the chronic need for education and nutrition for children. Other teams honored included the teams representing Angola, Botswana, Togo, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.

For more information on the Legacy of Imperialism project check out the DSA project wiki at

In addition, check out the amazing country plans published by our 10th grade Legacy teams. The level of design and thoughtful planning is tremendous and a testament to a class that is going places. The rest of the plans can be seen at

We Are Mount Diablo Photography  0

The DSA 11th Grade class took 250 pictures of the faces that make MDHS.
Check them all out at our Flickr page.

Honoring Crispus  0

What started out as a project exploring the complexities of immigration turned into a tribute to our fallen friend. Anna Ramos, Gustavo Gomez and Nin Nguyen produced this video in the aftermath of Cripus’ death. The rapping you hear throughout is Crispus performing a song he recorded last December.

We hope this video will help all of us keep Crispus in our hearts.

We Are Mount Diablo – First Videos  0

As part of their project “We Are Mount Diablo: Issues of Ethnicity and Culture at MDHS“, students were tasked with creating a documentary that celebrates, examines, exposes, or enlightens us about the diversity of cultures and people who make MDHS what it is. From personal stories of struggle, to examinations of the causes of failure on our campus, the videos provide a unique perspective into the way our students see and report on the world.

The entire set of videos can be found in our vimeo album for the project.

Diagnosing Failure from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Utopia Photo Essays Batch One  1

Check out the First Half of the Senior Utopia PhotoEssays. The essays were created as part of the DSA Senior Project ‘Searching for Utopia‘.

The rest of the essays can be viewed at

11th Graders Tour SF State and BECA  1

DSA 11th Graders, as part of our ongoing career and college exploration activities, toured San Francisco State University on Thursday, April 15th. In addition to the campus tour, the DSA received a personal student led tour of the Broadcast and Electronic Communications Arts Department (BECA). The beautifully sunny day was a special and timely experience as our future seniors begin to form their college plans.

Photos of the visit are here.

Crispus Gathuru 1994 – 2010  0

Crispus GathuruThe DSA family lost one of our own Tuesday, March 30. Our sadness is great.
Crispus will be missed by us all.

Sophomores Engage in Day Long Snowball Fight  0

DSA sophomores traveled to Soda Springs on Saturday with the purpose of becoming a closer-knit group of students as they begin their new project and look forward to “living together” until graduation. But, bonding on this day took the form of a snowball fighting, tackling, and wrestling free for all. It was a glorious way to spend a day in the Sierras.

And, now, it feels even better to be a member of this big family.

There are 150 more pictures in our Flickr album for the trip.

Speaking of I.D.entity Videos Posted  0

The newest installment of the DSA’s Speaking of I.D.entity project hit Vimeo today. Check ’em out!

(We’re still waiting on a few videos, so if the one you’re looking for isn’t here, check back Monday)

Speaking of I.D.entity 2010 on Vimeo

Jessylyn Los Banos “Rose Colored Glasses” from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Gustavo Gomez & Felipe Carias “Don’t Give Up” from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

3rd Annual “Speaking of I.D.entity” Showcase – Thursday, Feb 18  0

Join us as The Digital Safari Academy presents the 3rd Annual “Speaking of I.D.entity” showcase where the DSA class of 2011 celebrates their families, their cultures and their individuality with two free evenings of peace and love. The evening features an inspired blend of video and music mixed with live poetry, spoken word, singing and hip-hop – all written, produced and performed by the students of the DSA. It is a remarkable collection of student performances celebrating the diversity, community and individual voices that make us one.

a remarkable collection of student performances
celebrating the diversity, community and individual voices that make us o


See our Vimeo Channel for videos from the class of 2010’s performances.

Karla Penuela “Gotta Get It” from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Innovation Fair Garners Media Attention  0

Michelle, Nick and Susannah formed the winning team from Solargize!
Michelle, Nick and Susannah formed the winning team from Solargize!

The 5th Annual Digital Safari Innovation Fair that took place on Thursday, January 21 received regional coverage in the Contra Costa Times yesterday. The article does a nice job of capturing the spirit and intensity of the competition and provides nice quotes by a number of DSA students.

In addition, CCTV will broadcast their coverage of the fair at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, and 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19. CCTV can be found locally on Comcast Channel 27. (CCTV’s program description)

Finally, you can check out the photos from this year’s competition on the DSA’s Flickr page.

For more information on the Digital Safari Innovation Fair and GreenBizz Competition, please visit

DSA 2nd Semester will be a busy one  0

The second semester will be a busy one for DSA students with many dates already on the books and many more to be added. So, get out your calendars…

February 17 – 10th Grade visit to U.C. Berkeley (Randy and Ms. Stirton’s alma mater!)
March 6 – 10th Grade Snow Trip!!!
March 16 – 10th Grade Career Exploration Visit
April 1 – 11th Grade visit to San Francisco State
April 3 – 10 – Spring Break!!
May 8 – Junior/Senior Prom
May 10 – 14 – Junior Peer Education
May 16 – 19 – Junior Camping to Big Basin State Park
June 2 – Legacy of Imperialism 10th Grade Competition
June 9 – Senior films at Brendan (tentative)
June 11 – Senior Celebration!

Add in all the due dates for papers and projects, time for meetings and trips to I Love for spicy chicken and you can see we’ll be as busy as ever in the DSA. Ready?

The 5th Annual Digital Safari Innovation Fair – Thursday!  0

2010 Innovation Fair Flyer V2Come see the best students in the Bay Area this Thursday evening at Centre Concord.

Histories of Our Families – Now Streaming at Vimeo  0

48 outstanding digital stories honoring family and the journeys that have lead to today are now posted at in the DSA Histories of Our Families album at Vimeo. These 48 stories comprised our 2 day festival of 10th grade stories for 2010. The DSA Digital Story Festival is now in its 6th year.

Click Here to see all of the videos.

Britanny Castillo – HOOF, 2010Rodolfo Meda – HOOF, 2010
from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Sophomore Digital Story Festival coming Tuesday and Wednesday  0

The 6th annual DSA Histories of Our Families Digital Story Festival will take place in the MDHS library on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, the 12th and 13th from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

The festival will the first public display of work for our 10th grade class –  the newest members of the DSA. And, thus, represents their unofficial initiations into the academy.

Please join us. Past experiences show this to be an amazing night of storytelling and togetherness as families and students share their past, their traditions and their hopes for the future.

Stay tuned later this week to see the uploaded videos on the DSA Vimeo channel.

Class of 2011 Posts Music Videos  0

In training and preparation for the creation of videos for their own recordings, DSA juniors have completed videos for several popular songs. 12 new videos in all were posted for music from John Legend, The Mountain Goats, The White Rabbits and many others. The results are a good representation of the teenage world view. And, as always we are proud of our students’ efforts.

See all 12 videos on our vimeo channel.

Stay tuned for the Class of 2011 Speaking of I.D.entity project videos coming soon.

Thirteen from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Tell Me Something Good from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Student trips to EA and other destinations next week  0

Digital Safari 11th grade students will take part in the first activities from the DSA’s new career and college workshops next Thursday, November 19th with Career Exploration trips to Electronic Arts in Redwood Shores, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, and Bars+Tone and AKQA in San Francisco.

The career and college curriculum being implemented by the DSA is overseen by Bloom Associates and funded by a grant from MDRC. The goals of the program are to increase student connection to the world of work by providing them real access to companies through career explorations, college visits and internships, and to surround these activities with specific workshops designed for students to get the most out of the experience.

DSA 10th graders will go on their career visits in the spring, followed by college visits by both 10th and 11th graders to the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. By the summer of 2010, our 11th graders will be entering into their first internships.

And, with the already amazing stuff we’re doing in the DSA, it’s going to be an exciting time to be a member of the Digital Safari family.

Expression College for Digital Arts  0


On Monday, November 9th, Carly James, a representative from Expression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville, will be in the DSA to talk about her school and the opportunities it could provide DSA graduates. Expression College has accelerated bachelor degree programs in Animation and Visual Effects, Motion Graphic Design, Game Art and Design, and Sound Arts.

For more information visit the Expression College web site and take a virtual tour.

Silent Movies Turn Loud  0

The DSA Juniors posted their first videos of the year to Vimeo. Students shot and edited silent movies and then learned how to score their movies in Garage Band. The results are pretty okay for first time videographers with an incredibly short production time of 2 weeks. Next, they take their skills to the music video genre. Results of that excursion will be posted in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, check out the vids at our Silent Movie and Musical Scores Vimeo Album.

Late Nerd from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Salt Point Weather Chases Seniors Away  0

What began as a memorable camping trip to the ocean, turned even more memorable due to the huge storm that descended upon the DSA seniors. The record storm that battered the Bay Area and Northern California dropped into Salt Point at 10 p.m. Monday night. By morning, several inches of rain and heavy winds had damaged several tents, soaked most of our gear, chased several girls to the van, and created a waterlogged and tired group of seniors. With much more rain and wind inthe forecast, there was no choice but to abandon our temporary home for more solid walls.

The trip started out with bad omens from the beginning. Only an hour into the trip to the coast, the bus broke down leaving campers stranded in a parking lot in Santa Rosa for several hours. However, the beauty of Salt Point and the delicious “Randy Mac” had students quickly forgetting the dreaded bus.

Sunday night and Monday were cloudy, but beautiful. Students explored the cliffs and tide pools (Stephanie found a perfect starfish.) Mr. McCollum introduced the DSA to the chaotic assassin game which had everyone on edge (Daniel, Isaac, and Mr. McCollum ended each other simultaneously to the game.) We found out Marcello doesn’t know how to fold and Jake loves twos. Michelle doesn’t sleep. Very sadly, Thomas likes Kari, but Kari doesn’t like Thomas. Chris and Sabadlab should have played more football growing up. Tiffany is the best of the girls at football. Loris and Lucy should officially wrestle and get it over with. Dane is even uglier without the mask and Nathalie, most certainly, doesn’t like to be scared. J.D. and Thomas know lots of songs for the guitar, but only half of them. Isaac didn’t tell any haunted doll stories. And finally, Brandon didn’t get naked in front of Zach, much to Zach’s relief.

Though shortened by a day, the trip was certainly fun.

Senior Camping Gear List  0

Permission Slips for the upcoming Senior Camping Trip are available in the DSA lab. The trip, to Salt Point State Park on the Sonoma Coast, is from Sunday, October 11 to Wednesday, October 14 and costs $60.

Attached is a Gear Checklist to use when packing. It is essential to double check your packing list to make sure you don’t forget something important. Four days is a long time without a toothbrush.


Greenbizz Customer Surveys at Todos Santos Plaza  0

Mrs. Fontanilla doesnt like mushrooms. Not one little bit.
Mrs. Fontanilla doesn't like mushrooms. Not one little bit.

DSA seniors took one of the first big steps in the annual GreenBizz project on Tuesday when they surveyed the patrons of the Concord Farmers Market about their potential products.

Overall, students are excited about the response their products received and are now ready to tackle the next challenges, including their seed money requests on Wednesday and Thursday. Already, student companies are dreaming of millions and saving the planet at the same time. Fun fun fun.

In other developments, Mrs. Fontanilla’s severe aversion to our friend, the fungus, was confirmed by a test with a special purchase from the market. So, if you’re looking for a gift for her…

Check out the photos from the day at our Flickr photostream.

Back To School Night this Thursday  0

The MDHS Back To School Night for the 2009-2010 school year is this Thursday at 6:00pm. Students, make sure to bring your parents to see and hear about the great things happening in the DSA.

The more positive connections we can make, the better our community becomes. We’re excited to reconnect with families we’ve met before and begin relationships with our new DSA families.

GreenBizz, the “Super Bowl” of the DSA kicks off Tuesday  0

The 7th annual Digital Safari GreenBizz competition kicks off Tuesday with exciting changes to our longest running Innovation Challenge. The most notable change involves welcoming two additional MDHS Academies into the competition. The International Hospitality and Tourism Academy (IHTA) and the new Arts and Humanities Academy (AHA) bring their students into GreenBizz for the first time. The exciting addition of these two academies will almost triple the number of companies in the competition compared to previous years.

Tania, Jasmine, Michelle, and Brandon will defend their Class of 2010 competition title - albeit with 4 different teams. Brandon certainly looks ready.
Tania, Jasmine, Michelle, and Brandon will defend their Class of 2010 competition title - albeit with 4 different teams. Brandon certainly looks ready.

Over the past several years, the GreenBizz challenge (formerly eBizz) has produced some of our most memorable moments as an academy. And, it was GreenBizz that led us to truly believe the DSA innovation model for project based learning could truly revolutionize the way we taught students. Over the past six years we’ve seen hundred of students push themselves to be the best. This year we expect no different.

This year’s competition will take place on Thursday, January 21st, 2010 at the Concord Hilton.

Finally, the DSA student teams have been set. To see the teams and start your predictions check out the GreenBizz Rosters 2009-2010.

Senior Camping Trip Announced to Salt Point State Park  0

The annual Digital Safari senior camping trip will take place from October 11 – 14 at Salt Point State Park along the Sonoma Coast in Northern California. Salt Point features rocky promontories, panoramic views, kelp-dotted coves, the dramatic sounds of pounding surf, open grasslands, forested hills, pristine prairies, and pygmy forests along 6 miles of rugged coast. The group campground sits a few hundred feet above the ocean and offers amazing views in a beautiful, secluded setting. Cost for the trip will be $60 per student and will cover transportation, food and lots of fun times.

Though camping at Salt Point is far from roughing it, our current senior class proved themselves capable in settings that would make Survivorman wince after experiencing 3 days of heavy rain, collapsed tents and soggy bottoms at Sugarloaf state park last spring. We’re excited to see what unique experiences this year will bring. Maybe we’ll get a Tsunami!

Information on permission slips and other finer details will be coming soon.

The DSA Be the Change Team and Next Step Workshop  0

Over the past year, the DSA’s connection to Challenge Day has provided powerful experiences for learning and growth for hundreds of DSA and MDHS students. In order to continue this work, several students have formed our DSA Be the Change Team. This group will be supporting the successes and struggles of each of us through peer support, working to incorporate the Challenge Day principals into our daily lives, and performing independent and positive acts of change for the DSA and MDHS community.

The first meeting of the Be the Change Team this year will be Wednesday at 2:30 somewhere in the Academic Building (find Randy, he’ll tell you). Come and join us.

In addition, the Next Step to Being the Change workshops will continue this year. Next Step is a three day challenge day experience with the power to transform lives. 17 DSA students attended Next Step last year and came out of it with the strength, love and passion to accomplish their goals. The first Next Step workshop for the year is September 18 – 20 at the Challenge Day offices in Concord. The cost for students is $100 – a relative value for the depth of experiences provided (some financial aid may be available). Please see Randy by Friday if you are interested in attending this powerful and inspiring workshop.

The Digital Safari Academy: Year 14  0

Welcome to year 14 of the Digital Safari Academy. It’s been a fantastic first 13 years and we have reason to believe year 14 will better than ever!

First, we have an awesome group of Seniors. After ending last year with an incredible night of performances for ‘Speaking of I.D.entity‘, they showed themselves to be as talented a group as any we’ve ever had. And, for those of you who know anything about the DSA, that’s saying something. (See some of the videos at the DSA Vimeo channel I’ll get the rest up soon ~ R ). This year they will be carrying DSA pride with them as we invite the International Hospitality and Tourism Academy and the Arts and Humanities Academy into our annual GreenBizz competition. We believe we have the right group to defend the DSA’s longstanding title as ‘best academy anywhere in the universe’.

Second, we have a Junior class full of the some of the friendliest and most solid people you could find anywhere. We grew in huge ways as a group and they, as so many groups that came before them, are poised to do amazing things as a class. We begin the year with our annual Speaking of I.D.entity project and finish with our first ever video podcasting project on the culture of MDHS.

Third, the DSA was selected as one of only two academies in the nation to begin the development of a college readiness and internship program for our students. We begin this year with job shadows and college trips, and then next summer will begin to place all of the class of 2011 into internships working with media in our business community. It’s an honor and privilege our students richly deserve.

Fourth, the DSA has the best teachers around. DSA teachers form a team of loving and committed professionals as good as you’ll find anywhere. We love our students, we know they’re great, and we know we’re in this thing together.

Fifth, the summer lab fairies have brought us new equipment. The working side of the lab is now running new iMacs everywhere. And, we received a grant from flip video spotlight to purchase 16 new Flip video cameras for our video podcasting project in the spring. Our new web hosting service serves up our new blog (and blogs from all your teachers), and will provide each DSA student with a email account.

Finally, we have our newest class entering the academy. The class of 2012 will be the DSA’s 15th graduating class when they cross the stage in 3 years. We certainly expect big things from a class privileged to occupy such a monumental spot in the history of ‘the best academy anywhere in the universe.’

Again, welcome to year 14. It’s going to be a heck of a ride.

DSA Movies Moving to  0

Because of filtering problems with YouTube within our school district, we will be switching our videos over to Vimeo is a video streaming community for creatives that doesn’t allow the commercial and copied content that weighs YouTube down. I am impressed with the quality of video and the user experience, as well as the amazingly cool content posted by other users.

Our new Digital Safari Academy Channel currently has some of the most recent movies created by our Seniors for the Searching for Utopia project. Much more content, including the video highlights of our recent Speaking of I.D.entity project will be uploaded soon.

Here’s Loving Melody. Written and Directed by Christin Hunter. Starring Carlos Montes, Jesse Panugaling, and Francis Albano and featuring a rather large number of DSA extras…

Loving Melody from Digital Safari Academy on Vimeo.

Digital Safari’s Site Changing  0

We’re making changes to The changes will enable us to do a better job of sharing the work of our academy and our students with our community. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the DSA, please contact Randy Depew via email at

In the meantime, you might just want to do some shopping at our DSA store at, check out some of our current projects at our DSA Project Wiki, check out our Flickr photostream, or see some of our videos at youtube.