Listen Up

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Listen Up

Congratulations to Leon A. Popa, a 9th grade student and Anne Uphoff, the art teacher at STEM Academy of Hollywood who won the Grand Prize with nearly 2,700 entries in the Triarco Art Contest: “Are you listening?”

When asked how he decided to draw the ear, he said his passion to study the anatomy and medicine gave him the idea to draw the inner and outer ear. He used violet to create the contrast in the coloring. He used pink, orange and yellow to create the translucent part of the ear. His teacher coached him to use color, Leon stated that, “Ms. Uphoff was strict about using color”.

Leon attributes his love of art and math from both his parents who emigrated from Romania. His mother is very fond of world art and teaches medieval studies. His father, tragically passed away this school year, was a Banquet Captain who was very good at pencil drawing and instilled a love of math.

Leon is also the winner of the LA Times/DWP California Friendly Landscape Poster Contest and recently, his team, won the STEM school-wide Curiosity Fair.

 About STEM Academy of Hollywood

Have you heard about this innovative STEM Academy of Hollywood, which began as a pilot school in 2010? If not, listen up! It has taken a lot of hard work; sleepless nights and stakeholder collaboration to get them where they are today, a Linked Learning Certified School, mentoring a sister school, Sylmar High School Biotech Small Learning Community. The Linked Learning Quality Review Team has commended STEM Academy of Hollywood for their progressive leadership and strong caring school culture. STEM deliberately collaborates with medical industries partners to create a work-based learning continuum and offer internships for all seniors. STEM’s innovative school model is well expressed by students. Anthony, 11th grader says, “Tutoring after school is mandatory, so whether you like it or not, you’re always getting help, so there’s no reason to fail, unless you don’t attend tutoring.” Another student, Armen, 11th graders says, “students have the opportunity to be involved in what happens behind the scenes, for example, hiring teachers, budget decisions and event planning.” Interestingly, at one point early on, STEM considered to discontinue the engineering pathway due to low enrollment. Today, they have a waiting list and it’s an excellent place to learn and teach!

The school is lead by a team, Paul Hirsch, Principal, Esther Dabagyan Linked Learning Lead Teacher, and Lori Hunt, Lead Teacher and Instructional Coach.

For more information, contact Paul Hirsch, Principal or check out their website at