Staff Spotlight: Choreographing USB

Bernard Chen, Asst. News Editor

Previously a Disney pixie, Janna Van Horn had an atypical start to her career. Now the activities director for Diamond Bar High School’s United Student Body, Van Horn has a new adventure every day.

As a student at DBHS, Van Horn participated in dance and became interested in performing arts. While in college, where she earned a degree in dance, she also worked part time at Disneyland in a night parade called Light Magic, dressed as a pixie. The parade was based on the character, Tinker Bell.

“I got to wear wings, and dance with Donald Duck and Pluto, and throw confetti… or fairy dust, pixie dust, at the audience. It was a lot of fun,” Van Horn said.

Right out of college, Van Horn wasn’t sure what her future would hold, not knowing what to do with a dance degree. However, soon after, she began her work at DBHS as a walk-on coach for the dance team, later taking the opportunity for a teaching position in the dance department. She’s been teaching at the high school for 14 years.

“I have had a lot of rewarding experiences working at DBHS. I have had the pleasure of working with some great students and I love to see them succeed. Just seeing my students do what they love gives me the most pride,” Van Horn said via e-mail.

Just last year, Van Horn became the activities director of USB, taking charge of planning the moments which make high school fun. To her, the new position is very similar to being a dance teacher, as it involves the same planning and insight.

“With this job and with the dance job, I [am] often looking ahead to future events and making sure I was doing paperwork so that certain events could happen. I have the same types of students that are working on individual projects, and I get to see them through the projects, and see them succeed,” Van Horn said.

However, the job of activities director does differ from being a dance teacher, because she no longer has the physical components of teaching, such as dancing and stretching every day with students.

Van Horn is looking forward to getting more comfortable with the new position as it is her first year as activities director. She is still learning the ropes of the new job and is gaining lots of experience from her everyday activities. She also hopes to try new things and establish new traditions as well.

“There is nothing ‘routine’ about my position as activities director. No two days are the same. My responsibilities include various tasks from blowing up balloons one day to planning graduation the next,” Van Horn said.

However, she works hard to continue the legacy of DBHS. Since attending as a student, Van Horn has seen many changes, such as the new pool, new math building, and an increase in students, but still recognizes older traditions from the old days.

“Along with USB, I get to support the various groups on the campus. For many students DBHS is their home away from home. I am lucky to be a Brahma, this is an extraordinary campus with so many gifted students. It’s a great place to be, it’s my home away from home too,” Van Horn said.