News

  • Math teacher Noova Ongley accepts the yearbook dedication during Assembly on May 19, 2015.

    Yearbook Staff Honors Math Teacher's Many Facets

    During Assembly on May 19, 2015, Catalinan editors Leslie Gobel '15, Ellie Stork '15, and Willow Wallace '15 read the first two clues: "This person likes to hike. She likes black licorice." At that point, Noova Ongley knew they were talking about her, but she hadn't anticipated having the yearbook dedicated to her. She was flattered but hesitant to step into the spotlight.

    After coming to the stage to accept flowers and her copy of the Catalinan, she said, "I think this is the first time I've been up here during Assembly." Admittedly shy, Ms. Ongley later confimed that she has not given a single announcement in Assembly since she began teaching at Santa Catalina in fall 2004. She said there was one time that math chair Ned Stork asked her to make an announcement for him, but she quietly passed the buck to another colleague.

    Considering the subjects she teaches every day, one would think making an announcement would be a breeze. In her 11 years here, she has taught courses that many would find daunting: Algebra II/Trigonometry, Algebra II Honors, Precalculus, Precalculus Honors, Calculus, and AP Calculus BC.

    "Teaching math is hard because so many people struggle with it, so it's nice to know they can still appreciate me as a teacher and a person even though my class can make them cry," Ms. Ongley said in her trademark straightforward fashion. The mother of two young children, she definitely has a soft spot. She just doesn't pretend to teach simple material, which makes sense for someone with such depth.

    As the Catalinan inscription states, "Though we see Ms. Ongley walking through the halls and teaching in the classroom, many of us are unaware of her eventful past." There's a lot to her. Ongley was born in Finland and has lived in Michigan, Illinois, and Alaska. In high school, she was prom queen and a member of the basketball team. She attended college in Hawaii and California and was proposed to by her now husband while white-water rafting.

    On behalf of the Class of 2015, we thank Ms. Ongley for her dry wit, caring and passionate nature, and dedication to teaching math to young women. Next year, we'll work on getting her onstage again to make a school-wide announcement.

    Yearbook editors Willow Wallace '15, Ellie Stork '15, and Leslie Gobel '15 gave the first copy of the <em>Catalinan</em> to honoree Noova Ongley.
    Willow Wallace '15, Ellie Stork '15, and Leslie Gobel '15 present flowers and the 2015 yearbook to Noova Ongley.
  • Santa Catalina's Weston Scholarship honorees gather with Kim Weston (center) after the award ceremony on May 6, 2015.

    Eight Students Win Weston Photography Honors

    This year, 23 Santa Catalina students submited portfolios to the Weston Scholarship Photography Competition, and eight were selected as finalists. Scholarships for first place ($1,000), second place ($500), third place ($300), and honorable mention ($200) were announced at the May 6 ceremony at Carmel's Sunset Center.

    The awards program was created in 2004 by Gina and Kim Weston to educate and enlighten the community about the richness of photography on the West Coast and to keep the traditional process of black-and-white photography alive in the tradition of Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. The scholarship supports high-school and college students studying fine-art photography in Monterey County.

    The competition requires students to submit 10 black-and-white analog photographs in their portfolios, which are judged by a panel of local artists and educators. Submissions are judged on uniqueness, clarity, and consistency of vision and the quality of the finished prints. Congratulations to the following students who received honors:

    Second Place
    Veronica Zelles '16

    Honorable Mention
    Courtnie Breitfuss '16
    Daniela Diaz '16
    Monika Gaxiola Artola '16
    Leslie Gobel '15
    Alison Mody '16
    Katie Ridgway '16
    Ana Zamora Ibarra '16

    Veronica Zelles '16 won second place for her photography portfolio, which featured images of ballet dancers such as this.
    Veronica Zelles '16 won second place for her portfolio, which included this photo and nine others with a ballet theme.
  • Catalina Mathletes Display Problem-Solving 'Muscles'

    On Saturday, May 2, nearly 400 elementary, middle, and high school students from 44 public and private schools in Monterey County participated in the 47th annual Mathletics Competition in at Seaside High School.

    Mathletics encourages excellence in math and recognizes the achievements of individual students and the schools they represent. The Monterey County Office of Education and California State University, Monterey Bay Mathematics Department sponsor the event, which is funded in part by the Monterey County Richard Morgantini Foundation, Green Giant by Growers Express, and the California Mathematics Council–Monterey Bay affiliate.

    Seventeen Santa Catalina students in grades 9 through 12 participated in the contest and took home 13 individual awards and four team awards. First-place winners received $100 and second-place winners $75. All honorees received Olympic-sized Mathletics medals.

    Each year, the top graduating senior taking the advanced calculus exam receives the $1,000 Richard Morgantini Scholarship. This year, our own Lauren Redfern '15 won this honor on top of her third-place finish in AP Calculus BC.

    Congratulations to all of our 2015 Mathletes!

    AP Calculus BC
    Lauren Redfern '15, third place (and recipient of the Morgantini Scholarship)
    Anna Burks '15

    AP Calculus AB — First-Place Team
    Brenda Melano '15, first place
    Jee Hee Lee '15, honorable mention
    Ellie Stork '15, honorable mention

    Math Analysis — Third-Place Team
    Sein Lee '18, honorable mention
    Jane Shim '17, honorable mention
    Emily Szasz '16, honorable mention

    Algebra II — Third-Place Team
    Lulu Fang '18, third place
    Jessica Cheng '18, honorable mention
    Ariana Fadel '18

    Math II — Second-Place Team
    Coco Wang '18, third place
    Emma Kogler-Franklyn '18, honorable mention
    Fila Oen '18, honorable mention

    Math I
    Sarah Ning '18
    Saige Madden '18
    Madeleine Oh '18

  • Latin teacher Masha Serttunc announced the 2015 National Latin Exam honorees during Assembly on April 27, 2015.

    Excellentia in Litteris Latinis

    On March 10, 2015, our Latin students took the National Latin Exam, and 12 of them received awards for their performance in this challenging competition. This year, more than 153,000 students from all 50 states and 20 foreign countries took the test.

    Congratulations to all of our participants and to the following award winners:

    Silver Medal and Maxima Cum Laude Certificate
    Rachel D'Agui '18, Level 1
    Isis Enders-Santa Cruz '17,* Level 2
    Sein Lee '18, Level 2
    May Sun '15, Level AP

    Magna Cum Laude Certificate
    Marika Blacklock '18, Level 1
    Sarah Lamp '17, Level 2
    Shaden Beltran Ibarra '15, Level 3 Honors
    Jennifer Ngyuen '16, Level 3 Honors

    Cum Laude Certificate
    Anna Hayden '18,* Level 1
    Keona Shimizu '17, Level 2
    Monika Gaxiola Artola '16, Level 2
    Amara Borchers '16, Level 3 Honors

    *Not pictured

  • Seniors Admitted to 156 Colleges and Universities

    We are proud of our seniors for their excellence in academics, community service, and the pursuit of a meaningful life. Indeed, they are well-prepared for college and beyond, and we're excited to see what lies ahead for them.

    The Class of 2015 has been accepted to the following schools:

    American University Regis University
    Amherst College Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Arizona State University Saint Louis University
    Azusa Pacific University Saint Mary’s College
    Bard College Saint Mary’s College of California
    Bellarmine University Saint Peter’s University
    Belmont University San Diego State University
    Berklee College of Music San Francisco State University
    Boise State University San Jose State University
    Boston College Santa Clara University
    Boston University Seattle Pacific University
    California Institute of the Arts Seattle University
    California Lutheran University Seton Hall University
    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Sonoma State University
    California State University, Chico Southern Methodist University
    California State University, Dominguez Hills St. John’s University–Queens Campus
    California State University, Long Beach Stanford University
    California State University, Los Angeles Stony Brook University
    California State University, Monterey Bay Suffolk University
    California State University, Sacramento Texas Tech University
    California State University, San Bernardino The American University of Paris
    Carnegie Mellon University The Catholic University of America
    Chapman University The George Washington University
    Claremont McKenna College The University of Iowa
    College of Charleston The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    College of Saint Benedict The University of Scranton
    College of the Holy Cross Transylvania University
    Colorado State University Tulane University
    Columbia College Chicago Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara
    Creighton University University of California, Berkeley
    Davidson College University of California, Davis
    Dominican University of California University of California, Irvine
    Drew University University of California, Los Angeles
    Emmanuel College University of California, Merced
    Emory University University of California, Riverside
    Emory University–Oxford College University of California, San Diego
    Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts University of California, Santa Barbara
    Fordham University University of California, Santa Cruz
    George Fox University University of Chicago
    Georgetown University University of Colorado at Boulder
    Goucher College University of Denver
    Humboldt State University University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
    Indiana University at Bloomington University of Kentucky
    Iona College University of La Verne
    Ithaca College University of Louisville
    John Carroll University University of Mary Washington
    Lehigh University University of Maryland, College Park
    Lewis & Clark College University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    Linfield College University of Massachusetts, Boston
    Long Island University, Post University of Miami
    Loyola Marymount University University of Michigan
    Loyola University Chicago University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
    Loyola University Maryland University of Nevada, Reno
    Macalester College University of Notre Dame
    Manhattan College University of Oregon
    Marquette University University of Pittsburgh
    Marymount California University University of Portland
    Marymount Manhattan College University of Puget Sound
    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences University of Redlands
    Menlo College University of Rochester
    Michigan Technological University University of San Diego
    Mount Holyoke College University of San Francisco
    New Jersey Institute of Technology University of Southern California
    New York University University of Southern California School of Music
    Northeastern University University of Toronto
    Northern Arizona University University of Vermont
    Northwestern University University of Virginia
    Notre Dame de Namur University University of Washington
    Occidental College University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Ohio Wesleyan University Villanova University
    Oregon State University Western Washington University
    Pace University Westmont College
    Parsons The New School for Design–Paris Wheaton College IL
    Pennsylvania State University, University Park Wheaton College MA
    Pepperdine University Whittier College
    Pine Manor College Whitworth University
    Point Loma Nazarene University Willamette University
    Purdue University Xavier University
  • Sharmaine Sun '15 won a 2015 Scholastic Awards silver medal for her poem "Fixed."

    Senior Wins National Writing Honor

    Sharmaine "May" Sun '15 received a 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards silver medal for her poem "Fixed," which is printed below. She is one of only 19 national poetry medalists from California and one of 269 national poetry medalists from the U.S., Canada, China, Croatia, Egypt, Hong Kong, Korea, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

    Each year, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers partners with more than 100 visual and literary-arts organizations across the country to bring the Scholastic Awards to local communities. Students in grades 7 through 12 apply in 28 categories of art and writing. Submissions are juried by luminaries in the visual and literary arts, some of whom are past award recipients. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

    Last year, students submitted 255,000 works of art and writing. More than 68,000 were recognized at the regional level, and the top 2,000 works in the U.S. earned national medals and were celebrated at a ceremony at Carnegie Hall.

    The Scholastic Awards program provides more than $250,000 in scholarships annually to top awards recipients and their educators. In addition, more than $8 million in scholarships is set aside each year by partnering organizations for recipients of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Seniors earning national medals are eligible to receive scholarships through partnerships with esteemed colleges and universities.

    Fixed
    By Sharmaine Sun '15

    I have a habit of fixing things—
    The heart-shaped wrinkle in the corner of your bed,
    The misplaced curl in the mess of your head,
    The plump pillow I placed in your stead.

    Your breath made a cloud on the mirror—
    I wiped it off.
    Your lips kept humming—
    Though I told you to stop.
    Your letters had mistakes I just couldn’t ignore—
    I edited, you never forgot.

    I cringed when you spoke,
    Your voice, tinged with smoke,
    Had morphed into little more than a croak.
    I turned away when you woke.
    You didn’t show when you broke.

    Your rough touch made me pause,
    All I could feel were your flaws,
    You asked was I happy?
    I wondered who was.

    Then I thought I had fixed the mistake that was you,
    But I shake off the ache
    And now, awake, I see my biggest mistake—
    I tried to fix you.

  • The freshmen turned lessons from <em>Girl Rising</em> into creative expressions.

    Journey Day Encourages Community Service and Creative Thinking

    On March 12, the students took a break from their regularly scheduled classes for our third Journey Day of the school year. Each class experienced a worthwhile day, which included films, discussions, and mentorship activities.

    The morning program for freshmen included a screening of Girl Rising, a documentary that focuses on the plight of girls’ education around the world. The film features the stories of girls from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Haiti, India, Peru, and Sierra Leone, and the barriers they face in regard to education. After watching the film, Charlotte Gerzanics '18 and Bella Sainz-Portillo '18 led a group discussion with their classmates, and all the freshmen participated in a related art project. In the afternoon, the class performed community-service work at various locations in Monterey County: Dorothy's Kitchen, The Food Bank, Gateway Center, Garland Ranch Regional Park, Robinson Jeffers Tor House, Shelter Outreach, and Shoreline Food Garden.

    The sophomores, along with College Counselor Colleen Murray and Assitant Head of Upper School Dr. Kassandra Thompson Brenot '87, spent the day visiting Santa Clara University and University of California, Berkeley. While on the shuttle bus, the group screened the documentary Miss Representation. Through a series of personal stories, news and advertising clips, the film examines the media's effects on gender stereotypes and the unrealistic portrayal of women in mainstream media. Class officers Jordan Gersh '17, Kira Cruz '17, and Anna Hunt '17 led a discussion after the film. Once the group arrived at Santa Clara, they attended a presentation, toured the campus, visited the bookstore, and met up with alumnae Michaela Scanlon '12 and Nicole Corriveau '14. At UC Berkeley, the sophomores took self-guided tours, visited the bookstore, and talked with alumna Hannah Clevenger '14, who shared about her experiences as a student at Cal.

    The juniors and seniors spent the morning enjoying a film festival. Junior class officers Amira Attia '16, Jayme Chandler '16, and Hannah Grogin '16 selected the films that were included in the festival: America the Beautiful, Between the Folds, Fed Up, Happy, Living on One Dollar, Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1000, The Mindfulness Movie, Saving Otter 501, Shakespeare Behind Bars, Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, Makers: Women in Space, Makers: Women in Business, Makers: Women in Hollywood, and Makers: Women in Politics. After watching the films, senior class president Katherine Kamel '15 moderated a panel discussion of professionals from various career fields. During the discussion, our guests shared their educational and professional wisdom. Many of the panelists spoke of how their education and career paths have not been straightforward, but rather filled with twists and turns. In the afternoon, the guests led small-group mentoring sessions during which the juniors and seniors had the opportunity to ask more detailed questions and get to know the panelists better. We're thankful for the professional insight that the following individuals brought to the program:

    Dean of Students Kristi McLaughlin introduces the 2015 Journey Day
    Dean of Students Kristi McLaughlin introduced the 2015 Journey Day Panel.

    We are pleased to be able to offer Journey Days, which provide learning opportunities beyond traditional classes for our students. Click here to view more photos from the day.

  • Christian McEwen, the 2015 writer-in-residence, held writing workshops for students in grades 9 through 12.

    The Slow Approach to Creativity

    Teacher and freelance writer Christian McEwen calls for more tortoises and fewer hares. Her unharried presence seems proof enough that she has benefited from her own teaching methods, which explore the notion that slowing down can actually jump–start the creative process.

    As the 2015 writer-in-residence, McEwen facilitated writing workshops for the Upper School English classes from March 2 through 6. Each session included exercises that not only relax the mind but also help writers experience their surroundings in new ways. She opened the workshop with a meditation, guiding the students through each of the five senses and inviting them to absorb sensory details that often go unnoticed — like the faint taste of coffee on the breath or the hum of the fluorescent lights overhead.

    "The act of attention brings into focus the things you intend to (focus on)," McEwen said. She continued by asking the students about the things they wish they had more time for and encouraged them to make those very things a part of their regular schedules: "Imagine if at the bottom of your to-do list you could add something as large and abstract as sunlight."

    In a second exercise, she had the girls draw a line down the middle of a clean sheet of paper. On the left side, she asked them to draw what stress and busyness feel like to them; on the right, they drew pictures of tranquility and happiness. McEwen reminded the students that the sketches didn't have to be realistic or even something they would want to show others. The point was to clear the head and even make notes that might later be used in their writing.

    WriterinResidence2015DrawingExercise.JPG

    Part of what she imparts to students is the benefit of taking time to tune out modern distractions. She referenced a January 2015 article from The Guardian titled "Why the modern world is bad for your brain" and touched on the myth of multitasking. For writers, being "muddle-headed," as she calls it, presents a common obstacle to producing fresh work. She suggested that the students take 10 or 15 minutes out of a busy day to close their eyes and reground themselves to the physical world.

    McEwen grew up in Scotland and now lives in western Massachusetts, where she teaches writing workshops at Williams College. She holds a B.A. in English and American literature from King's College, Cambridge and an M.A. in American literature from University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of several books, including her newest, The Tortoise Diaries: Daily Meditations for Creativity and Slowing Down.

    Click here to view additional photos from McEwen's residency.

  • In Act I of "Much Ado About Nothing," Katie Karpenko '17 played Don Pedro, Faith Tell '17 was Benedick, and Nikki Hoonsbeen '17 was Claudio.

    Shakespeare Comedies Take Center Stage

    The students recently enjoyed two on-campus Shakespeare performances: As You Like It by the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival on Tuesday, February 10 and Much Ado About Nothing by our very own Santa Catalina Shakespeare Festival on Thursday, February 19.

    With a five-person cast, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's "Shakespeare on Tour" performed a 55-minute production of As You Like It. Using a small portable set and minimal props, the group gave center stage to the language of Shakespeare. In a few scenes, the actors enlisted student participation, which only upped the entertainment factor. Thanks to Dr. Gerry Kapolka, English department chair, for organizing this event.

    Charlotte Gerzanics '18, Rachel D'Aqui '18, Sylvan Free '18, Kari Hamwey '15, and Catherine Lyche '16 joined the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival cast on stage.
    Charlotte Gerzanics '18, Rachel D'Aqui '18, Sylvan Free '18, Kari Hamwey '15, and Catherine Lyche '16 joined the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival cast on stage.

    In its 25th year, the Santa Catalina Shakespeare Festival continues to bring English literature to life in a collaborative project for the entire Upper School to enjoy. The sophomore class filled the onstage and backstage roles for a performance of Much Ado About Nothing as the freshmen, juniors, seniors, and faculty members filled the audience. Much to the students' delight, English teacher Simon Hunt and Assistant Director of Admission Cecelia Stewart '08 joined the cast as Don Juan and Claudio, respectively. Thanks to English teacher Simon Hunt for directing this year's festival.

    To view additional photos from the event, click here.

  • Santa Catalina's 2015 mock trial team with Mr. Nale and Dr. Lumsden.

    Competition in the Courtroom

    In its third year of competition, the Santa Catalina Mock Trial team finished 2–2 and tied for the third-best record in the 2015 Monterey County Mock Trial. Santa Catalina beat Alvarez and Palma but lost to Salinas and Carmel.

    The team also garnered four individual awards:

    • Giovanna Mitchell '15, outstanding defense attorney
    • Anna Burks '15, outstanding prosecution witness
    • Xiadani Juarez Diaz '15, outstanding defense witness
    • Grace Russell '16, courtroom artist runner-up

    We acknowledge all of the participants for the hard work they put into preparing for the event:

    Anna Burks '15
    Kira Cruz '17
    Jenna Downs '17
    Giselle Espinola-Jiminez '17
    Ruby Gans '17
    Justine How '15
    Emilee Johnston '17
    Xiadani Juarez Diaz '15
    Alyssa Kwon '18
    Courtney Lindly '15
    Giovanna Mitchell '15
    Gianna Nale '17
    Katie Ridgway '16
    Isabella Rivera '18
    Bella Sainz-Portillo '18
    Elsa Sandbach '17
    Daphne Wilson '15

    Courtroom Journalists
    Sitara Masilamani '16
    Collette White '17

    Courtroom Artists
    Ariana Fadel '18
    Grace Russell '16

    Special thanks to attorney coaches Jeff Nale, Jeannine Pacioni, and Matt L'Heureux and to faculty sponsor Dr. Doug Lumsden.

  • <em>Melting</em> by Stell Crall '15

    2015 Scholastic Art Awards

    Congratulations to the 14 Upper School students whose 29 submissions have been honored with 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for the West Region-at-Large, which includes entries from California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. This year, we have winners in the following categories: art portfolio, digital art, drawing and illustration, mixed media, painting, poetry, photography, and writing portfolio.

    This is a remarkable achievement for these young artists, whose work was selected by a panel of artists, art educators, and other art professionals as the best work submitted by teenagers throughout the region. Gold Keys are awarded for the highest level of achievement on the regional level and are included in the national competition. Silver Keys are awarded for works worthy of recognition. Honorable Mentions are awarded to works demonstrating artistic potential.

    Abstraction #1 by Victoria Kvitek '16
    Abstraction #1 by Victoria Kvitek '16

    Gold Keys
    Victoria Kvitek '16, photography, Abstraction #1
    Jee Hee Lee '15, digital art, Unity
    Lucy Stowe '16, poetry, a Lifetime (printed below)
    Sharmaine Sun '15, poetry, Remorse
    Sharmaine Sun '15, poetry, Fixed
    Daniella Wilson '15, photography, away

    Silver Keys
    Christine Marella '15, writing portfolio: Blurred, For Her Birthday, Now We Wait, and On the Lake
    Alison Mody '16, photography, Grayscale
    Caitlyn Rodriguez '16, photography, Nikayah
    Lucy Stowe '16, poetry, Autumn
    Sharmaine Sun '15, poetry, Exotic
    Sharmaine Sun '15, writing portfolio: A Little Stain
    Veronica Zelles '16, photography, Reflection

    Honorable Mentions
    Deneen Argueta '16, photography, November 17, 2014 @ 4:30:30
    Stella Crall '15, digital art, Melting
    Stella Crall '15, digital art, Abstraction 1
    Stella Crall '15 digital art, Soaring
    Leslie Gobel '15, art portfolio, Mexico
    Jee Hee Lee '15, drawing and illustration, Blossom
    Jenna Mazza '16, mixed media, Overheard Conversations
    Grace Russell '16, painting, Dimensions
    Grace Russell '16, painting, Five Hours of Smooth Jazz
    Grace Russell '16, painting, My Shadow
    Lucy Stowe '16, poetry, You’re Not Alone
    Sharmaine Sun '15, poetry, Pale
    Sharmaine Sun '15, poetry, The Long-Lost Memory
    Sharmaine Sun '15, poetry, Replacement Parts
    Veronica Zelles '16, photography, Windy
    Veronica Zelles '16, photography, Tire

    "Unity," mixed media by Jee Hee Lee '15
    Unity by Jee Hee Lee '15

    a Lifetime
    By Lucy Stowe '16

    Her warm hands wrapped around his strong fingers
    As she stared into his eyes
    She couldn’t help but smile,
    All she knew was that she liked this guy

    When he held her in his arms,
    She giggled and she slept
    Although she thought herself strong, her legs proved inept
    To walk through the halls she would soon forget

    Soon she could run, and soon she got lost
    For the first time in the store
    Walking down the aisles, she didn’t know what for
    He swore he’d never let her out of his sight anymore

    When she turned ten, he thought she was so old
    He treated her like a princess,
    Because he realized he didn’t have an excess
    Of time left with his little girl

    His hairs were turning grey
    When she began high school
    On her second day, he made sure that all the boys knew his rules
    He was no longer the super hero she’d thought was so cool

    Not long after she was born,
    It seemed he was again alone
    He’d have to settle for weekly calls
    Their only communication: the phone

  • Works by Grace Russell '16, Christine Marella '15, Emmy Siletto '17, Madison Gong '18, and Sharmaine Sun '15 (not pictured) were published in the <em>Monterey County Weekly</em>.

    Monterey Weekly Features Work of Five Catalina Students

    Strunk and White would be proud. Four Catalina writers were recently honored for their tight, telling tales. If brevity is a virtue, these students are set.

    In December, Christine Marella '15, Sharmaine Sun '15, Emmy Siletto '17, and Madison Gong '18 received honorable mentions in the Monterey County Weekly's 2014 101-Word Short Story Contest. In addition, a painting by Grace Russell '16 was featured in the cover art for the contest.

    Check out the concise creativity of these writers by clicking the following links to their stories, which were also published in the Weekly's print edition on December 25, 2014.

    "Cold Truth" by Christine Marella '15
    "Color Drains" by Sharmaine Sun '15
    "Of Nightmares and Dreams" by Emmy Siletto '17
    "Night Shift" by Madison Gong '18

    Congratulations to these accomplished writers!

    Russell's painting
    Russell's painting "It Looks Like the Ocean" (bottom, far left) was featured on the cover.
  • 2014 International Film Fest representatives

    Films Address Global Issues

    Every year, Santa Catalina's Peace and Justice Club helps with the International Film Festival, which is put on by the United Nations Association Monterey Bay. This year, we had students involved in several key ways. Maya Pollack '15, Katherine Kamel '15, and Xiadani Juarez Diaz '15 served as student representatives on the film selection committee. Over the summer, they screened all the submissions and participated in a vote to chose the 10 films that made up the 15th annual event on November 6 through 8. These young women also emceed a film festival preview at Santa Catalina on November 5.

    The 2014 festival featured a new component — a student documentary contest, in which three of our students took part. Maya Pollack '15 and Tamara Attia '15 partnered to created the film "Working for Peace," and Agnès Ames '16 submitted "UNA—Global Poverty Street Interviews," which was filmed in San Francisco. These short documentaries, which offer personal perspectives on complex global issues, were two of only three films that won the competition and were shown at the event. Check out our students' inspiring and thought-provoking productions below.

  • Sophomores took the stage during the Halloween Dinner costume contest on October 30, 2014.

    Dining with Monsters, Witches, and Jelly Beans

    Mackenzie Fisher '15

    People are always shocked to find out that at Santa Catalina, we rely on the freshmen to put on the first major tradition of the year. Questions arise such as, "How can you be sure it will run smoothly when you have no idea how the class works together?" or "How do you know that these students will be able to handle the pressure of putting on such a time-honored school event?" In short, we convey the importance of working together to achieve a common goal.

    This year, the freshmen created a Mexican-themed dinner that included music, student and faculty costume contests, a choreographed dance to Michael Jackson’s "Thriller," and an array of costumes including a pineapple, jelly bean jars, and witches. As guests arrived, they walked through a spooky haze emanating from a smoke machine and found the dining room transformed with Halloween decorations and music. The freshmen had put a lot of work into the evening, and it was interesting to see how different personalities shined through in the event. We learned more about the outgoing students in the class, and the performers and comedians really stood out during the costume contest judging.

    Faculty and staff also enjoyed donning their best costumes.
    Faculty and staff also enjoyed donning their best costumes.

    "This event has made our class closer and stronger," said Bella Sainz-Portillo '18, a committee head for the event. "From the first day (of school) when we were all strangers to creating this dinner together, we have grown tremendously as a class. We have learned to trust each other and believe that together we can achieve anything." Sophomore Kira Cruz, who dressed as a character from the movie Clueless, said: "The freshmen worked cohesively to make everything well organized and fun. The costume contest got all the girls involved, and I had a really great time with my own class."

    Wearing the retired Catalina winter kilts, a group of seniors dressed as Santa and his elves and reminisced about the time they planned Halloween Dinner. They remembered their own event and costumes and thought about how this same tradition brought their class together for the first time three years ago. Since then, they have used the skills learned during that event to work together.

    The freshmen did a great job creating a fun event for the school. We are sure that in three years, when they are seniors, they, too, will look back and see this event as the starting point to their growth as a class and as a reminder of what is possible when they unite.

    Want to see more photos? View our Halloween Dinner Flickr album.

  • Dr. Alex Pang, a three-time University of Pennsylvania graduate and a Stanford University visiting scholar, spoke about regaining focus in a digital age.

    Managing Modern Distractions

    Courtney Shove

    A promoter of lifelong learning, Santa Catalina provides various educational opportunities for students, faculty, and staff—in and out the classroom. In that same spirit, the school is also eager to provide similar opportunities for Catalina parents. One such occasion came during Parents' Weekend 2014.

    On Saturday, October 25, the Upper School hosted guest speaker Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D., author of The Distraction Addiction and senior consultant at Strategic Business Insights. In a presentation titled "Being Human in the Age of Distraction," he shared some anecdotal and research-based examples of how technology affects the brain and offered ideas for better managing modern technologies.

    AlexPangOct2014_Headshot.jpg

    Pang said that with the increase in digital technologies, distraction has become commoditized. In fact, most computerized systems are designed to keep users engaged. That's why iPhone apps default to sending push notifications and why Netflix automatically queues the next episode in a series. He recommends regaining focus by silencing notifications and setting time aside for offline tasks.

    "Smart people move between digital and analog tools while they work," Pang said. Knowing which tools are most effective for which tasks is key. For instance, it's probably better to read a legal contract on paper, but skimming a news article online will probably suffice.

    He also distinguished between distraction and "mind wandering." Multitasking and other types of distraction can slow a person down, but mind wandering can actually serve to improve focus. Tapping into the subconscious, mind wandering fosters the imagination, improves the capacity to think about the future and different possibilities, and helps with adaptability and resilience. This kind of "distractedness" is actually refreshing to the mind.

    Pang contends that multitasking is only productive if all the tasks have a common focus (e.g. a musician who sings, plays the guitar, and keeps the crowd engaged at the same time). Things like reading a news article on your phone while watching TV and making dinner would probably be completed faster if done separately.

    Overall, the assumption is that people should always be accessible, which leads to being in "a state of perpetually connected distraction." He suggests creating a central "charging station" at home, where parents and children can leave their phones at certain times and overnight. That way, family members aren't "sleeping with their smartphones" and can fall asleep without checking messages or dozing off while playing phone games. The difficulty is that people are so attached to their handheld devices.

    "When we master a tool, our brains stop treating it as a separate object, but rather an extension of our bodies," Pang said. This is an idea he calls neurological fluidity and might explain why people feel off–kilter when they don't have their phones with them.

    The same challenges plague the workplace, too. There are major businesses that have implemented guidelines that free employees from feeling the need to check their email accounts at all hours. Pang cited Daimler's "email holidays" and the German labor department's no-after-hours-calls-from-managers policy as positive steps. Schools have also gotten on board with digital detox programs that last anywhere from a day to a week.

    While it's not feasible to disconnect completely from the modern world, there are great benefits to being alone with one's thoughts at different times throughout the day. Pang suggested going a walk or taking time to just breath: "Being smart about technology requires spending (some) time without it."

    To learn more, read Pang's blog post about his visit to Santa Catalina.

  • Raising Awareness for Gender Equality

    On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170, declaring October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. Since then, various groups around the world have been rallying for gender equality. Groups such as Girl Up and Day of the Girl Summit advocated "11 Days of Action" to increase awareness of girls' education and poverty issues. According to UNESCO data, 57 million of the world's children are not in school, and only 20 percent of low-income countries have achieved gender parity at the primary grade levels.

    As grateful beneficiaries of an all-girls education, the Student Senate leaders decided to join the "11 Days" movement to help their counterparts in other parts of the world. Each day in Assembly, from September 30 through October 14, Senate members shared statistics and other information about gender inequality and invited fellow students to take part in activities to raise awareness of issues such as sex trafficking and gender disparity in education.

    Activities included wearing blue and white ribbons for sex trafficking awareness, personalizing "I need feminism because..." signs, giving a flower to each faculty member as thanks for providing the students with such a solid education, watching informational videos produced by The Girl Effect, giving an update on the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, and inviting male faculty members to read parts of Emma Watson's recent United Nations speech. Helping to spread the word and educate others, many students posted photos of these activities via social media with the #11daysofaction hashtag.

    "It was so amazing to see such powerful young women and faculty be so passionate about gender equality," Tamara Attia '15 said. "It was beautiful to see the importance of feminism to individuals from different genders, races, sexual orientations, and countries. It shows that feminism is important to everyone, no matter where in the world you are from and no matter your background."

    IDG2014FacultyFlowers.jpg

    The Wednesday chapel service on October 1 was also dedicated to women's issues. Toni Adeyemi '15 gave a talk about the importance of championing girls' issues beyond the 11-day campaign, and Attia said prayers for the faithful, including special requests for protection and support for girls living in poverty around the world.

    "When a girl as young as 12 is being sold into trafficking, forced into marriage, or being exposed to life-threatening diseases, it is not only an injustice to her but also a violation of basic human rights and an injustice to future generations," Adeyemi said. "But most important, it is a life cut short of all its potential to the human family."

    "Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights." —United Nations Resolution 66/170

  • Dr. Tommy Williams works with students during a MERP trip to Big Creek Reserve.

    Marine Ecology Students Explore Big Sur Waters

    In its second year, the Marine Ecology Research Program (MERP) includes 12 sophomores who have begun learning how to conduct scientific research. What better way to learn what marine scientists do than to observe marine life in its natural setting? To that end, science teachers Dr. Christian Reilly, Paulette Struckman, and Lisa Marrack led the group on an overnight a trip to Big Sur, where they worked with Dr. Tommy Williams, Santa Catalina parent and UCSC research fishery biologist, at Big Creek Reserve.

    After setting up camp on Saturday, September 20, the group snorkeled in one of only a few California streams with a fairly healthy steelhead population. Snorkeling allowed the students to observe steelheads in their natural environment and to examine what the fish were doing as they worked their way upstream. Following their time in the water, the students came up with explanations of the patterns they observed in the fish. Later, they worked their explanations into hypotheses and designed experiments to test them.

    Steelhead

    "Steelhead are anadromous fish; they are born in fresh water, move to the ocean for most of their lives, and return to freshwater to spawn," Dr. Reilly said. "For me, it means that they make an important and delicate linkage between marine and terrestrial ecosystems. I see them as the thread that binds together these coastal environments all along the Northeast Pacific."

    On Sunday, September 21, the group pulled some insect traps to see how the insects, which the fish eat, move between the stream environment and the forest. Two kinds of traps were used — pan traps, which catch terrestrial insects falling into the stream, and emerger traps, which catch stream-born insects as they fly out into the surrounding forest. Afterward, the students counted the trapped insects, worked with the data to examine the steelheads' diet, and looked at how statistical data treatments work and why they are necessary.

    Last, the group used an electrofishing rig provided by Dr. Williams and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility to capture a small sample of fish. The students worked with Dr. Williams to weigh and measure the fish and examine their gut contents. This allowed the students to see which insects the fish were actually eating, out of the whole buffet of organisms present in the stream.

    "Working in an outdoor environment helps me in the classroom because it increases my excitement to discover and learn new material," Taylor Moises '17 said. "Being out in the field and really applying what I am taught is so refreshing because it reminds me of how my work at school is connected to the 'real world.'"

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    The newest additions to MERP, the following students participated in the trip: Ivy Armijo, Audrey Bennett, Loleï Brenot, Kira Cruz, Jenna Downs, Hee Jung Kang, Jennifer Lafayette, Taylor Moises, Allison Sharpes, Emmy Siletto, Adriana Tatum, and Charlotte Wade. Check out this video to see highlights from the trip — minus the bonfire and s'mores, which were definitely a hit.

    Special thanks to the UC Natural Reserve System for access to the Big Creek Reserve and to Santa Catalina parents Joan and Warren Yu for facilitating access to the Presidio of Monterey's Outdoor Recreation Center.

  • Protecting Our Coastline

    Led by Santa Catalina's R4 environmental club, about 50 students participated in the 30th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day at Del Monte Beach on Saturday, September 20. California's largest volunteer event, the cleanup took place at 850 coastal and inland sites in 55 of the state's 58 counties. According to the The Monterey County Herald, 1,296 volunteers removed 9,920 pounds of waste in Monterey County.

    BeachCleanupSept2014_group.JPG

    Given that Catalina is so close to California's magnificent coastline, R4 sponsor Anne O'Dowd said it only made sense for she and the students to be involved in the effort: "We are proud to have served our local and global community by picking up trash along the coast."

    California's project is part of the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup, in which 42 states and 100 countries participate. For more information about coastal stewardship, visit coast4u.org.

    Photos by Octavia Dickinson '17

  • Freshmen have lunch with their "big sisters" on the first day of school.

    A Rundown of Week One

    We were so happy to see our new and returning boarding students during move-in last weekend. Then, on Monday, we welcomed the new and returning day students at the Opening Assembly — an exciting week!

    Students lend each other helping hands while moving into the dorms.
    Students lend each other helping hands while moving into the dorms.

    During Opening Weekend, senior "big sisters" were paired with new student "little sisters." They enjoyed campus tours, games on the front lawn, and the annual dinner at Gianni's Pizza. On Monday morning, the students and faculty came together for introductions and announcements at Opening Assembly.

    Opening Assembly
    Opening Assembly

    In the afternoon, the Student Senate organized an all-school rally in the gym. The students cheered from the bleachers as their classmates battled it out in games such as blindfolded musical chairs. At the end of the rally, Student Senate President Krysia Ng '15 took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and called out Dr. Murphy to do the same. In a grand end to the first day of school, Dr. Murphy and son George accepted the challenge.

    What a great first week!

    Students have fun participating in a new twist on musical chairs.
    Students have fun participating in a new twist on musical chairs.
  • (L to R) Jacqueline Gibbs, Susan Williams, Katherine Burkhuch, and Lisa Marrack

    Welcome, New Faculty Members!

    As we begin the 2014–2015 school year, we'd like to introduce our new faculty members. Each comes to us with excellent credentials and great enthusiasm for the school's mission. If you see them on campus, please give them a warm Catalina welcome.

    Katherine Burkhuch is the newest member of the Student Services department. She assists with the Journey program and other cocurricular activities and also serves as a resident faculty member in Thompson Dorm. She is a recent graduate of Santa Clara University, where she completed a B.A. in religious studies and political science.

    Jacqueline Gibbs has joined our Religious Studies department, where she teaches the freshman scripture class. She also lives as a resident faculty member in Greer Dorm. For the past 10 years, she taught religious studies at Our Lady of Good Counsel Academy in White Plains, New York. She has a master's degree in religious education from Fordham University, a master's in theology from London University, and a bachelor's in education and religious studies from Surrey University in the U.K.

    Lisa Marrack has joined the science department, where she teaches biology and chemistry. She also serves as a sophomore advisor and resident faculty member. She and husband Dean worked at Catalina from 1998 to 2001, and they have returned to campus, where they live in an apartment on the hill with their two children. Daughter Emalia Partlow is in grade 8 at Santa Catalina. Lisa has a master's degree in marine science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and a bachelor's in geology from Williams College. Currently, she is finishing a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.

    Susan Williams has returned to the science department as well. Last year, she filled in for Meredith Mikell while Meredith was on maternity leave, and now Susan has joined us full time, teaching chemistry and biology and serving as a junior advisor. She has a Ph.D. in microbiology from Montana State University and a B.S. in biology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is the mother of Isabelle Williams '11 and Emma Williams in grade 11.

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