News

  • <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.'"

    MERP2014_Traps.JPG

    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.

  • Cecily Donovan '15 stands among the Peruvian mountains.

    Rising Senior Reflects on Service Trip to Peru

    Cecily Donovan '15

    From the moment we arrived in Peru to the moment we left, our journey was filled with surprises and amazing experiences that could not be replicated anywhere else, or with anyone else. When we landed in Cusco, the elevation was 11,000 feet, and immediately the altitude struck us. A dizzying sensation buzzed around our heads as we walked through the city’s pre-Incan streets. Our first trip was to a pre-Columbian ruin overlooking Cusco. As we entered the grounds, we were greeted by majestic beasts — alpacas. We were astounded; maybe it was the altitude, but those extraordinary creatures seemed to serve as our own personal welcome party. They stared as we approached, snapping pictures, using up about half of our memory cards. The good-natured Alpacas were a foreshadowing of the friendliness and hospitality we would experience during the trip.

    Simone Villalobos '03, one of the trip chaperones, enjoys meeting the alpacas.
    Simone Villalobos '03, one of the trip chaperones, enjoys meeting the alpacas.

    For the first few days, our lifeblood was coca tea, an herbal tea used by Peruvians to cure altitude sickness. And it worked! Had we been without it, our days working at a rural elementary school might have been a lot less enjoyable. But our time there was one of the most meaningful experiences we had. None of the children spoke English, and though some in our group had excellent Spanish skills, I was not one of them. I speak French, which didn’t prove to be helpful. I knew only the essential Spanish phrases (hello, goodbye, please, thank you, bathroom), but the Peruvian children worked hard to teach me. My vocabulary increased from five to 15 in three days, which allowed me to string together awkward sentences that made all the kids laugh. We played soccer, volleyball, and tag on two teams: Los Chicos and Las Chicas. After three days of refurbishing furniture, harvesting potatoes, and teaching the children English, we formed a bond with them that was hard to break. When we departed, the children gave us handmade bracelets and bear hugs. We left them with computers and other equipment for their school and knew they would be put to good use. The welcoming, rustic school overlooking the Andes Mountains made a lasting impression on us.

    The Catalina group worked with these children at a rural schhol outside of Cusco.
    The Catalina group worked with these children at a rural school outside of Cusco.

    The following days were spent in Cusco, where we explored the markets and bought exotic mementos. My favorite outing was with my close friend Emily Lin '15, Mr. and Dr. Hunt, and Ms. Villalobos. We trekked to the city’s bohemian district. As we ventured along the twisty cobblestone streets, we saw a side of the city that was unlike anything we had experienced yet. As we walked up a final set of stairs and looked down upon the sprawling city at sundown, we were greeted with an overwhelming sense of wonder. A rainbow, whose colors happen to appear on the flag of Cusco, glittered over the city, which we learned was designed in the shape of a puma. The outline of the animal became apparent with our nearly bird’s-eye view of the streets. Cusco came alive under our feet.

    Our last day in the highlands, we took a train through the cloud forests to a small mountain town; the scenery was straight out of The Jungle Book. Buses drove us up a winding road, scarier than the Pacific Coast Highway, leading up to the highlight of my trip. We stepped into the humid air and walked along a path until we came to the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. Among mountains that seemed to be independent of gravity was Machu Picchu. The ancient stones and terraces were so pristine and amazing that it took my breath away. Carefully clinging to the rocks and nervously glancing at the abyss on either side of me (because the Incas did not build railings for tourists afraid of heights), I watched as the scenery flowed into my memory as the most stunning thing I had ever witnessed. And just like our amazing trip, no one picture could ever do it justice.

    Photos by Willow Wallace '15

  • With these three cakes, the seniors honored their favorite childhood TV shows.

    A Tradition of Many Colors

    Courtney Shove

    Aside from the blooming flowers and manicured greenery, the Catalina campus is rarely more colorful and full of energy than on the day of Spirit Day/Cake Auction. Each spring, the students sport class T-shirts of green, blue, yellow, and red while homemade cakes of infinite color palettes parade in front of bidding teenagers.

    The afternoon of May 28 began with a junior-senior kickball game, which the seniors won 2–1 after four innings. During halftime, flecks of green and blue took over the athletic field as the freshmen and sophomores performed the entertainment. As tradition dictates, cheer and chants were shouted and water balloons thrown.

    Next up was the auction. As the girls made their way from the field to Sullivan Court, the seniors unveiled 14 cakes of various shapes and sizes. This year’s culinary themes included Coca-Cola, Finding Nemo, a 1960s-era Volkswagen bus, and an erupting volcano. After several rounds of back-and-forth bids from the class officers and faculty members, the cakes were sold for a total of $2,161. As its final gift to the school, the Class of 2014 directed the funds to a filtration system for the campus drinking fountains and to memorial funds honoring Tony Capodicci and James Teagardin — whose bright personalities are dearly missed.

    To view more photos from the events, click here.

  • Upper and Middle School students gather for a "Bring Back Our Girls" rally on May 28, 2014.

    Standing in Solidarity for Nigerian Schoolgirls

    Courtney Shove

    Momentum for the Bring Back Our Girls campaign has mounted since the Boko Haram kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls on April 15. A month and a half later, more than 200 are still missing. On May 28, Santa Catalina students decided they had had enough.

    That day, the Upper School Senate officers hosted a #BringBackOurGirls rally on the athletic field. The goal of the rally was to raise awareness of the mass abduction in Nigeria and to show support for women's educational rights around the world. Students in grades 6 through 12 participated by gathering together and wearing the color red, which the girls' mothers have adopted to symbolize their plight.

    Before the rally, Toni Adeyemi '15 prepares for her speech.
    Toni Adeyemi '15 practices for her speech before the rally.

    Toni Adeyemi '15, Krysia Ng '15, Willow Wallace '15, and Tamara Attia '15 led the event, which included a reading of Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman" and a special prayer said partly in Yoruba, a Niger–Congo language. Adeyemi, whose parents are Nigerian, opened with a powerful message recounting the recent events in Nigeria and explained why the students should take action.

    "We here today are answering a global, collective call to promote and protect girls' education everywhere, so that every single girl in the world has the opportunity to live to her full potential just like (we do) here at Santa Catalina," Adeyemi said in her speech.

    Throughout the rally, the majority of the Upper School girls held signs with the names of their Nigerian counterparts. Other students held banners with phrases such as "Together We Stand," "Enough is Enough," and "She Could Have Been Your Sister." At the end of the rally, Ng asked the students holding the girls' names to come forward and stand on a red line made of yarn. Indeed, the line of students was long — a clear visual representation of just how many Nigerian girls have been abducted. In fact, the number of Nigerian girls who are still missing nearly equals the number of Upper School girls at Santa Catalina.

    After the rally, Ng provided the students and teachers with information on how to stay involved with the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. She encouraged them:

    • to continue to spread the word through social media.
    • to change their online profile photos to the Bring Back Our Girls icon, which can be download here.
    • to sign relevant petitions.
    • to contact U.S. senators and congressmen.
    • to wear the color red on Tuesday, June 2 (the first day of Upper School final exams) as a sign of solidarity.

    The rally was so moving that several faculty members shared their reflections with the student body the following day. In an email to students and faculty, Paul Elliott, director of athletics, said: "The rally, we all felt it, we had to. Wet cheeks and proud hearts."

    In Assembly on May 29, Dan Place, Upper School history chair, said:

    "I want to talk for a moment about the rally yesterday because it was important; it mattered. One of the reasons it was important, one of the reasons it mattered, was because it struck me as a perfect example of the meaning and value of diversity in education. There are still people who think diversity is really a form of charity — a chance to let the minority kids be with the majority kids or to let the poor kids be with the rich kids. But, of course, that's not it at all. In fact, diversity is an essential component of a good education. It is an opportunity to be with people from all walks of life, to share with each other, to learn from each other.

    "Probably many of you are so used to diversity that you didn’t notice it yesterday, but I did. Think about the four young women who were in front of you on that field. One was an African-American girl with family in Nigeria, one was as Asian girl who had crossed the biggest ocean in the world to be a part of you, one was a home-schooled white girl from northern California, and one was a Muslim girl whose parents live in Saudi Arabia. They think that what is happening in Nigeria is important, that it matters. And look what they did together."

    To see more rally photos, view this Flickr album. To watch video of the event, check out the local TV coverage from KION and KSBW.

  • <em>Catalinan</em> editors Tandy Johnson '14, Emma Russell '14, and Joyce Chan '14 gather with Randy Whitchurch, to whom the 2014 yearbook was dedicated.

    Math + Water = Life

    Randy Whitchurch is not one to draw attention to himself, but he rarely goes unnoticed in his bright yellow fleece jacket. When the yearbook editors called his name in Assembly on Tuesday, May 20, he was caught off guard — and without his trademark fleece. Shy of the limelight, Mr. Whitchurch humbly made his way to the podium to accept the honor of having the 2014 Catalinan dedicated to him.

    On a daily basis, he quietly goes about his business in the classroom and at the swimming pool. In addition to teaching algebra and geometry, he coaches the junior varsity water polo and swim teams. Mr. Whitchurch, who began teaching at Catalina in 2007, does what he loves and does it well. For him, life is simply about his two loves: math and water.

    “Whether it is talking about life, helping students with math homework, or taking students out paddleboarding on the weekends, Mr. Whitchurch is always happy to contribute to the lives of everyone on campus,” editors Joyce Chan ’14, Tandy Johnson ’14, and Emma Russell ’14 wrote in the yearbook inscription.

    Congratulations to Mr. Whitchurch!

  • Eight members of the Class of 2014 will begin their college athletic careers in Fall 2014 (L to R): Inés Borromeo, Sophia White, Allie Loomis, Daisy Villegas, Lizzy Tardieu, Mady Fithian, Chase LeeHong, and René Kausin.

    Eight Seniors Sign to Play College Sports

    On Tuesday, May 20, eight seniors signed letters of intent to join collegiate athletic teams. These young women have achieved academic and athletic success at Santa Catalina and beginning this fall will proudly play six sports at eight colleges and universities in Alabama, California, Massachusetts, and Texas.

    Congratulations to each of these accomplished student-athletes:

    Inés Borromeo, Wellesley College, softball
    Mady Fithian, Texas Christian University, equestrian
    René Kausin, Spring Hill College, softball
    Chase LeeHong, California State University, Fresno, softball
    Allie Loomis, University of California, Irvine, water polo
    Lizzy Tardieu, University of San Diego, volleyball
    Daisy Villegas, Concordia University Irvine, soccer
    Sophia White, Emmanuel College, lacrosse

    Click here to view additional photos from the signing event.

  • Senior Wins Fine-Art Photography Honor

    Francesca Flores '14 was recently honored by the Weston Scholarship competition. She received one of 18 honorable mentions from a group of 62 students who submitted photography portfolios this year. Each honorable mention came with a $200 prize, which was awarded during a ceremony at Carmel's Sunset Center on Wednesday, May 7.

    The concept for Flores' portfolio — "Fenced, Framed, Contained, and Preserved" — came alive when she was on a road trip down the Pacific Coast with some friends. On her way south on Highway 1, Flores was drawn to the fences in and around Big Sur.

    One of the photographs from Flores' portfolio
    One of the photographs from Flores' portfolio

    "I noticed that this land was fenced and framed by old wood and barbed wire," she said in her artist statement. "The fences help contain and preserve the beauty of Big Sur. These distressed fences had water damage, tangled wires, and missing pieces, but they help protect the ocean and its exquisiteness."

    The Weston Scholarship 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. For the competition, each student submits 10 black-and-white analog photographs, which are judged on uniqueness, clarity, and consistency of vision and the quality of the finished prints.

  • Amara Borchers '16 talks about her and classmate Claire Jellison's project "Algae of the Intertidal."

    Sophomores Present at Marine Sanctuary Symposium

    On Saturday, April 26, three students from Santa Catalina's Marine Ecology Research Program (MERP) presented the work of four students at the 2014 Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Currents Symposium. Each year, groups who conduct research in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) convene at this conference to present their findings. This year's focus was "Marine Debris: How Do You Pitch In?" By sharing their insights with one another, local researchers are able to improve the reach and efficiency of the scientific work in the Monterey Bay.

    Ashten Nguyen '16 and Grace Russell '16
    Ashten Nguyen '16 and Grace Russell '16 won an honorable mention.

    Ashten Nguyen '16 and Grace Russell '16 won an honorable mention for their poster on "Community Relationships Among Mussels and Limpets." Amara Borchers '16 presented her poster "Algae of the Intertidal," which she worked on with classmate Claire Jellison '16.

    "It's worth noting that the majority of posters shown at the conference were by grad students or undergraduates," said Dr. Christian Reilly, Upper School science teacher. "The few high school groups (included) primarily seniors, and I think having sophomores come away with an honorable mention at their first conference is impressive."

    Held at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), the event was sponsored by the Institute for Applied Marine Ecology, CSUMB, MBNMS, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, and Save the Earth.

  • Dr. Melissa Machit, Upper School Spanish teacher, talks with Sophia White '14 during the college fair on May 1, 2014.

    Seniors Share Their Journey to College

    Courtney Shove

    One of the main goals of the Journey program is to ensure excellent college placement for each student, and so it was only fitting that the seniors shared information about their chosen colleges and universities on the final Journey Day of the school year. On the afternoon of May 1, the Class of 2014 put on a college fair for the underclassmen — an event complete with informational display boards, handouts, and other giveaways. The tables in Sullivan Court were draped in the seniors’ soon-to-be school colors, and the girls were at the ready to answer questions from faculty and fellow students.

    Before lunch, the sophomores took the ACT practice exam, which Santa Catalina offered for the first time. During that time, the freshmen, juniors, and seniors attended an on-campus film festival that featured the following documentaries: Chasing Ice, Food, Inc., Jiro Dreams of Sushi, It’s a Girl!, Bully, The Lady In Number 6, Black Fish, and The Square. Afterward, the students had their choice of activities to get their bodies moving after the film screenings: U-Jam, Zumba, outdoor yoga, dodgeball, or a garden work bee.

    Later, while the seniors were setting up for the college fair, students in grades 9 through 11 held class elections. After casting their ballots, the underclassmen headed over to the culminating college fair, where they most likely took cues from the seniors who had been leading by example all year long.

    Click here to see more photos from the day's events.

  • Storied Classic Proves Itself More Than 'Darling'

    Courtney Shove

    Neverland never gets old. No matter how many times Peter Pan flies through the bedroom window, audience members of all ages check their pockets for fairy dust. It was with that same sense of enchantment that the curtains opened on stage in the Performing Arts Center in April.

    As the famed story goes, Peter (McCall Brinskele '17) coaxes the three Darling children into flying with him to Neverland, a world without gray hair or wrinkles. There, Wendy (Breanna Martinez '15), John (Marie Ramirez '16), and Michael (George Murphy, kindergarten) encounter a group of orphan boys who are caught in the crosshairs of feuding pirates and Indians.

    "The 'flying' experience was incredibly fun," Brinskele said. "It was very challenging the first week, though, when I had to learn how to stay straight and keep myself from turning around over and over again! But after a lot of practice, I got the hang of it, and I was able to start enjoying myself."

    Although Neverland is filled with adventure, the Darling children begin to miss life at home. When Wendy, John, and Michael return to the nursery, they are greeted by the nurturing arms of Mrs. Darling (Gill Bolt '14) and the familiar barks of Nana the dog (Gabriella Sardina '14).

    PeterPan2014NanaDog.JPG

    "I actually did not bark for Nana," Sardina said. "The head of the costume was a helmet that covered my face, which made it impossible for me to move my mouth. Freshman Jessica Oh sat in the orchestra pit during the nursery scenes and barked for me."

    In one of the performances, Sardina said she accidentally ran into a wall because of the costume’s limited visibility, but the audience found it so funny that director Roger Thompson had her repeat it in the remaining shows. Another cause for laughter was the banter between Captain Hook (Katie Griffith '14) and Smee (Gabby Sigrist '14). An unforgettable duo, the two manage to make their wily schemes humorous.

    Peter and friends have the last laugh, though, as Hook jumps overboard and they escape being captured. In the end, the Darlings live up to their name as they agree to adopt the Lost Boys and Smee.

  • Senior Class Admitted to 180 Colleges and Universities

    The Class of 2014 has been accepted to the following schools:

    American University University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    American University of Paris McGill University
    American University of Rome Menlo College
    Arizona State University Miami University, Oxford
    The University of Arizona University of Miami
    Art Center College of Design Michigan State University
    Azusa Pacific University University of Michigan
    Bard College Middlebury College
    Barnard College Mills College
    Bates College University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
    Baylor University Montana State University, Bozeman
    Belmont University Mount Holyoke College
    Bennington College Mount St. Mary’s College
    Boston College University of New Orleans
    Boston University New York University
    Bowdoin College The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Brooks Institute of Photography Northeastern University
    Bucknell University Northwestern University
    University of California at Berkeley Notre Dame de Namur University
    University of California at Davis Ohio Wesleyan University
    University of California at Irvine University of Oregon
    University of California at Los Angeles Otis College of Art and Design
    University of California at Merced Pace University, New York City
    University of California at Riverside Pacific Lutheran University
    University of California at San Diego University of the Pacific
    University of California at Santa Barbara Pennsylvania State University, University Park
    University of California at Santa Cruz University of Pennsylvania
    California Baptist University Pepperdine University
    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Point Loma Nazarene University
    California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo University of Portland
    California State University, Bakersfield Pratt Institute
    California State University, Chico Providence College
    California State University, Fresno University of Puget Sound
    California State University, Fullerton Purdue University
    California State University, Long Beach University of Redlands
    California State University, Monterey Bay Regis University
    California State University, Northridge Rhode Island School of Design
    California State University, Sacramento Richmond The American International College in London
    Carnegie Mellon University Rochester Institute of Technology
    Case Western Reserve University Saint Joseph’s University
    Chapman University Saint Mary’s College of California
    University of Chicago University of San Diego
    Colgate University San Francisco State University
    University of Colorado at Boulder University of San Francisco
    Columbia College Chicago San Jose State University
    Columbia University Santa Clara University
    Concordia University Sarah Lawrence College
    Connecticut College The University of Scranton
    University of Denver Seattle Pacific University
    DePaul University Seattle University
    Dickinson College Seton Hall University
    Dominican University of California Skidmore College
    University College of Dublin Smith College
    Earlham College Sonoma State University
    Elon University University of Southern California
    Emerson College Southern Methodist University
    Emmanuel College Southern Oregon University
    Emory University Spelman College
    University of Evansville Spring Hill College
    The Evergreen State College University of St. Andrews
    Fordham University St. John’s College
    Franklin and Marshall College St. John’s University- Queens Campus
    George Mason University St. Olaf College
    The George Washington University Stanford University
    Georgetown University Stephens College
    Georgia Institute of Technology Stonehill College
    The University of Georgia Syracuse University
    Gonzaga University Texas Christian University
    Goucher College Trinity College
    Hawaii Pacific University Trinity University
    Hobart and William Smith Colleges Tulane University
    Howard University Vanguard University
    University of Illinois at Chicago Vassar College
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Vermont
    Johns Hopkins University University of Victoria
    University of Kansas University of Virginia
    Kenyon College Washington and Lee University
    Knox College Washington State University
    University of La Verne University of Washington
    Lake Forest College Wellesley College
    Lewis & Clark College Western Washington University
    Linfield College Westmont College
    Loyola Marymount University Wheaton College MA
    Loyola University Chicago Whitman College
    Loyola University New Orleans Whittier College
    Manhattan College Whitworth University
    Maryland Institute College of Art Willamette University
    University of Maryland, College Park Williams College
    Marymount Manhattan College University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences Yale University


    *List updated on June 11, 2014.

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