• Students and teachers from 15 schools from the U.S., Japan, and Russia came together at Santa Catalina for CIF.

    Student Diplomats Converge on Campus for Nonproliferation Conference

    On April 4 and 5, 2014, Santa Catalina hosted the Critical Issues Forum (CIF), sponsored by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), for the second consecutive year. In its 17th year, CIF aims to empower students to develop informed opinions and think critically about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and other crucial international issues of the 21st century.

    This year’s event brought together students and teachers from across the U.S., Russia, and Japan to discuss the theme of “Nuclear Nonproliferation: Global Opportunities and Regional Challenges.” There were 15 participating schools: five from the U.S. (California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin), six from Japan, and four from Russia.

    Members of the Santa Catalina CIF team present on nonproliferation options for the Middle East.
    Santa Catalina team members present on Middle East nonproliferation options.

    After semester-long studies at their respective schools, the teams presented ideas on different aspects of the conference theme. The Santa Catalina team included Kela Felton '14, Nia Jacobs '14, Tandy Johnson '14, Emma Russell '14, and Nora Sakiz '14 — all students in Masha Serttunc’s Global Issues class. Shaden Beltran Ibarra '15 assisted the team on Saturday while Kela and Nia took part in the Upper School spring musical. The girls spoke about options for peace in the Middle East. Other teams presented on potential solutions for challenges in North Korea, India, and Pakistan.

    The forum featured keynote speeches by Hilde Janne Skorpen, Norway’s Consul General in San Francisco, and Nobumasa Akiyama, Hitotsubashi University professor. There were also remarks from Masako Toki, CIF project manager; Dr. John Murphy, Santa Catalina’s Head of Upper School; Bryan Lee, acting deputy director of CNS; and Dr. Amy Sands, provost of Monterey Institute of International Studies.

  • Kela Felton '14 (standing) talks with Odessa National University student Alena Muntianu via Skype on Friday, March 14, 2014.

    Videoconferences with Ukrainians Broaden Student Perspectives

    On Friday, March 14, a group of Upper School students and faculty members gathered in Room 2 to discuss the situation in Ukraine — with three Ukrainians via videoconference. Since then, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to annex Crimea after an approved referendum by voters in the region, and U.S. President Barack Obama has announced plans for expanded sanctions against Russia. But that barely scratches the surface of this growing crisis between Russia and the West.

    To say the situation is complex is a vast understatement, but Global Issues teacher Masha Serttunc rarely shies away from a challenge. Her goal is to provide students with as many perspectives on current political issues as possible. Having grown up in western Ukraine, Serttunc still has friends and colleagues in the former Soviet state, so she arranged for two lunchtime videoconferences, which were open to students and teachers. The group spoke with Alena Muntianu, a student at Odessa National University, via Skype and with Tanya Pochtennykh, a graduate of Odessa National University, and Marina Kramar, an administrator at BiPOM Electronics, Inc., via Google Hangout.

    "We are curious about what [Ukrainian] people think — [people] who aren't politicians," Serttunc said.

    Although these women are not Crimean, their perspectives offered additional insight into the situation in their home country — a few small pieces of a large puzzle that is modern Eastern European society. The overall consensus among the three was that dividing Ukraine might be the most viable option, but they acknowledged that Ukraine's ability to sustain itself will be a significant challenge going forward.

    During the sessions, Serttunc underscored the importance of reading various news sources and of paying particular attention to the frames used by media outlets in different countries. For instance, which country is portrayed as the villian, and is there only one villian? Kela Felton '14, who has read about the situation in several American news sources, said she appreciated gaining a new perspective from people who live in that part of the world.

    Videoconferencing opportunities such as these allow our students and teachers to experience the world from a view outside of the U.S. Removing bias altogether is impossible, but knowing more about the opinions and experiences of others is almost always meaningful, especially when taken in the proper context.

  • Susan Smith Nixon '87 takes a "selfie" with the students after one of her mentoring sessions on March 7, 2014.

    Recent Journey Day Sparks Ideas about College and Career

    Each year, the Journey program's College and Career Perspectives Day in the Upper School highlights successful women who share their educational and professional wisdom with our student body, spark new ideas about college and career, and inspire our students to live to their full potential.

    This year's diverse panel and mentoring sessions included:

    • Pamela Edwards Brown '93, Monterey County deputy public defender
    • Katherine Carnazzo '02, Ph.D. student in psychology at UC Santa Barbara
    • Barbara Domingo '87, senior director of professional development at Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker School of Management
    • Lia Edwards, former NCAA and NFL administrator
    • Leslie Hayner, practicum coordinator of the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation & Language Education at Monterey Institute of International Studies
    • Kendall Hoxsey '04, compliance manager at Napa Wine Company
    • Megan Hutchins, meteorologist at Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanography Center
    • Patricia J. Nervino, R.N., M.S.N., nursing instructor at Monterey Peninsula College
    • Susan Smith Nixon '87, district manager at Starbucks in Hawaii
    • Elizabeth Maher Purdum '89, education management consultant at Purdum Associates
    • Christine Riley, meteorologist at the National Weather Service
    • Lindsey Rockwood '00, veterinarian and co-owner of Toro Park Animal Hospital
    • Erin Schelcher, creative consultant, stylist, historian, and gemologist
    • Monica Johnson Steiner '03, J.D., legal writer for
    Mary Looram Moslander '84 was the keynote speaker for Journey Day on March 7, 2014.
    Keynote speaker Mary Looram Moslander '84

    Before the panel, keynote speaker Mary Looram Moslander '84, president and CEO of LiveHealthier, spoke about the changes in her career path over the past three decades and how there is no fast track to becoming successful. In her 20s, she learned the all-important lesson of risk-taking. She knew she wanted to work with people but did not have a clear sense of where she was headed in her career.

    Her first job was as a temporary corporate marketing assistant in Monterey. When she started, she thought the best thing she could do was "type really fast," but as time went on, she realized she was skilled at streamlining office workflows. In fact, she tried in vain to cut her faxing duties to twice daily for the sake of efficiency, but that didn’t fly with her superiors.

    Looking back on her time at Santa Catalina, she is thankful to have learned early on the benefits of risk-taking. Growing up in a military family, she said she and her sister would not have been able to attend the school without tuition assistance.

    "Catalina took a risk on me long before I believed I was worth taking a risk on," Moslander said.

    In her 30s, after working for the San Francisco office of The Washington Post, she moved to D.C. to help launch At the time, Moslander became the youngest vice president in the history of the company. In her 10 years at The Post, she held seven jobs in five divisions. Through all the changes, it was during that decade that she learned to love new things — critical thinking, pattern recognition, and problem solving.

    After seeing her infant daughter go through heart surgery 10 years ago, she was so inspired by the doctors and nurses who made such a positive impact on her family that she decided to make a career change. In 2005, she founded LiveHealthier, which provides employee wellness programs to corporations around the world. Moslander built the business from the ground up and has watched it grow over the past nine years. She now has 50 clients, including JetBlue, Microsoft Corporation, and Princess Cruises.

    As she looks ahead to the next decade, Moslander said her newest passion is helping women start businesses. She cited that only 30 percent of companies are owned by women and that only 2 percent of women-owned companies are valued at over $1 million. She wants to help increase those percentages. In closing, she told the students: "I want to invest in your companies. … I want to mentor you."

    The 14 panelists who spoke after Moslander affirmed her call to be open to learning new things and to exploring varied paths. Edwards said she started out studying politics and law but ended up in sports administration. Nervino shared that when she was in high school, she did not even want to go to college; now, she holds two master’s degrees. Domingo did three different internships in college before discovering what she was best suited for.

    The panelists stayed after the PAC event and led individual small-group mentoring sessions around campus. These meetings gave students the chance to ask more detailed questions and get to know the panelists on a more personal level.

    In addition to attending the day’s events, student leaders helped direct, manage, and host segments of the program. Karli McIntyre '14 and Gabby Sigrist '14 served as panel moderators, a number of juniors served as point persons for the mentors, and the entire senior class participated in POINTS Portfolio Open House events at the start of the day. Each freshman, sophomore, and junior attended two open house sessions, where small groups of seniors talked about their Santa Catalina journey and the college admission process. Two seniors in each session also delivered senior reflections. These sessions gave the students, faculty, and staff the chance to ask the seniors meaningful questions about their future plans and how they plan to make the most of their remaining time at Santa Catalina.

    During her senior reflection, Sukari Hill '14 said she had never played sports until coming to Catalina, and since then, she has been a part of the tennis, basketball, track and field, and swim teams. She said trying different sports hasn't been intimidating because her classmates have been so supportive. She was accepted through early decision to the University of San Francisco, where she plans to study biology in hopes of getting into dental school.

    Andrea Arias '14, Tandy Johnson-Cryns '14, and  Elle Gustavson led one of the open house sessions.
    Andrea Arias '14, Tandy Johnson-Cryns '14, and Elle Gustavson '14 led two open house sessions.

    Tandy Johnson-Cryns '14 said during her Open House sessions that she manages her demanding senior workload by staying on top of readings and assignments. For her, procrastination is not an option. A black belt in karate, she has helped teach at her studio and now thinks she might want to pursue teaching as a career, possibly at the graduate level. She plans to study international relations in college.

    The March 6 Journey Day wrapped up with off-campus community service projects for the freshmen, who helped at Dorothy's Place, the Tor House, the Food Bank for Monterey County, Elkhorn Slough, and Monterey Parks & Beaches. The sophomores and juniors attended an "Essential Communications Skills" seminar taught by faculty members Lara Wheeler Devlin '02, Meredith Mikell, Sara Veldhuizen, and Melissa Sheets. The seniors attended a seminar on "Developing Your Personal Brand and Leveraging the Alumnae Network" led by mentor Barbara Domingo '87.

  • "Little Treasures" by Aaryn Fleming '14

    Upper School Students Garner Scholastic Art & Writing Honors

    Sophomore Grace Russell's painting
    "Perspective" by Grace Russell '16

    Congratulations to the 10 Upper School students whose 19 submissions received regional honors from the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program. This year, we have winners in six categories: digital art, drawing, painting, poetry, photography, and writing portfolio.

    This is a remarkable achievement for these young artists and writers, whose work was selected by a panel of visual and literary arts professionals who look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Past winners include artistic and literary greats such as Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, and John Updike.

    For the art awards, winners were chosen from the best work submitted by teenagers throughout California (excluding Los Angeles County, which is its own region). For the writing awards, winners were chosen from the best work submitted by teenagers in the West Region-at-Large, which includes California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

    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.

    Gold Keys

    • Christine Marella '15, Gold Key, "Mel" and "Migration" (poetry portfolio)
    • Grace Russell '16, Gold Key, "Perspective" (painting)

    Silver Keys

    • Aaryn Fleming '14, "Little Treasures" and "Foreign" (photography)
    • Francesca Flores '14, "Pebble" and "Hung" (photography)
    • Jennifer Lin '15, "Paradise" (photography)
    • Daniella Wilson '15, "time is the essence" (photography)

    Honorable Mentions

    • Aaryn Fleming '14, "Dark Light" (photography)
    • Francesca Flores '14, "Windmill" and "Folded" (photography)
    • Sophie Kuhn '14, collected works (writing portfolio)
    • Jee Hee Lee '15, "Relax" (drawing)
    • Sophi Li '14, "Starting" and "Sunset in Chapel" (photography)
    • Christine Marella '15, "Misinterpreted Lover," "Catacombs," and "My Father is the Mayor" (poetry)
    • Amanda Radner '16, "Body Architecture, Clavicle" (digital art)

    Best of luck to Christine and Grace in the national competition!

  • Highest in Class and Courtesy Award winners: (front) J. Oh '17, A. Bennett '17, R. Turrini-Smith '15; (middle) A. Nguyen '16, G. Roeder-Hensley '17, I. Borromeo '14, T. Adeyemi '15; (back) E. Stork '15, W. Harrell '16, C. Reimann, and K. Ko '14.

    Academic and Courtesy Awards

    Congratulations to the Upper School students who received honors for the fall 2013 semester.

    Highest in the School — Karen Ko

    Highest in Class
    Senior Class — Karen Ko
    Junior Class — Eleanor Stork
    Sophomore Class — Ashten Nguyen
    Freshman Class — Audrey Bennett and Genevieve Roeder-Hensley

    Gold Cord
    35% of the Senior Class
    35% of the Junior Class
    33% of the Sophomore Class
    17% of the Freshman Class

    Honor Roll
    38% of the Senior Class
    31% of the Junior Class
    33% of the Sophomore Class
    45% of the Freshman Class

    Courtesy Awards
    Senior Class — Inés Borromeo and Chloe Reimann
    Junior Class — Rio Turrini-Smith and Sarah Toni Adeyemi
    Sophomore Class — Brianna Brady and Whitney Harrell
    Freshman Class — Jessica Oh and Madigan Webb

    Courtesy Award recipients Brianna Brady '16 and Madigan Webb '17
    Courtesy Award recipients Brianna Brady '16 and Madigan Webb '17
  • Kiley Gibbs '14, Kela Felton '14, Inés Borromeo '14, Sara Franks '14, Sukari Hill '14, and Kayla Sharp '14 manned the bake sale that benefited the CRS Philippines relief efforts.

    Friends of the Philippines

    Blair Miller '14

    After Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 8, boarding student Inés Borromeo '14 organized a fundraiser to help the relief and rebuilding efforts in her home country. Four days after the tragedy, she presented ideas on how she planned to help the Philippines. Although her family wasn't directly affected, she delivered a heartrending message during Assembly that captivated the Catalina community and motivated everyone to rally around the cause.

    "Being so far away from home and seeing the tragic images of what happened made me want to do as much as I could," Borromeo said.

    On November 21, Inés and several Student Senate members and friends organized a bake sale and Free Dress Day that raised $2,000 for Catholic Relief Services' Philippines Operation. The students who participated in the Free Dress Day donated $5 each, and anyone who donated above that amount received a ribbon in a color of the Philippine flag. That same week, the Upper School's Grazing Patch snack shack donated all proceeds and tips, totaling $1,000, to the cause. Thanks to Borromeo's enthusiasm to serve her country and to mobilize others, the Upper School was able to raise more than $3,000 to assist the recovery efforts in the Philippines.

  • With a score of 70, Chloe Corriveau '15 placed second at the CCS golf championship on Tuesday, October 29.

    Chloe Corriveau '15 Heads to State Golf Championship

    After shooting a 7-over 80 at the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) NorCal Championship on Monday, November 4 at Spring Creek Golf and Country Club, Chloe Corriveau '15 qualified for the CIF State Girls Golf Championship, which will take place on Wednesday, November 20 at Quail Lodge and Golf Club in Carmel Valley.

    This will be Corriveau's second trip to state. As a freshman, she played Poppy Hills and shot a 90. Playing at Quail Lodge this year will work to her advantage, as she knows the course well.

    As quoted in The Monterey County Herald, she said: "Back then, I wanted to prove myself as a freshman, so I think I put a lot of pressure on myself. This time, I think I'll be more relaxed. I don't worry myself now the way I did as a freshman."

  • Katherine Hsu '14, founder of TEDxSantaCatalinaSchool, introduces the first speaker.

    TEDx Debuts on Journey Day

    As a junior, Katherine Hsu '14 submitted a Journey proposal to host a TEDx event at Santa Catalina. During her senior year, that plan became a reality. On Wednesday, October 16, the Upper School hosted its inaugural TEDxSantaCatalinaSchool event during the second Journey Day of the school year.

    "I believe Santa Catalina fosters a special environment in which we pursue our dreams regardless of social convention, and I hope to contribute by constructing a high-profile event that broadens our visions," Hsu said.

    Inspired by Meg Whitman of HP, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo!, and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Hsu initially set out to host an event that opened the world of STEM careers to her classmates. For months, she communicated back and forth with TED staff until receiving licensing approval just two weeks before the event.

    TEDxSantaCatalinaSchool featured Kate Dentoni Mitchell '76, Karen Draper, and Martha Muña, who gave enlightening talks on the theme of "Embracing Obstacles." In keeping with TEDx guidelines, the audience was kept to a maximum of 100 people, including the senior class and several faculty members and administrators.

    Katherine Hsu '14 gathers with Martha Muña, Karen Draper, and Dr. Kassandra Brenot ’87 after the event.
    Katherine Hsu '14 gathers with Martha Muña, Karen Draper, and Dr. Kassandra Brenot ’87 after the event.

    Mitchell is a cofounder and partner of Scale Venture Partners, a venture capital fund that invests in early-in-revenue technology companies, and current board member of Silicon Valley Bancshares. In a talk titled "Life Lessons From Entrepreneurs," she shared her observations about how entrepreneurs approach obstacles and how a habit of constant reinvention can benefit those in and outside of the Silicon Valley.

    "Entrepreneurs can teach us a lot about overcoming obstacles," Mitchell said "If we don't adapt (to changes), we won't thrive. You have to be willing to pivot."

    Draper is a principal and the CFO of Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm. Recent company projects include Terminal 2 at SFO airport and the Shanghai Tower in China, which when completed will be the world's second-tallest building. In a talk titled "Navigating the Course," she shared her observations of business obstacles and solutions and what they have in common.

    "Doing the right thing isn't always the easy thing ... and it doesn't produce instant gratification, but it's worth it," Draper said.

    Muña is the former director of Kaeme, a nonprofit that serves abandoned and orphaned children in Ghana. She graduated with a B.A. in human biology from Stanford University and is currently applying to medical schools and teaching MCAT classes. In a talk titled "Thoughtful Giving," she spoke about philanthropic and emotional obstacles, the stark disconnect between donations and tangible results, and innovations that enable charitable organizations to surmount inefficiencies.

    Muña talked about the recent rise in the number of orphanages in Ghana and how many of them were created with self-serving intentions. She said that 80 percent of Ghanan orphanges are filled with non-orphans: "Do your research before deciding which organizations to serve with."

    TEDxSantaCatalina is a part of a new student club of the same name. Hsu founded the club in hopes that the group will continue the tradition of hosting TEDx talks at Santa Catalina after she graduates. Her fellow club leaders are Lolei Brenot '17, Krysia Ng '15, and Ashten Nguyen '16.

    TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference and TEDGlobal — TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

    TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, "ideas worth spreading." The program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.

    To view more photos from the event, visit this Flickr set.

    Other Journey Day Events

    While the seniors were at the TEDx event, the sophomores and juniors took the PSAT, and the freshmen attended a financial-education seminar, a study-skills workshop, and a Zumba class. After lunch, the seniors participated in a college-application workshop with college counselor Mrs. Murray, the freshmen attended a public-speaking course with theatre teacher Mrs. Devlin, the juniors enjoyed a stress-management and yoga workshop with personal trainer Adair Rogers, and the sophomores traveled off campus to serve at various nonprofit organizations: Dorothy's Kitchen, Elkhorn Slough, the Food Bank, and Monterey Parks.

    Some of the sophomores helped clean up the brush around Roberts Lake.
    For their community-service activity, some of the sophomores helped clean up the brush around Roberts Lake.
    The juniors enjoyed an afternoon yoga session in the Memorial Garden.
    The juniors enjoyed an afternoon yoga session in the Memorial Garden.
  • Christine Marella '15 was one of 7,478 entrants from 75 countries in the 2013 Foyle Young Poets competition. Her poem "Denali" was one of only 85 Commended works this year.

    Christine Marella '15 Honored by Prestigious UK Poetry Society

    Christine Marella '15 was selected from a record 7,478 entrants as one of 85 Commended 2013 Foyle Young Poets of the Year for her poem "Denali." On October 3, Marella and her mother attended the awards ceremony, which coincided with U.K.’s National Poetry Day, at London's Royal Festival Hall.

    "Her acknowledgment by Foyle is a rare thing, a significantly more prestigious recognition than school and county prizes," Upper School English teacher Simon Hunt said. "However, I doubt it will be the last time we hear about Christine's writing earning kudos."

    Christina Marella '15 (far right) chats with other Foyle Young Poets after an awards ceremony in London on October 3, 2013.
    Christina Marella '15 (far right) chats with other Foyle Young Poets after the awards ceremony in London.

    A fan of poets Carolyn Forché, Ilya Kaminksy, and Simon Armitage, Marella says she began writing poetry about four years ago and more consistently in the past two years. Most of her poems explore the joys and struggles of love or portray fictional (and often dark) incidents involving hard life events such as divorce, abuse, betrayal, and addiction.

    "Perhaps her greatest skill is for the well-turned phrase: the line, sentence, or clause that says things just right, perhaps with a sting in its tail," Hunt said. "Of course, skill as a writer is only really as valuable as the purpose it's turned to, and Christine makes her skill pay off through her commitment to the writer's craft."

    Founded by the Poetry Society in 1998, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year program is the U.K.'s largest and most prestigious award for young poets aged 11 to 17. The competition is free to enter and accepts poems of any length and on any theme. Each year, there are 15 top winners and 85 Commended poets selected by the judges. In spring 2014, the winning poems and names of the 85 Commended students will be published in a winners’ anthology that is sent to schools, libraries, poets, and arts organizations across the U.K. and beyond.

    By Christine Marella '15

    Nineteen times you tried to stop smoking.
    You eat peaches for breakfast and step out onto the patio
    and draw peace from the drags, peace and quiet.
    But do you know I see you through our kitchen curtains?

    The fly trapper plant on the windowsill dies
    and you eat bowls of blueberries with your beer.
    I call you strange.

    You kiss me with smoke on your tongue
    and I sink deeper into the bathtub each time
    you tell me you are filling up your Chevy’s tank
    but go out to buy new packs.

    The water is warm like gasoline,
    sealing the holes where you soak into me,
    and where I am empty: my ears, my eyes, my navel.

    It is February and the snow is feathered in the yard,
    and the clouds you exhale are in my lungs
    and your body is the sky.

  • "Custom House," Evelyn McCormick, c.1938, City of Monterey Collection

    'Art in the Adobes' Engages Advanced Placement Art History Students

    Sophie Kuhn '14

    On Friday, September 13, the AP Art History students attended the Art in the Adobes Festival, which took place in various historic buildings in downtown Monterey. Our trip consisted of four parts: the Monterey Museum of Art–Pacific Street (MMA) photo gallery, the MMA art studio, the Casa Gutierrez adobe, and the Youth Arts Collective (YAC) studio. We started with a visit to the Bringing Home the Light: From Monet’s Garden to Monterey exhibition, featuring landscape designer Elizabeth Murray's black-and-white photographs. The angles and lighting that she captured were beautiful and serene.

    After spending some time in the gallery, we entered the adjoining art studio where Mr. White, my fellow students, and I made prints of the Monterey adobes. Each student received a gift bag with her print at the end of the visit.

    After completing a single print in 30 minutes, my classmates and I hurriedly rotated to the next stage: the Casa Gutierrez exhibit "California's Monet," featuring the work of Evelyn McCormick, the impressionist painter of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Her work involved mainly still-life pieces with every color but black. Her talent for capturing shadows and light was exquisite. She was famous for her paintings of the Monterey adobes, which were prominent in the exhibit.

    After observing her work and brushing up on adobe history, we moved to the last part of the trip: the YAC studio. The two women who own and run the studio feel there is a need for a place where students and young adults can pursue art and express themselves in the community. Their space was fabulous and well-equipped, and the staff was welcoming and encouraged us to apply for the program. Many students were interested and grabbed their applications on the way out. Overall, the students were happy about the field trip and probably would have stayed the rest of the day if given the opportunity.

  • Journey 'Rallies' Excitement for the New School Year

    The first Journey Day of the year featured a lively new component: a pep rally. On Friday, September 6, the Upper School students filed into the gym in their colorful class T-shirts. Student Body President Claire Gregory '14 called for volunteers from each class to compete in games that involved fishing for gummy worms from a plate of whipped cream and reeling powdered doughnuts into their mouths with a string. The trick was that students weren’t allowed to use their hands in either challenge.

    The girls definitely enjoyed the friendly competition among grade levels, but the rally really served more to bring them together as a group. The event also helped welcome the freshmen to the Upper School in a fun and casual way. Most Journey Days have the students participating in projects by grade levels, so the addition of an all-school pep rally was a great way to tie everything together.

    Throughout the day, each class took part in activities that enriched the students' minds, bodies, and spirits. The freshmen attended a boundary-setting seminar put on by the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center and later watched the documentary Aliens of the Deep, which uncovers the ecosystems of oceanic mountain ranges. The sophomore class watched the film Miss Representation, which discusses the unrealistic portrayal of women in the mainstream media, and had an outdoor yoga session with Dionne Ybarra, founding director of The Wahine Project.


    The juniors went through a design-thinking exercise with Dr. Reilly. With an emphasis on collaboration and iteration, the students created prototypes for their ideal wallets. Later, they watched the film I Am, which explores the interconnectedness of humans and the world in which they live and ways to make the life experience more meaningful. The seniors spent the entire morning in a dedicated college app workshop and then scattered to different parts of the peninsula to do community-service projects at places such as Marina Children’s Center, the Food Bank, Monterey Parks, and St. Vincent De Paul.

    In keeping with the Journey mission, our regular Journey Days allow students to step outside the classroom, collaborate with their classmates, try new skills, learn fresh ways of thinking, and develop self-confidence that lasts a lifetime. It’s all about helping each student determine her path, direct her path, and remain true to her path.

  • Photo taken in Israel by Rachel Davison '14

    Reflections on Rosh Hashanah

    Nia Jacobs '14, contributing writer

    On Wednesday, September 4, Chapel centered around the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Some of the traditions surrounding the holiday are to eat apples and honey in celebration of the sweetness of life as well as to symbolically cast away your sins by throwing pieces of bread into a river, lake, or ocean. The service included an introduction by Maya Pollack '15, a reading of the Hebrew Scriptures by Hannah Grogin '16, meditation music, and a reflection by Rachel Davison '14.

    As Pollack explained, the Rosh Hashanah celebration marks the Jewish New Year and begins a 10-day period of soul-searching and prayer that ends on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. "During these holy days, my family spends a lot of time in synagogue, praying with our congregation, welcoming in the New Year, and asking God and others to forgive us for our transgressions during the past year so that we may be written in the Book of Life for this New Year," Pollack said.

    Later, Davison reflected on her six-week trip to Israel and shared a slide show of photos. She had the opportunity to visit the Holy Land when her mother was on a research sabbatical there.

    "Visiting the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holy sites was like walking through religion and early world history classes, while I learned about contemporary Israeli history at Mount Herzl and in Tel Aviv," Davison said.

  • During summer 2013, Rachel Davison '14 (in green) completed a five-week journalism program at Northwestern University.

    Senior Experiences a Summer of Journalism Training

    Rachel Davison '14

    This year was the first time I had to think about how to spend my summer, and I was sure anything would fall short of my 10 summers at overnight camp. I was interested in journalism after working on Santa Catalina's Lamplighter staff and interning at a local media office, so I applied to the Medill–Northwestern Journalism Institute, also called the Medill Cherub program.

    There were 84 rising seniors from 22 states, Guam, and six countries who came to Cherubs with different backgrounds and interests in journalism. Many had written for their school newspapers or broadcasted for school news networks, and some had only done creative writing and blogging.

    Rachel Davison '14 and her instructor group at the Medill Cherub program.
    Rachel Davison '14 and her small group at the Medill Cherub program.

    In the five weeks at Northwestern University, we learned about different types of journalism through lectures, writing labs, and workshops. We were assigned to groups, and our instructors gave us helpful feedback on our written work. In these groups, we competed for points in karaoke and Jeopardy!-style competitions that brought out our team spirit.

    My instructor pushed me to improve my reporting and writing skills with each assignment, which she loaded with comments, critiques, and suggestions. In our weekly meetings, we discussed my progress, how I was enjoying my experience, and other common interests. Even now, the instructors continue their guidance, as they encourage us still to contact them as helpful resources.

    At the beginning of the program, the head instructor commonly used the phrase "nerdy journalism fun" to describe our time together. We quickly learned that Cherubs is a life experience, not just a five-week journalism boot camp, though I did learn more about journalism and write more articles than I ever thought possible. My fellow "J-nerds" and I bonded over the stress and struggles of making deadlines, finding sources for interviews, and doing laundry when there was one only working washing machine for all of us.

    Going in, I had less experience than many of the other students and was initially unsure of how I would manage. Now, I’m so glad I chose to spend my summer at Medill. On the first night of the program, the staff said to us: "Welcome to the best summer of your life." I now know they were right, and I hope that many other Catalina students apply and become a part of the "nerdy journalism" family that is Medill Cherubs.

    Explore the website we created,, for more information on the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute and to see our multimedia work.

  • As we begin the 2013-14 school year, we welcome our new Upper School faculty and staff members.

    New Faculty and Staff Members Join the Upper School

    As we begin the 2013–2014 school year, we'd like to introduce our new faculty and staff 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.

    Michelle Avery is the new chair of the visual arts department. She comes to us from Head-Royce School in Oakland, where she taught art for eight years. Michelle has an M.F.A. and A.E. in painting and art education from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a B.F.A. in painting and printmaking from Parsons School of Design. She, husband Brad, and their children, Audrey and Henry, are living on campus in the Hill apartments. Audrey is in kindergarten at Catalina this year.

    Dr. Mike Cook joins the math department. Most recently, he taught at Monterey High School for 11 years. Mike has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland and a B.S. in economics from Texas A&M University.

    Danielle DeMaria ’08 is an assistant director of admission and a member of the resident faculty living in Hills Hall. She has a B.A. in rhetoric and leadership from Pepperdine University. Her hobbies include singing, dancing, playing the ukulele, taking photos in Big Sur, and trying to recreate Pinterest home décor ideas.

    Lara Wheeler Devlin ’02 will teach drama classes and work with Roger Thompson this year to direct our theatre productions. Most recently, she taught musical theatre, dance, and communication/media literacy at Stevenson School. Lara has an M.S. in dance/movement therapy from the Pratt Institute and a B.F.A. in musical theater from the New School.

    Barvi Garcia (not pictured) joined our health center nursing staff in June 2013. She is a licensed vocational nurse with a degree from Hartnell College. Her hobbies are jogging, hiking, watching movies at home, and cooking.

    Sarah Luksik ’08 will teach health and take on some resident-faculty responsibilities. Last year, she taught the freshman health class for Christy Parker, who was then on maternity. Sarah has a B.A. in medicine health and society from Vanderbilt University and is currently taking classes at Monterey Peninsula College in preparation for graduate school.

    Dr. Melissa Machit joins the foreign language department as a Spanish teacher. She comes to us from Boston, where she completed her master’s and doctoral degrees in romance languages and literatures at Harvard University. She also holds a B.A. in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Denise Melchor (not pictured) began working as a nurse in our health center in January 2013. She is a licensed vocational nurse with a degree from Pacific College. Her hobbies include taking her son to swimming and karate classes, reading, and going to the movies.

    Cecelia Stewart ’08 is an assistant director of admission and a member of the resident faculty living in Greer Dormitory. She has an M.S. in health and strategic communications and a B.A. in communications from Chapman University. Her hobbies include singing, hiking, swimming, reading, and traveling.

    Dr. Michal Tryniecki joins our math department. Originally from Poland, he and his family moved here from New Haven, Connecticut, where he received a Ph.D. in math from Yale University. He also holds two master’s degrees, one in quantitative methods and information systems and the other in mathematics, from Warsaw University. In high school, he won the Polish Mathematical Olympiad.

    Dr. Susan Williams has joined our science faculty for the fall 2013 semester and will fill in for Meredith Mikell while Meredith is on maternity leave. Susan has a B.S. in biology from Loyola Marymount University and a Ph.D. in microbiology from Montana State University. Most recently, she worked as a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the mother of Santa Catalina 10th-grader Emma and alumna Isabelle ’11.

  • Sports Awards and Honors for 2012-2013

    Congratulations to the following Upper School students on their athletic honors this year!


    Tierney Hightower '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Kylie Moses '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League, second team

    Lucy Scattini '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League; All Monterey County by the Monterey County Herald


    Lizzie Tardieu '14: CCS Individual Champion; All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Lily Patterson '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Jessica Gutshall '16: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Lucy Scattini '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Kate Loshkareva '15: All Mission Trail Athletic League


    Hannah Clevenger '14: qualifier for Zone Finals


    Field Hockey

    Sophia White '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League
    Georgia Sedlack '13: Mission Trail Athletic League Sportsmanship Award

    Daisy Villegas '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League, second team

    Amy Sublett '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League, second team

    Emma Russell '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League, honorable mention


    Chloe Corriveau '15: All Monterey Bay League

    Paisley Piasecki '13: All Monterey Bay League

    Kiley Gibbs '14: All Monterey Bay League, second team


    Sara Franks '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League; Mission Trail Athletic League Co-Defender of the Year

    Daisy Villegas '14: Mission Trail Athletic League Most Valuable Player; All Mission Trail Athletic League; All Monterey County by the Salinas Californian

    Sophia White '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Lucy Scattini '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League, second team


    Annie Aldrete '13: Cal Hi Sports' All-State softball team; Mission Trail Athletic League Most Valuable Player; All Mission Trail Athletic League; All Monterey County by the Monterey County Herald and the Salinas Californian

    Marissa Bruno '16: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Vanessa Furman '15: All Mission Trail Athletic League; All-Monterey County by the Salinas Californian

    René Kausin '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Fatima Larios '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Chase LeeHong '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League; All Monterey County by the Monterey County Herald and the Salinas Californian

    Brenda Melano '15: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Tatumn Satow '16: All Mission Trail Athletic League; All Monterey County by the Monterey County Herald

    Swimming and Diving

    Colleen Boensel '15: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Allie Loomis '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Christine Marella '15: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Giovanna Mitchell '15: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Whitney Perez '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League



    Tamsen Forrest '13: All Monterey Bay League

    Annie Haueter '13: All Monterey Bay League

    Track and Field

    Onyx Gaston '15: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Hannah Gordon '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Tierney Hightower '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Kendra Hoffman '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Hannah McPherson '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Lucy Scattini '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Lizzie Tardieu '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League


    Annie Aldrete '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League

    Tierney Hightower '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League, honorable mention

    Katie Griffith ’14: All Mission Trail Athletic League, honorable mention

    Chase LeeHong '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League, honorable mention

    Lucy Scattini '13: All Mission Trail Athletic League, honorable mention

    Lizzie Tardieu '14: All Mission Trail Athletic League; All Monterey County by the Salinas Californian and the Monterey County Herald

    Water Polo

    Colleen Boensel '15: Monterey Bay League (Gabilan) Sophomore of the Year; All Monterey Bay League (Gabilan); All Central Coast Section Division II, second team

    Kendra Hoffman '13: All Monterey Bay League (Gabilan), second team

    Laila Joseph '13: Monterey Bay League (Gabilan) Sportsmanship Award

    Allie Loomis '14: Monterey Bay League (Gabilan) Junior of the Year; All Monterey Bay League (Gabilan); All Central Coast Section Division II

    Whitney Perez '13: All Monterey Bay League (Gabilan), second team

  • As a Catalina student, Norma Poon '12 volunteered at the Lijiang Orphanage in China.

    Community Service Across Continents

    Stephanie Chen '13, contributing writer

    The Upper School is home to more than 20 student-led clubs, many of which focus on community service. This school year, the Chopstix and Smile Train groups raised nearly $1,400 for children around the world.

    Chopstix, an international service club, raised $320 dollars for the Lijiang Orphanage in China. Club members raised the funds by selling international goods donated by students whose families live overseas. In recent years, Elizabeth Clark ’10, Norma Poon ’12, Elaine Sheu ’12, Joyce Lee ’12, Madeline Clark ’13, and Julia Clark ’15 have served at the orphanage by teaching children English and math and taking them on field trips. While in China, these young women also toured local schools to learn about the country’s distinct educational system and visited several major cities to learn more about Chinese culture.

    The Smile Train committee raised about $1,000 for Operation Smile through various bake sales on campus. The student bakers took turns making homemade goodies, including cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and pies, and the sellers set up shop during the school plays. The items were sold during intermission and after each production.

    Operation Smile is an international medical charity that provides free surgery to children in developing countries who have cleft lips or palates. Santa Catalina started to make donations to the organization long ago, and Smile Train has become one of the major community-service committees at the school.

    According to the Operation Smile website:

    Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft. One in 10 of those children will die before their first birthday. The children who survive are often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile. In some places, they are shunned and rejected. And in too many cases, their parents can't afford to give them the surgeries they need to live a productive life.

    This surgery, which can take as little as 45 minutes, can make such a difference in lives of children born with facial deformities. In addition to covering surgery costs, Operation Smile trains healthcare workers and builds awareness through educational programs.

    Including the Santa Catalina Smile Train committee, there are 900 Operation Smile student clubs and associations in the U.S. and around the world, and each helps build awareness, commitment, leadership, and volunteerism.

  • King for the Day

    Giselle Morgan '13, Catalinan senior pages editor

    <em>Catalinan</em> editors pose with yearbook dedication honoree Dan Place.
    The yearbook editors pose with honoree Dan Place.

    The Class of 2013 is quite fond of Dan Place; when my classmates and I strove to meet our history requirement junior year, Mr. Place was brand-new, but it didn't take long for us to decide that he was one of those unforgettable teachers at Santa Catalina. On May 14, when Catalinan editors Annie Haueter '13 and Sophia Delgado '13 introduced Mr. Place as the yearbook dedication honoree, everyone in the Study Hall stood up in respect. Between the clapping, whistling, squealing, and and short bursts of dancing in place, there was an explosion of homage that filled the room.

    As Annie and Sophia's dedication reads on page 4 of the yearbook: "He is more than just a teacher; he is a friend and mentor who inspires us to conquer the world while retaining that easygoing Southern California attitude. It is no wonder that the entire school cheers uncontrollably whenever he takes the stage at Assembly."

    The paper crown, velvet cape, and scepter given to our "king for the day" seemed more than fitting. As a member of his first class at Santa Catalina, I'm one of the many girls who feels a sense of pride and adoration for the opportunity to learn about the Black Panthers, Anne Hutchinson, and the white man's burden with "Papa Place." The upperclassmen see that he is someone special, and to the underclassmen whose history requirement is inchoate, they're in for something wonderful.

    Click here to view a video of the yearbook unveiling and dedication announcement.

  • Two Student Photographers Win Weston Scholarship Honors

    Aaryn Fleming '14 and Lucy Scattini '13 were recently honored by the Weston Photography Education Association. They were selected from a group of more than 90 high-school and college students who submitted fine-art photography portfolios this year.

    Scholarships for first, second, and third place—along with 18 honorable mentions—were announced at the May 8 ceremony at Carmel's Sunset Center. The competition required students to submit 10 black-and-white analog photographs in their portfolios, which were judged by a panel of local artists and educators. Submissions were judged on uniqueness, clarity, and consistency of vision and the quality of the finished prints. Fleming and Scattini each received an honorable mention, which came with a $200 prize.

    Fleming's photographs featured her family's vineyards in Monterey County. "My family has been the base and the core of my heart ever since I could remember, so working on my portfolio around our ranch has opened my eyes to see not only how lucky we are but also what an incredible and gorgeous residence on which we live and how the property unites us as a family," Fleming said.


    Scattini's work centered on the geometric shapes of barns. Growing up in the Salinas Valley, she said barns were a constant in her life and bring her a sense of peacefulness. "Every time I would go out to photograph, I had to be conscious of my overall goal: to capture the vintage feel of the barns while keeping a simplistic and geometric vision to my prints."


    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.

    The winning photographs will be on display through Friday, May 31, 2013, at the Sunset Center's Marjorie Evans Gallery.

  • Senior Class Admitted to 160 Colleges and Universities

    The Class of 2013 has been accepted to the following schools:

    Academy of Art University Marist College
    Arizona State University University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    Arizona State University, Phoenix University of Massachusetts, Boston
    The University of Arizona University of Massachusetts, Lowell
    Auburn University University of Miami
    Austin College Michigan State University
    Austin Peay State University Mills College
    Bennington College Mount Holyoke College
    Berklee College of Music University of New Hampshire
    Boston College University of New Haven
    Boston University New York University
    University of British Columbia Northeastern University
    Brown University Northern Arizona University
    Bryn Mawr College Northwestern University
    University of California at Berkeley Notre Dame de Namur University
    University of California at Davis University of Notre Dame
    University of California at Irvine University of Oklahoma
    University of California at Los Angeles University of Oregon
    University of California at San Diego Pace University, Westchester
    University of California at Santa Barbara Pace University, New York City
    University of California at Santa Cruz University of the Pacific
    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Parsons The New School for Design
    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Pepperdine University
    California State University, Bakersfield Pitzer College
    California State University, Channel Islands Pomona College
    California State University, Chico University of Portland
    California State University, Dominguez Hills University of Puget Sound
    California State University, East Bay Purdue University
    California State University, Fullerton University of Redlands
    California State University, Long Beach Reed College
    California State University, Monterey Bay Regis University
    California State University, Northridge Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey at New Brunswick
    California State University, Sacramento Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey at Newark
    Canisius College Saint Louis University
    Champlain College Saint Mary's College of California
    Chapman University San Diego State University
    Clemson University University of San Diego
    Colgate University San Francisco State University
    University of Colorado at Boulder University of San Francisco
    Colorado College Santa Clara University
    Colorado State University Sarah Lawrence College
    Columbia College Chicago Scripps College
    University of Connecticut Seattle Pacific University
    Cornell University Seattle University
    Cornish College of the Arts Seton Hall University
    Creighton University Sierra Nevada College
    Denison University Sonoma State University
    University of Denver University of Southern California
    DePaul University Southern Methodist University
    Dominican University of California St. John's University, Queens Campus
    Drexel University St. Olaf College
    Duke University Stony Brook University
    Emory University Suffolk University
    Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts Syracuse University
    The Evergreen State College The University of Tampa
    The University of Findlay University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    Georgetown University Texas A&M University
    Georgia Institute of Technology Texas Christian University
    Gonzaga University The University of Texas, Dallas
    Grinnell College The Hartt School, University of Hartford
    Gustavus Adolphus College Trinity College
    Harvey Mudd College Universidad Panamericana
    Hawaii Pacific University University of Utah
    Hillsdale College Vassar College
    College of the Holy Cross University of Vermont
    Humboldt State University Villanova University
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Wake Forest University
    Indiana University at Bloomington Washington University in St. Louis
    Ithaca College University of Washington
    University of Kansas Wellesley College
    Laguna College of Art and Design Wesleyan University
    Lake Forest College Westmont College
    Lehigh University Wheaton College IL
    Lewis & Clark College Whittier College
    Linfield College Willamette University
    Loyola Marymount University Williams College
    Loyola University Chicago University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Lynchburg College Woodbury University
    Manhattan College Xavier University
    Manhattanville College Yale University
  • Students spoke with <em>Girl Rising</em> coproducer Beth Osisek (far right) after the screening.

    The Privilege of Education

    On Tuesday, April 30, we had our fifth and final Journey Day of the school year, and it was packed with lessons about the privilege of education. The morning program included a special screening of Girl Rising with the documentary's coproducer Beth Osisek. Special thanks to Nicole Carelli Kwak '88 for connecting us to Osisek and for giving the introduction. The film champions the cause of girls' education by telling the stories of nine school-aged girls in the countries of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Haiti, India, Peru, and Sierra Leone and their hard-fought journeys to become educated.

    <em>Girl Rising</em> coproducer Beth Osisek and Nicole Carelli Kwak '88
    Girl Rising coproducer Beth Osisek (left) and Nicole Carelli Kwak '88

    Interwoven throughout colorful imagery of these young women's lives are statistics about girls' education and its positive effect on the economic and physical health of developing nations. Girl Rising states that a girl with an extra year of education can earn up to 20 percent more as an adult. The film also points out that childbirth complications are a leading cause of death among young women aged 15 through 19 in developing countries. If we are able to decrease the number of adolescent pregnancies in developing countries, young women will be in a better position to continue in their education.

    "I hope that we're planting a seed today," Osisek said to the students. "Each of you can and will have an impact (on girls' education)."

    The students also heard from Monterey County Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hulsey, who helped kick off the Student–Faculty Senate speeches and elections. She reminded students that education is a privilege and vital to a healthy democracy. To view her speech, click here.

    After lunch, the sophomores went to Monterey Beach for a surfing lesson with the , a nonprofit that seeks to eliminate barriers that prevent girls from participating in the sport of surfing. During the activity, the project staff also addressed health and nutrition, environmental stewardship, ocean safety, teamwork, and self-confidence. While the sophomores were beachside, the seniors did community-service work at various locations in the Monterey area: Dorothy's Kitchen, Elkhorn Slough, Robinson Jeffers' Tor House, Gateway Center, and Monterey County Parks.

    Some of the seniors served at Dorothy's Kitchen.
    Some of the seniors served at Dorothy's Kitchen.

    That afternoon, the freshmen and juniors took part in personal-development activities on campus. Dean of Students Kristi McLaughlin facilitated a "Perceptions and Reality: Seeing the Difference" session for the ninth-graders. The session included an art project, a short film, and group discussions on how they see themselves and others. Meanwhile, the juniors Skyped with Cassie Piasecki, author of the book BizEtiquette and mother to Paisley Piasecki '13. She shared with them her "Top 10 BizEtiquette Tips that will Help You in the College Process and Beyond."

    All in all, our recent Journey Day was a good reminder of how privileged we are to be in such a supportive and enlightening educational community. At Santa Catalina, we are pleased to offer a vast array of learning opportunities in and out of the classroom.

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