• 2016 Santa Catalina Fund a Success!

    The Santa Catalina Fund was a huge success this year! Thank you to all parents who participated. Your early donations have already started working for our students.

    We have some very exciting news to share. In the Lower and Middle School, five classes reached 100% parent participation in the Santa Catalina Fund! This is the first time in the school’s history that this has been achieved. Grade 5 was the first to reach 100% and will receive one week of free dress. Grade 4 was the second class and will receive three days of free dress. The third class to reach 100% parent participation was Grade 3 and they will receive free dress for one day. Great job everyone!

    In the Upper School, the sophomore class won free Jamba Juice! The sophomore parents had the highest participation with 86%.

    Total parent participation for all school came in at 86%. This is the highest participation we have ever had in the history of the Santa Catalina Fund!

    Below are the final participation standings:

    Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 12.23.52 PM.png

    Thank you again to all parents who contributed to the Santa Catalina Fund this year. Every gift makes a difference and we are grateful for your support. Thank you also to the Santa Catalina Fund volunteer committee who worked hard to ensure that this year was a success.

    Remember, all pledges can be paid in installments throughout the school year until June 30, 2016.

  • Students’ Passion to Protect Monterey Bay Represented in UNA Film Festival

    Seniors Katie Ridgway and Grace Russell feel fortunate to be able to explore ocean conservation in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, located less than two miles from Santa Catalina School. Ridgway and Russell, students in the Marine Ecology Research Program, a pioneering course in experiential learning that provides an intense focus on marine science, are completing their third year of research-based study with Dr. Christian Reilly and Dr. Lisa Marrack. Through their shared experiences in their studies, in scuba diving, and in their desire to share their passion with the community at large, Ridgway and Russell created a four-minute film on ocean conservation. The film was submitted to the Monterey Bay Chapter United Nations Association (UNA) as it relates their goal to the United Nations mandate to protect ocean environments.

    Debra Baker, the Director of Campus Ministry, educates Catalina students on the initiatives of the United Nations and encourages them to submit video projects to this important film festival each year.

    Their film, “The Ocean Needs You,” was selected for the annual UNA Film Festival and Santa Catalina hosted a preview of the festival on November 11. On November 13, the film was shown as one of the many short films at the Golden State Theater in downtown Monterey. Ridgway and Russell were each presented with a prize of $100 and a year’s membership to the United Nations Association.

    Learn more about why “The Ocean Needs You.”

  • A Recipe for Creativity

    Ingredients: 24 girls, 24 notepads or tablets, and visiting writer Kathleen “Katie” Founds '00

    Directions: Place young writers in a circle. Add a dash of inspiration by asking them questions about their writing process. Mix in conversation and writing activities. Allow to simmer.

    Visiting writer Kathleen “Katie” Founds ’00 followed this recipe for each English class she met with last week. A graduate of Stanford, she majored in religious studies with a minor in creative writing before finding her way in a career as a writer and teacher. She shared her experience of writing a book of short stories, When Mystical Creatures Attack, which made The New York Times list of most notable books of 2014 and received the John Simmons Short Story Award.

    Founds’ authenticity and natural humor provided students an opportunity to explore their own creativity and to discuss barriers to their personal creative process. She engaged students with questions: “If you could draw your inner critic, what would it look like?” The girls responded with answers ranging from “the purple devil emoji,” and “a menacing leprechaun,” to “a sassy, rude version of myself.”

    Katie then shared techniques for silencing her inner critic, which included presenting herself with smaller, more manageable writing challenges rather than setting the unattainable goal to “write the next great American novel that changes the course of literary history!” She also shared her strategy of challenging herself to “tell a story through a series of written letters” or “tell a story using recipes.” She noted that these strategies not only kept her grounded during the writing process but also resulted in her first novel. After reading selections from the chapter in her novel entitled “Recipes for Disaster,” she invited students to create their own "recipes" that could involve a real-life situation, a made-up story, or an actual family recipe.

    At the end of class, students were eager to ask Founds questions about her time at Catalina, what it was like to study at Stanford, and whether she had always known she wanted to be a writer. She explained that she had gone through a number of “existential crises” in both high school and college, fueled by a feeling that everyone had a '”five year plan while I was just working on my five minute plan!” At the same time, Founds credited these feelings for allowing her to stay present in the moment and resist falling into the cycle of constantly planning for the future. This mindfulness is apparent in her authentic and witty prose as well as in her facile interactions with students.

    There is no doubt that Founds’ visit this week will serve students well: a recipe to silence their own inner critics while establishing a unique creative process.

    Below are examples of writings from some of the students in her workshop:

    Mac & Cheese in the Hunt House

    by Annarose Hunt '17


    • 1 box Annie’s Organic White Cheddar Mac & Cheese—preferably family size
    • Water (2 of those little pitchers in the drawer next to the sink—I’ll leave it to your interpretation)


    1. Set the water to boil. Promptly forget all about it until the hissing stovetop and your father’s tone remind you you were hungry.
    2. Once the water is boiling, set a timer for 8 minutes. Go to your room, email your boss, feel like a self-sufficient adult.
    3. Hear the beeping timer and remember you’re in a noisy house. Drain the water from the pot and look at the noodles until your eyes hurt. Wish your purpose was so simple.
    4. Ask your mother to make the sauce.
    5. Serve straight to your mouth with a wooden spoon. Eat until your sides hurt. Then hand the rest to your brother. Turn off the stove.

    A Recipe for Boiled Blood with a Dash of Jealousy

    by Agnes Ames '16

    Ingredients: One of you, one mirror, one of someone you envy


    1. Stare at yourself for one minute in mirror.
    2. Flip, and stare at the person you envy for two minutes.
    3. After two minutes, your blood should be boiling with jealousy.

    How to Give Your Mom a Heart Attack


    Things you need: roof, pool, ladder, skateboard, little brother.


    1. Make sure your mother is taking a nap.
    2. Assign brother the task of watch guard.
    3. Use ladder to get on roof with with skateboard.
    4. Skate off roof into pool.
    5. Make sure the splash is loud enough to distract your brother from keeping guard, allowing your mom to wake up and see you.
    6. Proceed to get grounded for the rest of middle school.
  • Busting the Myths of the College Admission Process

    ’Tis the season of college application deadlines, early acceptance letters, and tough decision-making. These are the times that the Journey program helps seniors navigate the college admission process, with the assistance of Colleen Murray, Director of College Counseling.

    During today’s senior Journey class, Elena Wong from Drew University, spoke about common myths and misconceptions regarding the college application and admission process. Wong quizzed the girls with questions like, “How long do you think an admission advisor spends reading an application?” or “True or false: College admission advisors do not look at grades from freshman or senior year.”

    She went on to emphasize that applying to college is not just about choosing a school, It is about making decisions for your life: Do you want to live in a suburb or a city? Do you want to study at a large university or small college? Does the college where you see yourself have your desired major? How do you find the college that is the best fit for you?

    Colleen Murray, Director of College Counseling, noted these valuable nuggets from the presentation: “The seniors learned how to truly own their individual college admission process, and the importance of being introspective in the process. They received a reminder to find their own ‘right fit’ school—a valuable message.”

    The class ended with these final words of advice: Adjusting to college is unique to every student. Push yourself outside your comfort zone, and try new things!

  • Catalina Students Commemorate 70th Anniversary of the United Nations

    This week's chapel service commemorated the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, as well as its 2030 Sustainability Goals. These goals were endorsed at the U.N. Sustainability Summit in September by all 193 member nations.

    In advance of this week's chapel service, 30 Santa Catalina students, as members of the school's Model U.N. club, attended the 5th annual Intergenerational Model United Nations Conference (IGMUN) at the University of California, Berkeley on Saturday, October 10. Though most participants were in high-school, attendees' ages ranged from 14 to 87. Several Catalina students said they appreciated the insights and wisdom of their elders.

    The purpose of the conference is to engage delegates of all ages to participate in debate as representatives of U.N. member states, collaborating to reach agreement about priority international issues through the simulation of the United Nations. Participants were joined by other guests including notable leaders in civic affairs and international relations. Topics covered included global terrorism, internally displaced persons, environmental degradation, cyber crime, and others.

    During chapel service, freshman Erika Schwerdfeger and sophomore Coco Wang presented reflections of their experiences at the IGMUN conference. At the conference, they both served on the Security Council and negotiated resolutions to resolve conflicts among nations that have political and economic interests in the South China Sea.

    Erika shared the following reflection: “Model UN is challenging. I find that public speaking is difficult, and negotiating is even harder. Diplomacy is defined as the activity of conducting and managing international relations between countries. But it goes deeper than that. Diplomacy is an art; one that is challenging to perform, and impossible to ever truly master. To succeed, one must be able to recognize the distinction between aggression and assertiveness, polite tact and passivity. This is a fine line that one must learn to walk, if they are to accurately convey the mission of the United Nations.”

  • Parents' Weekend 2015

    It was a treat to have all of our parents on campus this past weekend to spend time with their daughters, meet with faculty, and enjoy guest speakers and student performances.

    Dr. Kassandra Thompson Brenot ’87, Head of Upper School, commented that she had a number of wonderful meetings with new and returning parents who were incredibly excited to have their daughters here at Santa Catalina School. She also stated that she herself is “on a high after the weekend” and very proud of our faculty, staff, and especially our students.

    Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 3.00.45 PM.png

    On Saturday, the keynote speaker, Tara Mohr, discussed the topic of the “inner critic” from her recent book, Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message. Dr. Brenot remarked that this subject resonated with her and several of the parents she spoke to following the keynote.

    Dr. Brenot’s favorite quote from the book is: “Being accurate isn’t the aim of the inner critic; getting you to avoid emotional risk is.”

    She said, “This is something we should all reflect upon in our work with girls and how we, as parents, teachers, advisors, resident faculty, club advisors, and mentors can help our students recognize that ‘voice’ and guide them to move beyond it.”

  • Senior Spent Summer Doing Research at NPS

    Unlike most high school students, senior Amara Borchers spent the summer at the Naval Postgraduate School doing research as part of the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP). The internship provides students an opportunity to participate in research at a Department of Navy (DoN) laboratory during the summer.

    The goals of SEAP are to encourage students to pursue science and engineering careers, to further their education via mentoring by laboratory personnel and their participation in research, and to make them aware of DoN research and technology efforts, which can lead to employment within the DoN. SEAP provided competitive research internships to over 265 high school students this year. More than 90 high school and college students interned at the DoN laboratory at NPS this summer.

    Borchers’ research was centered around a simulation of the spread of malaria, with predictions of how quickly the disease would spread based on the percent of mosquitos carrying the parasite.

    Watch this video to hear more about Borchers' research and to learn more about the internship program at NPS.

  • Junior Class Talks Winter Driving Safety

    Many of us in California are excited to see rainy weather in the forecast these days, as we all hope for relief from the current drought. It can, however, be easy to forget that with rain comes an increase in traffic accidents and a need for extra precautions while driving. With a strong El Nino forecast for this winter, driving in the rain will be a frequent occurrence and Junior Class Dean, Dr. Nancy Hunt, wants to do everything she can to keep her students safe while driving. Knowing that many juniors are new (or soon to be new) drivers who may have never experienced driving in the rain, Dr. Hunt arranged for Richard Richards, a retired California Highway Patrol officer and instructor at Drive Carmel, to speak to the Junior class on Friday, October 16.

    ‘Everything changes in the rain. If the weather worsens or there is an accident, always be aware of your surroundings and know where you can go to get safe.’

    Officer Richards is a familiar face to many Catalina students through his work with Drive Carmel, and his friendly rapport with students allowed him to speak candidly and frankly about the consequences of wreckless driving, particularly during inclement weather. While Monterey is hardly known for its winter weather, Officer Richards reminded the class that while we do not get snow, heavy fog, hydroplaning, and ice (especially during early morning drives to school and work) are very real risks on the Peninsula.

    ‘Never forget that driving is a privilege; one that comes with responsibility, and one that can be taken away.’

    Officer Richards’ presentation to the Junior class preceded this week’s National Teen Driver Safety Week, designed to remind parents and teen drivers to take the time to familiarize themselves with the leading factors contributing to car accidents and how they can be avoided. In the United States, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers ages 15 to 19, with 2,614 teenagers involved in fatal car accidents in 2013.*

    While this statistic is sobering, a recent survey by the California Highway Patrol shows that only 25% of parents have ‘had a serious talk with their kids about the key components of driving.’ Both Officer Richards’ talk and National Teen Driver Safety Week are necessary reminders for us all that we must always remain aware and focused while behind the wheel.


    Remember the ‘5 to Drive’:

    1. No drinking and driving.
    2. Buckle up. Every trip. Every time. Front seat and back.
    3. Put it down. One text or call could wreck it all.
    4. Stop speeding before it stops you.
    5. No more than one passenger at any time.

    For more information about classes at Drive Carmel, you can visit their website, email, or call 831.625.3994. To learn more about how to talk to your teen driver about the '5 to Drive,' click here.


  • Caring for Our Coastline

    On September 19, a group of Santa Catalina students participated the California Coastal Cleanup Day, California’s largest volunteer event. Led by R4, Santa Catalina’s environmental club, nearly 40 members of the school community gathered on Del Monte Beach to pick-up loose trash and recyclables, doing their part to ensure litter-free local waterways.


    According to the California Coastal Commission, nearly 67,000 volunteers removed more than 1,190,000 pounds of trash from California’s beaches, lakes, and waterways in 2014. The California Coastal Cleanup Day is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer event on the planet!

    If you feel inspired by our environmentally conscious students, you can learn more about Coastweeks, which runs until October 11. This is an annual celebration of our coastal and water resources, launched by the California Coastal Cleanup Day.

    Photos by Octavia Dickinson '17.

  • International Day of Peace

    Siochain! Fred! Bariş! In how many languages can you say ‘peace!’? Last week our students answered, decorating a large banner with ‘peace’ written in over two-dozen languages. French, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Russian, German, Ukranian, Turkish, Indonesian, Dutch, Hebrew, Norwegian, Bahasa, Korean, Mandarin, Italian, Japanese and Lao were among the languages represented, highlighting the global mindset embodied in so many of our students.

    This banner hung in the front of Study Hall on September 21, as our students and faculty commemorated the United Nations’ International Day of Peace. To honor the day, students were treated to a mini language lesson from history and Latin teacher Ms. Masha Serttunc and her ‘peace minions,’ recited the ‘Peace Pledge,’ and committed to completing as many acts of peace as possible throughout the day.

    I call on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire. To them I say: stop the killings and the destruction, and create space for lasting peace.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

    Declared as a day devoted to “strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples,” the International Day of Peace encourages the education and public awareness of issues related to peace.

  • We're happy to welcome new faculty members Larisa Young, Meg Macdonald, and Jennifer Duncan.

    Welcome, New Faculty Members!

    As we begin the 2015–2016 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.

    Jennifer Duncan joins our mathematics department and will be teaching a number of algebra classes. She comes to us from Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she had taught since 2007. Jennifer holds a B.S. in mathematics from University of Vermont and an M.A. in education leadership from Chaminade University.

    Meg Macdonald is our new Sophomore Class Dean, residing in Greer Dormitory. Meg holds a B.A. in psychology and art history from Williams College and an M.A. in mental health counseling from Baruch College's Weissman School of Arts and Sciences. Most recently, Meg has worked as a school social worker at the Harlem Academy in New York City.

    Larisa Young joins our language department to teach Spanish 1, 3, 3 Honors, and AP Spanish Literature. Since 2007, Larisa has taught virtually all levels of Spanish at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Larisa holds a B.A. in foreign affairs and Spanish literature and culture from the University of Virginia. After completing her undergraduate studies, Larisa lived in Barcelona for four years and completed all required coursework for a Ph.D. in Spanish History from the Institut Universitari d’Història Jaume Vicens i Vives and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

  • Kickball and Cake

    Merge the Spirit Day halftime entertainment with the Cake Auction creations, and it's like a real-life Katy Perry video. Each spring, the students enjoy an afternoon field game between the juniors and seniors followed by a lively confectionery auction.


    After lunch on May 27, the students in their class T-shirts of green, blue, yellow, and red convened at the athletic field for a fierce kickball battle among the upperclassmen. The tradition is that the freshmen root for the juniors and the sophomores cheer on the seniors. In the stands, the girls waved flags, blew bubbles, and raised their hands and voices with enthusiasm. After all, that is what Spirit Day is all about. This year's victory went to the juniors, who outscored the seniors 5–3.

    After the game, the group traveled to Sullivan Court for the Cake Auction. Baking in small-group teams, the seniors created 15 cakes and other sweets honoring things such as the TV show Friends, Apple emojis, a Chinese dragon, Disney's Frozen, Starbucks Coffee, and the Nintendo Game Boy. But it was the four-tier "Best of Britain" cake made by Julia Clark '15, Christine Marella '15, Toni Adeyemi '15, Maddie Bennett '15, Madison Fox '15, Xiadani Juarez Diaz '15, Katherine Kamel '15, and Ellie Stork '15 that sold for the highest amount. The junior class bought it for $321. Overall, the event raised $1,572.

    As in years past, all auction proceeds go toward the senior gift to the school. The Class of 2015 will direct the funds to a new bench at the athletic field in memory of Fatima Larios '13 and to other items that will enhance campus life.

    Click here to view the 2015 Spirit Day/Cake Auction photo album.

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

    Yearbook Staff Honors Math Teacher's Many Facets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Eight Students Win Weston Photography Honors

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

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

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

    Second Place
    Veronica Zelles '16

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Congratulations to all of our 2015 Mathletes!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Excellentia in Litteris Latinis

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

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

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

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

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

    *Not pictured

  • Seniors Admitted to 156 Colleges and Universities

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

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

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

    Senior Wins National Writing Honor

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

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

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

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

    By Sharmaine Sun '15

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Journey Day Encourages Community Service and Creative Thinking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Slow Approach to Creativity

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 >