Three JSerra Alums Achieve Eagle Rank

mu3pdk-b781188892z.120131003091505000gv91fuiv7.1OC Register

Three of the five recent Eagle Scout rankings are graduates of JSerra’s class of 2013. Daniel Bondi, Xavier Puga and Andrew Wasilewski each completed the rank while as high school seniors.

“Scouting means to me a time of growth as a young man on the road to become the man I am today,” said Daniel Bondi.

“I’ve learned that with hard work comes great accomplishment and that the right mind set will get you far in life,” said Xavier Puga.

“The pain of discipline is short term, but the pain of regret lasts a lifetime; and that if you do something that scares you everyday your life can never be boring,” said Andrew Wasilewski.

Three have been together in Scouting since first grade, and all came together by fifth grade, when they bridged into Boy Scout Troop 724 – sponsored by the Rotary Club in San Juan Capistrano. Of the original 14 members of Troop 724, six reached the Eagle Scout rank.

After graduation, they celebrated their achievement together, along with families and friends, at a joint Eagle Court of Honor on July 21 at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center. Mayor John Taylor presented each of the boys a special commendation from the City Council. They are among the select few achieving the rank – in the Orange County Council, BSA in 2012, 743 young men attained the rank, among 28,000 youth served.

SCOUTING EXPERIENCE

In addition to earning five previous ranks and at least 21 merit badges, each Eagle envisioned, negotiated, planned, financed and led a service project to improve the community.

Bondi led the construction of two large, portable cabinets for Family Assistance Ministries in San Clemente, storing clothing for the homeless to use for job interviews. Puga led the assembly of “urban survival” backpacks for the homeless, packed with basic essentials. Wasilewski led the installation of a fence protecting another section of the vernal pool at The Reserve.

Baseball: All Eyes Will be on Sophomore Chase Strumpf

Strumpf after winning MVP in Colombia
Strumpf after winning MVP in Colombia

By Eric Sondheimer, LA Times

It has been a little over a month since sophomore Chase Strumpf of JSerra returned from Colombia with a gold medal after helping the USA 15U baseball team win the Pan American championships.

It was another achievement for a young player who keeps raising expectations. Before he even played in his first high school game last season, he accepted a scholarship to UCLA. Then he became a starter for the Lions. And things keep getting better.

Strumpf is ranked No. 3 in the nation among the class of ’16 prospects by Perfect Game. He’s appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd after hitting five home runs in eight games in Colombia to earn tournament MVP honors.

“It was amazing being able to wear USA on your chest,” he said of his USA 15U experience last weekend at halftime of the JSerra-Buena Park football game. “It was the best feeling in my life. I’ll never forget it.”

Strumpf has already made a big jump from freshman to sophomore year based on his summer. He’s stronger and has more power. He got to see Trinity League pitching as a freshman. It’s a little scary to think what he’ll look like by his senior year.

Contursi Named Artist of the Week by the OC Register

NikkaBy: JEBB HARRIS, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

The Orange County Register profiles this week’s artist of the week, JSerra senior and Ladera Ranch resident, Nikka Contursi.

What art form(s) do you work in? Photography

How did you get involved in photography? I started taking pictures at my parents’ Christmas parties when I was about 4 years old. The angles were pretty hilarious – mostly shots of headless guests, legs and shoes. After that, I put down the disposable camera for a while until I borrowed my mom’s Nikon N2000 in middle school, and I haven’t put it down since!

What is your favorite work of art/photograph? Who is your favorite artist/photographer? I have loved Richard Avedon’s “Dovima With Elephants” since I was about 12, and it’s still one of my favorites. Something about the photograph just always seems to draw my attention. I admire so many photographers’ work, but to name a few: Avedon, Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter, Hugh Lippe, Arthur Elgort and Annie Leibovitz.

Who have been your influences? Did you have a mentor in your development as an artist? If so, how did they help you? Ms. Stehney, photography instructor at JSerra, has inspired me since the day I stepped foot in her classroom during my sophomore year. She has accomplished a wide range of work during her very successful career, and stories of her travels and work inspire me to continue shooting. I would not be where I am today without her enthusiasm and constant encouragement. She treats me like a professional rather than just a teenage student. She has continued to help me grow.

What inspires you? During the creative process I can be inspired by anything, but if I am looking for inspiration, I often go to couture and street fashion, people-watching and pop culture.

Other than photography, are you involved in any other activities?  If so, what are they? I am on the varsity tennis team at JSerra. I also volunteer by helping young children learn the fundamentals of tennis, and I work on my online portfolio:nikkaacontursii.tumblr.com.

What do you get out of taking pictures? I am a very visual person, so photography allows me to express my ideas without speaking. It’s also lots of fun because there are no rules and I’m able to create whatever I want. Photography also gives me a break from the real world. I can sit on my computer for hours editing photographs and never get bored. It’s something that brings me happiness.

How do the arts figure into your long-term goals? I hope to attend either Parsons in New York City or Academy of Art in San Francisco. I’d also like to spend a year studying abroad. My ultimate goal as of now is to become a fashion photographer and travel the world doing what I love.

What is the best advice you have received? Some of the best advice I have received has come from my parents. My mom and dad have been my support system since Day One, always catching me when I fall, and constantly telling me to never stop pursuing my dreams and not to let anyone get in my way. I don’t know what I would do without all of their continuous support.

Do you have any other thoughts about being a photographer that you would like to share with us? Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back in pursuing your dreams, shoot every single day and have fun doing what you love!

JSerra Students Win Pageant of the Masters Junior Art Contest

photo%201-1Congratulations to the Visual Arts students that were juried into the Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts Junior Art Show. Our three students that made the show were sophomores Ethan Worden, Megan Lasken and senior Noah Mudd.
We also congratulate Noah Mudd for winning first place in his junior division/category.
” I am so proud of the hard work these students put in to winn this prestigious award”, said  Nancy Harrell, Artist In Residence Director. The Festival runs through the end of August to view all the great work.

JSerra’s Robinson Gets High Marks on Progress Report

Parker Joe Robinson
Parker Joe Robinson

By Adam Maya, OC Varsity

Parker Joe Robinson threw two scoreless innings while striking out three batters in a recent showcase at UCLA. But the true test came the next day when he asked his father, Jeff, how he looked.

“I noticed he was opening up his front side early,” Jeff said. “He said, ‘Yeah, I felt it. I wasn’t getting loaded.’ For him to figure that out is really gratifying.”

Not so much because of his son’s success, Jeff said, but his progress. Jeff pitched nine years in the major leagues, including one season (1991) with the Angels. Once Parker Joe made it clear at a young age he hoped to “follow (his) dad” on the mound, Jeff alternated between Father and Coach, one pitch at a time.

“With my background, I knew you had to build a foundation,” Jeff said. “It’s a process.”

Parker Joe, who will be a senior in the fall at JSerra, worked on being quicker to the plate from the stretch this past spring. The previous year was it was about maintaining his balance point. Before that it was his follow through.

Now, Jeff wants his son to put it all together.

“It’s for him to figure it out on his own,” Jeff said. “He’s learned all the major mechanics. Ever since he started pitching, there was one goal per season, one thing to master every year. That’s led him to where he is now.”

This week that’s the Area Code Games in Long Beach, where more than 200 of the nation’s top prospects are competing in an all-wood bat tournament. Parker Joe is one of seven players from Orange County that made the cut.

“It’s a big honor,” Parker Joe said.

It’s also a big improvement. Just 15 months ago, the powerful, 6-foot-5 Parker Joe was still playing junior varsity, mostly because Lions varsity coach Brett Kay wanted to see Parker Joe develop into a two-way player. The sophomore responded by playing nearly every inning and winning MVP honors.

“He understood the process,” Kay said.

To read the complete article click here.

For more on Lions Baseball visit them on Facebook.

JSerra Students Exhibit Photography in Laguna Pageant of the Masters

student2Ten pieces of student photography will be displayed in the Laguna Pageant of the Masters, the most of any Orange County School.

Each piece was selected by art authorities from thousands of submissions representing schools throughout Orange County. The exhibit has become not only a showcase for new generations of young Orange County student artists but also a vivid testimonial to the value and importance of continuing arts education in our school systems.

Junior, Nikka Contursi will exhibit three photos at the Laguna Pageant of the Masters, the most from any school in the history of the pageant. 
The following students have demonstrated excellence in traditional darkroom skills, alternative processes and digital media:

Connection- Aryanna Hamidi

Playful Lions- Kelsey Testman

Dream Big- Josephine Duran

New Beginning- Zach Woznicki

Face Up- Courtney Vaccher

Insomnia – Nicolette Contursi

Cost was here- Nicolette Contursi

Broguiere’s – Nicolette Contursi

Blind -Courtney Strafeldas

Presentation of Time- Claire Grace

“I’m so proud of all my students and their hard work, this is such an honor,” said Regina Stehney, photography teacher.

The exhibit is now showing through August 31 from 10 a.m. –11:30, at Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach.

McLaughlin Earns Spot on Junior Worlds Team

mclaughlin_mug2_580-150x150By Dan Albano, OC Register

Katie McLaughlin plans to attend the first day of school at JSerra High later this month. But after that, she’ll be on a well-earned absence.

The rising Mission Viejo Nadadores swimmer sealed her spot on the U.S. team for the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with a stellar performance on the opening night of the Speedo Junior Championships on Monday.

The 16-year-old captured the 200-meter butterfly in a lifetime-best 2 minutes, 9.68 seconds at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center. SOCAL’s Ella Eastin touched fifth at 2:11.30.

McLaughlin’s time ranks third among U.S. women this year and places her on the U.S. team for junior worlds, which begin Aug. 26.

JSerra starts school Aug. 20.

“I’m so excited,” McLaughlin said. “I’ll be there first day (of school) and then I miss like 10 days. … I’m getting my classes early and I’ve already started to email my teachers just in case.”

McLaughlin finished third behind Cammile Adams, 21, and Maya DiRado, 20, in June at the World Championships trials and said juniors was her main target.

“I’m putting more on myself that I want do better at this meet,” she said. “I’ve been to a couple juniors now, so I know what I should be doing and what I can do.”

The Nadadores’ Nick Norman, 16, also showed what he can do. In the 1,500 freestyle, the Capistrano Valley junior-to-be charged from eighth place at the 200 mark to finish second to Jonathan Roberts of the North Texas Nadadores (15:24.82) in a lifetime-best 15:31.41. Norman sliced just more than 10 seconds off his best.

“That’s what keeps you coaching,” Nadadores coach Bill Rose said of Norman. “All heart.”

Norman appears just outside the top-two ranking needed to qualify for Dubai in the 1,500. David Heron of the Nadadores is ranked first with a 15:24.54 from last week’s U.S. Open, followed by Roberts. In the men’s 200 butterfly, Corey Okubo of Aquazot and University High finished fourth in a lifetime-best 1:58.28.