JSerra’s Class of 2013 Leaves a Record Breaking Legacy

IMG_0321Celebrating its tenth anniversary, JSerra has had its share of accomplishments but it is the class of 2013 that has helped mark the school’s first decade as truly remarkable.

The graduates have had national record-breaking swim championships, the school’s first Trinity League Athlete of the Year, a valedictorian with a record high GPA of 4.88, never before seen at JSerra, a cross country team who has won League, CIF, and State championships three times in a row, a first in the state of California, among countless other accomplishments.

With graduates attending top Universities like Duke, USC, Berkeley, Notre Dame, and more, they have collectively received more than $12.5 million in scholarships, the highest of any graduating class at JSerra.

As President Richard Meyer quoted St. John Paul “In the design of providence there is no coincidence.” It is not by mere coincidence that this graduating class has had many successes during their four short years as Lions.

With plenty of cheers from classmates this class has demonstrated the connectedness that is cultivated by the faculty, staff, and parents within the JSerra community.

Salutatorian Vanessa Zuck, delivered her address during the Baccalaureate Mass held on Friday evening. With a smile on her face she remembered her freshman year and the big win against Santa Margarita’s football team, and rushing the field at Saddleback. Zuck also recalled wise words from a past teacher, that remain with her to this day. “Never accept what your told but to learn it for yourself.” As the class of 2013 discovers new adventures in college, Zuck reminds them of what Louis Zamperini said while visiting campus, “while it may be sad to say goodbye, what matters is that we met.”

(left to right): President Richard Meyer, Valedictorian Sachin Govil, and Vice Principal Eric Stroupe
(left to right): President Richard Meyer, Valedictorian Sachin Govil, and Vice Principal Eric Stroupe

Valedictorian Sachin Govil, reminisced about his time at JSerra during his speech said, “It’s astonishing how life comes at us instantaneously, it grabs us and takes us on our own journeys… and in the midst of it, we don’t always appreciate the time we have and the people that we share it with.”

Among those honored where Monica Patel the recipient of the JSerra Award, acknowledged for exemplifying JSerra’s mission and philosophy.  The highest honor a student can receive at JSerra. Jovy Mann receiving the Msgr. Martin Award, Owen Hosseinzadeh receiving the Gillian Sabet Award, Saseen Najjar receiving the Lion Award, Ryer Baldridge acknowledged with the Leadership Award, Madison Myers-Cook received the Campus Ministry Award, Andrew Lee for the Spirit Award, and Josephine Duran receiving the Christian Service Award for her 2,500 hours donated in community service.

To view the complete photo album from Graduation please click Class of 2013.

Be sure to tag your photos with the hashtag #Classof2013 to share on Instagram.

JSerra Graduates its Largest Class Yet

JSerra 2012 Valedictorian Tommy Allen with Vice Principal Eric Stroupe in recognition of his accomplishments.

“It’s a thrill to fulfill your childhood dreams but it’s more fulfilling to help others achieve theirs,” said Eric Stroupe, JSerra Vice Principal. “And that’s just what this graduating class has done.”

The class of 2012 is the largest graduating class in JSerra’s nine-year history with 257 graduates, and is the most family-like class. With over 35,000 hours of community service cumulatively, and Valedictorian Thomas Allen naming himself the “go-to student to explain concepts to students in new ways,” the class of 2012 has left a lasting mark on the JSerra Community.

For the first time in JSerra history there are seven graduates with distinction of the Business Magnet Program in its inaugural year.

Father Spitzer closing the commencement ceremony with a benediction.

Daniele Perazzo is a Berkeley bound future neurologist and Pre-Medical Professional Magnet Program honoree.

Sam Miller made his mark as JSerra’s first Stanford admit and 2012 Salutatorian.

Jacqueline Harkins received this year’s JSerra Award, the highest honor a student may receive from the school.

“Jacque impresses me her upbeat personality, and ability to navigate
 difficult situations. I often witness Jacque walking around school
 willing to engage anyone in a conversation, and she won’t adhere to clicks,” said Stroupe.

Closing the chapter on the class of 2012 was JSerra Rector Father Robert Spitzer, with words of encouragement and strength to the students.

To view the complete photo album click Class of 2012.

Katie McLaughlin Takes a Dive Towards Olympic Trials

McLaughlin making waves poolside at JSerra

Freshman swimmer Katie McLaughlin (14) didn’t waste any time testing the waters at JSerra, making a splash with her Olympic trials qualification for the summer 2012 Olympic games in London. Taking a quick breather McLaughlin sat down with JSerra Blog to talk about her goals in and out of the pool, along with the pressures of coach and mom Mary’s Olympic success.

What made you choose JSerra?

I really like the fact that it’s a smaller school and the community here. I also shadowed and it felt right, I’m looking forward to going to JSerra, especially swim.

How did you qualify for the Olympic trials?

I had a qualifying meet at Stanford and made it by half a second, which is considered a pretty big deal in swim.

Do you feel any pressure because of all the success your mom has had making it the Olympics in swimming?

(Laughing) Everyone always asks me that, but I don’t feel any pressure. My mom has always been super supportive, if anything I think I put more pressure on myself.

What motivates or inspires you to keep improving in swim?

One of my friends, Jesse (12), was diagnosed with a brain tumor and can no longer swim. She has such a great and positive attitude and although she can’t swim she helps others with tumors, and never asks for anything in return. She has this motto that she lives by that I have adopted as my own, “Never Ever Give Up.”

Favorites

TV show: Pretty Little Liars

Food: Bagels

Animal: Lion

Disney character: Tigger

Childhood toy: Polly Pocket

Delaney Named Track Co-Athlete of the Year

*From the OC Register

The continual pursuit of excellence helped define the historical accomplishments of both JSerra senior Katherine Delaney and Woodbridge senior Gabrielle Scott throughout the 2011 track and field season.

To read the full article click Athlete of the Year.

JSerra Students Ban the Bag

By Madi Swayne for the San Clemente Times

JSerra students Katie & Kristy Hibbard traveled to Sacramento to support the effort to ban the use of plastic bags nationally. The following is from a story by the SC Times:

“This past summer, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley authored a bill proposing a statewide ban of single-use plastic bags to alleviate plastic pollution. When the bill, AB 1998, failed in Senate by only a few votes, many environmental groups, employees and businesses were saddened by the loss, but vowed not to give up feeling they had the momentum to continue.

On Monday, November 29, Green Cities California (GCC) a coalition of 13 top environmentally friendly cities, joined together in a press conference on the western steps of the California State Capitol. Members of the GCC along with the Clean Seas Coalition spoke, “To promote a statewide strategy of local governments adopting a uniform single use bag ordinance that is based on AB 1998.”

Members of Green Cities California include Berkeley, Hayward, Los Angeles, Marin County, Oakland, Pasadena, Richmond, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. Representatives from each of these cities were in attendance along with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and my group of youth leaders from the South Orange County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

Kirsty Hibbard (JSerra Catholic High School), Katie Hibbard (JSerra Catholic High School), Lulu Erkeneff (Dana Hills High School) and I, Madi Swayne (San Clemente High School), all traveled to Sacramento to restate our support for a statewide plastic bag ban.”

Read more on the San Clemente Times website.

JSerra Soccer Player Commits To Berkeley

Another standout JSerra athlete has committed to play collegiate sports at a major university.

Tyler Simkins committed this week to play soccer at the University of California, Berkeley.

A senior, Simkins plays his club soccer for the Irvine Strikers and will join four of his teammates in Berkeley.

He’s not the only Lion from last year’s CIF championship team planning to play at a University of California school. Striker Juan Gutierrez will play at UC Irvine.

JSerra Earns Straight A’s, Too

JSerra Catholic High School is featured on the cover of this week’s Capistrano Dispatch newspaper. the edition also features a column by CEO Frank Talarico.

Our co-valedictorian summed it up best.

“It is true that no other class in this school’s history can match the range and depth of our accomplishments,” said Emily Storms.

Storms was one of two JSerra graduates to complete more than 20 honors and advanced-placement courses with straight A’s.

But she and co-valedictorian Victoria Manesh aren’t the only JSerra scholars worth celebrating.

Trevor Cutler earned our highest honor, the JSerra Award. The Eagle Scout finished with a 4.5 GPA and captained the cross country and track teams. But it was principal Tom Waszak’s announcement that Cutler would attend the Air Force Academy that drew a standing ovation at graduation.

“Your most impressive quality is your selfless desire to make a difference in your community and your country,” Waszak said.

To read the rest of the column, please click here.