Legends of China Awarded for Their Volunteerism

The Legends of China Presidential Pioneer Award for high school students were awarded at Mass with ten  recipients, of this leadership award.

Awarded to those who have demonstrated exemplary leadership initiative and have taken significant action as ambassadors of world peace.

Ten JSerra Students received recognition for their work with the Legends of China. Including Elizabeth Evers who is awarded the Superior Award for creating the winning 1st prize in high school category, silk banner, volunteered in the LOC Silk Road to Future Ambassadors of Hope program to teach Chinese students with disabilities and served as an Ambassador of Peace in The Silk Road to the Future program. The silk banner represents global peace and the connection between China and other countries through the silk road.

Courtney Avila, awarded the Excellent Award for presenting a keynote speech on global leadership to 500 top Chinese High School students, volunteered in the LOC Silk Road to Future Ambassadors of Hope program to teach Chinese students with disabilities and served as an Ambassador of Peace in The Silk Road to the Future program.

Ashleigh Luschei also awarded the Excellent Award for presenting a keynote speech on global leadership inspiring students with disabilities that they can become leaders despite their obstacles, volunteered in the LOC Silk Road to Future Ambassadors of Hope program to teach Chinese students with disabilities and served as an Ambassador of Peace in The Silk Road to the Future program.

Also recognized with the bronze medal honors are Riley Houser, Alexa McBride, Michael Salzle, Steven Summers, Savannah Luschei, Ian Farrell and Shanelle Bennet.

Legends of China is a non profit, non governmental organization that strives to build positive relationships between students from the United States and China.  This past year, 10 JSerra students, as the pioneers,  participated in the first Silk Road to the Future program for high schools.

Courtney Avila Touches Hearts Near and Far

*Currently running on the Patch.com 

Courtney Avila (right) lending a shoulder

For many high school students, current events amount to nothing more than dating gossip and voting for prom king and queens. Volunteering can often be something that simply helps make a college application more impressive.

Not so for 17-year-old Courtney Avila, a JSerra Catholic High School senior.

Inspired by her brother, stricken with mitochondrial disease, Avila has been volunteering since she was 10-years-old at Special Camp for Special Kids in San Juan Capistrano, where she works with physically and mentally disabled children.  On the other side of the generational spectrum, Courtney plays bingo once a month at the Del Obispo Terrace senior living center.

To read the full story click Volunteerism.

29 Palms, 1,000 smiles, Many Priceless Moments

Thanks to the many students and families who donated toys, we headed out with over 1,000 toys, for the Marine families at 29 Palms.

Special thanks to Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Schulte, Alex Berman, Frankie Bastone, Tara Lanigan, and Courtney Avila for all of their help.

We were able to give seventeen $25 Wal-Mart gift certificates to help the Marines families with Christmas dinner.

Thank you for your generosity to help Marines children everyone was so thankful!

We were inspired by the amount of toys the JSerra community brought in. You made many, many children happy on Saturday.

A Look Back at 2010 JSerra Lacrosse

With the new school year upon us, JSerra Blog will be posting many new stories on our incredible campus community. Check back often, and Welcome Back Lions!

A look at the 2010 Girls’ Lacrosse Season by Head Coach Paige Dougherty

The girls’ lacrosse team had an amazing season in 2010. We ended with a record of 16-1, losing only one game against Santa Margarita – but beat them twice otherwise, and once in playoffs when it mattered most.

In the past two seasons we have always fallen short against Santa Margarita on their turf, and for the first time the girls were able to pull out a big victory there. It was a huge game and the girls deserved the win after working so hard. They also defeated league champions St. Margaret’s twice! The second match up against the Tartans was on their home field and senior Shelby Williams scored the winning goal with 1 minute left in the game.

The girls won Trinity League and continued into the second round of playoffs.

Haleigh Cummings earned a spot on the first team all league. She was also named team MVP, and earned Trinity League MVP on Attack. She led the team as a captain in 2010 and has proved herself to be an outstanding leader. She scored 99 goals this year and was ranked among the top five in goals scored in the nation.

Junior Shannon Brady earned Defensive MVP of the Trinity League. She is an outstanding midfielder who is a workhorse. We have a term on our team- laxerdie, and Shannon truly defines it. She is an great teammate on and off the field.

Other outstanding players are junior Courtney Avila who was named captain this year. She is a strong leader on attack. Shelby Williams is a 2010 graduate who was a starter her sophomore year and rejoined the team for her final year. She had amazing shots and could score from almost anywhere. She will be going to Texas A&M this fall to play soccer.

We have an outstanding rising senior class, led by Shannon Brady, Haleigh Cummings, and Courntey Avila. The rising juniors have been working hard to fill in the shoes of the graduating seniors. It should prove to be k

A look at the 2010 Boys’ Lacrosse Season by Head Coach Mike Hutnick

This was a great season for our boys’ lacrosse team and families. Although we did not have as many wins as the previous season we did reach a number of our goals. One of our main three goals coming into the 2010 season was to move up from Division II and make our way to the Division I Playoff Bracket, which we did This was a great step for our program this season.

Five of our JSerra lacrosse players were named to the Trinity All-League teams this season. All five were huge contributors to our success. With positive attitudes and strong work ethic, they were a big part of our playoff push and also showed the younger players in our program what it takes to be great. These five players were the ones who knew when it was time to work, and were willing to do so. They really wanted to succeed and were only a small number of our many players that were showcased for this characteristic. Four of the five players were seniors; all four will be missed this upcoming season. The other player, Jake Lucier, was a junior and is now coming into his senior year with a very strong wave of players stepping up with him.

One of the four graduating All-League players, Patrick Clayton, will be playing at Sonoma State University. A number of our past players are currently playing at the collegiate level as well. There were a few others in the graduating class that will be going on to play at the next leve. Mike Franscell and Tony Lemos are two extremely strong graduated seniors who will be playing in Dallas to continue their lacrosse careers. Other Alumni are attending and playing for Concordia, Dallas, Virginia Military Institute, Navy, and Bellermine at this time. This is proof that our sport and our program are both growing within this area. With more and more contact from college coaches, and more press for our players, I am looking forward to seeing the percentage of players moving on to the collegiate level rise every year from here on out.

I think fans will be happy to see a different team this season. The morale was high at camp this summer, the talent looks better than ever, and the players are working more cohesively than ever. The players also seem to be itching for more lacrosse and really grasping the concepts as they come. There is a different outlook offensively and defensively this summer which will transition nicely into the fall and spring. With our team feeling more serious about their craft than in the past, look for our win column to rise!

Lacrosse as a whole has grown exponentially since my arrival four years ago (2006). The first days seeing lacrosse in California it seemed that 7th and 8th grade teams were struggling. Now we are seeing 2nd graders out there running around. It is great to see! A message to all up and coming lacrosse players: always push yourself! Nothing on the lacrosse field is simply handed to you, as in life. You must set your goals high and reach for them, push yourself & your teammates, and good things will happen!

JSerra Students Journey on Silk Road to the Future

By Mrs. Olivia Huie

On July 17, 2010, ten JSerra students ventured to China on the Silk Road to the Future program sponsored by the Legends of China organization. The Silk Road to the Future is a dynamic educational and cultural collaboration among leading Chinese and U.S. universities and high schools. Its central purpose is to expose students, faculty and staff to a powerful, once-in-a-lifetime international immersion experience that provides the participants an unparalleled opportunity to travel through China to meet their Chinese counterparts.

Through experiential learning, the exchange of ideas, and a highly visual historical tour of China’s distinctive cities, all who take part in this program gain both an invaluable perspective on China and a significant understanding of the many Chinese cultural and educational practices. In this process, lasting relationships are forged with China and its wonderful, friendly people. Through these relationships, participants truly become Ambassadors of Peace. The Legends of China – Silk Road to the Future program has drawn participation of over 10,000 Ambassadors of Peace from some 200 prestigious universities and high schools across the United States and Canada, as well as from over 400 top Chinese institutions.

This trip marks the inaugural year for high school participants and JSerra was the first high school ever to participate in the program. JSerra participants, now established Ambassadors of Peace, include Courtney Avila ’11, Shanelle Bennett ’10, Elizabeth Evers ’11, Ian Farrell ’10, Riley Houser ’11, Ashleigh Luschei ’11, Savannah Luschei ’11, Alexa McBride ’13, Michael Salzle ’12, and Steven Summers ’11.

On our trip, we visited the world famous cities of Beijing and Shanghai. JSerra students were able to learn about Chinese culture through the eyes of Chinese high school students who accompanied us each day on the bus. While in Beijing, students visited the Capital Museum, a traditional Chinese medicine university, a hospital, and a prestigious high school, where 500 of the top Beijing high school students participating in a summer leadership program interacted with our students. During this program, Courtney Avila gave a speech on the importance of being a world leader in today’s society.

JSerra students also did an internship at a school for students with special needs. Ashleigh Luschei was the keynote speaker for the event and inspired the students to realize their own potential as leaders despite their challenges. Our Lions were able to conduct workshops for the kids that included teaching them English, drawing, silk painting, playing sports, and dancing. We also had a talent showcase where Ian Farrell played the piano, Steven Summers did card tricks, and all of the girls did a fun skit that had the whole crowd laughing after it was translated into Mandarin by one of the kids with special needs. We were very surprised that he knew English extremely well and when asked about it, he said English was his “life’s work!” JSerra students had a fun gift exchange at the end where they learned the significant act of gift giving in the Chinese culture.

Our students then participated in the Silk Road to the Future Annual Ceremony where college students, faculty, and administration from UCLA, UCI, UCSB, UCSD, UCSF, UCB, UCSC, State University of New York at Buffalo, Oregon State University, University of Texas, Austin and University of Miami joined them. All students were asked to create a silk banner depicting world peace. The first high school winner was Lizzy Evers who won an authentic Chinese Peking Opera wall hanging. The Provost of the University of Miami presented her with the award.

Later in the week, JSerra Lions conquered The Great Wall of China, walked through the halls of the Forbidden City, learned about Tian’anmen Square, and took in the Beijing Olympic Park. After a week of amazing experiences, we flew to Shanghai where we learned about silk culture directly from the silk worms themselves. Students witnessed silk being woven and created in beautiful silk fabrics. In addition to silk culture, students learned about Chinese tea culture, and jade culture. After a day of fun bargaining in Shanghai’s “China Town”, we headed to the World Exposition, an event that takes place every four years and is a grand gathering of world cultures.

The students truly received a cultural immersion and the trip of a lifetime. We look forward to continuing the trip next summer and may even have the opportunity to travel to Tibet. A special thanks to all our JSerra Ambassadors of Peace! Xie Xie!

Exceptional JSerra Students Volunteer Near And Far

By Katherine Bade

Christian service is an essential part of the JSerra educational experience because it reflects a fundamental component of the mission of our school – to take to heart the call of Christ to serve others. This year the recipients of the prestigious Christian Service Award are juniors Eddie Pruette and Courtney Avila, sophomores Trent Boice and Shea O’Reilly, and freshmen Hunter Kempf and Danielle White.

After speaking with two of the recipients of this award, it is evident that those who go above and beyond in their Christian Service all share a common denominator – a love for helping those in need.

Eddie Pruette
Photos by Eric Simonson
Eddie Pruette explains that, “helping a person in need is possibly one of the most fulfilling things a person could do.” This is a standard of excellence that JSerra seeks to instill in every student.

Pruette has done a majority of his Christian service with the JSerra Peru Club through which he has, “gone on two week-long trips to Piura, Peru where the other volunteers and I visited orphans, delivered supplies and built houses.”

If you are interested in participating in the JSerra Peru Club, Pruette welcomes you to speak to him and learn more about the wonderful cause.

Click here to read about the Peru Club’s trip to Piura this past school year.

Shea O'Reilly
Shea O’Reilly says that her experiences in service has dramatically impacted her life. Shea remarks that she has, “met some wonderful people from all different walks of life I never would have otherwise encountered. I’ve grown through each experience as they have all presented unique challenges and opportunities.”

She has volunteered at Nazareth Boys Orphanage in Tecate, Mexico and for several political campaigns, officials, and organizations, including work at the White House during President George W. Bush’s term, and the Susan B. Anthony Organization, also in Washington, D.C.

Courtney Avila has logged nearly 300 hours of service through National Charity League, and Special Camps for Special Kids where Hunter Kempf and Danielle White also volunteered. Special Camp for Special Kids provides a revolutionary educational and recreational summer day camp for youth with disabilities in one-to-one peer relationships with volunteer counselors. Trent Boice has completed at least 360 hours of service in just two years through his participation with Camp James, a leadership camp in Irvine.

Through acts of selflessness, these students have learned more about themselves while also learning about the significance of charity. They are generous with their time as they share it with those in need and have witnessed the reward of lending a helping hand.

To learn more about JSerra’s Christian Service program, graduation requirement, and ways to get involved, click here.

Congratulations To The 2010 Underclassmen Award Winners

Each year, JSerra recognizes the stellar achievements of our 9-11 grade students at the annual Underclassmen Awards. The awards are presented at an all-school assembly in early June. On June 7, ten awards were given to 22 outstanding JSerra students. Congratulations to the recipients:

College Book Awards:
Shannon Brady, junior, Princeton University
Haleigh Cummings, junior, University of Nebraska

Christian Service Certificates:
Eddie Pruette and Courtney Avila, juniors
Trent Boice and Shea O’Reilly, sophomores
Hunter Kempf and Danielle White, freshmen

CEO Lion Challenge
Parker Wells, freshman

Faculty Award:
Jeremy Hall and Chloe Kempf, juniors
Danielle Perazzo and Sarah David, sophomores
John Shaver and Vanessa Zuck, freshmen

Class Award:
Michael Portillo and Shannon Brady, juniors
Greg Poré and Heather Rosen, sophomores
Sachin Govil and Rebecca Millard, freshmen

Gillian Marie Sabet Scholarship Award
Katie Linehan, junior

Athlete of the year:
Jonathan Schaefer, junior
Sydney Teske, senior

Check back in the coming days for features on some of our award winners and information on what each award means.