By Julianna Crisalli, OC Register
As seniors at JSerra count down to graduation Saturday, let’s take a look at their journey in the past year.
Click the photo above for more photos.
JSerra Catholic High School’s first graduating international student Seung Hyun (Andrew) Lee, from Seoul, South Korea, has been teaching his fellow chamber singers his own arrangement of a Korean folk song for choir’s Spring Farewell Concert. Four years ago, Lee and his family searched for the right school in Southern California that would give him a unique high school experience.
“When I saw that JSerra was accepting international students I took the opportunity,” Lee said. He started his freshman year of high school at JSerra with a love for music and a prodigal talent that would impress his fellow chamber singers.
“It’s really interesting to know that someone so young can be so musically inclined,” said JSerra sophomore and first-year chamber singer, Ian von Gremp. “It’s nice to know that my friend Andrew arranged it,”
Lee became president of the chamber choir, and with his leadership taught his fellow chamber singers the ancient Korean folk song, “Arirang,” which he arranged to fit his own interpretation of its meaning.
“Andrew has always been our leader,” junior and third year chamber singer, Annie Pfost said. “Choir is like a family and Andrew is like the cool big brother.”
“Arirang,” a song handed down through many generations, was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, in December.
At last year’s Spring Concert, Renée Bondi, Christian inspiration singer and mother to JSerra chamber singer, Daniel Bondi, told Lee about her concert in Korea. She said when she sang “Arirang” for the finale, everyone there began to sing along with her. With that motivation, Lee decided to arrange “Arirang” for his high school choir.
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Father Damien Giap opened the awards with a blessing over the graduating class and the award recipients. Each academic department awarded a student who embodied what it means to be a good citizen both in the classroom and in the community, and who excelled in their respective academic areas.
Award recipients included Valedictorian Sachin Govil for the Math and Science Gold Awards, Vanessa Zuck salutatorian, international student Andrew Lee for the Fine Arts Gold Award along with Kallen Zerhan for her outstanding work in the arts, Trinity Wright for both the Religion and Social Studies Gold Awards.
Each student was recognized for their dedication and accomplishments in each of the awarded areas.
Other award recipients include Carlos Solorzano Jr. for the Foreign Language Gold Award and Taylor Santore for the English Gold Award.
Receiving a standing ovation, special honoree senior Kyle Robb was inducted into the United States Naval Academy and will dedicate nine years of service to the Navy. Robb will also go through an intensive training program on the field and in the classroom, as he begins his time in the Navy.
The U.S. Marine Corp. was also in attendance to award Devon Pflueger and August Touchard for their accomplishments in athletics, Nick Cimmarusti and Julia Kenefick for their leadership, and John Shaver and Katie Jenner were awarded for their work in the arts.
Colby Lindholm and Greg Bucilla were recognized as JSerra’s Athletes of the Year, along with Rebecca Millard and Kyle Robb being named JSerra’s top scholar athletes.
With such an accomplished graduating class, the only way to cool off from a four-year run was a splash in the pool. Ending the awards, each senior took a dive in the pool before reminiscing over the senior class video and yearbook signing party to celebrate.
Congratulations to each member of the graduating class of 2013. It has been great to see each student grow and we wish you the best in all your future endeavors.
For photos from the graduation festivities click class of 2013.
With great excitement and gratitude my wife, Helen, and I look forward to joining the JSerra family and working together with you in continuing to make our school a model of Catholic secondary education.
We had the great privilege and blessing this past week of welcoming into the world our daughter, Theresa Bernice, an event that reminded me of the unique creation that each of us is. To anyone involved in the high and noble calling of educating the young – parents, teachers, coaches and counselors – the birth of a child urges us to reflect anew on the gift and mystery of all human life and to renew our commitment to helping our sons and daughters fulfill the destiny God intends for them.
In living out our commitment to education, the essential quality for each of us is nothing less than love, for love looks attentively at the other, discerns what is most needed, and works diligently towards that end – creatively, patiently and hopefully. As we end the current academic year and look forward to the year to come, may all who teach do so with love, for only through love can we educate those entrusted to our care.
And warm congratulations to the Class of 2012 and to their proud parents. Godspeed to all the graduates: In your future paths, may you share with others the gifts of learning you have received.
This year, Andy Sulick, JSerra’s Admissions Director, opened the ceremony by honoring JSerra’s Norbertine priests for their service and dedication to the JSerra community. Each Norbertine received a plaque and personalized jacket to commemorate their time at JSerra.
Sam Miller, JSerra’s salutatorian and the first Stanford admit in JSerra history, gave his final speech to the graduating class of 2012.
With all of the excitement from the graduates, the awards mass ended with a quick splash at the JSerra pool deck.
The class of 2012 had over 30 awards and certificates given out to recognize the accomplishments of the students, to see the complete list and photos visit JSerra Alumni on Facebook.
Please join JSerra in our Graduation celebration on Saturday, June 2 in the JSerra Pavilion.*
*Tickets are required to enter the graduation ceremony.
*By Penny Arevalo of the Patch.com
“We have a problem, Houston,” outgoing Principal Tom Waszak said to a packed audience in the Fieldhouse Gymnasium. “Luke [Decker] is not here. Luke is in Fresno,” competing in the CIF state track championships in the 1600-meter race.
But the valedictorian prepared a DVD for his class from Fresno, Waszak said. It kicked off with a musical montage of scenes of Decker running.
The “secret” to his success, Decker said, was found in the faculty and staff – and his fellow students – at the school. “I surrounded myself with successful people from the day I set foot on JSerra High.”
To read the full story click Greetings from Fresno