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’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.

VOTE: McLauglin for OC Varsity Swimmer of the Year

mclaughlin_mug2_580-150x150Help support a fellow lion and vote for Kaite McLaughlin for OC Varsity Swimmer of the Year.

McLaughlin set the CIF Division l records in both the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, ranking her first in both events in Orange County.   She was also part of the national record breaking 1x400m relay team, that included teammates Rebecca Millard, Kaitlyn Albertoli, Britteny Kahn, and Karli Thuen.

To vote click here.

Tending the Lions’ Den

Lady Lions Head Coach Mary Rossignol
Lady Lions Head Coach Mary Rossignol

By Gabriel Rizk, OC Register

Of the more than 100 career wins Mary Rossignol has piled up as head of the JSerra Catholic girls’ basketball team, not many have come easy.

When you inhabit a league that includes teams like perennially nationally-ranked titan Santa Ana Mater Dei, as well as powerhouse Orange Lutheran, the tone is set for an uphill battle each and every year and Rossignol hasn’t deviated from that theme of challenging competition in her nonleague scheduling either.

Nonetheless it took Rossignol less than six seasons to reach the century mark, a milestone that happened Dec. 28 in a 65-24 tournament win over Newberry Park, and she’s successfully built the Lions into a program wholly capable of standing its ground amid the giants of Orange County basketball.

“We train really hard, we work really hard, we practice really hard,” Rossignol says. “The girls are really committed to one another. I’ve had a great coaching staff over the six years I’ve been here and we just try and outwork everybody, coaching staff-wise and players.

“Every year the program has gotten stronger and we’re continuing to try and build a power.”

Currently sitting at 107-65 overall with a 17-5 record in progress in her sixth season, Rossignol led the program to back-to-back 20 win seasons after taking control in 2007 and led the Lions to a CIF state second-round appearance in 2011.

To read the complete article click Lions Den.

For more on the Lady Lions visit them on Facebook.

Collegiate NCAA/NAIA Night

Join JSerra Counseling and Athletics for the annual NCAA/NAIA information night, Wednesday, December 5. Receive information regarding tools, resources, direction and college recruiting information necessary to help student-athletes play and compete at the collegiate level. The goal is to educate our families about the recruiting process, the opportunities available to them, and help student-athletes find the college that meets their academic, athletic, and financial needs. 


The guest speaker will be Jennifer Noonan, founder of College Sports Quest. Noonan is a graduate of U.C. Santa Barbara who grew up in Orange County where she currently resides. Having played a variety of sports in high school that included winning a CIF state championship, Noonan is an active youth sports instructor, mentor and coach. Noonan and her team are dedicated to helping student-athletes pursue their dreams of playing and competing at the collegiate level while earning a college degree.

Wednesday, December 5
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM in the Center Room
Open to all grade levels.

Please see the attached flyer for more information. To RSVP to Michele Murphy at mmurphy@jserra.org.

NCAA College Recruiting Presentation Flyer Jennifer Noonan 12512.doc

JSerra Girls Seize Third State Cross Country Title

Photo Courtesy of Kim Lindholm

The JSerra girls cross country team has done what no school in Orange County, in any sport, has every accomplished; Three-peat. They won their third straight State Championship Saturday, with the added highlight of sophomore Brooke Kunzelman being named to the All-State team. In addition, the Running Lions won their third straight CIF Championship one week earlier, to go along with their third consecutive Trinity League Championship. Congratulations to all of the Running Lions, on both the boys and girls teams, for an incredible season and a continuing commitment to excellence.

OC Varsity covers the State Championship winners below. 
The season-long journey of JSerra wasn’t always perfect or without challenges. But once again, that journey came to an end with the Lions celebrating another CIF state title.

JSerra placed five scoring runners in the top 30 to win its third consecutive Division 4 state title at the CIF State Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Woodward Park.

The Lions are the first county program in the 26-year history of the state championships to win three consecutive state titles.

“The girls came together, worked as a unit, and played their roles,” Lions coach Marty Dugard said. “It’s humbling because of the sacrifice that the girls go through. These girls have bought into this tradition of excellence that we have tried to build.”

 To read the complete article click Running Lions.
To view the complete photo album click here.