JSerra’s New Principal, Explorer at Heart

By Lauren Shepherd, San Juan Capistrano Patch

John Freeh and the Fr. Robert Spitzer share with parents their hopes to help students maintain a curiosity for learning and desire for faith.

“The mind is created as a heat-seeking missile with respect to the truth; it wants to know what the truth is, and that is true at every stage of one’s life,” said John Freeh, tapped in February to become the next principal at JSerra Catholic High School.

Guiding that heat-seeking missile and cultivating a sense of curiosity and wonder is how he sees his job, which technically starts in July.  Freeh said wants each teacher to treat his career as a vocation; a calling.

Taking the lead from poems such as “The Four Quartets,” is one way in which Freeh learns about how to be such a leader, he said.

“ ‘Old men ought to be explorers,’ ” Freeh quoted T.S. Eliot. He believes that the quote expresses the human need to constantly be learning.

To read the full article click here.

Local Teams Do Swimmingly Well

Coach Mary McLaughlin (right) with the JSerra Swim team. The boys team garnered 1st place, the girls team second place, and their combined scores won first place for the team

*By Penny Arevalo, San Juan Patch

Two local high schools, JSerra Catholic and San Juan Hills, took first and third in a multi-school invitational swim meet Saturday for their boys teams and combined scores of the boys and girls teams.

JSerra took third for the girls team competition.

JSerra hosted the second annual event, which attracted schools as far away as Pasadena and Bellflower. Other local participants included St. Margaret’s Episcopal School and Saddleback Valley Christian School.

For complete results click JSerra Invitational. 

‘A Warrior’s Heart:’ From Small Page to the Big Screen

*Currently running on Patch.com

Author-turned-screenwriter Martin Dugard, who works part-time as the cross-country and track coach at JSerra, will debut his first film Thursday at the Regency. He lives in Rancho Santa Margarita.

You’d think a local man whose name is on the cover of a book that has spent eight weeks on the New York Times’ Best Seller list is worthy of a feature on Patch.

(Actually he is. We apologize for not catching it sooner.)

But Martin Dugard, a Rancho Santa Margarita resident and wildly successful cross country/track coach at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, is about to break out of book reviews and catch the eye of a different kind of critic: the film critic.

To read the complete article click here.

View the trailer for “A Warrior’s Heart.”

Whiz Kid of the Week Lauren Portice Featured on the Patch

*Currently running on the Patch.com

From left to right, Council member Joe Brown, Council member Linda Lindholm, recipient Lauren Portice, Disneyland Ambassador Rene Torrico, Mayor Gary Capata, recipient Jonathan Li, Mayor Pro Tem Paul Glaab and Council member Robert Ming

The City Council recently recognized Lauren Portice and Jonathan Li,  who were each recently awarded a $5,000 Disneyland Resort scholarship for their community service.

Portice, a resident of Laguna Niguel and student at JSerra Catholic High School, was recognized for her work with Sports Gift, an organization that collects and donates old sporting equipment to underprivileged children in the U.S. and around the world.

To read the full story click Whiz Kid.

JSerra Valedictorian: Greetings From Fresno

*By Penny Arevalo of the Patch.com

Photo by Christi Park

“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

Delaney and Decker Qualify for State

*Currently running on the Patch.com 

Katherine Delaney running at the CIF Masters in Norwalk, photo by Brandon Petersen

JSerra senior records third-fastest mile in U.S. this year to lead a contingent of local athletes who qualify for state finals during Friday’s CIF Southern Section Masters Meet.

She did it again.

A week after taking down a 28-year-old record in the 1600 meters at the CIF Southern Section championships at Cerritos College, JSerra senior Katherine Delaney was back in Norwalk Friday for the Masters Meet and turning heads again, this time by chalking up the third-fastest current mile mark in the United States, a 4 minute 42.95-second gem, good for first place overall by a wide margin.

To read the full story click Record Breaker.

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.