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.

‘You Would Not Believe’ How Much Time Co-Valedictorian Spent Studying

Victoria Farrah Manesh’s mother was the first female civilian in U.S. history appointed to direct and develop the educational program for Top Gun instructors at an east coast fighter squadron.

Co-valedictorian Victoria Farrah Manesh
photo by Eric Simonson

Following in her mother’s footsteps, JSerra’s co-valedictorian has already accomplished some incredible feats of her own, including an interview with Harvard University. Manesh – also the valedictorian of her middle school – is headed to the University of California, Berkeley, on a prestigious academic scholarship, after completing her high school education – earning straight A’s in all courses.

She’s worked hard to achieve so much in so little time.

How much time did she study to earn perfect marks during four years of AP and Honors classes, including three foreign languages?

“Please do not ask,” she responds. “You would not believe it.”

She plans to major in business and humanities with an emphasis on foreign language. 

What were your favorite subjects and why?

Favorite classes bring to mind History through Film—- a good introduction to the common use of film in college. I especially enjoyed AP and Honors English classes when I had the freedom to read what I consider the best in French Classic Literature – for example, fiction such as The Phantom of the Opera, The Count of Monte Cristo and Les Miserables.

What is your favorite JSerra memory?

The final honor of being named co-valedictorian… Also, during my time at JSerra, I had the privilege of filming in Hollywood with a part for a Department of Defense training film.

What teacher or class had the biggest impact on you and why?

It is difficult to name one teacher, so I won’t.  I value the instruction I received from Mr. Tom Smith, Department Chair for the Foreign Language Department. This department is managed so well and the teachers should be commended for their gifted, genuinely spirit-filled wisdom. They  recognize, respect and appreciate real student excellence— understanding a student’s work ethic in the real world.  These teachers possess great leadership and integrity. They deserve to have their names publicly recognized—- specifically Mr. Smith, Mr. Williams (AP Spanish) and Mr. Solorzano who have meaningfully contributed to my life. Frater Juan Diego, another favorite teacher, formerly with JSerra, also promoted a high level of sophistication in the classroom. He lectured occasionally from slick PowerPoint (presentations) featuring for example, Classical, Roman Architecture and High Renaissance Art , combined with classical music in the background.