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Class of 2020 Lifers

    • Top row, left to right: Jacob Kagnoff, Sean Reed, Jackson Hamman, Keon Badiee Middle row, left to right: Juliet Welk, Jenna Frakes, Juan Pablo Cabañas-Ramirez, Kathryn Mills, Ilaria Comfort Bottom row, left to right: Gabriella Grasso, Lauren Ziment, Matthew Wirtz, Takeo Fukumura, Alan Wong, Danielle Levine. Not pictured: Ian Rady

      Top row, left to right: Jacob Kagnoff, Sean Reed, Jackson Hamman, Keon Badiee Middle row, left to right: Juliet Welk, Jenna Frakes, Juan Pablo Cabañas-Ramirez, Kathryn Mills, Ilaria Comfort Bottom row, left to right: Gabriella Grasso, Lauren Ziment, Matthew Wirtz, Takeo Fukumura, Alan Wong, Danielle Levine. Not pictured: Ian Rady

Lifer Q&A

La Jolla Country Day School is proud to recognize 16 lifers from the class of 2020. Our lifers have called LJCDS home for 13 or more years. Below, five of our lifers reflect on their time in the Torrey community. 

Lifer: A student who has gone to the same school for 13 or more consecutive years from Tiny Torreys/nursery, junior kindergarten or kindergarten to senior year.

Jenna Frakes

    • Jenna entered LJCDS in Junior Kindergarten and will be attending UC Santa Barbara in the fall.

      Jenna entered LJCDS in Junior Kindergarten and will be attending UC Santa Barbara in the fall.

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

Gabriella "Gabi" Grasso

    • Gabi joined LJCDS as a Tiny Torrey and will head to Washington University in St. Louis this fall.

      Gabi joined LJCDS as a Tiny Torrey and will head to Washington University in St. Louis this fall.

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • What does being a lifer at LJCDS mean to you?

    I probably know La Jolla Country Day School better than almost every student. It’s all I know. My dad and uncle went here, my dad has been working here for over 20 years. Now I have been going here for 15 years. Being a lifer means that La Jolla Country Day School is responsible for the person I am today. I will always be grateful to the school for raising me, introducing me to my friends and now family, and teaching me almost everything I know.
  • When you leave LJCDS, what will you miss the most?

    When I leave LJCDS, the thing I will miss most is how safe and valued I felt all the time. At Country Day, I always felt like I was completely supported and that everyone wanted me to succeed.
  • What advice would you give to incoming ninth-graders about Upper School?

    The biggest advice I would give to ninth-graders would be to not care so much about taking the toughest classes or getting perfect grades, and spend more time on the things you are passionate about. I filled my school day with all honors classes and filled my extra time with everything I was either passionate about or wanted to try. I must have tried almost every extracurricular LJCDS offered and ended up stressed and overworked. I should have had more of a balance and paid more attention to my mental health.
  • When you leave LJCDS, what will you remember the most?

    The thing I will remember most about LJCDS is all of the connections and relationships I made with people. I’ve made so many amazing bonds with as many people as I could throughout my time here, and I will never forget any of it.

Jackson Hamman

    • Jackson entered LJCDS in Kindergarten and will be attending Ohio Wesleyan University this fall.

      Jackson entered LJCDS in Kindergarten and will be attending Ohio Wesleyan University this fall.

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • What teacher has made the greatest impact on your time at LJCDS?

    My advisor, Mr. Uyeda, who has also taught me during my sophomore year, junior year and senior year in various classes. He has not only been my favorite teacher throughout high school, but he has been a role model for me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a teacher care so much for his students. Whether Mr. Uyeda knows it or not, I can confidently say that he is a major reason why my grades got so much higher after my sophomore year. He’s also a reason why I have matured, and he’s been an influence on who I am in a classroom as well as away from it.
  • What does being a lifer at LJCDS mean to you?

    When I’m called a lifer, I don’t think of what I’ve done in my 13 years at Country Day, I think of all of the lifers who’ve been side by side with me my whole journey through Country Day. Those relationships are what make being a lifer all worth it. It’s really an incredible thing to go to school with people for your whole life so far. I’m going to college with two of my best friends who happen to be lifers as well, and we plan on rooming together next year.
  • What advice would you give to incoming ninth-graders about Upper School?

    I remember when I was an incoming freshman at football practice before school officially started, the seniors each gave a speech to the whole team, and every speech had the familiar statement, “It all goes by too fast.” I remember thinking, “I don’t know what they’re talking about, four years is four years. It can’t go by that fast.” What I would tell incoming freshmen is that I was wrong, your time here at LJCDS is going to fly by. The important thing is to not focus on trying to slow it down, but rather focus on enjoying every moment of it because if you do that, the next four years will truly be some of the best years of your life.
  • What is your biggest takeaway from your time at LJCDS?

    My biggest takeaway has to be those relationships that I value so much. I love Country Day for its fantastic academics, its amazing staff and teachers and their pristine facilities. However, none of that will ever compare to the relationships that I have built with everyone. This school has a way of bringing everyone together, whether it’s through classes or through sports. I really can’t overstate how grateful I am to have gone to such an amazing school with such amazing people. If I have learned anything in my 13 years at LJCDS, it’s that you can’t take anything for granted because you never know what could happen. 

Jacob "Jake" Kagnoff

    • Jake started at LJCDS in Kindergarten and will be attending UCLA in the fall.

      Jake started at LJCDS in Kindergarten and will be attending UCLA in the fall.

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • When you leave LJCDS, what will you miss the most?

    When I graduate from LJCDS, I’ll miss being surrounded by such a great group of friends, teachers and administrators. More specifically, I will miss how supportive my teachers were to me and what great relationships we built with each other. I will miss my friends and all of our silly antics in the Pavilion. I will never forget the sense of community and belonging that I felt as a student. I was really lucky to have had such a great experience at LJCDS.
  • What advice would you give to incoming ninth-graders about Upper School?

    My brother was a freshman this year and I was also a Peer Leader—so, I have some experience! I would advise any incoming freshman to take a big deep breath when they first walk onto the Upper School campus, to follow their passions no matter what and to always remember that teachers are an amazing source of support and knowledge. They should never be afraid to ask a teacher for help because they will receive it, no matter what.
  • What is the best course you took during your time here and why?

    I have truly loved my experience in Mr. Schall’s AP Calculus BC class this year. Not only has math been my favorite subject since I was in Mrs. Bial’s fourth-grade classroom, but Mr. Schall is one of the most supportive, kind-hearted and knowledgeable teachers. I really enjoyed how this class showed us how calculus applies in the real world.
  • What is your biggest takeaway from your time at LJCDS?

    Country Day allowed me to be me. It allowed me to pursue subjects and activities I enjoy, and not once did the school try to make me be anything other than who I am. Thank you for the memories, Country Day.

Danielle Levine

    • Danielle began at LJCDS in Tiny Torreys and will be attending the University of Miami this fall..

      Danielle began at LJCDS in Tiny Torreys and will be attending the University of Miami this fall..

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • How have teachers inspired greatness in you?

    Teachers at Country Day make it a priority to not only teach their students, but also serve as our mentors. Their class lessons are not what inspires greatness, but it is the message of using your moral compass and treating everyone with respect.
  • What is the best course you took during your time here and why?

    The best course I took at LJCDS is the Percussion and World Drumming class. That class ignited my passion for drumming and exposed me to different genres and styles of music. I played various instruments, including the drumset, concert percussion, taiko, steel drums and participated in the drumline. I will definitely miss that class.
  • What teacher has made the greatest impact on your time at LJCDS?

    Mr. Przymus is the teacher that has had the greatest impact. He guides us in how to embrace our passion for music. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone and is the reason music will be a large part of my studies in college.
  • What does being a lifer at LJCDS mean to you?

    Being a lifer at Country Day is an honor, and it makes me happy that I was able to experience every aspect of education in one place. Some of my best friends are the people that I had in my class when I started Country Day at 3 years old. We have grown up together and saw each other transition into the adults we are now. Lifers will always have a special bond that no other group in school will experience. 

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9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037
858-453-3440

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