Melanie Kaplan ’08 swam the English Channel, fulfilling a dream since Middle School. In true Torrey fashion, she turned her accomplishment into a fundraiser, raising about $5,000 for Emily’s List, a PAC for progressive female political candidates.
The Upper School commemorated 9/11 this year with a presentation by Derek Abbey on "Citizenship, Empathy and Unity." Mr. Abbey is the director of the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center at San Diego State University. He also serves as director of the BentProp Project, which finds and repatriates the remains of downed servicemen and women from World War II.
Parents and educators play a critical role in shaping an effective learning environment for children. At LJCDS, parents bring us their child(ren) of character who is willing to work hard, and in return, the school promises to provide access to remarkable mentors and resources in a “what if” environment that offers the child the greatest opportunity for success in life.
La Jolla Country Day School values connecting students to the world and the world to the students. What better way to connect students to local companies and organizations than through internships. In summer 2018, 12 Upper School students procured summer internships with various organizations in San Diego to explore their passions and gain practical work experience.
Our own Amy Parish, Ph.D., Upper School English teacher, and bonobo expert, was given credit for her research in an article titled, “Talent isn't keeping women away from science. Sexism, stereotypes and bad science are.”
UCLA Associate Professor of Marketing Cassie Mogilner Holmes ’98, Ph.D., studies happiness, highlighting the role of time. She shares how she deliberately spends her time and makes decisions that are driven by happiness.
Hats off to the 122 graduates of the class of 2018 who were honored during the 54th Commencement ceremony on Friday, June 1 in the Amphitheater. Collectively, they received more than 610 college acceptances and will embark to nearly 70 different colleges and universities, including two internationally. This year marks the 51st lifer class, and we are proud to have 21 lifers from the class of 2018. Our lifers have called LJCDS home for 13 or more years.
Graduation provides an occasion to celebrate students reaching another milestone in their journey. The journey has many goals and objectives, but ultimately, the students’ course is to develop their own identity.
Congratulations to first place winner Max Benning ’18 and honorable mention Caleb Petry ’19 in the Amy Marie Watkins Poetry Contest announced at Honors Convocation on Wednesday, May 30 in the Amphitheater.
Congratulations to Upper School History teacher Jonathan Shulman who was recently named the 2018 Educator of the Year by the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club. Mr. Shulman was recognized for his compassion and dedication to his students and his leadership roles with the Torrey Mock Trial team and the director of La Jolla Country Day School’s Center for Excellence in Citizenship.
Upper School History teacher Dan Norland recently published an op-ed piece about the U.S. Government’s treatment of prisoners in Guantánomo Bay. Mr. Norland’s essay, which is featured on Teen Vogue’s website, explains why it is so important that young people in the United States understand the significance of our military presence in Guantánomo Bay. Below is an excerpt of the piece.
Congratulations to Max Benning ’18 who recently won a runner-up prize for his entry in the News-Decoder Reporting and Writing Contest. Max submitted an excerpt from his MIT Inspire research competition paper titled “A Hot Topic: Examining the Incendiary Language of Media Coverage of California Wildfires” to News-Decoder, a nonprofit news service and global forum for millennials to learn about international affairs and engage in a borderless conversation.
Middle and Upper School student-athletes were recognized for their hard work this season on Friday, May 18 during the athletic awards ceremony. Coaches from tennis, lacrosse, baseball, track & field, golf, swim team, softball, volleyball, surf team and basketball programs spoke about their seasons and award-winning athletes.
On Monday, May 21, Middle Schoolers were recognized for their hard work and accomplishments throughout the year. Students were recognized for their academic excellence, service, character and personal growth. In addition to the students who were called to the stage, many were recognized for their role on the advisory council, on the Green Team, as Newbery readers and as club leaders.
Middle Schoolers dropping tennis balls off the balcony is not a part of physical education, but rather they are calculating math problems, the vertical motion model to be exact. After attending the youcubed conference at Stanford University last year, the Middle School math department was so inspired that they immediately made shifts to the math curriculum when they returned to school. Then in the 2017–2018 academic year, they implemented a full course change.
Why are teens spending so much time online? Tristan Harris, a former Google Design Ethicist, has been doing tremendous work demonstrating how online/social media companies are using "persuasive design" to cognitively trick us into spending more time on their sites. In fact, the (somewhat infamous) Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab is where much of these ideas come from; the students of the lab went on to work for Facebook, Instagram, Uber and Google.
After a rigorous audition process that spanned several months, including submitting a variety of cooking videos from home, Evan Estrada ’23 was selected to be a contestant on the reality cooking show MasterChef Junior Season 6 hosted by award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay on FOX. Recorded at the end of 2016, the show started airing in March 2018, and Evan advanced to the top seven!
Congratulations to all the Grades 4–6 students who were honored at the 24th annual Newbery Readers Awards Assembly on Friday, May 11. In addition to receiving an engraved trophy, students who read 75 or more Newbery titles are also honored with their names engraved on a perpetual plaque that hangs in the Lower School library. Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of the 2016 Newbery Honor book Echo, spoke to students before the awards were presented.
Congratulations to Sydney Strawn ’20 and Leah Weiser ’20 who earned an honorable mention in the 2018 National High School Design Competition. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum launched the competition in collaboration with Target in 2016. This year, hundreds of students across the country were challenged to identify and provide a solution to a problem that makes daily life less accessible for people with disabilities.
As we begin our course selection process in the Upper School this spring, we often remind our students of the importance of pursuing subjects that they find interesting and resist selecting courses simply because they think a certain class may “look good” on a transcript for college. There is the ever-present temptation for our students to focus on the immediate future, and it is our hope as a school that we can help guide them away from the fears of college admissions and toward developing a genuine passion for learning.
What is your favorite memory from when you were in elementary school? My favorite elementary school memory was when I received an “A” in math to get a dog. Math was always challenging for me, and I had begged my parents for a dog for a very long time. My dad decided to give me some incentive to work a little harder. I persevered, taking the time and putting in the effort to make sure I achieved my goal. There was no greater feeling of accomplishment than to come home, and show my dad that all my hard work had paid off. The look on his face was priceless as I could see and feel the pride he felt in my success.
We wouldn’t send children to New York City on their own, yet that is the equivalent of what we’re doing if we allow them to go on the internet without some guidance, according to a guest speaker from the San Diego Police Foundation during a presentation to parents last month. Described as self-defense classes for internet users, the SafetyNet®: Smart Cyber Choices® program was also presented to students in Grades 3–8. Both presentations included discussion on cyberbullying, online scams, video games and consent.
Model United Nations (MUN) is an opportunity for students to attend a simulation of the United Nations, representing a nation or person in a variety of committees, where they assume the position of their assigned country and debate two to three assigned topics for the conference. MUN is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn more about the world around them, international politics, and many of the issues world leaders face today, as well as test out their public speaking, research and writing skills. When attending conferences, delegates also get to meet and interact with students not only from other California high schools but international schools as well.
Mental wellness includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. It’s also something we care deeply about at LJCDS. Michelle Hirschy, Upper School counselor, shares with Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager, what programs are in place to support our students and what’s on the horizon.
Some days I feel cursed. I can’t help it. It’s constant and uncontrollable. I have to admit it. I have a problem. I am addicted to assessing solutions around us. I can’t go into a store without touching everything. My wife will be on task picking up the items we came in for, and I will be two aisles over examining a new product on the shelf.
On March 21, 18 Middle School students and three faculty members embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. The destination: the Andean town of Ollantaytambo, nestled into the Sacred Valley of Peru at just above 9,000 feet. Historically an important resting point for those traveling the extensive network of Inca trails leading to Machu Picchu, the town retains importance as a vibrant community where past and present intersect.
Congratulations to fourth graders Eliana Leff, Atlanta Bass-Sulpizio and Marly Berlin who were chosen as winners of the Friends of La Jolla/Riford Library Student Essay Contest. Applicants wrote a 250-word essay answering the question, “If all the books in the world were about to disappear but you could save one, what would it be? Why?”
Congratulations to Madison Held ’19 and Sameeran Das ’19 who were selected as award recipients of the Emperor Science Award program hosted by PBS and Stand Up To Cancer. The program is designed to empower high school students to become the next generation of scientists as they explore careers in cancer research and care through a unique mentoring opportunity.
La Jolla Country Day School exists to inspire greatness for a better world. We are committed to developing a culture and community of faculty, staff and students who believe in something bigger than themselves. Below, performing arts teacher Robert Wagner speaks to how he inspires greatness for a better world.
On Friday, March 9, we shared admission decisions with applicants and their families who have sought admission to La Jolla Country Day School. I have often wished that the parents of applicants could be in the room to see the amount of care and attention that goes into the thoughtful consideration of each and every student. Those of us in the Office of Admission never forget that behind every application portfolio is a precious child.
Fourth graders were welcomed into a garden sanctuary located in the center of the Sherman Heights neighborhood where they presented a check for $2,000 to Sherman Academy Garden as part of the LJCDS Philanthropy Partners program.
March is le mois de la Francophonie, the official month of Francophonie, a global event that celebrates the richness and diversity of the French language and culture. Middle and Upper Schoolers celebrated the week of March 12 with food, games and music.
Upper School student-athletes and coaches gathered in the Amphitheater on Tuesday, March 6 to celebrate the winter season athletes and teams. Coaches from ice hockey, soccer and basketball programs spoke about their seasons and award-winning athletes.
It’s 6 a.m. on a Saturday and while most teenagers might be sleeping, LJCDS students in technical theater are busy cutting plywood, drilling set pieces together and painting doors in preparation for the Upper School musical, Anything Goes, (running March 8–10). In fact, these students have been building the set, mapping out lighting and testing sound for two months, even during the break over President’s Day weekend, free periods, after school and the weekends.
The championship games of the 2017-2018 college football and NFL seasons were extremely exciting and fun to watch. The games have quickly become a part of sports legend. In the University of Alabama vs. University of Georgia game, a freshman backup quarterback came off the bench at halftime to lead Alabama to a comeback win over Georgia. And a backup quarterback was selected MVP of the Super Bowl after leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 41-33 upset over the seemingly unbeatable New England Patriots.
Read all about it! Nicholas Mogul ’27 is on his way to becoming the next newspaper tycoon. Third Grade Times, a newspaper by third graders, started with an idea. Nicholas wrote a couple of stories, put them together and made some black and white copies to hand out to faculty and his fellow students.
Each of us receives feedback all day, every day. From “Why didn’t you put that dirty plate in the dishwasher?” at home to “Did you get that report done?” at work, feedback is all around us. Our children are no exception. In their book Thanks for the Feedback, Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen report that students get as many as 300 pieces of school work graded each year, not to mention auditions, sports team tryouts, standardized tests and other evaluative feedback. Stone and Heen open their book by stating, “We swim in an ocean of feedback.” We don’t have to leave our children adrift, though. Demonstrating effective ways to receive feedback can help children develop resilience and grow from the information.
How to Make a Medicine may be a course offered in college, but it is also a new elective class for LJCDS students in Grades 7–8. The elective teaches students how to make an actual anti-cancer medicine—the very same drug that saved the life of a girl around their age who was diagnosed with brain cancer, stage four pediatric neuroblastoma.
Friday, February 9 saw six alumni return to campus for Career Day, a longtime tradition in which the senior class has the opportunity to learn about various career paths from fellow Torreys. This year’s speakers, John Tessmer ’85, David Jay ’93, Nikki (McIntyre) Blackman ’97, Derek Zemen ’03, Tommy Morris ’08 and Armando Yee ’08 each spoke at assembly in front of the Upper School, including some of their former teachers and mentors.
With the Lunar New Year falling on Friday, February 16, the Upper School hosted a series of celebrations from Monday, February 12–Wednesday, February 14 and Middle School celebrations kicked off on Wednesday, February 7. Common areas were decorated in traditional red and gold and the library displayed featured books. Even the history and English departments took part in interdisciplinary curriculum throughout the week.
Middle School student-athletes and coaches gathered in the Four Flowers Theater on Friday, February 9 to celebrate the winter season athletes and teams. Coaches from fencing, soccer, softball and basketball programs spoke about their seasons and award-winning athletes.
We live in a time when the world is moving faster than one can keep up, technology is blossoming like a perennial flower in which every season is summer, and bushels of data are at our fingertips like seedlings for future harvest. But, at what cost?
The Madrigals and Upper School choir were treated to a workshop with the Princeton Footnotes on Thursday, February 1. Founded in 1959, the all-male a cappella group from Princeton University included a familiar face—Remy Reya ’17. The Footnotes also performed during flex time for students, faculty and staff in the amphitheater as part of their mini tour on the West Coast, which included stops in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles.
Setting goals. As adults, we may think about goals in relation to our career or new year’s resolutions. Middle Schoolers had a chance to reflect on their schoolwork and set goals in each class in preparation for the Student-Led Conferences (SLC), which took place on February 2 and 3. Students presented on their strengths and opportunities for growth with their parents/guardians and their advisor. They learned how to reflect on their learning, evaluate their progress, and communicate this information to their parents and teachers.
In the arch of parenting, we go from doing things for our children to with our children, and finally, to standing back and watching them be independent. When parenting a teenager, it can be difficult to determine when it’s appropriate to step in and when it’s necessary to let them figure it out on their own. The school counselors hosted a three-part workshop, where, under the guidance of guest presenter Erica Rood, M.A., Ed., parents explored this arch and learned tools for navigating this exciting, important and challenging stage of life.
Mark Fallon arrived in San Diego at 1 p.m., on Thursday, January 18, his flight having been delayed several hours due to a snowstorm in Atlanta. He had been awake since 3:30 a.m., so it would have been understandable if he were less than enthusiastic about going directly from the airport to Mr. Shulman’s AP Government classroom. But when asked if he would rather skip class and go straight to his hotel, he declined. Grinning, he said, “I’m on a mission.”
At LJCDS, social and emotional development is equally as important as intellectual growth. When a student is struggling academically, socially or personally, there are many options and resources. The Learning Resource Center (LRC) is where students can receive educational and/or speech and language services to help them achieve academic success. Kristy King, speech and language pathologist, shares with Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager, how she and the LRC work together with faculty and administration to provide students with the necessary tools to reach their fullest potential.
Re-enrollment agreements were issued on Thursday, January 25. In Head of School Gary Krahn’s letter to families, he announced the tuition increase of 3.5 percent for next year (same as last year). You may find yourself asking why a tuition increase is necessary every year and why it exceeds the rate of inflation.
For the second year, kindergarten through eighth-grade students participated in Hour of Code, a global movement that celebrates computer science. The goal is to have students (and adults) of all ages complete activities that relate to the growing field of computer science to prepare them for our increasingly computer-driven world.
The Museum of Photographic Arts’ (MOPA) 12th Annual Juried Youth Exhibition, Defining Boundaries, features the works of three La Jolla Country Day School students: Abby Ausmus ’18, Vivian Hong ’19 and Shannon Twomey ’20. Their photos were three of 100 works selected out of a record 674 entries from students in Grades K-12 across San Diego County and Tijuana.
In case you missed it on the front page of the San Diego Union-Tribune sports section on January 10, here is a fantastic article on LJCDS basketball and football standout Alex Cho ’18. Alex is a leader on the court, on the field and in the classroom!