« 2017


  • December

    Middle School Violinist Invited to Play with The Piano Guys

    On December 4, Parker violinist Josh Wyly, Class of 2023, made his onstage debut before a sold-out crowd with The Piano Guys at Copley Symphony Hall. The Piano Guys, a group made famous by Youtube, chose standout musicians from San Diego County to accompany them during their holiday concert in downtown. Josh and fellow violinist and Upper School student Nathan Sariowan, Class of 2020, were both selected for this honor.  

    “I wasn’t really nervous,” said Josh. “I like to say ‘I don’t play the violin, I play with my heart.’”

    Josh was recommended to The Piano Guys by his teacher who recognized his talent for playing the violin.

    “I only started playing the violin four years ago at the Lower School,” said Josh. “I love the violin. It’s so expressive. I love how the violin can at one moment be part of a huge orchestra and at the next moment shine-out for a solo.”

    Josh said there isn't one period of music he likes to play on the violin because he loves it all. But he does love how new musicians like The Piano Guys have been mixing the old with the new.

    On stage, Josh and the other invited musicians got to play The Piano Guys’ favored piece “Beethoven’s Five Secrets,” which incorporates “Beethoven’s 5th Symphony” and OneRepublic’s “Secrets” together.

    Josh said this experience with The Piano Guys has motivated him to perfect his skills on violin and he can’t wait to play with more talented musicians.
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  • All-Girls Robotics Team Takes Home First Prize for Teamwork in Regional Competition

    Parker’s all-girls robotics team, the Combustible Lemons, took home first prize for teamwork at the FIRST LEGO League Southern California Championship. The Combustible Lemons, made up of nine girls in grades 6 to 8, was one of two teams to represent Parker at the championship competition held Dec. 3 at Legoland. In total, about 60 teams from across the region competed.

    The FIRST LEGO League competition asks teams to research real-world problems and develop potential solutions to solve them. This year, students were asked to find solutions to water-use problems as part of the theme “hydrodynamics.” Teams must also design, build, and program a robot that they will use to compete against other groups.

    Teams are judged in four different areas: the solution to their real-world problem, their robot design, how well their robot competes, and core values. Core values include teamwork, inspiration, and gracious professionalism.  

    The Combustible Lemons placed first for teamwork in the core values category, demonstrating expertise in effectiveness, efficiency, and independence.

    Robotics teacher Ryan Griggs lauded the Combustible Lemon’s performance at the competition and said their "positive, can-do attitude in all things is an exemplar to others.”

    Griggs also gave a shout-out to Mindblown -- the all-boys team that competed alongside the Combustible Lemons -- for their “hardworking, collaborative spirit” and to a third Middle School team called Dino-myte for “helping to set the stage for success.”

    Members of the Combustible Lemons include:
    • Alisha Wadhwa, Class of 2023
    • Angeline Aloysius, Class of 2022
    • Audrey Chan, Class of 2023
    • Beatrice Cole, Class of 2023
    • Elaina Pace, Class of 2022
    • Esha Champsi, Class of 2022
    • Jayna Wadhwa, Class of 2022
    • Kaia Lee-Guest, Class of 2022
    • Milena Seymour, Class of 2023
    The Combustible Lemon's Upper School mentor was Sunshine Schneider, Class of 2018. 

    To learn more about the FIRST LEGO League, visit http://www.firstlegoleague.org/, and follow Parker robotics on Facebook @FRC Team 2485: WARLords.
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  • November

    Middle Schoolers learn how inequality leads to hunger in simulated experience

    Parker’s Middle School students are learning important lessons about food insecurity and how inequality affects a person’s access to food and other vital resources. These lessons were illustrated in a Hunger Banquet held Thursday, Nov. 30.

    The Hunger Banquet simulates the inequalities faced by millions of people here in the United States and around the globe and demonstrates how those inequalities -- including poverty, illiteracy, war, and the inability of families to buy or grow food -- lead to hunger. The simulation was just one component of the Middle School’s year-long community and global awareness theme: hunger.

    Students gathered in the field house Thursday to experience for just one hour what most Parker students are privileged enough not to experience in their daily lives: a lack of access to food and water, and the disparities that exist between income groups and the sexes.

    As students arrived, they were randomly broken into upper income, middle income, and lower income groups. The majority of students were in the lower income group with only a small percentage assigned to the upper income group, reflecting the distribution of wealth in the United States.

    Just like the divide that exists between groups here in the U.S. and abroad, so did the divide exist between students at the Hunger Banquet. The upper and middle income groups were seated at tables separated from the lower income group. Students in the upper income group were served nutritious, filling meals as they sat at their lush tables. Students in the middle income group ate granola bars, but had to wait in line to receive them. Imitating the disparities that exist between the sexes, boys in this group were served first while girls had to wait for their turn. No one in the lower income group was given a seat at the tables and students received only a small ration of crackers if anything at all.

    The Hunger Banquet is meant to visualize for students the very real inequalities that separate and suppress communities in this country and around the world. When students walk away from the Hunger Banquet, teachers hope they will be more informed about the issues of food insecurity and that hunger is rooted in a lack of access to vital resources.

    Students also take with them the knowledge that hunger affects people in countries rich and poor, and that resources like land and water are becoming more scarce, making it harder for farmers to feed their families. Add to that the global shifts in weather which make it harder for communities to sow and harvest crops.

    Head of Middle School Dan Lang said the simulation is a tool to help students “better understand the way income and resources are distributed in the world and to have a better awareness of where they fall within that context. “We want our students to understand that their place in this world is unique,” he said.

    The idea of the Hunger Banquet was developed by Oxfam to create awareness of hunger and to highlight issues of injustice. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 40 million Americans are food insecure, meaning they are often forced to skip meals, eat less at meals, buy cheap and non-nutritious food, or feed their children and not themselves. About 13 million of those Americans are children. According to United Nations statistics, one in every nine people in the world are hungry, the majority of whom are women or girls.
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  • Grade 7 students prepare food at San Diego Food Bank.

    Grades 7 and 8 students learn importance of community and giving back

    Parker’s core values of global perspective and inclusive community demonstrate the importance of looking beyond the self and giving to the broader community. On Oct. 26, students in Grades 7 and 8 stepped out of their normal academic routines to participate in Community and Global Awareness Day. It is a day full of activities that aim to widen students’ perspectives and provide an opportunity to give back to the local community.

    Grade 8 students spent the school day on campus participating in Global Awareness activities, while Grade 7 students went off campus to help at various nonprofits and community organizations that make a difference in the lives of San Diegans.

    Head of Middle School Dan Lang said the Community and Global Awareness Day helps students fulfill the public purpose of the School while also learning the value of having a public purpose mindset in their own lives.

    “At Parker, we believe that academic excellence is the baseline expectation of a great school. Certainly, we see students demonstrating academic excellence daily. Yet, a meaningful life requires more. A meaningful life requires applying one’s knowledge and skills in service to and with others,” said Mr. Lang.

    Global Awareness Day - Grade 8

    The Grade 8 Global Awareness Day familiarizes students with cultures from around the world and helps prepare them for Discovery Week. Many of the activities focus specifically on the countries and regions they will travel to, including Costa Rica, Peru, Canada, and China, while others focus on the broader global community and what it means to be good global citizens.

    In the beginning of the day, students met with their advisory groups to participate in a Community Power Struggle and Privilege Walk. The walk demonstrates how power and rights are unevenly distributed in all communities and that a person’s skills and capabilities are not tied to their social status.  

    To show the disparities within communities, students were assigned various occupations and asked to stand in a straight line. The occupations varied and included doctors, politicians, small business owners, students, migrant workers, and actors, among others. Advisory teachers then provided power and privilege statements, like “I can vote in an election” and “I can own land,” and the students stepped forward if the statement were true for their occupation or backward if the statement were not true. At the end of the exercise, there was a clear distance between those occupations that have power and privilege and those occupations that do not.

    Students said it was because of things like financial status, age, religion, ethnicity and race that created the distances between them. They concluded that how a person is viewed within society can dictate what that person can and cannot do and that skills and capabilities are not necessarily tied to the amount of power and rights a person has within their community.

    Later in the day, Grade 8 students broke into their trip groups to take a deeper look at the countries they’ll be visiting during Discovery Week. Students went on a scavenger hunt to research the different countries and feasted on traditional cuisine at lunchtime.

    Community Awareness Day - Grade 7

    Grade 7 students traveled to different organizations around San Diego for Community Awareness Day, helping to prepare meals, clean up beaches and canyons, and support local students in their classrooms. The organizations included San Diego Food Bank, Feeding America, Canyonlands, and San Diego Cooperative Charter School. A group of students also collected trash along the beach at Mission Bay.

    The activities helped build awareness around the significance of community and being good citizens within their community. Some activities also showed students the inequalities that exist and the importance of giving back.

    At the end of the day, students returned to campus for a debriefing and to share their thoughts with their fellow classmates.

    “We at Parker are really lucky. We have more than the basic needs,” said a grade 7 student who helped fill backpacks at the San Diego Food Bank. “It was nice being able to provide meals for other families. It was a really rewarding experience.”

    Grade 7 students helped pick up over 100 pounds of trash around Mission Bay, pack 656 backpacks with meals at San Diego Food Bank, and collect trash bags filled with invasive species cleared from a local canyon, in addition to the numerous other community activities they participated in.

    The activities of Global and Community Awareness Day are central to the Middle School curriculum. They are also central to the Parker mission as a whole, which seeks to “create and inspire a diverse community of independent thinkers whose academic excellence, global perspective, and strength of character prepare them to make a meaningful difference in the world.”
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  • September

    Getting in the Game: Middle School Athletics Preparing Student-athletes for the next level

    Parker’s Middle School Athletics team believes that students benefit not only physically and emotionally by participating and competing in sports, they believe being on a team helps develop critical skills (e.g., teamwork, resilience, leadership, tenacity, etc.) that promote success in the classroom, in college, and in life.

    With more than 14 boys, girls, and co-ed inter-scholastic sports teams to choose from, students of all play-levels will have the opportunity to play.

    “Everyone is going to play,” said Coach David Glassey, Middle School Athletics Director. “No one is going to sit on the bench during the season. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the success of the team.”

    Each team is coached by a skilled and passionate coach and students get to learn from the best. Every sport is overseen by a Parker varsity coach from the Upper School. By building this coaching relationship in middle school helps better prepare student-athletes to play high school sports.

    The middle school program does not fixate on playing to win but is more concerned about growing a student’s skill set.

    “We are not about playing to win,” said Coach Glassey. “We are playing to develop our skills as players and winning becomes a reward of our hard work.”
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  • August

    Students build and battle their way to a STEM education at Parker’s Robo.Camp 2017

    Robo.Camp 2017 is now underway at Parker, bringing together students in grades 3 through 8 for a week of building, programming and teamwork.

    Robo.Camp was started by Parker’s award-winning robotics team, W.A.R. Lords. During the week-long camp, students build Vex and Lego Mindstorm robots and compete against each other in simulated competitions. Students not only have a blast building and battling robots, they learn important skills involved with STEM education and careers.

    Parker’s W.A.R. Lords are incredibly active in community engagement activities. In addition to Robo.Camp, the W.A.R. Lords have mentored and raised funds for other FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams. They’ve hosted hackathons and Family Science Nights for students across San Diego County and even traveled to Mexico with Project Mercy to build houses.

    The team itself is built on education and mentorship. Every new member is paired with an experienced one to ensure all members receive necessary guidance and instruction. The W.A.R. Lords also provides a domain certification process encompassing 10 “101 courses” and 16 “102 courses,” as well as programming services and a public folder filled with relevant source code for anyone, anywhere to access.

    Keep up with the W.A.R. Lords throughout the year by following them on Facebook (search FRC Team 2485: WARLords).
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  • July

    Don’t miss FPS Drama Department’s Summer Production of 'Grease: School Version'

    Francis Parker School’s Drama Department is preparing for its summer production of “Grease: School Version.” The production features everyone’s favorite characters and musical numbers, including Danny and Sandy’s beloved duet, “Summer Nights,” and the upbeat group number “We Go Together.”

    The costumes and choreography bring the musical to life on stage and drama students Vaughn Melbourn and Kyrah Panfil give stellar performances as Danny and Sandy.

    All of Parker’s drama students have been enthusiastically rehearsing the musical that is sure to delight audience members of all ages. The show will be held at the Galli-Curci Performing Arts Center on the Linda Vista Campus this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There are four chances to watch and tickets can be purchased at the door. The cost is $8 for students and $10 for adults.

    Don’t miss your chance to see this amazing musical performed by some of Parker’s brightest drama stars!

    Show times:

    Thursday, July 20 at 6 pm
    Friday, July 21 at 6 pm
    Saturday, July 22 at 2 and 6 pm
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  • June

    Middle School Students Come Together for Rock Projects

    The third-trimester marks an exciting time for Middle School guitar and percussion students - Rock Projects. During this collaborative project, students from the two classes come together to perform rock 'n' roll songs as a band. They choose a song, learn the music and turn their jam sessions into well-practiced performances.

    The Parker community was witness to the impressive talents of the Middle School musicians earlier this week during the Rock Project concerts. Click the link below to watch the Grade 6 performances. https://youtu.be/anod11P8jrU
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  • May

    Middle Schoolers Celebrate the Renaissance with Annual Faire

    Students in grade 7 celebrated the annual Renaissance Faire on Friday, May 12. The Middle School courtyard was transformed with festive decorations, punishing stocks and a tantalizing feast.

    The festivities began in the morning with a parade through Campus, where students were able to show off their elaborate costumes, beat drums and wave their flags.

    The parade ended at J. Crivello Hall, where students watched a special performance of Don Quixote -- a play seventh graders have been performing for 30 years! The play is performed entirely in Spanish, giving students a chance to practice their language skills.

    The celebration endured through the afternoon and students were treated to a delicious, Renaissance-era feast.
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  • Parker students excel at National History Day state competition

    Francis Parker School students shined at the National History Day - California competition last weekend. Five Upper School students brought home division awards and are now invited to compete in the National History Day Competition in Washington, D.C., to be held June 11 to 15. Another Upper School student was named Runner-up and three Middle and Upper School students were presented with Special Awards for their outstanding projects.

    Nearly 30 Middle and Upper School students represented Parker in the statewide competition, held Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7 at William Jessup University near Sacramento. Of those students, 24 made it into the final round of judging!

    Students worked in groups or individually to present projects focused on the annual theme, “Taking a Stand in History.” Projects included individual or group exhibits, performances, documentaries and websites.

    The final results of the statewide competition were:

    Senior Champions
    -Ben Clark, Class of 2017 and Adam Nussbaum, Class of 2019 - “Plessy v. Ferguson: Tipping the Scale” (Group Documentary)
    -Nicolas Del Rio, Class of 2020 and Umit Suri, Class of 2020 - “Taking a Stand for Independence: The Singing Revolution in Estonia” (Group Website)
    -Emily Park, Class of 2019 - “‘Fly On 'Till Our Mission is Done’: the WASPs Take a Stand for Equal Status” (Individual Exhibit)
    Senior Runner-up
    -Sabrina Soffer, Class of 2019 - “Elie Wiesel: The Voice for Human Rights and Dignity” (Individual Website)

    Special Awards
    California History Award
    -Cate Hasler, Class of 2020 - “Dorothea Lange: Changing Perspective Through Photography” (Individual Exhibit)

    Social Justice and Diversity Award
    -Ian Lillie, Class of 2021 and Adelyn Phillips, Class of 2021 - “Sit-in to Stand Up: A Victory for 504”
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  • Bestselling Author Shannon Messenger Inspires Middle School Students to Never Give Up

    On Tuesday, May 9, award-winning author Shannon Messenger met with Parker Middle School students to talk about her bestselling series “Keeper of the Lost Cities” and how your dreams are attainable if you decide to never give up.

    “The only difference between a person who reached their goals and a person who didn’t is that the unsuccessful one gave up too soon,” said Messenger to an audience of middle schoolers.

    Messenger was invited to Parker by the Middle School Library Advisory Committee to talk about her journey to become a published author. A journey that began in 2008, when Messenger decided after graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts that creating movies just wasn’t for her and her true calling was to be a writer.

    After 20 revisions of her first book “Keeper of the Lost Cities” and eight rejections from New York editors, each of which came with a 10-page letter detailing why her book wasn’t good enough, Messenger finally landed a three-book series deal with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing in 2012.

    Messenger brought those rejection letters to show the students and teach them to look at these types of letters not in a negative light by more as a road map to show them how they can become better.

    “You’re going to get feedback from professors, coaches and peers,” said Messenger. “Never think that you are not good enough. Use that feedback to become better.”

    To read more about Shannon Messenger and her novels visit: shannonmessenger.com.
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  • Parker students compete in National History Day State Finals

    Today, nearly 30 students from Francis Parker School are heading to William Jessup University near Sacramento to compete in the National History Day - California State Finals. Students have been preparing all year for the competition and were chosen to participate after advancing through the county contest in February.

    The state competition takes place this Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7 in Rocklin, Calif. Parker will be competing against more than 1,200 students from across California, all of whom are vying for a spot at the national competition in Washington, D.C. next month.

    National History Day - California is an educational program that encourages students to discover and learn about local, state, national and world history through the lens of an annual theme. This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand in History.”

    Parker Upper and Middle School students have spent the better part of the school year creating projects that range from individual and group exhibitions to performances, websites and documentaries. Students used local libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and other resources to develop their projects and delve deep into meaningful and important topics.

    This year, students in grades 6 through 12 have teamed up or branched out individually to create projects that focus on important figures in history, like Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, Holocaust survivor and activist Elie Wiesel and photographer Dorothea Lange. Other projects dive into broader historical topics, such as South Africa’s rise out of Apartheid, Estonia’s Singing Revolution and the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy vs. Ferguson.

    Tens of thousands of California students competed in county contests for a chance to represent their schools in the state competition this weekend. Francis Parker School is proudly represented by nearly 30 exceptional students. Those who advance through the state competition head to the University of Maryland near Washington, D.C. for nationals, to be held June 11 to 15.

    Good luck, Parker!
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  • Middle School Quiz Bowl Team Takes First Place

    Congratulations to the Middle School’s quiz bowl team for placing first at the Warhawk Invitational V on Sunday, April 30 held at Madison High School. The quiz bowl team including Ari Mazow, Class of 2022; Zach Partnoy, Class of 2022; Jesse Smith, Class of 2021; Simon Britton, Class of 2022; Trevor Depodesta, Class of 2022; and David Litman, Class of 2022, demonstrated their lightning fast buzzer reflexes while answering questions on topics ranging from science, literature, history and fine arts.

    Fellow quiz bowlers Ari and Zachary received special recognition for having the third and five highest scores of the tournament respectively.
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  • April

    Grade 6 Students "Mush" Through the Surf for the 14th Annual Ikidarod

    In a competition modeled after the famous Iditarod dog sled race, Grade 6 students from Francis Parker School staged the annual waterfront Ikidarod at Tourmaline Surfing Park in Pacific Beach putting their mental and physical fitness to the test.
    Some 90 students from the Class of 2023 played the roles of "mushers" and dogs as they raced from Tourmaline Beach to the South Mission Beach jetty on April 21. Along the way, the students stopped to solve problems on subjects ranging from math to social studies.
    Aside from being a unique and invigorating distraction from the routine school day, the Ikidarod is meaningful to kids because of what they learn about teamwork,” said Chris McGrath, Grade 6 teacher and coordinator of the Ikidarod. “These are groups of kids that are literally bound together and have no choice but to function and seek unity.”
    One of the goals of the Ikidarod is to teach students about communicating and collaborating to reach shared goals. The life lessons learned during the friendly competition are integrated into Parker's Life Skills Program.
    Grade 6 retired math teacher, Mrs. Mary Brown, brought the race to Parker after she participated in a "teacher on the trail" workshop at the Iditarod in Alaska. Schools in other snowy climates have staged Ikidarods with students pulling students in sleds over snow.
    The Ikidarod is a Parker Middle School tradition that celebrates the memory of Parker alumnus and parent Alex Szekely while providing students the opportunity to learn the value of teamwork.
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  • Middle School Students Spend the Day Helping San Diego

    On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Parker Grade 7 students spent the day participating in one of five community service activities around San Diego county, which included cleaning the beach and canyons, visiting students at McGill School, helping seniors at Potiker Senior Center and assisting the San Diego Food Bank with Feeding America.

    Community Awareness Days are an important part of the Middle School curriculum. Students and teachers spend one day out of every trimester to give back to our beautiful city and those who are in need.
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  • March

    Ariel Mazow Qualifies for California National Geographic State Bee Semifinals

    Parker Middle School student Ariel Mazow, Class of 2022, has qualified to compete in the 2017 California National Geographic State Bee. He and 100 other qualifiers from around the state will converge on to the California State University, Fresno campus Friday, March 31, 2017 to test their geographic knowledge. The winner will travel to Washington, D.C. for the National Geographic Bee Championship held in May.

    Ariel won the Parker Geography Bee in January and took a qualifying test to earn a spot in the state semifinals.

    Now in its 29th year, the National Geographic Bee, created by the National Geography Society, aims to spark interest in geography for students in grades four to eight and works to encourage teachers to include the subject in their classrooms.
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  • February

    Two Parker Students Earn National Honor For Impressive Acts of Kindness

    Parker Students Named California's Top Youth Volunteers of 2017 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

    Parker Senior Meghana Reddy, 17, and Parker Middle School student, Kenan Pala, 12, were named California’s top Middle and High Level Youth Volunteers of 2017 for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a national program which recognizes students for their impressive acts of volunteerism.
    “This is a rare honor for two finalists to come from one school in the entire state,” said Kevin Dunn, Director of Parker’s Community Engagement department. “It is jaw-dropping the amount of time both Meghana and Kenan have put into helping the community.”
    Meghana was recognized for her work using her 3-D printer to create artificial hands for children and adults in countries who cannot afford prostheses. Inspired during a family trip to India, Meghana was shocked to see children without limbs. The experience moved her to help those in need. Shortly after returning home, she researched and worked with local computer and software engineers to create affordable limbs with her 3-D printer and distributed them to international charities. To meet the growing demand, Meghana created a nonprofit organization called “Limbs of Love.”
    “Whenever I see a smile on a child after receiving their prosthetic limb,” said Meghana. “That is what keeps me going and wanting to do more for others.”
    Kenan was recognized for his work launching his “Food4Homeless” program, which has provided more than $5,000 to homeless shelters in San Diego and has fed more than 2,000 homeless at local soup kitchens. Kenan has been volunteering for a variety of homeless charities since kindergarten. However, it was one event that solidified his purpose to continue his work. During a visit to the beach, Kenan witnessed a crowd of people gathered around a sick baby seal, trying to save it. Kenan was shocked by the amount of strangers who stepped up to help the baby seal while a homeless man begging for help received no attention.
    In 2016, Kenan gathered a dozen other Parker students to collect more than 4,000 boxes of cereal to create The Guinness World’s Record largest cardboard-box mosaic in the school gym. All boxes were donated to the Interfaith Community Shelter.
    In a press release, Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld said, “Prudential is honored to recognize these young volunteers for their exemplary service. We hope that their stories inspire others to consider how they, too, can volunteer their time and talents to improve their communities."
    The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 22nd year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The program chooses two finalists from every state in the US. Meghana and Kenan will join the other national finalist on an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. and to receive $1,000 each, an engraved silver medal for their service and will qualify for one of 10 national awards announced at the recognition ceremony.
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Francis Parker School is a private, independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12 from across San Diego County. Founded in 1912, the Lower School is located on the Mission Hills Campus with the Upper and Middle Schools on the Linda Vista Campus. Parker's mission is to inspire a diverse community of independent thinkers whose academic excellence, global perspective and strength of character prepare them to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Mission Hills Campus Lower School

4201 Randolph Street
San Diego, CA 92103

Linda Vista Campus Middle/Upper School

6501 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92111
858 / 569-7900