« 2018


  • July

    Parker Receives Superior Ratings at International Thespian Festival

    Parker drama teachers Elise Marinkovich and Letty Robinson ’78 brought seven lucky Upper School drama students to the International Thespian Festival at the University of Nebraska in June.

    This week-long theater arts extravaganza gathers high-achieving middle and high school drama students from across the country to celebrate the art of the stage. Students could attend workshops on sound, lighting, and costume design, see shows, connect with fellow thespians, and audition for colleges. Rising seniors Jack Morrill and Vaughn Melbourn had the opportunity to audition for more than 60 theater schools and received more than 29 callbacks.

    Caleb Haberman, Class of 2020, and Eleni Stavros, Class of 2021, received superior ratings for their performances in the Solo Musical Theater competition. Jack Morrill and Vaughn Melbourn got a superior rating in the Duet Acting competition.

    For more than 50 years, this festival has become the summer destination for drama students and teachers alike to hone their skills and celebrate the creative minds of theater.
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  • May

    8 Parker seniors awarded Ford’s Salute to Education scholarships

    Eight Parker seniors were awarded the 2018 San Diego County Salute to Education Scholarship from San Diego County Ford Dealers. The scholarships were presented in a special ceremony held at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park on May 3.

    The students, all Class of 2018, include Breanna Comunale, Sofia Gardenswartz, Liam Fay, Kiley Hooker, Jeremy McCulloch, Isabella Norton, Elina Pepper, and Emily Potts. Breanna and Sofia each earned scholarships in the language arts category; Liam earned his scholarship in the education category; Kiley in the science category; Jeremy in mathematics; Isabella in arts; and Elina and Emily in medical.

    San Diego County Salute to Education is a corporate-sponsored program aimed at enhancing educational opportunities within the community. The program recognizes students for their personal achievements and service to the community and school.

    About 150 students in San Diego County received scholarships in the amount of $1,000 this school year.
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  • Señor Gomez Pastor teaches an Upper School Spanish class

    Parker Students Return High Scores on National Spanish Exams

    169 Parker Upper School students recently took the 2018 National Spanish Examination. Overall, 114 of them attained national recognition for excellent performance earning them gold, silver, bronze, and honorable mention recognition for their test results.

    "Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious," said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the Exams, "because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 157,000 students participating in 2017."

    The National Spanish Examinations are administered each year in grades 6 through 12 and are sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.
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  • April

    Upper School Musicians Receive Stellar Ratings at Festival

    Congratulations to the Upper School music students who competed in the Forum Music Festival at Fullerton College in Anaheim on April 6. Concert Band, Lancer Orchestra, Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Classical Guitar, and Contemporary Guitar Ensemble received a Gold Rating, the highest rating at the festival. Parker Keskinen, Class of 2020; Josh Lin, Class of 2019; Brooke Seay, Class of 2019; and Emily Wang, Class of 2019; all received the Outstanding Musicianship Award. See below for a complete listing of the festival results.

    Concert Band - Gold Rating
    Emily Wang, Class of 2019 - Outstanding Musicianship Award

    US Strings Ensemble - Silver Rating
    Viola Section - Outstanding Musicianship Award

    Lancer Orchestra - Gold Rating
    Josh Lin, Class of 2019 - Outstanding Musicianship Award

    Beginning Classical Guitar Ensemble - Gold Rating
    Brooke Seay, Class of 2019 - Outstanding Musicianship Award

    Intermediate  Classical Guitar Ensemble - Gold Rating
    Guitar Three Section - Outstanding Musicianship Award

    Advanced Classical Guitar Ensemble - Gold Rating
    Guitar One Section - Outstanding Musicianship Award

    Contemporary Guitar Ensemble - Gold Rating
    Parker Keskinen, Class of 2020 - Outstanding Musicianship Award
    Read More
  • Sahana Kumar Wins Aspirations Award for Women in STEM

    Sahana Kumar, Class of 2019, won the Aspirations Award from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), San Diego Chapter. This prestigious award is presented to high school girls who demonstrate passion and leadership in STEM fields and who aspire to pursue the same beyond high school.

    Sahana demonstrates this passion by participating in a number of clubs and organizations both on Campus and off. She is the Director of Software Training and Director of Autonomous Code for the W.A.R. Lords, Parker’s award-winning robotics team. Earlier this year, Sahana was named a Dean’s List Finalist Award recipient at the FIRST Las Vegas Regional Competition.

    She also sits on the Science Olympiad Advisory Board, serves as President of the Parker Math Team, and is the Director of Website Education for the History Day club. Outside of Parker, Sahana interns with the UCSD Cardiac Mechanics Research Group and volunteers with a writing club in National City, among other pursuits.

    On winning the Aspirations Award, Sahana says she is extremely honored, but the most exciting part has been networking with the other awardees from San Diego County.

    “These girls are directors of their own robotics teams. They are interesting people to talk to and meeting them and exchanging numbers has been the best part,” says Sahana.

    Sahana is also humbled by the award, saying she remembers looking up to the seniors who won the same award when she was still a freshman.

    Sahana has one more year of high school to go but is interested in studying engineering upon graduation.
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  • History teacher Cherie Redelings to take part in federal professional development program, write curriculum for WWI centennial

    Middle and Upper School history teacher Cherie Redelings was selected to participate in the professional development program Memorializing the Fallen: Honoring those Who Served, led by National History Day, the National Cemetery Administration, and the American Battle Monuments Commission.

    Cherie was selected as one of 18 educators from across the country to write new curriculum that will invigorate the teaching of World War I and the Korean War, as the country recognizes the centennial and 65th anniversary of the two wars, respectively. Cherie’s work will focus specifically on WWI.

    The goal of this nine-month, immersive professional development program is for teachers to gain valuable knowledge about fallen heroes and veterans in order to write lesson activities for students, teachers, and organizations to use.

    The program takes a local approach, connecting the lesson activity to a cemetery in the teachers’ regions, as well as calling on teachers to write profiles on local fallen heroes and veterans. As a teacher in San Diego, Cherie was chosen to write an educational activity connected to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, the federal military cemetery located in the city of San Diego.

    Cherie will take on the role of student as she attends virtual lectures, participates in discussions, and travels to the former front lines to learn more about these heroic veterans and their experiences before, during, and after the war. She will travel to Belgium later this year to visit the country that was ravaged by both WWI and World War II. Cherie says she is looking forward to seeing how Belgians write their own history as a battleground of two major wars.

    Cherie is no stranger to writing curriculum or to National History Day—one of the sponsoring organizations. Cherie has been an active advisor for Parker students competing in the local, state, and national competitions of National History Day for years. She has also been writing published curriculum for at least five years, which educators from across the United States use in their classrooms.

    “I love the challenge of taking something you know and breaking it down in order to teach others who don’t know,” says Cherie. Some topics she has written curriculum for in the past include the Monuments Men, about those who sought to protect precious artwork during WWII, and a San Diegan who served as one of the few glider pilots during WWII.

    Parker is introducing a brand new trimester elective on the world wars next school year, after students voted for it as their top choice for a new elective course.
    “The last world war ended almost 75 years ago, but students continue to be intrigued by things that have universal worth,” says Cherie. “These wars were so costly in terms of human lives and they changed things so drastically that students are still interested.”

    On Veterans Day, Cherie plans to take students enrolled in the world wars course to Fort Rosecrans to participate in her newly written lesson. It will be not only a learning experience for Parker students but also for the staff of Fort Rosecrans, who will use the same lesson to educate students and other visitors to the cemetery in the future.

    All of the resources produced as part of the Memorializing the Fallen: Honoring those Who Served program, including Cherie’s curriculum, will be made available for free in November 2018 at the NCA Veterans Legacy Program website.
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  • Parker sophomore launches letter writing campaign calling for gun control

    Faith Campbell, Class of 2020, has been passionate about gun control for a long time, but after watching the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida speak out against gun violence and call on their lawmakers to pass stricter gun laws, Faith put her views into action.

    “We need to keep the pressure on,” Faith said.

    Stoneman Douglas was the site of a mass shooting in February that left 17 people dead and even more injured. Faith said she doesn’t want to see it happen again. She is calling on the Parker community and students across San Diego County to write letters to their representatives in Congress voicing their support for gun reform. During Parker’s spring break next week, Faith plans to travel to Washington, D.C. with letters in hand to deliver them to members of Congress.

    “We want to let Congress know that there needs to be some kind of reform to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” said Faith. “We need to keep the pressure on. There are tons of kids who feel this way.”

    Faith already has an appointment with Congresswoman Susan Davis, who represents California’s 53rd District in the House of Representatives. The 53rd District serves a large portion of San Diego, stretching from the I-5 east to El Cajon and south to Chula Vista.

    Like the student activists in Parkland, Faith is ready to take her position to Washington and speak one-on-one with her representative.

    “I’ve talked about this issue a lot now and I’m comfortable talking about it,” she said.

    Faith was featured on Channel 10 News earlier this week speaking about her letter writing campaign and calling for more students to send in their letters to bring to Washington. But Faith said it’s not about how many letters she receives, just about putting the pressure on lawmakers to spur change.

    This isn’t the first time Faith has inspired her fellow classmates to get active in the name of gun law reform. She led the charge on March 14 during the National School Walkout, in which students across the country walked out of class and held 17 minutes of silence to honor those lives lost in the Parkland shooting and to apply pressure on lawmakers. She also called on her classmates to join her at the March for Our Lives rally, held March 24 in San Diego and in cities across the nation.

    Faith also stepped up after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Houston, Texas area in August 2017, helping to collect roughly 28,000 cans of food and bottles of water to send to the Houston Food Bank.

    If you’d like to write a letter to Congress for Faith to hand deliver in Washington, D.C. next week, you can email it to Kevin Dunn, Director of Community Engagement, or drop it off at his office by the end of the school day on Friday, April 13.
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  • Students gain real-world business experience in the interim week course LaunchPad

    Striking out on a new path and starting a business from scratch is daunting for even the most experienced businessperson. How does someone who is just starting out find success as an entrepreneur? It helps to get a jump start. That’s where LaunchPad comes in.

    “With studies showing as many as 46 percent of jobs for people 30 years of age and under being in the form of independent contractor roles, the need for the entrepreneurial mindset, skills, competencies, and resilience has never been greater,” says Dr. Tina Klein, LaunchPad Founder and Executive Director. “LaunchPad endeavors to provide the opportunity for every student to access the power of youth entrepreneurship education, and to give those that step forward access to the ecosystem to empower and support them now and in the future.”

    In August 2016, the LaunchPad program at the University of California, San Diego’s Rady School of Management partnered with Parker through a generous annual gift from an anonymous Parker family. The program is designed as a one-week course for high school students who want to explore the path of entrepreneurship.

    Students learn marketing, research, design, communication skills, and entrepreneurial strategy and pitching from course professor Tina Klein, founders of startups, and other guest speakers. The course culminates with student groups pitching new product ideas to a panel of CEOs, educators, and entrepreneurs who provide real-world expertise and candid criticism.

    Parker Upper School students have been able to take this internship course during interim week. The most recent group of students completed the course March 12 to 16 and gained valuable insight into what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. While some of the students chose the course because they plan to strike out on their own after college, others wanted to learn more about a possible career that seemed otherwise out of reach to them.  

    “I’m really glad I had the opportunity to attend this class because I knew little about marketing and entrepreneurship [before]. I took this class in order to broaden my horizons and try something outside of the norm,” says Vicky Comunale, Class of 2019. “I’m interested in pursuing entrepreneurship after Parker because this experience made something that often appears distant to something tangible and possible.”

    Vicky helped design a new solar-powered phone case with her business group. The students designed the product, identified possible funding sources, described potential competitors, and predicted future market potential for their product.

    Through a combination of lectures, exercises, field trips, discussions with founders of startups, and visits to research labs and facilities, the many student groups were able to create viable business ideas to pitch to a panel of experts at the end of the program week.

    Pitch day is the culmination of the skills learned throughout the course and simulates the process actual startups go through to secure funding and create a name for their product.

    “Before the pitch, it was very nerve-racking to think about presenting to the experts in the field who have heard many pitches,” says Seth Washabaugh, Class of 2019. He and his group designed a sprinkler add-on that would help regulate water usage by measuring the level of moisture in the soil—one of the many products lauded by the panel as truly competitive products. “Once we started our presentation, I got very excited because I knew that we had worked hard on the product and that we would be receiving valuable feedback on aspects of our presentation from people with real-world experience and knowledge.”

    Parker students have a knack for pitching applicable products, which speaks to the success of the course as well as the industriousness of Parker’s students.

    “High school students constantly amaze me in their ability to think imaginatively, critically, and craft killer presentations,” says Tina. “Last year, one of the groups came up with a very cool foldable chair that was light yet sturdy and could be packed away effortlessly. One of the students in that group created an array of schematic diagrams to illustrate the concept. Our judges urged him to seek a patent right away!”

    In 2019, through the support of the same donor family, LaunchPad will continue to be offered to Upper School students as an interim course ensuring another class of Parker high schoolers learn valuable skills to take with them to college and career.

    “I've always considered the idea of becoming an entrepreneur,” says Sophia Galdamez, Class of 2019. “Now that I've gotten a better idea of what being an entrepreneur is, I am definitely considering this career path following my Paker education.”
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  • US ASB wins Outstanding Leadership Award

    On Monday, April 9, members of the Upper School Associated Student Body (ASB) accepted the Outstanding Leadership Program Award from the California Association of Student Leaders (CASL).

    The award is given to only five percent of eligible schools and recognizes student leadership programs that successfully fulfill their missions of fostering an inclusive and supportive campus culture.

    Parker’s ASB met each of the 11 landmarks that CASL looks for when presenting the award, including:
    • participating in professional training
    • providing their peers a voice in administration
    • uniting the campus with common experiences
    • using traditions to create a sense of pride and belonging
    • promoting achievement
    • offering safe and inclusive social opportunities
    • encouraging a culture of service
    • honoring diversity
    • communicating vision clearly
    • concentrating on character education
    • creating lasting connections among the students of their school

    ASB advisors Jill Duehr and John Morrison were also thanked for their dedication to student leadership and for providing expert direction that facilitates student growth.

    ASB accepted the award on stage at CASL’s annual state conference, a three-day event offering networking opportunities and workshops for students and advisors alike. The conference was held April 7 to 9 in Ontario, California.

    More information about CASL and the Outstanding Leadership Award can be found at the CASL website: http://www.casl1.org/
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  • March

    Photo courtesy of Global Writers United

    Parker senior launches blog to unite writers from around the world

    Before Breanna Comunale, Class of 2018, began her senior year this past fall, she was busy turning a summer dream into reality. That dream began in the quiet rooms of Catherine the Great’s palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, where Breanna found the inspiration to create a space for writers and photographers to share their stories.

    “I set out to find a way to make cultures more accessible through the eyes of the locals and curious travellers,” Breanna writes in an editor’s note in the inaugural issue of her online publication, Global Writers United.

    St. Petersburg was just one stop on a European tour that took Breanna through Russia and several other countries that hug the Baltic Sea. What made her travels so special, she says, was the ability to experience their rich histories and cultures through a local’s perspective. This, she says, instilled in her an appreciation for authentically experiencing a country.

    Following her travels in Europe, she landed in New York City for a summer mentorship with New York Times economics writer Eduardo Porter. Learning the ins and outs of modern journalism from some of the best in the business, Breanna conducted her own reporting in the city and met an unexpected friend: Sonia Visone.

    Sonia grew up in Monaco, the small city-state located on France’s Mediterranean coast. The two swapped stories of what it was like growing up in their respective countries and how their schools compared.

    “I learned a lot about her life in Monaco, which was the turning point in deciding how I would carry out this project,” Breanna writes.We decided to collaborate on a publication open to the global community that featured both native and visiting voices that reflected on their experiences around the world.”

    Through their collaboration, Global Writers United was born.

    The first issue, titled Arts & Culture, launched in October 2017, less than two months after Breanna began her senior year at Parker. The issue explores countries and regions around the world, including the Middle East, the Balkans, Japan, Haiti, Colombia, and Breanna’s native San Diego. Stories are paired with striking photographs to give readers a visual sense of the countries they are visiting in each story.

    Breanna says they chose arts and culture for the first issue in order to “showcase diverse aspects of the world, from a country’s music scene ... to a country’s culinary traditions.”

    Contributors from across the globe have connected with her on social media to help share their stories. Whether they are living in the places they write about, studying, or just visiting, their unique perspectives provide a learning opportunity for people all around the world. Since its inception in fall 2017, Global Writers United has reached audiences in the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, Ukraine, United Kingdom, France, and Mexico.

    “I’ve enjoyed seeing how it has developed over the last few months,” says Breanna, brushing off the notion that the publication is a huge time commitment on top of her other Parker obligations.  

    Breanna will attend Columbia University next year with the intention of studying economics. She says she may eventually pair economics with another degree in journalism.

    As she continues to find her voice, both at Parker and abroad, Breanna is helping to amplify the voices of people from all over the world by giving them a platform to tell their stories. To read those stories, visit https://globalwritersunited.org/.
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  • W.A.R. Lords take home two major awards from Las Vegas FIRST competition

    Parker’s Robotics team, W.A.R. (We Are Robot) Lords, traveled to the Las Vegas FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Regional Robotics Competition this past weekend and took home two honors.

    The team won the Engineering Inspiration Award, celebrating their outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within their School and community. This is the third Engineering Inspiration Award the team has won in three years.

    Sahana Kumar, Class of 2019, also won The Dean’s List Award for her passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals. Sahana is the team’s fourth recipient of the prestigious award; alumnae Camille Considine ′15, Anoushka Bose ′16, and Olia Javidi ′17 won the award previously.

    In addition to these two awards, the W.A.R. Lords were also honored with a Hard Hat Safety Award and took on the 1st place ranking out of 44 teams by the end of the qualification matches.

    Their success in Las Vegas comes on the heels of a successful weekend here in San Diego earlier this month, when the team walked away with its second Chairman’s Award. The W.A.R. Lords travel to Houston next month for the championships, to be held April 18 to 21.

    Congratulations, W.A.R. Lords!
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  • Parker celebrates Black History Month with screening of ‘The Great Debaters’

    On Friday, Feb. 23, students and parents filled J. Crivello Hall for a special screening of the Golden-Globe-nominated film “The Great Debaters” (2007). The screening was held in celebration of Black History Month and was followed by a discussion led by Upper School history teacher Phil Trotter, Parker parent Voltaire Sterling, and cast member Justice Leak.

    “The Great Debaters” takes place in 1935 during the Great Depression and the era of Jim Crow. The film stars Denzel Washington as Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at the Historically Black College, Wiley College, in Texas. Tolson assembles a group of promising students and together they start Wiley College’s first debate team. The team succeeds in its competitions and eventually takes on Harvard University’s 47th annual debate team.  

    “The movie is a period piece that is rich in history, literature, poetry, and imagery,” said Voltaire Sterling. “We were able to draw parallels between the film's messages encouraging academic excellence and character development and Parker's credo S.T.R.I.V.E. In fact, during the week that the film was shown, the portion of S.T.R.I.V.E. that the Lower School was focused on was ‘Revere The Truth.’”

    Phil Trotter discussed the role of film in helping to shape the narrative in social studies classes.

    “Americans learn history, in part, through films. Films can provide students with an emotional connection to events that help develop citizenship skills. Parker upperclassmen watched ‘The Great Debaters’ as Grade 8 students and they can still analyze and discuss aspects of the films as junior and seniors,” Phil said.

    Having two members of the film’s cast also added a unique element to the discussion. Voltaire played a minor role in the film alongside Justice, who played student Harland Osbourne.

    “The magic of cinema is fascinating,” said Voltaire. “Justice was able to share his insights into the creative process. The two of us had a great banter about our audition experiences and shared what it was like having an opportunity to witness Denzel Washington as a director, actor, and producer all at once.”

    Voltaire continued:

    “I think the Parker community took away from this film its inspiring messages of the power of words and using your voice to tell your truth, and also of pushing through adversity and never giving up.”

    The event was organized by the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, including Co-Chair Sophonya Simpson Adams, and Parents Association President Donna Sheridan. Parker’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion Christen Tedrow-Harrison and Phil Trotter also helped to bring the event to fruition. EDI Co-Chair Sophonya Simpson-Adams said she hopes the committee has more opportunities to showcase thought-provoking, dynamic stories that have shaped history in the future.  

    “It is important to highlight the many talents and contributions made by African Americans throughout history so that the historical events that are often left out of the mainstream historical record can be shared,” said Sophonya. “It is important that these accounts be told and passed down for generations to come.”
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  • Parker Student Historians Nearly Sweep the San Diego History Day Awards

    On Saturday, March 10, 44 Parker students from the Middle and Upper School presented their projects at the San Diego History Day competition and nearly swept the awards. More than a thousand middle and high school students from across the San Diego Country came to present their projects centered around the 2017-18 National History Day theme of Conflict & Compromise in History. This year, every Parker student who competed earned recognition at the competition with 10 Middle School and 27 Upper School students advancing to the California State competition.

    “We are proud of the hard work and profound learning represented by each of the projects,” said history day advisors Rob Campbell and Mary Ong-Dean, Middle School teachers, and Cherie Redelings, Upper School teacher and History Department Chair.

    Parker students’ projects covered topics such as The Korean War, The Golden Age, The Antarctic Treaty of 1959, and The Cuban Missile Crisis. Students amass a mountain of research into their subjects and present their findings in a variety of ways, including museum-type exhibits, video documentaries, websites, and traditional research papers.

    Their hard work earned eight special awards including two Economics Education Awards, two Best Use of Primary Sources Awards, two San Diego County Libraries’ Research Award, an Outstanding Research and Writing of History Award, and an Outstanding Website on American History Award.

    The students who advanced to the California State finals will travel to Rocklin, CA in May. See below the complete list of Parker student projects.

    JUNIOR DIVISION (Middle School)
    9 projects, 13 students (10 students advance to State competition)

    Aadam Awad, Class of 2022 - A Futile Compromise: Redefining the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict (Jr. Historical Paper)  Advances to California State competition and Best Use of Primary Sources Award

    Toren Andersen, Class of 2022 - The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Precedent for the Utilization of Compromise (Jr. Individual Website) Advances to California State competition

    Natalia Wornovitzky, Class of 2023  - Puppets and Patriots: Conflict and Compromise in World War II France (Jr. Historical Paper)  Advances to California State competition

    Sanjana Kumar, Class of 2024 - Conflicting Views on Compromise: Churchill and the Appeasement (Jr. Individual Performance) Advances to California State competition

    Jesse Smith, Class of 2023 - From Paranoia to Peace: Reagan, Gorbachev, and the End of the Cold War (Jr. Individual Documentary) Advances to California State competition and San Diego County Libraries’ Research Award

    Jenna Kim, Class of 2022, and Samantha Kim, Class of 2024 - Conflict and Compromise in the Korean War (Jr. Group Website) Advances to California State competition and Best Use of Primary Sources Award

    Ari Mazow, Class of 2022, and Hayden Ghosh, Class of 2022 - Tempering Temperance: Prohibition in America (Jr. Group Website) Advances to California State competition

    Jack Ducote, Class of 2023 - The Tip of the Iceberg: The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 (Jr. Individual Exhibit) Advances to California State competition and San Diego County Libraries’ Research Award
    Hannah Luna, Harper Stanley, and Sophia Tyrrell-Knott, Classes of 2023 - The Berlin Wall: A City Divided, A Country Reunited (Jr. Group Exhibit) Economics Education Award

    SENIOR DIVISION (High School)
    20 projects, 31 students (27 students advance to State competition)

    Elias Jinich, Class of 2018; Avi Waldman, Class of 2018; Gabriel Jinich, Class of 2020; and Neusha Kharrati, Class of 2020 - Nixon and Brezhnev: Conflict & Compromise in the Nuclear Age (Sr. Group Website) Advances to California State competition
    Jacob Brittain, Class of 2019 - The Golden Age of Conflict and Compromise: Piracy in the Caribbean (Sr. Individual Exhibit) Advances to California State competition

    Zachary Braner and Davis Kedrosky, Classes of 2019 - To the Janiculum! Plebeian Secession and the Lex Hortensia (Sr. Group Website) Advances to California State competition

    Cleo Chaplin and Adam Nussbaum, Classes of 2019 - The Third World Liberation Front: Conflict and Compromise (Sr. Group Documentary) Advances to California State competition

    Maya and Sonali Chu, Classes of 2019 - Japan's Peace Bid, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki (Sr. Group Exhibit) Advances to California State competition
    Vicky Comunale and Jeyan Kirtay, Class of 2019 - The Treaty of Versailles (Sr. Group Exhibit) Advances to California State competition
    Eleanor Hansen, Class of 2019 - The Wrong Thing for the Right Reason: Operation Paperclip's Moral Compromise (Sr. Individual Documentary) Advances to California State competition
    Sahana Kumar, Class of 2019 - The Yalta Conference: Excessive Compromise Paving the Path for Increased Conflict (Sr. Individual Website) Advances to California State competition
    Emily Park, Class of 2019 - Flames of Conflict, Embers of Compromise: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (Sr. Individual Exhibit) Advances to California State competition and Economics Education Award

    Alex Tchang, Class of 2019 - North Korea (Sr. Individual Paper) Advances to California State competition and Outstanding Research and Writing of History Award

    Luke Tchang, Class of 2019 - Deng Xiaoping: Balancing Development and Democracy (Sr. Individual Website) Advances to California State competition  

    Cate Hasler, Class of 2020 - The Geneva Conventions of 1949 (Sr. Individual Exhibit) Advances to California State competition

    Aadi Miglani, Class of 2020 - Conflicted Times and Shakespearean Compromise (Sr. Individual Performance) Advances to California State competition

    Pallavi Murthy, Class of 2020 - Compromise to End Conflict: South Africa’s Transition to Democracy (Sr. Historical Paper) Advances to California State competition
    Elsa Baumgartner and Adelyn Phillips, Classes of 2021 - A Wardrobe at War: Compromise in Fashion (Sr. Senior Group Exhibit) Advances to California State competition

    Liam Brownlie, Ian Lillie, and Ollie Pai, Classes of 2021 - Stopping the Chain Reaction: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Sr. Group Documentary) Advances to California State competition

    Katharina Hass, Class of 2021 - Christmas Truce: Compromise in War (Sr. Individual Performance) Advances to California State competition 

    Matthew McGrath, Class of 2019 - Inquires into Ignoble Victories (Sr. Historical Paper) Honorable Mention

    Nicolas del Rio, Will Murray, and Henry Gray, Classes of 2020 - The Dayton Accords: A Compromise For Peace (Sr. Group Website) Honorable Mention andOutstanding Website on American History Award
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  • W.A.R. Lords walk away with second Chairman’s Award

    Parker’s robotics team, W.A.R. (We Are Robot) Lords, took home the Chairman’s Award from the San Diego Regional FIRST Competition, held March 8 to 10 in Del Mar. This is the second time the team has won the prestigious award, but the first time the team has won it at the San Diego Regional.

    The win means W.A.R. Lords qualifies to attend the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship in Houston, Texas in April. Team members Liam Fay, Class of 2018; Kira Hirsh, Class of 2019; and Jordan Finley, Class of 2019, presented the W.A.R. Lords’ story to the Chairman’s judges, and the entire team backed up those words with their actions to bring home the prestigious award.

    “Presenting and winning the Chairman's Award for the team at the San Diego Regional is the highlight of my junior year so far,” says Jordan. “I am so grateful to be a part of such an incredible team making such impactful changes to STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] and to the world.”

    “It was, and still is, incredibly surreal and I am so proud of the team for how far we have come,” adds Kira.

    The Chairman’s Award is given to the team that has made the most impact within their communities over a period of time, not just in a single build season. W.A.R. Lords has made a deep impact within the local community by mentoring teams, hosting competitions, and volunteering at multiple FIRST events.

    W.A.R. Lords also focuses on its own members by offering training and integration programs to new members and providing outreach to women through W.O.W. (Women of W.A.R. Lords). W.O.W. empowers women to pursue robotics and careers in STEM, by mentoring, partnering with area businesses, and bringing in local speakers. W.O.W. has made significant progress in the five years since it was created, increasing the number of women in Parker Robotics from 29 percent to 41 percent.

    Staying true to the spirit of the Chairman’s Award, the W.A.R. Lords will present two workshops at the championships in Houston: “The Secret to a Better Robot: Team Building with Improv” and “Twice the Power: How to Increase Engagement of Girls on Your Team with WOW.”

    While the team is excited to teach and compete next month, members are busily preparing for their upcoming competition in Las Vegas, happening March 22 to 24, where they hope to continue their winning streak.

    “I know this is only the beginning of many victories, both external and internal, for the team this season,” says Jordan.
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  • February

    US Student Wins Best Pre-Trial Attorney at San Diego Mock Trial Championships

    Kevin Kappes, Class of 2020, won best Pre-Trial Attorney for the Prosecution at the San Diego County High School Mock Trial Championships. Kevin scored the most points for his performance and ability to communicate and defend his argument before a real criminal judge and practicing lawyers.

    "Kevin worked hard with our attorney coaches over the past five months to master his role, learn a tremendous amount of case law and evidence, and came through brilliantly when the competition demanded it,” said Marc Thiebach, Assistant Head of Upper School and Mock Trial advisor. “Kevin carried himself with great poise under the tough scrutiny of the judge and deserves this award."

    Mock Trial is a competition where a team of students study a given case and work together to prepare strategies and arguments for a trial. Each student plays a different role in the courtroom, such as bailiff, clerk, prosecuting attorney, and defense. In competitions, students play prosecution or defense against other schools and are scored by a judge and a panel of attorneys.

    At Parker, Mock Trial is one of 56 clubs at the Upper School. Students are coached by past district attorneys and practicing lawyers. Only in his second year in Mock Trial, Kevin says it’s one of his favorite things to do at Parker in addition to the theater club, improv club, soccer, and tennis he is involved in.

    “I like learning about the law and being able to incorporate my experience in theater and improv into competitions,” said Kevin.
    During the San Diego County Mock Trial Competition, Parker competed against 29 other schools and came in sixth place.
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  • US Academic League fights for top spot in league

    The Upper School Academic League is heading into its fifth week of competition in the National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) regular season. The varsity team holds a 4-0 record and continues to battle for the number one spot in the San Diego league.

    In the last match against University City High School on Feb. 15, all three teams -- varsity, junior varsity, and novice -- emerged victorious. The varsity team, captained by Jeremy McCulloch, Class of 2018, pulled in a comprehensive win after securing victories on the final questions in previous weeks. Faculty advisor Ari Gass said their latest victory allowed fans and coaches to “relax and revel in the team’s brilliance.”

    Junior varsity came back from behind to win their match against University City, who took the lead early after answering the first three toss-ups. Parker’s team, captained by Ryan Horne, Class of 2019, grew in confidence as the match progressed and came out on top for their first win of the season.

    The novice team also pulled out ahead of their challenger in the bonus round, after seesawing back and forth in the toss-ups. Captain Oliver Pai, Class of 2021, led the team to a 2-2 overall standing with three matches to go in the regular season.

    Academic League advisors Ari Gass and Rachel Krause are proud of the teams' accomplishments so far this season. 

    "Often, students start the season telling me, 'I won't help the team. I'm not smart enough.' Academic League shows students that everyone has the expertise to contribute, that 'smart' isn't a uniform identity. When a student sees that her own knowledge is valued, a confidence develops that, I believe, can impact every part of that student's life at Parker," said Krause.

    That confidence translates into exciting and intense matches against some of San Diego's toughest teams.

    "Coaching the Academic League team is like any other competitive endeavor. We feel tension in close matches, excitement at each correct answer, frustration at each miss, and elation when we win. The most appealing aspect is that our students win or lose based on their own merits. They compete on equal footing with their opponents and succeed based on their hard work and knowledge," said Gass. 

    The Academic League travels to Mira Mesa High School for their next match on Thursday, Feb. 22. The novice competition begins at 7 pm.

    Members of the US Academic League include:

    Carly Berglas, Class of 2021
    Jack Dorsey, Class of 2021
    Rohin Buch, Class of 2020
    Hannah Riordan, Class of 2021
    Luca Bonanno, Class of 2021
    Pallavi Murthy, Class of 2020
    Oliver Pai, Class of 2021
    Liam Brownlie, Class of 2021
    Isabel Gonzalez, Class of 2021
    Jeremiah Lin, Class of 2021
    Elan Ilfeld, Class of 2021
    Tess Karras, Class of 2021
    Neeve Esfahani, Class of 2021
    Annabelle Fowler, Class of 2020
    Emily Park, Class of 2019
    Ryan Horne, Class of 2019
    Ben Sheres, Class of 2020
    Jordan Finley, Class of 2019
    Ryan Sanborn, Class of 2019
    Troy Appel, Class of 2018
    Garrett Hoff, Class of 2018
    Liam Fay, Class of 2018
    Jeremy McCulloch, Class of 2018
    Ian Lillie, Class of 2021
    Will Murray, Class of 2020
    Jordan Ryan, Class of 2019
    Jacob Brittain, Class of 2019
    Nithya Palakodety, Class of 2020
    Jeffery Zhou, Class of 2021
    Caitlin Rowlings, Class of 2020
    Larry Mei, Class of 2021
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  • Watch Them Build a Robot : The 2018 Robotics Build Season

    Parker's robotics team is deep in the throws of build season. Each school year, FIRST Robotics teams from all over the country work during a six-week period to build game-playing robots ready for competition.

    After receiving their kit of parts, Parker's Team 2485, the W.A.R. Lords, returned to the "shop" on Campus to get started. They familiarized themselves with the rules for this year's robot challenge and worked together to understand the game and answer each other's questions.

    The team's veteran members, experienced mentors, and first-time participants work together to begin the build. The team will work for six weeks designing, machining, programming, and testing their robot in different gameplay scenarios.

    Robotics team advisor Ryan Griggs commented, "Our students and mentors have been working relentlessly together to Power Up to an amazing FRC 2018 competition season."

    Follow the team along during build season on their "Season Updates" blog written by the students themselves. Visit the site at https://www.team2485.org/blog
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  • Upper School Students Join BlueMetal and Microsoft Experts for a Hackathon

    Three Upper School seniors joined experts from BlueMetal and Microsoft for the Microsoft Cloud Workshop: IoT on the Edge on February 5. Jack Davey, Kurt Williams, and Ryan Austin worked side-by-side with product developers to examine real business case scenarios. Thanks to current Parker parent Mark Arbogast, the students were able to hone their coding craft and gain valuable insight into the information technology industry.

    Mark said in an email to the School, “Jack, Kurt, and Ryan represented Parker exceptionally well today. These young men were engaged, relentless, and excited. It was a real pleasure having them with us. I also think their minds were opened up to new possibilities.”
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  • January

    Student-led Financial Literacy Presentation Offers Practical Advice to Seniors

    Parker Upper School students learned practical life lessons on Wednesday, Jan. 16 when First Republic Bank stopped by the Linda Vista Campus for a financial literacy presentation. The first of the two-part presentation taught students about the importance of maintaining a healthy credit score and how banks and other institutions scrutinize potential borrowers’ financial histories.

    Isaac Pollack, Managing Director (pictured), and Derek Lau, Relationship Manager of First Republic Bank, led the seminar and gave students four different case scenarios to determine who would likely receive a loan from the bank to purchase a new home. The case scenarios included credit score, monthly income, monthly housing expenses, other monthly debt, and savings.

    The presentation was spearheaded by Madison Parker, Class of 2019, who brought up the idea at a student panel last year. Madison worked with Parker’s Head of Advancement Shara Freeman Hoefel, along with Isaac, to bring the financial literacy presentation to fruition.

    “A financial literacy class has always been something I thought would be extremely beneficial for the Parker community,” said Madison. “It was great to work with Ms. Hoefel, and Mr. Pollack on the establishment of this course and I hope to continue growing this program in the future.”

    Shara was also eager to help Madison bring this program to Parker students.

    “Through our work in advancement, we have the opportunity to make connections and partnerships with institutions that add great value to our work with students. This was one of those moments,” said Shara. “We’re all about the student experience. Whenever there is an opportunity to advance the student experience through our partnerships we are eager and excited to work with those students to make it happen.”

    The second part of the financial literacy presentation will be held Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 11 am. First Republic Bank will return to teach students about student lending for college and how to create and stick to a budget.
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  • Upper School Violinist Wins 1st in Prestigious VOCE Competition

    Talented violinist and Upper School student Nathan Sariowan, Class of 2020, took first place at the San Diego Branch VOCE Competition on Sunday, Jan. 7. Nathan placed first in the intermediate strings division and is now eligible to compete in the state finals this April.

    VOCE is a distinguished competition for vocalists, strings, winds/brass, and chamber music and invites talented students to perform as soloists and in ensembles at the branch (local) and state level. The competition was created in 1971 by two members of the Music Teachers’ Association of California to provide solo and chamber ensemble opportunities for students. VOCE stands for Vocalists, Orchestral instrumentalists, Chamber groups, and Ensembles.

    In addition to his recent win, Nathan played onstage with The Piano Guys in early December and participated in a masterclass with renowned concertmaster for The Cleveland Orchestra, William Preucil, in November.

    Preucil is a founding member of San Diego’s Mainly Mozart Festival. Each year, members of the festival orchestra teach master classes to the Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra. Nathan is a member of the youth orchestra and learned invaluable lessons from Preuss and Cleveland Orchestra member Sonja Braaten during the three-day masterclass.
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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