« 2018


  • March

    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
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More
  • 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