LC Graduate Salute 06 2024

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Chronicle JUNE 2024


Bittersweet end to high school; seniors head off to college

Immaculate Heart will graduate 123 young women on Tues., June 4, at 8 p.m. under the stage lights at the Hollywood Bowl. Immaculate Heart is only one of two schools allowed this honor at the Bowl.

Commencement speaker

Lucie Arnaz is no stranger to the stage. The daughter of actors Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, she’s also an alumna of the school — Class of 1969. Sophie Stuecken, a resident of mid-Wilshire, is the student speaker at the ceremony.

Hollywood High School will see 276 students traverse the stage at the Hollywood Bowl for graduation. The ceremony takes place on Mon., June 10, at 5 p.m. The valedictorian and the salutatorian will give speeches.

Larchmont Charter School will see 126 seniors cross the stage on Fri., June 14, at 5:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, 540 N. Commonwealth Ave. Speakers will include the school’s executive director, Amy Held, Principal Mike Kang and the 2024 valedictorian.

An intimate class of 20 students will graduate from The School of Los Angeles (formerly Episcopal School of Los Angeles, ESLA) on Sat., June 1, at 10 a.m. The ceremony will take place on campus. The students nominate one person from their class to speak. This is the school’s eighth graduating class.

Girls Academy of Los Angeles (GALA) will graduate 89 young women Thurs., June 6, at Bovard Auditorium at USC. All four valedictorians will speak, along with the two salutatorians from the class.

A bilingual class of 34 students graduates from Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles on Fri., June 14. The ceremony will take place at the theater on campus. Keynote speaker is Rachel Rossi, director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Access to Justice.

A total of 289 students will graduate from Harvard Westlake on Fri., June 7, at the upper campus. Students will choose a valedictorian and a salutatorian to speak at the ceremony.

Tree Academy is graduating 24 students on Fri., June 7, at 4 p.m. on campus, 8628 Holloway Dr. This group is the first class of founding students to graduate. Founding (Please turn to page 4)

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SENIORS at Immaculate Heart don logos of their future colleges.


CAPS FLY at ceremony for Harvard Westlake students last year.
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LARCHMONT CHARTER seniors enjoyed a picnic in a park during their final year of high school. SIX FOUNDING STUDENTS are among the 24 graduates at Tree Academy.




(Continued from page 2) students started in second grade, the first year the school opened. Speakers will include school co-founder Paul Cummins along with two founding students.

Loyola High School will graduate 298 young men on Sat., June 1, in Hayden Circle on the school campus. Chairman of the Board Robert Foster will offer the students a farewell speech.

BILINGUAL STUDENTS at Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles pose for their senior class picture. HANDFUL of senior sportsmen from Loyola High School on signing day.
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SCHOOL OF LOS ANGELES seniors enjoy In-NOut Burger on their return from their senior retreat. STUDENTS WEARING white (center) graduate with honors from Hollywood High. GALA SENIORS giddy on signing day.
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Graduates elucidate upon their college choices and aspirations

Sifting through pressure and remaining authentic

Ruby Dunsworth has lived in Brookside her whole life, but, as of August, she’ll be moving to Vancouver, British Columbia, to attend Langara College. The Immaculate Heart senior plans to study at Langara for one or two years before transferring to the University of British Columbia’s  (UBC) Vancouver campus.

Dunsworth opened up about the feelings this last year has brought. “It’s been a roller coaster of emotions,” she said. “People are afraid of saying goodbyes and of moving away from each other. But, at the same time, everyone is asking where everyone is going.” The senior told us she felt a lot of pressure from others and from herself. At the beginning of the year, she said she felt like she should apply everywhere — even to schools she might not have had a chance to get into.

Her advice to next year’s seniors is to apply where they want, but not to feel pressured to apply to certain schools

simply because other people are. She encourages people going through the process to really think financially, not just about the school’s name.

Dunsworth told us, “People post on Instagram about schools — where they got in, what they’re going to major and minor in… there’s a lot of social media pressure. It’s kind of like this whole competition thing,” she said. Though Dunsworth’s first choice would’ve been to start at UBC, she’s happy to know that she can transfer to the bigger school easily from Langara. And now that her decision has been made, she

is excited. “I’m an independent person,” she said. “I’m excited to experience something new. There won’t be any uniforms; I’ll be able to eat lunch out… I’ll be living away from home, which is scary and exciting.”

Dunsworth does have family in Vancouver. She has dual citizenship and has visited the city twice yearly since she was a baby, so she feels confident that she will know her way around. Apart from cleaning and cooking skills (“My mom’s an amazing chef!” she said), she told us she feels ready to live on her own. The graduate knows that her natural outgoingness will serve her well. She’ll be calling on her self-confidence to help her meet and talk to new people, which she sees as exciting and scary at the same time.   Dunsworth will be majoring in management at Langera, specifically marketing communications and advertising. “Advertising and promotion are super interesting to me,” she said. She feels that the major suits her interests and her skill sets, but told us that she is open to other avenues that might spark her interest.

Making music and being there for others

Buckley senior Sam Terr of Ridgewood Wilton will be attending the University of Miami in the fall. He’s a huge college football fan and wanted a big city school that had a strong community, school spirit and a nice campus. He said the U of M was the best school he got in to, and he likes that it has a traditional college feel.

Terr had assistance with the application process and is grateful to the outof-school counselors who helped him. Many seniors, he said, look to out-ofschool college counselors to aid them in breaking down which schools to apply to, guide them through the essay writing process and give pointers for the whole application process in general.

During his freshman year, Terr took a music composition production and technology course at Buckley and realized that is what he wanted to do for a career. He started playing the guitar at age 6 and now plays the guitar and produces music using digital audio workstations.

Terr makes house and tech house tracks, remixes songs and puts them on SoundCloud (a platform that empowers independent artists). He’s also in a band he co-founded with two others, called Wednesday in Berlin. “We have to figure out what we’re going to do [while we’re all] at college,” he said. Having done a month-long music production class over last summer at New York University, Terr has had a taste of college life. He also feels that Buckley has prepared him well. “The classes are difficult, and the rigor is (Please turn to page 8)

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Ruby Dunsworth Sam Terr
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there to get students ready for college classes,” he said. But he’s excited that Miami will feel different. He’s told us he’s ready to “start fresh, do it all over and make a group of friends.”

Terr will start at the University of Miami on Aug. 19, and he has hopes to be part of the music program there. Though he feels ready for his new adventure, Terr told us he would like to visit Buckley at some point to see the music teacher. “Mr. Haas really did a full 180 with the music program this year. He changed around the music composition class and the [school] band itself. We did more projects and made our own stuff, which is getting compiled into an album. He even had kids who weren’t in the band come and play.”

Buckley should be easy to visit because Terr said he wants to end up living in Los Angeles because of the ever-changing music scene. But he told us he’s open to travel and would like to see the world. He knows that he can “do music from anywhere these days.”

And what kind of person does he want to be while he’s

out in the world? “I want to be somebody who is kind and who can offer a helping hand and be there for anybody.”

Open-minded, artsy and ready to keep learning

Lulu Grieco of Campbell Hall told us that the past year has been stressful, but she realizes that most seniors applying to colleges will say the same thing. The Windsor Square resident and daughter of Nyakio and David Grieco told us that she’s always been very interested in art and has found Campbell Hall’s arts department to be amazing. Grieco participates in visual arts and dance at the school and, although she decided not to apply to any arts colleges, she wanted to include a portfolio of her work with her school applications.  She applied to 22 schools, so getting together the portfolio on top of making sure all the essays and regular submission materials got finished was quite a task. “I’d never had to write in the way that I wrote for the applications,” she said. Trying to “sell your whole being” was a bit of an adjustment, she told us. Fortunately, Grieco knew what she was looking for in

the schools to which she was applying. She had researched them and told us Campbell Hall’s school counselors helped a lot. “We got paired with a college counselor and met one-on-one before the application process started,” she told us. Grieco was a little indecisive at first because she didn’t know what she wanted to do — she still isn’t sure of her desired career path — but she has always been very active in extracurricular activities and remains passionate about many of the ones with which she’s been involved. Grieco has always been interested in psychology — specifically children’s developmental psychology and

forensic psychology — and she knew that she wanted to be on the East Coast. “I want to experience weather at least once in my life,” she said. The senior has visited the East Coast often with her mother and loves that it’s so easy to get around, and she loves the people there.

Her top three school choices were Brown University, University of Michigan and Wesleyan University. Ultimately, she chose to attend Brown. Grieco had done a juvenile forensics psychology and law class at the school for two weeks over the summer, and she has now visited the school three times. Brown’s open curriculum and the fact that students are not required to declare their majors until their sophomore year sold her. “I’m interested in so many things.

“The school’s curriculum is designed to make you not feel trapped. It fosters a community of people who have a variety of interests and are open-minded. You are around people who have so many different opinions and ideas. I love that. It creates more empathy,” she said. Her university is also right next door to Rhode Island School of Design, and Brown students can take classes at the art school

free of charge.

“I feel like one of my biggest things is that I never want to stop learning,” said Grieco. After university, she told us, she wants to go out into the world and constantly be taking in new information. She also wants to find a way to incorporate art into whatever she does. “I want to be a creative adult. Being in a cubicle is nightmare fuel for me,” she said.

When asked if she has any advice to give to next year’s seniors, Grieco said, “Start everything as soon as possible, set milestones for yourself and celebrate yourself for each step. Be proud — you’ll make it through.”

Grateful and ready to pay it forward

Aidan Turrill, the youngest of three brothers who live in Windsor Square with their parents,  Dounia and Michael, has attended Loyola High School for the past four years. “I’ve loved Loyola. There’s no place I’d rather have gone,” he said. Turrill told us that the brotherhood at the school is amazing and, as it turns out, many of the opportunities he’s had over his years there have shaped his future goals.

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Lulu Grieco
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Turrill is the community service leader for the Kino Teens Immigration Club at Loyola. He became part of the club during his sophomore year. It is named after a shelter in Nogales, Arizona (on the Arizona / Mexico border) for people seeking asylum. The club meets once a week to discuss laws that have been passed and how the U.S. is working to help immigrants.

Through the club, Turrill visited the shelter and the border, spending a week preparing meals for, speaking with and listening to migrants. “You can’t see what I saw and forget about it,” he said. On his

college applications, he made it clear that he wanted to be involved with equity and inclusion work at the schools to which he was applying and

Robotics, coding at Fairfax Fest

Math puzzles, coding challenges, art and design showcases and robotics competitions were among highlights on May 18 at Fairfax High School STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Fest.

Live performances, student-led activities, prizes and food trucks also were featured on the Melrose Avenue campus. The first annual event was designed to foster crit-


wanted to continue advocating for immigrant rights.

The senior told us he had a great support system throughout the whole college application process. His parents and brothers gave him a lot of input. His middle brother, Luke, attends Loyola Marymount University in Westchester and really wanted his younger sibling to join him there. “I got deferred and then waitlisted for LMU. I was disappointed, but now I think it’s a good thing,” he said.

Turrill told us that he had set his expectations low for the whole application process. “I knew that, wherever I went, I was going to be happy. Whenever you talk to anyone about where they went, they have good things to say,” he said. So, he didn’t let the rejection get to him too much. The fact that he was accepted by a number of schools already helped, and Turrill said that hearing friends talk about where they’d been accepted and rejected made him realize it was all just part of life.

Turrill applied to Penn State as a bit of an afterthought. But the tour he was given by Penn students sold him on the school. “The kids spoke so highly of Penn State. It was almost reminiscent of how

Loyola High School students talk about Loyola,” he said. He also learned that attendees had multiple internships throughout their time at the school. Apparently, the head of the communications school constantly sends emails letting people know about internships and job opportunities. Turrill found this to be very appealing. He was accepted to the school of communications under a film production major, but he says that he wants to switch when he gets to Penn. “I want to major in telecommunications and media management, with a minor in film production, because I think that’s broader and gives me more opportuni-

ty,” he told us.

When asked what he wants to do after college and what kind of a person he wants to be in the world, Turrill said, “I want to be someone who contributes. I am so grateful for the life I have and am grateful to be alive right now.”

The graduate’s goal is to repay everything that he’s been granted — whether it’s by being kind to others or advocating for immigrant rights.

“I want to chip away at repaying what I’ve been given,” he said. “Hopefully, one day I’ll be in a position where I have creative freedom over a film or television series. I’d like to do something with the stories of the people in Nogales.”

Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles

American International University

American University

American University of Paris (FR)

Boston University

Brandeis University

Cal Poly Pomona

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

California State University, Fullerton

California State University, Long Beach

California State University, Los Angeles

California State University, Northridge

Cardiff University (UK)

Chapman University

Clark University

Colby College

Colorado State University

Columbia University

Cornell University

Coventry University (UK)

Dartmouth College

Emerson College

Fordham University

George Washington University

Harvey Mudd College

Hiram College

Instituto de Empresa-IE University (SP)

Indiana University, Bloomington

Kenyon College

King’s College London (UK)

Kingston University (UK)

Lehigh University

Lewis & Clark College

Louisiana State University

Loyola Marymount University

Metropolitan State College of Denver

McGill University (CAN)

New York University

Northeastern University

Norwich University

Oregon State University

Otis College of Art and Design

Pace University

Parsons Paris (FR)

Pennsylvania State University

Pepperdine University

Pomona College

Regent's University London (UK)

Sacramento State University

San Diego State University

San Francisco State University

Santa Monica College

Texas Christian University

University of Arizona

University of the Arts London (UK)

University of Bath (UK)

University of Bristol (UK)

University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley-Sc/Po

University of California, Davis

University of California, Irvine

University of California, Los Angeles

University of California, Merced

University of California, Riverside

University of California, San Diego

University of California, Santa Barbara

University of California, Santa Cruz

University of Colorado, Boulder

University of Denver

University of Edinburgh (UK)

University of Florida

University of Hawaii, Manoa

University of Houston

University of Liverpool (UK)

University of Manchester (UK)

University of Maryland

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

University of Miami

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

University of Montreal (CAN)

University of Oregon

University of Pittsburgh

University of Richmond

University of Rochester

University of Southern California

University of St. Andrew’s (UK)

University of Surrey (UK)

University of Tampa

University of Virginia

University of Warwick (UK)

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin Madison

Vassar College

Washington State University

Wesleyan University

We Teach the World. Celebrating 60 years of Excellence in Education.
University Acceptances - Class of 2024 Congratulations Seniors! Congratulations , K a yl a! So proud of you! Looking forward to your future journeys! Love & Hugs — Mom, Dad & Ella G R A D U A T E 2 0 2 4 So proud of you! Looking forward to your future journeys! Love & Hugs — Mom, Dad & Ella
Aidan Turrill ical thinking, curiosity collaboration among students of all ages, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District told us. ATTENDEES at STEAM Fest.


Epstein Scholars are bound for glory and for the moon

Fairfax High School graduate Tabassum Zaman has always been fascinated with the moon and astronomy and hopes to one day build drones and satellites to contribute to the space industry and to even travel to space. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at Purdue University, followed by a master’s degree and Ph.D. in materials science.

She is among the 2024 recipients of the George and Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarship awards.

Three Fairfax High graduates and two Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA) grads were awarded $3,000 each toward their tuition. Another five students received book awards valued between $1,000 and $2,000.

The recipients were selected by the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE). Education chairman of the Los Angeles Chapter of SAMPE, Dr. Howard Katzman, senior scientist at The Aerospace Corporation, announced the recipients’

names at a dinner on May 14.

The Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarship program was founded in 1996 in honor of the late Irene Epstein to assist financially needy, academically deserving students to study engineering, science, mathematics or medicine. In 2022, with the passing of Irene’s husband George (the Larchmont Chronicle’s former poker columnist), SAMPE voted to change the name of the scholarship to the George and Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarship.


There are two additional scholarship winners from Fairfax High School.

Scholarship honoree Romello McRae is heading to Dartmouth University, where he will major in physics and economics. He is interested in neurological electromagnetic effects, and he hopes to become a physicist utilizing electromagnetism. The triathlete is passionate about basketball, football and track. Science has been Fernando Cedillo’s passion from an early age. He is UCLA-bound and will major in biology with hopes of becoming a physician. He served as president of the Culinary Arts Club, and

he was a member of the Government Relations Student Advisory Council.

The following three Fairfax graduates will receive Book Awards:

Antonio Garcia plans to major in biology at UC Santa Barbara and become a doctor, a nurse or an intensive care worker. He attends Fairfax High’s Police Academy Magnet.

Following her passion for healthcare, Emily Choi will attend the pre-nursing program at Cal State Los Angeles with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. She has

completed an internship at Cedars-Sinai and worked at Cedars’ Anesthesia Pre-Evaluation Center.

Jacqueline Santa Ana plans to attend Los Angeles Community College, where she will study nursing. She is passionate about animation, drawing and reading. She has sung in her church choir for many years and served as youth group president. She has also participated in many sports.


Jackson Gastelo will attend UC Berkeley, UC Davis or the University of Washington, where she will major in nu-

trition and food science. She plans to become a dietician, as well as providing dietetic counseling to young girls with eating disorders.

Ye “Joy” Gao will attend UCLA or Amherst College, where she will major in applied math, economics and music. She plans a career in business / finance, and she is passionate about music. The violinist has played with many orchestras, including at the Hollywood Bowl.

The following two GALA students will receive book awards:

Victoria Vargas plans to attend Case Western Reserve University, San Diego State University or Cal State Long Beach with a major in nursing. She hopes to become a registered nurse or a certified registered nurse anesthetist. She has received the AP Scholar Award and the National Hispanic Recognition Award. Brooklynn Luckett plans to attend Cal State Northridge and major in computer science. After college, she hopes to own her own business to assist individuals in navigating technology. She volunteers as a library ambassador at the public library.

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SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS are from left to right: Jackson Gastelo, Romello McRae, Tabassum Zaman, Fernando Cedillo and Ye “Joy” Gao.


Early Bird registration is underway for AYSO fall soccer season

AYSO Wilshire is set to being playing ball in the fall on Sat., Sept. 7. Games will take place mostly on the fields at Fairfax High School.

Early Bird Registration is open now and continues through Sun., June 16.

This is the 48th year of AYSO Region 78 Hollywood-Wilshire region soccer.

“We’ve been the local soccer league since 1976 with lots of Larchmont kids and also surrounding communities: Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire, Miracle Mile, Hollywood,” Regional Commissioner Kurt

Muller told us in an email.

AYSO is an all-volunteer, mostly parent-run, league that includes coaches, referees and administration.

Winter and spring teams

At the conclusion of the season, several tournament teams play through winter and spring in various Southern California tournaments. Region 78’s spring league members wear lime green colors, and “Hollywood” is written on the fronts of their jerseys.

“We also have run our Spring Academy for players age 4-12. This weekly training session that we hold on Saturdays was led by the coach team from Coerver Coaching. Brett Vor-

ster from Coerver is a Cal State Northridge alum and brought on mostly current CSUN soccer team players to lead each session,” Muller told us.

To register for the fall season, visit

Fairfax centennial will tee off with golf tournament July 22

To kick off its school’s centennial celebration, Fairfax High School’s Alumni Association will hold a golf tournament Mon., July 22, at the Calabasas Country Club.

Registration will begin

at 8 a.m., and the shotgun start (all players beginning simultaneously, but from different tees) will take place at 10 a.m. Light refreshments will be served in the morning, and an awards buffet will take place after the tournament.

The Inaugural Alumni Golf Tournament will be played in a scramble format and will feature contests for such things as the longest drive and the closest to the pin.

Early-bird sign-ups are open through June 1, at $700 for a foursome and $185 for a

single player. Those who sign up between June 2 and 30 will pay $750 for a foursome and $200 for a single player. From July 1 to July 20, a foursome will pay $825, and a single player will pay $220.

For more information, visit

AREA SOCCER TEAM won second place at the Long Beach Classic in February.
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AYSO PLAYERS with their moms on Mothers Day weekend, 2024. Assistant Coach Amy Reitsma-Cho is third “mom” from the right (in white cap). Her son is sitting on the fence behind her.


Balancing work and summer vacation without relying on screens

Summer vacation is almost here, and for many families, that means everyone will be home together for more time each day. Many parents now have jobs that allow them to work from home at least part of the time. And unless they have the resources to sign their children up for multiple summer camps, “bring your kid to work day” ends up being an everyday occurrence during the off-school months.

Although children of past eras had the freedom to roam the neighborhood and play outside until dinnertime, most would agree that option is not as feasible in this place and time. So, how can parents retain the ability to get things done while ensuring their children have a summer that consists of more than screen surfing?


One idea is to let a child know that she is welcome to an hour of screen time on most at-home summer days, as long as other things have first been done. For elementary-aged kids, checklists can be

useful. Some items on the list could include brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast (preparing it and dealing with their own dishes included), reading, throwing the ball for the dog, playing with a younger sibling and doing something creative.


Another idea is to set up stations. I used this technique when my daughter was young. She wanted to be with me as I moved from room to room. The stations — in essence, little areas in various rooms stocked with a certain thing she enjoyed doing on her own — enabled me to focus on my tasks while she was focused elsewhere.

For young children, a PlayDoh station in the kitchen is great. I had a cupboard in which I stored Play-Doh, a cookie sheet, plastic cookie cutters and other Play-Doh tools. In the living room, I had little wheeled wooden toys set up on the window sill. There was also an area with toy cars and a homemade miniature wooden slide to roll the cars down. These were simple setups that allow each of us to do

Tips on Parenting by

our own thing.

For elementary-aged children, consider having a crafting area during the summer (or all year). Setting up the corner of a room with a table, chair and small storage cart filled with supplies can bring hours of play. Materials don’t have to be expensive. The area can be stocked with pens, scissors, glue sticks, washable paints, construction paper, old magazines, pipe cleaners, old cardboard boxes, felt, sewing materials — you can even have a drawer for things found in nature (pinecones, sticks, dried moss).

For children old enough to follow written directions, your young chef can make fruit popsicles, lemonade, chocolate chip cookies, Jell-o jigglers, banana bread and more.  Place the recipes on a magnetic clip on the fridge

where it’s seen often. You can even include some easy dinner recipes…

Many children love Legos, Magna-Tiles and Lincoln Logs. A friend of mine had a Lego station in her family room, and it was a big hit. She also made a point of going to the library every week with her children, and she set up a special area to house the books they’d chosen for the week.

Outdoor play in the yard

For those with outdoor space at home, there are a lot of awesome options.  Sidewalk chalk can be kept outside for concrete-inspired art.  Paintbrushes and a container for water can be used for “water painting.” It’s not lasting art, but it’s fascinating to watch the colorful creations slowly evaporate.

Setting up a miniature car wash or doll bathing station can be a good once-in-a-while activity. All you need is a bin of toy cars or a few dolls / figurines, nature-friendly soap, sponges or scrubbers, towels, a dishwashing bin full of water and another plastic pitcher filled with rinsing water to let

the washing begin.

If you have dirt or garden space, perhaps your child can choose what he wants to plant in a certain area. Some children enjoy creating fairy gardens with stones, little popsicle stick houses and some figurines.

Potential of dirt

My 10-year-old can spend hours finding, observing and playing with bugs. Children who share this interest use a spoon or digger to make little bug homes in the dirt or in temporary outdoor containers. Bug and snail races are another great pastime. Dirt has a lot of potential. Obviously, getting children to move around outside is always a plus. Inexpensive items to keep in sight (tempting children to get moving) are jump ropes, hula hoops, homemade balance beams and balls. But roller skates and bikes are fantastic if you have the space.

And, of course, when your work is done, Los Angeles has tons of awesome hikes, parks, museums, gardens and beaches to go out and explore as a family.

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Without cell phones, social connections thrive at Pilgrim School

As the school year comes to a close, the Larchmont Chronicle checked in with Patricia Kong, head of Pilgrim School, to see how her bold “no cell phones” policy changed the 2023-24 year for students and teachers at the 66-year-old private school located on the campus of First Congregational Church at Commonwealth Avenue and Sixth Street. The Chronicle’s initial story about the policy for Pilgrim’s 6th to 12th grade students ran in our September 2023 issue.

Like many teachers and school leaders around the country, Kong had noticed drastic changes in how students with cell phones interacted with one another during the school day.

On his tour of colleges, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, said students came up to him and said, “We don’t have a culture anymore of speaking to each other.” Kong knew that removing cell phones from the school environment was necessary, but she believed there would be resistance.

At Pilgrim, although a few students thanked her for making the change when it was

announced in May of 2023, a majority of students were not happy about the decision when it was implemented. Through Yondr, a company that aims to “carve out places where real connection, focus and creativity can flourish,” Pilgrim purchased a $25 pouch for each of the 200 students at the school. Every morning, teachers check to ensure students have locked their phones in the pouch. They remain inaccessible, though in the child’s possession, from 9 a.m. until 3:40 p.m., when children can unlock their pouches by tapping them on a special unit before leaving school.

A key part of the process was

making sure all teachers were checking to make sure phones were in the pouches, Kong told us. At first, some students would resist or say they hadn’t brought their phones. One student had brought an extra “fake” phone to put in the pouch. “I’m telling you, they try everything and anything until it becomes the norm. Now kids will tell me they don’t think about it anymore because they know they’re not allowed to use the phone,” Kong said.

So what changes has Kong seen? Last year, no one was talking to each other. “It was quiet in the hallways and at lunch.” During their free periods, students would sit

silently on the hallway floor with their heads in their phones. This year, without access to their phones, the resumption of talking — in line while waiting for food, eating in the cafeteria, and during breaks and play time — took a few weeks because everyone was used to sitting with cell phones in hand.

“Now, it’s so loud!” and Kong has to remind students to walk in the hallways because they are chasing each other, playing tag and talking to each other. “In the beginning it was weird to see 6-foot-tall middle schoolers running around. Even I had become accustomed to people that big not playing.”

At first it seemed the students’ bodies didn’t know what to do, but then, “naturally and organically — because of curiosity and boredom — they’d go, ‘OK, let’s figure out what game we’re going to play,’” she said. Simple social stuff came back.

The younger students now invent different games or come to Kong’s office asking for more pens or paper. At first, some students needed help coming up with a plan for figuring out where and when to meet up. They had been relying on texting to make these plans. Without that tool, students had trouble knowing how to find each other.

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ZAIN IJAZ shows off his pouch while in the school library. JOSEPH LIM stands outside with his pouch.
14 GRADUATE EDITION JUNE 2024 Larchmont Chronicle
HANGING OUT on the field are (left to right) Hank Reberger, Dante Vinson, Noah Polikowski, Charlie Armstrong, Lucas Putman and Felix Cordero.


Nurse receives $10,000 in Simms/Mann ‘Off the Chart’ program

Jai Chung relocated from Korea in 2009 to follow her dream and become a nurse practitioner (NP). The profession was not an option in her home country at the time.

Chung is among 40 nurses who received $10,000 each in May in recognition of their skills, warmth and expertise from the Simms/Mann Family Foundation’s “Off the Chart: Rewarding Nursing Greatness” campaign.

Chung, a St. Andrews Square resident, is a supervisor NP in cardiology at USC Care Medical Group, part of

Cell phones

(Continued from page 14)

Now, high schoolers hang out on the field or in the cafeteria to talk or work together. Both the gym and the field are busy during flex period with boys and girls playing soccer, basketball and volleyball. Older students who don’t want to hang out with friends make appointments to see teachers to talk about work, projects or activities.

Kong even sees the policy making a difference outside of school. “I think they are

Keck Medicine of USC.

She was a recent nursing grad in Korea when she met an NP from the United States.

The meeting inspired her to pursue the profession; NPs do many of the duties often performed by physicians, such as prescribe treatments, order tests and diagnose patients.

Besides caring for cardiac patients, she mentors nurses, here and in Korea.

“It’s not easy to move to another country to follow your dreams and then take on a complex leadership role to uplift other nurses, all in the service of better patient care,

now hanging out more outside of school. Some kids still play online,” but in-person meet-ups and sleepovers are coming back, she said.

Kong knows schools can’t control what goes on at home, but she believes more parameters need to be set. She and many others around the country are aware of the correlation between social media and cell phones and anxiety, depression and loneliness.

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, director of Oxford University’s Wellbeing Research Centre, who has been assessing the fig-

but that is exactly what Jai has done,” according to her bio on the Simms/Mann Off the Chart website.

ures for the recently released World Happiness Report, has noted significant declines in happiness in areas of the world where social media and cellphone usage is highest. His advice to parents and to young people is to work to reestablish a culture of actual in-person connection, as well-being science shows this to be a huge component of overall wellness.

Though Pilgrim is the first independent school in Los Angeles to implement usage of Yondr pouches, schools in the area have heard about Kong’s new policy and have reached

“Like many excellent nurses, Jai is often the first one to notice a problem and make a plan to address it: She saw that more and more patients required cardiac care, without additional MDs to provide it. So she worked within her institution to allow advanced practice providers to see cardiac clinic patients independently.”

Chung was awarded the nostrings-attached monetary reward the second year of the Simms/Mann campaign, which was announced during National Nurses Week. The campaign sheds light on a growing nursing crisis as nurses are exiting

out, interested in adopting similar policies. “It takes a lot of courage,” Kong said. Teenagers hate it at first, but she believes they ultimately want and need it.  She truly believes parents need to demand this of their schools, and the idea does seem to be catching on. According to Yondr’s website, one million students in 21 countries are now using their products.

Kong says that she has thought a lot about whether the pouches could be used in all LAUSD schools. She believes it would come down to a consistent effort from adults.

the profession in alarming numbers and many feel undervalued, according to the Beverly Hills-based Simms/ Mann Family Foundation.

“Nursing shortages lead to delays in routine screenings, diagnosis, and treatment; increased healthcare costs; and unmanageable nurse workloads. Yet a recent report from the American Nurses Foundation found that only one penny of every dollar of healthcare philanthropy is directed to the nursing profession,” Victoria Mann Simms, president of the Simms/Mann Family Foundation, said in a statement.

“The choice might come down to fighting about putting the cell phone in the pouch or teaching. And, though Yondr isn’t expensive — breaking down to $25 per year for each student — there are a lot of students in LAUSD.”

Would Kong herself take the leap again? “Yes. Absolutely I would do it again,” she said. “It is a gift to the kids. A gift of time; a gift of being together.”  To talk with Kong further about the program, email her at pkong@pilgrim-school. org. To learn more about Yondr, visit

Larchmont Chronicle JUNE 2024 GRADUATE EDITION 15




Finishing my last year at Immaculate Heart feels extremely bittersweet. The campus has been my second home for the past seven years. My closest friends and proudest accomplishments have all been made here.

All my best qualities I developed at this school. My time on the mock trial team during middle school fostered in me my ability to speak in front of a crowd and sparked my interest in law. Finishing third in Los Angeles County as a 12-year-old proved to me that I can achieve great things with the support of an amazing community.

This feeling of togetherness was furthered in the high school during my time as a member of the Debate team. I competed in my last tournament in April, but have continued to spend time practicing with the team by prepping the novice members for next year. While I look forward to my graduation at the Hollywood Bowl on June 4, I know I will miss Immaculate Heart deeply, and I am so grateful for all the school has given me.

Well, this is it! My 8th Grade class members and I, will be graduating from Page Academy on June 12! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Page Academy and will always hold in my heart my wonderful teachers and all of the friends I have made.

During Teacher Appreciation Week in May, I could not help thinking about how I would soon miss all of my amazing teachers. I also participated in my last Page Spring Show, “A Night At the Disco.” My classmates gave amazing performances in front of an enthusiastic audience of family, friends and faculty! The show was followed by a special Mother’s Day barbeque. The highlight of Spirit Week was the field trip to the California Science Center.

The junior kindergarten and kindergarten graduation and awards ceremony will be held on June 11 and the 1st to 8th grade graduation and awards ceremony will be held on June 12. With that, our school year will officially come to an end. Page Summer Camp will start on June 17. I want to thank all of you for

following my column these last two years. It has been my pleasure sharing with all of you Page Academy’s events. I hope you all have a fantastic summer!



Even though June is the last school month of the school year, there are so many more fun and exciting activities for everyone to enjoy. Some of these amazing activities are the mini-carnival (which has already happened and everyone enjoyed,) the 8th grade graduation and our exciting 8th grade field trips to the beach and Six Flags.

Along with the school year coming to a close, all sports have now ended. Everyone who participated in a sport can now hang up their cleats and celebrate their amazing accomplishments. The 8th grade graduation ceremony will happen on June 7th at the St. Brendan Church. The kindergarten graduation will also be celebrated in June. The 8th grade class is excited to enter the next stages of their lives, but they will always remember the experiences they had at St. Brendan School.

The school year is coming to an end, and the month of May has been a busy and eventful one for CKS students. The 8th grade class went on a retreat to Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre. All students participated in the annual May Procession on May 11. The 2nd graders had their First Reconciliation and their First Holy Communion on May 18.

Many CTK students enjoyed local theme parks recently. Members of the school’s Academic Decathlon team enjoyed an outing to Universal Studios to celebrate their success at this year’s regional competition. Our Pueri Cantores school choir performed on the stage at Disney California Adventure Park and spent the rest of the day having fun in the park. The 8th grade class went on a day trip to Disneyland to celebrate their graduation.

At the end of the month, the newly elected student council members for the 2024-2025

school year will have an inauguration ceremony. To celebrate the end of the school year, our TK, kindergarteners and 1st graders went to the LA Zoo. The drama students are practicing regularly for the upcoming production of “The Lion King.” All the students are looking forward to seeing this great musical.


School is wrapping up, but the celebrations sure aren’t! Graduation festivities are starting, including the 8th-grade grad night at Universal Studios! Grade 4 students are excited too, because the “Stepping Up” ceremony takes place soon. This ceremony is a Larchmont tradition during which students get a personalized sash made by their 3rd-grade friends before moving up to 5th grade at the Larchmont Selma campus. Enrichments are also wrapping up, and “Suessical the Musical” participants will be performing on May 30 and 31. Summer is around the corner, so who couldn’t be excited? Happy early summer and thanks for reading!

16 GRADUATE EDITION JUNE 2024 Larchmont Chronicle


Pilgrim School had an amazing school year filled with so many successes and much progress.


The year-end celebrations are always so exciting and fun-filled. There is a lot of joy and pride.

The middle and high school bands performed at the Whisky A Go Go for their spring concert. We had a steamroller create prints for Arts Fest and students’ K-12 artwork was represented. The early education through high school Dance Show was a hit and it is always so much fun.

Our Film Festival will be at the Chinese Theater this year and we couldn’t be more thrilled! There will also soon be a sports banquet highlighting our athletes and championships. And, our Community Movie Night is coming up on June 2. Movie Night helps fundraise for our financial aid program.

The middle school dance and high school prom are right around the corner. The class of 2024 will be matriculating to colleges throughout the country — from UCLA to Johns Hopkins, Boulder and more.

AP tests are coming to an end and everyone is looking forward to our commencement, 8th, 5th and JK promotions. There are so many things to be proud of at Pilgrim! Go Panthers!


During this final stretch of the school year, there’s a lot going on at St. James’. Teacher

Appreciation Week was celebrated. Spring Family Evening and Night of the Arts also took place. These two amazing events showcased students’ work from throughout the year and highlighted their creative, musical and artistic talents.

The 6th Grade’s annual field study to Washington, D.C., which offered enriching experiences and historical insights, took place at the end of May.

Looking ahead, June heralds significant milestones, with graduation set for June 13. The amazing 6th grade graduates will be honored for their time

at St. James’ and for their many achievements. The school year wraps up on June 14th, marking the last day of school, and ushering in a well-deserved summer break filled with memories and anticipation for the future.


and having fun!  Commencement took place, celebrating all the accomplishments the graduating class of 2024 accomplished. The Class received many college acceptance letters and scholarships and has committed to exceptional schools. We are so happy for all of you seniors!


Ms. Cha, Ms. Patricia and of course Principal Lee for believing in all of us and giving us amazing support and guidance. Panther pride forever!


New Covenant Academy held its annual senior chapel, senior breakfast and senior sunset and had its grad bash at Universal Studios! The seniors were able to make memories together for the last time before saying goodbye to the school community and sharing advice with the underclassmen.

Our annual International Day took place with each elementary grade representing a different country. There were performances and delicious food and they had a great time! Elementary students also held a market day, selling food and crafts. As a reward, they had more fun by going to Universal Studios!

The 5th-grade class went on a graduation trip to Palm Springs for three days, exploring the city


Nicholas Amaya

Libny Argueta

Hannah Bang

Gizelle Barrios

Cruz Camacho

Andrea Carstens

Fabiano Chavez

Saron Destahun

Owen Dominguez

Miles Fish

Daniel Gonzalez

Joshua Ibediro

Cristy Lee

Jason Lee

Esteban Lozano

Michael Medina

Mia Murrieta

Kelvin Patel

Sebastian Rezapour

Israel Serafin

Gisela Sevilla

Rene Tejada

Rio Villavicencio

Jane Yoon

Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto

Greetings readers! We are ending this school year with a lot of exciting events. Last month, students raised $120,000 during our annual Walk-a-Thon, which funds extracurricular activities and special enrichment classes for every grade.

Coming up, we’ve got “Third Street’s Got Talent,” a fun event for the whole community where students can show off their skills. We 5th graders are especially excited for the dance in a couple of weeks to celebrate our graduation.

While we’re excited for summer and our next adventures in middle school, I know we’ll all miss Third Street and our incredible staff and teachers.

Special shout-outs to Ms. Choi,

As the end of the school year nears, my 8th-grade class is getting ready to graduate. To prepare we wrote personal poems, which we will read at our graduation ceremony, finalized the yearbook and started saying goodbye to our younger buddies.   Even though it’s sad to say goodbye, we are all excited for the next step in our educational journeys. We have been savoring the moments we have left together. One way we said goodbye to our younger buddies was by attending the kindergarten and Grade One annual “Poetry in the Park” celebrations. This is an event where our young buddies share poems they have written with their parents and the community. It was fun to see the performance and remember when I read my poems 9 years ago. It is hard to believe I will be standing on stage sharing my final Turning Point poem this month.

Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2024!
Our Graduates will attend the following
Cathedral (7) Providence (4) Loyola (4) Immaculate Heart (2) Palisades High Walnut High Bishop Alemany Pomona Catholic Larchmont Charter (2)



Well, this is it. My last Larchmont Chronicle article. A lot has happened! We went to Astro Camp, an astronomy-themed sleepaway camp that the whole 6th grade got to go to. It was a great experience that I’ll definitely remember. Some of my favorite parts were launching bottle rockets (mine was “The Eldritch Horror’’) and crawling through a pitch-black labyrinth called Long Division.

Coming up soon is our school movie night, where we get to watch “Minions” outside on the yard with the entire school. And soon after that, it’ll be Ditch Day, where every 6th-grader gets to skip school and go on a surprise trip. No one knows where it will be — the teachers haven’t told us anything! But from the stories I’ve heard from former 6th graders, it sounds pretty cool.

And last but not least, it’s almost summer! Which means, for me, a new school. I would say I’m nervous, but that’s an understatement for how absolutely terrified I am to leave the

past 9 1/2 years of my life behind. That said it’s also really exciting. And that’s it — the official last paragraph of my last article in the Larchmont Chronicle. Waving farewell!


glory of the CEE end-of-year party.  There are blow-up obstacle courses, sports-style games, food and more! Each grade has a select time to have fun and good times throughout the day, and parent volunteers run the games for kids and teachers. Not only are there fun games, there are even more fun prizes to win!

when my graduating class goes to Step Up for the last time, I’ll sing along with the younger kids and remember a time when I was on the stage looking out at the teachers and older kids and welcoming the next grade into a class I knew they’d love.


As a 5th grader leaving Melrose, I’m so sad to leave but I am happy to start a new chapter of my life at middle school. This has been such a good school and I hope the current 4th graders enjoy 5th grade as much as I did.


When the school year comes to an end at CEE, the fun is just beginning! Our Head of School, Damian Jones, reflected on the end of the year.

“My second year has been exceptional. I’ve enjoyed meeting with students, and overall, it’s been an exceptional year.”

At The Center, we mark the end of the year with many different celebrations. One event that everyone looks forward to is the CEE carnival, which is held during the last week of school. Kids from all grades love the carnival because they get to play around, have a good time with friends and make new ones!

Some kids have never experienced the most fun time at CEE due to COVID-19 or being new to the school, but thankfully, they will now get to know the


Goodbye to the 5th graders!

The last month of the year is always met with mixed reactions. It’s bittersweet since you’re moving onto a new year, however, that sadness is combined with excitement for the next year.

At The Willows we have Step Up, which makes this experience fun and joyful instead of sad. During graduation, each grade sings a song to the rising grade to welcome them, since it’s the next grade’s turn to “Step Up” to the next year — kindergarten to 1st, 1st to 2nd and so on. By the time you’re an 8th grader you pretty much know every song from every grade level, and it becomes a time as a community that we all connect.

So, this year at graduation,

On June 11, the 5th graders will be graduating from Melrose — on a Tuesday.  Weird, right?

Some middle schools that kids got into are LACES, GALA, John Burroughs and King. The 5th graders will be playing in the staff-versus-students kickball game on community day. We will play against all the teachers, aids, front desk workers and the plant manager too.   Community day is when each grade shares their Cardboard Challenge engineering projects and has an international potluck.

The 5th grade has a field trip coming up. We are going to have a beach picnic on the last day of May. Disneyland is the destination for 4th graders as a part of their Imagineering STEAM projects.

Enjoy the sounds of summer at two free music series underway at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd.

Jazz plays on Fridays beginning at 6 p.m. on the Smidt Welcome Plaza. The 33rd annual program kicked off in May. Coming up, Sweet Baby J’Ai plays May 31, the Teodross Avery Quartet performs June 7 and Larry Nash & the Jazz Symphonics play on June 14.

The Latin Sounds program features Central and South American Indigenous and modern music from Argentina, Cuba, Mexico and Los Angeles. The concerts start on Saturdays at 5 p.m. at the Dorothy Collins Brown Am-

Back at The Buckley School… Congratulations to the graduating class of 2024! They have worked hard to meet deadlines and anxiously waited for acceptances — mission accomplished — and it is a class to celebrate.

The juniors are now working hard to fill the spot that the graduating class has left, building memories and setting their sights on a great senior year.   Confusion and frustration are still prevalent surrounding the beloved library. This will be an ongoing process as the students are passionate in their pursuit of maintaining a common fixture of school — a library.

To the seniors, you will be missed and we wish you success in all you do. We hope everyone has a wonderful summer!

Live jazz, Latin music at LACMA

phitheater on the Sixth Street side of the LACMA campus. The program celebrates the LACMA exhibition “Painting in the River of Angels: Judy Baca and The Great Wall,” on view until July 21. Visitors can enjoy open seating and picnicking on the grounds for both programs. Food and beverage are available. Admission to the museum buildings is free to Los Angeles County residents with valid IDs weekdays after 3 p.m. For Los Angeles County youth 17 and under admission is free at all times. The jazz series continues through October. Latin Sounds ends in September. The buildings are open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and are closed on Wednesdays. For more information visit

18 GRADUATE EDITION JUNE 2024 Larchmont Chronicle
Call Pam Rudy to reserve your space by Monday, August 12 323-462-2241 x 11 ©LC0624 Back to School Edition Publishes Thursday, August 29
Larchmont Chronicle JUNE 2024 GRADUATE EDITION 19

We are incredibly proud of our Class of 2024 graduates, who have been admitted to more than 130 colleges and universities both nationally and internationally.

Below is a sampling of the institutions to which they were accepted.

American University

Arizona State University

Bard College

Boston College

Boston University

Bryn Mawr College

Bucknell University

California State University, Long Beach

Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo

Chapman University

Claremont McKenna College

Colorado College

Davidson College

DePaul University

Drexel University

Elon University

Emerson College

Fordham University

George Washington University

Georgetown University

Goldsmiths, University of London

Gonzaga University

Haverford College

Indiana University

Johns Hopkins UniversityLoyola

Marymount University

Macquarie University

Marquette University

McGill University

New York University

North Dakota State University

Northeastern University

Parsons School of Design

Penn State University

Pepperdine University

Purdue University

San Diego State University

Santa Clara University

Sarah Lawrence College

Scripps College

Southern Methodist University

Syracuse University

Texas Christian University

The University of Edinburgh

The University of Texas at Austin

Trinity College

Tufts University

Tulane University

United States Naval Academy '29

University of Arizona

University of British Columbia

University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Irvine

University of California, Los Angeles

University of California, San Diego

University of California, Santa Barbara

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Miami

University of Michigan

University of Notre Dame

University of Oregon

University of Portland

University of Richmond

University of Rochester

University of San Diego

University of San Francisco

University of Southern California

University of St Andrews

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Vassar College

Villanova University

Wake Forest University

Wellesley College

For more information on this outstanding group of young women, scan the QR Code:

20 GRADUATE EDITION JUNE 2024 Larchmont Chronicle

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