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the st. mary ’s story Mission Statement St. Mary’s is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School dedicated to inquiry-based academic excellence, developing well-rounded, confident children who flourish in a creative environment founded on Christian values.

School History Established in 1994 by Father Ernest D. Sillers and a handful of dedicated faculty and staff, St. Mary’s was built on the precept that we can all make a positive difference in the educational life of every child. Based on this educational commitment, the school grew to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) World

IB LEARNERS STRIVE TO BE: ❶ Inquirers ❷ Knowledgeable ❸ Thinkers

School with the purpose of educating our children while shaping their hearts and minds to be our next generation of global leaders.

❹ Communicators ❺ Principled

What is St. Mary’s position of faith? It was Father Sillers’ vision to create a vigorous academic environment at

❻ Open-minded

St. Mary’s that is accepting of all faiths. St. Mary’s encourages students to realize that God’s unconditional love is a daily part of their world.

International Baccalaureate (IB). Forty years ago, a group of talented teachers from international schools around the world created the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. What started as a single programme for internationally minded

❼ Caring ❽ Risk-takers ❾ Balanced ❿ Reflective

students has today grown to be three programmes for students aged 3 to 19,

experienced by half a million students from state and private schools in over 139 countries. As the only private school in Orange County to offer the IB Programme from Preschool through Grade 8, St. Mary’s mission embodies the importance of

The goal of the IB Programme is to develop internationally minded

developing strong and capable leaders through programs that prepare students

citizens of the world who,

for positive interaction in a global setting. Through experiences in the classroom,

recognizing their common

field studies, participation in arts, music and athletic programs, and engagement in

humanity and shared

community service activities, students experience the fundamentals of leadership.

guardianship of the planet,

St. Mary’s is an IB World School and offers the Primary Years Programme

help to create a better and

and Middle Years Programme. Both programmes emphasize the

more peaceful world.

dynamic combination of knowledge, skills, independent critical thinking, and the appreciation for the richness of life through international awareness.

Currently St. Mary’s School serves 720 students from 23 cities throughout Orange County. They are taught, mentored and supported by 126 caring and committed faculty and staff members. To learn more about St. Mary’s and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme visit our beautiful six-acre campus for a personal tour. During this appointment, your family will have the opportunity to tour classrooms and meet our faculty. Contact the Admission Office: or 949.448.9027 x319.

Welcome to our first issue of St. Mary’s Magazine. It’s obviously an entire new design and the largest magazine we’ve ever published. The timing for such a large publication couldn’t be better since the past school year was one of our most successful ever. Indeed the St. Mary’s family has a great deal to cheer about at this time.

What ’sinside

Headmaster’s Message..............................................................................................4 The Barry Family Understands the Value of an IB Education .............6 Teacher Spotlight: Roxanne Kane.......................................................................7 Q&A with Colin Jacob Rowe ................................................................................8 First St. Mary’s VBS a Huge Success ..................................................................9 17 Years to Graduate: An Interview with Mrs. Patterson .....................10 Bryce Hirshberg ’04 Wins Film Award ..........................................................11 Maths Quest: Falcons Win International Math Competition ...........12 A Legacy of Leadership: Abigail Jackson ......................................................14 Leadership Program ...............................................................................................15 St. Mary’s Class of 2012 ........................................................................................16 Schools of the Future: The Big Shifts .............................................................18 Finding Kind: 2012 St. Mary’s Speakers Series ...........................................21 Gala a Roaring Success ..........................................................................................22 St. Mary’s Annual Fund ........................................................................................22 Italian Exchange .......................................................................................................23 All the World’s a Classroom: Field Studies at St. Mary’s ......................24 Chris Kateyiannis Earns National Merit Recognition ...........................29 Alumni News, Notes and Photos .....................................................................30

On the cover: Cole Cherney, Matthew King, Middle School math teacher Nancy Simoes, Isabelle and Jackson Odgers in Paris, France for the 2012 International Maths Quest. The St. Mary’s team won the prestigious competition in April.




CONTRIBUTORS: Chris Barry, Abigail Jackson, Fiona May, Colin Rowe DESIGN AND PRINT:

Noelle Marketing Group

St. Mary’s Magazine is published three times a year for families, friends, alumni and supporters of St. Mary’s School. We welcome your feedback. Please address questions and comments to Kate Rader at

ALUMNI: We enjoy hearing from you.

Please send us your latest news and notes: Join St. Mary’s community online by becoming a friend on Facebook.

St. Mary’s School: 7 Pursuit, Aliso Viejo, California 92656 • • 949.448.9027

headmaster’s message THE FOLLOWING PIECE IS AN EXCERPT FROM JOHN O’BRIEN’S COMMENTS AT THE GRADE EIGHT GRADUATION CEREMONIES HELD ON FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2012. To the class of 2012: You made it! Congratulations. You are now officially ready to start high school. Well, not for a few months; you’ve earned some well-deserved time off to decompress between now and late August. You are also about to officially become alumni of St. Mary’s, and while you are fully ready to move on we want you to know that this is your home, and you are always welcome to come back and visit. In fact, we encourage you to keep in touch, visit and let us know how things are going in high school. Raise your hand if you have driven to school most of the time over the years with either mom or dad. I want you to think back a little about those daily rides to school, and the many different conversations you’ve had with your parents over all those years. You also probably had your share of polite disagreements, raised voices, deafening silence, and late arrivals to school. We all have. It happens. But when you stop and really think about it, you have had more important, poignant and meaningful conversations in those years than you can probably remember. Some of you will ride the bus or be in carpools now for high school. Others will still ride with mom or dad until you get your license in a couple of years (a whole new parent nightmare). Enjoy that daily journey, because it will come to an end at some point. For me, I’ve reached the end

Congratulations to the

Photo by Creative Images

St. Mary ’s class of 2012


Christopher O’Brien, Headmaster John O’Brien’s son, a 2012 graduate of St. Mary’s School will be attending Sage Hill School in September.


God has a plan for you, but you have the free will to decide how you want to maximize the benefits of that plan. My advice to you is to do it happily and enthusiastically.


of the road as a chauffeur to school. Next year will be the first time in 17 years that I will not be driving to school with one of our children in the car, and having one of them at the same school with me; a number of you can relate to that situation; and I am going to be very lonely and a little sad on my drive in on the first day of school in the fall. Christopher, on the other hand, will be delighted that he won’t be headed to a school where his dad is seemingly always lurking around the corner. Instead, his mom will be taking him until he is old enough to obtain his own driver’s license I’ll be envious of her next fall; most days anyway. My point in sharing this with you is that you need to enjoy the journey, just as Mrs. Patterson shared with you yesterday at Baccalaureate and ASB President and fellow graduate Carissa Adams just did a few moments ago in her speech. Embrace it both literally and otherwise as you head off to high school. Enjoy the daily commute and the conversations, and embrace your educational odyssey as well. Don’t focus on the destination, because there isn’t one in life on earth. Your education will never end, even after your days in school have. Your physical journey to school each day and your metaphysical one in life are meant to be embraced with passion. As Mrs. Patterson also said yesterday, God has a plan for you, but you have the free will to decide how you want to maximize the benefits of that plan. My advice to you is to do it happily and enthusiastically. God bless each of you on your future journeys.


S T . M A R Y ’ S



s we all know, moving is never easy on a family. In the case of our family, moving happens frequently due to my husband’s job as a college and professional football coach. Our moves were not much of a consideration when it was just the two of us ... my husband was early in his career and advancement was the priority. We lived in four states in the first five years of our marriage and loved the adventure of it. Sixteen years and four awesome kids later, career moves are still in the forefront of our minds, yet character-building education for our children has now entered into our decision-making process as well.

We were first introduced to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme when we were living in Florida. Our oldest daughter was 3 years old and we happened to fall into a school that had just finished their certification for the IB Programme. We realized quickly how special the IB approach to learning was and now, as our former preschool daughter enters her 8th grade year, we have come to appreciate the value of an IB education more than we could ever have dreamed. The IB learner profiles have allowed our children to learn what is required of them in the classroom as well as to reflect on their knowledge and inquire about the possibilities that exist.



By Chris Barry They have become comfortable with terms such as principled, risk-taking and balanced. They use these words in their daily classroom activities as well as in their personal lives and conversations. When we moved from Florida to California a few years ago, finding an IB school was a priority for us. My husband took a job coaching the USC Trojans. We visited numerous schools hoping to find one near his job in Los Angeles and yet we could not get St. Mary’s and the IB Programme out of our minds. It was because of this that we chose to enroll at St. Mary’s despite Joe’s 45-mile commute to LA. In January of 2012, my husband took a job with the San Diego Chargers, 70 miles from our home and we knew without a doubt that we would stay in Orange County to allow our children to continue their education at St. Mary’s. We are happy to see all four of our children thriving not only because of the IB education they are receiving but because of the character building education that St. Mary’s supports and values as well. We feel very fortunate to be part of such an amazing community and realize that our entire family has benefited from being a part of the St. Mary s family.

Teacher Spotlight


he Getty Villa Summer Institute for teachers is a competitive program. Each spring, teachers are selected and invited by Villa educators to apply for the three-day course of study, which offers an opportunity to learn about the ancient Roman world through the lens of the Getty Villa’s collection and site. Teachers explore the intersections of art, architecture, history, math, botany and other subjects through gallery investigations, site tours, discussions, lectures and hands-on art activities. They then learn to weave these subjects into memorable learning experiences about the ancient Roman world for their students.

in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Bard Graduate Center, among others, and has accumulated almost 700 hours of study credit in doing so. She was excited to be part of an enriching experience at the Getty Villa, and was especially interested in discovering new ways to tie in the wonders of the ancient world with St. Mary’s International Baccalaureate curriculum (students in grades one and six currently study ancient Greece and Rome, and attend workshops offered by the Getty Villa, which serve to enhance these units of inquiry).


The Getty Villa, Malibu

Roxanne Kane


Roxanne Kane (Scruggs) was one of 30 teachers chosen to participate in the workshop that took place from July 18–20. Ms. Kane has participated in numerous art history workshops held at museums on both coasts including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Getty Center



Teachers explore the intersections of art, architecture, history, math, botany and other sub jects through gallery investigations, site tours, discussions, lectures and hands-on art activities.

Student Spotlight


ST. MARY’S CLASS OF 2012 How old were you when you started at St. Mary’s? I was six years old and in the first grade.

Which teacher has made the greatest impact on you?

S T . M A R Y ’ S

My fourth grade teacher, Ms. Hoffman, because she was one of the nicest, kindest teachers I have ever had. She taught me a lot of things about life and helped me learn to enjoy my education.

Do you have a favorite class? I like both Science and Humanities. Science because I love learning about how things work and how we and the world we live in were made. I enjoyed Humanities because I love learning about the great people that shaped our country. This knowledge helps me understand how I can affect the future.


What high school are you going onto? I will be attending Santa Margarita Catholic High School in the fall.

What advice would you give to younger students at St. Mary’s? My advice would be to always work hard and don’t fall behind, but also always have fun and take advantage of this wonderful school because it can give you opportunities that can change the way you look at life and help to make you a better and more well-rounded person.

Is there anything else you think would be fun for us to know about you? I love playing sports and having fun with friends. I like traveling the world to see different people and places. I am also very excited for high school. I feel fortunate that St. Mary’s has really prepared me for my future.


What was your favorite field study experience? My favorite field study was the 8th grade Williamsburg/Washington DC trip because I bonded with my close friends and became friends with other classmates that I never thought I would. As a student of the trip, I had the honor of placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget. I also really enjoyed visiting all the monuments, museums and other important buildings like the Capital, because it gave me a better understanding of our nation’s past and present, and allowed me to think more about what our future might be like.

S T . M A R Y ’ S


First Ever St. Mary’s VBS


hen Mr. Cox, Dean of Students, approached me with the idea of hosting St. Mary’s first-ever, Vacation Bible School this summer, I was excited. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the summer for our students. I decided that I could handle 30 students by myself for the week. When 72 students signed up I was thrilled – and worried all at the same time:

• • •

Would we have enough volunteers? Would we have enough crafts? Who would teach the Bible stories?

Why was I even worried? I knew that the Lord would provide the people needed if I just asked it of Him. And sure enough, He provided. We were blessed with the most amazing volunteers and teachers I could imagine. They worked so hard to make the best craft time, reflection time, discovery and story time. OUR STUDENTS WORSHIPPED THE LORD WITH ENTHUSIASM

• On Wednesday we learned to Depend on God (Proverbs 3:5), • Thursday our daily insight was to Claim Jesus (John 3:16) and • Friday was Choose to Follow (Joshua 24:15). My heart still leaps when I hear students singing the songs we learned at VBS. Comments from parents like Kyle’s mom are great to hear too. She said, “I wanted to thank you again, for a fantastic first VBS at St. Mary’s. Over Father’s Day weekend, while visiting with friends, Kyle was so excited to share his experiences. It was a perfect balance of Bible stories and songs, science, arts and crafts.” I thank the Lord every day for the opportunity to serve Him, working with St. Mary’s amazing families and staff. Now with our first official VBS behind us, I can say with much pride that it was a wonderful week and that I am already looking forward to next year! Pastor Mark Chapman Chaplain of St. Mary’s School

Watch for VBS 2013 updates in St. Mary’s Magazine

Pastor Mark Chapman

17 Years to Graduate!

S T . M A R Y ’ S


By Fiona May



Mrs. Patterson

Julie Patterson joined St. Mary’s in 1994, soon after the school opened. Seventeen years later, she graduated from St. Mary’s with the class of 2012. St. Mary’s Magazine caught up with her as she tidied her classroom for the last time. What was St. Mary’s like when you joined? I came as a substitute teacher in 1994, as the school first opened. Chris Lincoln was the principal. We only had three fourth graders, so we had a grade 3/4 combination class. I had previously taught in public school and took a seven-year sabbatical when my sons were born. In 1995 we had one 4th grade class when I became the full-time teacher. St. Mary’s was just starting and everything was very hands on; teachers bought much of their own equipment and we cleaned our own rooms. It was small, very much a feeling of family. We were all in it together, working hard to make the school a success. How has the school changed? It has evolved from a warm, small community into a much bigger, caring community. The wonderful thing is that the family feeling is still there. Our students and their parents are incredibly interested and involved. We have hired great new teachers, and although the faculty is bigger there is still a tremendous atmosphere of cooperation and support. It is the only place I have ever taught where the teachers work as a team – we share ideas, help and encourage each

other. I spent nine years teaching 4th grade at St. Mary’s and eight years in middle school, always amongst wonderful colleagues. I retired for the first time at the age of 29 because I was already burned out from the demands of working in public schools. At St. Mary’s I have had more than 900 students and I am truly going to miss them all. Why did you become a teacher? It is an honor to be able to help kids learn and build their characters. It is truly a special moment for a teacher when you see the light bulb go on for a student, and you see the joy on their faces as they understand. I was a social studies major in college, so humanities has always been my thing. I love to bring

history to life for my kids, to show them how important it is to their lives today. The IB teaching at St. Mary’s is invaluable; the students are encouraged to think, create, use initiative and think for themselves. They apply learned information in different situations – for example the sixth graders study the seven characteristics of early civilizations and make connections to discover that many of these principles still apply in our society today. The gift for me is to be able to make education relevant and useful. Tell us about your most memorable moments. The field studies are always memorable for me. I went to Sacramento nine years in a row with my fourth graders, and it was

W I NS FI L M AWARD Bryce Hirshberg ’04

Bryce Hirshberg graduated with honors from the film school at Loyola Marymount University in May, but even before commencement, he was well on his way to making his name as a film director. Baer, his short movie about boxer Max Baer has won multiple awards: Best Period Piece at the 2011 AOP International Film Festival, Best Student Film at the 2011 International Vegas Cine Fest, an honorable mention at the 2011 Los Angeles Movie Awards, and the Special Jury Prize at the 2012 California Film Awards. Max Baer was a Jewish boxer whose fight against a German boxer in the 1930’s became a symbol of Jewish opposition to the Nazi regime. At St. Mary’s, Bryce was the inaugural president of Junior ASB in 5th grade, and played lacrosse for many years.

St. Mary’s is a special place. You are really amongst a very special group of people; everyone is enthusiastic, driven and there is a winning philosophy. Being in ASB and lacrosse, my teachers and even performing in Lipsynch taught me many skills, all of which have been invaluable for me. I didn’t really appreciate St. Mary’s until I moved on. Going to public high school (Aliso Niguel) helped me realize just how excellent the St. Mary’s culture was, and how much it taught me, personally and academically.


Bryce continues: “For Baer we had a crew of over 70 people, and my role as director was to coordinate the work of every one of those crew members. The director role requires so many skills – leading, coaching, organizing, planning, communicating. Whether you are in middle school, high school or college, you may not know what you want to do in life, but working hard and getting involved in many areas will help you figure out your talents and the right path for you.” His plans for the future are ambitious. He has already set up his own production company, Callit Pictures, and has contracts to produce commercials, informational and music videos. His greatest plan, though, is to turn Baer into a feature movie, which would position him firmly on the Hollywood stage.


What do you plan to do with all your free time? I don’t expect much free time! I am proud to be grandmother to my two new grandbabies Jake and June, and I am even prouder to report that I will be caring for them both most days. I am honored by the trust my sons Doug and Jeff and their wives have placed in me. When I do have time you may well see me on campus – I will be substitute teaching occasionally, and I will also be accompanying students on field trips. And in between all that I hope to find time to travel to interesting places, hike with my greyhound rescue “Gumbo,” remain active in my church community and maybe even read a book from time to time.

By Fiona May


always fresh and fun. There was one year when the dads came as chaperones instead of the moms – that was a challenge – cell phones, paying attention, participation – we had more than double the normal discipline issues! The 6th grade Catalina trip is also fantastic every year. For many of the kids the trip is a turning point; they grow and mature so much. They realize that they are accountable for their own actions and are able to be competent and comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. One event that really stands out for me was 9/11. I was teaching fourth grade when the news came in. It was hard to know how to handle the shocking events with such young minds, but I gathered the children into a circle, we held hands and we prayed together. It was such a privilege to be at St. Mary’s, in a place where we could express our feelings through prayer, to be able to ask God for help and understanding, and to worship freely that day and every day.

Maths Quest By Fiona May

Tired but elated, the four St. Mary’s students and Middle School math teacher, Nancy Simoes, arrived back from Paris, France, trophy in hand, as winners of the 17th International Maths Quest competition, which took place in April. “We are so proud of our team”, declared Headmaster John O’Brien. “Winning such a prestigious international competition truly demonstrates the tremendous talents of St. Mary’s students and teachers.”


❶ Students collaborating during the 2012 Maths Quest challenge at British School of Paris, France

❷ Isabelle Odgers, Cole Cherney, St. Mary’s teacher Nancy Simoes, Jackson Odgers and Matthew King in front of the fountain at Versailles

❸ St. Mary’s students with representatives from the host school

This year 14 international schools participated in the Maths Quest challenge in Paris, France, organized by ECIS (European Council of International Schools). The St. Mary’s team of Cole Cherney, Matthew King, Isabelle Odgers and Jackson Odgers was the sole American participant, facing strong opposition from high-performing European schools. “The unique part of Maths Quest is that there are so many different challenges”, said Nancy Simoes. “On the first day, the students are out and about in Paris solving practical math problems, calculating the dimensions of the Louvre pyramid, analyzing sculptures mathematically, and working out the speed of flow in the River Seine.” After this are two days of individual and team competitions, testing expertise in problem solving, building challenges and timed rounds. “At the end of day 2 we were in second place”, explains Nancy, "so the final day was incredibly tense and the team truly came through. All four students are fast, accurate problem solvers, but


it was their collaboration and teamwork, which clinched the first place prize.” Matthew King and Jackson Odgers also tied for third place in the individual competition. Maths Quest was the focus, but the team did take time to explore the history and culture of Paris, with the students enjoying the hospitality of their French host families. “Every time they called they were so bubbly, there was so much to tell”, said Emily Odgers, parent of twins Isabelle and Jackson. “We are truly blessed that St. Mary’s offers our children the chance to learn through such rich experiences.”


A Legacy of Leadership Abigail Jackson

S T. M A R Y ’ S


2012 Legacy Award Winner


How old were you when you started at St. Mary’s?

What advice would you give to younger students at St. Mary’s?

I started St. Mary's at the age of 4 in Mrs. Frye’s preschool class. I continued at St. Mary’s through 5th grade. My family moved to New Jersey for my 6th grade year, but I was lucky enough to come back to St. Mary's for 7th and 8th grades.

Make sure you take advantage of all the opportunities that St. Mary’s has to offer. Try everything, whether you think you will like it or not. You never know, it may surprise you. I didn't think I was going to enjoy ASB, but it turned out to be one of my favorite classes! That said, make sure your academics come first. Push yourself to take on more, but not more than you can handle. You know your own limits. Put 110 percent into everything you do, and success will follow.

Which teacher has made the greatest impact on you? Every teacher I have had has made an incredible impact on me such as Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Fowler, Mr. Fineberg, Mr. Patterson, and Mrs. Williams, just to name a few. Mr. Patterson has been especially helpful to me, specifically during my 8th grade year. He has shown me that I can be a leader and still be fun to be around; a subtle and friendly leadership style is just as effective as one that is big and bold.

Do you have a favorite class? I love everything about school. My favorite subject is probably science, but math is a close second. It is so hard to choose a favorite class when I love every class for completely different reasons!

What high school are you going onto? I will be attending Santa Margarita Catholic High School. There are so many wonderful opportunities for me to take advantage of there; I will be participating in marching band, studying Latin, competing in Model United Nations and playing lacrosse.

What does the Legacy Award mean to you? The Legacy Award means so much to me. It gave me the confidence that I needed to be more successful. It has helped me grow as a person as well as a leader. It is an honor to have been chosen as the Legacy Award Winner. I encourage everyone to participate in the Legacy Award process. It is an incredible experience that will push you a person. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.

Is there anything else you think would be fun for us to know about you? I love music of any kind. I love reading anything from The Hunger Games to Robin Hood to the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. My favorite television shows are Chuck and Gilmore Girls. My favorite sport is volleyball. I spend every summer in Maine with my extended family.

leadership program The St. Mary’s Leadership Program exemplifies its commitment to one of its fundamental principles:

“developing tomorrow’s leaders today, one student at a time.”

T Legacy Award Recipients: 2012 Abigail Jackson 2011 Kristen Walker 2010 Alex Gonzales 2009 Liviya James 2008 Hayley Ritterhern 2007 Drew Phillips 2006 Trevor Cutler 2005 Lauren Cullen

2003 Michelle Pellizzon


2004 Michael Fice



• • • • • • • • • •


he Leadership Program focuses on four main principles called the Four Aces, which form the cornerstones of a strong community – Attitude, Commitment, Engagement and Service. These four principles become part of our students’ learning as they are embraced by our faculty and parents as well. St. Mary’s Leadership Program is seamlessly integrated into regular academic studies with projects, discussions, student involvement and practical application. One of the most important aspects of the Leadership Program is to provide students with opportunity to experience and practice leadership through interaction with the community. Students are encouraged to get involved with their community through service projects and other volunteer opportunities and present their experience to the students and teachers at school. The goal of the presentations is to provide the students with several examples of leaders and the numerous possibilities in which to demonstrate leadership skills. The culminating event for the Leadership Program is the Tribute to Leadership Assembly and presentation of the Legacy Award. The Legacy Award, which is given annually, honors a St. Mary’s student who demonstrates and represents the highest standards of St. Mary’s Four Aces of Leadership through their involvement in school, local organizations and the community. Through experiences in our classrooms, participation in our arts, music and athletic programs, student government, engaging in community service activities, and connecting with adults; our students truly experience leadership at St. Mary’s School. The school and the community are definitely committed to “developing tomorrow’s leaders today, one student at a time”.

ST. MARY’S SCHOOL Carissa May Adams Dillon Edward Alinsod Miguel Angel Ayala Madison Marie Bourke Nicole Anne Bourke Lindsey Marie Brenneman Andrew Mark Burkhardt Eden Zoe Buttlar Michaelle Theresa Cassidenti Cole Christopher Cervantes Christopher S. Chionis James McFerrin Coker Jillian DeWitt Coker Mia Deleree Coker Corinne Combe Baylee Eve Corona Cooper James Dolan Jacob Dillon Duffy Allison Fellenzer Cami Fenton Zachary William Fiedler Spencer Firestone Jacob Steven Fish Frances Kathryn Gargano Janet Natalie Gleason Cristina Ally Gomez Kristina Marie Gonzalez Juliet Aungelic Gonzalez Elizabeth Catherine Good Caitlin Goodbody Mihir A. Gupte Andrew Malcolm Gwynn William Hiroshi Henretta Tess Kennedy Hezlep Dean Maxwell Hodes

Jacob Bennett Horton Abbey Laura Huffer Annaliese Iacobelli Abigail M. Jackson Kayla Jahangiri Brett Cameron Kelly

Photo by Creative Images

Grant Bradley Hoffmann


Class of 2012 High School Selections: Santa Margarita Catholic High School | JSerra High School | Dana Hills High School | Sage Hill School

CLASS OF 2012 Jonathan Max King John V. Kordich Anika Lieber Chelsea Marie Logiodice Ashley Noelle Martin Alexandra Jae Marx Nicolas May Hunter James McNenny Ahrash Mehrtash Kyle Thien Moga Christopher George O’Brien Amanda QiXin Ong Brendan Michael Pagani Yanni Christos Parissis Dylan Miles Patton Megan Louise Petersen Austin Michael Presutto Oliver Philippe Price Kathryn Querner Makenna Marie Rieden Gabriella Alexis Rochin Colin Jacob Rowe Cole Victor Schillne Calvin Shinzo Shimano Austin Taylor Simpson Skyler B. Stanton Katelyn Stoddard Logan Patrick Sullivan Keanna Bree Sviland Alexandra Thrash Malanie Lauren Traylor Celina Emma Turner Ashlyn Michelle Underwood Nicolas Mateo Valdez Alexa Christine Vandenburg Brianna Rae Vandenburg Alanna Paige Verde Julianna Elizabeth Viale Lauren Katherine Walker Samantha M. Warday Angelica Maria Zdzienicki

Laguna Beach High School | Laguna Hills High School | Mater Dei High School | St. Margaret’s Episcopal School | Aliso Niguel High School

S T . M A R Y ’ S


Schools of the Future: The Big Shifts


By Patrick F. Bassett, president of the National Association of Independent Schools, which represents more than 1,400 independent (private) schools and associations of schools in the U.S. and 250 affiliated schools and associations internationally. Editor’s note: The following article is the transcribed and edited version of Mr. Bassett’s Tedx talk on The Big Shifts. The video version of this talk to parents, is available at Mr. Bassett was featured as part of the St. Mary’s 2011 Speaker Series. This piece is an appeal to parents to support innovation in schools. 2012 is my 42nd year as a teacher. I started my independent school career as an English teacher, a lacrosse and football coach and a dorm parent at an all-boys boarding school, Woodberry Forest School (VA). Now I am the head of the National Association of Independent Schools, an association that represents independent schools all over the country and the world. I spend my time now thinking about and using my organizations resources to imagine and document what schools |of the future are beginning to look like. Today, I would like to encourage you, especially the parents and the aunts and uncles and grandparents in the room, to be advocates for your children and your school to be innovative. The natural inclination of parents is to be conservative and traditional about their school. When kids complain that their classes are boring and the lessons irrelevant, we tend to say, “It’s supposed to be boring and irrelevant, because that’s the way it was when I was in school.” But schools don’t have to be boring and irrelevant. And in the future they won’t be, because in education, like every other sector, big shifts underway. First, I want to comment about the 2500 years or so of teaching that we know about, starting from the ancient classical Greek period, when Socrates

was the teacher of Plato, then Plato was the teacher of Aristotle, and then Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great. We know there is one model of classical teachings from the apex of ancient Greek civilization that was extremely effective: It was “teachercentered,” teacher driven, teacher controlled, and its was and will always be, at least at the K-12 preschool to 12th grade level, extremely important. But it is only one end of a continuum that is presenting major shifts in the delivery of education. We are seeing a migration away from that traditional and classical model. New models won’t exist to the exclusion of the classical model, newer models of teaching and learning are beginning to take hold. The MacArthur Foundation in its work on the future of education has identified, big shifts that will transform education are already becoming clear.

and tutors. Closely held access to knowledge started to change in the 19th century in the U.S. with the introduction of public schools for all as an impulse to democratize learning. But the full realization of that goal has only occurred in this first decade of the 21st century with the widespread availability of the Internet, the ultimate democratization of access to information and knowledge (and power), because now everyone has access through the Internet to everything. Facts, and knowledge, and ideas, are available to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. It is the biggest revolution in the history of civilization. You may not recognize it yet, because you are at the front end of it. But the Internet changes the basic dynamic and the basic expectation for teaching, learning, and distributes the power of knowledge in amazing new ways.



The first Big Shift occurs on the continuum between knowing and doing. Starting with Socrates through the last 10 years, access to information, knowledge and education was restricted. In fact access to information and knowledge was restricted for the 12,000 years of human life that we know about. It was restricted to those in power, those who had been educated, to the leader, the Shaman, the royal family, the professors, the teachers

The second Big Shift is on the continuum between teacher-centered classrooms and student-centered classrooms. There is a big caveat as we migrate from the former to the latter: From preschool through 12th grade, there will always be a place for placebased learning, school-based learning, and teacher-mediated learning because kids are not fully formed intellectually, and they need adult guidance to





The fourth Big Shift is the transition between the consumption of information to the construction of meaning. Now I want to pause to say this, that’s actually what kids seek. They want to be in a school where they actually do something that is meaningful to them and relevant to life in the real world outside of school. So the fourth grade project at the Lamplighter School (TX) is an egg business: hatching the chicks; growing the hens; cultivating the eggs; cleaning out the cages; packing the eggs; marketing and selling the product; doing the P&L on an Excel spreadsheet. (Here’s a choice for your kids: read about how business works in a textbook, or start and run a business.) Then there is the sixth grade forensics unit at Rio Grande School (NM), where every year a faculty member “commits a crime” and the kids go into CSI mode as they start using the science of forensics to identify the criminal. Or the Teton Schools of Science (WY) that uses the national park as their laboratory and the kids integrate all of their subjects in what we call the six C’s: critical thinking; collaboration; creativity; communication; character and cosmopolitanism (cross-cultural competency). Moving the classroom outside, by growing your own lunch (farm to the table) or by conducting interviews with local survivors of the Holocaust and Japanese internment camps (Urban School, CA). Or design thinking labs at Beaver Country Day School (MA) or Nueva School (CA), an elementary school in California where they take the ideas of Ideo, maybe the world’s most famous design firm, and create their own products with 3D fabricators; likewise at Marymount School (NY) in their new fabricator “Fab Lab.” The migration from consumption of information to construction of meaning is facilitated by a program NAIS offers to all schools, Challenge 20/20, whereby we invite any schools in the world to collaborate in real-world problem-solving.


The third Big Shift is between the individual and the team. The idea of America, our whole culture history, and mythology, is rooted in “me,” the individual. This is actually very different from many other cultures, especially in the Far East, where it’s not all about “me”; it’s all about “we.” American culture is steeped in individualism, valuing the individual and his or her “rights” as opposed to valuing the group and our collective responsibilities. While indisputably American individualism has contributed to American “exceptionalism” and the greatness of our country, too much of a good thing has its downside. It turns out that too much of an emphasis on

“rights” over “responsibilities” produces people in the workplace who are impossible to work with. Too little sense of collective responsibility and teaming produces people who actually don’t contribute or who can’t play in the sandbox with other players. So here’s the third big shift that I want to tell you about: the culture and the economy are recognizing that teaming is important. Actually independent schools in general do the teaming exercise really well after school on the athletic field, on the drama stage, in band, in publications. In fact, much to their benefit, we require kids to do extracurricular sports, arts, and other activities. More power to us and to all schools that do that, but the school of the future will do teaming as well and increasingly during class, so that our kids realize when we are doing serious intellectual work we have to be able to function as an academic or intellectual or scientific team. If you actually agree with what I’m saying, you would really challenge what we reward in school through grades and dean’s list and class rank. Again, too much it’s about the individual student not about one’s contribution to the larger intellectual and academic task at hand. By the way, when your kid get to graduate school, let’s say at Tuck Business School at Dartmouth or Darden at UVA, or Wharton at UPenn, he or she will be still graded (it’s part of life), but because professional schools are project-based and case-study organized, and it’s not academic study for its own sake but rather preparation for real world problem solving, the system for grading is different than in most schools. At the graduate level, often you get two grades: How well did your team solve the problem or produce the saleable product, or create a sustainable plan? And then your teammates grade you on the extent to which you contributed. You know why they do that in business school? Because that’s what life does. It rewards your success in terms of the task but also your capacity to advance a group and a team’s work.


navigate their educational path. I’ll say this as well: kids learn first and best from people who love them and whom they love. And they learn best from very smart people. So when we are hiring teachers, in any system public or private, we want to hire very smart people (high IQ) who are also high EQ people (i.e., very emotionally intelligent), because they will be magnets to your kids. And for the parents in the audience again, you are the first teachers, but eventually your kids migrate away from you and towards their school teachers as they get older. They learn different perspectives; they learn different assumptions about how the world works; they begin to test their own intellectual independence, as I was delighted to see after just one year of my granddaughter’s exposure to smart teachers and engaging curriculum at Garrison Forest School (MD) as an eighth grade boarder. I hate to tell the parents this, especially those who have young children, but by the time kids get into high school, they learn their cues from their teachers and their peers, with most of the attention on their peers. So the most important thing a parent does is choose their peers by choosing their school where their peers are serious about learning, and the teachers excited about teaching.

S C H O O L S T . M A R Y ’ S 20

The program is based on the 20 global problems that if we don’t solve your children will not live in a better world. And so what NAIS does is match public and private schools in the United States with their counterparts abroad to collaborate through the Internet to address one of those 20 pressing global problems and create a local, national, regional and global solution.

SCHOOLS VS. NETWORKS The fifth Big Shift marks a transition from schools to networks. For 2500 years, teachers have been isolated in their own physical locales, or even more isolated in separate classroom “sandboxes,” where teachers engage in what psychologists call “parallel play.” Now, thanks to the Internet, we have networks of teachers, where one’s colleagues engage in self-forming groups across disciplines, grades, and even national boundaries to study and reflect on topics of interest: brain-based learning; differentiated instruction; 1:1 iPad environments; flip teaching; formative assessment; project-based learning; robotics; backward design; mapping of the 21st century Skills; etc. In ISEnet, the Independent School Educators’ Network (, teachers from around the world share ideas and resources. I’m an English teacher, or was, so I like the lesson plan that I found on Shakespeare’s Othello offered up free on ISEnet by a teacher from Buckley School (NY), a lesson plan that captured and shared the video clips of the climactic scene of Othello’s murder of Desdemona: The Orson Wells version (1952); the Lawrence Olivier version (1965); the Laurence Fishburne version (1995); and a version from the TV series Cheers (1983). It’s a perfect lesson plan for a Shakespeare class: How do various professionals and actors interpret the scene? Which do you prefer? Why? The possibilities for collaboration among teachers without boundaries and the sharing of resources and

lesson plans worldwide just came to scale in a remarkable way. So schools should encourage and expect teachers to participate in one or more networks to develop imaginatively their own skills, discover simpatico souls, stimulate their own creativity in lesson-planning: i.e., to “professionalize the profession.”

SINGLE SOURCING VS. CROWDSOURCING The sixth Big Shift marks a move away from single sourcing to “crowdsourcing” by capitalizing upon “the wisdom of the crowd” to solve large problems that as individuals we’d have less chance of solving. You now have a world of contacts, including the crowd of kids and faculty at your school and in all schools in NAIS. We now are seeing crowdsourcing in biochemistry via gaming, where the scientists don’t have enough manpower to solve some protein sequencing problems, but by converting into an online game, the world’s family game time provides the manpower. NAIS crowdsources daily when schools raise questions we’d like more possible answers to by creating online communities to vet the questions, and thereby evolving the role NAIS plays by not only being the go-to source for information about independent schools but also the collector and curator of information from practitioners in the field, thus expanding our individual and collective knowledge. At the school level crowdsourcing works too. An imaginative middle school teacher shared with me how crowdsourcing plays out in his human geography class, where he recently showed a map of U.S. ancestry from Wikipedia (the ultimate crowdsourced resource) that surprised his class by revealing that almost half of American states have a plurality of their citizens who trace their immigrant ancestry to Germany: I knew his students were in a school of the future when he told me that after his students expressed surprise, they

expressed skepticism, and asked just the right question: “How do we know the data is good?” And the teacher responded just as any great teacher would, by asking his own question: “How could you find out?” Then students immediately got out their cell phones and began tapping into their own networks across the country to ask people to what country they traced their ancestry that immigrated into the US. The results corroborated the map. Thus the idea of school itself is transformed by crowdsourcing information that leads to students as active cogenerators of knowledge and curators of information, no longer mere passive recipients and consumers of them. But wait, there’s more. To the MacArthur Foundation’s list of six Big Shifts, I’ve added a seventh.

HIGH STAKES TESTING VS. HIGH VALUE DEMONSTRATIONS The seventh Big Shift in the schools of the future is a shift away from high stakes testing. Sadly that is what public school is all about. In fact it is their only criteria for the success of kids, teachers and schools. The shift will be to high value demonstrations of learning. So here’s what I imagine is coming soon to a school near you: Students will document their key skills growth K-12 in their digital portfolios. They will capture their public speaking recitations in lower school, memorized famous speeches in middle school, and extemporaneous speeches and debates in upper school; their best writing pieces at each grade level; a video recording of their growing fluency in Spanish or Mandarin, over their 13 years of immersion in the language. And the portfolios will also include students’ artwork, their elegant mathematical solutions to problems, videos of their robots performing various tasks; their videography oral histories of their grandparents. And they will submit the highlights of their digital portfolio as their application for college, since no college admissions test revealing what they


On September 14, St. Mary’s students in Grades 5-8 will have the opportunity to watch the powerful documentary “Finding Kind.” The award-winning film brings awareness and healing to the lasting effects of girl-against-girl “crime” or bullying. Following the film, students will meet Kind Campaign founders and “Finding Kind” producers Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson. Since the founding of St. Mary’s parents and friends Kind Campaign in 2009, can learn first-hand about the Lauren and Molly have held Kind Campaign at the first Kind Campaign assemblies and “Finding Kind” screenSt. Mary’s Speaker Series ings in hundreds of scho ols event of the 2012 school year. across the country. Being Join us for a screening of this two friends in their important film on Thursday, mid-twenties, Lauren and Molly connect with young September 20 at 6:30 pm. people on a personal level. They were in the student’s shoes not long ago, so students listen and relate. The presentation and interactive activities take place in a casual atmosphere that encourages students to open up about their experiences and makes it easy for them to talk with their peers. Kind Campaign assemblies have been referred to as “a life-changing experiences” - the kind of experience that can change the social dynamic for every student at St. Mary’s.


So here we are: Seven Big Shifts. As parents, lobby for the kind of teaching and learning this article illustrates because your children will be the beneficiaries of it. And the good news for independent schools, is that the colleges are confirming what they already know, that our great schools of the future can create ideal conditions for kids to learn, because the colleges and the world want kids who learn by doing more so that by mere knowing, kids who demonstrate what they know not just by a test but by action in the real world. And those kids will need parents who welcome inventiveness in teaching and relish the excitement they see in their kids when they come home from school.


know for the moment could possibly match demonstrating what they can do with what they know captured in the portfolio. For example, students at Holton Arms (MD) and Landon School (MD) become the subject of a Grant Wood portrait at a Smithsonian exhibit, their assignment being to reveal the intention and the art of the artist in their monolog as the subject of the artist. Check out one student’s insights and creativity in her interpretation of Grant Wood’s painting, Victorian Survival, the podcast residing now on the Smithsonian website: podcasts/podcast_victorian_survival.html Anyone watching this video knows that this student wouldn’t need to take the SATs, since she’s already demonstrated just with colleges are looking for: critical and original and inventive thinking; creativity; aesthetic sensibility; a sense of drama, wonder and humor; and the like. And how cool is it for a student in high school to have her work immortalized on the web by the Smithsonian? So the final challenge for schools and part of the Big Shifts is to identify your school’s top ten demonstrations of learning? (You can see mine on in the Fall issue of NAIS’s Independent School magazine: ismagazinearticle.cfm?Itemnumber =152280&sn.ItemNumber=145956&)

a Roaring Success

Photo by Blue Sky’s Studio

ttendees, sponsors, underwriters and donors made the 17th Annual St. Mary’s Gala a huge success. The 420 guests at the Casablanca-themed event were greeted by belly dancers and directed to a Moroccan backdrop where they posed for photos provided by Blue Sky’s Studio. The evening continued with a cocktail reception and live entertainment, silent and live auctions, dinner and dancing. Event sponsors were invited to a VIP reception sponsored by First Republic Bank. As an alternative to dancing the night away, guests were invited to a Cigar Lounge hosted by Cigar Oasis. The evening was a tremendous success thanks to the direction of the Gala Committee Chairs, Emily Crume and Patti Frazier. Under their leadership, the Gala far exceeded its fundraising goals, which benefit various programs at St. Mary’s. In addition to the silent and live auctions, the St. Mary’s community raised $103,000 specifically earmarked for growing and enhancing the St. Mary’s fine and performing arts programs. Attendees had a chance to take part in two opportunity drawings. The lucky winner of the first drawing received an all inclusive trip to Barcelona, Spain for two, a value over $13,000. The second drawing, provided by Lugano Diamonds, gave guests an opportunity to purchase jewelry boxes some of which contained Lugano jewels and gift cards. Box buyers were also entered to win the grand prize, a Lugano Diamond Line necklace containing 144 round brilliant collection SI diamonds with a total of 3.68 carats set in white gold – a value of more than $6,800. The magical evening was filled with Five members of the Gala Committee friendship and community, resulting in a (top left to right): Emily Crume net total of $240,000, which will benefit (Gala Co-Chair), Tami Wingate, all of the children and educational Claudia Kechejian, Susan Masson programs at St. Mary’s. and Sandy Palenske

Thank you and congratulations to everyone who made this year’s Annual Fund the most successful in St. Mary’s history. St. Mary’s community – parents, faculty, trustees, grandparents, alumni parents and alumni – donated nearly $347,000 to the Annual Fund in 2011– 2012. That is a 36 percent increase over the prior year and the largest St. Mary’s Annual Fund campaign in history.

School Year

Total Raised

Parent Participation




2010– 2011






2008– 2009






Compared to 2010 –2011 data:

• • • •

Gifts from parents increased from 265 to 317 Total number of gifts increased from 347 to 427 $92,000 increase in total contributions Significant increase in matching gift donations from corporations

• Noteworthy increases in gifts from grandparents and alumni parents

• First-ever gift from an alumni student St. Mary’s Annual Fund allows us to recruit and retain exceptional faculty; increase teaching aides in the classrooms; and maintain a low studentteacher ratio. It also enables us to continue to enhance our academic offerings in science and foreign languages, to invest in technology and to expand our programs in athletics and the arts.


If you have questions, comments or would like to learn more about the Annual Fund, please contact Christine Downie, Director of Development at 949.448.9027 x324 or Donations to St. Mary’s Annual Fund can be made at




By Fiona May




The first week was spent in Milan living with their Italian partner students and attending classes at the International School. The learning environment at the school is familiar, as both are IB schools, but the living experience is most definitely “foreign.” 23 “The Italian lifestyles are so different from ours – the customs, the food, the houses, the furnishings, even the timing of things is different,” explained Mrs. Galloway. “But it is the friendships that help our students feel at home in Milan. They have corresponded with their Italian friends for months, and are just delighted to meet each other again. The Italian families made us so welcome, arranging gatherings and organizing activities such as a day trip to Venice and a visit to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper in Milan. The two groups have such a bond, and many form lifelong relationships.” The second week took the form of a cultural whirlwind tour of Italy. With professional docents teaching them about each historic site, the group visited Rome, Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, the Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri. “There were so many fantastic moments that week, and as teachers we truly see the fruits of our labor and the value of a St. Mary’s education,” explained Mrs. Galloway. “To stand in front of the Coliseum or wander the streets of Pompeii and have the students reflect on their 6th grade studies about the ancient world is rewarding. Visiting a church in Capri, one student offered a critique of the artworks, comparing them to works by Michelangelo and da Vinci. He could see a difference in the quality. They have learned to appreciate art, and have the confidence to think critically about their experience. At the Vatican, we explored the roots and history of our Christian faith.” This was the first trip to Europe for several in the group. “The students displayed fantastic qualities by participating in this adventure”, said Snr. Valdez. “They are a true illustration of the IB qualities we teach at St. Mary’s. They were open-minded, they were risk takers, and they had to exercise good judgment every day in unfamiliar situations, making decisions and applying skills. We see such growth in the students as they travel, and that continues when they return to school and their lives in California. These young people gain valuable knowledge and experience that will benefit them throughout their lives.”

All the World’s

Field Studies at St. Mary’s

The Field Studies program at St. Mary’s is designed to integrate academic content areas into a realistic approach to learning beyond the classroom environment. Through one-day field trips or week-long field studies, students experience learning in a natural setting, reinforcing the concepts taught in the classroom.

“The least of the work of learning is done in the classroom .” THOMAS MELTON

a Classroom By Fiona May


Panning for gold in Sacramento



tudents in Grade 4 focus on California History through their units of inquiry, “Where We Are in Place and Time,” where students study the various groups of people who have conquered new lands throughout history and “How we organize ourselves” where they gain a better sense of natural resources and how they impact an area’s population and economy. While in Sacramento, students and their chaperones tour the Capitol Building, visit the Vietnam War Memorial and the California State History Museum’s four galleries – people, place, promise and politics. They visit the California State Railroad Museum, the largest of its kind and experience SACRAMENTO class in The Old School House, a one-room pioneer GRADE 4 school house, where a school marm conducts the lesson. Students don hard hats to explore the mines of the Mother Lode and participate in the “Wagon Ho” program where they learn the difficulty of the pioneer’s westward journey. Finally, students have the opportunity to “strike it rich” as they pan for gold in a recreated gold camp. This jam packed two-day field study experience is the perfect way to bring to life the events the students have been learning about in their coursework at St. Mary’s. It is truly one of the highlights of the Grade 4 year.


Kayaking on Catalina Island

A St. Mary’s group shot on Catalina

t. Mary’s students in Grade 5 study experience away from their spend three days at Astro families. This experience ties into Camp in Idyllwild, California the Grade 5 unit of inquiry titled as part of their field studies experience. “Beyond and Back,” which explores It is a combination of classes, rope how our exploration and undercourses and hands-on activities that standing of space impacts our life on have to do with space. Students swim Earth. Throughout the unit, students and build space models research and form underwater as if they opinions about the ASTRO CAMP are in outer space with purpose, effectiveness GRADE 5 microgravity. They have and necessity of the opportunity to satellites, the role build and launch rockets made out of the International Space Station, of soda bottles, as well as rock climb, the value of NASA, and the future zip line and make cookies using the of space exploration. They also learn sun and solar energy. how the atmosphere and structure This is a special bonding experience of the Earth support life and differs for the class as it is their first field from other planets.

“The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.” CLAUDE MONET

S T . M A R Y ’ S




Zip-lining at Astro Camp

Ready to rock and row on Catalina

t. Mary’s Grade 6 students students to overcome personal completed a five-day challenges in a safe and positive intensive science field environment. study at Camp Emerald Bay on Back at school, students selected Catalina Island. Field research their best photos and wrote narratives included marine to record their and terrestrial scientific CATALINA ISLAND activities, Catalina findings and GRADE 6 Island Conservancy communicate lecture on native their learning flora and fauna, and the unveiling according to IB’s assessment of student fears in daily spiritual Criterion C: Knowledge and devotions. The camp’s motto Understanding of Science, and “Break Your Fears” encouraged Criterion F: Attitudes in Science.


Digital photo journal slides documented investigations, safe use with instruments and scientific language. Students then presented their summative PowerPoint projects to the International Baccalaureate school community including younger students, their peers, teachers and parents. Equal to growing their knowledge and understanding of science, students learned much about themselves.

he Pali Institute Field students to work through a series Study adds significant of tasks that include proper spotting value to the St. Mary’s and support. This module is an IB Programme. Our Science and excellent way to promote group Leadership departments choose dynamics and to teach students Pali courses that are connected to interpersonal skills that will last the IB Learner Profiles and Areas a lifetime. of Interaction. Students During the also take a walk PALI INSTITUTE Ground-Based through the San Initiatives Course, Bernardino Forest GRADE 7 students work as a to learn about this group to solve a task while respecting ecosystem. They identify the local the needs and feelings of others. flora and fauna and have a better Left to their own devices, students understanding of ecology and the approach unfamiliar situations and importance of local environments. learn how to collect information, Through the Energy Dilemma analyze a situation, create a plan Course, students learn about the


Private art class at the Guggenheim Museum, New York

Exploring our California history at Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento

and follow it through. Through the Ethical Leadership Course, students explore the concepts of morals and ethics, and how both apply to individuals and society. They also learn how personal experiences can affect ideals and decision-making. They expand their understanding of world views and the factors that shape them. The Low Ropes Course promotes advanced communication and critical-thinking skills. The challenging group activities require

energy challenges they face in the 21st century. They complete this course with a realistic understanding of energy resources and the concept of sustainability. At the end of the 5-day program, students reflect on their experience and what they learned. They assess personal strengths and limitations they recognized during their stay at Pali.

Studying intently in the fresh air on Catalina

By engaging students in group cooperation, teambuilding activities, and goal-setting while at Pali, students learn mutual respect, appreciate diversity, practice advanced methods of leadership and gain essential interpersonal skills to help them throughout their lives. Pali Institute is an outdoor education and science camp located in the San Bernardino Mountains.

“In the woods we return to reason and faith.” RALPH WALDO EMERSON

he annual New York City sculptures of the late American Fine Arts Field Study took artist John Chamberlain); a place this year from Friday, Broadway performance of Evita April 13 – Tuesday, April 17. Visual starring Ricky Martin; a jazz Arts instructor Roxanne Kane concert at Lincoln Center; a Scruggs and Performing Arts Christian children’s concert at instructor Dan Carnegie Hall; and Fineberg escorted a tour of Lincoln NEW YORK 21 students and 18 Center for the parent chaperones on a Performing Arts. ARTS TRIP whirlwind cultural arts Multicultural adventure through the Big Apple! dining experiences were another Highlights of the trip included focus of the trip, and visits to Sofrito visits to three museums (including (fine Puerto Rican dining); Café the elegant Frick Collection, the Fiorello opposite Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and which serves Northern Italian the Guggenheim Museum where cuisine; the world famous Carnegie students enjoyed a hands-on work- Deli; and Smith and Wollensky, a shop inspired by the museum’s traditional American steakhouse, current exhibition featuring served to ensure that the excursion the modern “found materials” would be memorable.


Skating at Rockefeller Center, New York


"Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral." JOHN BURROUGHS

Exploring the mines of the Mother Lode ... in the rain

St. Mary’s students demonstrate perfect decorum during class in the Old School House, Sacramento

St. Mary’s Alumnus

Chris Kateyiannis earns National Merit recognition More than 1.5 million juniors nationwide take the PSAT test each year. Just 3 percent of those students score high enough to be recognized by the National Merit Society, and this year, St. Mary’s alumnus Chris Kateyiannis is one of that exclusive group!





Chris graduated from St. Mary’s in 2009. He transferred from another private school in 5th grade, and attributes much of his academic success to his St. Mary’s teachers and the rigor of the curriculum. “The strong academics at St. Mary’s and the annual ERB testing really helped Chris prepare for high school and have enabled him to succeed in prestigious national competitions,” explained his proud mother Cynthia. In 6th, 7th and 8th grades, Chris won State High Honors for his test scores, and in 8th grade was awarded the Grand Prize by the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program, being invited to Baltimore to be recognized for his achievements. “My strongest subjects have always been math and the sciences,” remembers Chris, “and I became so much better at English and writing with the help of my St. Mary’s teachers. I was also in ASB in middle school where Mr. Cox helped me develop personal and leadership skills.” His success continues at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, where he is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate programme and maintaining a 4.37 GPA. Chris plans to apply to prestigious colleges including Columbia and the University of Chicago. “I plan to double major in engineering and international studies. “I would love to work in an international arena, perhaps with the UN, the State Department or an NGO,” explains Chris. “I am also studying Mandarin Chinese, and hope to participate in a Study Abroad program in China.” Mandarin is his fourth language; at St. Mary’s he was able to continue his studies of French, “THE STRONG ACADEMICS AT ST. MARY’S adding to his knowledge of Greek. AND THE ANNUAL ERB TESTING REALLY HELPED Aside from his studies, Chris finds CHRIS PREPARE FOR HIGH SCHOOL AND HAVE time to act as VP of the youth group ENABLED HIM TO SUCCEED IN PRESTIGIOUS at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church NATIONAL COMPETITIONS. CHRIS’ MOM CYNTHIA in Irvine, where he helps with many charitable programs. This summer, he is working part time for a caterer, enhancing his cookery skills. He played lacrosse at St. Mary’s and Santa Margarita, ran track and will be part of the cross-country team in the fall. He enjoys hanging out with friends at the beach, skiing and traveling, which keeps him busy, but that’s fine with Chris. “It’s great to try different things,” he says. “You may be great at some and not so strong at others, but trying and aiming to do your best always teaches you something new, and will lead to success.”

S T . M A R Y ’ S


alumni news, notes and photos






Pierre is a 2008 graduate of Laguna Beach High School and a 2012 graduate of Chapman University, which he attended on an academic scholarship. Pierre graduated with honors and with the designation of scholar athlete. He enjoyed playing varsity water polo for Chapman and earned All-American honors during his time there. Pierre graduates with a major in history and minor in anthropology. He plans to spend four months traveling in Asia before pursuing a vocation in research.

Margarita is a 2011 graduate of Sage Hill School where she was a member of the school’s Honor Committee, Dance Ensemble and Dance Team. She graduated with high honors and is currently a student at the University of Notre Dame. Margarita will spend the summer as an intern with Price Waterhouse Coopers.


BRYCE SHELDON Bryce is a 2010 graduate of Aliso Niguel High School and recently completed his plebe year as a student at the United States Naval Academy. Bryce is a goalie on the USNA Water Polo team.

Breanna is a 2008 graduate of Aliso Niguel High School and a 2012 graduate of UCLA. While at UCLA Breanna was a member of the club water polo team and part of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She plans to attend medical school.



Leigh is a 2011 graduate of Santa Margarita Catholic High School and is currently enrolled at Texas A & M University where she will graduate in the class of 2015.

LAUREN EDWARDS Lauren is a 2009 graduate of Santa Margarita Catholic High School and will graduate from Texas Christian University in 2013.

MELISA SEYHUN Melisa is a 2009 graduate of Aliso Niguel High School and will graduate from The George Washington University in 2013 where she is studying Political Science and History. Melisa plans to continue onto law school after graduation where she hopes to study U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Law. She currently lives in Washington D.C.

We would love to hear from you. Email your notes and photos to


TAYLOR RAZZANO Taylor is a 2011 graduate of Santa Margarita Catholic High School. She is currently enrolled at the University of Arizona.

CLASS OF 2008 CHAS HARMON Chas recently came back to St. Mary’s to speak to the Track Club about his experiences as a student at St Mary’s. He is a recent inductee into the St Mary’s Track Club Hall of Fame and a 2012 graduate from JSerra High School. Chas will begin school at Santiago Canyon College in September on a full track scholarship. He plans to study fire technology to become a fireman.




MONIQUE FARHA Monique Farha is entering her junior year at JSerra High School where she has maintained a 4.4 GPA. Monique is the recipient of the 2012 Sophomore Faculty Award and was recently recognized for her contribution to the Imagination Celebration by Arts Orange County. She is the incoming President of Caring Cupcakes, a club that throws birthday parties for children who cannot afford them and also volunteers at Laura’s House and The Boys and Girls Club of San Juan Capistrano.

CLASS OF 2011 PAIGE RATLIFF Paige recently finished her freshman year at JSerra High School where she played volleyball and swam on the swim team. Some of her closest friends at JSerra are from her time at St. Mary’s.


Melena, is a 2012 graduate of Laguna Beach High School where she graduated with honors. She will attend Stanford University where she will play varsity water polo and plans to major in marine biology. She travels extensively to Europe to visit family and continue with her French. This December, Melena will complete her commitment with the National Charity League of Laguna Beach and will be debuted with other St. Mary’s classmates, Bridgette Alvarez, Zoe Chichelo, Brynne McGovern, Jacqueline Adams, Jordan Davis and Tara Rose Cassano. She is planning a summer trip with friends before heading to Stanford University.






Alexa was selected as one of ten $5,000 recipients of The Disneyland® Resort Scholarship Program – Celebrating Community Service. The program recognizes ten exceptional Orange County high school graduates who demonstrated excellence in volunteerism and leadership and who are committed to making a difference in their community. At Mater Dei High School, she was a member of the Monarch Chapter of the National Charity League for the past six years where she has volunteered more than 1,100 hours for Laura’s House, Family Assistance Ministries, Susan G. Komen, and Miocean. Alexa will attend Syracuse University in the fall where she plans to major in photography and minor in deaf studies.

Congratulations to Santa Margarita Catholic High School valedictorian Hayley Ritterhern, an honor bestowed upon the senior who has earned the highest GPA over seven semesters. Hayley is a part of Santa Margarita’s International Baccalaureate Programme, a program that gives academically talented and highly motivated students an opportunity to take IB courses and earn an internationally recognized diploma. Hayley plans to attend Stanford University where she is hoping to major in biomedical engineering.

Non-Profit U.S. Postage PAID Laguna Niguel, CA Permit No. 1091

ST. MARY’S SCHOOL 7 Pursuit, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656


AROUND THE WORLD IN 18 HOLES ! St. Mary’s 15th Annual Golf Classic! EL NIGUEL COUNTRY CLUB Join us on a whirlwind tour of golf around the globe, with contests and prizes at holes named for notable destinations. It will be a day of fun and fellowship, and your support will help furnish our students with the latest educational technology.

For more information or to register, visit or contact Claudia Kechejian, at 949.448.9027 x331 or

Summer 2012 - St. Mary's Magazine  

St. Mary's School Magazine Summer 2012 issue. St. Mary's is an independent co-ed day school serving students from Preschool (2-yrs old) th...

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