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June 1, 2014


The 2013-2014 academic school-year is almost in the books and it is a natural time to reflect. If I'm being honest, I am currently somewhat deflated due to the most recent events surrounding the disqualification of our baseball team that was finding great success in the post-season playoffs. As most of you probably know by now, our amazing Varsity baseball team was disqualified from competition this week by CIF on a technicality. (Whiffle Ball warm-ups were done overhand, not underhand, and in front of the players not to the side)   Despite appeals to the other school and to the CIF commissioner, the ruling stands and our season has officially come to an abrupt end.


I take responsibility for this violation; we made a mistake. It was not malicious or meant to give Peninsula High an advantage. We will do a better job in the future to make sure that we have read the rules more carefully. That being said, if the tables were turned, I would have expected my coach to walk over to the opposing coach and to inform him/her that they were warming up incorrectly; that's called sportsmanship. I would only file a protest if the opposing team did not comply after a conversation. We would not have stood by and videotaped the event with the intent to "win at any cost."


Upon reflection, I am buoyed by the following quote from Maya Angelou; "You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it."


The longer I ponder this quote the more my resolve grows to cope with difficult situations to the best of my ability, and, if possible, to even welcome them because they challenge me to grow. I also resolve not to dwell on the negative, but to revisit the wonderful events of this school year, which include:

  • Watching our baseball team play with heart and soul, and then admiring how they have coped with this difficult situation with dignity and integrity
  • The fun and joy of the physics boat races that just took place in our beautiful and state of the art swimming pool
  • The love, time and generosity of those people that helped make the new Jackie Prindle Pool a reality
  • The laughter that I hear from the students in the Skills For Independence Garden as they plant, nurture and harvest their crops
  • The passion our students demonstrate in competitions, performances and community service
  • Watching the class competitions during lunch and the daily student body events that add to the spirit of Peninsula High
  • The athletes that "keep it classy" as they compete and bring home the hardware
  • The Zoo and fans who also "keep it classy" as they support our athletes
  • The vitality of our student body and their "can do" attitude

It was, in totality, a great year. Yes, it had its rough patches but I, personally, will endeavor to rise above and grow from the adversity. I am grateful for your support, the privilege of educating your children and the opportunity to learn and improve.


The Peninsula High Service Learning Leadership class recently collaborated with our Skills For Independence students to add personal touches to our Pen Garden. The garden has become a very important Peninsula High project and we hope to expand next year.   I would also like to publicly thank the generous anonymous donor who supports this project. This community is full of angels.


On Tuesday night, 7.8 million dollars in scholarships were celebrated and acknowledged at the Annual Peninsula High Awards Night ceremony. A special thank you to Terri Lewallen our College Career Center Director and Terri Koyanagi our Scholarship and Financial Aid Director, for their hours of work and dedication that made this evening possible. Thank you to our teachers and community presenters who have joined us for the evening. Thank you to my Associate Principals Alicia Foulk and Micah Farrell for their assistance in announcing the awards. Thank you to Mary Fournier and Adam Wolven for their help in organizing and presenting the awards. And finally, a thank you to parents for entrusting Peninsula High with such outstanding young people.



The Pen High Annual Physics Boat Races once again were one of the highlights of the school-year. Big thanks to Physics teachers Mark Greenberg and Mike Spalding for all their efforts in making this event possible each year. I was most impressed with the organization of the races, the environmentally friendly components used, and the great attention to the cleanup process. I personally wish to thank our Athletic Director, Wendell Yoshida for allowing us to use our beautiful pool and the tremendous respect students demonstrated by following the rules that protect our pool. A great Panther effort!


Thank you to ASB for ending the year with a full week of spirit activities, ending with Friday's wild class competition at lunch.



Congratulations to Blake Bauer, the grand finale winner of the Principal's Advisory Council trash pick-up drawing for an iPad.  Thanks to the entire Peninsula High School community for their efforts in keeping our campus clean.  

Congratualtions to Blake Bauer


Congratulations to the staff of our literary magazine, Beard Full of Butterflies, as they have produced yet another amazing magazine that is sure to win awards as it does every year! Well done staff! Thank you to Editor-in-Chief Fatima Khan, senior editors Audrey Omidsalar and Loren Chen as well as junior editors William Whittenbury,Ellen He,Rachel Sweetnam, andCristina Taylor for doing such an amazing job! The staff has some extra if you didn't get one, you may purchase one now. They are available in the Student Store. Also, if you are interested in joining next year's staff and taking the class (which is a UC elective) please see Mrs. Okamoto in H65 or simply email her. You may also send her submissions (short stories, poems, photos, drawings and doodles) for next year's magazine if you are an underclassman. Congratulations again to the staff for producing such great work!


Congratulations to the La Pantera staff on the publication of the 2014 yearbook! Special recognition goes to the three editors-in-chief:Lisa BanLuke Southwell and Javana Zahedi. Their leadership, supported by the diligent efforts of the managing editor Madeleine Kruener, the head photographers (Sarah Anderson, Daniya Haji, Edwin Jacobson and Chris Michel) and over forty section editors, photographers and reporters, inspired meaningful, thorough and essential coverage of "Somewhere Only We Know." Thank you for memorializing this year at Peninsula High. 




The Spring Musical, Oklahoma! was entered in the Jerry Herman Awards, honoring high school musical theatre. The Jerry Hermans are one of many regional competitions that are a part of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards. The awards show is tonight June 1 at the Pantages Theatre.

The orchestra, led by Mr. Steiner has been nominated for Best Orchestra. Holly Gould (12th grade) has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Ado Annie Carnes. We were also nominated for Best Scenic Design. Juniors Ian Axberg and Hanna Hilden are semi-finalists for Best Lead Actor and Best Lead Actress and have spent the weekend auditioning and rehearsing at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood.  Ian will be singing a solo at the awards.   If either wins, they will be flying to New York to compete for the national level. 


Peninsula High Music Boosters is pleased to announce the 3rd annual Panther Music Mentors program!    Last year's program was a huge success with 45 volunteer high school mentors coaching over 100 students in strings, brass, woodwinds, and voice.  This program aims to grow music education on the peninsula and compliments all formal music programs.  Mentors introduce students to new instruments, help them with music they are learning elsewhere, and inspire them to become better musicians.  Volunteer mentors gain volunteer hours, teaching experience, and renewed inspiration to continue their own musical education.  This program is FREE to PVPUSD students (9 years and older)!  Amuse Music makes it even easier for your student to participate by providing instrument rentals for the 6 weeks of the program for only $15.  The program meets in the brand new Peninsula High Band Room and runs from June 17th toJuly 24th on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Sessions are from 2:00 - 3:00 pm and from 3:00 - 4:00 pm.  For more information and to sign up for classes, visit our website at under the tab Panther Music Mentors or contact us at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">


The students listed in the link below have met the criteria for the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program with a Selection Index of 201 or above. Of the 1.5 million program entrants, each of these students is among the 50,000 highest-scoring participants who will be recognized in the fall of their senior year.

Of the 50,000 highest scorers in the nation,16,000 will be named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists, representing top scorers in each state and approximately 34,000 will be named Commended Students. Congratulations!



Thank you to all the outstanding students who applied for the position of Peninsula High Student Representative to the PVPUSD School Board. We were extremely impressed with all our applicants and we wish we could have selected everyone. In the end, one person was selected to fill this important position. Congratulations to Michael McFarland who will serve as Pen High's Student Representative to the School Board for the 2014-2015 school-year.


Pen Junior, David Steinberg, once again has a crossword puzzle published in the LA Times. 



Wednesday's International Luncheon was a huge success, thanks to the organizers; Linda Moriwaki, Ellie Kawada, Leslie School, Tracey Brown and Susie Yin, along with all of the terrific members of the Korean Parent Group, Chinese Parent Group, Japanese Parent Group an all of the wonderful parents who donated international food dishes. The Peninsula High staff wishes to express their most sincere gratitude for this wonderful year-end event. We appreciate the opportunity to gather together each year and visit over lunch before we head in different directions over the summer. 

International Luncheon
International Luncheon Committee


On Friday, May 30, Andrew McFarland was honored at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Council of PTSA's Honorary Service Awards. Andrew's essay on "In What Ways Has the PTA Influenced Your Life?"  was selected as the Peninsula High winner. Congratulations!

Congratulations Andrew


Last week I reported on a calligraphy project in our Chinese Language classes. Following is a link to the Chinese Daily News article.  


English Honors and English Advanced Placement courses have required readings.


 Counseling Office & College Career Center (CCC) News

From Alicia Foulk, Associate Principal


Looking for a summer internship?

If so PVNET Technology & Computer Center is offering summer internship in:

*Business Operations and Customer Service                                    *Robotics

*Research & Development in support of ongoing projects             *Mapping Systems                      

*Computer support and repair                                                     *Geography

*Lab assistant Duties                                                                                *Electronics

*3D Software                                                                                               *Programming

*3D Printing Systems                                                                    *UAV Basics (Quad copters) & Flight Theory

*Video Editing Systems                                                                *GIS (Geographic Information System)

*Municipal services such as Public Works & Planning                    *And more.....


Internships begin June 9th and conclude August 22ndMondayFriday 8:30am-12pm or1:30pm -4:15pm. To apply go to www.PVNET.COM. PVPHS students can earn Exploratory Internship credit on their high school transcript. If you are interested please see Mrs. Gerber in the Counseling Office.


SoCal ROC for Fall 2014: Registration forms are available in the Counseling Office for Fall Career/ Technical Courses offered by SoCal ROC. To see the SoCal ROC counselor Pat Morrow, please make an appointment in the Counseling Office.


2014-2015 Schedule Change Requests: The deadline to request schedule changes for the 2014-15 school year is July 1. You must email Ms. Foulk by July 1st for any changes to the current course requests. Please remember counselors do not work during the summer. Ms. Foulk will only respond to scheduling requests via email. If you have questions about scheduling, you need to contact Ms. Foulk: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  


Non-PVPSS Summer School Classes: If you are planning on taking a summer school course somewhere other than Palos Verdes Peninsula Summer School (, you must get approval from your counselor prior to enrolling. Please see your counselor for the required form. IMPORTANT NOTECounselors do not work in the summer, so students must complete the appropriate paperwork and request approval prior to the last day of school, June 5th. Any course taken without prior counselor approval will not be added to your PVPHS transcript.

Senior Transcript Requests: Seniors!!  It's that time of the year....Order your final transcript to be sent to the college/university you will be attending in the fall. If you are a Senior Student Athlete you need to order your final transcript to be sent to the NCAA.   Please see Mrs. Juge in the counseling office.


Rising Seniors

Please use this summer to familiarize yourself with Scholarship List on Naviance. Senior year will be busy so get a jump start on applications.

  • All scholarships will be open on Naviance over the summer even though due dates will change slightly for the class of 2015.
  • Download a few applications for local scholarships (given by community organizations) to practice completing a few because most applications do not change from year to year.
  • Look at the timing of scholarships to make sure you don't miss any you would like to apply for in your senior year.
    • Check out the Fly in Programs - fully paid Fall weekend trips sponsored by select colleges to diversify their campuses. Amherst, Bowdoin, Cornell, Middlebury, Tufts are a few examples but there are many more on Naviance.
    • Applications may be due as early as June or July so review requirements now to see if you will need something from your counselor.
    • Peninsula students who have attended these Fly in Programs have found them to be extremely valuable.
      • Designate a day/time each week to research colleges and scholarships. You will thank yourself when September comes around.

 To access the scholarship list: Go to the "Colleges" tab on Naviance and scroll down to the "scholarship link" at the bottom left of the page

  • Use the "browse by category" drop down box in the middle of the page to select the different types of scholarships: Fly in Programs, Local Scholarships, Community Service Scholarships, Essay Contests, etc.

For questions, please email Mrs. Koyanagi at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  


Practice SAT or ACT Test, June 14th - The CCC will host a Practice SAT or ACT Test as well as a Parent Q&A on Saturday, June 14th. These practice tests do not count in any way but help students to better understand and simulate the testing environment. Interested students must sign up in the CCC with $20 cash or check payable to PVPHS. All parents are welcome to attend the Q&A even if your student is not taking the practice test. 

For answers to many of your questions please refer to the College Career Center portion of our school website.

Mark your calendars now and plan to attend the Colleges That Change Lives College Fair onWednesday, July 30 or Thursday, July 31. For details please visit:



The new Weight Room and SMERT Building are progressing on schedule. These facilities are simply buildings with no frills. Please help us create specialized learning environments and a well-equipped weight room.

Thank you to our PTSA for sponsoring this fundraiser!

Buy a Brick...Fund the new Peninsula High

Science / Technology Building


Fitness / Weight Room

Grand Opening - March, 2015

***Seniors (and future seniors) - Here is an opportunity to leave a legacy.  Buy a brick inscribed with your name, graduation date, or anything you'd like to be remembered for. You can purchase a brick with your friends, club, organization or sports team




Have a great last week of school and good luck on finals!Paw
Mitzi Cress