Palos Verdes PeninsulaHigh School

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Principal's Update

         June 11, 2017
Thank you to the Class of 2017 for a wonderful week of celebration after four amazing years. I wish you all the best in the future, and I hope that your Panther experience has prepared you for any challenge that you might encounter.  It has been an honor to serve as your principal.   Always remember to enjoy the journey!
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The PVPHS twenty-sixth Baccalaureate Ceremony was held on Sunday, June 4.  Senior Class Vice President Lily Judge opened the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance and Senior Class President, Taiki Matsuda welcomed the graduates and guests.  Teachers, Tim Coleman and Mike Hoeger were asked to speak and shared inspiring messages for the Class of 2017.  Student speakers were Anna Ashai and Claire Kim-Narita who took us down memory lane, through their yearbook adventures.  Performers included Charles Choi, Pete Makrygiannis, Austin Kelly, Yousef El Magharbel, Sophia Goodin, Trevor Rinzler, and Joseph Sweetnam.   The Class of 2017 honored Mrs. Lewallen with the song "You've Got a Friend" led by Austin Kelly. The program ended with a fabulous video prepared by Katelyn Parker called "A Look Back."   Following the ceremony, the PTSA hosted a lovely reception in the amphitheatre.  
On June 6, the 12th annual ELD Graduation Reception was held in the College Career Center.  Seniors who have been participants in our ELD program at Peninsula High were honored at a luncheon attended by teachers, counselors, administrators and families.  Thank you to Anne Marie Voegtlin, for organizing this annual event.
Thank you to our teachers, parents, students, administration, staff, district, ASB, and community for making the 2017 graduation a memorable experience.  In particular, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to Activities Director, Season Pollock, for ensuring that every aspect of the day was perfect. This event requires months of planning, and her attention to every detail is extraordinary. 
Thank you to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kim Fricker and Board members Linda Reid, Suzanne Seymour, and Barbara Lucky for accepting the class and handing out diplomas.  ASB President Hutchins Hershberger welcomed the crowd and introduced the song "Proud to Be An American" by Lee Greenwood as the Tiger Squadron flew overhead; a beautiful gift to the Class of 2017.  Class Speakers Raam Tambe and Daniel Olivo inspired us with their powerful messages. Our talented musicians, Hana Ayoub, Anna Farias, Rishi Gattu, Alessandro Cutri, Yousef El Magharbel, Joseph Sweetnam, and Julianna Younis were simply exceptional. Thank you also to the senior members of our choir under the direction of Dan Doctor for a beautiful version of the Star Spangled Banner, and our fabulous orchestra under the direction of Fred Steiner.
Thank you to our wonderful Grad Night Chairs for their efforts in creating a fabulous end of high school experience for the Class of 2017.
Grad Night Committee, Class 2017:
Co-Chairs: Marie Chura, Sandy Nemeth
Treasurer:  Dawn Fuh
Registrar: Caitlin Szieff
Grad Night 2017 was a spectacular success!  Nearly 400 PVPHS Graduates were all smiles all night long as they enjoyed In & Out Burger, Go-Kart racing, casino games, karaoke, photo booths, thrilling attractions, music, dancing with special sound and lighting, and much much more!  Kudos to our exceptionally well-behaved, polite, and fun Class of 2017!  Bus #7 rocked with chaperones Doug Kato and Jules Kanhan (long time repeat chaperone)! Scott Ramsay (parent of a PVPHS graduate) of Support Broadcasting Inc. brought his crew in on Thursday to construct an amazing, Coachella-like structure full of special lighting, sound, and a fog machine!  Jana Wallace (PVPHS parent) provided her skill as a professional photographer riding on the bus and staying up all night with us!  Pictures will be posted within a week or so and Class of 2017 parents & students will be notified of the link.  It was a fantastic, 100% successful event!  Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped with stuffing the lanyards, setting up & working in the gym, helping at the event, and greeting us when we arrived back at PVPHS at 5:30am Friday.  
Sampling of Grad Nite & gym photos by Karen Juncosa & Marie Chura
The 2017 Grad Nite Committee would like to thank the following volunteers for all their help with celebrating the amazing Class of 2017!
Overnight Chaperones:  (Many are dedicated REPEAT chaperones!)
Marina Guirguis                               Sherin Moussa                                
Jules Kanhan                                   Doug Kato
Dave Chura                                      Vanessa Ramirez
Cecilia Laird                                      Jill Surace
Nagla Ghaly                                      Oki Lamas 
Terri Eisemann  (Nurse)                    Mark Pranke            
LaWanda Zscheile                          Yessi Ramirez
Dawn Fuh                                         Marie Chura
Sandy Nemeth        
Gym Coordinators - Selina Lai and Kako Silvestre                                         
Jana Wallace - Grad Nite Photographer, Jana Wallace Photography
Scott Ramsay - Support Broadcasting Inc.
Walteria Fundraiser - Janet Louie
Friar Tux Fundraiser - Marie Chura
Prize Coordinator: Kammy Wong - Purchased & packaged over 60 prizes including many gift cards which were donated by parents + prize donations from the PTSA!
Steve Howard, Senior Director of Food Service & Central Kitchen, Bristol Farms, RHE - donated water and cookies for the new graduates in the gym!
Gym Volunteers - Grad Nite 2017
Annemarie Wargin, La Wanda Zscheille, Jeanne Hanaoka, Erika Hashimoto, Shari Shigenaga, Terri Eisemann, Grace Kymn, Atsuko Suganuma, Kumiko Tominaga, Mayumi Ogawa, Taeka Maeda, Kay Patel, Brian Shes, Bill Szieff, Caitlyn Szieff, Doug Kato, Mr. Wedekind, Swan Wedekind, Hurt Hay, Susan Huy, Cathy Oda, Dorsey Oshiro, Mayumi Jung, Pam Woo, Tammy Arcilla, Carol Ferdows, Drina Semenjuk, Noriko Ozawa, Sun Ja Han, Kaori Sato, Lily Sheh, Michelle Dokko, Susan Prock, Lisa Alon. Jana Wallace, Karen Juncosa, Nicole Chura, Dave Chura, Linda Jerry,  Bettina Kessaris, Kristen Linden, Dawn Fuh, Leslie Scow, Selina Lai, Andrew Lai, Kako Silvestre, and Griffin Sheh.

Morning GYM greeter volunteers
Judy Kreibel, Leslie Scow, Bill Szieff, Christine Ko, Caitlyn Szieff, Terri Mitani, Connie Paik
Pen High Drama was honored to perform a scene from the Music Man at the Jerry Herman Awards.  Only four schools were asked to perform.  Lucas Grenda who portrayed Marcellus in Music Man won Best Supporting Actor.  It was an exciting evening that capped off an incredible year for our drama program.  Thank you to Drama Director, Seth Cohen, for providing amazing opportunities for our students.

ASB President: Kai Kato 
ASB Vice President: Matt Abracosa
Commissioner of Boys Athletics: Jacob Hangartner
Commissioner of Girls Athletics: Tobi Adeoye
Senior Class President: Ryan Daar and  Grace Whitten 
Senior Class Vice President:  Konrad Babraj 
Junior Class President: Natalie Wong 
Junior Class Vice President: Rhys Hershberger  
Sophomore Class President:  Sabrina Tang
Sophomore Class Vice President: Sydney Choi
Freshman Class President: TBD in Fall 2017
Freshman Class Vice President: TBD in Fall 2017
Commissioners of Publicity:  Alyssa Yeh and Troy Simpkins
Commissioner of Internal Relations:  Matthew Meskin and Jane Prock
Commissioners of Spirit: John Skoblar, Lauryn Williams and  Kelly  Van Boxtel
Commissioner of Technology: Kaylen Ng and Shefali Mistry
Zoo Keepers: Ethan Burrage and Isabella  Navarro
Commissioners of Community Service 
and Fundraising:  George Ozawa and John  Zuercher
Commissioners of Art:   Camille Arai, Hallie King and Yinka Braimeh
Historians: Thomas Jankowski and Maya  Williamson
Commissioners of Clubs: Nicole Hay and Max Hampel
ASB Treasurer:  Ashley Knebel
Commissioners of Sound: Xander Wong and J'Lyn Perry
ASB Secretary:  Morgan Maes
PVPUSD Student Board Member: Ashley Knebel
Ashley Knebel is honored to have the opportunity to represent Peninsula as a member of the PVPUSD Board of Education. In her past three years at Peninsula she has been an active member of the school's Model United Nations program and will serve as the club's Chef du Cabinet next year. As a member of the La Pantera yearbook program, she has developed a passion for photography and is excited to serve as the program's head photographer next year. She is also a member of Link Crew and will serve as ASB treasurer next year. Ashley has been a member of the panther softball program since freshman year and was elected captain the past three years. In her free time, Ashley volunteers regularly at the Hermosa Animal Hospital and works as a camp counselor at Rolling Hills Country Day School. She hopes her participation in various activities has prepared her for this position next year!
As a representative for Peninsula, Ashley hopes she can share the various perspectives of Peninsula students with the Board of Education. She believes this position is an opportunity to draw attention to the amazing aspects of Peninsula while also advocating for the changes the Peninsula community wants to make. Finally, she believes that this position is an excellent chance to increase communication between students and the school board while also making students more aware of how the school board functions.
Congratulations Ashley, I am confident you will do an excellent job.
Mrs. Pupich's and Ms. Valerio's AP Spanish classes were able to further their connection with the Hispanic culture by learning how to dance salsa.  The students were fortunate enough to have Mr. Zambrano as their dance teacher.  They thoroughly enjoyed learning the steps and were able to learn a routine before the end of the period.  They twirled each other around and were able to experience part of the rich Hispanic culture and have fun after the AP exams ended.    
Salsa Dancing
All students should read this Washington Post article about social media.
Evan Kim (9th grade) and Jungin Kim (10th grade) have been awarded "2017 Korea Education Center Scholarship".  The program is to recognize outstanding students in Korean language program throughout United States and the awardees were selected among students who showed achievements and interests in learning Korean language, history and culture.  This Scholarship and Summer Program in Korea are supported by Korean Education Center in LA and coordinated by Foundation of Korean Language and Culture.  Jungin Kim is honored to represent Peninsula High School in the Summer Program from July 5th to July 21st.    
Korean Education Scholarships

If you want a fun way to make a difference, join us at PressFriends!  We are an all-volunteer, youth-led nonprofit, and since 2008 we have mentored more than 3,500 underserved elementary students and printed more than 115 newspapers. You don't need to be a great writer to volunteer with PressFriends, you just need to enjoy working with younger kids.

We work on school sites or on the sites of community centers. This summer, we have 60 volunteer opportunities. Our summer programs are ArtFriends, STEMFriends, SportsFriends, DanceFriends, MusicFriends, BookFriends, and MUNFriends, which are designed and run by our high school student board members and held at local community centers. Sign up for the new volunteer training on June 16 at
Registration Volunteer sign-ups are now available!  Follow the link below to sign up for your favorite registration job.  Never volunteered to help with registration??  Welcome, we would love to have your help.  Over 100 panther parents volunteer each fall!  
Click on THIS LINK to sign up.  Make sure to include your first and last name and click SAVE after you have chosen your spot.  
Junior and senior registration times are in the morning and sophomore and freshmen registration time is in the afternoon.  When you sign up to volunteer, your child will receive a wristband to enter the Registration Day Fast Pass line.
If you are a PVPUSD employee and would like to volunteer, please email Nancy Shafer at  We have spots at registration that can only be filled by district personnel and we would love your help!
Registration Day is Monday, August 21 and Late Registration is Monday, August 28 (the first day of school).
 If you missed this week's Sports Update 
you can read it here

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I hope the entire Panther community has a wonderful summer vacation enjoying the company of family and friends. 
With gratitude for twenty-two wonderful years at Peninsula High,
Mitzi Cress