top 10

Top 10% Seniors at Dana

Every year, the staff of THE PAPER features the most distinguished seniors, maintaining the highest GPA in their grade throughout high school. Congratulations!

Note: Use command-f to search for specific names

Amy Liu

Amy Liu, accomplished scholar and valedictorian, friendly personality and champion of the fine arts, will be attending Swarthmore College in the fall, where she is most looking forward to “meeting new friends and exploring new fields of study.” Like many first-time freshmen, Amy is “very excited about the transformation [she] will experience” during her collegiate and young adult years.

Clearly, Amy has prioritized her studies throughout high school, but has also been a member of the dance team, to boot. In fact, she cites Dance Team as “one of [her] favorite memories of Dana”—that and “watching the fireworks after the senior half-time show.” She has valued “all the late-night practices” which “have allowed [the team] to become a big family.” In addition to dance, Amy also enjoys playing the piano.

As far as advice to underclassmen goes, Amy keeps it simple: “be genuine to yourself and follow your heart,” she advises.

To Amy,  “the amiableness of students and caring teachers who always want the best for their students” have always been apparent and are what she loves most about Dana Hills. She accredits her “friends’ trust and [their] indestructible bonds” for getting her through high school (plus coffee “which often help[ed]”). “Knowing that they have always got [her] back, [she] was able to take risks and explore things out of [her] comfort zone,” for which she is grateful. “Even during difficult times, their positive spirits and warm smiles always lift [her] up.” Of her friends and teachers, Amy would “specifically like to thank Niloo Ebrahimi and Miss Jakovich for encouraging [her] to strive to be [her] better self.” Having so thoroughly relished her time at Dana, Amy “will miss [her] friends the most, for they have supported [her] in every way.”

-Grace Reskey

Audrey Taylor

Audrey Taylor, a rock climber, baker, clothing reseller, harry potter re-reader and elite test taker, describing herself as a “high functioning lazy person,” will be attending her dream school, UCLA. In anticipation, Audrey deeply looks forward to the independence, excitement, and road to discovering her passions that college will bring. The transition will be bittersweet though, as the weight of these feelings do rival that of how much she will miss her cats. Them, along with the people she has met, which make up her favorite thing about Dana other than “every interaction [she has] had with Steve, and Mr. Rosser’s AP Physics class. The girl’s bathroom lines, however, will not be reminisced. 

If she could change anything about her tenure, she would wear sweatpants more. She advises underclassmen, “don’t forget to relax. Balance is key. Things are going to work out.” To thank, she has her friends, family, coffee and quizlet.

-Sofia Ciraulo

Jackson Flemming

A star in the classroom and on the baseball diamond, Jackson Fleming is truly the epitome of a scholar athlete. As a two-year letterman on the baseball team, Jackson recorded an average 0.393 on-base percentage and was the starting shortstop. 

Looking Back, Jackson recalls the Las Vegas Baseball Tournament as his favorite memory of high school. The tournament served as a bonding experience, in which he grew closer with his teammates. He noted that the tournament “was fun, having a weekend of just the boys and playing some quality baseball.” As a whole, baseball was also a stress-reliever for Jackson. He reflected, “Practicing and playing baseball on the field every day definitely helped to clear my mind.” 

Jackson is also known for his other passions, such as surfing and boating. He can frequently be seen surfing at Strands and Salt Creek on his 5’11” Channel Islands shortboard. To the underclassmen, he suggests, “Enjoy this part of your life, and don’t worry about what others think of you. Have fun!”

Jackson will continue his athletic career at Pomona College, where he will play on its joint baseball team with Pitzer College. As part of the Claremont Colleges, the highly-ranked liberal arts college will allow Jackson to study economics in a tight-knit community. 

-Jack Fallon

Lauren Harvey

To Lauren Harvey, physics isn’t exactly rocket science. In fact, her passions for “planetary science” and “nerd stuff in general” as well as experiences in her favorite classes, AP Physics with “R-dog” and AP Calc BC with “Ricey,” have led her to pursue study in astrophysics. She will first attend Saddleback, which she views as “the best option financially,” and will “then transfer to a college of [her] choice, probably UCSB or UCLA.”

Lauren cites Dana’s stunning ocean view, which “every other land-locked beta school” can’t hope to rival, as something she will miss. She adds, “I’ve deeply enjoyed all the times I’ve laughed with friends (or strangers), all the funny or just ridiculous things I’ve seen teachers or other students do, reading the new Dana Prophet…… I mean, THE PAPER editions, school dances, embarrassing group presentations, Dana sports games and almost everything else,” no doubt including the monkeys running amok in Rosser’s room.

Lauren thanks her parents for “providing food and shelter so that [she] could work on school without worrying about like… staying alive (and for supporting [her] of course),” as well as Ms. Rice, Mr. Rosser, Ms. Wallace, and all other teachers “who care so deeply about their students and helping them succeed.” The constant support of her friends and boyfriend, “no matter how much [she] felt like giving up,” also helped Lauren to get through high school.

-Grant Reskey

John Fallon

Jack Fallon will be attending Duke next year to study biology with the goal of attending med school after his undergraduate education. 

On campus, Jack demonstrated his leadership skills through serving as the Digital and Sports Section Editor for THE PAPER, the Public Relations Lead on robotics and the co-founder of Dana’s Med Club. Jack also applied his athletic abilities to sports like soccer and tennis. 

At Duke, Jack will miss Ms. Rice’s AP Calc AB class with the “curvy boys,” who made the difficult course more enjoyable. Lastly, Jack thanks Mr. Hudson for encouraging him to “pursue a biology degree in college.” 

-Max Upp

Charles Gravitt

A National Merit scholar with a brain even bigger than his hair, it is no surprise that Charlie Gravitt is bound for “where fun goes to die”: none other than the University of Chicago. But Charlie is anything but boring, playing a mean game of water polo and Rainbow Six: Siege alike.

Charlie has been extremely active on campus, juggling four years of water polo, a vice president role for the Cleaner Planet Initiative and three years as a Dolphin Ambassador. Charlie has especially appreciated “all the great teachers” at Dana and particularly enjoyed Calc BC with Ms. Rice and AP Chem with Dr. Sharma, who perhaps contributed to his decision to study chemistry in Chicago, where he is confident he will have access to both cutting edge research and internships. And while he will miss “the sun” in Chicago, he looks forward to the opportunity and independence he will find there.

Charlie foremostly thanks his parents because he “wouldn’t be anywhere without [them],” as well as the friends, teachers, and coaches who have helped him get to where he is now. He notes that his dog, Coco, and his “burning desire to prove Chris Samia wrong about anything and everything” kept him going in high school, and probably will for years to come.

-Grant Reskey

Niloofar Ebrahimi

Niloo Ebrahimi is preparing to continue her academic journey at UC Berkeley, where she looks forward to studying computer science at “the #1 Computer Science school in the country.” Regarding her college and post-graduation plans, Niloo looks forward to “new experiences, friends, and making memories.” Her favorite class was AP Physics, where she enjoyed learning from Mr. Rosser. To help her through her tough academic schedule, Niloo enjoyed baking with her “baking bro Claire Valian” as well as coffee. Finally, Niloo would like to thank all her friends for having her back, and Amy Liu specifically for “carrying [her] through high school.”

-Spencer Sabahat

Nathan Martin-Orr

Nate Martin will be attending the University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall with the hopes of pursuing a medical career in the future. Martin was a great student and a high quality basketball player throughout his tenure at Dana Hills. When reflecting on his time in high school, Martin said that he “will miss the countless memories” and claimed these memories “will last forever.” Martin’s favorite memory was the senior halftime show dance during the homecoming football game. Finally, Martin’s advice to the underclassmen is to “cherish every moment because you’ll be done with high school in the blink of an eye.”

-Luke Sterner

Grant Reskey

Grant Reskey, an incredible student and an even better human, will be traveling north to attend the University of California, Berkeley this coming fall. As a lifelong science-lover, Grant was drawn to Berkeley’s “dedicated College of Chemistry” which boasts a “long heritage of groundbreaking research and houses some incredible faculty” which he will utilize as an intended chemical biology major. Ultimately, having felt the energy of Berkeley during his visit last spring, he feels “like [he will] be a part of something big” once he sets foot on campus as a student. 

While Grant put his studies first and foremost, he still managed to find time for extracurriculars, “enjoy[ing] playing electric guitar,” “dabbl[ing] in piano” and “paddling oc’s in the harbor with Dana Outrigger.” Having felt overstretched at times during high school, Grant advises: “don’t fall into the trap of doing any and every activity or extracurricular you can” solely for the sake of college admissions. Instead, he suggests to “focus on a few things you’re truly passionate about and pour your time and energy into those.”

Anyone that knows Grant can attest to his impeccable scholarly habits as well as his character. The words “diligent, fastidious, honest, driven and persistent” come to mind, all of which he models both in the classroom and out.

Grant thanks “[his] wonderful parents, sister, girlfriend, friends and teachers for supporting [him] through it all.” As far as teachers go, he would especially like to voice his appreciation for “Ms. Clarke, Dr. Sharman, Mrs. Monson and Ms. Rice” and their respective classes as well as “Mr. Sampson’s commitment (and Mrs. Sampson’s by extension) to helping [the] newspaper kids put out a great publication.”

-Grace Reskey

Christopher Samia

Student athlete Chris Samia will be attending UC Irvine next year, where he will be pursuing biological science. His favorite things about Dana were the swim and water polo teams, where he has many fond memories. His least favorite thing was the notorious smell of the math hall. The Dana memory that will stand out to him the most is how he was constantly referred to by his older brother’s name throughout high school. When asked if he had any advice for the underclassmen, he suggested, “cover your mouths when you cough.”

-Jacob Herritt

Nicholas DeGraw

Student working during quarantineAfter graduation from Dana, Nick DeGraw will be attending UCI in the fall. He decided to attend UCI because he wanted to “stay at home and commute to school,” as well as getting “the most scholarships.” Nick’s favorite teacher was his APUSH teacher, Mr. Hulse, with his favorite Dana memory being when he did“a presentation about aliens in APUSH and Mr. Hulse wore the tinfoil hat we made for him.” For his success, Nick would like to thank his brother and mom for helping him get to school for his first two years, as well as music; “exploring different bands and artists” helped him get through his studies.

-Spencer Sabahat

Marisa Gaitan

Scholar-athlete Marisa Gaitan has chosen to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for the next four years as a biology major. One of her favorite classes was AP Biology, which was “what sparked [her] interest in science.” Mrs. Monson “inspired [her] to pursue a major in biology.” She most looks forward to “living in a new city and meeting lots of new people.” She will, however, miss seeing all her friends in class everyday. In particular, she wants to “give a big thank you to Claire Valian for always making [her] laugh, even through the worst parts of AP Calc.” 

She also made some of her best memories as a varsity member of track-and-field and cross country, like “going on trips to Hawaii and New York.” She elaborates, “My favorite extracurricular activities were being a part of the cross country and track teams. Joining the team was the best decision I could have made. I met some of my best friends through running, and I will never forget winning the Dana Hills invitational my sophomore year.” She advises underclassmen “to relax and enjoy high school while you can because college seems scary.”

-Rona Darabi

Jake Clayton

Jake Clayton will be attending the University of California, Berkeley in Fall 2020. According to Jake, he selected this university due to the fact that much of his family also attended Cal, it has a great program for his major and it is an all around awesome school. He greatly looks forward to being independent and having a fun time at college. He will most miss the friends he grew close with during the last four years. Jake advises underclassmen to never forget to enjoy their time at Dana, as it goes by faster than one can imagine. His favorite teacher was Ms. Rice and his favorite class was newspaper. His extracurriculars included classical piano and tennis. His best Dana memory is his senior year homecoming. Jake’s favorite thing about Dana Hills was the people he met, while his least favorite thing was the fire alarms. If he could go back in time and do things differently, he would undo all his most embarrassing moments by taking different paths of action. He thanks his friends for always being there for him and his teachers for all their hard work. The thoughts and hopes of going to a good college helped him through high school the most and now his hopes have become a reality.

-James Nollar

Sofia Ferrari

Chosen for its beautiful campus and opportunities, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) will be gaining another Dana student next year, Sofia Ferrari, who is planning on double majoring in philosophy and history and looks forward to “meeting new people and experiencing life in a new place.” Though excited to embark on this new adventure, she will miss the supportive community that Dana provided. To give back this support, she encourages underclassmen “to keep at something that seems hard at first and not to be afraid to ask for help.” As a personal example, she “sometimes wanted to give up on a class that was difficult, but being perseverant and knowing that [she] had teachers to support [her] pulled [her] through.” She also noted that if she were to do one thing differently, she “would probably go to more dances and activities.”

One of her favorite classes was AP Lang with Mr. Valderrama as “it taught [her] new ways to look at and think about the world through writing.” Ferrari enjoys drawing, painting, making jewelry, baking, and designing fashion in her free time. She was able to balance school and extracurriculars through “the support that [she] got from [her] teachers and parents since they were always there to encourage [her] academic endeavors.”

-Rona Darabi

Ryan Abdollahi

Ryan Abdollahi will be attending the University of Southern California in the fall, and will be on the swim team. If you were to meet the man, you would never truly understand his great abilities because of his humbleness. As a freshman, Ryan won CIF for swimming in Division 1. Ryan always has a smile on his face, is always positive and treats everyone with great respect. Ryan would like to thank all his teachers, coaches, his friends and his family for getting him through high school and the tough times. Ryan has definitely left a lasting impression on Dana Hills, especially the senior class, and it will be sad to see him go.

-John O’Melveny

Chloe Plantamura

Jack-of-all-trades Chloe Plantamura excelled in art, lacrosse, cooking, all academic subjects and overall as a person at Dana. She learned that “it’s better to develop relationships with more depth and to pick activities […] that […] make us the happiest, no matter if they make us feel cool or not.”

Dr. Sharma, Mr. Hudson and Mr. Sampson left the strongest marks on Chloe. Her best memories from high school are “the thousands of little moments […] when you […] feel a close bond with your classmates through either laughter, tears, or crazy amounts of stress.” Without insulin, Chloe would not be alive, so she thanks insulin for getting her through high school, first and foremost. She also thanks her friends, and their “weekend ice cream trips, beach days and movie nights that helped [her] unwind and have fun.” Specifically, she owes a lot to Olivia Wettengel for being her closest friend and for “being by [her] side through every grueling AP class, every early morning church lesson and all of the adventures in between.”

Chloe plans to attend BYU, majoring in nursing. She will miss her family, dogs and the California weather while in Provo.

-Olivia Wettengel

Julia Iacono

Julia Iacono will be pursuing a major in psychology at UCLA in Fall 2020. A courageous, ambitious and clever individual, Julia has been a truly valuable student on the campus of DHHS and will undoubtedly be missed. In her senior year, she fulfilled the role of treasurer for the National Honor Society chapter at Dana Hills. Beyond that, she was a member of CSF, a violinist in our school’s orchestra and a member of Interact Club. Her decision to attend UCLA was based upon the university’s impressive academics, location and, of course, #1 dining hall food in the nation. She greatly looks forward to joining clubs and studying abroad in Europe. One thing she will miss from her days at Dana will be the anxiety of leaving for zero period four minutes before it began every morning. When asked what got her through these four years, she said it was the 30 minute tutorials to finish homework and cram study. Julia thanks her parents and her best friends for pushing her not to be scared, but rather take risks and challenge herself. Indeed, everyone at DHHS as well as those who know her best wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors.

-James Nollar

Maxwell Upp

Max UppWhether hosting pep rallies in the gym or interviewing faculty on THE PAPER’s instagram, Maxwell Upp has been seen all over the Dana Hills campus. Known as a highly motivated and involved student, Max really does it all at Dana. 

As class president, he organized a variety of school activities, ranging from prom to the class homecoming halftime show. On the school’s newspaper, he helped start the digital media team, serving as the host for a variety of interviews and video specials. Beyond ASU and newspaper, Max was also a scholar athlete on the tennis and soccer team.

Outside of school, Max is extremely active, whether it be lifting at the gym or running to the beach. When he is not exercising, Max can also be seen relaxing with his friends or lounging at the beach.  

After high school, he will pursue a financial math degree as a Bruin at UCLA. Through financial math, he will combine his passion for mathematics with his interest in business. “I will miss leading the production of various class presidents,” Max reflected, looking back at his high school tenure. “But most importantly, I will simply miss going to school with my best friends.”

-Jack Fallon

Lauren Wahlstrom

Lauren Wahlstrom

Lauren Wahlstrom is going to TCU to double major in secondary education and
English and is hoping to take advantage of their accelerated masters program. She will miss the “sweet people, pep rallies, sports events and the never-ending fire alarms” at Dana. Her advice to underclassmen is to take advantage of everything Dana has to offer, like the homecoming halftime shows, which is her favorite memory by far. Her favorite class she took was AP Chemistry her junior year with Dr. Sharma. What got Lauren through high school were the little jokes and all the kindness from her peers. She would like to thank her parents, her teachers and Coach Forster.

-Reese Mundy

Austin Aldujaili

Austin Aldujaili has committed to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as “it is the best public university with a lot of opportunities for the price.” He looks forward to “making new friendships and engaging in research or other extracurriculars.” Known primarily for being tall and liking medicine, Aldujaili will most miss his friends and his teachers, namely Mr. Rosser who taught his favorite class, physics. Though Dana has a lot of good qualities, like a caring faculty, he feels that the school “doesn’t focus a lot on academics.” He did however enjoy “seeing [his] coach get nailed in the head by a soccer ball by a freshman.” If he could have done anything differently, he would have “tried to be more outgoing and made a full 4-year plan on what [he wants] to do throughout high school that [he] would carry with [him].” He encourages others not to “go through high school doing extracurriculars or activities solely because it looks good on college applications because it won’t take you that far.” He has his family, close friends, and soccer “to thank for helping [him] throughout high school.”

-Rona Darabi

Aaron Grandbouche

Enticed by life in San Diego and a prominent engineering program, Aaron Grandbouche has chosen to continue his studies at UCSD. 

Despite his excitement for new friends, independence and career preparation, his time in DHHS classrooms will be sorely missed, especially that of Dr. Sharma’s AP Chemistry. Describing himself with one word, “tall,” Aaron stands out in the crowds of Dana. His interests range from beach volleyball and biking to reading and gaming. 

His favorite thing about Dana Hills is it being the meeting place between him and Cailin Pullan, with his least favorite being the fact that he couldn’t finish his volleyball season this year.

If he could change one thing, Aaron says he would have “started drinking coffee earlier.” Additionally, he advises underclassmen to get a job. Finally, Aaaron thanks his teachers, friends, family, coffee shops, and Cailin for getting him through school.

-Sofia Ciraulo

Carsen Lenthall

Carsen Lenthall, a compassionate, loyal, perseverant, adventurous and competitive student as described by himself, will be attending the University of Washington later this year.

He chose the University of Washington because of its diversity, location, career opportunities, culture and size. He is looking forward to using his abilities, resources and what he can learn to make a difference in our society and the world as a whole. He will miss his family and sunny Southern California the most.

Lenthall recommends to all underclassmen to always stay true to yourself and follow your own path, no matter what temptations high school may bring. Lenthall’s all-time favorite class was AP Physics. His extracurricular interests are sailing, football, exploration/space exploration and community involvement.His favorite Dana Hills memory was when he scored his first touchdown on the Dana Hills football team. Lenthall’s favorite thing about Dana Hills was truly the location, feeling the warm Southern California breeze and the amazing ocean view. For him, he always felt the atmosphere just lacking at Dana.

If Lenthall could go back in time and do one thing differently, he would try to stay in touch with some friends that he had become disconnected with in the transition to high school. He will always thank his parents, brother, his dog and his DHHS counselor, Jessica Bovee, for helping him make his journey through DHHS. 

-Kyle Mann

Leah Boskovich

Leah Boskovich, a leader in and out of the classroom, is headed to the University of Oklahoma to further her education, studying biology. While Leah will “miss [her] sweet family, [her] track girls and sunset swims,” she is eagerly anticipating “college football, pursuing a career, rushing and forming life-long friendships.”

Reflecting on her high school career, Leah says that she “wouldn’t change a thing” and considers “traveling to Texas Relays with the track team for the 2019 season” to be her fondest memory of her 4 years. 

Involved in nearly every avenue Dana Hills has to offer, Leah encourages the underclassmen “to challenge [themselves].” She advises, “take the AP class, start a club, join a sport, etc. Go beyond what you know you are capable of and seek to accomplish more.”

“Without Coach Roy and the football team,” Leah is convinced she “would have never survived high school.” As a final issuance of thanks, Leah says “thank you to [her] friends for keeping a smile on [her] face, thank you to [her] family for encouraging [her] to be great and thank you to [her] team,” her everything.

-Grace Reseky

Ariana Mannani

A determined and tenacious student, Ariana Mannani has committed to the University of California, Irvine (UCI) under a biology major, primarily because of its proximity to home and it’s great science program. She is most excited to meet “new friends or professors and to continually sprout into [her] best self with new experiences.” However, she will miss the simplicity of Dana: “having an organized schedule, not adulting, and seeing [her] friends as [she] roams the halls.” 

Dana has also offered many memories, some funnier than others. In particular, Mannani recalls when she “tripped in front of all the seniors in the senior lot” her freshman year. If she could go back in time and do one thing different, though, she “would take more Spanish classes and continue playing violin.” Her favorite thing about Dana is her friends, though her least favorite are the fire alarms and the crowded halls. Dr. Sharma and Ms. Wallace has made the biggest impact on Mannani as they made “physics and government so much fun” and she has “learned a lot from them.” 

Mannani loves to watch movies, eat, sleep, go on hikes, hang out with her friends, and explore and travel, though she is also someone who is “determined to achieve what she must achieve” and “not afraid of what the future holds.” Maintaining such a busy schedule was possible through the help of her friends. She remarked that it is “nice having people to talk to and relate to as we all go through the same experiences.” Her friends have helped her “grow so much as a human,” and for that, she is “forever grateful.”  

She also would like to thank her “best friends, family, cousins, teachers, and TV shows.” Mannani imparts the following words to underclassmen: “If you are super stressed out and don’t know how to do a lot of adult or college-related things YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! Do not worry, there are so many people like me and you that struggle and you can always always ask for help. Asking for help with your college applications or other related events in order to give yourself more of an understanding will do wonders for you, I promise.”

-Rona Darabi

Cailin Pullan

Cailin Pullan will be travelling to UCSD next year, sadly for residents of South Orange County, taking her loving, amiable, and humourous spirit along with her. Studying business psychology, Cailin can’t wait to find new food spots and begin school with her best friend, Aaron Grandbouche. She will, however, miss living at Starbucks, Mr. Hulse’s “subtle yet skillful” humor in zero period APUSH and Señor Sink for teaching her to appreciate queso y cebollas. 

Overall, Cailin considers herself a master of baking at midnight to avoid homework, but also dabbled in lacrosse, yearbook, and ASU during her years at Dana. Running onto the field for the halftime show with a crippled Kelly Kartchner on her back stands out the most amongst her Dana memories. If she could go back in time, Cailin would encourage her junior self to prioritize sleep more. 

Cailin would like to thank her mom for a “constant supply of food deliveries on and off campus, along with Aaron for unwavering patience when tutoring her in math. Her final words of advice are “invest in a pair of crocs,” and “nunya” got her through high school.

-Sofia Ciraulo

Chloe Duffield

Chloe Duffield will be attending UCLA for college because she loves the area and the balance of academics and student life. She is looking forward to a higher education and is excited about pursuing her passion, which is public policy and law. While Chloe will not be missing Dana’s infamous long bathroom lines, she will miss the people at Dana because “they are really one of a kind.” Her advice to underclassmen is to not overstress or overthink, but to focus on finding good friends. Chloe loves the entire English and History department but would specifically like to thank Mrs. Lovett, Mrs. Streza and Mrs. Casazza. We will miss her uplifting spirit and kindness around the halls. Dana won’t be the same without you!

-Reese Mundy

Carrick Denker

Carrick Denker, a “pretty nice guy” as described by himself, will be attending UC Berkeley next year. He picked UC Berkeley because he really liked the campus and the area around it. He also chose it because he is running cross country and track there and he liked Cal’s program. Denker is looking forward to making many new experiences living in a new area. If there is anything he will miss the most, it would be his mother’s cooking. His advice to all the underclassmen is to take easy classes senior year so that way you’re not missing out on much learning if there happens to be a global pandemic. Outside of school, Denker spends much of his energy running cross country in the fall and track in the spring. For Denker, DHHS held so many good memories for him, that he just can’t pinpoint one of his many favorite moments. His favorite part about DHHS is probably the fact that it’s conveniently close to his house. Denker thanks all of his friends, family, teachers and coaches. His way of getting all through high school was running: whenever he was stressed or overwhelmed he would just focus on working hard and preparing for races.

-Kyle Mann

Colton Fox

One of Dana Hills’ best, Colton Fox will be calling the University of California, Santa Barbara his home for the next four years. He chose UCSB because of its vicinity to the ocean and the many glowing recommendations it’s gotten from his friends. When asked about what he’d miss most about high school, Fox said he “will miss going to I Love Bagels on the weekends and laughing about what happened the night before.” His advice to the underclassmen is to “go to the party, tell the girl how you feel, get out of your comfort zone. You never know what will happen” because you will only regret the chance you didn’t take.

-Luke Sterner

Chistopher Na

Chris na holds ballBalling like Curry both on the court and in the classroom, scholar athlete Chris Na leaves behind an unforgettable high school basketball career as he moves on to attend one of the best public schools in the world, UC Berkeley, this fall.

“Being able to represent a school and community for four years [on the basketball team] was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my life,” Chris reflects, and he appreciates that he got out exactly what he put into the sport, which allowed him to push the envelope in terms of his progress and success. His advice to underclassmen readers mirrors this determined mentality: “The amount of effort you put in is directly proportional to the gain you get in return, so don’t cheat yourself!”

While Na is sorry to leave behind fond memories of senior home basketball games, Dana’s famous ocean view, and calculus in the poorly air-conditioned math hall, he is looking forward to the independence and change of scenery that moving to NorCal will bring. He thanks Dr. Sharma, Mrs. Monson, Mr. Nikolenko, Mr. Desiano, Grant Reskey, Charlie Gravitt, and Caitlyn Ferguson for their contributions to a memorable high school experience.

-Grant Reseky

Mason Clark

Known for his infectious laugh, Mason Clark brings a smile to everyone’s face at Dana Hills. 

At Dana, Mason has been a four-year member of the Health and Medical Occupations Academy (HMO). In HMO, he was able to have real-life experience at Kaiser and shadow doctors. Junior year, he also co-founded Med Club, which was a favorite among the students. Mason’s club offered a unique blend of student activities and medical information, encouraging students to pursue a career in the medical field while having fun. 

On the weekends, Mason can be spotted working at Hobie or surfing at Strands. He can also be found skating at his house or in the Strands parking lot, working on his new tricks. Simply put, Mason loves to be outdoors any chance he gets.

As he transitions to college, Mason will most miss football games, along with supporting his friend Trevor “T-bone” Gartlan. He’ll also miss going to Mr. Smith’s calculus class with his friends Nate, Brock and Andrew. To the underclassmen, Mason suggests, “Take a zero period; a free fifth and sixth is amazing. The post-school naps are out of this world.”

In the fall, Mason will move north and pursue a construction management degree at the University of Washington. As a Husky, he will be able to experience a perfect blend of academics and athletics. He will later pursue a career in the Seattle area.

-Jack Fallon

Kimia Hashemi

Kimia Hashemi is excited to go to UCI next year since it’s a great school with a great program for biological sciences. It’s also close to home, which she is thankful for. She looks forward to starting her journey to medical school and meeting new people in the process. As well as being excited to take classes dedicated to interesting topics like anthropology and Greek mythology, which was not offered in Dana Hills.

Out of everything, she will miss her friends the most since High school was the time that she found some of her closest friends and grew even closer to the friends she had before. If she had to give advice  to the underclassmen, it would be to study hard. Putting in the  effort really does pay off. It can be extremely disappointing to put in all the hard work and not get the grade you hoped for, but it’s very important to stay focused and determined because that mindset will set you up for success. Be sure to relax. Homework and tests can be overwhelming sometimes, so it’s really important to de-stress by doing something you enjoy like watching a movie. Throughout high school, she showed how she was extremely hard-working as a  person who is dedicated to her studies and continues to do so.

She loves to travel, eat new foods, and learn about other cultures. She has so many classes that she loves, but one of her most memorable classes was Spanish II during freshman year. Her classmates were very funny and upbeat, and Seña Mesa was a very kind and engaging teacher. It was interesting being in a class with freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. She learned a lot from the class, and it was a very nice learning environment because everyone was so positive and lively. Outside of school, she plays the piano and referee soccer games. She also spends her time volunteering at Mission Hospital. Her favorite thing about Dana was eating lunch in the art room with my friends. Her least favorite thing about Dana was the fact that the bathrooms were always closed.

If she could go back in time and do one thing differently in high school, she would take more time to relax. She has her family to thank for always supporting her and encouraging her. She also has her friends to thank for making high school such a special experience. Several things got her through high school. She loves baking, so making cookies, cakes, scones, muffins, and other yummy goods was therapeutic. Binging on television shows like Gilmore Girls has also been nice for getting her mind off of all the stress. 

-Shadan Rahmani

Lily Lawson

enior Lily Lawsin looks forward to her life as a Trojan at USC, where she intends to study medicine and attend med school post-graduation. Regarding college life, she is excited about “all the different classes” she will take as well as “trying new food spots in LA.” Lily describes herself as a Hufflepuff and likes to “dance and cheer on our different sports teams.” Additionally, Lily was co-president of Vegan Society at Dana and was a four-year member of Best Buddies. Her favorite aspect of Dana was how kind and inspiring all the students and faculty are at “the greatest high school.” Outside of school, she enjoys reading and yoga.

-Spencer Sabahat

Grace Reskey

grant and grace

Intelligent, assertive, and compassionate, Grace Reskey is a shining light at Dana. Excelling for four years on the track and two years on newspaper, while showing dedication and leadership in clubs and organizations, Grace succeeds at whatever life throws at her. In fact, she advises underclassmen to “make the most of the cards you’re dealt with, as life is simply what you make of it.”

While she expresses love for every teacher she’s had, “Mr. Shwartzberg, Ms. Wallace and of course, the Sampsons” made the biggest impact. Her favorite memory is being on the 4×400 relay team at the state meet.

Grace will pursue pre-business at UC Berkeley next year,  while also exploring sociology and political science due to incurable indecision. No matter what she chooses though, Grace’s main collegiate goal is being “happy and the best version of [her]self.” Though “nearly everything” excites her, the environment filled with people from “all walks of life” is at the top. That, along with Berkeley offering one of the best educations a student can receive. While there, she hopes to find ways to act upon her love of politics and desire to work with the elderly. 

Graduating, Grace’s mom and grandparents are to thank for all their support, along with herself. Additionally much is accredited to Haagen Daaz, spicy Cheetos, and Netflix.

-Sofia Ciraulo

Nicholas Saeedi

A committed swimmer, Nick enjoyed his time on the school team as well as playing club. His favorite time at school was when he was competing with the team, where he created a lot of good memories with his friends and teammates. In his spare time, he is an avid gamer and hypebeast. He has his parents to thank for aiding him financially and emotionally and his favorite artists Nav, Lil Baby and Lil Tjay for getting him through high school. Nick decided to commit to UCLA, which he chose for its great education, social opportunities, and location. He’s looking forward to meeting new people and to having great experiences away from home on his path to becoming a physician someday.

-Jake Clayton

Kaycie Rippe

Kaycie Rippe does a bit of everything: an avid artist and a dedicated student, she also cheers on varsity pep squad and volunteers her time in the community. 

She will most miss the “people [she] had the pleasure of growing up with [and] meeting at this school” as well as “pep rallies, […] cheering at football games, having drumline competitions and school dances” and the school’s prominent “sense of community.” She will also miss “heartfelt conversations with teachers,” especially Dr. Sharma, who “wants the best for her students” and has “taught [her] so much both about life experience and chemistry.” “Seeing her always puts a smile on my face,” she muses.

But leaving this all behind is bittersweet since she will attend her “dream school,” UCLA, next year, where she is “most looking forward to […] challeng[ing herself] further” academically, “volunteering in new groups […], going to football games and joining clubs.” All around, she is excited to have “a rigorous and life-changing college experience.”

“Thank you to my family, my caring boyfriend, and my friends for being my support system,” she says, adding, “I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people by my side.” And to underclassmen: “Really take the time to make memories in high school even if you aren’t at school. You should always work hard because it really does pay off, but take a moment, more than one moment, to […] experience life and learn something new about yourself or someone else. This time moves quickly, take advantage of it.”

-Grant Reskey

Kyle Wade

Kyle Wade is currently thinking about going to UCSD under Computer Engineering for his undergrad, but he is still weighing his other options at the moment. At UCSD, he wants to really get involved with 360 degree video streaming, as well as do Artificial Intelligence research. He looks forward to learning as much as possible while making life-long connections. He advises all underclassmen that they should always keep grinding, take advantage of fun opportunities, don’t procrastinate on your work. He thanks all of his online friends for truly helping him get through high school because they were always there for him.

-Kyle Mann

Malia Rivera

The friendly and sharp Malia Rivera will be shipping out to the Centennial State this coming fall, as she plans to attend Colorado College. While attending the prestigious college in Colorado Springs for tennis, she also plans to use the resources at her new school to create a path towards a bright future for herself in the environmental sciences department. 

Malia’s favorite teacher is Mr. Tran due to the genuine passion he puts towards teaching the students that he loves so much, along with his ability to make anyone’s day “a thousand percent better.” Her best memory from Dana was participating in the homecoming halftime show. Her favorite thing about Dana is getting to be with her amazing friends every day, and her least favorite is the bathrooms.

While she’s going to miss the familiarity of Dana Hills and her home, her friends, family and most importantly her dogs, Malia is excited to start the next chapter of her life in a new state on a new campus. She’d like to thank her mom, friends and boyfriend, Michael, for everything they’ve done for her, along with snacks to keep her from falling asleep and the Chilled Cow YouTube channel for the endless study beats. Remember to watch the headlines for the tennis superstar, Malia Rivera, on making discoveries for the betterment of our planet’s environment.

-Ethan Ramirez

Michael Friend

Star student Michael Friend plans to attend Cal Poly SLO this coming fall. He hopes to make a career for himself in the engineering world, more specifically in the practice of material engineering. He hopes to use the newfound knowledge that he has attained on his journey through college and onward to work towards cleaning up our planet, one piece of trash at a time. 

Michael’s best memories from Dana include watching his fellow classmate, Alex Kupfer-Weinstein punch a hole through a sand sieve in Hudson’s marine class, and performing interpretive dances in front of his entire advanced composition class for a school project. His favorite thing about Dana was the wonderful people that he met. His least favorite was the infamous boys’ bathrooms which were packed to the brim every time one made the fatal mistake of actually thinking they would be allowed to use the bathrooms on campus. 

Mr. Friend wishes to thank his friends, family, teachers and most importantly his incredible girlfriend Malia Rivera for doing their part to not only get him through high school, but also making these last four years the best they could be. Keep an eye out for everyone’s friend, Michael Friend, changing our lives for the better.

-Ethan Ramirez

Eve Roche

Eve Roche is attending Point Loma to study health science and kinesiology in hopes of working in the medical field one day. She will miss the comfort and community that Dana has to offer, as well as homecoming halftime shows. Her advice to underclassmen is to not be so hard on yourself and to put yourself out there, even if you are scared. Eve’s favorite class was marine ecology with Mr. Hudson, and if she had the chance to go back, she would tell the janitor about that stall in the girls bathroom that doesn’t lock! She would like to thank Quizlet, I Love Bagels and her best friends for helping her through high school.

-Reese Mundy

Claire Valian

Claire Valian will be attending UCSB in the fall, as she “just can’t bring herself to leave the warm weather in California.” After all, she is “so excited to start a new chapter and gain more freedom,” but she will “miss seeing her friends at Dana everyday” and, of course, her dogs. Her favorite teacher was Dr. Sharma whom she had for 3 years and has always challenged her to do her absolute best. She thanks Marisa Gaitan for helping her “not fall asleep in AP Calc,” Niloo Ebrahimi for helping her “pass Spanish even though [she] didn’t understand a word” and Lauren Wahlstrom for getting her through AP chem.

-Shadan Rahmani

Matthew Sargent

Matthew Sargent will be attending the University of Michigan next fall to study business and law, and he hopes to one day earn a “J.D or MBA and work in corporate law or start a production company.”

 Matthew exhibited his leadership abilities through holding the positions of activities editor on yearbook and senior director of communications on ASU. He also created Pod Productions, a student-run company that puts on dances at other local middle and high schools. Matthew’s favorite memories at Dana were filming the clash videos, spending time in the production room during ASU and setting up tech for the Homecoming Halftime Show.

-Max Upp

George Walters

George Walters, an intelligent and reserved individual who we have been lucky to have at Dana Hills High School, will be joining the students of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Fall 2020. He chose SLO for its close proximity to his home as well as its top-notch engineering program. He is most looking forward to the independence that being away from home brings. What he will miss most are the friends that he made throughout his years at DHHS. He advises underclassmen “not to take more advanced classes than you have to.” Georges’s favorite class was physics with his favorite teacher Mr. Rosser. During his years at Dana Hills, he took part in the district robotics team, which he enjoyed very much. His best Dana memory is getting yelled at by the band director for spinning his trumpet. What he appreciated most about Dana Hills was the great teachers who truly cared about their classes. He wishes, however, that there were more resources for clubs. If he could go back in time to do one thing differently, he said he would not have taken as many advanced English classes, as he is not striving towards a language-heavy career path. George thanks his family, friends and video games for helping him endure his four years of high school.

-James Nollar

Matthew Bermingham

In the fall, Matthew Bermingham will be attending University of Southern California to study pre-law and political science with the hopes of attending both law and business school and serving as a member of the U.S. Senate.

During his time spent at Dana, Matt was the freshman class president, a National Honors Society member and the Best Buddies president. Looking back, Matt’s favorite memory was his sophomore year homecoming, and he will greatly miss football games, Best Buddies and his routine cookie at break. He also thanks Mr. Valderrama and Mr. Hulse for making him smarter. Matt’s parting advice to the underclassman is to “take advantage of what’s in front of [you] before [you] have the stress of worrying about college.”

-Azadeh Nicholson

Jordan Millington

Jordan intends to start her college experience at Saddleback to save money and looks forward to putting in the work toward majoring in psychology. At Dana, she’ll miss her two favorite teachers, Mr. Valderrama and Mrs. Monson, the most. Her advice to current students is to “try your hardest but to know no matter what happens you’ll be okay.” Her favorite part of being at Dana was the friendships she was able to create, so she’s thankful for her best friends, Kindra and Micheal, as well as her dad; she credits good music for getting her through high school. 

-Jake Clayton

Maile McKeown

Maile McKeown, a spirited and accomplished member of HMO and ASU for the past four years, will be furthering her interest in the medical field at the University of Washington. The school’s acclaimed pre-med program and internships made it an obvious choice. Also being brought with her to college is her love of school spirit, exemplified through her involvement in ASU and pep-rally hosting, as UW is known for a strong sense of pride as well as academics.

ASU, HMO, Homecoming and pep-rally set up will be missed enormously. Most of all though, Maile is sad to be leaving her best friends that have stuck by her side “since freshman year.” Maile advises underclassmen to attend every event and appreciate everyone you meet, because if she could go back and change anything it would be realizing “how fast it goes by” sooner. Finally, she would like to thank Seña Mesa for being there for her, her friends for keeping her sane and making her laugh and her teachers for all their hard work and answering every question. Country music, mall walks, and fourth period coffee runs are accredited with getting her through high school.

-Sofia Ciraulo

Jonathan Hale

Focused and dedicated, Jonathan Hale has Dana to thank for giving him a few easy years of life before the seriousness of college. It was at Dana where he developed his philosophy that one should “do [their basic homework] at school.” He says, “You’re at school anyway, use your free time after school to do things you actually enjoy.” This insightful advice to underclassmen took Jonny a long way, judging from his over-4.6 GPA.

In addition to his remarkable academics, Jonathan stole the show as a track star. His favorite thing about Dana is his track gang. Evidently, track played an impactful role in Jonny’s high school experience. He was a captain of track and, if he could, he wishes to change his sophomore year’s dual meet against Trabuco: he would make sure not to trip over the hurdle and break his arm.

Jonathan is also an Eagle Scout, HMO member, and CTR club president.

Jonathan will attend BYU Provo in the fall. There, he looks forward to being at the same school as both of his siblings for the first time since Malcom Elementary School.

-Olivia Wettengel

Chase Walter

Chase Walter will be attending Cal Poly SLO on a baseball scholarship. Chase was able to take rigorous classes such as AP US History, while also being one of the best athletes on the baseball field. Chase would like to remind all underclassmen that they “should enjoy the grind of school even if homework sucks because we would all rather be at school with our friends than be at home.” When asked what got him through high school, Chase commented, “my ability to finish weeks worth of homework in one night.” Dana Hills is losing an extremely talented man, and Cal Poly SLO is lucky to have him.

-John O’Melveny

Jake Greenbaum

Jake Greenbaum will be attending University of California, Santa Barbara next fall to study computer engineering. After college, Jake hopes to serve as an Air Force fighter pilot with the “long term goal of eventually becoming an international airline pilot.” He also desires to utilize his computer engineering skills and pursue entrepreneurship in his free time. On campus, Jake was involved in soccer and ASU and held the position of ASU Vice President his senior year. Some of his favorite memories at Dana were “being fortunate enough to Dj middle school dances and produce the homecoming halftime show alongside [his] fellow ASU members.”

-Max Upp

James Fermelia

James Fermelia will be attending University California Berkeley in the fall. Fermelia spent his high school years studying hard, being in the outdoors, and loved being in the ocean. Fermelia will miss all the homecomegaming games and all of the great people he met through his years. Leaving Dana, Fermelia is looking forward to starting his new chapter in life and, “meeting new people and starting to live life.” He would like to thank all of his family and teachers for getting him through high school and giving him the great success he had. Dana Hills is losing one of a kind, and Berkely is lucky to get him.

-John O’Melveny

Nicole Jamet

As Nicole Jamet embarks on a new journey at the University of Washington, majoring in law, societies, and justice, she is excited for everything about to unfold. 

Although she will miss all her friends and teachers, she will always remember the memories she made at Dana, from running onto the field for the homecoming halftime show to the fire alarms sounding every five minutes.

Her advice to the underclassmen is to “enjoy high school for what it is and don’t stress too much. Everything will work itself out. Even if something seems like the end of the world, I promise it’s not.”

-Ryan Beavin

Spencer Sabahat

Spencer Sabahat will be attending UCLA which appealed to his desire to stay in Southern California. He plans on pursuing a medical career. Spencer had many Dana highlights to share: he enjoyed seeing his friends at school every day, and noted that his favorite class was newspaper, where he used Postmates to deliver “copious amounts of food” to the classroom. His favorite thing about Dana was “the care that the teachers have for the students,” and his least favorite thing was “the underclassmen standing still in the halls.” Spencer also offered appreciation and thanks to all of his teachers.

-Jacob Herritt

Adler Zachary

AAdler Zacharys an avid beach-goer and water polo player, Adler Zachary loves to do “literally anything in the water.” As captain of the water polo team his senior year, Adler led the team on the stat sheet, earning All-League First Team and All-CIF Second Team honors. 

When not in the water, Adler worked for his charity organization “GoodThings,” which he founded his sophomore year. The organization raised money and organized events for children with cystic fibrosis, using ocean water to lessen their symptoms. GoodThings also partnered with the Mauli Ola Foundation, hosting surfing events and ocean-based activities that served as natural therapies. 

He recalls Mr. Gunderson as one his favorite teachers because he taught psychology in an engaging way. Adler said he was “the nicest guy ever, and all he wanted to do was tell us interesting information and facts.” Out of the classroom, Adler credits Board and Brew and Chipotle for getting him through high school, which were his favorite snacks after practicing water polo or surfing at the beach. 

Adler will most miss Dana’s “proximity to the beach,” though he also added that he will not miss “the pool heater that is always broken.” Adler will study biology at UCSD in the fall, where he will reside next to the beach and remain close to home.

-Jack Fallon

Andrew De La Fuente

Andrew De La Fuente will be attending San Diego State University in the fall. De La Fuente will miss the dances, football games and memories he made at Dana Hills, but he is very excited to explore college life and meet new people. De La Fuente was a very hardworking student at Dana Hills, and also was a track and field star. When asked about anything that he would do differently during high school, De La Fuente said that he “wouldn’t do anything differently […] just relive all the fun times.” He attributed his success to his peers who always pushed him to be better and his family for always supporting him.

-Luke Sterner

Isabelle Gendreau

Known by her peers for her kind, positive spirit and passion for life, Izzy Gendreau will be attending Point Loma Nazarene University this fall. She was drawn to the school’s stellar nursing program, proximity to the beach, and Christian culture. There, she looks forward “to meeting new people and visiting new places, as well as serving in the medical community.” 

Gendreau will miss the teachers, football games, and overall school spirit at Dana, not to mention her favorite memory, “watching all the students run out onto the field during each homecoming game while the sets were being pulled up.” Her favorite teacher is Mrs. Stirtz because “of her love for teaching and ultimately just being a wonderful role model to [her].” Her least favorite part about Dana would have to be Mr. King, though she notes that her favorite is all the opportunities Dana provides for its students, like the Health and Medical Occupations (HMO) Program. If she could go back in time and do one thing differently during her time here, “it would be to appreciate the second semester of senior year a little more before it got taken away.” 

Gendreau has made as much an impact on Dana as it has made on her. All four years, she was an active member of the school’s HMO Program and Associated Student Union (ASU). This year, she was ASU’s Activities Commissioner and the American Red Cross Club’s president. What got her through balancing grades and extracurriculars were “Trader Joe’s Lavacakes, a lot of them.” As a message to the underclassmen, she encourages “you to say yes to every opportunity you come across and give your 100% effort in all that you do!! Don’t be scared to try new things as you never know what you might find.” Lastly, she would like to “thank the Teachers, Admin, and staff for being so hard working and always wanting the students to succeed.”

-Rona Darabi

Matilda Hall

Matilda Hall is a highly talented Irish dancer. She spent much of her time in high school improving in this area, along with many others, such as in yearbook and in being more social. Matilda is known for her loyal and goofy nature, along with being notably hardworking. 

Her most memorable class was AP Lang with Mrs. Johnson, but Matilda also took a liking to social science and Ms. Wallace’s class. If there is one thing she learned throughout her time at Dana, it is that one should “[o]ne hundred percent talk to more people and be more social.” She says, “There are so many amazing students at Dana [she wishes she] got to know better.” 

With a 4.5 GPA, Matilda excelled in academics, as well as extracurriculars. She has her parents and friends to thank for supporting her through it all, making her smile and assisting her in her studies.

Matilda will be attending UCI in the fall. She looks forward to the many new people and study abroad programs that this commendable university has to offer. While in Irvine, however, she will miss her friends and yearbook most.

-Olivia Wettengel

Kaan Taner

In the fall, Kaan Taner will be attending the University of California, Berkeley, drawn primarily to its environment which he thinks will “help [him] grow as a person and will give [him] a lot of opportunities.” He is “really looking forward to meeting new people, but [he] will definitely miss [his] friends at Dana the most.” His favorite class at Dana “has to have been either AP Gov. or APUSH, his favorite teacher being Mr. Rosser.” 

Taner is “really interested in story telling, film, design, and building, and one of [his] hobbies is to watch film classics.” If he could go back in time during high school, he would “[try to] get more sleep sophomore and junior year.” Described by others as caring, curious, and determined, he claims that “listening to music helped [him] get through a lot of the boring work in high school.” He advises others to “take advantage of this time in your life, not only to study and get good grades, but also to have fun and make unforgettable memories.”

-Rona Darabi

Nikolas Tanski

An ambitious and outgoing individual, Nik’s hobbies include surfing, working with surfboards, volleyball, and soccer. He advises the underclassmen to “work hard, play hard,” and he wishes he could have gone on more weekend trips with his friends and will miss the times he spent down in Mexico with the boys. He has the Dana staff, Olivia O’Malley, Casey Burns, Nick and Noah Rigo and Ashton Ison to thank and attributes time management to what got him through high school. Nik decided to commit to Cal Poly SLO for their learning by doing philosophy, career readiness curriculum and the desirability of the location, where he’ll be majoring in engineering.

-Jake Clayton

Alexis Block

This fall, Alexis Block will be attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO) as the school offers an “awesome program for engineering and a ‘learn-by-doing’” approach to its classes. She is most excited to “meet new people, attend sporting events, jump into [her] major, and join women in engineering and Christian clubs.” 

Despite looking forward to what her future at Cal Poly SLO brings, she will miss “the basketball and track sporting events, homecoming halftime shows, football games, and dances with friends.” She has “a fond memory of going to CIF and winning the league competition for basketball. [She] had the opportunity to climb up to the rim and cut off a piece of the net in the school gym.” 

Her favorite teacher was Mrs. Danna as she taught Block’s favorite class, chemistry, and her favorite thing about Dana Hills was the “learning environment and passionate teachers that pushed each student to do their best.” She would like to thank “all [her] teachers for pushing [her] to succeed and giving [her] the opportunity to participate in a supportive learning environment,” as well has her parents, “who were always supportive and desired to see [her] succeed.” 

Block, often described as adventurous or creative by her friends, loves “thrift shopping, going to the beach, running, traveling, or grabbing a cup of coffee with friends.” These activities, along with her “participation in weekend services and her great group of friends,” helped her push through the “seemingly ‘terrifying’ high school years.”  

If she could do one thing differently, Block noted that she would “attend more school events my freshman and sophomore year.” So, as a final send-off to Dana, she leaves a word of advice: “Don’t be afraid to get involved at school and attend every event that you can. Also, prepare early for standardized tests and apply to more than one college when the time comes because you never know what to expect.” She also advises to “not get so stressed or hard on [oneself] about the day-to-day aspects of high school” because “in the end, everyone makes it.”

-Rona Darabi

Luis Orozco

Next year, Luis Orozco will proudly attend UC Berkeley. He says he is looking forward to living in a new area and meeting new people, but will definitely miss having Lupe’s so close.

Orozco’s message to underclassmen is, “Try not to procrastinate because that’s when school gets stressful.” He also says that he wishes he would’ve gone to more football games and dances throughout highschool. 

Additionally, Orozco says, “Even though I don’t do it as much anymore, I really enjoy making music.”

Along with music being one of his favorite things, his favorite class was AP Lang with Valdy and wants to thank Ms. Wallace for making his learning experience enjoyable.

-Maxine Gable

Malia Smith

Malia Smith, determined and adventurous, chose to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO) as it is “still in California,” has “good programs for [her] major,” and has “an all around great feel.” There, she looks forward to “putting [herself] out there and working towards [her] goals,” though she for sure will miss her friends and her favorite teacher Dr. Sharma. 

What she liked most about Dana, besides her friends, were the many “opportunities with the abundance of classes,” and her best memory here was Winter Formal this year. In her free time, she enjoys slacklining, playing the piano, and swimming, and she has her “parents and friends, who cheered [her] up whenever [she] was sad and brought [her] donuts” to thank for being able to balance school life and social life. Specifically, those by her side, “the ones who kept [her] social, sane, and outdoors having fun,” and “Krispy Kreme” got her through high school. 

If she could do one thing different, Smith remarked that she “didn’t have anyone sign [her] yearbook sophomore year because [she] wanted a clean copy,” so she “[wishes she] hadn’t done that, especially because [she] most likely won’t be able to have people sign it this year.” So, she encourages others to “not be afraid to put yourself out there. If there’s something you want to change, don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. Put your best foot forward.” She also tells the underclassmen, “Don’t stand in the middle of the hallways. It makes it easier for everyone.”

-Rona Darabi

Jason Stange

Viola extraordinaire Jason Stange will be attending UCLA to study molecular, cell, and developmental biology. He was drawn to UCLA’s “number one dining hall in the nation.” He sarcastically stated: “my favorite thing at Dana is the fire alarm that goes off once a week; it’s truly a unique experience to wonder ‘is my school actually on fire this time, or should I keep doing my math test?’” Jason also added some advice for underclassmen: “If any of them will listen to me, my advice is to meet new people while keeping your good friends close. Also, wear a mask.” 

-Jacob Herritt

Owen Ohlson

After four years of hard work, Owen Ohlsen will be attending UCSB next year. Ohlsen states, “I picked UCSB for its outstanding physics program and its great accessibility for my outdoor hobbies.”

Though he is looking forward to college, Owen says he will miss all of the friends he made in high school that he won’t get to see very often the most.

When asked to give advice to any underclassmen, he shares his words of wisdom and says, “Prioritize happiness. Do what makes you feel right and don’t stress other people’s opinions of you.”

After leaving Dana, Owen will be left with the memories of his favorite class—Mr. Rosser’s AP Physics class—and teaching his friends how to drive stick shift in the Dana Hills senior lot. 

He thanks his family, friends and teachers and credits antidepressants and Audrey Taylor for getting him through high school.

-Maxine Gable

Dana Wilske

Although she claimed to be confused 100% of the time, Dana Wilske still managed to make some great memories, such as laughing about PSAT memes with her friends and blasting music during car rides.

Dana plans to study English and focus on the literary editing program at California State University, Chico. With her days in high school coming to an end, Dana thanks her parents for their unconditional support. 

Although school was grueling at times, Wilske claimed what got her through high school were “the people who always made every class a little easier. I could look forward to suffering through lessons with them next period! Thanks guys.”

-Ryan Beavin


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