Top 10% Senior Features
Every year, the staff of THE PAPER features the most distinguished Seniors, maintaining the highest GPA in their grade throughout high school. Congratulations!
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Brigham Young University
A lifelong animal lover, Julia Ammermon is an avid horseback rider, riding twice a week in San Juan. Her preferred riding style is Western “because there is a strong emphasis on forming a relationship with your horse.” She loves that “horses have a special way in bringing out the best in everyone” and “the fact that horses are so intelligent that they can react to the nonverbal actions of a different species.”
When Julia is not riding she’s singing; she has taken lessons and competed for the past three years. She explains, “Opera has changed my life; each time I practice, I am literally discovering my voice. Every time I sing, it feels like I am sharing a small portion of my soul with whoever is willing to listen. Singing is my hobby, and it has given me confidence because I have learned how to intertwine my personal story with a song that people can connect with.”
Her favorite class at Dana was Honors Chemistry class her sophomore year. In her opinion, “Bunsen Burners are just plain fun to use.” She thanks Ms. Clark for teaching her how to study, how to ask for help, and how to connect school to the real world. She thanks Mr. Schwartzberg and Mr. Valderrama as well for making her high school experience unforgettable, saying, “They did not just teach their subject, they taught lessons that go beyond the walls of classrooms.”
University of San Diego
Varsity soccer star Cole Andrew was one of Dana’s most well-rounded athletes. Over the course of his high school career, Cole played on the soccer team, ran for the track and field team, and competed with the cross-country, maintaining a rigorous academic schedule all the while. Andrew says that his proudest accomplishment is taking four AP classes and playing four sports his junior year.
He thanks Sparknotes, Grammarly, Quizlet and Bozeman Science and his coaches Craig Dunn, Mark Torianni and Jim Copp, who helped him “realize the value of character and commitment.”
Cole will be will be studying business economics when he attends the University of San Diego in the fall and looks forward to studying abroad, possibly in Madrid or London.
Although excited to move on to the next phase of his life, Cole will miss Dana; among his favorite memories are traveling to the North Shore of Oahu with his cross country team, Prom, and his very first pep rally. He will most “miss doing sports at Dana, because that experience is really something you can’t replicate.”
Cole thanks his parents for their “unconditional support” and all of his friends for “making high school memorable.”
Texas Christian University
With her friendly personality and big heart, Devyn Arlasky will be missed by the halls of Dana Hills. She plans on majoring in chemistry at Texas Christian University with the hopes of attending medical school. Her career goal is to become a pediatrician.
Devyn is a dedicated athlete, playing varsity soccer at Dana, involved in her church, participating in a weekly youth group, and plays guitar in her free time. Her love for chemistry began in AP Chemistry her sophomore year with Dr. Sharma, whom she describes as “so inspiring and has the biggest heart.” Her favorite memory is the Homecoming halftime show that she performed in with all her friends.
“I think my biggest accomplishment is breaking out of my shell,” she expresses, “and my biggest piece of advice for future freshmen is: don’t live in fear of what others may think of you. It’s not worth your time. You’re perfect the way you are, and if people can’t accept that, well then say ‘adios’ to them.”
She eagerly anticipates the independence of college, excited to live in a different state, meet new people, and explore adult life.
Southern Methodist University
From her time on the soccer and track teams to spending every day with her best friends, to French table groups and car jam sessions in the senior lot, Amanda Arsenault made countless memories during her four years at Dana. Though she will miss all the wonderful times she had Dana, she is excited to attend Southern Methodist University in the fall.
Amanda views the fact that she didn’t get herself called out every day as her greatest accomplishment of high school, considering how busy she was with club and high school soccer, along with track and field. Her favorite class at Dana was French III her junior year. Among her favorite teachers was Mr. Brown, whom she thanks for making her least favorite class interesting. If given the opportunity to give her freshman self some advice, Amanda would tell her “not to take herself so seriously.”
In college Amanda looks forward to meeting new people and finding a career she is passionate about. However, she will miss her “family, Devon, Anna, Jordan, Rachel, and Riley” immensely and thanks them for getting her through high school. She also thanks her sister Ashley for all of her love and support.
Musical marvel Huiyi Bao will major in biology at UC Irvine in the fall. Having spent the past twelve years playing piano and dancing, she is considering double majoring in dance. The sport and artform has definitely been a defining part of Huiyi’ high school career, competing at the YAGP international finals in New York City in 2018, a massive accomplishment.
Consistent with her love of biology, Huiyi names Mrs. Monson as her favorite teacher. The singalongs in her AP Biology class remain as some of her favorite memories, along with the iconic sound of Dana’s fire alarms.
Following graduation, Huiyi looks forward to travelling to Europe for the summer with her best friend, Tess. Huiyi creds her friend group and the Internet for survival these last four years, and thanks her mother for her support and encouragement.
UC Los Angeles
Leyla Boyar is known as hard-working, athletic, and a kind friend who will be attending UC Los Angeles this fall to study psychology. Leyla ran cross country for all four years and served as president of two clubs, FLOW and Life Club. She spent her time volunteering at the JF Shea Center for therapeutic horseback riding and working at CC Prep as a tutor.
Her favorite was fourth period AP Lit with Mrs. Coghill, who she loved because “she felt more like a friend than a teacher and was always so open and supportive.”
As she leaves Dana she will most miss all the amazing teachers she had during her time here because “each one of them has impacted [her] in some way.” She also thanks her mother for single-handedly getting her through four years of rigorous math.
Kiana Brackenridge, one of Dana’s most involved students, has undeniably left her mark on both the student body and faculty of Dana. Throughout her four years here, Kiana was highly involved with the Associated Student Body (ASU), holding multiple positions during her membership.
Kiana divulged that “ASU was something totally new” to her initially. Looking back on her years with ASU she reflects, “Joining was definitely the best decision that I’ve ever made.” She encourages the lowerclassmen “to reach out, meet new people, and try new things” as she did, as they too will find amazing outcomes they never anticipated.
This past year, Kiana has been working on an application for National Student Council (NatStuCo) which she labels as “her greatest achievement” thus far. Paralleling the leadership objectives of ASU, NatStuCo aims to foster leaders across schools nationwide.
In the fall Kiana will be attending Boston College, where she is considering pursuing physics or something biology-related due to her long-time love of math and science. Of everything to look forward to, Kiana is most excited to discover and explore new passions.
Above all, she values the friendships she formed at Dana and will miss those friends dearly. For all the ways Kiana committed herself Dana, she most loved “just coming to school and having such a great group of people here.”
Cal Poly SLO
Nick Brown enjoyed his time at Dana tremendously. His favorite class was physics and his favorite teachers were Dr. Sharma and Mr. Brown, whose “outlook on life impacted him as a whole.” He looks back fondly on his time spent at the beach surfing the last four years, as well as weekend camping trips with his friends. He will also never forget “sitting in Oskar Lindstrom’s room.”
In the fall Nick will be attending California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo with a major in general engineering. After completing his studies there, Brown plans on returning back to Dana Point. Closing out his high school experience, Brown would like to thank his mom and dad for always supporting him as well as his friends for making high school an unforgettable experience.
UC Santa Barbara
Evan Davis loved being apart of the Health and Medical Occupations program the last four years, particularly the time he spent interning through MedCore, one of his favorite classes. In addition to HMO, Davis volunteered at Ocean Institute for four years. When he wasn’t busy with academics and extracurriculars, Evan could be found watching movies, “eating a lot of food,” and going to the beach.
The HMO field study to San Francisco, the Homecoming Top 15 dance number, and the Dance Team Spring Show are among his favorite memories from high school. He’ll also never forget stressing out with his classmates over tests. His most impactful teachers were Mrs. Stirtz, Mrs. Marshall and Mrs. Sampson.
Evan regards his acceptance into the UC Santa Barbara Honors Program as his greatest accomplishment, and is excited to study biopsychology and later attend medical school. As he ventures into college life, thanks his parents for being so supportive, and his teachers for helping him accomplish his goals and writing his letters of recommendation. He will miss his closest friends, but is eager to open the next chapter of his life.
Olivia Drury, majoring in theatre, is committed to the arts, participating and leading in the Drama Club, the Thespian Society, SOCSA plays, serving as captain for two of her four years on the legendary Improv Team, and acting at South Coast Repertory for six years. She regards her incredible variety of performances as her greatest accomplishment of the last four years, as well as actually reading every single English novel she was assigned, except for The Odyssey. (“Sorry Homer.”)
When she leaves Dana for Northwestern, she will most miss “the improv team, and the sheer amount of crap you can get away with if you look innocent enough.” She’ll never forget the time the improv team pretended to be kidnapped and walked around all week with fake mustaches and accents for the show at the end of the week. She will also forever remember fondly giving Dom rides, JC runs with Owen, and bowling practice.
YouTube, Quizlet, and the fact that they’re free––and the fact that you can use both at the same time––got her through high school. She formally thanks her older siblings for providing her parents with three test runs and for teaching how (and how not) to do high school. She thanks her mom for calling her out and James for pretending to be her dad and calling her out. She advises underclassmen not take themselves so seriously and to attend the improv show after school today. Olivia is thrilled to move to Chicago, study comedy, and freeze to death.
Hardworking and dedicated, Yasaman Ebrahimi shined during her four years at Dana Hills. Widely recognized as one of the most intelligent students by teachers and students alike, Yasaman will be continuing her educational career at UC Berkeley next year, double majoring in computer science and physics. She is excited to learn at one of the top computer science schools in the world and to be surrounded by like-minded students who share her passion for all things STEM.
Yasaman was deeply inspired and motivated by Mr. Prinz. She “never worked harder” in her life than she did in AP Calculus AB and BC. “He really pushed me to make me better than I thought I could be,” she says.
Besides her stellar academics, Yasaman spends much of her time playing the piano, a hobby of hers of over seven years. She was also a tutor at CCPrep and a figure skater for many years. Of all the memories she made over the last four years, she looks back most fondly on nights at the Harbor House with her best friend Lauren West.
An active member of the Surfrider Foundation, you will often see Drew Ferketic on the beaches of Dana Point, collecting trash. Following his passion for environmentalism, Ferketic will be majoring in environmental science next year at Saddleback College. He intends to transfer to a UC, and dreams of attending UCLA specifically.
As he continues his academic career, Drew advises students who hope to get the most out of their high school experience to “try to enjoy each year and to just stay positive.” He himself did just that, working in Surfrider and playing with Dana’s golf team. He was excited to try something new and be involved in his school when he made the team his freshman year, and looks back fondly on the years he spent on the course with his teammates.
Drew most enjoyed his AP Lang class with Ms. Lujano as well as his AP Calc class with Ms. Rice, who always made math engaging. He also had a great time being in the Homecoming halftime shows during his junior and senior years. He will most miss all the time he spent with his close friends.
Penn State University
Five-time school record breaker for Dana Hills’ swim team, Devon Forker certainly made her mark on Dana. She swam competitively for the Mission Viejo Nadadores National Team, in addition to surfing, running, and hiking in her free time.
School dances with her friends remain some of her happiest memories of the last four years. Among her favorite teachers were Mr. Hudson, Madame Hussein, Mr. Schwartzberg, and Ms. Wallace. Mr. Hudson had the greatest impact, and Marine Ecology was Devon’s favorite class.
When asked what advice she might give her former self, Forker commented that she wished she simply enjoyed the experience of high school more, rather than stressing about minute details. She advises freshmen to “not take anything for granted because the next four years fly by.”
In the fall, Forker will be continuing to study and swim at Penn State University, majoring in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, with a minor in fisheries and wildlife conservation. She then plans to attend vet school. Studying something she feels a real passion for and competing at a collegiate level of swim excites Devon the most about her upcoming adventure. She also hopes to “travel and study elephants.”
Forker accredits her best friends Amanda Arsenault, Anna Shaver, Jaden Haskins, and Rachel Reeves, Nate Pellini, Riley McCall, Ryan Abdollahi, Matthew Querner and Kaden Likins with getting her through high school. She will never forget their “car jam sessions, ice cream runs, sleepovers, and sunset swims.”
Lastly, Devon thanks her parents, brother, and sister for supporting her every step of the way.”
UC Los Angeles
Transitioning from a Dolphin to a Bruin, senior Andree Furlan will be attending UC Los Angeles to study neuroscience in the fall. She is most proud of “maintaining a perfect GPA,” after taking classes such as AP Art History, which “changed how [she] views the world and deepened [her] understanding of different cultures.”
Andree says that she’ll miss her “supportive teachers and peers” and is excited for “developing a diverse group of friends” in her future nonetheless. With plans to attend medical school and work in the global health field, Andree began the journey of career with four years in the Health and Medical Occupations Academy. She advises underclassmen to “not procrastinate, and make sure you plan time for fun.”
Outside of school, Andree enjoys thrifting and travelling around the world with her parents, including Italy and Canada, where her family is from. For getting her through her four years of high school, she would like to thank: “Mrs. Casazza for all of the amazing opportunities, Ms. Streza for all the help during the college process, and Carrie Pierce for being a role model.”
UC Santa Barbara
Olivia Goldstein is one of the most upbeat and friendly people you’ll ever meet. You can catch her on the shores of Santa Barbara next year when she continues her educational pursuits at UC Santa Barbara. Majoring in biology, Olivia hopes to pursue a career in medicine. For this next chapter of her life Goldstein is most looking forward to the beautiful location, stellar academics, and independence and the ability to focus on and study the topics she is most interested in.
Olivia was a member of NHS and learned to “balance academic, social, and extracurricular activities.” Her favorite class at Dana was Honors English II with Ms. Brucks, who taught her skills essential to her overall success in high school. Brucks was her favorite teacher because “cared about her students on a personal and intellectual level.”
Outside of school, Goldstein spends much of her time dancing. She is highly accomplished in ballet, building her skill for over eight years, teaching students of her own at the studio she attends.
As she moves past high school, Goldstein will miss her friends, all of the teachers who helped her get through tough classes, and all of the memories she made her senior year. Last of all, acknowledging that she is “a lot of work,” Goldstein would like to thank her family for their wonderful support these past four years.
UC Los Angeles
Known for her endless energy and friendly smile, Jaden Haskins says her high school experience was “even better than High School Musical.” Named Homecoming Queen of 2018, she was a star varsity athlete on both the cross country and track team and a member of the Interact Club, enjoying “eating large amounts of food and taming dragons” in her free time.
Overcoming injuries to make it to CIF in track and maintaining a stellar GPA, Jaden loved her years at Dana. Her favorite class was AP Calculus AB with Ms. Rice, and she names Ms. Wallace as her most impactful teacher, because “she is so thoughtful and always gives her students 110%.” Haskins thanks her parents for being her solid support system and believing in [her] when [she] was ready to give up.” Haskins is beyond excited to “go to UCLA, run track, graduate UCLA, get a job, and not die.”
UC Los Angeles
Bridgit Hoolihan served as Editor-in-Chief of The Mast, leading the all-student yearbook staff in creating Illuminate this year. She poured blood, sweat and tears into the book and says, “The hours I’ve spent in 706 with Mr. Sampson and the yearbook staff definitely shaped me the last two years.” Some of her favorite memories from her time at Dana include going to the Getty with AP Art History, senior Disney Day, the time she spent with her closest friends, and finally submitting the yearbook. In the future she’s looking forward to traveling the world and never having to take math ever again.
While currently undeclared, Bridgit will most likely go into cultural studies when she attends UC Los Angeles in the fall. She thanks her two older sisters for setting an amazing example for her to follow.
UC San Diego
Asad Imran was the vice president of the Assistance in Migration Club as well as an active member of Surfrider, playing for Dana’s baseball and basketball teams. He spent four years in HMO, and considers the field study to San Francisco one of his favorite memories from his time at Dana. He also looks back fondly on class discussions in AP Lang, rapping in 5 GVNG, and social gatherings with his closest acquaintances.
“Assasins was pretty fun too,” he added, in reference to the famed game of survival called Senior Assassins the graduating class engages in each spring. “Until it got canceled, because of us,” he laughed.
AP Physics C was his favorite class despite the fact that at first he thought he was going to flunk. “I like the critical thinking that it requires,” he explains. He is seriously considering switching his major to physics and pursuing a career in the field.
His favorite teacher was Mr. Cosenza, describing how inspiring he found it that “He would always come to class with a smile on his face. He was helpful in shaping my character and teaching me how to be happy.”
He advises freshmen, “Do everything that you want to do. Just risk it. Full send.” His final statement is, “Shoutout to the Loud House.”
University of Michigan
Alice Jeon, bird enthusiast and scholar, will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall. Jeon is looking forward to escaping the Southern Californian bubble and branching out to meet new people and “experience something different and new.” Jeon dreams of moving to a large city, explaining, “I grew up in Seoul, so I’ve always been more comfortable with cities and city life. The only problem with living in a city is that they don’t usually have enough space for the amount of dogs I want to live with.”
Jeon attributes a large portion of her high school success to her close friends and her red-crowned Amazon parrot George, who “always comforted [her] with his fluffiness and greenness.” With intentions to study psychology, Jeon is excited to enter the adult world and pursue her dreams.
UC Santa Barbara
Nick Johnson was a dedicated athlete at Dana, his time on the soccer team bringing about the formation of many of his best memories of high school. He states, “Although it took up much of my time, it was a great experience and I made a lot of friends.” Johnson also loved his time in Spanish III and will always look back fondly on the days when he and his classmates “could not stop laughing.”
He thanks Dr. Sharma for being such an excellent teacher and for a class in which he developed his work ethic.
When asked about his plans for next year, Johnson replied, “I put a lot of work into school, so graduating and being accepted into University of California, Santa Barbara was probably one of my greatest accomplishments.” He will be majoring in computer science.
Johnson would also like to thank his friend Dylan Potter for getting him through high school, as well as his dog who was always there to comfort him when times got tough.
Cal Poly SLO
David Karnazes is known as an outgoing, fun-loving guy. One can often find him relaxing on the beach or spending time with his beloved dog. Reflecting on his days at Dana, he cites Mr. Hudson as one of his favourite teachers. Besides doing an excellent job with the class curriculum, David calls Hudson a “life teacher” in both his freshman and senior year, always offering more knowledge than what was required (including advice on avoiding fireworms).
To his freshman self, he says, “Following a quick slap to my face, I would tell him to get a haircut and that he can’t grow a beard.” He encourages current freshmen to stop clogging the halls and trying too hard.
In the fall David will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he will major in agriculture, which he clarifies as “fancy talk for ‘I’m going to be a farmer.’”
He owes his success to the “classic nail file and hammer” approach by his parents, his friends (“they know who they are”), and his strategy of just taking it all day by day. David thanks everyone who got him to stop procrastinating, who pushed him harder than he thought possible, and who inspired him.
Ryan Keithley is excited to attend Boston College in the fall, studying medicine. He made countless memories as a member of both the Interact Club, a volunteer club, and Tech Tutors, a club dedicated to assisting the elderly with their devices.
Whether it be serving pancakes on Easter or teaching a grandma how to upload photos to Facebook, Ryan loves volunteer work, explaining, “I really don’t care about the hours, I have like 250 hours of pure volunteer work but I’m not doing it to get into college. I genuinely just enjoy helping out people, and if I can do that with my friends, even better.”
Ryan has ambitions of pursuing a career in medicine and dreams of maintaining residence in Massachusetts after he earns his degree.
UC Los Angeles
Connor Kline can be described as an epic gamer, meme lover, and caring friend. He can make anyone laugh at any given moment and always lights up the room with his kind heart. Outside of the classroom he plays guitar, watches movies and is involved in SOC4Change, a student-run nonprofit organization.
Connor will be attending UC Los Angeles in the fall to study chemical engineering and he hopes to one day work in environmentalism. If he could give any advice to his freshman self he would say, “Live your life and don’t worry about what other people think.” Some of his favorite memories at Dana include senior prom, senior Disney day, and the time that he “saw some dude eat a Carolina Reaper and almost die.”
The thing he’ll miss most about his time at Dana Hills is the fire alarms. He would like to give a formal thank you to the “Mexican restaurants that put guacamole on your burrito without charging extra for it.”
University of San Diego
Throughout her four years of high school, Nina Koester pushed herself academically to be her very best. Her favorite class was AP Calculus AB with Ms. Rice, who made such a challenging class enjoyable for Nina. Nina also loved her time with Ms. Brucks as a freshman and frequently visited her classroom in following years.
Nina was a member of NHS and played tennis for Dana. Her best memories are simply those of all the countless hours she spent hanging out with her closest friends. She will most miss “all of the amazing people that [she] has met over the last for years” when she attends the University of San Diego in the fall. Majoring in finance, she is excited for new experiences, meeting new people, and beginning the next phase of her life. She dreams of pursuing a career as a CFO. Nina thanks her parents and her best friends for helping her have a wonderful high school experience.
Cal Poly SLO
Rachel Leong is perhaps best described as a beaming ray of sunshine, always ready with a smile and constantly filled with laughter. Rachel loves fashion and jewelry design and designs both herself, creating pieces that you can see her and her friends rocking on campus. She will be attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall to study architecture.
In her time at Dana she loved being involved in orchestra in addition to being part of the Pacific Youth Orchestra for two years. She regards holding the position of Concertmaster as her greatest accomplishment.
Her favorite class and teacher at Dana were AP Biology and Mrs. Monson. What she’ll miss most from high school are her friends and she says she, “can’t imagine going to college without them next year. The memories we made will never leave me.” She thanks her parents for always supporting her and pushing her to do her best no matter what.
San Diego State University
Sam Mason, the News Section Editor of this publication and a true icon, will be majoring in criminal justice and minoring in interdisciplinary studies in Weber Honors College. After that, she wants to go on to law school or graduate school and eventually work for the FBI.
Her favorite classes were AP Government, AP Psych, forensics, and newspaper; she thanks Mr. Sampson, Mrs. Clarke, Mrs. Swenson, and Mrs. Wallace “for their genuine passion for what they do and their respect for [her] not only as a student but as a human being.” She will most miss her mother, her sister, spending too much time with Maddy Mitchel, room 706, and writing for The Prophet when she graduates.
She is excited to pursue her passions and one day repay her mom for everything she’s given her. “I plan on giving her the world,” she says. Sam regards being apart of the academic upper echelon and still having fun her greatest accomplishment, and encourages freshmen “Not to stress about where you will go to college. Everyone ends up where they’re supposed to.”
George Mason University
Annie McAllister was highly involved in Dana’s science department over the course of the last four years. Getting her lab certificate and taking three science classes in one year was her greatest accomplishment of high school.
Her favorite course was Biotech, and she thanks Ms. Clarke especially; she taught Annie for three years and Annie credits Ms. Clarke’s honors chemistry course with opening “her eyes to the world of science.” Outside of academics, Annie is a Life Group Leader and spends her free time walking her dog and watching YouTube and Netflix.
Annie will be attending George Mason University this coming fall and plans to major in biochemistry, and is most excited to work in the lab and discover new things. She formally thanks her friends for putting up with her “could-be-better life choices” and for all the fun they had together. Annie’s advice to herself as a freshman is to “just do it” and that “you have more time than you think. To incoming freshmen, she reminds them that “vaping in the bathroom is not cool” and encourages them not to stop in the middle of the hallways. Her favorite memory at Dana was senior Disney day.”
University of Oregon
Known for her outgoing and hilarious personality, Michelle McKee was a dedicated scholar and athlete, competing with Dana’s water polo team and serving as co-president of the Surfrider Club. Michelle says her greatest accomplishment of high school was “making it to CIF water polo finals with the best teammates in the world.”
Her favorite class at Dana was Honors English II her sophomore year, thanking Ms. Brucks for making the class enjoyable and preparing her well for future writing courses.
Michelle plans to attend the University of Oregon to study journalism, with a minor in creative writing. She will miss Sarah Kate Besancey most, and wishes she could bring her warm smile with her to Oregon. Her favorite memories at Dana are of the Homecoming halftime shows and the long hours spent at swim practice goofing around with her teammates and coaches.
Yasmeen Medhat was an instrumental member of THE PAPER staff for the last three years, serving as Sports Section Editor her junior year and Opinion Section Editor her senior year, in addition to writing articles. Medhat was active in the school community, serving as the CSF Vice President, playing in the orchestra for three years and joining NHS her junior year, all culminating in her recognition as a Dolphin of the Year nominee.
In the fall, Medhat will be attending UC Berkeley to major in neurobiology with aspirations to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician. She is most excited “to experience new things, create lifelong friendships, explore academic passions and plan out [her] future” in college.
Medhat cites newspaper late nights as her favorite high school memories, which are what she will miss the most following graduation. She thanks her parents for their unfailing support and for giving her “the chance at the life [she] has always dreamed of.” She also thanks the people who welcomed her to Dana after moving from Kansas her sophomore year and the teachers who always believed in her. Yasmeen’s remarkable work-ethic and sense of determination will surely allow her to achieve all she aspires toward.
UC San Diego
The University of California, San Diego will be welcoming Sarah Meng this fall to run track and study computer science. Most of Meng’s best memories at Dana come from her time on the track team, building amazing friendships and developing her athletic ability, eventually running a five-minute mile.Comparable to that incredible feat is the time she annotated 300 pages of a book in one night and clutched a decent grade.
Meng’s favorite aspect of Dana was “the truly passionate teachers who come to school with the sincere wish to make educated, well rounded people out of their students.” Over the course of high school Meng came to both loathe and appreciate specific aspects of the education system; in her opinion, teachers like Mrs. Stirtz and Mrs. Wallace, who taught with passion and authenticity, make it all worthwhile. Meng intends to study computer science at UCSD in the fall.
UC Santa Cruz
In the summer following sophomore year, Miller taught himself coding through a series of YouTube videos. Within a few weeks, he designed a calculator program entirely by himself. He later refined his skills in a computer science course at Saddleback college.
During his tenure at Dana, Miller acquired an interest in physics. Through the advanced placement course with Mr. Rosser, Miller became enamored with the practical applications of physics, enjoying the hands on work in all the labs.
In his free time, Miller surfs at Strands or Doheny. An avid music enthusiast, he also loves going to concerts.
James thanks his mother for her constant support and the reliable sack lunches that pulled him through the toughest of times. Miller is excited apply his love for physics and experience in computer software at UC Santa Cruz, where he will study computer science for the next four years.
Whether it be making a new personal record in shot put and discus, showing off her Photoshop skills in room 706, or being an AP scholar, the successes of Maddy Mitchell are evident to everyone around her. An AP Calculus AB buff and co-president of Travel Club, she was nothing short of extraordinary in her time here at Dana.
Maddy will be attending Boston College next year to pursue a major in business. She knew it’s where she belonged after visiting her junior year, driven by her love of exploring new places as well as the fact that her dad is from Boston.
Her talents for entrepreneurship began at an early age: after her uncle passed away from pancreatic cancer, Maddy created her own business, Maddy Mitchell’s Creations for Charity. Creating and selling handmade jewelry, she raised $1,700 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Her parents own their own business, which continues to drive her motivation to one day do the same. “My parents talk business at the dinner table all the time,” she jokes. “I’m pretty sure I’m the only teenage girl who can explain how a 401(k) works.”
Outside of academics, she is a member of the throws team for track, where she has made the personal shot put record of 38’3” and discus person record of 127’3”.
Excited for “new people, memories and experiences,” Maddy will surely see as much success in Massachusetts as she did at Dana.
Southern Methodist University
Well-known by others for her compassion, focus, and creativity, Avery Nesson is excited to attend Southern Methodist University in the fall.
Nesson was a key player on the water polo team here at Dana, holding a varsity position for two years. In her free time, she played piano, participating in the MTAC Certificate of Merit Program, shadowed surgeons, paddle boarded, and volunteered at the Shea Therapeutic Riding Center as well as the Coastal Comprehensive Urgent Care.
Nesson spent four years in HMO, and the field study to San Francisco with the program earlier this year is among her favorite high school memories. She also loved home water polo games and participating in the Homecoming halftime show.
She advises freshmen to focus on time-management, affirming how rewarding it is to see hard work pay off. Her favorite class was Honors Anatomy, excited to “apply that knowledge in college and [her] career.” Mr. Cosenza was her favorite teacher, for his “passion about Spanish and care for his students’ successes, all while making the class fun.”
After high school, Nesson will attend SMU as a member of the Dedman College Scholars Program and University Honors Program. Majoring in biological sciences, she will then attend medical school in pursuit of becoming a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. She would like to thank her family and friends for “being there for [her] day in and day out, and [she] will miss them being by [her] side in college.” Though she is excited for the new people and experiences at college, she will miss her friends, family, and water polo team and coach.
Cal Poly SLO
Ashley Noorian, a die-hard Marvel fan, loved dancing on Pep Squad and playing violin for the school orchestra for the past four years. During her time at Dana, Ashley most enjoyed her zero period AP Language class—but she has coffee to thank for surviving the early mornings. Ashley will continue her hard work at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall, where she will be majoring in aerospace engineering. She hopes to use her degree to work for the military or a space exploration company.
Though she is ready and excited to head off to college, she will miss cheering at football and basketball games, the pep rallies, and being able to see all of her friends everyday. For the freshmen that will follow in her footsteps, Ashley advises, “Do what you want with the people who make you happy, because no matter what you think, no one cares as much as you think, so just do what makes you happy.”
Rock climber, cross country athlete, and marathon runner Catherine Norby kept her schedule packed with extracurriculars and APs alike over her four years at Dana. She will be attending Northeastern University next spring, majoring in journalism, studying abroad in London for fall semester.
Her best memories from high school were made “with the cross country team, especially sophomore and junior year.” She insists, “We had so much fun just messing around doing one of the toughest sports on campus with some of the best people.”
Catherine advises freshmen to “be prepared for many sleepless nights and difficult tasks” and “to keep your close knit group of friends nearby––then you can then you can survive.”
She thanks Holly Morales for getting her through high school: “I could not have done this without her, from bringing me food a couple times a week to jamming in my car every morning last semester.” She also expresses her gratitude towards her parents for their support.
Cal Poly SLO
Dancer, runner, and scholar at Dana Hills,
Avery Ostuji regards getting into Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, her dream school, as her greatest accomplishment of high school, and is excited to attend in the fall, majoring in nutrition.
Passionate about photography, traveling, running, dancing, and her church, Coast Hills, Avery definitely had a full plate during her time as a Dolphin. She more than enjoyed her time here, some of her favorite memories include the marine ecology field study Baja field study, Air Guitar, and dancing in the Homecoming halftime show all four years.
Her favorite teachers were Stirtz, Hudson, and Schwartzberg, commenting, “Stirtz has had the greatest impact on me; she has inspired me so much! I am so grateful to have had her for a teacher this past year.” She thanks Mr. Hudson for making marine ecology her favorite class of high school. While she will miss her friends and classmates immensely, Avery is eager to go out into the world, meet new people, and make a difference. To the freshmen, Avery advises being yourself and not worrying about what others think of you.
She thanks her parents and friends for their love these last four years. “They definitely got me through high school. They have never stopped supporting and believing in me.” Lastly, she would like to thank her friends for “just being so amazing,” unable to imagine high school without them.
University of Washington
After four years on Dana’s track and field and cross countries teams, Madison Peebles will be majoring in biology at the University of Washington in the fall, with plans to join the military after medical school; her goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon.
Her favorite teachers were Mr. Schwartzberg, Ms. Wallace, and Mrs. Monson, whom she thanks for making the class “super fun and interesting even when the topic was not the most intriguing.” Her best memories at Dana include, “participating in the halftime show (even when I was in a boot), doing a flash mob in the mall with my math class, and working all day at the Dana Hills Cross Country Invitational.”
Madison credits her dog for getting her through the last four years. She adds, “I would like to formally thank my parents for everything and always being there for me. Also, Leila Keyvan and Megan Geiger have been my support team throughout my high school career. Nate Pellini has served as my comedic relief during even the most stressful times. I would also like to formally thank Ellen DeGeneres for being amazing, kind, and just existing!”
Looking forward to her next chapter, Madison is excited to, “start working in hospitals and operating on patients. I am also very excited to leave California for new weather.”
Dylan Potter is excited to attend Berkeley this fall, pursuing a degree in engineering. Potter spend three years on the staff of THE PAPER, serving as the Head of Copy for two, and his favorite memories of high school are of the late nights spent in 706, saying “every late night is a night to remember.”
Potter was apprehensive about Berkeley at first, he explains “I had my eyes set on Stanford for the longest time, so it took me a while to warm up to Berkeley, but now I’m extremely excited. Plus, we have the better fight song.” Potter relishes “the uncertainty of the future” and the excitement of discovering what the future holds keeps him motivated. Potter’s advice both moving forward and to those starting high school is, “Don’t close off any avenues for yourself. You never know what door may open to you and you have to be ready to take them. Also don’t be set on a single path. I was pretty sure what my future looked like until senior year messed it all up, and I’m still in a really good place and excited for the future; having rigid expectations definitely isn’t a good thing.” Potter will major in engineering.
Rachel Reeves was a critical member of ASU, serving as Director of Public Relations, junior class president, and senior class president. She was a member of the dive team for three years, played in the orchestra for two, and participated in CSF for four years and NHS for two.
Rachel loved volunteering at Special Camp for special needs children in the summer. Her favorite class was AP Physics “because it’s very hands on.” She loved that they were “always doing labs, and the competitions were really fun.”
Rachel thanks Ned for his impact upon her life. Her best memories at Dana are of planning events like Homecoming and Prom “and then seeing them play out.”
She offers this advice to underclassmen: “Really get involved in your activities and stick to the ones you find interesting. ASU was very out my comfort zone and it’s been the most influential part of my life; it’s really taught me trust my instincts and how to collaborate with others. I think it’s important that everyone finds that niche for themselves.”
Rachel will major in Human Biology, Health, and Society at Cornell in the fall and is eager to find what she wants to do with her life and a career path. She will dearly miss seeing her friends each day, and thanks them for their support, expressing, “I couldn’t have done the hard times without them.”
UC Los Angeles
Trevor Remeyer, the Scholar of Scholars, will be attending UC Los Angeles in the fall, with ambitions to earn a degree in psychology. Over the course of high school, Remeyer maintained an impressive balance between academic achievement and community and school involvement. He plays and teaches music at Los Rios Rock School, co-founded Students of Orange County 4 Change, and is actively involved in Destination Imagination, a creativity competition, all while maintaining the highest GPA of the class of 2019.
He will most miss “the connections [he] had with [his] teachers and the discourse [he] had with fellow students.” He is most thankful for the teachers who “genuinely cared about [his] education beyond the AP test,” preparing their students for the future by introducing them to both new views of the world and providing wisdom as to how to be a functioning adult.
Remeyer advises underclassmen to not “freak out about trifles or test grades or CSF and NHS or college throughout the entirety of high school. Grades and volunteering probably don’t matter as much as you think, so it’s better pursuing something that you enjoy.”
A four-year member of pep squad, three-year member of varsity and this year’s varsity cheer captain, Kate Ryan will be headed east to Syracuse University in New York State this next year.
A Heath and Medical Occupations (HMO) student, Kate enjoyed Medical Core especially out of all her classes because of the opportunity to intern at a local hospital regularly and the emphasis on hands on experience. She plans to continue down the science and medicine route, intending to major in biology and hoping to move on to medical school afterwards. She explored her interests in science at Dana in both AP Chemistry and physics, and thanks her teacher in both courses, Dr. Sharma, for “really great” class discussions. She also thanks Mr. Hulse and Mrs. Wingen for the outstanding experience she had learning from them.
Kate advises underclassmen to take electives that they are interested in to break up the monotony of core classes. She couldn’t have done the last four years without her friends or her dogs, and thanks Jim Halpert, Dwight Schrute, and the rest of the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.
University of Southern California
Ahnalia Salazar-Hudgins will be attending the University of Southern California this coming fall; she hopes to major in anthropology but is still undecided. She is most excited to finally own a fridge as well as to travel and do research in college.
Among Ahnalia’s favorite classes were AP Government with Ms. Wallace and AP US History with Mrs. Mairs. In fact, Ahnalia named Mrs. Mairs as one of her favorite teachers, along with Ms. Brucks, Mrs. Coghill, and Ms. Wallace. Though excited for the future, she will dearly miss the friends she made. Ahnalia feels that she finished high school as the best version of herself, surrounded by people who she loves and who support her.
Ahnalia spends her free time sewing, making jewelry, attending concerts, binge-watching TV shows, and going on long walks on the beach with her dog. She volunteered at Mission Hospital for three years. Ahnalia credits her mother, her friends, her dogs, her therapist, her boyfriend and “that one lizard that greets [her] before zero period every day” with helping her get through high school; additionally, she would like to formally thank Mrs. Mairs for showing her “how important it is to have confidence in yourself and your views” as well as her locker partner for not getting mad at her for causing an ant infestation. To incoming freshmen, Ahnalia’s advice is to “try not to be too self-conscious” and to “leave the worrying to junior year.”
UC Santa Barbara
Alyssa Siegel is going to attend UC Santa Barbara in the fall, where she will major in biopsychology and and participate in the Health Science Honors Program. In high school, Alyssa rowed, volunteered for political campaigns, interned for California state senator Patricia Bates. She considers co-founding the California Preparatory Academy’s first creative writing club one of her greatest accomplishments.
If Alyssa could offer her freshman self any advice, she would say, “Find something that gives you sustainable joy and pursue it.”
UC Santa Barbara
A track, cross country, and surf athlete, Hayden Stein loved the time he spent outdoors in high school with his friend and teammates. He considers going to nationals for cross country his sophomore year among his greatest accomplishments. His favorite class was marine ecology, describing how he found it so “cool to actually see what we learned about the entire year.” He will never forget the Baja field study and advises freshmen to take marine. He thanks Mr. Hudson for preparing him for college, as well as Coach Workman for the surf trips.
His other favorite memories of the last four years are of going to his neighborhood pool with his friends and of his Spanish classes, as well as blasting Micah Ivory’s rap song (“We knew all the words.”) with his track teammates before cross training swim practices.
Hayden is eager to discover how he wants to spend the rest of his life and to meet new people when he goes to UCSB this fall. He thanks his teachers for bringing him to where he is, and credits Monster energy drinks with getting him through the last four years.
UC Los Angeles
Lauren Stevens can often be spotted with a Starbucks cold brew in hand as she walks into class at Dana Hills. Drink in hand, she will soon grace the halls of UC Los Angeles to study musical theater.
Stevens has always loved performing and costume designing, directing SOCSA’s She Kills Monsters this year, which she considers one of her biggest accomplishments. She thanks Ms. Clarke, her teacher of three years and one of Lauren’s favorites, for pushing her to be a better person and inspiring her to be passionate about her work.
Her favorite class at Dana was sixth period AP Lang with Mr. Valderrama. Lauren enjoyed this class so much because of how “Valdy was so open to all our ideas and embraced us as people.” One of her favorite memories while being a Dolphin “aside from doing shows and being surrounded by friends during late tech rehearsals” was the last day of school in Valdy’s class where students read their college essays aloud and after played Super Smash Bros on a TV that Riley Byrnes brought from home.
Lauren would like to formally thank her close group of friends because “they are the people who shaped me into who I am today and I would not have been able to get through this crazy school without them.”
UC Santa Barbara
Camille Takach was actively involved in the math club since her sophomore year, serving as treasurer, vice president, and president of the club. Camille’s greatest accomplishment was bringing the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) back to Dana in the 2018-2019 school year, with the number of students taking the exam numbering over a hundred, compared to the ten students who took it the previous year.
Camille’s favorite class at Dana was AP Spanish 4, where she was able to efficiently communicate in Spanish and felt that she “truly earned the title ‘biliterate.’” Her favorite teachers were Mrs. Mairs, Mrs. Sampson, Mr. Medina, and Mr. Sims. Her favorite memories at Dana are of performing in SOCSA vocal music shows, playing on the volleyball team, and going to school dances. Her advice to her freshman self is to “make more friends, go to the beach more, live more” while her general advice to incoming freshmen is to step out of their comfort zone and “wait for something to stick.”
Regarding the future, Camille will be attending the College of Letters and Science at UC Santa Barbara and hopes to major in STEM, but is not yet completely decided. Camille is most excited to “meet people, learn more about [herself] and the world, and figure out [her] place in life.” She accredits her best friend Leah Csermak, her parents, her sister, her therapist, and her dearly missed dog Mia for helping her get through her four years of high school. She would like to formally thank the proctors and officers at Dana, giving special mentions to Mickey, whom she calls “such a beam of sunshine,” as well as Steve, who never failed to bring a smile to her face.
Stephanie Tam will attend UC Irvine in the fall, majoring in biology; she dreams of becoming a pharmacist or pediatrician. During her time at Dana, Stephanie’s favorite class was Honors Anatomy with Mrs. Wingen. Other favorite teachers included Madame Hussein, Ms. Rice, and Mrs. Monson, who had the greatest impact on helping her determine her major in college as well as “giving her a whole different perspective on the world around me both on a physical and microscopic level.”
Beyond academics, Stephanie studied martial arts and plays the piano. She enjoys drawing, playing video games and learning different dance choreographies for her favorite songs. Besides getting into UCI, her greatest accomplishments of the last four years would be passing the advanced senior level in her piano-playing career and earning state and branch honors. Next year, Stephanie will most miss the wonderful friends she has made and her amazing teachers. In the future, she is most excited to meet new friends, learn new topics, and continue to take steps towards her career.
UC Los Angeles
Moving on to UCLA in the fall, Claire Tamadon will bring with her a passion for math and science. With ambitious plans to double major in statistics and computational math, Claire aims to “become a data scientist and improve the learning aspect of machine learning.” She has dreams of developing artificial intelligence that “mirrors how humans absorb knowledge.”
Claire acted as club president of the Interact Club among other commitments, including varsity tennis and machine learning. With the motto “service above self,” Dana’s Interact Club is one of over 12,000 clubs across 133 countries that aims to improve the global community through service. Claire reflects, “Being a part of Interact was a fundamental part of shaping my leadership skills and the person I am today.” Her time as president amounted to what she considers her greatest accomplishment.
Claire loved AP Art History, the class impacting “the way in which [she] views art,” forcing her to dig deeper than face value to evaluate artistic purpose and intended message.
Accrediting her parents and friends with guiding her through high school, Claire is appreciative of being provided “with the means for success.” To all the aspiring, academically-zealous freshmen, Claire advises “not worry and stress about everything so much because a B isn’t the end of the world.”
Cal Poly SLO
Loved for his humor and wit, Griffin Tracy is well-known for his outgoing personality amongst the Dana Hills community. For instance, in Spanish III, Griffin once danced with homeless strangers to Latin American music on Olvera Street.
Out of his numerous advanced classes, Griffin found a love for psychology and AP Calculus. He credits Mr. Gunderson for his interest in psychology, which contributed to the development of his highly philosophical personality.
Griffin enjoyed weekend trips to Big Bear to snowboard and camping locally with his closest friends. At home, he can be found either playing Rocket League or watching George Lopez. In fact, he thanks Lopez for “always being there” for him.
Griffin is excited to further his studies at Cal Poly Slo, where he will major in environmental engineering.
Alina Van Dahlen
Being involved in four years of HMO and endless AP classes, Alina Van Dahlen left her mark on Dana. She plans to further pursue her passions in the medical field, majoring in health science at Saddleback College in the fall.
Her favorite class was with Ms. Johnson and Ms. Lujano her junior year, where she discovered and developed her talent for writing. Her favorite memories from Dana include lunch with her friends, attending football games and “dance rehearsals for Air Guitar in Schwartzberg’s class.” After her career in SOCSA ended, where she served as a stagehand and technician for various successful shows such as Cats, Alina decided to focus her attention on the Health and Medical Occupations academy. After becoming CPR certified and attending countless field studies, she will graduate from HMO and has hopes of becoming a registered nurse, physicians assistant or nurse practitioner.
Outside of school, she spends time exercising, going on runs and cooking. Her interest in clean eating has led her to develop skills in making healthy meals for her family and friends. Alina’s biggest piece of advice for underclassmen is “to not stress over where you’re going to college” and is looking forward most to “getting out of [her] hometown, seeing the world and having [her] own dog.” And as for who she’ll miss the most: “I’d like to thank my ride or dies, Maddy Mitchell, Ileana Avila, Sam Mason and Parmida Fatemi” for being the best friends in the entire world.
Tim Van Hoomissen
UC Los Angeles
He designs tasers, he builds lasers, and he turned us all into star gazers. Tim Van Hoomissen started the Astronomy Club his junior year to share his love and knowledge of astronomy with his peers. He was president of NHS, president of CSF, the Student Senate Pro Tempore, and one of the single funniest people to ever be apart of Dana’s Improv Team. When asked what some of his best memories at Dana are, his immediate response was, “My first improv show.” His favorite class was Marine Ecology, and he names Mr. Hudson as well as Mr. Rosser and Mrs. Clark as his most impactful educators.
Tim will major in physics, explaining, “Technology is advancing. We can’t really do anything about it. How we use that technology is the difference between suicide for the whole human species and a really cool, exciting future. I want to help push it towards the cool, exciting future.” To underclassmen, Tim offers these words: “Don’t take yourself so seriously. And take a second to really try to grasp that the world around you was built by people who are no smarter than you are.”
Tim credits his Beats headphones and his parents for getting him through the last four years. To his parents he says, “Thank you for being patient, and thank you for keeping me above water.” He considers his greatest accomplishment at Dana writing for The Prophet.
Tomas Viejobueno will attend Carnegie Mellon in the fall, studying computer science. Dedicating much of his time to STEM activities, he participated in the Computer Science Club and Robotics and his favorite class was AP Computer Science. In his free time he does programming and is a HyperX product tester.
Tomas thanks his best friend Lorenzo, who he met in freshman biology, for being someone he could always count on these last four years. He thanks Mr. Rosser, Ms. Rice, Mr. Valderrama, Mrs. Sampson and Mr. Forster for the tremendous impact they had upon him and his academic career.
He will deeply miss the community of people and friends that surround him, including the workers at I Love Bagels. That said, Tomas is looking forward to life at Carnegie Mellon, and looks forward to exploring the possibilities the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship opens up. He dreams of creating his own company after college, after he gains experience in the field of video game creation, and eventually build a family.
Tomas advises underclassmen: “Enjoy the time you have now. It’ll pass by very fast.”
Texas Christian University
Taking over eight AP classes and highly involved in Dana’s clubs, Hailey Wagner leaves a strong legacy behind at Dana. She credits her hard work and accomplishments to her faith, family, and friends. Her faith in God has always played an important role in her life and made her a passionate president of the club Cookies and Christ her senior year, following her role as Vice President in her junior year.
You could find Hailey eating lunch weekly with her buddy Catelyn who she met through Best Buddies her freshman year. Hailey and Catelyn formed a special friendship, making memories at the Special Olympics and on the Disneyland trips. Despite a packed schedule, Hailey always made time for Catelyn.
Her education has always been a main priority to Hailey, and recieving a five on her AP Calculus test her junior year is among her proudest accomplishments. Hailey loved being in Dr. Sharma’s second period AP Chem class and shouts out Anna Shaver, Rachel Reeves, Kiana Brackenridge, and Jaden Haskins for helping her survive the year.
Hailey thanks Mrs. Stirtz for being not only an amazing teacher but an amazing mentor/role model, always pushing her to be her best in school and in life. Hailey will be attending Texas Christian University in the fall and looks forward to traveling abroad as well as pursuing nonprofit opportunities.
University of Southern California
David Walsh will be trading his band leader position on the Dana Hills marching band for a spot on the “greatest marching band in the history of the universe,” also known as the USC Trojan Marching Band, this coming fall. He and his fellow bandleaders, under the guidance of Mr. Caestecker, left quite the legacy at Dana, leading the Dolphin band to place fourth in State Championships this year, an accomplishment the band had never before achieved.
Naturally, Mr. Caestecker is one of the people David is most grateful for. “Without [him], we wouldn’t really have had a band this year, let alone a marching band that I can personally say that I’m completely proud of,” he says. He thanks his “honorary brother since the fourth grade” and best friend, Clarke, for being at his side all the way through the arduous journey of high school.
David attributes his coming out of his shell to former band teacher Mr. Wade; he thanks Wade for helping him to become the person he is today, and he credits Ms. Clarke with greatly impacting the path he has decided to take in college and in his career. David plans to major in psychology and possibly biochemistry, and hopes to pursue a career in law enforcement, either as a forensic scientist or as a police officer or detective.
In these four years at Dana, David learned that good and bad things happen, but it’s most important to accept them all—failures included—since they’re just part of life. In his opinion, life has “a funny way” of eventually turning out well.
Volunteering at the Ocean Institute, serving as the Vice President and Project Manager for the CS Club, being secretary of the Math Club, and coding in her free time, Lauren West was incredibly productive and successful during her years at Dana. She will attend Harvey Mudd College in the fall, where she intends on majoring in mathematical and computational biology, with ambitions to either go into cancer treatment research or solving environmental issues.
Her best memories from Dana include football games, endless nights at the Harbor House, and eating lunch with her friends, with whom she could switch from conversations about acrylics to quantum physics “in five seconds flat.”
She attributes her survival of the last four years to Yasaman Ebrahimi and thanks Mr. Prinz for everything he taught her. Her favorite class was art history, explaining, “I almost didn’t take the class because I thought anything to do with art wasn’t my domain. I learned that art is a form of expression and achievement, and it usually serves a function. I thoroughly enjoyed the class and it has taught me to keep an open mind.”
With a bright future ahead of her, Lauren is excited to learn and use her “knowledge and skills to make the world a better place.”
UC Los Angeles
Kyle Xu will be attending UC Los Angeles in the fall, going into business. Loyal and always ready for fun, Kyle regards the countless hours he spent with his closest friends as his best memories of high school.
Over the course of high school Kyle excelled in his AP classes, teaching himself to play the piano in his free time and spending time at the gym working out. A member of the Destination Imagination team, Kyle and his friends traveled to Nashville and Kansas City to compete on the global level, accomplishing great feats of creativity and engineering.
Kyle thanks Mr. Valderrama for everything he taught him and enjoyed being his aid. While he acknowledges both the best and the worst aspects of his time in the education system, he appreciates his friends and teachers who genuinely wanted to see him succeed. Kyle plans to travel Europe with his friends this summer.
University of Illinois
Renowned for her amazing diving skills, Erin Young has walked a good walk at Dana Hills over the past four years. She is a dedicated athlete, diving for Dana’s team as well as with Crown Valley Divers. She regardes competing CIF all four years as her greatest accomplishment of high school.
Her favorite class at Dana was Honors English II with Mrs. Stirtz. Overall, her favorite teachers were Ms. Clarke, Mrs. Sampson, and Mr. Cosenza. Erin looks back fondly on dancing in the Homecoming halftime show with all her friends. Erin offers these words to underclassmen: “Calm down. You will get into college.”
Following high school, Erin is looking forward to diving at and studying speech and hearing studies at the University of Illinois. She thanks her family, friends, and teachers for getting her through high school, and especially her sister for all her help in Erin’s classes.