May 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Thursday evening, May 17, parents, siblings, family friends, teachers and administrators filed into the gym. The warm-ups ended as the concertmaster walked down the aisle and played his “A.” The rest of the band tuned to his note, conductor Dr. Brian Bartel made his entrance, and the show was underway.
The Purple Concert Band, made up of Band I students, has come a long way since the Winter Band Concert last semester. At that time their skills were primarily in note reading, and everyone played the same melody. During the second semester, Dr. Bartel introduced not only sectional harmonies, but also dynamics: changing volume and varying tempos. As usual, the nine percussionists rotated among their various instruments: crash cymbals, bass drum, timpani, stand cymbals, snare drum, bells, maracas, triangle, tambourine, and woodblocks. The first set had an international flavor, beginning with “El Capitan,” an American march by John Philip Sousa. This was followed by the equally popular (in hockey circles, at least) “O Canada!” for our neighbors to the north. Russia was represented by Tschaikovsky’s “Marche Slave” and two more countries with “Egyptian Dance” by French composer Camille Saint-Saens from his opera Samson and Delilah. Then came a Chinese folk tune in a slower tempo, “Silver Moon Boat,” and it was back home for F. W. Meacham’s lively “American Patrol” a combination of several folk tunes, but made famous by Glenn Miller’s swing version, known by its wartime lyrics, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (with anyone else but me).” The set closed with two pieces with varying tempos: a soulful African-American spiritual, “Wayfarin’ Stranger,” and an energetic Latin American favorite, “La Cucaracha.”
The Phantom Jazz Band took over with Miles Davis’ “Tune Up” and their own jazz arrangement of a medley from this spring’s musical, Fiddler on the Roof. They closed with “Stolen Moments” by Oliver Nelson. Dr. Bartel watched from the sidelines as the musicians played. He emphasized to the audience that the Jazz Band is not a separate class; it is entirely “student-organized, with student-led rehearsals.” They meet voluntarily at lunch and after school to rehearse, and Dr. Bartelacts “simply to facilitate, copying music and coaching large-scale issues, such as the building of arrangements.” Their performance, he insisted, has “very little to do with me and very much to do with them.”
This year the combo includes a keyboard because saxophonist Matt Nuesca also plays the piano. Other jazz musicians are Paolo Cruz and Azriel Caballero, saxophone; Adrian Castillo, trumpet; Andrew Flores and Ian Gomez, guitar; Franklin Muñoz, percussion; Andrew Bille, vibraphone; Ian Tadeo, flute; and Gus Puga, bass guitar. While their musical expertise is admirable, even more impressive is that many of these young men, Mr. Puga among them, had never played an instrument before coming to Cathedral as freshmen. And several of them look forward to another year of music before they graduate in 2013. It just goes to show what can be accomplished with a good teacher and a lot of practice. Hmm, I wonder if that applies to any other areas of high school….
During intermission art teacher Jamie Murphy discussed the work of his seniors in Studio Art II. These students have learned the basics of drawing, value, proportion, line control and composition, so the next step is to introduce them to “emotive representation,” the artistic equivalent of dynamics in music. By using acrylics instead of oils, he explained, students work with a sense of urgency because the colors dry so quickly. This also “liberates [them] from the need for control,” he continued, because they know their efforts “can be reworked quickly” as well, unlike work in oil. It also forces them to see their first attempt as a draft that will have to be revised because there is not enough time to get everything right the first time. Hmm. Sort of like writing an essay….
Romario Leyva’s restrained geometric composition is “beautifully rendered” and stands in stark contrast to the “colorful, aggressive brush strokes” of the “sculptural painting” so reminiscent of German Expressionism of his fellow Phantoms. Mr. Murphy encouraged applying “three or four colors” to the brush (and hence, to the canvas) at one time. Among the works that best meet these demanding criteria are Steve Lee’s “Self-Portrait,” John Reyes’ “Still Life with Fruit” and Seth Averill-Murphy’s “Still Life with Flowers.” This kind of art is “a physical process and not for the faint of heart,” he concluded.
After intermission it was the turn of the Cathedral Symphonic Band, made up of students in Band II/III/and IV. They began with “Mars, the Bringer of War,” a movement from Gustav Holst’s The Planets. At the winter concert, the band played “Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity” a chorale from the same work. Holst also composed the second piece of the set, “First Suite in E Flat,” made up of two movements – a slower chaconne and a livelier march. Then they played a medley of music from Phantom of the Opera – three tunes woven together into a concert piece: “All I Ask of You,” “The Music of the Night,” and the title song, “Phantom of the Opera.” Dr. Bartel introduced the next work as “the most famous soprano aria in all of opera,” from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, “O Mio Babbino Caro” (O my beloved Daddy). The set finished with “March to the Scaffold” from the Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz, which concludes with the hero’s decapitation!
The concert closed with all the band students combining their talents to perform Cathedral’s Alma Mater.
May 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
On May 21, morning announcements began with the following exciting words:
“What the Lakers and Clippers couldn’t do on Saturday, the Phantoms did: they won! For the first time in Cathedral’s history, we are CIF Southern Section Division 4 Volleyball Champions!”
On Saturday, May 19, at Cypress College, the Phantoms took a quick two-game lead in the championship series. A third straight win might have looked easy, but momentum shifts quickly, and suddenly the defending champion Santa Monica Vikings tied the series with two wins of their own. As school president Martin Farfan related the story, hearing the enthusiastic Cathedral fans chant, “We believe!” was inspiring, regardless of the outcome. After several match points, and – according to the Alumni Association account – “a few fans asking for a defibrillator,” the Phantoms finished their season with a championship plaque.
Who are these players who, for the first time in Cathedral’s history, have brought home a division championship in volleyball? Sophomores Alejandro Albarran, Jonathan Alvarez, Jeremy Calleja, Steven Sosa, and David Escobedo; juniors Justin Adelmann, Michael Limon, Matthew Ortiz, Ryan Sagucio, and Clemente Arias; seniors Nick Ochoa, Ivan Palomera, Ernest Gurule, Matthew Malinoski, Jonathan Calleja, and Aaron Bautista.
Since 2004 Cathedral alumnus Mike Godoy (Class of 1997) has been coach of the varsity team [see Purple Letter of September 13, 2010]. He is well known for his work with freshmen, his interest going beyond the introductory speech and pre-algebra courses he teaches. Not only is he activities moderator and academic counselor for the freshman class, but he also supervises freshmen and their tutors in the Morning Program. His desire to make the freshman experience not only memorable but successful is evident.
But this story is only peripherally about the coach. It’s really about the volleyball program at Cathedral. Mr. Godoy’s philosophy of coaching is somewhat unorthodox for those expecting a martinet. “I want to build trust” with the members of the team, he says, so “we work around the occasional detention,” or, if necessary, players will choose a Saturday detention, so they do not miss practice. In addition, there is “no penalty for being late to practice” if the student brings a note from the teacher he was seeing. “They want to be there [at practice],” he explained. He added two assistants, Deon Jones and Megan Rush, to help him prepare the team for the playoffs.
He and his assistants (currently Shawn Cui for the frosh and Cat Avila for the JV) have built an impressive program without off-campus recruiting or mandatory study hall. “Our teams are entirely home-grown,” he says proudly. “If I see a kid who’s not involved in activities, and he looks like he might do well, I suggest that he give volleyball a try. If he comes to practice, great; if he doesn’t, I don’t resent his decision.” Moreover, fourteen of his sixteen varsity players are on the “A” or “B” Honor Roll, and several of them are taking AP or Honors classes as well.
This is not to imply that volleyball is easy, however. Players need to develop techniques the average spectator is not aware of. “We have plays,” he explains, and the boys need to develop stamina because the game “depends on momentum.” Only six players are on the court at a time, and it is hard play, whether the situation requires “a dive, a jump, or a sprint.” It’s “a roller coaster of emotions and physical exertion.”
“But now that we have a championship,” he concluded, “more teams may be willing to play us.”
We are lucky to have someone with Mr. Godoy’s zeal and passion.
May 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
ASB President Justin Mercado submitted the following reflection on his years at Cathedral.
Senior year: a time for making future decisions and a last chance to excel in rigorous studies. For some, this year is marked by the dreaded “senioritis” with a leniency towards laziness and a sense of “checking out.” Still for others, this fourth and final year of high school is their last chance to go for something big and take an unexpected risk, not knowing what consequences may follow. As a student who tried to immerse himself in all Cathedral High School had to offer, I felt that I achieved this to a great extent. From sports to student government and numerous clubs in between, I had conquered every feat of high school, or so I thought. There was still one area left to experience: theater.
For those that know me, I’m not much of an outspoken person. I’m the quiet kid who observes others and enjoys their acting and rambunctious behavior. However, I must admit that high school did bring me out of my comfort zone and caused me to open up drastically. With a bit of confidence under my belt, I was a little more motivated to audition for a production. After viewing a couple of previous productions, I was left in awe of how professional a high school show can be. I was determined to at least try out. Yet, with my busy schedule both in the fall and spring, productions seemed to be out of the picture. As senior year was underway, it was announced that the spring season would foster the musical. This was a change in protocol as musicals were in the fall and plays in the spring. This now seemed like an opportunity easily manageable. I would audition for the musical and still have time to play on the volleyball team. I was quick to realize that this was not an option. Rather, it was either or. Having played three previous years of volleyball, I decided to let it go and stick with the musical.
Luckily, I was cast in the musical [Fiddler on the Roof], though I had a minor role. The experience was incredible and the appreciation I gained for the theater is greater than I ever thought. This was a more in-depth look at a production. Not only did I see it unfold before my very eyes, I was able to contribute a small portion to the overall product. Auditioning for the musical and being part of a Cathedral High School production will live forever as a great risk I took in my final year of high school.
May 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
Senior exams are this week, culminating in Senior Awards Presentations Thursday morning in the gym, Baccalaureate Mass Friday night at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and graduation Saturday morning at the Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena. In honor of these events, this week’s Purple Letter presents a reflection written by four graduating seniors: Juan Hernandez, Jesse Flores, Michael Candaza, and Cesar Solis, members of the National English Honor Society.
Four long years at Cathedral. Who could have known that, when they said, “Your time in high school flies by,” they were not kidding! The Class of 2012 is now approaching their final days here at Cathedral and what can be said but it’s been a fun and vigorous path long the way: from being the first freshman class to have orientation inside the gym – which at that point had only been open for a few months – to being present in the gym when they had the blessing of our new field and tombstones. As the Class of 2012 now approaches our end, we are leaving with a few new improvements that were installed this past year: our former Student Activity Center, the SAC for short, now flourishing into the Student Life Center or the SLC, and the new Br. James Meegan Library-Media Center, which is still being installed. What a beauty that place has become! You should have seen the old one.
Our sports teams have changed as well, from our football program, after our sophomore year, moving up to Division 3 from their former Division 10 section, to soccer being able to win League these past 3 years that we have been there, and to not forget our cross country doing the same, going all the way to State this year! Such great effort our seniors have put into making those sports teams strong. We know there is one event our class cannot forget to acknowledge, and that would be that in our time at Cathedral, our freshman year the track team was able to win State. No other class in our campus currently can say that.
Cathedral’s time can never be summed up in just these few paragraphs, but one word of advice is to cherish your time here. Take the right opportunities when they are presented to you. Don’t hesitate to make a move that may bring joy to you. Who knows? You might end up loving it. Don’t be afraid to try new activities at Cathedral. Who knows? You may be the school’s new main star in the theater, or the new head anchor at KCHS, or the star player on a sports team. Give everything a bit of chance while you are here; you may never be certain of the outcome. Trust us when we say that your time at Cathedral does fly by. One moment you’re a freshman about to embrace summer break, and then you’ll be where we are today: seniors about to graduate, going off to the real world, no longer the little boys we came in as but young men. As our English teacher Mr. Matteson always says, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Have fun spending your time here at Cathedral; venture out to see what the school can offer you, and remember to always make the right choices. Do take into account that our class was once the largest on campus, but because of failing grades, stealing and drug usage, our class is now the smallest. Plain out and simple: don’t be stupid. Hopefully this is helpful for you freshmen who are still wondering what our school can offer you. We didn’t know at your age but as our time progressed, we found where we belong.
Next week: Spring band concert and art show, graduation ceremonies, and farewell.
May 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
Cathedral’s annual observance of Founder’s Week was a mix of fun, information, and worship experiences. Each day there was a different theme, based on the five Lasallian Core Principles, with appropriate activities to commemorate it.
Monday was “Respect for all persons,” and anyone wearing this year’s “Signum Fidei” button or wristband was allowed to come to school in modified dress rather than in the usual uniform. Each class began with a prayer (over the Intercom) for respect. Br. Ernest Miller, FSC, addressed junior religion classes on Lasallian involvement in promoting and respecting the rights of children.
On Tuesday, thanks to preparation by Mrs. Aguirre and Lasallian Youth, selected students and faculty members participated in service projects off campus in acknowledgment of the second theme, “Concern for the poor and social justice.” Some teachers provided transportation to and from the projects; some substituted in classrooms while their colleagues served. Modified dress was again available for those who could spare $2.00, and the money was designated for our sister school, St. Mary’s in Kenya. Br. Ernest continued speaking to the juniors, and Br. George Van Grieken, FSC, arrived to address vocation with other classes. During lunch, Mrs. Aguirre and Lasallian Youth invited students to help them make sandwiches for delivery to the homeless, and in the cafeteria lines, students donated “change for change,” which also went to St. Mary’s.
Wednesday the “Spare your Collar for $2.00” continued as Cathedral observed a commitment to “Quality education,” presenting Honor Roll students with a free snack from the Administration. Teachers, too, received juice, coffee, bagels and muffins in the morning, plus a free lunch of assorted Chinese delicacies! Mr. Ferrante and the yearbook staff posted various teacher profiles around campus to let students know their instructors have interests outside the classroom as well. Br. George Van Grieken continued speaking to classes about the Lasallian vocation.
Thursday was a dress-up day for celebrating “Faith in the presence of God.” Lasallian Core Principle posters were on display around the campus, and Father Rick, a “Brothers’ boy” from Cuba celebrated Mass, which included slides prepared by Br. Roch and music by the Praise Band under the direction of Mr. Yslas. At the end of Mass, Br. Chris Patino renewed his vows for another year as a Christian Brother, and Brother Visitor Donald Johanson, FSC, of the San Francisco District, bore witness. Br. John Montgomery acknowledged the departure of several long-time Cathedral teachers: Nancy Price (retiring after 25 years), Sanford Jones (moving to the Philippines), Bruce Matteson (leaving after 11 years), and Br. Chris Patino (moving to San Miguel in Tucson). At the end of the day, just before school was dismissed, Br. John called classes to the athletic field, where a star had been laid out in preparation for the school’s picture. The yearlong theme “Many stars, one La Salle”was illustrated in the photo (taken by Abel Gutierrez) of the entire student body, faculty, staff and administration radiating in five points from the Phantom in the center of the athletic field.
Finally, on Friday, the school celebrated an inclusive community of “Brotherhood” with a Purple Pride dress theme. Students wore Cathedral logo shirts or other CHS apparel. Several inflated amusements were set up on the field, including a climbing tower, basketball and soccer skill games, water rides, and a dunk tank. Hot dogs, snow cones, nachos and an assortment of drinks were available for purchase (but not to take onto the field!) and a good time was had by all right up until 12:30 p.m. Juniors and seniors went home to prepare for Prom, held that night at Castaways in Burbank, and freshmen and sophomores went home to an early weekend.
Director of Student Life Br. Chris Patino expressed his gratitude to all of the above-named, as well as to the many people who, with faith and zeal, worked behind the scenes to make this week possible, specifically: The Administration, for all their support, helping pick loose up ends, and their attention to all the logistics; Mr. Resurreccion and the ASB, for all their work, true Phantom spirit, and Lasallian activities; a special shout out to Mr. Res for not only handling many activities this week, but also for taking care of all the preparations for Prom; Ms. English, for designing a great flyer and meaningful logo for this year’s Founder’s Week; Mr. Bertolone, Mrs. Collier, Mrs. Soliz, and Mrs. Zaragoza, for their selfless help and support with many details — what would we do without you? Br. Roch and KCHS, for their coverage of Founder’s Week and presence at many of the activities; Br. Lawrence, for keeping the website up to date with all Founder’s Week information; Mr. Gutierrez, for his attention to all the details in putting together a great school photo of our Human Star! Mr. Flores, Coach “AJ” Jefferson, and Coach “Toro” Torres, for providing support and students to help set up the gym; and to Mr. Jones, Br. James, Br. Paul, Br. Lawrence, and Mr. Res, who welcomed guests into their religion classes.
But the year isn’t over yet. Br John announced an assembly next Monday to hear a choral performance sponsored by the Colburn School of Music in downtown Los Angeles. This spring students from Cathedral, Salesian, Bishop Conaty, and Sacred Heart of Jesus were invited to be part of a new community outreach program, and their performance is intended, first, to showcase what the students in our local Catholic high schools have been able to accomplish in these few short months, and second, to encourage more students to join the choral program next year. Thursday night is the Spring Band Concert and Art Show, followed by the Farewell Dance on Friday. Then it’s final exams for seniors, graduation rehearsals, Senior Presentations in the gym in front of the student body, Baccalaureate Mass in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and graduation ceremonies in Pasadena. Final exams for everyone else begin on Tuesday, May 29.
May 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
Amid the pressure of Advanced Placement Exams, Math Club Honors Ceremonies, and preparation for finals, Cathedral has made a point for over twenty years to honor members of the student body for their achievement and effort.
Before Easter, each teacher was asked to select two students from each class, one to be honored for academic excellence and one for dedication. Since early April, Registrar Aurora Soliz has been checking the spelling of 164 names and preparing 302 certificates for presentation to the selected freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.
The excellence award is pretty straightforward, going to the student maintaining the highest grade for the length of the class, whether semester or year-long. Many teachers wish they could select more than one “excellent” student especially when several have similarly high grades. Of course, teachers are free to give the dedication award to the student with the second-highest grade in the class, and often they do. But this honor is designed particularly to reward sustained and enthusiastic commitment, especially for those whose best efforts do not quite reach the academic heights of the “A” Honor Roll.
On Thursday, May 4, faculty, administration, parents and family members gathered to celebrate the achievement of Cathedral students in Computer Science, English, Mathematics, Religious Studies, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, andVisual & Performing Arts. The program, as usual, listed the names of all the honorees, but the particular class or award is deliberately omitted to add to the suspense. Seniors are not included in this event because their recognition comes at the Senior Presentation Assembly before graduation.
Following the opening prayer by Br. Chris Patiño, Master of Ceremonies Gary Bertolone introduced Principal Br. John Montgomery. In his opening remarks, Br. John noted statistics for college-bound seniors from Cathedral. As the saying goes, there was good news and bad news. The good news for the Class of 2012 is that, of 152 seniors, a record 26% have maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher for their entire high school career. Of these forty students, eleven have maintained a cumulative GPA of 4.0 or higher.
He also pointed out that in the Los Angeles Unified School District, only 15% of graduating seniors are eligible to enroll in a four-year college. At Cathedral, he proudly announced, fully 74% of our seniors have been accepted by a four-year college or university.
Going into a little more detail, our seniors have received 228 acceptance letters, and 15% of them (35 by count) came from the nine campuses of the University of California (2 each from Berkeley and Davis; 4 each from UCLA, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Diego, and Riverside; 5 from Irvine; and 6 from Merced). The majority of acceptances, 64%, came from eighteen of the twenty-three Cal State campuses: 42 from Cal State LA; 29 from Northridge; 11 from Cal Poly Pomona; 9 from San Francisco; 7 from Fullerton; 6 each from Long Beach and San Jose; 5 from Monterey Bay; and 4 from San Diego, for a total of 146.
Private colleges and universities account for 20% of the acceptances. These include such California schools as St. Mary’s of Moraga, University of the Pacific, and Pepperdine, plus the following out-of-state institutions: St. John’s (New York); Seton Hall (New Jersey); Notre Dame (Indiana); LaSalle University and Swarthmore (both in Philadelphia); Willamette (Oregon); and Johns Hopkins (Baltimore).
Approximately 25% of our graduates are expected to enroll in a local community college, such as Glendale, ELAC, or Pasadena City College.
Now for the bad news. College acceptances are becoming more difficult at California’s public universities. Because of the increased tuition ($23,000) paid by out-of-state and international students, the UC system is accepting fewer California residents. Similarly, in three years – and this affects this year’s freshmen – the Cal State system will be accepting 1,500 fewer students per campus. As it stands today, Cal State students frequently take six years to graduate, but no financial aid will be awarded for a seventh year.
All of this means that college acceptance will no longer be automatic just for taking (and passing) the college preparatory courses that Cathedral offers. Acceptance to a UC school is down 10% since 2010, while CSU acceptances are up 10%. Private school acceptances over the last three years are up 6%, and community college acceptances (not particularly rigorous) are up 1%.
Following these somewhat sobering remarks, the Master of Ceremonies returned to the focus of the occasion, presentation of the certificates.
Beginning with the Computer Science Department, faculty members lined up in front of the decorative balloon arch, and then Mr. Bertolone read the names of the students selected for academic excellence. Department Chair Anthony Trafecanty presented certificates, while the department members offered their congratulations in a receiving line. Following the applause for the honorees, Mr. Bertolone read the names of the students selected for dedication and effort, and they received their certificates and congratulations as well.
The next group was the English Department, with AP English Language and English I Honors teacher Terry Catlin standing in for Department Chair Kristin McNeal (on maternity leave).
They were followed by the Spanish Department andChair Martha Lira; the Math Department led by Chair Abel Gutierrez; Religious Studies withChair Br. Lawrence Haley; Science underChair David Galaz; Social Studies andChair Robert Ryan, and concluding with the Visual & Performing Arts andChair Jamie Murphy.
After each department’s honorees have been recognized, the audience responds with applause. At least one freshman, Kendrick Antenor-Cruz, was honored for excellence in six of seven categories! While the teachers take delight in watching the freshmen make their first trip to the front, they also share a special joy when sophomores and juniors participate for the first time.
At the end of the ceremony, the students led an a capella rendition of the Alma Mater.