Spring Band Concert and Art Show

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.”

John Reyes, Still Life with Fruit, acrylic on canvas

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.”

Seth Averill-Murphy, Still Life with Flowers, acrylic on canvas

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….

Acrylic on canvas by Romario Leyva

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.

Self-Portrait by Steve Lee, acrylic on canvas

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.


Last Senior Reflection

May 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

ASB President Justin Mercado submitted the following reflection on his years at Cathedral.

Justin Mercado, Class of 2012

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.

Senior Reflections: Class of 2012

May 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Michael Candaza

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.

Cesar Solis

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.

Jesse Flores

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.

Juan S. Hernandez

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.

Founder’s Week

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.

Many stars, one La Salle, Cathedral version. Photo by Abel Gutierrez

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.

Star Scholar Night

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.

Math Club Ceremony

April 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Math Club logo designed by Joe Sandoval

On Thursday, April 26, the Math Club held its 28th annual awards ceremony in the Melvin Henderson-Rubio Conference Room. Loyal parents had decked the tables with goodies for the celebratory conclusion; meanwhile, students set up extra chairs, handed out programs, and guided parents and guests to their seats. Members of the faculty and administration lined the walls, as did some juniors and seniors, thus leaving some places available for family members who had come to honor their sons. Moderator Eve Salas evicted two rows of students to make additional room for parents, grandparents, and other adults who were standing in the back. Next year, Mrs. Salas hopes to move back into the gym (“but only half of it”) so everyone can have a seat. This year there was a game scheduled, so the gym was not available.

After the opening prayer led by Math Club Secretary David Delgado, Vice President Daniel Salas, a graduating senior, acknowledged the size of the turnout, commenting that Cathedral has arguably the largest high school math club in the nation, in part because it appeals to a diverse community interested not only in academics but also arts and games.

Matias Farfan IV, Mathematician of the Year

Although Mrs. Salas carefully orchestrated her ceremony to build suspense, this article presents the big news, Mathematician of the Year, first. This is the Math Club’s highest award, and it is conferred upon “the student who has maintained the highest GPA in mathematics for four years, has continuously earned medals for excellence in math, and has shown dedication to the Math Club through his service in all activities.” This year that honor went to senior Matias Farfan IV.

Four-Year Service Award recipient Julian Tolosa

For his dedication and service to the Math Club, senior Julian Tolosa received the Four-Year Service Award. His mother, Ms. Encarnacion Tolosa, was recognized for her “fifteen years of tireless service” and “nonstop food donations” to the Math Club and to the two other organizations moderated by Mrs. Salas, the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation. As Mrs. Salas explained, Ms. Tolosa “has four sons [beginning with keynote speaker Martin (Class of 2001), followed by Nicholas (Class of 2002), Christian (Class of 2010) and ending with senior Julian (Class of 2012)], and I have the honor of having all of them as my students.”

Special presentations were also made in recognition of two teachers. Associate Director for Activities and Cathedral alumnus Ryan Resurreccion (Class of 2003) [see Purple Letter of August 30, 2011] made a special presentation as well. With a quotation from John Ruskin, Mr. Resurreccion acknowledged “a seasoned teacher, past English Department Chair, mentor, and one of Cathedral High School’s legends,” Nancy Price, for 25 years of service, some of it presenting honors at the Math Club Awards Ceremonies.

Mrs. Salas also made a point to recognize another former student, Br. Chris Patiño, FSC (Class of 2002) [See Purple Letter of Jan. 12, 2009]. Like Mr. Resurreccion, he is also a former keynote speaker for the Math Club Awards Ceremony. She told the audience that Br. Chris took seriously the phrase “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.” While a student at the University of Arizona, he worked in the foundation of San Miguel, a Lasallian school in Tucson. After his novitiate year in Napa, he returned to Cathedral in 2008, where he has served as religion teacher, moderator of Lasallian Youth, vocation coordinator, and Director of Student Life.

The first awards, presented for Creativity in Math, went to students for their origami butterflies. The geometric paper-folding was enhanced in two ways. The first group were “realistic,” and required research to determine accurate colors and wing-shapes for butterflies from four continents. The second group, “futuristic,” combined creative imagination and artistic merit. Winners were chosen by the faculty. Michael Candaza and Jesse Flores, members of the Math Club Board of Representatives, and teacher Nancy Price presented the awards. For the realistic butterfly, first place went to Jordan Franklin; second place to David Galvan, and third place to Jose Aguilera. For the futuristic butterfly, first place went to Michael Nevarez, second place to Eric Sweasey, and third place to Jack Arias.

The Math Club sponsors several contests during the year, each requiring math and problem-solving skills. As a way of introducing freshmen to the competition, all the games are played by teams.

Crossmatic uses grade-level teams, and awards went to first and second runners-up for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Joseph Tristan Gonzales and Michael Domingo, members of the Board of Representatives, and Dean of Students Sulema Modesto presented the certificates. Freshman champions were Michael Nevarez and Joshua Meza. There was a tie at the sophomore level, with Daniel Talavera & Alex Perez and Nathaniel Sun & Matthew Nuesca sharing the honors. Junior champions were Ryan Sagucio and Matthew Ortiz, and senior champions were Steve Lee and Mynor Franco.  The champion teams met in a play-off, and the grand champions were seniors Steve Lee and Mynor Franco.

Like Crossmatic, the 24-Game also uses grade-level teams, and Representatives Ian Gomez and Andrew Bille, together with Dean of Students Wendy Ruiz, presented awards to first and second runners-up and to the champion for each grade level. Freshman champions were Andrew Lucero and Matthew Padua; sophomore winners were a team of three: Nathaniel Sun and Kristian & Tristan Nuñez. Junior winners were Xavier Smith and Ricardo Olivares, and senior winners were Daniel Salas and Julian Tolosa. Again, the grade-level winners competed for the Grand Championship, and graduating seniors Daniel Salas and Julian Tolosa vanquished all opponents, retiring undefeated after four years of competition!

Krypto is similar to the 24-Game, but it requires mixed grade-level teams: juniors join forces with sophomores; seniors work with freshmen. Board members Ricardo Olivares and Patrick Vong and Dean of Services John Ferrante presented awards to first and second runners-up as well as to the champions for each team. For the junior-sophomore team the winners were junior Johnathan Luc and sophomore Joseph Tristan Gonzales. Among the senior-freshman teams, there was a tie: senior Justin Dominguez & freshman Michael Domingo, and senior Matias Farfan & freshman Vicente Mojares. The winning teams competed for the grand championship, which went to Johnathan Luc and Joseph Tristan Gonzales.

The speaker for the occasion was Cathedral alumnus Martin Tolosa, Class of 2001, whose high school resumé included Math Club, Student Senate, cross country, and track & field teams. At UCLA he earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology and minored in Asian Studies. After graduation he worked as Assistant Director of UCLA Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (2004-2005). Beginning in 2006 he was a tutor in science and math for Academic Advantage of Los Angeles and was hired as project coordinator of Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Inc., where he worked until 2009. Currently he is a youth mentor under the M+M Project in Chinatown while also pursuing a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Practice at USC.

Math Club Moderator Eve Salas

Following Martin‘s inspirational talk, Mrs. Salas acknowledged she was “very proud” to have had him as a student, not only for his “very good character, but also [because he was] very good academically, a real scholar.”

On February 27, the Math Department administered a school-wide test to all students enrolled in mathematics this year. The following awards were determined by combining 50% of their current math class GPA with 50% of their math test results. Gold, silver and bronze medals went to students with the highest totals in each math class; certificates went to fourth and fifth place finishers.

Dean of Students Mike Trafecanty, together with Board members Julian Tolosa and Tristan Hom, presented awards for academic excellence to freshmen in Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Geometry Honors, and Algebra II Honors.

Then students Steven Hernandez and Armando Freire joined Director of Student Activities Director Ryan Resurreccion to present awards to the sophomores in Geometry, Geometry Honors, Algebra II, Algebra II Honors, and Pre-Calculus Honors.

Director of Student Life Br. Chris Patiño and Board members Emmanuel Licup and Earl John Reyes presented the juniors with awards in Geometry, Algebra II, Statistics, Pre-Calculus Honors, and AP Calculus AB.

Finally, Terry Catlin, Director of Guidance & Counseling, joined Board members Matthew Nuesca and Vicente Mojares to present awards in Pre-Calculus Honors, Statistics, Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Calculus BC to the seniors.

Mrs. Salas asked Principal Br. John Montgomery to help her present service award plaques to the Math Club Executive Officers, whose efforts made possible the games and activities that the Club sponsors. These dedicated students are Jack Arias, Christopher Bonnin, Marcus Chavez, Michael Domingo, Robert Serrano, Diego Vera, Vicente Mojares, Brian Cordova, Matthew Nuesca, Tristan Hom, Luis Llobrera, Emmanuel Licup, Paolo Arnel Joaquin, Norman Zelada, Joseph Lacson, Earl John Reyes, Jeremy Calleja, Joshua Khan, Joseph Tristan Gonzales, Mark Muñoz, Ian Gomez, Andrew Bille, Armando Freire, Paul Ji, Steve Lee, Jaime Adame, Jesse Flores, Julian Tolosa, Matias Farfan IV, Justin Dominguez, James Pineda, Patrick Vong, and Michael Candaza.

After closing remarks by Math Club President (and Mathematician of the Year) Matias Farfan IV, Norman Zelada led the Club in reciting their Pledge (written by Gary Noguera, Class of 2000), and Anthony Javier led the singing of the Alma Mater. Then the assembled honorees and their friends and families adjourned to partake of the tasty refreshments provided by the Math Club parents.

Mock Trial and Academic Decathlon

April 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

We leave for Holy Week and Easter break with the celebratory banquet for Mock Trial and Academic Decathlon participants on Thursday, March 29, 2012.

The Mock Trial Competition is sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. According to its website <www.crf-usa.org> the program was created “to help students acquire a working knowledge of [the] judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of … society.” Each team receives “summaries of case law, witness statements, [and] official exhibits,” which they present at trial using “simplified rules of evidence.” Middle schools and high schools from 36 California counties compete each year.

Mr. Ryan addresses his audience. Photo by David Guerra

The cases are hypothetical, but based on topics of current interest complicated by Constitutional questions. Robert Ryan [See Purple Letter of March 29, 2010], the teacher-sponsor for Cathedral’s Mock Trial team, explained that “the case is unique to each year, and all schools try the same case.” This year the case was called People v. Buschell. Mr. Ryan  summarized the case: “Ryan Buschell was accused of murdering his friend Becca because she was going to turn him in for plagiarism and ruin his chances at inheriting millions of dollars worth of trust fund.”

The tournament, which took place last November at the Courthouse downtown, requires that each team prepare both prosecution and defense. Like over 8000 students across the state, Cathedral’s Mock Trial team worked with Mr. Ryan as their teacher-sponsor and an attorney-coach from the Los Angeles community to learn how to analyze, prepare, and present their case. They presented the prosecution’s case one week and the defense’s case the other.

The process begins with a pre-trial motion (presented by senior Cristian Alegria) that concerned the Second Amendment and “whether an individual has a Constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon.” Mr. Ryan was pleased to note that “as the prosecution, we won the motion, and the charge was allowed to stand.” However, as the defense, he confessed, “we lost [the motion], with the same result.”

Student attorneys (for both the defense and the prosecution) were Abraham Beltran, Jaycee Barajas, Michael Mora, and Anthony Cardinal, who received Honorable Mention for his work from the sponsor, the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

The witnesses were played by Cameron Payne, Jose Mares-Martinez, Yohanes Shimelis, Richard Kim, Benjamin Lopez, Rosario Leyva, Herbert Benitez, and Ivan Palomera. The court bailiff was played by Julio Priego, and the clerk/timekeeper was Fernando Reyes.

The team “won the verdict in both trials,” observed Mr. Ryan. As prosecutors, they convicted the defendant, and as defenders, they won his acquittal. If you are interested in being part of this challenging activity, see Mr. Ryan.

Mrs. Staveley & the 2012 Academic Decathlon Team. Photo by David Guerra.

Cathedral’s Academic Decathlon team celebrated their worthy accomplishments as well. Like the Mock Trial Competition, these decathletes prepare all year for a two-day competition. Each year the focus is a different historical era, and students undergo rigorous testing on two consecutive Saturdays. The three subjective events – the interview, the speeches (one memorized, one impromptu), and the timed writing (essay) – were tested first, on January 28. On the following Saturday, February 4, students faced a grueling series of Scantron tests in each of seven subject areas: literature & language, music, science, art, mathematics, economics, and social science. Four tests are administered before lunch and three more afterwards, including the written and oral Super Quiz. Each year since 2008 the teams have brought home more medals than the year before. In 2011 [see Purple Letter of February 14, 2011] the total was 34, up from 21 in 2010. With the redoubtable Mrs. Staveley [see Purple Letter of November 17, 2008] as their coach and moderator, two teams again competed in Division 2 and Division 3 at the Regional Private School Decathlon Competition at Bishop Alemany High School in Granada Hills.

Team One, consisting of Tom Bebing, Matias Farfan, David Guerra, Steve Lee, Emmanuel Licup, Edgar Maldonado, Earl John Reyes, Yohanes Shimelis, and Ian Tadeo, received a beautiful plaque for winning Team Gold in their division of the Oral  Super Quiz. Each young man received a gold medal for this accomplishment. In addition, Matias Farfan won a bronze medal in mathematics; David Guerra a bronze in language & literature, and Steve Lee a bronze in music. Edgar Maldonado won a gold medal in the interview, and Yohanes Shimelis took gold in economics. However, junior Ian Tadeo won an astonishing six medals! Besides the team gold for the Super Quiz, Ian also won the following individual medals: gold in art, silver in the Super Quiz, and bronze in science, economics, and decathlon. Counting nine golds for the team Super Quiz, Team One brought home eighteen medals!

Team Two did its part as well; every member of the team brought home at least one individual medal. John Severino took gold in the interview; Armando Freire won silver in science; Johnathan Llamas won bronze in music; Andrew Lucero and Diego Vera both took bronze in science.

With multiple medals, Matthew Nuesca brought home bronze in both music and mathematics, while Jonathan Pagador took bronze in science and gold in both art and economics. Bringing home four medals each were junior George Bebing (silver in science, and bronze in interview, music, and Super Quiz) and senior Anthony Javier (silver in interview, bronze in essay, language & literature, and Super Quiz). Total for Team Two: eighteen medals!

Total medal count for 2012: 36! Cathedral continues its impressive rate of acquisition. The subject of next year’s competition, Russia, was announced at the banquet. An important qualification for Academic Decathlon is grade point average (GPA). Each team of nine must have 3 “A” students, 3 “B” students, and 3 “C” students. If you are interested you can talk to either Mrs. Staveley or a team member. Be sure to stop by the senior building to view the team bulletin board. If you like a challenge, like learning new things, and are not afraid of commitment, consider becoming a member of the Academic Decathlon or the Mock Trial team (or both, like Yohanes Shimelis).

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