by Leanne Huebner, May 13, 2013
Recently, our MBEF crew caught up with a number of the most impressive Mira Costa students from the Class of 2013 — the valedictorians. One unique factor about Mira Costa is that any student who receives an “A” in every single class during their four years of high school – no matter what track they embark upon – can aspire to become a class valedictorian. This year, Mira Costa will graduate 29 valedictorians and we thought it would be nice to give you just a taste of how impressive some of our future Mustang graduates are and share their thoughts on how MBEF impacted their K-12 education.
Michelle Comroe is a National Merit Commended Scholar and last year she was awarded the Charlaine Deatherage Award. She is the Flute Section Leader of Mira Costa band and plays in the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra as well as the pit Orchestra for school musicals. Ms. Comroe is Vice President and Webmaster of S Club, having served as a board member for three years. Next year she will be attending the University of the Pacific in the Accelerated Dental Program, a six year program in which she will receive her Bachelors and DDS degrees.
“I am very appreciative of the contributions that MBEF has made to enrich my education. I have benefitted from the excellent music programs provided at all grade levels, which would not have been possible without MBEF funding,” shares Michelle. “I feel fortunate to have had the advantages of small class sizes, quality science labs, and college counseling available because of MBEF.”
Brady Currey is co-Secretary General of the Model UN team, plays trombone in the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, and writes for La Vista. As a member of Reading Partners, Brady tutors elementary school kids in basic reading skills. Brady has worked at City of Hope to help research nanotechnology-based treatments for prostate cancer and at Boeing to develop a better design process for their thermal satellite systems. Next fall, he will attend Yale University to study biomedical engineering.
“MBEF has had a tremendous impact on my educational experience while at MBUSD. I’ve played trombone for nine years, from elementary school through high school, but without MBEF funding, our fantastic music program wouldn’t even exist. I’ve also been fortunate to have MBEF support my science classes, subsidizing lab funding and providing a lab assistant to help my teachers give me more hands-on science experience, sparking my interest in that field. Additionally, I couldn’t have navigated my four years at Costa without the help of its fantastic counselors – a service that is only offered through MBEF funding.”
Alissa Fairchild serves as the president of Cinema Club and has been an active member of National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, Key Club, Pink Ribbon Club, and New Channels Club. Alissa became involved in the Media Arts program and has won a variety of awards for her videos, including fifth place for a sports story feature at the Student Television Network and the award winner for “Visual Arts Service” at last year’s All-Awards Assembly. For the last two years, Alissa has also served as the director of the South Bay Student Video Festival, a national festival hosted by Mira Costa that screens the work of high school filmmakers. Alissa will be studying business administration and international relations at the University of Southern California.
“MBEF has impacted me in more ways than I could ever list. When I entered Mira Costa as an incoming freshman, I was shocked to learn about the small class sizes, hands-on science experiments, and the counselors that would provide us with guidance specifically related to college. Throughout my four years, I have noticed that we often overlook and take for granted these incredible opportunities that so many school districts go without. MBEF has worked–often with little thanks–to provide the students of the MBUSD with the greatest opportunities possible and to train its students to be world changers. I am beyond grateful–and forever indebted–for the work of MBEF!”
Karentessa Gordon is a member of National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation. Ms. Gordon is an organizer of Lunches With Love events for Key Club in addition to volunteering with Red Cross Club and Leo’s Club. She has lettered 4 years on the Varsity Girl’s Golf Team and is also a singer in the Advanced Women’s Choir at Mira Costa High School. Her plans for the future include attending the University of Redlands where she will earn a degree in Education and play on the golf team.
“MBEF’s support of the choral program is something that should not go unnoticed. In the Advanced Women’s Chorale, I have be able to sing every day with a group of women who create beautiful music under the direction of Michael Hayden. The funding that we receive for the choral program has allowed me to experience opportunities such as attending regional festivals and even sing in New York City. Singing in Carnegie Hall is a memory that I will cherish forever.” shares Karentessa.
Raquel Gordon is a member of National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation. Ms. Gordon volunteers for Red Cross Club, Leo’s Club, and Key Club’s Lunches With Love. She has played on the Varsity Girl’s Golf Team for the past four years and is also a singer in the Advanced Women’s Choir at Mira Costa High School. Her plans for the future include attending the University of Redlands where she will earn a degree in Education and play on the golf team.
“It would be very hard to imagine my Mira Costa High School experience without everything that MBEF has provided for me. For example, with the funding of the Mira Costa Music Department, I never would have had the opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall last year [with my classmates.] …. Furthermore, MBEF provides funding for the Mira Costa Library, which has enabled me to be able to research topics with ease….I know that the work that this program puts forth for the entire community is absolutely remarkable. Thank you MBEF!”
Hannah James served as Under Secretary-General of the Mira Costa Model UN team and has earned individual awards at 7 MUN conferences at national universities around the country. Hannah has been employed at a children’s clothing store, Janie and Jack, for the past two years, and has been studying piano for 12 years. In her free time, Hannah enjoys outdoor activities including hiking with her friends, going to the beach, and snowboarding in the winter. Hannah’s future plans include attending the University of Southern California where she will study International Relations and Global Business.
“MBEF has played a very important role in enriching my education since I began my academic career at elementary school. The numerous teachers that MBEF funds help hire have kept my class sizes small, allowing me to build meaningful and lasting relationships with many of my teachers over the years. The amazing counselors that are hired with MBEF funds have helped me numerous times, crafting my high school schedule and reassuring me throughout the college application and selection process. Finally, the MBEF posters, fundraisers, and flyers that are ever present are constant reminders of how dedicated our community is to education. It sends a message to each student that their family, friends, and the members of their community are willing to do everything they can to help each student succeed,” says Hannah.
Lauren Inouye is a captain on the Mira Costa cross country team, and distance runner for the track team. She received the Scholar Athlete Award for four years in cross country and track, and contributed Mira Costa’s cross country team’s win at the Bay League Championship in 2012. Lauren plays the violin for the Symphony Orchestra and has been playing the violin since third grade. She is the President and founder of Philanthropic Runners Club, and is also a member of Habitat for Humanity, Reflections, and the National Honors Society. During the summer, Lauren has volunteered at Camp VIP and at Rainbow Preschool to work with elementary school students and preschoolers. Next year, Lauren is thrilled to be attending Univeristy of California Berkeley.
“MBEF has impacted my education because of the funding for the elementary school music programs. If I hadn’t picked up a violin when I was eight years old, I would never have found the joy of learning how to play music. Being able to play an instrument is such a relaxing and enjoyable hobby for me, and I am so glad that my musical ears were opened at such a young age,” shares Lauren.
Sarah Locke-Henderson is Varsity Team Captain for Track Team as well as a four-year member of the cross-country team. She traveled with her team to Nike Cross Nationals in 2010 and to the CIF State meet in 2012. She enjoys painting and her entries have won awards in the Neptunian Women’s Art Contest. She has a passion for learning foreign languages and hopes to study abroad in a Spanish speaking country when she is in college. Next year Sarah will be attending the University of California Berkeley where she plans to major in English or Sociology.
“As a student who has been a part of the MBUSD for the past 14 years I am grateful to the MBEF for funding so many of the things that have made my experience special from the time I was learning to read and write to the time I started applying to college……I will never forget having the opportunity to help Pacific’s amazing science docent teach my peers about the anatomy of a fish using a perch that I had dissected myself as a fifth grade science ambassador. When I was in middle school, my elective course sparked my interest in art. Finally, in high school, I have been incredibly thankful to have the College and Career Center as a comprehensive and useful resource. Thank you, MBEF, for everything you do for students!”
Jeffrey Rosenthal plays lead trumpet in the Mira Costa Jazz Band. He recently participated in the pit orchestra for the spring production of the musical, Anything Goes. He will be attending Washington University in St. Louis where he plans to study biology, with a focus in neuroscience. In the future, he hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician.
“MBEF greatly improved my experience with music throughout my years in MBUSD by helping to fund the instrumental music program. It also funds the laboratory assistant at Mira Costa, which has allowed me to explore my passion for science. Lastly, I am thankful for all of the outstanding teachers I have had, who have been partially funded by MBEF,” shared Jeffrey.
Kayla Tarlton serves as President of Philharmonic Orchestra, volunteers with the Soroptimist Club, and participates in both Varsity Tennis and Varsity Track. Mira Costa is her third high school, and she is honored to graduate alongside such a memorable senior class. Kayla plans to attend Yale University in the fall to study Cognitive Science.
“Small English classes – enabled by MBEF – have impacted my education. I want to thank Ms. Sieker for providing me with what was without a doubt the best English class I have ever taken. Ms. Sieker’s energy and innovative teaching style sparked my appreciation for literature and love for writing. “Weekend stories” and creative group projects transformed our class into a close-knit family,” shares Kayla.
At Mira Costa, Yuan Wang is team captain of the Varsity Badminton Team, a cellist in Mira Costa’s Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, President of Badminton Club, a delegate for the Model United Nations team, and above all, a student. Yuan has attained highest decorations as a badminton player and as a Model United Nations delegate on many occasions. Needless to say, his mother is very proud of him, which just might be the highest honor he currently holds. Yuan will be teaching English test preparation and essay writing to high school students for a private firm in Beijing this summer and will begin his study in mathematics at Princeton University this fall.
“I will not be the first to express gratitude for MBEF’s support for the College and Career Center and MBUSD’s music programs, nor will I be the last. The CCC in particular provided the consultation that I doubt that I could have afforded were it not freely gifted, thanks to MBEF funding. However, one aspect of MBEF’s function in my schools and my community that I respect most is its underlying dedication to preserving the integrity of our schools. It trusts the schools to do what is best for its students, and in doing so provides the most effective support to my schools. Simply put, MBEF is in touch with the needs of the students. It knew I would need college and career counseling even before I realized it,” shares Yuan.
MBEF wishes all graduates of Class of 2013 Mira Costa High School the best of luck in their future endeavors and hopes that each will contribute to the Class of 2013 Fund for the MBEF Endowment.