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August 24, 2014


Monday, August 25, is the first day of school and a minimum day; 6th period ends at noon. Please give yourself plenty of time to get to school. We have 2,590 students and there will be a lot of traffic. Please adhere to the drop off procedures spelled out in your registration packet and follow our security staff's directions. Parents who are in a hurry and cut the line, and those who decide to have a "long good-bye" at the drop off point, disrupt the process. There is absolutely no drop off of students along Hawthorne Blvd heading up the hill before you reach Silver Spur. Please do not use driveways #1 and #2 for drop off. These driveways lead to the teacher parking lots. Failure to follow the procedures, predictably results in traffic accidents. It's all about student safety!

Registration Day


Peninsula High is ready for students to arrive, largely because of the efforts of our staff who worked throughout the summer. Tommye Jones and Marie Blackwood registered a record number of new students, Laura Holzman managed text book collection, mending books, and distribution, Jeanne Shiosaki supported athletics and registration, and Valerie Yardumian, Bonnie Baggett and Lesly Lau worked on budget, ordering supplies, and preparation for the start of school.

Thank you to Keith Bullis (Groundskeeper) and Al Liang (Head Custodian), and their teams, for spending the summer cleaning, fixing,landscaping and keeping our school beautiful.

Finally, thank you to my hard working Associate Principals Micah Farrell, Alicia Foulk and Michael Wanmer. I am so lucky to have such dedicated and capable administrators.

Have a wonderful first week of school.


The counseling staff is to be congratulated for meeting with over 700 students to discuss and adjust schedules. Great job!

The Amazing Pen Counseling Staff


I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to our PTSA for all their efforts in making the 2014 registration run smoothly. 2,357 students completed their registration in 8 hours. Kudos to the volunteer chairs and all of those who assisted. With apologies to anyone who I might have missed, thank you to following parents and staff whom worked registration: CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF REGISTRATION DAY VOLUNTEERS

Thank You PTSA For A Perfect 2014 Registration Day

Late registration begins at 7am on Monday, August 25.


PTSA provides support to our school in the form of instructional supplies and curriculum materials throughout the year. This includes computers, basic school supplies, books, music, printers, science supplies, library resources, disaster preparedness supplies, College Career Center funding and support, and parent education presentations. In addition, they support and provide funding for the Reflections program, Red Ribbon Week, Yellow Ribbon Week, College Tests Preparation and overall programs and supplies for the benefit of our school and students.

PTSA is sponsoring our Brick Fundraiser to furnish our new Weight Room and SMERT Building.



The National PTSA Reflections Program is underway. Peninsula High students have been very successful in Reflections over the years, with many of their entries winning at the Council and District levels and placing at the State level.

The National PTSA Reflections Program welcomes all grades and abilities to explore and be involved in the arts. Annually, thousands of students reflect on a common theme and create original works of art in the categories of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts.

"The world would be a better place if..." is the theme for the 2014-2015 school year.This theme by Mercedes Messer of Puyallup, Washington was selected through the Reflections Theme Search Contest. When asked what inspired her theme, Mercedes said, "Our world, because I care about it and wanted to know other kids' ideas on how we could make it a better place."

For more information go to


link Cres Peninsula High's New Student Orientation, hosted by our very own Link Crew program, took place this past Wednesday. Over 600 freshmen and more than 40 transfer students were welcomed with open arms to the Panther family, engaging in a number of fun and meaningful activities carefully crafted to make them feel at home at PVPHS. Students were also delighted to watch Mrs. Cress, Mr. Farrell, Mr. Wanmer, and Mrs. Pollock undertake the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at the closing assembly!


Link Crew Co-Coordinators Beckie Dibble and Loretta Alvillar, Activities Director Season Pollock, and Leadership Coordinator Christine Lopez all invested a tremendous amount of time this summer making sure a wonderful experience was had by all. They couldn't have done it without the tireless help and total support of the 111 members of Link Crew, all of whom went through a rigorous application, interview, and training process in order to become part of the program: CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF LINK CREW MEMBERS


The 2014-2015 PLUS leadership team successfully completed a two-day training. PLUS is a student leadership class that conducts forums to identify critical issues on our campus and then hosts activities that help address those issues. The mission of PLUS is to contribute to a safe school climate of inclusion where kids help kids. A huge shout out to Peninsula's new PLUS team: CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF PLUS LEADERS


The Athletic Booster Club [ABC] welcomes all returning and incoming families to our Panther Pride and invites you to attend the first meeting of the year on Wednesday, September 10th in the College Counseling Center at 7:00 p.m.

The mission of the Athletic Booster Club is to support all students and the community that benefits from the athletic facilities at Peninsula High School. The ABC Board Members work closely with the PVPHS Principal, Athletic Director and Administration to prioritize the allocation of funds to support:

* capital improvements to athletic facilities

* athletic trainers

* new scoreboards

* concession stands

* expanded trainer and equipment rooms

* track, field and court maintenance

* tuff sheds for team storage

You are encouraged to show your support for the Athletic Booster Club and become a member by going to selecting the Membership Info button and filling out the membership pdf form or online form. Your donations are 100% tax-deductible as the ABC operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization solely to support Peninsula athletics.

All Panther Parents are welcome to join us at the ABC All Sports Kick-off Party on Friday, September 19th at 6:00 p.m. at the lovely home of the Black Family 2 Appaloosa Lane, Rolling Hills. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS


On the basis of their phenomenal summer tennis results, junior Ena Shibahara, freshman Ryan Peus and sophomore Connor Hance have been invited to play in the US Open Junior Tennis Tournament held simultaneously with the Grand Slam pro tournament at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. Both junior events-girls and boys-- consist of the Top 64 under-18 players in the world.

Connor and Ena


Currently, Ena is ranked, #1 in SoCal and # 6 in the country. She won the SoCal USTA Girl's 18's Sectionals tournament in June and reached the quarterfinals at the National Championships. Ena teamed with her brother Shuhei to win the regional adult mixed doubles championships. They now will play in the national tournament in Connecticut. Ena was featured in the July 28th issue of Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd." The last Peninsula tennis person to grace this page, was Coach Tom Cox back in the '90s.

Connor led a group of SoCal all-star players to the National Team 16s Championships in July. He won the decisive match over the country's top player to lift SoCal over the Midwest in the finals. Then he went to the finals of both the US Clay Court Championships and The National Championships at Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Ryan had a nearly flawless summer earning her the Number 1 seed in girls 16s at Nationals. Although she was upset at Nationals, she showed great resolve by coming back to win the consolations.

Both Connor and Ryan, merely 15, are ranked #2 nationally in the 16 and under division.

Connor's sister, senior Kenadi, senior Risa Nakagawa and sophomore Daunte Harris also had newsworthy tennis summers. Kenadi won the US Clay Court Doubles Championships, and Risa saw not only her national ranking shoot up but also attention from D1 college coaches multiplied after she defeated the #18 player in the nation at the National Championships. Daunte won the last two regional tournaments of the summer, both held in Lakewood, to catapult him into the Top 50 in the boys 16s.


Ena and Shuhei Shibahara played in yesterday's doubles final. They put in a great effort, but in the end they lost. Ena will now prepare for next week's single competition.


Daniel Mellor and Alex Asawa were selected to attend The 77th Summer Session of California Boys State in Sacramento by American Legion Post 181. Together with 1000 other participants, the students had a transformative experience learning how to campaign, make presentations and develop strong lifelong friendships. Both students excelled in the legal area participating in legislative sessions and court proceedings. Daniel was an attorney and advanced into the finals in legal advocacy. Alex was also an attorney and was elected to the Boys State Supreme Court presiding over cases involving the 1st and 4th amendments.

Alex Asawa - Enjoying the Supreme Court Look


Shannon Chen, an eleventh grade student at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School joined an Earthwatch research team for an 11-day expedition in Manitoba to help scientists understand how the Arctic is affected by climate change. Shannon's expedition was funded by a grant from Helen and Peter Bing Foundation.

From July 21th to August 1st, Shannon joined 5 other Earthwatch volunteers from all over the world for the "Climate Change at the Arctic's Edge" project. The research team was led by Dr. LeeAnn Fishback of Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC).

Shannon shared, "I came home from my Earthwatch expedition feeling a whole new sense of connection to the natural world, a fresh understanding of climate change and the need to act now, and a renewed enthusiasm for the way I think and learn about science"

Global warming is most dramatically visible at the edge of the Arctic, where peatlands run in a broad strip around the globe. Scientists say these wetlands contain as much as 20% of the world's carbon, usually locked in permafrost. But as the permafrost thaws, it may release carbon dioxide and methane, which could increase the rate of global warming.

The Earthwatch volunteers used ground-penetrating radar, dataloggers, and soil coring to help researchers measure the permafrost's organic carbon levels. They also did a plant study. "I never imagined I would take part in real climate science data collection like a real scientist," -said Shannon. "I was thrilled to capture video and pictures of the small mammals we trapped for part of the study, too. I can't wait to integrate it all into my science classes."

Shannon Chen


Last summer, Sulekha Ramayya, Class of 2012 donated her earnings from her summer internship to academic programs at Peninsula High. Last week, Sulekha once again made very generous donations to Peninsula High science department, math department and discretionary projects. These donations were from her summer internship earnings working at a New York investment bank for three months. I am once again speechless and greatly appreciate the love for her high school alma mater.

In a letter, she commented, "I thank Peninsula HS for enhancing my passion to strive and achieve. My strong work ethic and passion for learning was heavily cultured by my high school experience, and I sincerely thank the school's faculty and staff for helping shape me into the person I am today."

Thank you Sulekha; your generosity and kindness is greatly appreciated.


Want to make a difference and have fun at the same time? Then check out PressFriends, which is an all-volunteer and student run organization started in 2008 by Peninsula High students. PressFriends now has trained over 400 student volunteers from over a dozen South Bay schools and mentors 400-500 underserved elementary students every year in 13 different locations. PressFriends has over 100 volunteer opportunities throughout the entire year.

PressFriends Board

PressFriend Volunteer Refresher:. If you have gone through a PressFriends training, join the refresher training on August 30 from 1-4:30 p.m. You will earn service hours if you volunteer ONE time with PressFriends during the 2014-15 school year.


PressFriends New Volunteer Training

Their motto is "Making Friends While Making Writing Fun," and they use lots of games and activities. You don't need to be a great writer - you just need to like working with younger kids. Join the new volunteer training on August 30 from 10:30-11:30, and then, if you want, sign-up for the Volunteer Refresher training from 1-4:30 p.m.

Sign-up at


Peninsula High La Pantera Yearbook won the preeminent award at its summer intensive for its excellent concept development. Twenty-four student editors and photojournalists attended the five-day, four-night "Yearbooks at the Beach" at Long Beach State. Congratulations to the 2014-2015 yearbook staff and especially the editors-in-chief: Chelsea Na, Meria Ogawa, and Fatima Rao!


Wendy Keller, RN

School Nurse

During the summer the subject of spice/k2/bath salts/synthetic marijuana has become high profile, especially in the Orange County area because it is manufactured and distributed from that area. As your school nurse I wanted to bring more attention and information your way so that you can share it as well as your concerns with your child. Some think that because it is (barely) legal and sold over the counter, it is safe. That is far from the truth. It is labeled "not for human consumption." Some use it to get high knowing that it is not detectable in a drug test. Trust your gut feeling as a parent. Talk with your child about this as well as any other concerns you have. A good time is in the car when he or she is unplugged from electronics and isn't able to get up and away to avoid the conversation. Have short, spur-of-the moment conversations. Watch the video (link) and then watch it together with your child. Tell them how you would feel if harm would come to them. One "hit" could cause death. Other major side effects are semi-paralysis, vomiting, hallucinations, paranoia and permanent disability. Please have a conversation with your child. Even if it is a difficult conversation, it is less

difficult than losing your child.


The US Naval Sea Cadet Program was chartered by Congress in 1962, as a non-profit military youth program for young men and women between the ages of 11-17.

The goals of the program are:

To develop an interest and ability in basic seamanship and seagoing skills

To instill the virtues of good citizenship and strong moral principles in sea cadets

To demonstrate the value of an alcohol-free and drug free lifestyle.

To make each cadet aware of the prestige of a military career

Cadets have no obligation to join the armed forces.

The following link will give you more details:

or 562-857-0711


In a year without STAR accountability measurements, we are looking at other measurements to ensure that Peninsula High continues to meet academic expectations. One measurement is the ACT tests. The current senior class increased their composite level of performance on the ACT. Below you will find the increase from 2013 to 2014 and the average scores in each category at Peninsula High and the State. We will continue to share these alternative means of assessment to measure success throughout the year.


Counseling Office & College Career Center (CCC) NewsFrom Alicia Foulk, Associate Principal

The Counseling Office has already handled hundreds of students requesting changes to their schedules. We have made every effort to honor as many requests as possible from students. On Aug 26th & 27th, counselors will be available at lunch to students for walk in questions. This Thursday, August 28th at 2:45pm is the deadline to make schedule change requests. Please utilize the request forms in the Counseling Office to address any concerns with your counselor. Beginning Tuesday, August 26th, students with schedule changes will need to complete and submit the drop/add form to complete their schedule change. If you have any concerns regarding your schedule, please contact your counselor directly. Counselors will be holding Senior Conferences on Monday September 8 (periods 3, 4, 5) and Wednesday, September 10 (periods 1, 2) during English classes. This is an opportunity for counselors to review the college application process, as well as answer any concerns regarding letters of recommendation or post-graduation plans. Important deadlines and other topics will be reviewed during the conferences.

Harbor College Classes: As an Outreach Campus for Los Angeles Harbor College, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School will once again offer fall semester community college courses after school and in the evening, beginning September 8, 2014 and concluding on December 18, 2014. High school students and adult members of the community may enroll. Fall courses include: Sociology (offered Tuesdays and Thursday from 3:00 pm - 4:40 pm) andFilm Appreciation (offered Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:00 pm - 4:40 pm). PVPUSD High School students earn both high school and college credit. Dual enrollment forms are available in the High School Counseling Office, H 15, and H 64. Forms must be completed and signed by a school counselor and submitted by September 4, 2014. Completed forms may be turned in to John Wheeler (H 64) for Sociology, and Tim Coleman (H 15) forFilm Appreciation. Adults wishing to take advantage of the convenience of the Palos Verdes Peninsula High School campus should enroll directly through Harbor College. For more information, contact Alicia Foulk - Associate Principal (310) 377-4888 extension 273 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Checking Email: It is VERY IMPORTANT that students get in the habit of checking email regularly! This summer, the counseling office found it difficult to make adjustments to student schedules because many students were not checking email. Email is an important tool, and should be checked each day.

Common App Announcement: As many of you know the 2014-2015 Common Application website is now live. Please be advised that our district has changed the ending for our email addresses to When entering your counselor's information on the Common App please use their new email address (listed below). When inviting teacher recommenders, be sure to use their new email address as well.

If you have already created a Common App account with your counselor's old email address, you can just delete them as recommender and then re-add them with the new email address. To do this, click the "manage recommenders" link. It is also important for you to know that the system will not send out any of your recommender invites until you have completed the Education portion of your app.

A - C This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

D - Hu This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hv - Le This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Lf - O This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

P - S This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

T - Z This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

If you have not already begun to brainstorm ideas for your personal statements, now is a great time to start!

PVPHS Counseling Department

PVPHS Counseling Department and College Career Center (CCC) Calendar of Events: We encourage all families to attend the events sponsored by the Counseling Office and College Career Center (CCC). The CCC Calendar of Events along with an explanation of each event can be found on the Naviance homepage. Your contributions to the PEF and the PTSA make these events and the CCC possible. Thank you.

Senior students and parents:

Mark your calendars now for these upcoming events:

The RACC (Regional Admissions Counselors of California) Mini-College Fair will be Friday, Sept. 5th from 1:00-3:15pm in the Amphitheater. All students and parents welcome. Teacher permission required during class time. For more information about RACC:

College Night (for Senior/Junior students/parents) is Monday, Sept. 15th from 6:00-8:45pm. An email invitation and program will be sent soon via Naviance. Please be sure you are registered with an active/current email username. For questions please contact Terri Lewallen at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

College Rep Visits: Check Naviance to view the long list of Lunch & Learn Sessions and colleges already booked to visit PVPHS. For details click on "rep visit procedures" in the left column of the Naviance homepage. Remember: Teacher permission is required 48 hours in advance for attendance during class time.

CCC Communications: Important CCC information and event invitations are emailed through Naviance. The CCC communicates to students and parents via the Naviance homepage, the Daily Bulletin, and the CCC portion of that provides answers to many college application and admissions questions.

Have a great first week of school!

Mitzi Cress