One of the largest classes in history is about to enter the gates at South Pasadena High, “and while there are more freshmen coming than departing seniors, they will have a hard time filling the void left by this year’s Class of 2017,” praised SPHS Principal Janet Anderson of the latest graduating class. “This year’s graduates have shown a lot of heart and perseverance in everything they do, from athletics and academics. It has been done at a very high level.”
Approximately 400 freshmen will get their taste of high school starting in August while Anderson wished 329 South Pasadena High graduates well last week as they embarked to college and the business world.
On the final day of school a week ago, some SPHS graduates were asked about their best memories as Tigers and what advice they would give to an incoming freshman. Here is what they had to say:
Adianna Paul, 17
Cal State Chico
At a young age, Adrianna Paul will always remember “people don’t always have the same opinions, values or beliefs, but you have to respect them either way,” she said.
Her advice to an incoming freshman is to take Economics, one of the more demanding academic requirements, in summer school. She noted the course study is only six weeks, compared to eight months. Paul said it’s the best way to get past the rigor of the difficult class.
Nadira Jamerson, 18
For Nadira Jamerson, South Pasadena High has instilled a good work ethic, noting that it has readied her for the challenges of college.
Her advice to an incoming freshman is to make sure “grades come first ahead of friends because you’re going to want to go to college more than to hang out,” she said.
Dzelila Maslesa, 17
Pasadena City College
Dzelila Masesa will take away the memory of some “amazing events,” reflecting on Color Day and the recent prom. She’ll miss hanging out with friends and extracurricular activities outside of school. “The teachers were all very good this year, some of the best I’ve ever had,” said Maslesa, noting that her recommendation to an incoming freshman would be not to procrastinate. “Do everything in a timely manner,” she said. “Focus on your grades, but also take time to do some extracurricular (projects) for your college applications.”
Kendrick Chen, 18
Kendrick Chen is going to miss walking out of class for brunch or lunch and greeting his friends. “That’s something that is limited to high school, because in college you don’t have experiences like that,” said Chen. “I like congregating at one place at one time in high school, and I’ll never have that again. It’s really special, and I’m sad I won’t have that.”
For an incoming freshman, Chen recommends working on projects in a group as opposed to independently. “A lot of people think, ‘I can just do this myself, I don’t need help.’ But asking for help is always the best option.
Kate Kutzer, 18
A top student athlete, Kate Kutzer plans on competing on the Duke University track team next year. “I’m going to remember all the traditions here, Color Day, singing the alma mater, just all the fun, crazy things we do here,” she said, followed by a laugh.
Her advice to an incoming freshman: “Don’t be afraid to try something you have no idea about,” she said. “I wish I had tried other things and taken advantage of other opportunities that are offered here. Join clubs, meet new friends and don’t be afraid to walk up to a random person and say ‘hi’ to them. Talk to your teachers, get to know the faculty and just enjoy yourself.”
Faye Witherall, 18
Some of Faye Witherall’s favorite memories at South Pasadena High School include serving as editor on the Tiger newspaper, a member of the virtual business team and a multitude of other organization on and off the campus.
During club rush in the fall, Witherall encourages incoming freshmen to “sign up for a bunch of them, go to all the meetings, find one or two that you like and stick with them.”
Molly Feldmeth, 17
Florida International University
Molly Feldmeth will be attending Florida International University, recognized as one of the top volleyball players to come out of South Pasadena High. Feldmeth has made lasting friendships she’ll keep for a lifetime. “I’ve made some really good friends over the years,” she said. “They’ve always been there for me through thick and thin. I don’t think I’d get that at any other school.”
Her recommendation for those entering SPHS in the fall: “Find friends who have the best interest for you,” she said. “If you find good friends in your freshman year, you have a good experience at SPHS.”
Charlotte Emerson, 17
Charlotte Emerson credited the teachers who influenced her as one of her best memories of SPHS. “I think I’ve grown as a person, looking up at these amazing mentors who have so much knowledge to share.”
Emerson likes the idea of growing up in a tight-knit community where kids grow up together, going through the school system and graduating from high school together. Receiving her diploma with fellow grads she attended first grade with “is pretty special,” she said.
Like others, Emerson encouraged incoming freshmen to take advantage of everything South Pasadena High has to offer.
Adam Arellano, 18
CSU Channel Islands
Adam Arellano says he will never forget those who went to battle with him over the years on the football field. The Tigers’ quarterback during the 2016 season says he will “always have a place in his heart for football. I got nothing but great memories and made some wonderful friendships. They’re my brothers.”
For those just coming into the school, Arellano says, “Don’t take anything for granted. Live high school to the fullest. It’s a fast four years. Sign up for everything you possibly can because it will make your time here great.”
Cole Page, 18
University of Tennessee
Cole Page, a student trainer in his senior year, says he will miss South Pasadena High’s athletics program. “I have a lot of great memories working with the sports programs,” said page.
His advice to an incoming freshman would be to “enjoy high school while it lasts because it definitely goes faster than you think,” he said.
Juliana Tom, 17
Juliana Tom played on the SPHS girls’ basketball team throughout her four years on campus. “I’m definitely going to miss the people I met through basketball.” Tom said it will be difficult to say good by to Sophia Lopez, the school’s commissioner general, whom she’s known since the 5th grade. “I have really enjoyed spending time with her,” noted Tom.
Her recommendation for an incoming freshman is “to unapologetically be yourself,” she said. “It’s really important to be true to who you are.”
Ryan Nakamura, 18
University of San Francisco
“Just the overall connection I felt with my fellow friends and faculty,” said Nakamura, when asked what he will miss about South Pasadena High School. “It has really been a close-knit network here. We’re not a big school system, so when you’re in a small town like South Pasadena, you kind of know each other, so everyone is like family in a sense.”
For freshmen just coming onto the South Pas High campus, Nakamura suggests “being open-minded, take advantage of all that the school has to offer,” he explained. “There are a lot of different programs, a variety of clubs that will let you interact with the community. It will help to give you a sense of direction for what you want to do in high school.”
Kelsey Sedgwick, 17
Cal State Northridge
Kelsey Sedgwick moved to South Pasadena from Iowa in the middle of her sophomore year and remembers meeting friends in her first week. “The overall acceptance of everyone was great,” she recalls, urging incoming freshmen to “enjoy your time here.”
Janica Crisostomo, 17
San Diego State University
Janica Crisostomo will miss those she competed with on the high school swimming and volleyball teams “and hanging out with my friends at lunch,” she said.
She encourages incoming freshmen to be “social, make friends from all grades and don’t be scared of seniors. Work hard in your classes because you’ll regret it as a senior if you don’t.”