Patrick Henry High School News — July 13, 2018

By Elizabeth Gillingham | Patrick Henry High School News

District honors PHHS top 1 percent for Class of 2018

Patrick Henry High School (PHHS) honored the top 1 percent of the senior class at Sea World last month in the San Diego Unified School District’s annual Salute to Excellence event. Every high school in the district was represented and students were honored by their principals through a special recognition program. PHHS was proud to name the following students as the Senior Class Top 5 for their outstanding GPAs:

(l to r) Ryan Nguyen, Phoebe Nguyen, Jonathon Schindler (salutatorian), Ben Kelly (valedictorian), and Luc Galaif

  • No. 1: Ben Kelly, 4.86 GPA, going to Yale University
  • No. 2: Jonathon Schindler, 4.83 GPA, going to UCLA
  • No. 3: Luc Galaif, 4.77 GPA, going to UCLA
  • No. 4: Phoebe Nguyen, 4.73 GPA, going to UCLA
  • No. 5: Ryan Nguyen, 4.71 GPA, going to UCSD


Henry NJROTC takes the Stillwell Award

Congratulation to Patrick Henry High School’s (PHHS) Naval Junior Reserves Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) program for winning the highest award offered during the 72nd Joint Brigade Pass in Review program last month held at Lincoln High School.

Each year, the district provides opportunities for units to compete for individual and team activities and awards. Points are calibrated and the unit with the highest overall team score takes the Stillwell Award home with them as the first-place team. This competition is always fierce and includes reviewing scores from academic contests, drill team competitions, and other athletic challenges.

PHHS came in first, second, and third in almost every event, which gave them the edge over schools like Scripps Ranch, Serra, and Point Loma. We are proud of the work done and would like to recognize our teachers Ron Flaherty (commanding officer), Michael Maley, and Tony Velarde for their outstanding leadership throughout the year.


Triple E Awards

Bea Evenson, a local philanthropist, generously donated funds to Patrick Henry High School (PHHS) to award students who have exhibited the “three E’s” — Excellence, Ethics and Enterprise — in community service. Awards have been given in the past for many activities, including participation and achievements in various community organizations and all manners of volunteer work at hospitals, parks, libraries, charitable events, churches, synagogues, homeless shelters, humane societies, and other contributions to the community. This has been a very special tradition at PHHS for over 35 years and we are proud to give the Triple E award to four special students this year.

(l to r) Victoria Tolley, Martha Montoya, Jonathan Marshall, and Brian Kessler (Photos courtesy PHHS)

Here is a quick description of each award winner this year:

Victoria Tolley: Toria earned her Gold Service Award from her Girl Scouts troop by finding a sustainable way to provide support for Haven House, the preschool for homeless children at the San Diego Rescue Mission. Toria was inspired to volunteer at Rady Children’s Hospital because she experienced first-hand the comfort and support provided to her and her family when her sister had to have surgery. As a result, she volunteered to help with the Radiothon where she answered the phones and took donations. She also volunteered at the hospital’s Miracle Makers event, where donors brought a new toy and in return they gained admission to play games and participate in fun activities.

Martha Montoya: Over the last three years, Martha dedicated over 100 hours of community service to support Reality Changers’ mission to become agents of change in her community. The staff at Reality Changers reported that they were always able to rely on Martha for projects in the office as they knew she could get the job done quickly and efficiently. She was quick to volunteer for every service project opportunity and represented the team in a positive manner making a meaningful contribution to the work she was doing.

Jonathan Marshall: Jonathon spends his volunteer hours at Kaiser Hospital and St. Therese Parish, making a significant contribution in two wonderful organizations. At Kaiser, Jonathan can be found greeting patients, their families and other hospital visitors by directing them to their destination, offering wheelchair assistance when needed and helping people feel more comfortable in the hospital environment. At his church, Jonathan is one of the core team members for the Middle School Youth Group as he helps lead and facilitate their weekly meetings as well. He also sings during Sunday masses.

Brian Kessler: Brian likes to volunteer at the Nazareth Retirement Home where he plays the piano for the residents once a week. Brian also works with his mom in support of the Thousand Smiles Foundation where they travel to Ensenada, Mexico to help with free dental checkups and oral surgeries. Brian helps by setting up the surgical instruments and works as a hospital runner as well. Brian also volunteers at Rady’s Hospital, where he works at the information desk and by locating resources, answering questions, and escorting patients and visitors to their destinations.


Meet Henry’s new Men’s Basketball Varsity coach

Coach Kenny Caesar

Patrick Henry High School Athletics’ department is happy to introduce Coach Kenny Caesar as our new Men’s Basketball Varsity Coach. As affirmation of the growth of the men’s basketball program, the search included 18 highly qualified applicants. Coach Caesar returns to his alma mater following a highly successful nine years as head coach at Mater Dei Catholic High School, where he posted a record of 175-91, winning 20 or more games five times.

Coach Caesar is eager to get started and stated, “I am extremely excited to come home to my alma mater. I have been a head basketball coach here in San Diego for the past 11 years. I have had the privilege of playing and working for great coaches such as Mike Dunlap, Mike Brown, Tom Bennett and Dr. Rich Rider. My goal is to create an environment that is centered around character, teamwork and accountability. I look forward to meeting our student-athletes and parents very soon.”

Coach Kenny was a graduate of California Lutheran University in 1995. He then went to play basketball in Albury, Australia. On returning from overseas, he went back to graduate school as a graduate assistant and received a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and worked under Dr. Rich Rider at Cal Lutheran.

Following grad school, he took a job as a tutor for a pop group called Dream under Sean “Diddy” Combs and Bad Boy Records. After touring around the country and in Europe, he felt the desire to return to the basketball court.

In 2001, he was hired at St. Augustine as an assistant coach, history and speech teacher. While he coached at Saints, the team went to three CIF Championship games and won two. In 2005, they finished the season 31-1, losing the state title game.

In 2006, he was hired by Cleveland Cavaliers’ then-head coach Mike Brown (a former roommate) for player development and video breakdown.

In his nine years as the head coach at Mater Dei Catholic High School, he built one of the most successful programs in the CIF-San Diego section. By his fourth year at Mater Dei, they went to their first CIF Championship game losing to Army/Navy in 2013. In 2014, his team went 30-3 and won the CIF championship against Francis Parker, going undefeated in San Diego. Under his leadership, they won six straight league titles going undefeated in league five of those six seasons, compiling a record of 58-2. Mater Dei have been in the Open division the two last years and finished the season ranked No. 4 in the county this past season.

“I would like to thank the Athletic Director Cody Clark and Principal Elizabeth Gillingham for this amazing opportunity to be the Boys Head Basketball Coach at Patrick Henry,” Caesar said.


PHHS Model UN team continues to excel

Patrick Henry High School was a leading school in the Junior Model United Nation Conference, held last month at the Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice building at University of San Diego.

We had 29 freshmen compete, and 14 of them won awards — four of them (Olivia Newell, Ella Brooks-Kamper, Andrew Gordon, and Ben Gonzalez) won the gavel in their committees, the highest award possible. Olivia Newell also won the Patrick Pierson Spirit of Economics award, the only award that is given to a single delegate across the entire, 442-student conference.

We also had 27 Henry students staff the conference, putting in hours of work grading, evaluating, and running committee sessions. Our upperclassmen were part of the 60-plus person Secretariat, who were responsible for running every aspect of the conference made up of high school students from Scripps Ranch, Mira Mesa, Torah, Point Loma, and Patrick Henry High Schools. They graded papers, assembled resources, and, at the actual conference, acted as chairs for committees — leading debate and making sure each delegate was able to participate.

The entire conference was led by the secretary-general, Kalos Chu, a Henry senior. Working with him, he had five Henry students (Arbi Leka, Kelly McCormack, Phoebe Nguyen, Jordan Furtak, and Max Mittleman) who served as head chairs, which meant that they were in charge of the other staff members in their committee rooms. Megan Peck served as an assistant secretary-general, part of the five-person team responsible for organizing the entire conference, where she assisted Kalos in any capacity needed to create a successful experience for all the attendees.

Special thanks goes to Henry teacher/advisor, Mr. Jim Davis, who has grown the program back to full-strength as a thriving academic club on campus.

— Elizabeth Gillingham is principal of Patrick Henry High School.

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