The student news site of Corona del Mar High School


The student news site of Corona del Mar High School


The student news site of Corona del Mar High School


CdM Spotlight: March

ASB Cabinet awarding GW Mix with the Honorary Service Award Photo courtesy of @cdm.hs on Instagram

March is a time of new beginnings and growth, and the CdM school and community have been in growth mode. In this month’s installment of Spotlight, multi-faceted freshman Maxwell Tran, the newly-revived Mandarin language program, and beloved staff member G.W. Mix are highlighted for their contributions to the growth of CdM.

Maxwell Tran: Member of ASB and Trident’s Student Spotlight
Photo courtesy of Maxwell Tran

Readers may have heard of freshman Maxwell Tran when he made an appearance in the Los Angeles Times a little over a year ago for his research project on Vagal Nerve Stimulator implants. Ever since then, his goals have only grown more substantial. Tran has many plans for his high school career, ones which he hopes will ultimately lead him to Stanford University. Some have already been met, and more are in the works. Ever since he was in seventh grade, he had always wanted to be in ASB, and finally, ”after two years of trying, [he] finally got into ASB and [is] stoked.” He just finished working on the Car Show and is ecstatic to be a part of CdM’s ASB family. Along with getting into ASB, he has also represented the school at the recent WASC (Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges) meeting and is team captain for the frosh-soph cross-country team.

Outside of school, Tran has spent his time tutoring Vietnamese children in English and volunteering at the hospital where his mom works at, and he is even certified for scuba diving. Although Tran has already made a lot out of his freshman year so far, his ambitions are still sky-high. “[He is] working on a project to build a school in Fiji…of course [he is not] actually building it, but [he is] raising money for the cause.”

Students on campus have probably been G.W. Mix walking around the quad at lunch rocking his sunnies or on the field coaching his team, what they might not know is that Mix is not only a kind face on campus but an avid advocate for connection and mental health. Mix partners with several on and off-campus groups to promote mental health, drug and alcohol awareness, and connection among teachers, families, and students. Mix shares that it was Patrick’s Purpose, “an off-campus organization in honor of Partick Turner, a former student here who took his life by suicide and a dear friend of [his] son Kyle” that “sort of what prompted [him] to be in this position in the first place.”

Mix serves as CdM’s Student Advocate and Family Liaison, a position that takes form in many ways on and off campus. Mix jokes that he is “pretty much here all day” between his early 7:30 arrival to school to his late evening coaching lacrosse. In addition to this, Mix also makes himself available for the “kids and families [who] reach out to [him] on weekends and evenings.” “I’m available when I need to be, kind of like a fireman” Mix adds with a warm grin. He not only puts out the fires of larger-than-life issues but also makes time for the kitten-out-of-the-tree interactions that help students through their everyday perils.

Mix shares that his most memorable experience this year started off like many of his previous interactions: he worked with this particular student to “change some of their habits.” While a change in behavior is never guaranteed, Mix expressed that “finding out a couple of weeks later that the student was doing better in school” and seeing how “that enabled them to have more success” was–as always, “rewarding to see kids start to get it.”

Mix has been a longstanding participant of Patrick’s Purpose and ONE on Campus, taking the role of advocate, communicator, and panel member in several events. Mix adds that “one of the groups that I spend a lot of time with is our ASB group.” He explains that he’ll “spend a lot of time in their room with those kids just helping them with some of their projects and getting to know them and spreading the word through their leadership that I’m available for kids and for families.”

Ms. Yoon: CdM’s Mandarin teacher and Trident’s Program Spotlight
Photo courtesy of Tessa Hsu

Mandarin classes at CdM have been absent for quite some time, and this year it has made a comeback. According to WorldData, Chinese (including the different variations) is the leading language spoken worldwide, with Mandarin Chinese being spoken by 955 million people. “There is so much to Chinese, not just as a language but as a culture as well, and I want to share all of it,” CdM Mandarin teacher Ms. Yoon explains. Although there are currently only two levels of Mandarin taught at CdM, Chinese One, and AP Chinese, Ms. Yoon is implementing many different ways to make Chinese classes more accessible and engaging for students. “Chinese is a very difficult language to learn, and [she knows] that many students are intimidated by it.”

Outside her classroom, students and staff will see Chinese calligraphy decorating the wall. Learning calligraphy is not only fun for students, but it also teaches about Chinese culture and offers practice for understanding the brush strokes of Chinese characters, which is Ms. Yoon’s intended goal. Ms. Yoon also appeals to her students by highlighting Chinese food.  They say that food is the way to one’s heart, and for Ms. Yoon, cultural foods like dumplings and moon cakes are effective ways to incorporate culture into education.

Conversational speaking is another important part of Mandarin, and it even has its own category in the AP Chinese test. “My favorite part about my job is seeing the amount of progress my students have made in such a short amount of time, in just a few years they are able to make speeches easily,” she beams. Ms.Yoon prepares her students for speeches in Mandarin without note cards by engaging in speaking activities, which will ultimately prepare them to be successful on the AP Chinese test.

Spring has arrived and with it the blossoming of the Sea King community. Through the revival of programs and the development of causes long ago established, CdM has seen much success through people’s continual efforts to help others thrive within and beyond their communities. These community members have created outlets for students to model empathy and diversity in their experiences in ways that will long outlive their time within CdM’s halls.

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