HomeNewsCarmel High School seniors pursue passions during summer break

Carmel High School seniors pursue passions during summer break

Published Sept. 8, 2022


The end of the 2021-22 school year didn’t mean the end of challenging themselves as some Carmel High School students used their summer vacation to involve themselves in endeavors to further their careers post-high school–-from obtaining a pilot’s license to a language immersion program in another country to prestigious college programs. 

“This summer gave me a lot of clarity and a sense of understanding about where I want to go and why I still enjoy all these things that I have been pursuing for so long,” mentions senior Jack Norman, who was involved in multiple choirs during his vacation.

Norman participated in the Lutheran National Youth Chorus with his sister, Juliette (both third row, center). (courtesy of JACK NORMAN)

Norman sang in the Lutheran National Youth Chorus and performed for an audience of over 25,000 at the Houston Astros Minute Maid Park in Texas, completed the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s High School Singers Intensive, went up north for the San Francisco Bach Choir singing program and auditioned and was accepted into the NAfME All-National Honor Ensemble. 

“This summer seemed like a good time for personal growth as I had less distractions so I could focus on the stuff that interested me and inspired me for the future,” says the accomplished singer, who plans to double major in music and public policy in college. 

While Norman found these opportunities through mentors, other students engaged in summer activities through family ties.  

West’s flying journey was sponsored by Method 7, a company that specializes in aviation sun glasses. (courtesy of EVA WEST)

“I’m a fifth-generation pilot. My great-grandma was a pilot, my grandma, my dad and now me,” explains senior Eva West, who worked on obtaining her private pilot’s license this summer.  “I’ve been flying with my dad for about three years now and learning through him before this summer.” 

West consistently flew at the Monterey Regional Airport for two to five hours for six days a week during the summer and hopes to officially get her license by the end of next month. With hopes of flying commercially or for plane tours as a career path, she believes this will help her accomplish these goals and has plans to apply to the Air Force Academy this fall. 

Farther from home, senior James Ahn studied abroad in South Korea for six weeks in a language learning immersion program through Education First. Going in without knowing the language, Ahn jumped right into classes five times a week and spent his free time exploring the country’s culture.

“I was able to travel down to the bottom of the country,” Ahn says. “I went to this pottery village that specialized in onggi fermenting jars, where I was able to see their process and the history of the art form.”

Ahn (left) and his group of international friends loved exploring Seoul and other Southern Korean cities during their free time. (courtesy of JAMES AHN)

With an interest in studying anthropology and art history next year at university, this experience opened his eyes to people and art that could only be experienced outside of the United States. Now with a better understanding of Korean, Ahn has developed a love for travel and is thinking about living in South Korea after college. 

Exposure to new places also was an important take-away for senior Piper Mahoney, who completed the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting five week intensive in New York City. 

“I just fell in love with New York City, made some great friends and connections, and the teachers were amazing,” Mahoney explains.

The program focused on learning the Stella Adler technique, where instead of using substitution to fuel their work, actors use their emotional memory to feel emotions from the character. The experience also taught her valuable lessons about the acting industry.

Mahoney (left) and her friend Eleanor Phillips (right) proudly displaying their Stella Adler completion certificates at the end of their challenging program. (courtesy of PIPER MAHONEY)

“In addition to learning how to present myself and how to tap better into my body as an actress, this program taught me how to make connections and stay in touch with people and connect with others on a deeper level,” says the actress, who already has had some experience filming commercials during her junior year.

Mahoney learned about the experience through a former CHS classmate who now is planning to pursue acting in Los Angeles full time. 

Also using her Carmel High connections, senior Reygan Bethea heard about her summer activity through the bulletin. After seeing a posting for the Monterey Aquatic Therapy Center in Pacific Grove last fall, Bethea, who plans to pursue medicine, reached out and secured the job, which has deepened her appreciation for human development through physical therapy. 

“There was this one guy who was wheeled into his first appointment and we had to lower him into the pool,” the second-year Sports Medicine student explains. “But then I saw him walk in one day and then he got to running in the pool and seeing that has been so cool.” 

With countless opportunities, these students have more than taken advantage of their time off from school this past summer and now have a better understanding of their path after CHS. 

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