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Outstanding Manhattan Beach Students Honored at Community Luncheon

Jan 18, 2015 02:12PM ● By DigMB Staff

From left, the January 15th luncheon honoress, Jack Storer, Shubhaya Bhattacharya, Lily Kohler and Emily Pringle who were honored as Outstanding Students by the Manhattan Beach Coordinating Council.

Four students from Manhattan Beach schools were feted Thursday at the Manhattan Beach Coordinating Council's "Outstanding Student Recognition Luncheon" held at The Belamar Hotel.

Jack Storer, Lily Kohler, Emily Pringle and Shubhaya Bhattacharya received honors from the City of Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, Assembly member David Hadley and the MBCC.

Jack, who attends Pacific Elementary in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, was called out for his "zest for learning" and being a "stellar student;" Lily, who attends Manhattan Beach Middle School, for being "humble and down to earth" as well as a team player and conscientious leader; Emily, who attends American Martyrs School, for her "faith, service, excellence and integrity" and "huge heart," and Shubhaya, who attends Mira Costa High School, for being a straight A student and "driven and astute."

Jack's teacher Michelle Krzmarzick related her charming interview with him, as she tried to capture him beyond his school hours. That interview revealed his love of lacrosse, that his favorite subject is math, and that his favorite place to eat is "house." Thinking that "House" was a restaurant, Krzmarzick soon discovered that Jack was referring to his house, where his mom prepares "amazing food." The one word Jack used to summarize his dad was "Awesomeness."

As Krzmarzick went on detailing Jack, she told the audience he said he wants to be an "old-time dad. I want to be a really great dad." When asked where he wanted to live when he was grown up, Jack said, "Where my wife wants to live" because "happy wife, happy life."

Jack, a 5th grader, then addressed the audience, at one point saying, "It's such a great surprise and honor for me to represent Pacific School and all the other elementary school students in Manhattan Beach. I think we are a generation of kids who work hard, play hard, dream big, and will make you proud of us for decades to come.

"We are blessed to be living in Manhattan Beach," he continued. "Thanks to all the people in this room, we have the best of the best schools, sports, art, beaches, city facilities and programs, and we have super nice families, and really nice weather, too.

"As for me, I'd like to become the best leader I can be. And as John F. Kennedy once said, 'Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.' So, I'll just keep learning as much as I can to be the best leader I can be, and oh, yeah, Go Panthers!"

Lily's choir instructor Heather Gold, who has taught her for three years, told the audience, "This young woman shines in so many ways and in so many areas that it will be hard to touch upon them all in this speech..."

Gold then spoke about Lily's talents as a singer, musician, dancer, and actress, saying, "She really possesses a positive attitude, determination, intelligence, intuition and inner strength."

Gold called her a team player and leader who is earning a 3.8 GPA at MBMS, taking the school's most demanding classes. Gold then read glowing comments from many of her teachers, who applauded her infectious enthusiasm, doing much more than required, having an unyielding work ethic balanced by a caring and giving nature, a desire to help others, quietly seeking excellence, and being a bright light.

She and five friends have started a teen advice program on Instagram to help others, and out of 3,000 who auditioned, she was one of 300 singers selected for the American Choral Directors Association Honor Choir and will perform at ACDA's national conference in Salt Lake City in February.

Emily's teacher Donna Gunnar said how wonderful it was to be appreciating Emily, a student "who does not draw attention to herself" and "flies under the radar" though she is very accomplished.

First off, Gunnar said Emily embodies her school's philosophy and mission of "faith, service, excellence, and integrity." In particular, Emily has spent weekends distributing supplies and food to the homeless, loading trucks with food and gifts for a Los Angeles parish, and helping several other philanthropic entities, including the Saint Sebastian Sports Project Los Angeles, which supports Catholic school sports programs. This past Halloween, she donated her Halloween candy to Marines serving overseas.

"She has a huge heart, as you can tell," said Gunnar, who said Emily is a "person of integrity who is always thoughtful and humble."

Emily, who enjoys playing soccer, tennis, basketball, running cross country, and participating in Junior Lifeguards, also likes to surf, fish, cook and take road trips. She plays guitar in the school band, too.

Gunnar noted Emily's academic achievements. The soft-spoken 8th grader who is consistently on her school's Honor Roll and Principal's List "puts forth her best effort every day, in every class, on every assignment," she said, calling the California Junior Scholarship Federation member "extremely bright" and "exceptionally hard working." 

Emily was also feted by her parents for her compassion, empathy and grace. "Her finest quality is her gigantic heart and the way she embraces everyone." They also called her out for being "a loving and caring older sister... She helps us all to be better people."

"She makes me happy to come to school every day," said Gunnar.

Shubhaya Bhattacharya, a sophomore at Mira Costa High School, was honored for being a straight A student who consistently challenges himself with some of the most difficult courses offered. He currently is taking AP Physics, AP Biology, AP U.S. History, AP Statistics, and Honors English (he can't take AP English until the next academic year). He also is a member of Model United Nations and an accomplished musician in the high school orchestra.

Shubhaya is "driven and astute," "always prepared and always ready for class," and "exemplary student and a joy to teach," according to his instructors. He is pursuing a pre-med undergraduate degree so he can go to medical school to study neuroscience.
His Honors English instructor said applauded Shubhaya's "superb literary analysis and articulate commentary" which "make the discussion in English (class) enjoyable" for all.

Before the honors ceremony began, students briefly detailed recent happenings at American Martyrs School, MBMS and MCHS. Riley Hazelrigg spoke about American Martyrs, Rebecca Rawson about MBMS, and Julia Brady about MCHS.

The next Outstanding Student Recognition Luncheon will be held on Thursday, March 19, with another one on Thursday, April 16. Luncheons are held at The Belamar Hotel and cost $35 per person. Advance reservations are necessary and can be made online.

The 2014-2015 Manhattan Beach Coordinating Council luncheons culminate in the May 21 afternoon/evening Scholarship Reception, during which scholarships are awarded to graduating Mira Costa seniors.

Proceeds from each luncheon during the year go toward scholarship funding.

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