How Four Presentation Students Earned National Recognition
Achieving national recognition for academics is no easy feat. As an all-girls, Catholic, independent school in San Jose, California, Presentation High School has received national attention for the academic achievements of its outstanding students.
This past summer, Presentation graduate Nikitha Kalahasti ‘20 placed 7th in “International Extemporaneous Speaking” in the National Speech and Debate Tournament. She’s just one of many Pres students who are pushing the boundaries of academia. Her high school experience has prepared her well for pursuing her passions further in her education at University of California, San Diego, where she is majoring in bioengineering.
Caitlin Gorin ‘21 has been recognized for her achievements in 3D printing testing methods on various materials. Caitlin’s passion for STEM is present at home and in the classroom, and she has been featured on ASTM International for achievements dating as far back as middle school. She designed and built her own 3D printer to ASTM International standards and is using it to run tests for other standards beyond plastic tensile strength.
Earlier in the spring, Caitlin placed 1st in the RRI Physical Science and Engineering Category at the virtual Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship for developing a test procedure for layer adhesion strength of FDM 3D printed plastics.
“By enrolling students in an educational program that is nationally recognized for academics, sports, the arts, and more, students don’t need to be told what to do, they’ll aspire to find opportunities for themselves.”
Pres students are also social justice advocates and authors. Senior Citlalli Berjarano spent her summer co-authoring a manuscript for Harvard Educational Review. Her work included working with other Chicana students to explain the types of exclusion Chicana students face in public and private schools. This opportunity directly translates into the goals Citlalli has for her future, “When I grow up, I want to become a politician who can fight to improve education quality in places that need it. I don’t want children to be forced to turn away from their dreams and aspirations because of the zip code where they happen to live,” she says.
Students are also excelling in the arts. Just last year, senior Mallory Robbins used her photography skills gained from a freshman year photography class when interning with TRACK, an American Quarter Horse racing industry magazine. Her Pres education prepared her well for photojournalism and publishing opportunities. Mallory’s dedication to her passion is clear, as she “went out to the barns around 7:30 in the morning and was able to take pictures of the horses as they worked in the morning, and of the trainers and jockeys getting their barns prepped for the day.”
For these and all Presentation students, motivation from teachers, peers, and administrators is critical to taking intellectual risks. By enrolling students in an educational program that is nationally recognized for academics, sports, the arts, and more, students don’t need to be told what to do, they’ll aspire to find opportunities for themselves.
All-girls schools intentionally and authentically create experiences and stories that pave their path far beyond their high school education. The research clearly shows that girls in a single-sex environment achieve at greater levels across an array of disciplines -- STEAM, advocacy, education, the arts, and more -- than their peers in coed schools. And for girls at Pres, that achievement often stretches well beyond the school and region, extending into the national arena.