Message from the Superintendent
June 8, 2022
The Class of 2022, Part 1
Dear PUSD Community,
Graduates in the Class of 2022 have been relentless, powering on to do their very best during one of the most difficult periods in our nation’s history. They are scholars, athletes, and artists who are ready to change the world. They embody the values of Pasadena Unified: graduates who are creative problem solvers with hearts for their communities. The graduates of the Class of 2022 are entering colleges and universities, trade schools, the military, or the workforce.
We are so very proud to have been part of their journey.
We have so much great news to share with you about the PUSD Class of 2022 that we’re sending you two special editions featuring our graduates.
In this first edition, we feature graduates of John Muir Early College Magnet, Marshall Fundamental, and the Center for Independent Studies.
In the next edition, we’ll feature Pasadena High School, Blair High School, and Rose City High School.
CAPS OFF TO THE CLASS OF 2022
JOHN MUIR EARLY COLLEGE MAGNET
Jade Williams, Salutatorian
Jade Williams is heading to the University of California Berkeley this fall after becoming John Muir High School’s Salutatorian. Jade has made the most of her high school career as a member of the school’s Arts, Entertainment & Media Academy and has remained on the honor roll all four years.
Jade exemplifies the PUSD Graduate Profile, excelling academically while participating in several extra-curricular activities. She took on positions of leadership as Pep Squad Captain, Associated Student Body President, Class of 2022 Vice President, School Site Council Student Representative, and a member of the Black Student Union.
"Attending John Muir gave me the opportunity to grow in a community of people who only want the best for me,” Jade said. “I was given resources and opportunities to succeed in whatever my goals and aspirations were.”
Over the course of four years in high school, she took nine dual-enrollment courses and earned 28 college credits at Pasadena City College (PCC) through a joint partnership between the college and the Pasadena Unified School District.
A recipient of the Service-Learning Medallion, Jade volunteers at Huntington Hospital taking calls as a dispatcher in the Errand and Escort Department. At Berkeley, she will major in Psychology and plans to become a child psychologist someday. Congratulations, Jade!
Kennedy Hackett, Valedictorian
Kennedy Hackett is headed to Harvard University this fall after becoming the first student to graduate from John Muir High School (JMHS) Early College Magnet with a high school diploma and an Associate of Arts degree in Natural Science from Pasadena City College through a joint partnership between the college and Pasadena Unified School District.
A scholar, leader, and athlete, Kennedy has a 4.2 GPA and is described by teachers and counselors as “persistent, charismatic, and ambitious.” Her academic achievements and involvement in the school and community are extensive.
“Dual enrollment at John Muir has allowed me to broaden my academic horizons,” said Kennedy. “Through Pasadena City College, I was able to cultivate new interests by taking classes that aren’t traditionally offered at my high school. Due to the rigor that dual enrollment classes provided to me, I now feel prepared to take my knowledge and apply that to my courses at the university level.”
The partnership puts college courses on the high school campus; John Muir students can simply walk across the quad to a self-contained PCC building and take college-level courses such as Psychology, Humanities, Speech, African-American History, Introduction to American Government and Politics, or Statistics during the school day.
Extracurricular activities demonstrate her growth mindset, tenacity, and persistence. “She exemplifies what we look for in student leaders,” says Early College Magnet Counselor Alejandra Diaz.
Kennedy’s involvement in school includes: Associated Student Body Vice President, 2022 Class Treasurer, the pep squad, track and field, and the Black Student Union.
Outside of school, she volunteers as a tutor for children in kindergarten through 8th grade. Kennedy describes this as the most meaningful experience in her life because she can see younger children’s academic growth and because it makes her proud that they see her as a role model.
Kennedy has received numerous awards and accolades, from the school Honor Roll to Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. Kennedy was featured in Pasadena Now for her outstanding work and she is the recipient of the Student Spotlight Award through the California Coalition of Early and Middle College.
The courses that Kennedy has taken at John Muir and at Pasadena City College have propelled her to become an agent of change for social issues that are impacting the John Muir school community. Kennedy was courageous in bringing about issues of social justice and change. She is passionate about helping other students become successful. As a student in John Muir’s Engineering and Environmental Science Academy, Kennedy studied Introduction to Engineering during her Freshman year, Principles of Engineering as a Sophomore, Digital Electronics in her Junior year, and Engineering Design and Development during her Senior year. She also received valuable work-based experience as an intern at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Aspires West Tutoring Center.
As an Early College Student Ambassador, Kennedy attends community functions to promote on-campus opportunities for fellow students. Because of the commitment of student ambassadors like Kennedy, JMHS has been recognized as an Early College Magnet and named “Best Choice School’ by Pasadena Weekly. As a result, the school has seen an increase in enrollment and has become more diverse in terms of race and socioeconomics.
Quincy Watson, Muir Career Day Presenter
John Muir High School Senior Quincy Watson’s vision of the future is becoming more and more clear but he says his glasses had to “rattle around” in his football helmet for a while before eventually deciding that football wasn’t his thing – at least not his only thing. This multi-talented student in the Engineering and Environmental Sciences Academy will soon be a computer science major and is passing on his knowledge to others.
He volunteered to be the only student presenter among industry professionals at the JMHS inaugural career day – the first of its kind combining all pathways into one large conference for all students. His workshop entitled “Beginners Guide to Coding (HTML)” explained web programming languages and included a bit about CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). The workshop coincides with his capstone project on exposing students to coding and he plans to continue working with younger students at PUSD schools. Mr. Watson says figuring out how to create websites can be surprisingly fun. He also enjoys working on 3-D modeling, 3-D print products, and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) files.
“I appreciate the independence my teachers have given me at the Engineering Academy. My workshop, my lecture is something I made by myself,” Quincy explained. “My teachers and my friends helped me come to the realization that computer science is what I want to do.”
Quincy is also a talented artist and loves to create art in his free time. He has taken dual enrollment courses including psychology and speech at the self-contained satellite of Pasadena City College, which is located on the campus of John Muir High School.
He also enjoys working as a California Special Olympics volunteer – timing sprints, placing participants, and setting up the event. For several years, he participated in TRiO Upward Bound Math and Science Program doing extra-curricular classes in preparation for his higher education pursuits.
Quincy says that much of his success stems from his Engineering Academy teachers who gave him the freedom to work independently. With their guidance, he was able to find something he would like to pursue in the future and he’s excited to attend Cal State University, Northridge for Computer Science.
Founded in 1926, John Muir High School is an Early College Magnet serving 930 9-12th grade students. Students enroll in one of three career-themed academies on campus and get college preparation and experiential learning in: Arts, Entertainment & Media; Business & Entrepreneurship; and Engineering & Environmental Science.
John Muir offers the only Early College Program in the Pasadena Unified School District where all students can earn transferable college credit in multiple on-campus college courses starting in freshman year through a partnership with Pasadena City College.
Benjamin Karish, Valedictorian
Marshall Fundamental graduate Benjamin Karish is heading to the University of California, Berkeley, after becoming a Class of 2022 Valedictorian. Ben’s academic career soared as a Marshall Eagle since 9th grade. He attended Willard Elementary for grades K-5.
At Marshall, Ben has been active in Frisbee Club, Math Club, Chess Club, Jewish Club, and was the Science Bowl Captain his junior and senior years. Ben played Junior Varsity Tennis as a freshman but turned his attention to running after that, participating in cross country his remaining years of high school and Track & Field his sophomore and senior year. Ben placed third in the Mission Valley League Finals in the 800-meter run in April.
In his spare time, Ben has volunteered in the chess class at the Pasadena Educational Foundation’s Summer Enrichment Program and has worked as a counselor at Tom Sawyer Camp.
Ben is recognized by the College Board as an AP Scholar with Distinction and is a 2022 National Merit Commended Scholar. He will be studying engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Congratulations, Ben!
Kareem Shaheen, Valedictorian
Class of 2022 Valedictorian Kareem Shaheen is bound for Yale University. His academic career flourished at Sierra Madre Middle School and then at Marshall Fundamental where he became involved in several extracurricular activities including the National Honor Society, the Journalism Club, the Mock Trial Team, the Science Bowl Team, the Astrophysics Club, Math Club, Model United Nations, Science National Honor Society, and the Middle Eastern Club.
Kareem has received numerous awards and has been recognized by the College Board as an AP Scholar with Distinction. He is also an AP Capstone Diploma Candidate for his research topic, “Atoms in Accounting, Entanglement in Emails, and Qubits in Cryptography: The Danger to the Digital World.”
Through the Caltech Summer Research Connection, Kareem conducted scientific research at a Caltech lab with a student-teacher group under a professor’s guidance. Kareem represented Marshall as the American Legion California Boys State Delegate and he won the Legal Advocacy Competition. He was also awarded the Alan I. Rothberg Award for Outstanding Student Pretrial Defense as part of the Mock Trial Competition in the fall. He works as a volunteer at Methodist Hospital Arcadia and the Burbank Islamic Center.
He has received acceptances from Yale University, Cal Poly Pomona, UC Berkeley (Regents’ & Chancellor's Scholar), UCLA (Big Bang Theory Scholar), UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, Emory University, Rice University, and Rochester Institute of Technology. He plans to major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Yale. Congratulations, Kareem!
Charlotte Bradley-McKinnon, Salutatorian
We are “reeling” with excitement for world-class Irish dancer and Marshall Fundamental Senior and Salutatorian Charlotte Bradley-McKinnon. Charlotte joined the Marshall Eagle family following her promotion from Daniel Webster Elementary School and has become an exceptional example of the PUSD graduate profile.
She displayed strong leadership skills as Vice President of the Science National Honor Society (SNHS), Secretary of the National Honor Society (NHS), and the Storytellers Club. She’s also a member of the Asian Club, the Students for Environmental Awareness (SEA) Club, and Girls Build Los Angeles Club.
As an Irish Dancer, Charlotte is currently ranked 5th in the U.S. Western Region in Irish Dance and 21st in North America. Her céilí Irish Dance Team has won 13 Western Region Titles. She is a six-time consecutive World Qualifier and three-time céilí World Medalist. Charlotte was awarded the highest scholarship offered by the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA). She is a member of the céilí team who won the North American Championship in 2018. She has been an Irish Dance Teaching Assistant for four years.
She is also a competitive student-athlete, earning “Best Runner” on the cross country team and making the Mission Valley League First Team. She participates in Marshall’s Drama department and is part of its Dance Track in the school’s Academy for Creative Industries (ACI) which allows students to explore the creative arts industry as they learn and prepare for their college and/or career options.
Charlotte is recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction and is an AP Capstone Candidate for Diploma with her research topic entitled: “Fairest Of Them All: How Gender Roles, Feminism, and Culture in Fairytales Influence Women Over Time.”
The University of California Los Angeles Early Academic Outreach Program (UCLA EAOP) and the College Access Plan (CAP) also helped her become college-ready. During a summer internship at the Gamble House through PUSD, she worked as an Arts Coordinator and learned valuable skills in arts management. She also represented Marshall as the 2021 American Legion California Girls State delegate and was elected to serve as the Marketing Director.
Charlotte plans to attend UCLA (undeclared in the Social Sciences) and was also accepted at Pasadena City College, San Diego State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, Scripps College, and Vassar College. Congratulations, Charlotte!
Alex Amador Bravo
Marshall Fundamental Senior Alex Amador Bravo is a runner who’s already made great strides on his way to UCLA in the fall. Alex joined the Eagle Family from Hamilton Elementary.
Alex is enrolled in the Marshall Fundamental Puente Project where he received college readiness support and community service opportunities. He also participated in the TRiO Upward Bound Program which provided additional preparation for college. Alex is recognized by the College Board as an AP Scholar and has been on the Principal’s Honor Roll for consecutive semesters. He is a member of the Asian Club, the Black Student Union, the National Honor Society, and the Puente Club.
As an athlete, Alex enjoys being a part of the cross country team and the track and field team. Competing in cross country since freshman year, Alex established himself as a team leader – a result of his strong work ethic, positive attitude, and willingness to support his teammates. Marshall’s cross country coach says Alex continued to improve his athletic performance each year and it paid off as he set personal records in both his last cross country and last track competitions.
He has received admission to attend Pasadena City College, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Los Angeles, CSUN (Northridge), Cal Poly Pomona, and UCLA. Alex has elected to attend UCLA with plans to major in Biology. Congratulations, Alex!
CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT STUDIES
Carli Bertonneau, Valedictorian
Carli Bertonneau will study theater at Emerson College this fall after becoming Valedictorian at the Center for Independent Studies Academy (CIS). She began at CIS as a freshman and says the school allowed her to complete all of her coursework in three years and helped her graduate an entire year early.
“CIS allowed me to spend more time studying and learning about acting and it inspired me to pursue working in entertainment,” Carli said.
Outside of school, Carli is an avid equestrian and has been riding for 11 years. She enjoys volunteering at the Pasadena Humane Society and working with horses at local barns and equestrian centers.
Through PUSD’s dual-enrollment program with Pasadena City College, Carli was able to take a total of nine college-level courses including Environmental Science, American Sign Language English, Introduction to Psychology, and Early Film History. At Emerson, she plans to study Theater and Performance with a double major in English. She hopes to work in the entertainment industry someday. Congratulations, Carli!
We are incredibly #PUSDproud of all of our graduates. For more good news on the graduation front, keep an eye out for part two of our Special Graduate Update 2022.
We’ll feature graduates from Pasadena High School, Blair High School, and Rose City High School.