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Month in Review: The Final Weeks of School

11th- and 12th-grade students gather on the dance floor at the Masquerade-themed WISH Academy Prom at The Shay on Saturday, April 27th.

WISH Academy—With the conclusion of classes, the culmination of extracurricular activities, and the rush of final exams and projects, May and June are often some of the most frenetic, busy months for students at WISH Academy. But as the end of the year approaches, there is also time for celebration and reflection on the memories and achievements of another year gone by and another grade completed. Here’s a look back at some of the events that have wrapped up the 2023-2024 school year.

For upperclassmen, ASB’s Masquerade-themed Junior-Senior Prom was one of the most unforgettable events of the entire year. On the night of Saturday, April 27th, about 75 WISH Academy students and guests ascended in style to the lavishly-decorated second floor of modern Culver City hotel The Shay for three hours of dance, fine dining, and celebration. Thanks to the hard work of parent volunteers, staff and administrators who helped organize and supervise the event, and students from ASB, led by president Gabriel Koppula, who oversaw and executed a large portion of the planning work, the event was considered one of WISH Academy’s most successful yet. Prom was preceded by a spirit week organized by ASB and the Black and Brown Student Union (BBSU) in the week leading up to the dance, with days such as PJ Day, Twin Tuesday, Meme Thursday, and ‘90s Day on Friday, giving all WISH Academy students a chance to enjoy a special week before the busy month of May brought exams, final projects, and other challenges.

Other major events have highlighted the hard work of WISH Academy’s VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts) students. The Theater Production class’s second and final show of the year, Radium Girls, was staged in the Auditorium on Thursday, May 2nd, at 6:30 pm. The play is based on the true story of the young women factory workers who painted fashionable glow-in-the-dark radium watch dials and other products in the early 20th century, only to discover that they had been encouraged to consume trace amounts of a deadly, radioactive poison.

Following a break for AP exams, state testing, and seniors’ finals, festivities resumed with the Music Department’s Spring “Beats Beyond Borders” concert at 7 pm on Friday, May 24th at LMU’s Murphy Recital Hall. Students in the Choir, Guitar Ensemble, and Contemporary Music Ensemble classes, and student band the Jake 5, performed classics—including a choral arrangement dating to the 1790s—and modern hits alike as videos produced by students in the Digital Composition class played overhead at the sold-out show. The show was followed a week later by a Saturday night concert on June 1st at the same venue by Mr. Illko’s Grammy-winning acoustic guitar trio The String Revolution, the proceeds of which went partially to benefit the school.

Aside from these semester-calling VAPA performances, of course, the efforts of many students were most engaged in the academic conclusion of the year. Students in AP classes, and some who took exams but not classes, busily prepared in advance of the AP exams scheduled from May 6th through the 17th. The results of these exams, important for college class placement and admissions, will be released by the College Board on July 8th. Then, seniors completed their CAST state science exams on the week of April 29th, kicking off end-of-year standardized testing; later, juniors took the Math and English Language Arts SBAC tests on the 7th and 15th and 20th and 21st, respectively. At last, final exams in core classes took place the week of May 20th for seniors and May 27th for other students. Meanwhile, final projects, STAR assessments, and other work to close the semester occupied students’ time until grades were finalized in the last week of the school year.

However, there were also breaks throughout this fast-paced period when students could discover new experiences. About half of WISH Academy students took an optional field trip on Thursday, May 16th, to tour the Regeneron International Science Fair, held this year at the Los Angeles Convention Center downtown, at its Education Outreach Day. In addition to information and outreach sessions, the all-day field trip, organized by the WISH science department, let students see projects from some of the world’s brightest young scientists up close.

As well, many of the school’s clubs and extracurricular activities were hard at work to prepare for final milestones and events. The Asian American-Pacific Islander (AAPI) Culture Club planned three celebrations to observe AAPI Heritage Month in May. The club organized a cultural presentation for students in the library on Monday, May 20th, followed by an AAPI Potluck after school on Thursday, May 30th. That week, the week of May 27th, was the AAPI Heritage Month Spirit Week. There was no school on the 27th in observance of Memorial Day; the days thereafter were “Dress as your Chinese Zodiac,” “Character Day”, “Tropical Thursday”, and “Cultural Icons”. Another well-known lunch club, K-Pop Dance, gave their final performance of the year at the second-semester Awards Assembly held in the Auditorium Friday, May 31st, along with the Contemporary Music Ensemble earlier in the program. The assembly honored students for achievements in WISH’s classes and academic areas.

The end of the year was also a time of celebration for WISH Academy’s student athletes. At the Athletics Banquet on May 28th, teams and athletes were honored for a year of unprecedented success, and select students from each team were recognized with awards. Madison Mendoza won the first-ever OWL Spirit of Sports Award for her performance in three sports, work managing the baseball team, and yearbook photography at games for many other teams. 4-sport athlete Jayla De Armas-Osborne was honored as Athlete of the Year for her performance on the volleyball, flag football, basketball, and track teams and her outstanding athletic achievement outside of school—for example, as part of Los Angeles’s Chargers All-Star Girls’ Flag Football team.

Of course, recent weeks have been especially busy for the Class of 2024. The last senior events of the year have quickly unfolded as graduation—6 pm at Playa Vista’s Central Park on Friday, June 7th—looms. Graduating seniors attended a luncheon in K5 on May 29th to receive their yearbooks and celebrate their college decisions. The next morning, they traveled to the WISH Elementary School campus for a procession in their caps and gowns before continuing to the bandshell at Central Park for their graduation rehearsal. On Friday, May 31st, WISH Academy held a school-wide awards assembly, at which seven seniors were specially recognized for their excellence in specific subject areas. Then, from about 7:30 pm on Sunday, June 2nd to 3 am the following morning (?), participating members of the Class of 2024 traveled by charter bus to Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim for Grad Night, which many agreed was one of the most exciting times of the whole year.

Overall, the final month and a half of the school year has kept a busy pace, but it’s also been a time of reflection, celebration, and many fun activities. While the end of the school year can seem like a blur at times, it also contains many of its most valuable memories.

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