Aliso Niguel High School Seniors Say Goodbye

The end of the 2011-12 school year is nigh, and Aliso Niguel seniors are enjoying the last days of their high school careers. Several of the seniors from the ANHS newspaper wrote memoirs reminiscing on their experiences and their hopes for the future.

Fond memories are shared by many graduating seniors from Aliso Niguel below in their own words.

Breanne Mangen

While the last four years at Aliso Niguel have not been the most intriguing, they have been fundamental for my future.

I cannot say that my high school years have been the time of my life, or that I have made memories that will last me a lifetime. Many of my greatest high school memories have been made outside of Aliso Niguel with people who don’t even go to Aliso. To say the least, I am ready to get out and move on.

I have made a few good friends and have learned a lot. If there is any real positive experience, it would be the actual learning I have done. I have had some great teachers and I can’t imagine learning from a greater staff. I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for me and taught me, but it is now time to move on.

I am ready to make a new life in San Diego, meet new people, make new memories and have new experiences. I can’t imagine being in a better city – the beach, the sun, good shopping and great food. While I have grown a lot in my years at Aliso, I feel like I will grow so much more in college.

If there is any advice I could give to anyone younger than me at Aliso, I would say just focus on school. Have fun in high school but that should not be your main focus.

Challenge yourself and work hard. Only through hard work will you reap great rewards. There is so much more out there than high school. Bottom line, there are things I will miss but there is many that I will not. For some, high school is the time of their life; for me, it has only been a stepping stone to what I believe will be the time of my life.

With that being said, good luck and so long Aliso.

Siena Prosswimmer

It’s hard to believe that this is the last article I will ever write for the newspaper. It’s been quite a run.  I have waited for this day…the day to finally say goodbye to this school for the last four years. And now that it is actually here, it’s a little bittersweet. Aliso Niguel has been my home for the last four years. I’ve been with, experienced with and lived with the same people for the last four years. I am finally ready to say goodbye, and say hello to everything I have been working for these last couple years…College.

High school was nothing that I wanted it to be. High school was academically and emotionally one of the hardest struggles. There was always the subconscious pressure to push myself to take the hardest classes, play sports and join as many clubs as possible. The competitive nature of the school, while difficult to endure sometimes, only further motivated me towards the academic and athletic success I craved.  I always knew that high school was merely a stepping-stone for what I dreamed of. Though there were only a few, I’ll definitely have some memorable memories to look back on. The once in a lifetime immersion trip to Andalucia, Spain with my best friend and classmates will make the top of the list. There are so many great teachers that I have had the privilege to have, that instilled in me a drive to learn and continue my studies into college.

Even though I can accredit my college acceptances and success to my hard work and diligence at Aliso, I secretly wish I were able to experience more that the school had to offer. All my time spent on schoolwork and water polo, ultimately prevented me from having the “ideal” high school experience I wished for.  I encourage those underclassmen, as cliché as it may sound, to not get carried away with the pressures of high school. Have fun! Try new things! This is the time to experiment, explore and live in the moment. These are the only four years you’ll get. Might as well make them count.

So here I am, the end of my last article in the Growling Wolverine. I don’t know whether to cry tears of sadness or enjoyment. I will be sure to take everything I have learned here at Aliso with me to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. I am ready for my new adventure. Goodbye ANHS… you will be sort of missed.


Noah Keen

With the last few weeks of school winding down, it is difficult for me to imagine never coming back to this school after graduation. But I’m just going to cut to the chase and skip all the sentimental stuff. This was a great school. I loved my time at Aliso, and I believe anyone who disagrees isn’t taking advantage of his or her time here in high school. If I have one piece of advice to give to you underclassmen reading this, my fellow graduating seniors, or even adults getting the paper at home, I’d like to say this: Remember to keep a balance in your life. Too often we get caught up in being too much of one thing and forget the rest. While this obviously applies to school and stuff, it’s applicable to most areas of your life. Don’t neglect your present by focusing on the past or the future. And screw this abstract spiel. Just be a nice person. Some of you need to learn to keep your self-esteem up, but others of you need to cut it back a bit. I’m not asking you all to love everyone else, but at least respect yourself and everyone else. Good luck to all of you. Peace.

Mason Lutz

It has come and it will soon be gone. It’s gone up, and it’s gone down, but I’m ready to be done here. I think I’ve experienced what this place has to offer, and now I’m ready to move onto bigger and better things. I’m happy to have been here, and it was a great ride. I’d like to thank the entire administration, especially the person who has to clean the boys’ bathrooms. To them, I am also am sorry. But there are a few people I would like to thank in particular. Mr. Bornfeld was the first teacher to really intellectually challenge me and get me to look at the world around me.  Mr. Powers got us through the Calc BC test with Bad Joke Fridays. Mrs. Burdyshaw taught me the use of repetition: even if I hated it at the time, I’m fairly sure I could still 5 the AP US test. Mrs. Frome is quite possibly the most forgiving person in the world, and I should have listened to her the first time around. Mr. Threadgill is quite possibly the most fun person to mess with in the school, but the fact that I learned Stats while in his class does not imply that the one caused the other. Mr. Biggs is extremely passionate about his work, and he has made me passionate about some great literary works because I did not defy his augury. But the one person I have to thank the most is Mr. Jansen. His class caused me to realize how much I love Physics, and it changed my college major. AP C was a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge before college, and he is the person I have to thank for taking the time and dedication it takes to deal with us. It’s been a great 4 years, and I’m glad to have experienced it. I’ll be heading off to UCLA in the fall, and it wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of so many people.

But now, I’m moving on, and I’m glad. I’ve had a great time here, and I’ve learned a lot, but it’s time to move on. I need to keep moving, keep learning, keep on keepin’ on. And I hope all of the other seniors are as happy to be done with high school as I am. Now is not the time to lament the past, but a time to look forward to the future. I hope it holds great things for all of the seniors. Goodbye.

Paula Chou

I remember my first impression of Aliso Niguel High School: enormous. Coming from a middle school with a population of approximately one thousand kids, the idea of attending a high school with three times the amount of students was a terrifying concept. Knowing that there would be 18 year old teenagers at the same school as me increased my fear of beginning high school as “freshmeat.”

I soon learned that high school was not a scary experience at all, but rather an interesting mix of a variety of cultures, peoples and ideals. As a member of the newspaper staff and the tennis team, I came into contact with so many different kinds of people and developed relationships that I will not forget as I move onto the next phase of my life in college. Being a leader in both of these areas as Editor-in-Chief and Varsity Team Captain has given me many unforgettable memories and experiences here at Aliso that I will bring with me to UCSD. I will always remember the time I spent with the class that ends it all. Goodbye, Aliso!

Eric Buck

My feelings leaving Aliso after having been here for four years are bittersweet.  On one hand, I feel very glad to move on and start anew with a whole new group of people, but on the other hand I have made some great friends here at Aliso Niguel and I feel that my academic work here is unfinished, as I didn't take full advantage of what the school had to offer.  I can't say I regret not taking certain classes, because I don't know if I could have fit them in either way.  I completed Algebra I all the way through Calculus while in high school, took a pretty okay course load, and managed to have enough time to thoroughly develop as a person, also. 

Leaving Aliso, I could focus on my personal failures – all the relationships I've ruined with people, the classes I've dropped, or the clubs I haven't put enough effort into.  For me, freshman year was almost an academic waste.  I attempted to join clubs, but I couldn't fit into Science Olympiad, I didn't feel was good enough at math for Math Olympiad, and, when I tried to join Key Club, I was the only white guy so I left.  I have learned to try thoroughly try out everything, no-matter how much it seems to suck or actually sucks at the beginning.  In college, these failures shall certainly be amended.

As I finish high school and transition to college, I have two main paths to choose between – should I do academics, or should I focus on being in many clubs and actively participating on the projects?  I'm not sure which interests me more, but I know right now that I will attempt to take a hard course load and be in many clubs, leading to my ruin.  That is my nature.

The best part of Aliso for me was definitely the teachers I had.  Each one got me interested in the subject or new areas of said subject.  Before I took Mr. Henson's AP biology course, I was not a life sciences kinda guy.  His dry humor and passion for the subject are what really got me into it.  I am now considering a biomedical engineering major in college because of that class.  Math, on the other hand, was always of particular interest to me because I saw it as a marker of intelligence.  When I stumbled into calculus with Mr. Threadgill last year, that changed, as I gained a genuine interest in mathematics.  Threadgill is the kind of teacher that keeps books on logic and higher mathematics behind his whiteboard, just as Henson has many books on fungi behind his.  For history, I'm sure many of you have had the same great experience I had with Mr. Bornfeld.  He got me interested in my worst subject,  so that I may now appreciate past events and experience the emotions of the times.  Coming to Aliso, my least favorite subject was English.  I saw it as a complete waste of time, having only had non-accelerated courses before.  Freshman year, Ms. Greeley started my love of classical literature.  I liked to read before, but the books we read in class and the discussions about those books changed my entire view of English Literature.  This interest has only increased as I had great teachers such as Mrs. Klasna and Mr. Biggs. 


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