January 31, 2019

2018 Year-End Briefing

A review of all the Lord has done at Pacifica Christian High School in the fall 2018 semester.


Dear Friend,

I get new energy and maybe even vision when I begin a new calendar year. Looking ahead to 2019, I am deeply encouraged about the prospects for our beloved Pacifica. It is with thankfulness for the past and present, and great confidence in the future that I thank you for your commitment to the vital mission to teach a generation to think and live well.

As we prepare for what the Lord may have for us in the coming year, let us reflect with gratitude and joy for all that has been accomplished this past semester.

My wife, Dayna, joins me in sending you warm wishes for a Happy New Year!

With love and prayers,

David O’Neil
Head of School

Spiritual Enrichment & Service

Chapel and Assembly

During the first semester, Pacifica hosted seventeen outside speakers and heard from eight faculty members during chapel and assemblies. Dr. Herman Suit of Harvard University spoke in September about his pioneering work on targeted radiation treatments for combating cancer, and had a lively interchange with our students about the intellectual value of skepticism. In October, Dr. Beck Taylor, President of Whitworth University, discussed the value of a liberal arts education. In November, Dr. Hans Keirstead from UCI shared his groundbreaking work in stem cell research as it might lead to a cure for cancer. A lively discussion with students about the ethical implications of stem cell harvesting ensued. In December, Dr. Daniele Struppa, President of Chapman University, described the connections between painting and mathematics, challenging our students not simply to learn “things,” but to learn “how things connect to each other.” It was an enriching semester full of wonder, healthy debate, and challenges to embrace thinking and living well. 


In September, all Pacifica students, faculty, and staff traveled to Oakbridge Young Life Camp in Ramona, California for three days of games, fellowship, skits, and worship. This annual event provided both students and faculty the chance to step out of their comfort zones, take risks in a safe and fun environment, and thereby foster deeper relationships with one another. Ben Simonson, our invited speaker from Rock Harbor Church, presented three Gospel-centered messages sparking meaningful small group discussions, further developing those relationships. Highlights of this year’s trip included Rev. Butler and Coach Berokoff dressed up as 1970’s Elvis’ who performed alongside a “live” trout named Tommy, student “color-group” competitions resulting in the Blue Team’s first-ever victory, student-led vespers services, and Mr. Balmer leading the whole school in a sing-along of “Sloppy Joe” from the SNL Lunch Lady skit accompanied by dancing faculty members dressed in cafeteria food costumes.


Allyson Scharrer, Class of 2020, inspired the student body to partner with Venture, an organization that helps rescue young women from human trafficking in Nepal. She created Pacifica’s first annual “Hike for Hope” to raise money and awareness to support this important cause. On December 1, approximately 60 Pacifica students, parents, and friends of the school hiked at El Moro State Beach raising over $11,000 to date. Pacifica students also participated in Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry for the fourth year in a row, filling over 300 boxes with toys and love for children around the world. To date, 152 of Pacifica’s 176 students have completed over 3,278 service hours, worth a total of $77,232 in economic value, as determined by Mobileserve, our Community Service management platform.



The Pacifica Continuum

In three years, Pacifica has become known as a Christ-centered, academically respected, and deeply relational community. To ensure the continuity of a Pacifica education for generations to come, this fall we introduced The Pacifica Continuum. The Pacifica Continuum is not a mere document, it is rather a living expression of how we build a thriving learning community. For more details, please search for “Continuum” click here.

Growth in STEAM

For the 2018-2019 school year, Pacifica’s Math and Science departments added three new STEAM courses. AP Computer Science Principles introduces students to programming and the broader field of computer science. By the end of the school year, students will have created their own websites, image filters, and programs. Engineering Design and Analysis is a project-based course designed by University of Texas, Austin. Here, students spend the year learning real-world engineering practices through hands-on projects, and can apply for dual credit through UT Austin. AP Statistics, an upper-level math course, introduces students to the practical and challenging world of using math both as a numerical study and as a way to convey information and ideas.

Learn more about STEAM at Pacifica.

TGC Shakespeare Event

The fifth installment of The Great Conversation series, An Evening with the Bard, was held in November at the historic Ebell Club and Theatre. Attendees heard our own Reverend Hayden Butler, English teacher and Angela Ward, Theatre Director, discuss Shakespeare’s work and then attended the Pacifica Arts’ presentation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

The Digital Arts

The Advanced Digital Arts is focusing on Graphic Design for the 2018-2019 school year. In the first semester, they have worked with “in-house” clients at Pacifica including Yearbook Club, Athletics Department, and Marketing Department. As part of their projects with the Athletics Department, they organized, hosted, and shot Pacifica’s first-ever Media Day for winter sports. The photos taken at that shoot have since been incorporated into a social media campaign promoting the Tritons on Pacifica’s various Instagram accounts.

Learn more about Digital Arts



Triton Athletics 

Pacifica’s Women’s Volleyball team advanced to the Division 9 championship match without dropping a set throughout the playoffs. Despite playing well, they lost to La Puente in the final, ending the season with the best record in school history. Senior Breck Burwell had a team-high 11 kills and 18 digs.

In September, Pacifica hosted an interscholastic regatta at Newport Sea Base; the first in school history and the first in Orange County. Team captain, junior Dimitri Kallins won the single-man boat competition in 1:50.

Also in September, Pacifica hosted its first cross country event, the Triton Invitational, at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley. Ten schools competed in the all-day event, and senior Nick Kutscher finished in the top five overall.

Pacifica launched its inaugural season of Women’s Golf with a strong team led by junior Brooklyn Motske, the first female golfer in school history to qualify for postseason play.

Pacifica’s Men’s Beach Volleyball had an outstanding season, culminating in a decisive victory over Mater Dei to close out the regular season and earn a spot in the OCBVL playoffs. Great defense by junior Caleb Snider, and great serving by senior Evan Nordstrom helped the Tritons pull ahead and ultimately claim the victory.

And to launch the winter athletics season in style, Pacifica began a new tradition for Men’s Basketball games… Bring the Rain. Click here to watch the highlight video.

Learn more about Triton Athletics.

Performing Arts

In October, seventeen Pacifica students attended the Utah Shakespeare Festival High School Competition where they watched performances, took workshops, and competed in acting, dance, and music categories. Impressively, they earned superior rankings in each and brought home an especially coveted award in the dance category.

Applying all they learned in Utah, Pacifica Arts then produced an ambitious and authentic telling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in early November. The music, song, and dance in this richly costumed production allowed students to showcase their diverse talents in a meaningful way that touched audiences deeply.

In the spring, Pacifica Arts’ will produce, Into the Woods, a beloved classic musical presenting a large and lavish twist on traditional fairy tales—and what comes after “happily ever after”. Pacifica’s dancers, singers, actors, and musicians will perform alongside a children’s cast, making it a show the whole family can enjoy. The musical will be staged at the historic Ebell Theatre in Santa Ana on April 5 and 6, 2019.

Learn more about Performing Arts

Fine Arts

Pacifica added AP Studio Art to the 2018-2019 curriculum providing advanced art students the opportunity to express their creativity in new and challenging ways while showcasing the skills they have acquired over the past three years.

Learn more about Fine Arts


Graduate Impact Stories

First-year landscape architecture student at Cal Poly SLO
written by Benjamin Clark, Class of 2018

It has been a fairly smooth transition coming to college, though, of course, there have been some difficulties in adjusting to a new way of life. I am very confident that Pacifica—its values, academic training, and personable faculty—have prepared me for this new chapter of my life. One of the most practical things I took away from Pacifica was the ability to effectively manage my time while juggling a rigorous workload. This skill has paid off and has made academics here—at least for the moment—very manageable. Deeper still, Pacifica provided me with an independent and curious mind; one that can entertain an idea without immediately assuming its validity, while still being able to marvel at the complexity and meaning of the world. Pacifica taught me to think carefully, and to strive to discover the truth and beauty in my studies. I am grateful for Pacifica and the platform it has built for me, and on which I now stand to further my education and future pursuits.

First-year Augustinian Scholar at Westmont College
written by Lina Reid, Class of 2018

Thus far, my experience at Westmont has been full of outrageous fun, deep discussions, and immense joy in learning. I am forever indebted to the staff, faculty, and my peers at Pacifica for helping to prepare me for this adventure. If I could give a piece of advice to the current students at Pacifica, I would encourage them to be engaged, grateful, and kind as it will serve them greatly in the next juncture of their life. Most of all, I would exhort them to keep the faith, as He never fails to bring great joy and adventure into the lives of those who believe. To the staff and faculty, I would share my deepest thanks for faithfully keeping to Pacifica’s vision because all of the pouring out they do is not in vain. To the supporters of Pacifica, I desire to emphasize what a worthy venture Pacifica is as it produces something decidedly different that will surely have tremendous success and impact in this radically dynamic world of ours.

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