Class of 2004 says farewell to Malibu High


After seven years of classes on the Morning View Drive campus, Malibu High School graduated its 2004 class of seniors on June 17, preparing them for college, to take on and travel to different parts of California, the United States and even the world.

Graduation ceremonies included the yearly tradition of imaginative, decorated caps and gowns, with such elaborate accessories like butterfly wings (attached to the back of a gown), oversized sunglasses and a cap featuring the beach and ocean. The décor added a light-hearted touch to the ceremony, capping 12 years of education for the 2004 class.

Teachers and staff of MHS seemed proud of these students, as was evident at the school’s Senior Scholarships and Awards Ceremony earlier this month. Principal Michael Matthews and Assistant Principal Gloria Martinez were among the many involved in the 2004 Scholarship Committee, which helped give more than 100 awards to this year’s graduating seniors. College and Career Advisor Sunny Halpern had an instrumental role in putting together the event, and was greeted by applause and flowers presented from students.

Seniors received not only departmental awards, but also many special awards including the Princeton Book Award to Megan Zweig, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Medal for Science and Math to Chanel Kass, the Young Artists Foundation Acting Award to Kaitlin Cullum and the Cal Poly SLO Award for architecture excellence to Kyle Fishburn. Math and social studies awards went to Megan Zweig, who was the only one of her class to receive two departmental awards. ASB President Brittany Bassett was presented with the MHS Exceptional Service Award. Bassett also received the Optimist Club of Malibu Presidential Freedom Scholarship and the Daughter of the American Revolution Scholarship.

Also, two new memorial scholarship awards were presented honoring MHS coach Frank Page, who died last year in a car accident, and Justin Helman, a graduate of 2003 who died earlier this year, also in a car accident. Matt Ochamanek and Salima Jivani were presented the Justin Helman Memorial Scholarship for their ability in leadership in business. The Frank Page Memorial Athletic Scholarship was awarded to Sarah Oronoz and Zak Drapkin, who were both coached by Page in soccer and track, as taught by him in the classroom.

Students are attending a variety of public and private schools such as UC Santa Barbara, NYU, Harvey Mudd and Duke University. Not only are Malibu High graduates attending top public and private schools, but student Chanel Kass enters his first year at the U.S. Naval Academy, and Harry Bezuidenhout will be packing his bags for South Africa to attend the University of Ondersteport.

Ninety-four percent of the 2004 graduating class are college bound (129 seniors) with 39 graduates planning to attend two-year colleges, and the remaining 82 attending four-year colleges. Eight graduates are undecided and/or plan to work or travel.

Senior Erica Shultz plans to take it easy before starting college.

“In other summers I’ve taken summer school, but I just want to relax this summer,” Schultz said. “I’m going to Maui for three weeks with one of my friends where I plan to read, hike and take it fairly easy on the beach. I feel this summer is kind of the silence before the storm.”

After spending so much time together on one campus, some students feel the closeness of the graduating group. “I really don’t want to leave,” said Cody Martinez, who plans to attend Harvey Mudd in the fall. “The main thing is not so much school as the people-all my friends. It’s been so amazing. I’ve been with these people for seven years. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye.”

Others, while they’ve enjoyed their time at Malibu High, are more ready to bid farewell to their now alma mater.

“I feel ready to graduate,” Schultz, who will be attending UC Davis, said. “I’m ready to get out of Malibu, live on my own and take care of myself. I’m really excited about it, and it feels really good.”

Katie Linhardt, who’s on her way to Vassar, said, “I’m looking forward to meeting more like-minded people, and seeing the other side of the country. Along with all of the usual things one looks forward to in college.”

But when all has been said and done, how do the students feel about their time at Malibu High School?

When asked if she looked back at her time at Malibu High School positively, Tanya Puklus, heading to UC San Diego, said, “Definitely. The teachers, faculty and administration are great. They were really supportive in helping me figure out what it is I want to do with my life.”

Zachery Drapkin, who will be attending Brown University in Rhode Island, commented that, “it was a lot of work, but I guess when you have stuff like this (referring to the awards ceremony), it’s kind of worth it.”