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Jamie Somerville’s College Journey from Dublin High School to Oxford University

February 11, 2015

by Jamie Somerville (Dublin High School Class of 2010 and UC San Diego Class of 2014)

Jamie Somerville (3rd from left)

Jamie Somerville (3rd from left)

My high school self would probably die of shock if he heard what I was currently doing. “A PhD?! But that requires even more school and writing (gasp)… A THESIS!” Throughout high school, I was arrogant enough to believe that I wouldn’t need English for my future (Ms. Briggs and Ms. Hollison can both attest to this). I really enjoyed math and I thought that as long as I excelled in it, success would just be piled at my doorstep. In my senior year at Dublin High, I applied only to the UC’s mainly because I really didn’t want to write any more application essays than I needed to. To compound the issue, my belief in the frivolous nature of writing translated into not spending as much time on my essays as I should have. Well, March rolled around and to my horror I was rejected from UCLA. My initial reaction was denial; I thought there must have been a mistake. I even started drafting a letter to petition the decision. Lucky for me, UCSD saw beyond the laziness of my essays and decided to accept me anyway. Moral of the story for any high school students reading this: being a good writer matters in life, not just for applications but also for communicating in the workplace and being able to explain your thinking. That was my first lesson post-high school and I wanted to make sure I got that across this time around.

Oxford University Radcliff Camera Library

Oxford – Radcliff Camera Library

With that said, I hope now to answer the maybe more interesting question: how did I go from entering UCSD as a Mathematics major to flying across the Atlantic to pursue a PhD in Materials Science at the University of Oxford? Well the first thing I’d like to make very clear is that UCSD was an absolute blessing for me. After 3 weeks in my first math major class, I decided that conceptual math wasn’t for me and I dropped the class and quit the major. I was fortunately allowed to change to what was the newest major in the university at the time, NanoEngineering. For those of you not familiar, “nanoengineering” (which, for the first time ever, my updated version of Word isn’t trying to autocorrect) is defined as the design and manipulation of materials that have one or more dimensions constrained to the length scale of 1 to 100 nanometers (1 m = 1 billion nm). I was also drawn in by how cool nanorobots sounded. Read more…

The Value of Advanced Placement (AP) Classes for College Preparation and Success

February 9, 2015

Are CollegeBoard Advanced Placement (AP) courses worth the extra work? According to every single Dublin High School alum we’ve interviewed as part of the Life in College and Life After College profiles the answer is a resounding “yes”. Below is a sample of the advice from former students on how AP classes and the high stakes AP exams helped them adjust to college level courses and in some cases graduate early. AP, Honors and Advanced classes (there are 33 to choose from at Dublin High School) can also result in a grade bump (resulting in a higher GPA).

Most important though, AP courses provide students with an opportunity to challenge themselves in subjects that truly interest them – from AP Computer Science to AP Music Theory. But that’s enough from us; here is what Dublin High students had to say:

Dublin High School Valedictorian Malina JiangMalina Jiang – Stanford University – Computer Science: “In AP classes there is a big build-up to the AP exams at the end of the year, exams that cover the material for the entire year. As a result, you are forced to absorb what you learn throughout the year rather than just forgetting the material after a chapter test. You learn how to cumulate knowledge which is really helpful in college.” Read more..

Read more…

Dublin High School Alum Trisha Campbell Leads Lady Gaels Basketball to 20-2 Record

February 7, 2015
Gaels Coach Trisha Campbell

Dublin High Lady Gaels Coach Trisha Campbell

“If you get caught up in things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect those things over which you have control.” – John Wooden. These words were spoken by the legendary collegiate basketball coach at UCLA over four decades ago. However, as one of the most revered coaches and teachers in the 20th century, these words continue to resonate with truth today. They seem to serve as a great lesson for not only current students, but for all of us.

The 2014-15 Dublin High School Lady Gaels Varsity basketball team has been enjoying an unprecedentedly successful season. At the time of publication, they have compiled an eye-popping 20-2 season record. In some ways, it is even more impressive than what their profession counterparts, the Golden State Warriors, have achieved this year.

Dublin High Lady Gaels

Dublin High Lady Gaels Varsity Basketball

What makes the story even more endearing is that the teams head coach Trisha Campbell is a Dublin High School Class of 2006 Alumnus. She lettered in Varsity basketball in all four years during her tenure. Upon graduation, she completed a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Davis. While it wasn’t her preordained path, she embraced the subject of Psychology and felt that this might create a pathway for her to support younger people. She decided to pursue a Teaching Credential from Brandman University and completed it in 2012. Thereupon, she began employment with DUSD and has been teaching freshman and junior level English at Dublin High. Ms. Campbell is also a continuing student on a path to complete a M.S. in Sport Psychology from Capella University which she expects to conclude in 2017.

Read more…

Dublin High School Drama Club Student Directed One Acts 2015 Open Tonight

February 5, 2015
Dublin High School Center for Performing Arts and Education

DHS Center for Performing Arts and Education

The always popular Dublin High School Drama Club Student Directed One Acts open tonight for a four performance run. Every year, the Dublin High Drama Club hands the directing keys over to the students. The students not only direct the plays, but also select the material, audition fellow students and work through the ever complex series of decisions that result in a thrilled audience. For those new to the theatre, the One Acts is a perfect introduction, with something for everyone.

The One Acts will be performed Thursday – Saturday at 7 pm and Sunday at 2 pm in the new Center for Performing Arts and Education. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults.

The full list of One Acts and casts:

Read more…

From Ghana to Rwanda, Dublin High School Alum Kelsey Finnegan Leads with Hope

February 2, 2015
Kelsey hiking a volcano in Rwanda

Kelsey hiking a volcano in Rwanda

Of the hundreds of stories we’ve shared over the past five years, few are as inspiring as Dublin High School Class of 2007 graduate and UC Santa Barbara Class of 2012 alum Kelsey Finnegan.

Kelsey last spoke with us in April 2013, separated by continents and time zones, from a cafe in Kigali, Rwanda. Fast forward to 2015 and that’s where we reached Kelsey once again, the Skype connection less shaky but the vibrant, bustling backdrop of Rwanda’s capital unchanged.

It is remarkable to consider that just twenty years go Rwanda was in chaos amid one of the worst genocides in history which saw neighbors slaughter neighbors, leaving millions displaced and over 800,000 murdered. Twenty years ago Americans fled the country while their Rwandan friends and colleagues remained trapped in the chaos. In the years following the massacre, the Rwandan population fell by nearly 2 million as refugees poured into surrounding countries.

From this chaos, it is hard to imagine a better day is possible or that hope can be found. Yet hope survives, and Kelsey’s work with the non-profit Survivors Fund, the first organization focused on the challenges of Rwandan genocide survivors, is one of the reasons why. Kelsey is not only a Project Officer with Survivors Fund, but also the Director of the Happy Kids Orphanage and School in Ghana.

Our story begins in Ghana, were Kelsey’s journey in the African continent began back in 2009, while she was working towards a Bachelor of Communication with a minor in Global Peace & Security at UC Santa Barbara.

James Morehead: How has Happy Kids in Ghana expanded and grown since you first got involved with the organization?

Read more…

Dublin High School Growth Brings 19 New Classes for 2015-16 School Year

January 31, 2015

As Dublin High School students make course selections for the 2015-16 school year, they’ll have 19 more courses to choose from. Dublin High’s Advanced Placement program is expanding along with visual and performing arts, language programs, athletics, applied arts, life sciences and social studies. The current Dublin High School course catalog is available here. [UPDATED: 2-3-2015 Three additional classes including AP Computer Science A and two additional ROP classes were added since this article was originally published bringing the total to 19 news classes.]

A summary of the new 2015-16 courses are available below:

Read more…

Forever Plaid and Taffetas Starts Run Tonight at The Firehouse Arts Center

January 30, 2015

Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre - Forever Plaid - 15Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre is opening not one, but two terrific shows this week, presenting Forever Plaid and Taffetas performed in repertory (alternating nights).

The shows will run from January 30th, 2014 through February 15th, 2015: Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. All performances will take place at Firehouse Arts Center, located at 4444 Railroad Avenue in Pleasanton, CA. Tickets are $17-$38 each, and are available at the Firehouse Arts Center Box Office, by phone at (925) 931-4848, or online at or was invited for exclusive access during dress rehearsals – here is a preview of the fun awaiting you at the Firehouse Arts Center:

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