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Life at Johns Hopkins University: Dublin High School’s Joanne Baek Combines Passions for Engineering, Chemistry and Biology

January 14, 2019

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND—Dublin High School Class of 2018 alum Joanne Baek is a freshman at Johns Hopkins University currently studying Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChemBE) at the Whiting School of Engineering.

During her time at Dublin High School, Joanne was a part of the Engineering and Design Academy (DEDA) and served as the Finance Lead of the highly successful 2017-2018 Dublin High School InvenTeam.

Over winter break, I caught up with Joanne, who shared how her experiences at Dublin High influenced her to pursue ChemBE at Johns Hopkins.

photo with mom in front of the jhu campus

Joanne with her mom

Neha Harpanhalli: I understand that you applied to Johns Hopkins under their Early Decision (ED) admission process. How did you decide that Johns Hopkins was the ideal school for you? Read more…


Interview with New Dublin School Board Trustee Niranjana Natarajan

January 8, 2019

DUBLIN, CA–The Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees moved to fulfill a vacancy on the board created by the resignation of Trustee Joe Giannini in October. Given the choice of conducting a special election, the Board elected to appointment a community member that resides in Area 4 to fulfill the remaining two years of this term. Applications were submitted and the candidates understood that they would participate in an open question and answer session. At the December 11th meeting this process was conducted and Niranjana Natarajan was selected as the provisional appointee in a 3-1 vote.

nini and ravi

Ms. Natarajan is married and is the mother of two daughters that both attend Cottonwood Creek School. She works as a Financial Analyst and has been a resident of Dublin since 2014. We sensed that “Nini” wanted to be even more than a community organizer. But to take the next step, it would require an even greater time commitment combined with potentially fractious politics. Subsequent to her appointment, we had the opportunity for a more in-depth discussion about this new opportunity. The decision to take on public office is a significant one. Please explain the decision points that ultimately convinced you to apply for the vacancy. Read more…

Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre Kicks of 2019 with Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame

January 1, 2019

LIVERMORE, CA–Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre Dame showcases the film’s Academy Award-nominated score, as well as new songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Peter Parnell’s new book embraces story theatre and features verbatim passages from Hugo’s gothic novel.


This is not an exact recreation of the Disney animated movie like some other Disney musicals, it is rated PG-13, but is a wonderfully touching musical with haunting songs and big dance numbers and should not be missed. Quasimodo is excellently played by Brian Palac. Alexis Vera is also exceptionally cast as the beautiful Esmeralda. The dark and evil Frollo is well-portrayed by Geoffrey Colton and Justin Sabino brings much needed lightness to the production as Clopin. Matt Skinner is back with Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre to play Phoebus as is Matthew Kelly as Jehan. Aly Casas is Florika.

Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame includes music from the animated film with memorable songs such as, “The Bells of Notre Dame”, “Out There”, “Topsy Turvy”, “God Help the Outcasts” and “Someday”, as well as many new songs written for the stage production. Read more…

Dublin High School Sophomore Michael Chiu Competes for USA in Taekwondo Poomsae

December 18, 2018

For many that are unfamiliar with the topic, the martial arts can be a bit of a mystery. On the one hand, some may think of it as an aggressive form of combat – not unlike what we’ve experienced in motion pictures over the years. On the other hand, the Japanese form of judo features various “pins” meant to subdue an opponent. This takes us to the Korean martial art of Taekwondo – specifically Poomsae. In this form, it is a combination of basic actions and movements exercised with an imaginary opponent. In this very specific sport, one can become accurate in both offensive and defensive techniques. To make matters more complicated, various techniques must be mastered prior to advancing to higher levels – including controlled breathing.

Poomsae_6 had the opportunity to sit down with Dublin High School sophomore, Michael Chiu. He explained that competing that competing in Poomsae can be accomplished individually, in teams and in pairs. Though he was interested in various sports, he quickly gravitated to Taekwondo. He initially trained locally. However, his pursuit of enhanced training led him to further his studies in the south bay. 2018 was a banner year for Mr. Chiu. He competed at the USA Taekwondo National Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah. In capturing both gold and silver medals, his performance earned the opportunity to compete at the World Poomsae Championships in Taipei, Taiwan in November 2018. Michael recently shared his experiences with us. For those that may be unfamiliar with Taekwondo and its different forms, what would you describe as the most challenging part? Is the sport more physically or mentally demanding?

Read more…

Dublin School Board Appoints Niranjana Natarajan to Interim Seat

December 14, 2018

Dublin, CA–The Dublin Unified School District has a new Trustee. Four-year Dublin resident Niranjana “Nini” Natarajan was approved at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting in a 3-1 vote (Trustee Cherrier voting against) to replace former Trustee Joe Giannini, who resigned from the board in October. Dublin resident Gabrielle Blackman also applied for the interim post.


Niranjana Natarajan (red jacket) with DUSD Trustees and Superintendent

Ms. Natarajan was sworn in by Board President Miller, took her seat on the dais, and cast her first votes as a Board member.

“I believe Nini will bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to our board,” said Amy Miller, President, Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees. “Not only does she bring valuable professional expertise, she also changes the complexion of our board to better represent the diverse and growing community in Dublin. As a parent in the community, facing the challenges of growth on the eastern side of town, her insight will be extremely valuable in shaping the direction of our district and the educational experience of our children.”

Read more…

Dublin High School Senior Ryan Shipps’ Eagle Scout Journey

November 28, 2018

DUBLIN, CA–One of the perpetual challenges of high school life is to navigate the terrain and to find one’s place in this unique ecosystem. While some students attempt to embrace and conquer every aspect of this environment – others elect to form a cocoon of like minded individuals. There is no right or wrong way. Social fabrics are often formed with common interests including athletics, the arts, hobbies or academics. This is one of the reasons why we appreciate the broad diversity of students that attend our Dublin schools. With less than six months remaining in the current academic calendar, we are pleased to share the profile a Dublin High School student who has elected to carve his own path – while employing his natural, yet understated leadership to benefit others. Meet Ryan Shipps.

Ryan began his Dublin academic career at Murray Elementary School, promoted up through Wells Middle School and will graduate in May from Dublin High. His early interest in music led to a natural progression and development as a member of the Wells Roadrunner Marching Band. This experience culminated in him being elevated to Drum Major. Subsequently, he has successfully performed as a member of the Dublin High School Irish Guard. However, years earlier, his sense of becoming part of a team began with his experiences in scouting. Recently, Mr. Shipps’ Boy Scouts career culminated in attaining the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout – an accomplishment that is only achieved by 2-3% of all participants. We recently sat down with Ryan and asked him to reflect upon his DUSD career.

DSC_0098 Participating in band programs has been a significant part of your life. As you began your career at Dublin High School, what where your personal expectations of what you were about to experience? Read more…

Dublin High School Senior Loic Scomparin Reflects on an Extraordinary Cross Country Season

November 26, 2018

DUBLIN, CA–Dublin High School senior and Cross Country Varsity runner Loic Scomparin recently ended his exceptional season with a sixth place finish at Saturday’s California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Championships, with a time of 15:12.2. His remarkable performance helped the Dublin High Cross Country Boys team secure fourth place in the state championships. Earlier this season, Loic placed first in his division in both the East Bay Athletic League (EBAL) and North Coast Section (NCS) Championships, leading his team to win first place at both championships.

Here, Loic reflects on his love for running, his relationships with his teammates and coaches, and his plans for the future.


Neha Harpanhalli: Given the variety of sports available to you, why did you choose to take up running in particular? Read more…