The Academy Awards: A Celebration of the Flintridge Prep Junior Class



The Junior Parent Dinner, more commonly known as JPD, is one of Prep’s most notable student-run events. A tradition that has existed for decades, it is an unforgettable moment in every Prep student’s life. The night is centered around the performance, which the students plan and prepare for months in advance. The JPD performance is so unique in the way that students act as both the talent and the stage crew. Not only is it a spectacular show, but it is also a chance to celebrate the junior class parents and students during arguably the most challenging year of high school. 

This year, the class of 2024 presented “The Academy Awards: A Celebration of the Flintridge Prep Junior Class.” The parents began the night conversing with one another while sharing hors d’oeuvres on Ahmanson Plaza. Both the Atrium space and patio were filled with photo ops on a red carpet lined with life-size Oscar awards which were crafted by students. Following the dinner, parents trickled into Norris Auditorium and took their seats in preparation for the performance. Simultaneously, their kids bonded over Domino’s pizza and anxious emotions in the basement of Norris in anticipation of the show.

The entire show was emceed by Evan Guyer ’24, Hannah Pitney ’24, Jaleen Tseng ’24, and Daniel Zhao ’24. The emcees performed a script they crafted themselves, cracking jokes and presenting acts. Jaleen Tseng was tasked with filling an empty emcee role at the last minute, and she rose to the occasion. Tseng recounts how “it was a really eye-opening experience to have been an emcee on such short notice” and she “got to experience another part of [herself] and the Prep community.” 

The Academy Awards, presented by the class of 2024, offered a wide variety of acts, from dancing to spoken word poems and everything in between. Many acts stood out, however, audience favorites included the two kazoo performances organized by Kassidy Huie ’24 which both opened and closed the show. These acts had the most participation across the grade, featuring over 30 students. They opened the show with a kazoo-specific rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and closed with an early introduction to holiday music by kazooing “Jingle Bells.” One of the participants, Matthew Reiling ’24, mentioned how “practicing in the BCB and seeing the reactions of everyone on the floor was great, but nothing beat the audience’s reaction to an entire choir of kazoos performing the national anthem.”

Another huge hit was Joshua Tyebkhan’s ’24 theatrical tap solo to “Moses Supposes,” inspired by the famous Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor scene from Singin’ in the Rain. While on the topic of dance, this year’s JPD consisted of a wide variety of dancing acts. There were jazz trios and K-pop duets, however, there was only one large group dance. Sienna Vaughn ’24 took on the difficult task of choreographing a huge hip-hop group number that featured 18 students. Sienna notes that “choreographing a dance for JPD was super rewarding but pretty stressful…it was impossible to get everyone there at the same time. The week before JPD when we finally had the dance together was the best part because we could just do the dance for fun instead of worrying about not knowing the moves.”

Considering how musically talented the class of 2024 is, there is no doubt that there were many instrumental and singing acts. Kazuma Hakushi ’24 amazed the crowd with his piano cover of the popular song “Glimpse of Us.” His instrumental skills were accompanied by beautiful vocals which left everyone in awe. Adding on to the musical talent, members of the jazz band and music theory students —Austin Hong ’24 on saxophone, Nico Stanton ’24 on electric bass, Danielle Tsai ’24 on the piano, and Kat Zirn ’24 on drums —performed an upbeat cover of  “Mr. Telephone Man” featuring Rhys King ’24 on vocals. 

While the talent was incredible, many acts also got a few laughs. Advait Kartik ’24 demonstrated his memorization skills and love for chemistry when he sang The Periodic Table of Elements song with background dancers: Matthew Lavichant ’24, Matthew Reiling ’24, and Connor Lee ’24 who were dressed in lab coats and goggles. Another humorous performance that attracted some laughs was a spoken word and interpretive dance mashup by Sam Bonk ’24, Carlo Campos Costanzo ’24, Zaria Echemendia ’24, and Gabrielle King ’24.

While the performers were the “stars of the show” on stage, it is important to note that JPD would not have been possible without the students working hard behind the scenes. Alyssa Romero ’24 who was appointed stage manager led the planning, audition process, and execution of JPD. She was assisted by Dr. Bowman, the 11th-grade dean and JPD advisor, as well as other members of the junior class. The student-populated stage crew managed the lighting, set design, curtains, and so much more. This stage crew consisted of Zaria Echemendia ’24, Ashlee Notley ’24, David Gomez-Novey ’24, Kyrmina Habashy ’24, Marissa Halley ’24, Nicole Lee ’24, Grace McConnell ’24, Steven Ng ’24, Kelly Tsao ’24, and Alex von Thaden ’24. 

Despite the crunch for time, and the stress from schoolwork, the class of 2024 managed to present a spectacular show. This experience accomplished its goals of bonding the class, celebrating the parents, and demonstrating everyone’s talents. The Junior Parent Dinner is something that the participants will most likely remember for the rest of their lives.