Harker Profiles

Meet some of our students, teachers and coaches.

Student Profiles


Grade 4

What is your favorite subject?

Science, because we do a lot of experiments and we build and create.

What book are you reading?

“Wonderstruck.” It’s a book of pictures and stories and there are two different tales told in the book.

What do you want kids to know about Harker?

Our school is very nice because we have different teachers for every single subject and the teachers always have a great way of explaining concepts.


Grade 5

What is your favorite academic subject?

I like English because the teacher is pretty cool. We do a lot of fun stuff like sentence diagramming.

What is your favorite tool from the ToolBox Program?

I’m going to say the patience tool because that’s something a lot of people need to go through life.

What do you want people to know about your school?

We’re not like any other public school. We are one-of-a-kind, unique, special.


Grade 6

What is your favorite academic subject?

It’s pretty hard to say because they are all fun. Well, if I had to pick my favorite, it’s math.

What is your favorite tool from the ToolBox Program?

My favorite tool is the breathing tool because sometimes when you get a little stressed out then you can always use it to calm down.

What is your favorite school event?

Harvest Festival in October. There are a bunch of games and you get to do a bunch of fun stuff, and there is the auction thing.

What book are you reading?

In English class we are reading “Out of the Dust.” It’s an interesting book because all the pages are poems not just pages. I’m reading a bunch of books - I usually choose different books by the day.


Grade 5

What is your favorite academic subject?

I like world geography and science. We get to do a lot of science projects and I like learning about the things we’re learning about.

What is your favorite tool from the ToolBox Program?

Safe and quiet place tool. I use it at home and at school and whenever I get mad I usually go to a bench or the bleachers or on the field and at home I go to a room upstairs and it feels really calming for me.

What do you want people to know about your school?

They don’t only give you education, but also activities with a wide range of options. The subjects are so fun, the school playgrounds are so awesome, and there’s snack bar.


Grade 7

What new activities are you trying?

I started playing basketball and learning Chinese.

What is your favorite subject?

Science, because I get to learn physics.

What makes Harker special?

I like how they always challenge you to do your best in sports and academics. In the after-school program they look after you very well, and it’s fun.


Grade 7

What is your favorite subject?

I’ve always been really good at English and it’s really fun for me to write and read.

What makes Harker special?

There are so many different things that you can do and so many ways that you can pursue your interest or hobbies.

What new thing are you learning?

Japanese. My Japanese teacher makes class really fun and makes stuff really easy to remember, and I don’t feel uncomfortable about anything in the class at all!


Grade 8

What do you plan to continue in high school?

I plan to continue studying animals and how their systems work, because I want to help them when I’m older and become a vet or maybe a veterinary pathologist.

Which activities are you involved in?

I play softball and volleyball. I’m also in a wildlife SOS club: we make and sell cards to help buy food for elephants in India.

What book are you currently reading?

I used to think I didn’t really like fiction, but I’m reading Harry Potter, and now I’m really into it!

What for you makes Harker special?

There are so many things that Harker students can do that are extra, that aren’t in a normal school day – clubs, sports, dance. I think Harker is special because of all those extra things.


Grade 7

What new activities have you tried since starting middle school?

I’ve tried debate and computer science (coding).

What is your favorite academic subject?

I really like math because it’s challenging and sometimes really visual.

Which activities are you involved in?

I do soccer, basketball and volleyball.

What book are you currently reading?

The “Heart of the Samurai,” about a fisherman who gets lost at sea and experiences American culture.


Grade 10

How do you balance all of your activities?

In middle school I tried to be involved as much as I could to find what I liked. Now I’m able to focus on want I want to continue doing in college.

What are your favorite community events?

I was part of the spirit rally skit this year and enjoyed sharing our work and competing with other classes in a friendly competition.

What surprised you most about Harker?

I’ve never had a bad experience with a teacher, ever. I just find that so amazing.


Grade 11

What was it like to join Harker in high school?

It’s been amazing. I came from a public middle school and I feel like I’ve had more opportunities to do more things. It’s probably been the best decision I made, ever.

Who’s your favorite teacher?

Mr. Irvine. It’s not just learning chemistry, it’s more like having fun.

What have you learned at Harker that you plan on continuing in college?

I plan to continue with marine biology.

Describe the Harker community.

It’s very welcoming and diverse; it’s so cool to see how different people get along really well together. I like football games, basketball games and homecoming.


Grade 10

How have you enjoyed Harker?

I started in kindergarten and have had a great experience. Both of my siblings came to Harker before I did, and it’s fun to be with some of the same people since kindergarten - we grew up together.

What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

I’ve been playing soccer competitively since I was 8. I also enjoy photography and rock climbing.

How do you balance all of your activities?

Harker supports you with a lot of extra help periods, and the teachers are very supportive.

Describe the Harker community.

Our community is welcoming and willing to help. Everyone wants you to do well. And the Homecoming rally has a lot of fun energy!


Grade 12

What’s your favorite class?

Biology. I’ve liked science since I was in middle school.

What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

I’ve played soccer since I was a little girl. I committed as a sophomore to play soccer at Pepperdine University.

Describe your Harker experience.

I’ve been here since kindergarten. Harker is such a great environment and has taught me so many life lessons that I will bring to college with me.

What still surprises you about Harker?

The people here are amazing; they are the most kind and awesome people you’ll ever meet and I’m just lucky to experience this.


Grade 12

What extracurricular activities do you enjoy?

I’m involved in soccer, Taiko and music extracurriculars, the Teacher Appreciation Club, International Pop Culture Club and Japanese National Honor Society.

How do you balance all of your activities?

I think it’s the flexibility of teachers and their schedules that really helps me. I’m motivated to get the best education I can, since this is such a great school and I have the opportunity.

Describe the Harker community.

The Harker community is so loving and warm; we welcome everybody with open arms and with no judgment. My favorite community events are when all four grades get together and work on our spirit projects.


Grade 12

What was your favorite class?

U.S. History. I had fun every time I went to class.

What extracurricular activity meant a lot to you?

I was part of the Make a Birthday Wish Club. We throw parties and fundraise for kids of low income families.

What's your advice to new students?

Do things that are outside of your comfort zone, and really just explore. You never know, you might find a new passion along the way.


Grade 12

What stands out for you after your four years at Harker?

The people who work here. They are all rooting for you. They will go out of their way in order to help you and help you achieve your goals.

What was your favorite class?

Kinesiology. As an athlete I always got hurt a lot, but taking kinesiology taught me how to take care of my body in the right way.

How did you balance academics and athletics?

First, I did struggle with managing my time, but I learned how to put my education first instead of focusing on football 24/7.


Grade 12

What advice would you give to new students?

Develop relationships with your teachers.

You started Harker in grade 3. What stands out for you most about your experience?

Every person I've gotten to know on a deeper level has been interesting. Even having graduated, I'm still getting to know people I didn't get a chance to in past years.

What's one important thing that Harker helped you learn?

The importance of collaborative thinking.

Faculty Profiles

Andrew Irvine

Chemistry Teacher

Favorite Teaching Prop

Hydrogen balloon explosions.

Inspiration to Teach

My awesome science teachers in high school and college.

Favorite Time of the Day

Lab time! I love to see students having a real-life experience with chemistry.

Kristen Morgensen

Biology Teacher

Favorite Teaching Prop

Foam models for hands-on learning activities.

Best Advice for Students

Keep trying when you’re wrong because that is when you will learn the most.


Snowboarding, competing in equestrian events, hiking and watching college football.

Heather Russell

Language Arts Teacher

Inspiration to Teach

My grandmother, who was a dedicated and creative teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Pennsylvania.

Extracurricular Pursuits

I’m busy writing a children's literature series to accompany curriculum I developed with my sister.

Best Advice for Students

Talk less, listen more.

Coach Profiles

Raul Rios

Head Coach, Varsity Softball

What do you try to teach your players?

Always try your best, never give up and always believe in yourself, your coach, your team and your teammates. I also teach them that at the end of the game, win or lose, we need to show good sportsmanship and class.

What do you find rewarding about coaching softball?

I enjoy watching beginning players start learning, improving and getting good. You can tell by the look on their faces the confidence level is up and they are starting to believe in themselves.

Any favorite mottos?

Champions are made at the practice field.
The way you practice is the way you play.
What’s next?

Theresa Smith

Head Coach, Varsity Girls Volleyball

Why do you coach?

I want to guide and inspire students to play sports, to develop self-confidence and to learn important life lessons. It gives me the opportunity to give back, because sports gave me so much.

What is your favorite part of coaching?

The journey. Working hard physically, mentally and emotionally to achieve a goal with a group of people who love and fight for each other can be an amazing experience.

Why are sports so important to a school's community?

Athletes put in a lot of extra effort in their daily lives to represent their school in a positive way. Knowing that it matters to the school means everything to any student-athlete.

Ie-Chen Cheng

Head Coach, Varsity Golf

Who is your greatest role model?

I grew up watching Magic Johnson and the "Showtime Lakers." Magic to me was the consummate teammate. He made everyone else around him better. That's the value I try to instill in our golf teams.

What are you keys to team success?

I believe coaching/leadership/teaching is not about putting greatness into people. It's about recognizing there's a greatness in everyone, and my job as a coach is to create an environment where that greatness can emerge.

What do you most enjoy about golf?

I've learned so much from golf. It's just you, the ball and the course. You must do everything in your power to reverse whatever doubt is creeping into your head. No one else can save you but you. Golf is a sport that really exposes your vulnerability and tests your fortitude like no other.

Jeff Baicher

Head Coach, Varsity Boys Soccer

Who was your athletic role model?

My first year college coach set the stage for a fruitful college and professional career. He was inspirational in teaching discipline and consistency both on and off the field.

What is your favorite coaching memory?

My best memory is not coaching at all, but having players return from college and share with me the impact I had on their lives.

What do you most enjoy about coaching?

Impacting the lives of student-athletes in a positive way to create the "whole person."