These amazing alumni are just a few of the Ascension graduates who have gone above and beyond in high school, college, and life. Ascension prepared these students for the future along with all the Crusaders that have pursued excellence as they demonstrate the character traits of servant leaders, striving to make a difference in their community and the world.
Jordan Erickson (Class of 2012) graduated Westlake High School in 2016 and is moving onto college at California Lutheran University (CLU), where he will study Theater, Psychology, and medicine.
Jordan was an accomplished student at Westlake, from completing their Advanced Anatomy class to being student of the year in American Sign Language. Jordan also pursued his passion for Theater. He received Westlake’s Best Supporting Actor Award through the Drama Program and won the highest level of the Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship at CLU.
On top of this, Jordan continues to serve the community through his church. He participates in the Crop Walk, which raises money for poverty and hunger, and was a volunteer tutor during the summer. In the summer of 2015, he went to the National Youth Gathering in Detroit, where high school students across the country meet for a week of Christian worship. As a member of Westlake’s National Honor Society, Jordan also took part in new community service projects every month.
Jordan still stays in touch with Ascension, as his mom, Mrs. Erickson, is the Second Grade teacher. He also makes sure to come to the school’s musicals and plays to support the Theater program. Jordan was a part of this program, remembering how he loved playing Jesus in the school’s production of Godspell when he was in seventh grade.
For Jordan, Ascension taught him how to make lifelong friends and build strong relationships with teachers. He also noted that Ascension’s private, Christian community “strengthened my morals and beliefs more so than if I had gone to a public school.”
Casey Labrenz (Class of 2012) went to Westlake High School and graduated in 2016. She was on the Westlake Honor roll all four years and took several Advanced Placement classes. She hopes to study environmental science in college.
Outside of schoolwork, Casey loves figure skating. She was a U.S. Figure Skating Moves in the Field gold medalist, and she was accepted into two skating teams at Adrian College in Michigan, where she will attend college on a four-year scholarship.
She uses her passion for skating to give back to her community as well. Every December, the Channel Islands Figure Skating Club puts on a holiday ice show that donates to the Ventura County Children’s Services Auxiliary, which supports Ventura County’s court-dependent children. Casey has been a volunteer and performer for this show since 2004.
Casey stays connected to Ascension as a member of the church’s Senior Luther League. Her mom is also the director of the Carillons Bell Choir, which performs during Ascension’s church services. She still remembers her unique time at Ascension in memories of the middle school outdoor education trips. “From Catalina to Washington, D.C.,” she explained, “traveling with such a small group of people that you are so close with makes even the uncomfortable camp bunk beds feel like home.”
This close group of friends taught Casey important lessons, such as acceptance. She learned that “being kind and accepting of everyone…will get you very far in life.” Casey says she will always carry this lesson with her and hopes to spread God’s message of acceptance to others.
Emily Lamb (Class of 2013) is a senior at Oaks Christian High School, where she has stayed busy with her extracurriculars. Emily was part of the Oaks Christian Cheer team and has participated in several service projects.
Her love for serving others has shown in community service projects she does with her church, such as helping a cerebral palsy home and watching Kindergarteners and First Graders on Sundays. She also took a mission trip to Uganda in eleventh grade.
Emily stays in touch with Ascension by going to the church services and continuing to talk with Ascension teachers and families. She is grateful for her time at Ascension, noting that it prepared her both academically and spiritually. She explained Ascension “taught me a lot about God and helped shape me into the Christian I am today.” She also felt that Ascension pushed her to do her best in school, which carried into high school.
In addition to personal growth, Emily gained lasting relationships at Ascension. The small class sizes gave her deeper connections to “not only my fellow classmates, but also the staff.” She stays connected to many people from Ascension, understanding that it is important to stay close to the ones she loves.
Jeffrey Nagel went to Thousand Oaks High School after graduating Ascension and studied at a multitude of colleges, including Moorpark College, University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), Sonoma State University (SSU), University of Hawaii, Manoa (UH), University of the Pacific, Arthur A Dugoni School of Dentistry (UOP), and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
At this wide variety of schools, Jeffrey pursued an interest for science and, eventually, orthodontics. He achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology, as well as Environmental Studies and Planning. He later earned his Master of Arts in Geography and Master of Science in Oral Biology. Jeffrey also grasped the opportunity to study in beautiful locations, such as Yellowstone National Park and a handful of California islands.
With his mind set on Orthodontics, he earned a Doctorate of Dental Surgery and a Certificate in Orthodontics. He joined the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA), which strives to better treat and serve oral cleft and craniofacial patients. He even participates in community outreach programs that involve giving orthodontic and dental treatment to those who need it.
At home, Jeffrey lives with his wife and two sons, who both go to Ascension Lutheran. The family loves to go to his son’s baseball and soccer games, and they spend plenty of time outside — swimming, hiking, gardening, or heading to the beach and mountains.
He stays connected to Ascension Lutheran through his children and is also a member of the school board and the church. He is glad for his beginnings at Ascension, which taught him “the importance of community, acceptance of others, and friendship.” He still remembers his sixth grade Outdoor Education trip to El Camino Pines and has kept his journal from the trip as a memento.
After graduating from Ascension Lutheran School, Alyssa Krueger attended Westlake High School and is now continuing her education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. So far in college, she has received the Undergraduate Research Scholarship and the Kevin J. Mossier Foundation Award, and she made the Dean’s list both semesters of Freshman year.
Alyssa pursues a passion for people and psychology as she works towards a Bachelor of the Arts degree, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Child Psychology. She uses this interest in people to serve the community through volunteer work. She participated in a service learning at a women’s transitional facility at Ascension Place and also volunteered at a Child Care Community Center. She currently interns at the Girls’ Empowerment Center as well.
In addition to psychology, Alyssa loves music, and she even volunteers as a DJ at her school’s radio station.
Although she now lives far from Ascension Lutheran, Alyssa stays connected through her family, who still attends the church. She remembers enjoying the 8th-grade outdoor education trip to Washington, D.C., where she bonded with her classmates. She also holds onto important “moral values and lessons that have stuck with me throughout the years.”
After Ascension, Kyle Erickson went to Westlake High School, followed by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. At Westlake, he earned student of the month in three departments, the Carl Nesel Scholarship, and the 2013 Ventura County Student Athlete of the Year award, among other honors.
Continuing into college, he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and has showcased his learning by developing a new hip replacement design and a PCL-specific athletic knee brace. He also made the Dean’s List while still working at least twenty hours a week and later earned an internship with an international radiology company.
Kyle has a diversity of other interests, including writing and singing a capella arrangements, surfing, intramural football, and graphic design. He also volunteers at homeless shelters and has traveled to New Orleans and El Salvador to assist in orphan education.
During high school, Kyle stayed tied to Ascension by working at the after-school childcare center, and he continues to keep in touch through his mother, who is the 2nd-grade teacher. He has plenty to reminisce about Ascension, from winning the flag football championship to having fun with Chapel Buddies. Furthermore, his time spent at Ascension gave him “confidence in my abilities” and “the leadership and communication skills necessary to achieve what I have.” It also built his faith, which continues to guide him today.
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Alumni in the News
Ascension Alum Spearheads Disaster Relief Efforts! Spencer Jones (class of ’15) is helping thousands of families in Puerto Rico as they struggle to recover from the devastation of Hurrican Maria. Check out this story about him from CBS8.
The Distance! Ascension Alum, Jace Aschbrenner (class of ’16), now a Sophomore at Newbury Park, was featured in an article in The Acorn for accomplishments in cross country.
Ascension Alum Competing in Rio! At the age of 18, Ben Hallock (class of ’12) is the youngest member of the United States men’s water polo team at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He will be playing Water Polo at Stanford this Fall.
Ventura County Star Athlete of the Week! Ascension Alum, Tyler Clem, now a Senior at Thousand Oaks was named Ventura County Star Athlete of the Week on January 9, 2017, after playing a decisive role in Thousand Oaks’ win over Westlake.
At Ascension Lutheran School, we celebrate the continued success of our alumni who go on to shine and thrive in both public and private high school environments.