Bulldog Turns Trojan


Aneska Smith

Liz Moerman sports a shirt from her future alma mater. USC became Moerman’s dream school when her mom, a professor at USC, first introduced her to the campus.

Junior Liz Moerman will skip her senior year and attend the University of Southern California this fall under the Resident Honors Program as part of the Class of 2023.

Moerman and junior Ajinkya Rane were two of 20 juniors selected out of 500 applicants to start college early, notified of their acceptance on March 22. Rane decided to stay for senior year, while Moerman agreed to attend USC, making her the first student at Portola High to attend a four-year university.

“What stands out to me about Liz is her thoughtfulness and her engagement,” social studies department chair Jon Resendez said. “Whenever she participates in class, when she contributes to discussions or when she does any of the work its of not only high quality in terms of meeting the standard that we’re setting, but it also shows that she makes connections between what she’s learning now and things shes learned in the past, and she uses that knowledge to come to deeper understandings about the world she’s living in and the experiences she’s having.”

Moerman learned of her acceptance seconds before performing at Night of the Arts on March 22.

“I got a text from my dad, and it was the picture of my acceptance letter, and I just started screaming and crying,” Moerman said. “It felt very surreal, especially since I received it five seconds before I had to go perform, so I had to suck it all up, and then I had to go perform. But really, it was just an overflow of so many emotions. Really [I am] just eternally grateful for being accepted and really excited, but also a bit sad about leaving Portola.”

Although the program does not require students to finish with a high school diploma, Moerman plans to take the California High School Proficiency Exam.

“USC has been my dream school because I feel like it allows me the flexibility to pursue all the things I’m passionate about,” Moerman said. “I’ve become really passionate, of course, in video production from my experience in PNN, but I knew that wasn’t my primary career in the future because I wanted to explore other avenues.”

Moerman said she will consider majoring in marketing or business with potential minors in screenwriting or advertising. An important part of the application and admissions process is looking at the type of student that the applicant is and that they are able to handle a college classroom setting. Resendez has watched Moerman through the years as she has prepared to go to college early.

“She’s not one of those students who has their hand up in the air all the time. She’s the kind of person that will listen and take in other people’s points of view and form new ideas and then wait to express the,” Resendez said. “She’s never the most talkative student but everything she says carries a lot of weight.