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5th Annual Student Spotlight

04/30/2012 03:44AM ● Published by Style

Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.

Take note – it’s the time of year when diplomas are handed over and caps tossed.

Fresh, youthful perspectives will enter the “real world” soon enough. Equipped with strong academics and an intense desire to make a difference in others’ lives, this year’s Style Student Spotlight winners are truly exceptional in more ways than can be put to paper. Congratulations to our future!

 

Jessica Reese
Granite Bay High School

Tell us about yourself.

I am an over-caffeinated, not-so-secret book lover with an addiction to Gilmore Girls and sarcasm.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies, and awards/achievements?

A rather precocious freshman, I sent an email to the school’s newspaper advisor a mere three days into my freshman year, lobbying him to give me a shot as a staff writer for the award-winning Granite Bay Gazette. He agreed. Now, four years later, I am in my second year as co-editor in chief. Outside of school, I enjoy reading and writing. (Shocking, I know.) When I’m not getting lost in fictional worlds, I also enjoy baking and watching unhealthy amounts of Gilmore Girls. I was recently named the second place winner in the Journalism Education Association of Northern California’s Journalist of the Year competition. I’ve also been a national winner in the Quill & Scroll International Writing and Photo Contest and won numerous other journalistic awards. Academically, I am a National Merit Scholar Commended Student and a three-time member of the NSPA’s Journalism Honor Roll. As for my blog, quotes from my reviews have appeared in three novels, most recently Allegiance by Cayla Kluver.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Four years ago, I began Chick Lit Teens, a blog that has allowed me to share my love of books with readers across the globe. Today, the blog is an internationally read, professionally recognized online review outlet for young adult literature.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I will be attending Harvard. I plan on majoring in English and joining the university’s student newspaper.

 

Kelsey Starr
Roseville High School

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies, and awards/achievements?

I played volleyball all four years of high school (JV team as a freshman and sophomore, and varsity as a junior and senior). In 2009, my 15s volleyball club team made it all the way to the Junior Olympic tournament. I served as a Peer Helper for two years, where I counseled other students, spread random acts of kindness and the class’s motto of “respect,” assisted with assemblies presented to Roseville HS, and was a part of the campus beautification project, among other things in the community. My favorite part of school is being involved in Students Teaching Students, where I help teach immigrant English Language Development (ELD) students how to speak English. It’s an extremely rewarding, fun experience, and I’ve gotten to meet and become friends with students from all over the world – Cambodia, Guatemala, Vietnam, Ukraine, and the Philippines – while also getting to watch them learn and grow under my own teaching. At school, I have received the Academic Merit Award for the past three years – silver in 9th and 10th grade, and gold in 11th grade. During the summer of 2010, I was chosen as one of 24 high school students from the Western states to attend a creative writing workshop camp at Gonzaga University.

What are your plans after graduation?

I will go straight to a four-year university, most likely somewhere on the East Coast, probably Boston. I plan on going skydiving this summer before I move away to college to celebrate my 18th birthday. If possible, I hope to explore some cities that I’ve yet to see before I settle back into school.

 

Kyle Pawlak
Granite Bay High School

Tell us about yourself.

I am a young man with an appreciation for art, music and sports, a passion for making a difference, a work ethic to overcome challenges, and an aptitude for math and science.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies, and awards/achievements?

I have been in student government, written and edited for the high school newspaper, played for the varsity tennis team, volunteered as a tutor for disadvantaged children, held down two part-time jobs, and worked on two different boards to both run and fund projects in Placer County benefitting youth in the county. My hobbies include tennis, singing, and drawing or writing (if I am in just the right mood). In journalism, my awards include being named “Rising Star,” “Utility Staff Member of the Year,” and “Superior News Writer” (in a state write off). I was also named “Referee of the Year” in 2010 and 2011 for Eureka Youth Soccer Club, Sierra Foothills League First Team for varsity tennis, and “Volunteer of the Year” in student government.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

The high school newspaper originally turned me down; however, I was accepted after a few students dropped out or moved away. A semester and a half later, I was named co-editor in chief. This exemplifies my work ethic and determination to excel, even when people don’t expect much from me.

What has been the most memorable event of the year?                           

For a week I was an outdoor education counselor for 6th graders.                    

Describe your career aspirations.

Go to college, get a degree in engineering, and try to find projects that pique my interests once I graduate.

 

Jesus Loza
Roseville High School

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Escondido, California, and I come from a Mexican-American background. At an early age I hardly knew any English; however, because of my willingness to keep trying, I soon learned.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies, and awards/achievements?

I’ve been involved in soccer for the last four years. I love playing sports, dancing, hanging out with my friends, and being involved in my church. I have been a recipient of the Academic Merit Award for the last two years, and I’ve always received the Tiger Award for good behavior. Finally, for the past two years, I’ve been chosen as First Team All-League in soccer.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Receiving the Academic Merit Award, which reflected the hard work I had done to receive good grades. This proved to my family and friends that I was capable of going to college.

What has been the most memorable event of the year?

Being chosen as the Casaba dance king.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

My parents had a poor education in Mexico, and only got up to grade school. This motivated me to work hard and keep aiming toward my goal of going to college.

Who is your role model?

Mr. Pablo Gutierrez, my high school coach. He came from Mexico speaking no English, then went on to earn a master’s degree in math and become the vice principal of a middle school. He has a similar life to what I had, so I hope to be as successful as he is.

Describe your career aspirations.

I’m interested in becoming a clinical lab technician to help cure people of diseases.

 

Riley Murray
Woodcreek High School

Tell us about yourself.

I analyze everything. I love music but can’t memorize lyrics, artists or song titles for the life of me. I drive a white Buick that goes by the name “Frank” or “the Sun City Mobile” depending on the context; I love my car. I love diving into projects and ignoring everything else around me. If someone says something that resonates with me, I run with it.   

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies, and awards/achievements?

I’m currently involved in student government, National Honor Society, School Site Council, and speech and debate. I serve as the president of student government and help run the program with Activities Director Mrs. Kim Bair and my four ASB cabinet members. Last month I attended the state tournament for public forum debate with the best debate partner a guy could ask for: Tayryn Edwards. I have awards in a few different areas, but I’m definitely most proud of my AP History Award (conferred by Woodcreek’s Social Science Department); I rocked AP European History in 10th grade and AP US History in 11th, and it was cool to have an award that recognized two years of stellar performance.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

I’m most proud of how I ran my final race in track and field. It was league championships sophomore year, and I knew that race would be my last; I couldn’t keep up with track, AP classes and student government. So when I received the baton in the final leg of the 4x400-meter relay, I had the biggest adrenaline rush of my life. I ran a quarter mile in 54.5 seconds and my team won second place.

Describe your career aspirations.

I want to work in several different fields in several different capacities. As of right now, I hope to wrap up my collection of careers as a college professor or high school substitute teacher.

 

Jasmine Marie Hawthrone
Woodcreek High School    

Tell us about yourself.

I really enjoy art – it has been one of my passions ever since I was a little girl. I also love movies (especially Disney films), and I go to the movies as often as I can. I love all kinds of animals, and currently have four dogs and one rabbit – all are named after Disney characters. I really enjoy being in nature and going to the beach; I absolutely love the ocean.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies, and awards/achievements?

I participate in the Key Club and California Scholarship Federation. I am also the founder and president of Woodcreek’s Art Club. I started the club because I wanted kids who were not involved in sports or other activities to still feel connected to our school. My hobbies include drawing, painting, playing the piano, hip-hop dance and reading. The artwork I’ve done (in my Art 3 and AP Studio Art classes) has been featured in two of the art shows at my school. I received an Academic Merit Award my junior year, and have been on the honor roll every year that I’ve attended Woodcreek. I also received a Leadership Recognition Award from my counselor and Lead America. Lastly, I was “Student of the Week” the first semester of my senior year.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

When I was 11, I started having seizures. Each time, my memory was affected – causing me to forget events that happened and school material that I learned prior to the seizure. I am most proud of being able to overcome that obstacle in my life and motivating myself to stay positive and not let it prevent me from doing the things I need and love to do.  

What are your plans after graduation?

Attend a four-year college and pursue a degree in marine science.

 

Anastasia Shuler
Rocklin High School

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies, and awards/achievements?

I am vice president of the RHS French Club, as well as a member of the RHS National Honor Society and the RHS California Scholarship Federation. Throughout high school, I’ve enjoyed Rocklin High’s water sports while playing all four years on the swim and water polo teams. I’m rounding out my senior year as captain of the swim team. Lastly, I’ve played flute and piccolo in the Rocklin High band. Outside of school, I enjoy reading and crafts such as knitting and crocheting. Recently, I have been selling some of my projects on the Internet. Many of my awards have been sports-related, such as the Coach’s Award for swim in 2009 and 2010, as well as the Thunder Award in 2011. Academically, I was a National Merit Scholarship contestant; recently, I was awarded the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship from UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis and was interviewed for the Regents’ Award at UC Berkeley.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Being ranked number two in my class. The RHS class of 2012 is very competitive, and I put a lot of work and effort into my classes to succeed.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

I’ve played the piano for seven years, and have worked my way through the California Certificate of Merit program, earning a Senior Medallion and completing the highest level this spring.

Who is your role model?

My parents work hard to complete their goals and have always taught me to do the same. Without their example, I could never have reached the level of success that I have.

Describe your career aspirations.

In 20 years, I’d like to see myself as a successful aeronautical engineer working to design the future of air travel.

 

Adit Kothari
Oakmont High School

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies, and awards/achievements?

I am a diploma candidate for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. I played varsity tennis all four years of high school and was captain this year. Throughout my high school years, I have been involved with Interact, ACE (Architecture Construction Engineering) and IB. I consider myself to be musically inclined, and my hobbies reflect that. I like to sing, play piano and tabla (Indian drums), and create lyrics. I also like to dance (mainly hip-hop), but I love to learn anything new. Aside from musical things, I like to play almost every sport with friends. I received a Scholar Athlete Award from my school.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Since my freshman year, I have choreographed and performed in a group for an annual Diwali show that benefits the community. (Diwali is an Indian holiday). I’m very proud of being a choreographer and performer for the show. When I began, I was one of the youngest choreographers and I created performances that were different from the norm. I tried to represent my mix of American and Indian cultures into the performance by using remixed songs and incorporating American styles like hip-hop with traditional Indian styles.

Who is your role model?

Everyone. I honestly try to find something in each and every person I meet that I admire and want to strive to make better in myself.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?

The small, everyday things – hanging out with friends, playing sports, making music, etc. will be memorable when we all go our separate ways.

Describe your career aspirations.

I would like a career in biomedical engineering so that I can apply my interest in science to directly helping people.

 

Amanda Haack    
Oakmont High School

Tell us about yourself.

My favorite subjects are math and science, but I also enjoy some English and art here and there. I am pretty much a fish – I have done nearly every water sport. However, my favorite is definitely synchronized swimming; each summer it becomes my life. I have done “synchro” since I was 10 years old, and this past year I also coached and choreographed a routine.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies, and awards/achievements?

I was on the varsity girls’ water polo team my senior year. I have also competed in varsity swimming and cross-country; in addition, I’m an IB diploma student and am in the CSF club. Outside of school, my two sisters and I started a card business my freshman year called “Sister Sentiments.” We make cards and sell them at Jericho Coffee and various craft fairs. It’s a great hobby that we are able to do together. My awards/achievements include being summa cum laude at the junior AMA awards and winning the prize for having the highest STAR score at school two years in a row. My junior year, I was selected to be the delegate for Girls State; senior year, I was All-League honorable mention for varsity girls’ water polo in the CVC league.

Describe your career aspirations.

I hope to be a part of the biotechnology or bioengineering field, particularly the research portion. I have always enjoyed math and science, and the possibilities and opportunities for discovery and advancement in this field are very exciting. I would love to be a part of that.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?

Probably the Water Polo Senior Night. It was surreal because it was the moment I realized that it was my last year of high school.

 

Ravi Sharma
Rocklin High School

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies, and awards/achievements?

I participate in varsity cross country in the fall and varsity tennis in the spring. In terms of clubs, I am actively involved in the Key Club, California Scholarship Federation (CSF), National Honor Society (a community service club), Outdoor Adventure Club, and Ping Pong Club. In terms of music, I have been a member in the RHS pep band and played in the symphonic band in grades 9 through 11.  My awards and achievements include the Distinguished AP Scholar Award, National Merit finalist, silver and bronze medals in the anatomy/physiology subject at the Science Olympiad competition, and “Most Improved Cross Country Runner” in 10th grade.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Doing cross country since 7th grade and improving significantly since then. It took a lot of hard work and I’m proud of giving the sport my best over the course of the last five years.

What’s the hardest class you’ve taken, and what made it so challenging?

AP chemistry – it’s challenging material! However, what makes it challenging also makes it very rewarding to master, and it has been my favorite class throughout high school. I plan to major in chemistry in college.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

I was born in India.

What are your plans after graduation?

Go to a four-year university, either a UC or a private university, and major in biochemistry or chemistry; then, possibly move on to medicine or research.

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