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Style: Roseville Granite Bay Rocklin

20 Under 20: Local Teens Making Their Mark in Roseville, Folsom, and El Dorado County

03/27/2019 12:12PM

In this year’s annual roundup of youthful visionaries, we spotlight the region’s best, brightest, and most inspiring students. In no particular order… 

Ellie Aquino

17 //  Folsom

Ellie Aquino


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Receiving the title of “concertmaster” in my school’s orchestra—something I’ve been working toward since I was a freshman.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school?

I’m very involved in the music program and have been a student conductor and section leader in both our concert band and orchestra, am the drumline captain, a member of the Contemporary Music Ensemble, and have played in the pit orchestra for musicals.

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

I love drawing and painting.

Who is your role model?

My mom. She’s the definition of a strong woman!

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

The Philippines. I’m half-Filipino and really want to reconnect with and discover that side of my heritage.


Escape: Making music with friends

Guilty pleasure: Boba

Meal in town: Lumpia and pancit from Teriyaki Station

Movie: Beauty and the Beast

Saying: “With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson


Guadalupe Bernal

18 //  Folsom

Guadalupe Bernal


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Designing a six-wheeled, autonomous, off-road robot that could navigate outdoor trails without any human interaction. Presenting this project at the California State Science Fair qualified me for the International Science & Engineering Fair where there were thousands of students from around the globe; I was the only woman in the robotics category.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

I founded the 3D Printing Club my sophomore year and have been part of the Robotics Club all four years, where I’ve been the president for the past two.

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

I was born in Argentina and moved to Toronto, Canada, when I was young. There, I was influenced by a very diverse community that helped me develop an understanding of different cultures.

Who is your role model? 

My dad. He instilled in me a passion to work with technology and science.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Spain and Italy to see where my ancestors came from.

 
Escape: Listening to Chillhop

Guilty pleasure: Netflix

Meal in town: Churros at Salsa’s Taqueria

Movie: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Musician/band: Halsey

Saying: “Study hard what interests you in the most undisciplined, irreverent, and original manner possible.”—Richard Feynman


Garrett Heisinger

16 //  Fair Oaks

Garrett Heisinger


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 

Completing my chemotherapy treatment and being cured of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I was in treatment for three and a half years; it was a tough battle, and I had to sacrifice a lot. 

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

I’m a member of Jesuit’s water polo and swim teams and am also very active with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)—a nonprofit that raises money to research a cure for blood cancers. I’m an honored hero for LLS and actively participate in Light the Night, Pennies for Patients, Student of the Year, and Junior Board.   

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

I had to skip three years of school due to my treatment. 

Who is your role model? 

My pediatric oncologist, Dr. Ducore. He saved my life and made me feel safe and happy during a very difficult time. He would tell cheesy jokes but remain serious and attentive with regard to his job. 

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? 

Switzerland. It looks incredibly scenic and beautiful. 

 
Escape: Running with my dogs 

Guilty pleasure: Video games

Meal in town: Mikuni

Movie: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Musician/band: Bruno Mars, Lorde, Khalid

Saying: “I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”—Abraham Lincoln


Madyson McNeilly

18 //  Roseville

Madyson McNeilly


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 

All the work I’ve done for the Salvation Army over the last four years, including collecting over 8,000 non-perishable food items and organizing canned food drives at Woodcreek High School.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

I’m involved in Student Government, serve as our school’s ASB officer, and am a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and National Honor Society.

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

I have a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which means I have chronic pain and my joints dislocate easily. 

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Greece. It looks beautiful, and I’d love to see how cultures vary across the world. 


Escape: Going on drives with my mom

Guilty pleasure: Eating Taco Bell and watching The Real Housewives of Orange County

Meal in town: Golden California Roll from Ninja Sushi

Movie: The Devil Wears Prada

Saying: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”—Albert Einstein


Peter Pagel

18 //  Roseville

Peter Pagel


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, as it’s a culmination of years of work with a substantial project at the end to cap it all off.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school?

I’ve been on the varsity cross country team the past four years as a top seven runner, and this year I was the team captain. I’m also the president of National Honor Society.

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

Two years ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to unicycle, so I did!

Who is your role model?

My dad. He’s been influential in helping me to achieve my goals and always makes sure I get a good laugh in. 

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Camping through Iceland to see the amazing waterfalls, beautiful coastlines, and mountains.


Escape: Running

Guilty pleasure: Cotton candy ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery

Meal in town: Ninja Sushi

Musician/band: Travis Scott

Saying: “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”—T.S. Elliot


Casper Pierce

17 //  Folsom

Casper Pierce 

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

The painting I’m currently working on. It’s really something. I tend to be modest about my art, so when I say it’s something, I mean it, and I’m pretty proud of that.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school?

Along with relentlessly throwing myself into art, I’m the co-president of my school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and am also on my school’s Academic Decathlon team.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to be an English teacher and create a space where students can feel at home, develop confidence, and relationships with their peers…similar to what I've found in my art room.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I’ve already been to Germany, but I’d like to go again, alone, and on my own schedule.


Escape: The art room

Guilty pleasure: Researching the Renaissance on Wikipedia

Meal in town: Snooks Candies 

Musician/band: The Decemberists, The Greeting Committee 

Saying: "Learn to fall in love with the world, one day at a time."


Katelyn Quisenberry

19 //  Rocklin

Katelyn Quisenberry


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Taking on the challenge of living in multiple states and choosing to thrive.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school?

I’m actively involved in the WCTV19 program. We broadcast to over 75,000 community residents and tape a consistently award-winning daily show. I also run the 100- and 300-meter hurdles as the hurdles captain on the varsity track team. 

Who is your role model? 

Dierdre Fitzpatrick of KCRA 3 News. In my personal life, I look up to my best friend, Abbey, and her special needs twin brother, Jake. Abbey taught me to love without boundaries and Jake taught me the importance of seeing and experiencing joy every day. 

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Spain. One of my sisters lives in Bilbao, and I’d love to experience both the beach and the mountains along the borders of France. 


Escape: Malibu

Guilty pleasure: The Bachelor 

Meal in town: Chick-fil-A

Local landmark: Hidden Falls Regional Park

Movie: The Blind Side

Musician: Switchfoot


Cade Richard

16 //  El Dorado Hills

Cade Richard


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Starting my own business, EDH Scratch Camp, with two of my friends. Every summer, we offer weeklong camps for kids that explore the world of coding in Scratch: an MIT programming language, as well as Java, a widely used programming language. During the school year, we teach a six-week, after-school class for free at local elementary schools.  

What are your hobbies and involvements in school?

I like to rock climb, play piano, code, practice MMA, and generally hang out with friends. I’m also involved with Reach Out, Rock Climbing Club, Fund 4 the Future, and Aviation Club. 

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

I’ve completed all of the Halo solo campaigns on the hardest difficulty, have hiked Half Dome, and spent a night at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

China. My mom is Chinese, and it would be really cool to experience the culture.

 
Escape: Playing piano and rock climbing

Guilty pleasure: Goldfish crackers

Meal in town: In-N-Out Burger

Movie: Free Solo

Musician/band: Witt Lowry

Saying: "Prove it!"


Cade Sidhu

18 //  Folsom

Cade Sidhu


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

I’m proud of my ability to keep calm in stressful situations and balance multiple commitments at once. When I was diagnosed with type one diabetes in 2009, I had to learn how to become self-sufficient in managing the disease, especially a year later when my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school?

I’m this year’s ASB president, play baseball, and am part of California Scholarship Federation and National Honor Society.

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

Every summer I volunteer as a counselor-in-training at Camp Buck for the Nevada Diabetes Association. Being able to share my advice about diabetes with younger kids struggling with it is extremely fulfilling.

Who is your role model? 

My sister, Cassidy. She was just recently diagnosed with her second brain tumor in nine years. She inspires me every day to be courageous, brave, and always keep an optimistic outlook on life.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I’ve always wanted to visit Rome, but Hawaii is always a close second!

 
Escape: Watching Marvel movies or Modern Family

Guilty pleasure: Movie theater popcorn

Meal in town: Urban Fries at Jack's Urban Eats

Musician/band: Journey

Saying: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”—Martin Luther King, Jr


Colin Wills

17 //  Granite Bay

Colin Wills 

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 

Winning the PanAmerican Climbing Championship in my age group. Placing first signified all of the training and hard work I’ve put into the sport and allowed me to compete in the IFSC Climbing Worldcup.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

In addition to taking several AP classes, I’m the president of my school’s Childhood Cancer Club. Also, for 10 years I’ve participated in St. Baldrick’s, an organization that raises money and awareness for childhood cancer. Outside of school, I compete in climbing competitions around the U.S. and internationally as a part of the U.S. youth and men’s teams.

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

I like to unicycle.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? 

I would love to go to South Africa to enjoy the world-class climbing.

 
Escape: Climbing in Bishop

Guilty pleasure: Dark chocolate

Meal in town: Incredible Roll from Mikuni

Movie: Free Solo

Musician/band: Zillertaler Schürzenjäger

Saying: "Train like you are the worst; compete like you are the best."


Amanda Massera

17 //  Cameron Park

Amanda Massera


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Being a person who values integrity, empathy, humility, and kindness. I worked very hard to ensure that I could have a successful future by immersing myself in a professional business environment while exceeding a 4.0 GPA.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

I’ve played piano since first grade, am self-taught on the guitar, a representative at the El Dorado County Office of Education, and play varsity volleyball and track and field, in addition to many other activities.

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

I’m completely deaf in my right ear.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

New York—to see the 9/11 Memorial, Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Broadway show, Central Park, and more.

 
Escape: Netflix and herbal tea

Guilty pleasure: Coffee-flavored ice cream

Meal in town: Mac & Cheese from Selland’s Market Café 

Movie: Moana

Saying: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”—Abraham Lincoln


Andrew Cambridge

18 //  Cameron Park

Andrew Cambridge


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Between eighth grade and freshman year I began teaching myself to write with my left hand; ever since, I’ve primarily used my non-dominant hand to write. 

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

I play piano in jazz band, sing in chamber choir, run cross country, and ride on the mountain bike team. I also enjoy being in AP calculus and AP physics 2.   

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

I’ve been playing the organ for six years and regularly accompany the congregation at my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I’ve even had the chance to play on several large organs, including some in Salt Lake City. 

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Switzerland. 

 
Escape: Playing guitar, taking off on a long mountain bike ride, or running

Guilty pleasure: Staying up late to hang out and chat with family and friends

Meal in town: Anything from my mom’s kitchen

Movie: The Sound of Music

Musician/band: Bill Evans, Diana Krall


Kierstin Parker

18 //  Placerville

Kierstin Parker


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Raising a guide dog puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind. 

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

I’m president of the Leo Club, ASB president, and vice president of the California Scholarship Federation. I’m also part of the Christian Club, Safe School Ambassadors program, SILT, and a representative for El Dorado County Office of Education.

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

I only buy clothes from thrift stores and often alter them into new articles of clothing.

Who is your role model?

My nana. She has a great sense of humor, is generous, genuine, hospitable, loyal, and loves Jesus.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Thailand.

 
Escape: Reading in my hammock

Guilty pleasure: Shoes

Meal in town: Golden Gate Sandwich from Mr. Pickles

Local landmark: American River

Movie: Nacho Libre

Musician/band: Jack Johnson


Paisley Specht

15 //  Granite Bay

Paisley Specht


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Being awarded both valedictorian and Athlete of the Year and being a guest speaker at the Golden 1 Center for the STEAM program. 

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

I’m involved in student government and have played varsity basketball since freshman year. 

Who is your role model?

My parents. They taught me to stand up for what I believe in and to work hard to pursue my dreams. 

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Italy. The architecture is so intricate, especially for the time period it was made in, and I love crepés. 


Escape: Bodega Bay 

Guilty pleasure: Pizookies from BJ’s 

Meal in town: “The Manager’s Favorite” (Mizithra Cheese & Browned Butter and Mushroom Sauce) from Old Spaghetti Factory 

Movie: Get Out 

Saying: “It always seems impossible until it’s done”—Nelson Mandela


Everett Hayes

18 //  Granite Bay

Everett Hayes


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 

Earning my five-star ranking as a football kicker with Chris Sailer Kicking. It took a lot of hard work, practice, and perseverance!

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

Football and lacrosse.

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

I don’t like chocolate.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? 

Italy, to visit all the famous cities and beaches and eat lots of pasta!

 
Escape: Football

Guilty pleasure: Candy

Meal in town: Mongolian BBQ

Local landmark: Folsom Lake

Movie: Happy Gilmore

Saying: “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”—Benjamin Mee


Koby Maitland

16 //  Placerville

Koby Maitland


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 

I’ve received awards and recognition in academics and sports, but my biggest accomplishment, to date, is passing algebra 1—that was tough!

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

I’m the junior class president, play varsity baseball and water polo, am on the yearbook committee, a school board representative, and involved with the New Student Mentor Program.   

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

I was born with a heart condition that needs monitoring, but I don’t let it slow me down in athletics or anything else I do.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? 

London. It just looks cool.  

 
Escape: Fishing 

Meal in town: Taquitos and horchata from Taqueria El Carnaval

Local landmark: Coloma 

Movie: White Christmas 

Saying: “Each strike brings me closer to my next home run.”—Babe Ruth


Niko Bishop

17 //  Placerville

Niko Bishop


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Going on mission trips to Mexico every summer to build houses for less-fortunate families. It’s made me realize how great our country is and how lucky I am to have what I have.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school?

I play varsity basketball and baseball, am the vice president of the Leo Club, an officer in National Honor Society, a senior class representative, a member of Safe School Ambassadors and Christian Club, and a Link Crew leader.

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

I’m a quarter Japanese.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Cyprus or Greece.

 
Escape: Jazz music or sports  

Guilty pleasure: Musicals

Meal in town: Bricks Eats & Drinks

Movie: Pulp Fiction

Musician/band: The Beatles

Saying: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”—Ferris Bueller


Elijah Henderson

17 //  Cameron Park

Elijah Henderson


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Helping to build a men’s and women’s home in Ensenada, Mexico.

What are your hobbies and involvements in school?

I play basketball and football, enjoy wakeboarding and archery, and was crowned Mr. Ponderosa.

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

I lead a group of middle school students at SunHills Youth Group.

If you could travel anywhere where would you go?

Honolulu, Hawaii, to enjoy the beach with my friends and family and enter some surfing contests.


Escape: Music

Guilty pleasure: My grandma’s homemade cinnamon rolls

Meal in town: Mizithra Cheese & Browned Butter from Old Spaghetti Factory

Movie: The Italian Job

Musician/band: Eminem, Joyner Lucas


Grace Myles

18 //  Roseville

Grace Myles


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 

Serving as my school’s ASB president. 

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

Playing comp soccer, Irish dancing, varsity soccer and tennis all four years, and track and field my senior year. I’ve also enjoyed taking some AP classes and have been involved in Student Government all four years.

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

I’m naturally shy, especially around a lot of new people.

Who is your role model?

My mom. She’s taught me to be a good person and a great leader.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? 

I would go to Ireland again. The land is really pretty and peaceful, and I have some family who still lives there.


Escape: Music and ceramics

Guilty pleasure: Apple-scented candles, pizza, cheesecake

Meal in town: Cheese pizza from Costco 

Musician/band: Garth Brooks, George Strait

Saying: “Love one another.”


Julian Ortiz

17 //  Roseville

Julian Ortiz


What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 

Recovering from a brain injury my sophomore year, which left me in a coma and hospitalized for four weeks, but still maintaining a 4.0 GPA and staying involved in extracurricular activities.  

What are your hobbies and involvements in school? 

I’m a member of the Health Careers Academy where I had the opportunity to intern in the hospital and help cancer patients; a student director of the advanced dance program where I help coordinate the classroom agenda, choreograph, and perform; a four-year member of the Oakmont High School basketball team; and a member of the Touch of Understanding Club where students eat lunch with special needs kids on certain days to raise awareness.

Who is your role model?

My dad and brother for what they’ve taught me about respect, hard work, and optimism. I also look up to J. Cole for his perseverance, triumph, and inspiring words.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Back home to the Philippines.

 
Escape: Weightlifting and music

Meal in town: L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Movie: Any Marvel movie

Musician/band: J. Cole, Post Malone

Saying: "Be the change you want to see in the World"—Gandhi


TO READ ABOUT EVEN MORE STELLAR STUDENTS, VISIT STYLEMG.COM.


By Gabriel Ionica & Emily Peter

Photos by Dante Fontana

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