MEET SANDPIPERS' 2020
COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Kimmia Saunders-Butler

Kimmia

Kimmia is graduating from Junipero Serra HS and attending Georgia Tech studying engineering. Strong academically, she is graduating with the highest GPA in the Class of 2020. She also excels in dance, a life-long love since she was three years old; it is what she turns to feed her soul. In addition to her involvement in the El Camino Dance Program, she is also involved in the Robotics Club, Holy Nativity, Black Girls Code, and the Macedonia House of Hope, and her high school varsity softball team. She credits Pathways to Success for helping her develop a business plan to create her hair care product, Kimmia's Kurls, and hopes to find a manufacturer and build a website for her product. Kimmia looks to her mom as a primary source of guidance and said even in hard times she gave to others in need. Her mom said to her, "Don't be afraid of chasing after your dreams and follow what's in your heart." Congratulations, Kimmia, we look forward to seeing you achieve your dreams!

Juan Contreras

Juan

Juan started running in middle school? and hasn't stopped. He completed his first Los Angeles Marathon as a freshman; by senior year, Juan had finished three - cutting his time by more than an hour in less than a year. His English teacher said that Juan loves a challenge and always strives to improve himself, whether it is serving as the cross-country team and track distance captain, taking 16 honor/AP classes, or giving back to his community. This drive has earned him such honors as the "Top 100," Academic Excellence Award, Spirit Award, and Student's Choice Award. Juan's guidance counselor boasted that "Juan is one of the best students I've seen in my career" and "represents (his) school and family with pride." Juan ranked fourth in his class at Leuzinger High School; but reaching for the stars doesn't end with graduation. Juan plans to study aerospace engineering at the University of Southern California this fall. Congratulations, Juan! Keep soaring higher!

Serena Rupani

Serena

Serena is a motivated and well-spoken young woman who honed her speech and debate skills at West Torrance High on the varsity team for three years. One of her teachers describes her as well-rounded and able to achieve rigorous academic standards while involved in "an eclectic mix" of extracurricular activities, such as UNICEF, Interact, Freshman Focus, and Environmental Club. Serena believes that when helping others, a whole new world opens. With this optimism, as an intern for the City of Torrance, she researched, designed, and submitted an earthquake preparedness solution to Amazon. She also developed a Story map to find solutions for the homeless community. One of the managers she worked with describes her as having "leadership, research expertise, analytical skills, and genuine care for the community." Serena wants to be a criminal lawyer to provide a voice to those who don't have one. She'll attend UC Irvine this fall as her exciting next step. Congratulations, Serena! Continue all of your remarkable pursuits!

Anyelin Lima Juarez

Anyelin

Anyelin was nine years old and did not speak English when moving from Guatemala to the United States. She is now graduating from Lawndale High School and headed to UCLA to major in psychology. After that, she will pursue a medical degree to become a psychiatrist with dreams of working in clinics for low-income populations. She has already given so much to others volunteering countless hours at her church as part of the dance ministry team, two choir groups, and taking care of children. Anyelin was involved in the wrestling team, the Friendship Club, and Poetic Justice Club. She was inspired through her interactions with the homeless to create Pocket Change, a club to help others. She says, "I feel grateful that I got to impact people's lives even if it was the tiniest bit, but I am tremendously grateful that they impacted mine." Anyelin says her Dad is her superhero and pushed her to strive for better and not settle for less. Congratulations, Anyelin, we know your future will be impactful!

Jennifer Szarvath

Jennifer

When Jennifer commits, she does it in spades. She applied to volunteer at three hospitals and happily accepted all three positions when offered. She is currently a lead volunteer at two UCLA medical centers and Providence Little Company of Mary, and a clinical volunteer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Last summer, she interned at Cedars-Sinai, researching stem cells. Jennifer has participated in JROTC her entire high school career and was promoted to Captain of the Drill Team and as the Operations Officer in the Cadet Battalion Staff. With all of these responsibilities, she ranked 4th in her class at Hawthorne High School. Jennifer's social science teacher says, "She has the zeal, hunger for knowledge, and tenacity which will allow her to continue to succeed in her academic and research pursuits." UCLA certainly saw these same qualities in this kind and motivated young lady when they accepted her. It is no surprise that this future Bruin plans to choose a career path in the sciences with a lean toward medical research. Congratulations, Jennifer, you are going to move mountains!

Jessica Tang

Jessica

Jessica loves to make concoctions with her sister at the family donut shop where she has worked since she was twelve years old. Her hero is her mom, who continually inspires her with her mental fortitude, strength, and strong work ethic. Jessica has inherited these traits and is graduating with honors from Torrance High School and attending UCLA. She will study mechanical engineering because it plays a significant role in renewable resources. Jessica has been a library volunteer and study-helper throughout high school. She was also involved in the Madrona Marsh Habitat Preserve, News Torch Club, Anime Club, Red Cross Club, UNICEF, and the Service with a Smile Club, frequently in leadership roles. She states," I realized at the heart of volunteering is not how big, grandiose or spectacular the event is, but rather how you get to touch other people and help them." Congratulations, Jessica, we can't wait to see how you better our environment!

Adelle Shaw

Adelle

Adelle has mastered balancing academic excellence, a competitive sport, and volunteering. "She is everything a teacher would want a student to be-curious, prodigious, poised, and kind-hearted," stated one of her teachers. Adelle believes that playing competitive volleyball has significantly shaped the person she is today. Her coach says Adelle is a natural leader and encouraged other players on her first day of tryouts, and "putting others first highlights her true character." Not surprisingly, she was co-captain at DaVinci High School for three years after making the varsity team her freshman year. Adelle is a natural when engaging others, and her empathy served her well working with special needs children - something close to her heart - during her summer internship. From this experience her future direction was clear - to study pediatric physical therapy. She is thrilled about attending UCLA this fall, not too far from her tight knit family. Congratulations, Adelle! Continue to amaze us in your pursuit to help children.

Jorge Arroyo

Jorge

It takes a special kind of person to run a marathon - someone who is motivated, goal-oriented, and determined. Jorge has completed the Los Angeles Marathon three times. According to his history teacher, Jorge applies those same characteristics to school and extracurricular activities along with a positive attitude and an incredible work ethic. Jorge ranks in the top 10 students of his graduating class and has been named to the Principal's Honor Roll every semester over his four years. He currently serves as president of the Key Club and was elected by his peers as the president of the Student Run LA chapter at Leuzinger High School. He values community service as a means to bring people together to assist those most in need. Jorge's academic accolades are too numerous to list. Still, they include the USC Neuroscience Interaxon Award, State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition, California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition, AP Scholar Award, and Academic Excellence Award. Jorge plans to double major (marketing and neuroscience) at UCLA this fall with a career goal in the medical field to help improve the lives of others. He looks forward to bringing his enthusiasm and positive attitude to the Bruin family. Congratulations, Jorge! You will no doubt have a positive impact on many.

Leila Adatto

Leila

When asked to describe Leila, her English teacher said: "creative, intelligent, and inquisitive - a special student." The executive director of No Limits for Deaf Children described her in two words: "role model." Since the age of seven, Leila has been a member of this non-profit organization supporting children with hearing loss and currently volunteers with them. To call Leila inspirational is an understatement. Overcoming her own hearing loss, Leila dedicates her time to helping others, from helping deaf and hard of hearing children build confidence through theater arts to serving as a mentor to underclassmen at her high school. She balances her high academic achievement with playing elite level soccer. Last year, Leila was selected to participate in Redondo Union's graduation Ivy Chain, an honor for top juniors. Ranked in the top 10% of her class, Leila is bound for UC Davis this fall. This future Aggie plans to continue her volunteerism, activism, and athletic activities while studying to become an eco-conscious interior designer. Congratulations, Leila! We can't wait to see your creative and environmental impact on the world.

Gerson Navidad-Salvador

Gerson

Gerson is hard working both in school and at his job, showing resilience while living gratefully. In his three years after moving to the United States, he not only learned English but ranked top 10% at Hawthorne High School and was accepted to Cal Berkeley, his dream school. Berkeley will be lucky to have this creative and articulate man this coming fall. Gerson stepped on to the political stage last summer, speaking in a congressional briefing on behalf of The Berta Caceres Human Rights Act. His history teacher described him as a student "that defies all odds by having a positive mindset, practicing resilience, setting goals, and working harder than anyone else does." Gerson loves to play soccer and played two years on Varsity. He is also creative, painting about his thoughts and passion for justice in the world. Congratulations Gerson, we cannot wait to see you make your mark!

Yarizmar Garcia

Yaz

Yarizmar had never built a circuit board before her junior year at Lawndale High School, but she fell in love when she finally did. She is ranked first in her class and dreams of working at Google and of making electrical components with environmental sustainability. She will attend UC Berkeley to study electrical engineering and looks forward to being in an environment surrounded by like-minded individuals who intend to change the world and be revolutionary. She credits her Mom as making the most significant impact in her life and giving her constant encouragement, stating, "She instilled the values I have toward my education, but she embodies what it means to persevere through your problems." Yarizmar was active in citizenship leadership workshops through the NALEO Educational Fund, in M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán), Avid Club, Spanish Honor Society, Link Crew, and Site Council. She was also a Varsity Soccer player and enjoyed coaching youth soccer. Congratulations, Yarizmar! We know you will continue to build a remarkable future!

Gabriela Cornejo Arreola

Gabriela

The quote "Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work?" describes Gabriela perfectly. When her high school no longer offered AP Chemistry due to low enrollment, Gabriela recruited classmates to fill an entire class. When a devastating earthquake struck Mexico, she organized a school fundraiser to help the victims. While taking one of the most the most rigorous programs offered at Leuzinger High School, Gabriela served as co-captain of the volleyball team. Last year, Gabriela was named one of the top twenty-five student Olympians. Her teacher describes Gabriela as "extremely intelligent and extraordinarily diligent in her studies" and "driven to succeed." Her hard work led to her ranking in the top 3% of her class. This fall, she plans on attending UC-Berkeley College of Letters & Science. With a passion for STEM, she dreams of a career in research. Congratulations, Gabriela! You make us so proud!

Derek Nguyen

Derek

When a high school advisor calls one of his scholars a "once in a lifetime type of student" and "very intelligent, studious, hardworking and outgoing," you expect greatness. Derek delivers that and more. His love of math and coding have earned Derek numerous awards, including placing in the prestigious Aerospace Corporation Robert H. Herndon Memorial Science Competition. Derek is also an innovator and visionary. His work includes developing a helmet to help autistic children with headbanging syndrome and programming robots to help visually impaired people walk without a cane. Last year, Derek took up running as a way to stay fit. To date, he has completed two Los Angeles Marathons. This same level of dedication and hard work led him to place fifth in his class at Leuzinger High School. He is off to UC San Diego this fall. He plans to study electrical engineering and pursue a career in the aerospace industry. Congratulations, Derek! Keep reaching for the stars!