The San Diego County Public Defender’s Workplace acknowledged the 25 Most Exceptional Teenagers in San Diego County throughout its fifth annual awards ceremony.
The 25 teenagers have been chosen from a pool of greater than 155 nominees after digital interviews and a assessment of supplemental supplies by a panel from the Public Defender’s Workplace. The 25 Most Exceptional Teenagers in San Diego County are set aside from different teen award honorees as a result of college students chosen to be “Most Exceptional” are usually not solely proficient, however are pushed to succeed, overcome adversity and are obsessed with civic points or initiatives.
“San Diego youth are performing as leaders, innovators, activists and trailblazers all through the county,” stated Public Defender Randy Mize. “Demonstrating braveness, spirit and tenacity, these 25 teenagers are main the way in which to a profitable future with artistic, sensible options each for his or her lives and our neighborhood.”
The Most Exceptional Teen program acknowledges San Diego youth ages 13-19 for his or her contributions and efforts in 25 classes together with environmental advocacy, arts and tradition, expertise, civic involvement, entrepreneurship, braveness to beat adversity and different excellent accomplishments. Nonetheless, all college students interviewed acquired a certificates of recognition for the consideration of being thought of.
In partnership with the San Diego Public Library, the awards occasion was held Thursday on the Shiley Particular Occasions Suite on the Metropolis of San Diego Central Library. Elected officers offered the awards. Amongst them have been San Diego Metropolis Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, President Professional Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe, Councilmember Marni von Wilpert, Councilmember Joe LaCava and Councilmember Raul Campillo. Mayor Todd Gloria opened the night with welcoming remarks congratulating the kids for his or her exemplary efforts and accomplishments.
The 25 Most Exceptional Teenagers for 2022 are:
Ellen Xu, 17, Del Norte Excessive Faculty senior, acquired the Public Defender’s Award of Excellence. Impressed by her youthful sister who was recognized with Kawasaki illness, Ellen delved into analysis at the us Kawasaki Illness Analysis Heart and Rady Youngsters’s Hospital. Ellen was an integral contributor to the event of a man-made intelligence picture recognition algorithm early diagnostic instrument for Kawasaki illness which is vital to elevated survival charges amongst younger sufferers. Ellen has offered her findings on the Worldwide Kawasaki Illness Symposium in Tokyo, and at a number of different scientific conferences. Ellen was inducted into the Sigma Xi Scientific Analysis Honor Society and honored with a number of awards. Having fenced competitively for six years, Ellen represented the US on the Romania Cadet World Cup and captained the Junior Olympic silver medalist workforce in 2020. By way of Zipline Concept, a corporation she began, Ellen led a cybersecurity program for ladies of army households. In school, Ellen serves as co-editor in chief for her college’s literary journal and on the PUSD Literature Adoption Committee.
Kaizer Jones, 17, Morse Excessive Faculty senior, acquired the Private Dedication award. He skilled homelessness and stated this taught him endurance and self-reliance. He started studying the Bible to enhance poor studying expertise and shortly he was studying at school stage. Authors similar to Malcolm X and Kwaame Ture gave him perception into his personal life as a black man and his struggles with poverty. At Morse, Kaizer restarted the Black Pupil Union. He now serves because the BSU Coalition president of excessive faculties all around the county and offers suggestions to district leaders on find out how to greatest meet the wants of African American youth.
Katie Tran, 16, West Hills Excessive Faculty, acquired the Campus Management award. She skilled an unstable childhood and confronted bullying, whereas combating nervousness and melancholy. But, Katie says she additionally skilled love and kindness from others. Katie is now the varsity’s Key Membership president, and the service undertaking division chief for all Key Golf equipment within the Grossmont Union Faculty District. She co-created and is president of the Button Membership, a stress-free membership spreading positivity round college one button at a time. The membership additionally creates buttons for varied college occasions. Katie is an ASB scholar chief, a Pack Council member which addresses bullying and psychological well being points, and part of the Mending Issues Psychological Well being Pupil Advisory.
Kyle Tianshi, 16, junior at The Cambridge Faculty, acquired the Inventor award. Kyle is an internationally acknowledged inventor whose patent-pending design, NEREID, detects microplastic contamination in water sources or tiny particles that degrade from bigger plastic items over time. They’ll take in dangerous chemical compounds and poisonous micro organism, in addition to enter the human physique by way of unclean water. Kyle’s expertise conducting storage analysis impressed him to co-found Clearwater Innovation, a corporation that seeks to generate consciousness in regards to the world water disaster. This group maintains a weekly advocacy weblog, conducts interviews with younger scientists, presents at science expos, hosts summer time camps and analysis workshops. Clearwater Innovation has been featured in two documentaries by Nationwide Geographic and HP.
Keala Minna-Choe, 16, Canyon Crest Academy junior, acquired the Civic Engagement award. Keala’s environmental work consists of phasing out fossil fuels and advocating for a simply transition to renewable vitality. Keala is a pacesetter in SD350’s Youth4Climate, a grassroots motion to stop the worst impacts of local weather injustice. Keala secured endorsements for a local weather decision by two college boards, the San Diego County Workplace of Schooling and the San Diego Metropolis Council. Keala speaks publicly at local weather justice rallies and serves on committees of two native climate-action organizations. However local weather will not be Keala’s solely ardour. She is Crimson Cross Membership president at Canyon Crest combining efforts with the Blood Donor Ambassador Crew. She additionally works with a program referred to as Flowers for the Future, serving to ladies in Afghanistan improve entry to training in addition to serving to Afghan refugees residing in San Diego.
Lucia Perez Valles, 18, Olympian Excessive Faculty graduate and College of Southern California freshman, acquired the Social Conscience award. Lucia’s mom emigrated from Mexico and struggled financially. Lucia was uncovered to issues occurring in Mexico and was particularly moved by the difficulties folks in Mexico face when making an attempt to entry healthcare. Seeing this disparity fueled Lucia’s ambition to pursue a profession in neighborhood well being and opened her eyes to the necessity for civic engagement in Chula Vista. Lucia earned her Woman Scout Gold Award by creating “Embrace Our Group,” a summer time camp to wean youngsters off digital gadgets by offering the surroundings and sources youngsters have to disconnect. Lucia helps educate youngsters in regards to the sources, applications, and services which are accessible to them in San Ysidro to help their success. Lucia, a ballet dancer for 9 years with the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, has additionally introduced ballet to youngsters with particular wants.
Andres Garcia, 19, Madison Excessive Faculty graduate, is enrolled on the TRACE Faculty. He gained the Braveness to Overcome Adversity: Bodily Incapacity award. TRACE is a part of San Diego Unified Faculty District’s continuum of service choices for aiding college students transitioning from highschool to grownup life. AJ, who’s deaf, and his household moved between Chula Vista, Spring Valley, San Diego and Tijuana all through his teen years. At one level, the household lived in a lodge. However AJ’s resilience prevailed, and he’s now in a secure residing state of affairs. At TRACE, AJ was desirous to study expertise within the building commerce. He was accepted right into a pre-apprenticeship coaching program supplied although the San Diego Faculty of Persevering with Schooling. By way of this program, AJ earned certifications in OSHA and Multi-craft Development applications. AJ was Hint’s first scholar to finish this building pre-apprenticeship program, and the apprenticeship program’s first deaf scholar.
Charlee Miller, 18, Madison Excessive Faculty graduate, is at the moment finding out at San Diego Mesa Faculty. She gained the award for Creativity: Artwork. Charlee is an distinctive artist producing good and thought-provoking works. Charlee works tirelessly to perform her creative objectives all of the whereas sharing strategies and new ideas with different college students to assist them attain their objectives. Life wasn’t at all times straightforward for Charlee. When she was younger, she was bullied for being “bizarre.” Charlee says having an curiosity in macabre fiction and her tendency to make use of phrases that solely made sense to her brought on her to be mocked. Charlee found that the world through which these traits lived and took form was referred to as a paracosm – an in depth imaginary world, populated by what she now calls the inspiration for her artwork and her writing. Charlee’s efforts have earned her an award for tutorial excellence within the topic of artwork, and an excellence in artistic writing award. As soon as she completes San Diego Mesa Faculty, she plans to switch to a four-year college.
Vedant Nahar, 16, Scripps Ranch Excessive Faculty junior, gained the Most Enterprising award. He’s the CEO of a startup firm referred to as MedAlert. He led his workforce from a fundamental thought to the event of an iOS/Android app. MedAlert is a process administration app that permits nurses to create, declare, and delegate duties utilizing tablets. Not constrained by paper and having to convey info verbally, nurses can use the app to speak in actual time avoiding errors in affected person care and drug shelling out. Underneath Vedant’s management, the MedAlert workforce gained the Finest Healthcare Pitch and positioned within the Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship Competitors, probably the most prestigious highschool entrepreneurship competitors on this planet. Vedant and his workforce have been invited to pitch MedAlert to funding teams such because the NuFund Funding Angels. Vedant reveals his aggressive spirit athletically in addition to academically. He’s a membership and varsity swimmer and a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo.
Renee Wang, 15, is a junior at The Bishop’s Faculty and he or she gained the Innovation award. She based SOS, the Story of the Streets, a corporation whose mission is to alleviate the homelessness disaster in San Diego. Her RUBIX invention has been well known at engineering and science gala’s, architectural design competitions and entrepreneurship challenges. Renee was impressed by Lego bricks and the Rubik’s Dice to create RUBIX, a tiny house designed for the unhoused. Composed of 10 prefabricated interlocking modular parts, RUBIX has its personal kitchen and loo throughout the unit. The primary building supplies are bamboo and recycled plastics, and it runs solely on solar energy and an impartial plumbing system. Through the pandemic, Renee organized month-to-month homeless outreach excursions to distribute requirements to folks on the streets. Most lately, Renee was named a Rising International Scholar, one among 100 youth awarded such distinction from a pool of 13,000 nominees from 43 international locations.
Angel Martinez, 17, Hoover Excessive Faculty senior, acquired the Dedication to Private Excellence award. Angel holds a lieutenant colonel position, the best place a scholar can earn, within the Junior Reserve Officer Coaching Corps program (JROTC) at Hoover Excessive Faculty. The senior additionally holds a district stage place in JROTC because the liaison officer, speaking with 13 San Diego Unified Faculty District principals to implement sturdy management roles for JROTC applications districtwide. Angel’s dad left the home when he was within the sixth grade and the separation of his dad and mom led Angel to be his personal motivator and push by way of regardless of the added problem of needing to assist his mother – a single dad or mum who works two jobs to supply for Angel and his siblings. Angel is a critical scholar and a pure chief. From co-founding Hoover’s Guitar Membership to collaborating on the educational workforce competing with different San Diego excessive faculties to his involvement with the Ocean Discovery Institute, Angel is an exemplary younger man.
Evan Noseworthy, 18, Classical Academy Excessive Faculty senior, gained the award for Entrepreneur. Evan is a metaverse architect. Metaverse structure creates areas the place the actual and the digital world turn into one. Evan is the founder and CEO of a metaverse growth studio that takes concepts, manufacturers and corporations and represents them throughout a number of platforms. He’s working with Eversmart Metropolis as their metaverse head, to assist create sensible and sustainable cities in each the bodily and digital world. He has constructed out over 25 distinctive metaverse experiences for shoppers worldwide. Issues weren’t at all times straightforward for Evan. He began college in particular training as a consequence of a speech dysfunction and ADHD. Finally he moved into common training and improved his speech and a focus span. He now views ADHD as a superpower. Evan found if he had a ardour for one thing, he would turn into hyperfocused. He used his hyperfocus to push the reducing edges of expertise and leap into the growing world of the metaverse.
Nicolette Luna, 16, Bonita Vista Excessive Faculty junior, gained the award for Journalism. Nicolette took a Southwestern Faculty journalism class when she was solely 14. By age 15, she was a information editor on the Southwestern Faculty Solar scholar newspaper. She grew to become an award-winning characteristic author and editorialist. As editor, she skillfully directed the work of school college students, a few of whom have been twice her age. She is now editor-in-chief of the 2022 Southwestern Faculty El Sol Journal. Nicolette’s work was awarded three first place spots on the current Society of Skilled Journalists banquet, and he or she was invited to put in writing an op-ed piece within the San Diego Union Tribune. The California Faculty Media Affiliation, San Diego Society of Skilled Journalists, and the Journalism Affiliation of Group Faculties have every given Nicolette a number of awards. She want to turn into a part of a vanguard of younger Latinas working to diversify the American information media and enhance its illustration of underrepresented journalists.
Lea Nepomuceno, 16, Scripps Ranch Excessive Faculty senior, acquired the award for Social Justice. In 2019, Lea co-founded Youth for Juvenile Justice Reform – interviewing over 200 previously incarcerated people in efforts to coach youth on the legal justice system. By way of the group, she has collaborated with artists and been featured as a panelist on the VIBE Motion’s, “What’s Shade Received to do with it? Dismantling the Faculty-to Jail Pipeline” sequence in 2020 in addition to Youth Summit NYC 2021. Lea can also be the youngest member of the College of Southern California’s Jail Schooling Venture. Lea created the podcast, Proof for Change, the place she interviews alumni from the Johns Hopkins Heart for Gun Violence Options Summer time Youth Institute. Proof for Change has over 15,000 listeners. In 2022, Lea was invited to President Biden’s signing ceremony of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act alongside the nation’s main activists and policymakers on gun violence prevention.
Sofie Muneer, 17, Canyon Crest Academy senior, gained the Public Well being: Ladies award. At a younger age, Sofie realized that ladies’s well being is usually pushed to the perimeters of medical care and shrouded in stigma. Due to her private expertise with polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis, Sophie got here to study that there was little knowledge and analysis into the circumstances in teenagers. As a highschool junior Sofie based the nonprofit Endo Teen. Endo Teen is an easy-to perceive platform that features summaries on totally different reproductive circumstances, new analysis within the subject and a radical evaluation of gender inequality in healthcare. The primary aim of Endo Teen is to make scientific analysis and medical details about ladies’s well being accessible, particularly to teenagers. Sophie is a member of the Nationwide Society of Excessive Faculty Students, The Society of Torch and Laurel, Sigma Xi, John Hopkins Heart for Proficient Youth and the Nationwide Academy of Future Physicians.
Roberto Cone, 16, San Diego Faculty of Artistic and Performing Arts sophomore, gained the award for Performing Arts: Musical Theatre. Bobby grew to become concerned in musical theater at age eight. Regardless of going through tutorial challenges, Bobby discovered his ardour within the arts. He dedicated to musical theater – particularly to performing and singing. Bobby couldn’t learn till third grade. He nonetheless struggles to learn. However when he began performing, his resilience kicked in and Bobby’s resolution was to memorize his strains rapidly. He discovered that memorizing strains got here a lot simpler to him than to different folks. Bobby admits he’s quiet however says if he’s given a play, a track and a highlight, he comes alive. Bobby has performed quite a few elements in varied performs produced by the California Youth Conservatory, Theatre Arts Faculty of San Diego, San Diego Junior Theatre, and his personal college, the San Diego Faculty of Artistic and Performing Arts. In 2021, Bobby acquired the varsity’s award for Excellent Artist in Musical Theatre.
Jasmine Matthews, 17, Preuss Faculty senior, gained the award for Perseverance. Jasmine was homeless throughout second and fourth grade, after which once more, her total junior yr of highschool. Returning to those circumstances was particularly difficult mentally. Towards the top of her junior yr, Jasmine stayed with a buddy so she would have an surroundings the place she might end her homework with out the added stress of questioning the place she was going to sleep. She is in class seven hours a day and leaves the home at 6:15 a.m. for Preuss, taking 2 buses and two trolleys from El Cajon, then does it once more on the finish of the varsity day. By way of all these hardships, Jasmine has excelled academically. She has earned awards in chemistry and algebra and has been inducted into the Rho Kappa Nationwide Social Research Honor Society. Jasmine can also be a Women Varsity basketball workforce member and is co-president of the Black Pupil Union. Jasmine plans to attend UCLA with the hope of changing into a screenwriter.
Livia Iacobelli, 17, is a senior at Excessive Tech Excessive Faculty, North County and he or she acquired the award for Group Service. In tenth grade, Livia launched a non-profit referred to as the Pupil Healthcare Readiness Program (SHRP). The group serves low-income youth who desire a profession in drugs. SHRP connects highschool college students with school mentors, hosts month-to-month keynote audio system and presents instructional workshops. As a volunteer on the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, Livia created a system which was used to breed the Double Reporter Mouse, a mouse that expresses fluorescent proteins for the imaging of NETs to make use of to mannequin pulmonary thrombosis due to COVID-19. Livia additionally volunteers with the us Healthcare Name Pool the place she helps marginalized sufferers navigate the maze of the well being care system. She serves as “Google translator” and companion to many immigrants in search of care. Livia plans to turn into a physician.
Roshan Shah, 17, Westview Excessive Faculty senior, gained the award for Public Well being: Innovation. Roshan volunteered in school rooms for college students with particular wants. He observed college students with communication wants weren’t allowed to take their college issued communication gadgets (tablets, iPads, PCs) with them after highschool commencement which meant they have been left with no method to talk on-line. Communication gadgets with an app can price virtually $1,000 and lots of households can’t afford the expense. Roshan created VoicesGo.Org, an internet site serving to households perceive the avenues accessible to fund and safe a tool. VoicesGo has helped college students acquire gadgets to allow them to take part in society, register to vote, achieve employment, and work together with household and friends. The issue of leaving a public college district with no communication gadget impacts 1000’s of scholars throughout California. Roshan drafted a invoice for the California State Legislature which might price taxpayers nothing however would allow college students with disabilities to acquire a tool earlier than leaving public college.
Ella Kim, 15, Francis Parker Faculty junior, gained the award for Writing. As a Korean American, Ella is motivated to offer voice to these whose silent struggles and difficulties she will be able to perceive. Ella believes the easy act of seeing oneself mirrored on this planet, in any means, is inexplicably highly effective, whether or not by way of music, writing or different mediums, and it’s by way of each her tales and her actions that Ella desires to carry that imaginative and prescient to these round her. Ella explains that when she was younger, she by no means noticed books that defined her tradition or her historical past and later felt like she grew up lacking that a part of herself. Ella intends to handle that deficiency by way of her Woman Scout Gold Award undertaking by creating an illustrated youngsters’s ebook targeted on the subject of Korean historical past. Ella additionally created Parker’s Author’s Circle, is a member of the varsity robotics workforce and a founding member of the Nationwide Historical past Society Venture, head of publicity on the Parker Group Engagement Board and co-head of writing for the Tradition of San Diego Membership.
Alurah Chappell,17, San Pasqual Academy senior, acquired an award for Braveness to Overcome: Household Scenario. Alurah hopes to attend UCSD – and be the primary in her household to graduate from school however the path towards this aim has not been a straightforward one. Alurah was despatched to Polinsky Youngsters’s Heart after her freshman yr of highschool. She has been within the foster care system ever since. Alurah grew up poor and in a nasty neighborhood with gunshots firing each night time. Household life was tumultuous, her father risky, her brothers disinterested in class or studying. Alurah says being away from household permits her to grasp what she desires from life and offers her the liberty to make her personal choices. Then again, being away from her dad and mom means she should deal with issues on her personal with out anybody to “save” her. Alurah has maintained a 4.0 GPA and acquired 10 awards in tutorial excellence. She has additionally performed 5 totally different sports activities.
Makena Stumpo, 13, is an eighth grade scholar at Pacific Seaside Center Faculty. He gained an award for Performing Arts: Music. He performs piano and guitar each by ear and by studying music, and he’s a soulful vocalist. His music trainer shares that Makena has a particular present. He can take heed to a track after which replicate it completely on his piano or transpose it into a chunk of his personal. Makena began performing in public in 2021 and he has carried out at a wide range of venues. He additionally enjoys being a busker – an individual who performs music in a public place for donations. This summer time, along with his dad and mom by his facet, Makena discovered a spot downtown, put a join that stated the proceeds would go to the Stop Drowning Basis, and along with his electrical keyboard performed music and sang. He raised $200 by way of this effort. Makena participates in San Diego Junior Lifeguards and performs soccer, volleyball, and observe and subject.
Leslie Pagel, 17, Crawford Excessive Faculty senior, acquired an award within the class of LGBTQIA+ Activist. Leslie grew up in Tijuana and when she turned 12, she got here out as queer. Throughout center college, Leslie was harassed due to her identification. Verbal harassment and cruelty towards homosexual college students was not solely tolerated however brazenly condoned by college workers. In her freshman yr, her household moved to the U.S. and Leslie discovered a way of neighborhood at Crawford that she had by no means skilled earlier than. She grew to become president of the Homosexual Pupil Alliance (GSA) and spent hours researching LGBTQ historical past to coach and interact GSA members, and to unfold info by way of crafting displays, Jeopardy video games, a Kahoot about delight flags and different artistic occasions. Leslie’s different ardour is artwork. She gained the grand prize in San Diego Public Library’s Satisfaction Card contest along with her highly effective design of trans pioneering advocate and icon, Marsha P. Johnson. Her portrait of Johnson is printed on library playing cards distributed citywide.
Reed Ganzer, 16, Poway Excessive Faculty junior, gained an award within the Expertise: Robotics class. Reed served as outreach lead for 2 years on his robotics workforce, First Tech Problem Cerulean Centaurs, and for 2 years on the Inexperienced Griffins robotics workforce. Since 2018, he has volunteered at over 80 outreach robotics occasions. He has mentored 5 youthful First Lego league groups. Involved in regards to the surroundings, Reed created the STEM to STEAM initiative in 2018 to repurpose waste from robotics competitions. Robotics competitions typically require metallic or plastic which are thrown out on the finish of the competitors season. Reed partnered with native schools and donated robotics supplies destined for the landfill to artwork applications at San Diego State College and Southwestern Faculty. Reed additionally mentors younger college students in pc programming by way of his after-school job at Code Ninjas in Poway.
Naeem Miller, 16, is a junior at San Pasqual Excessive Faculty. He acquired the award for Environmental Activist. Naeem believes everybody has the precise to breathe clear air and drink clear water. He has volunteered with CleanEarth4kids for the previous two years. Naeem has labored and spoken at occasions, actions and conferences in San Diego and different cities to foyer for the passage of AB2771, the California PFAS-Free Beauty Act, to ban PFAS from private care and wonder merchandise, and AB1817, the California Safer Garments and Textiles Act, to cease the usage of all PFAS from clothes and textiles made and bought in California. He has additionally labored on laws requiring a 3,200-foot buffer zone to guard houses, hospitals, faculties, parks and different delicate areas from oil and fuel drilling, a legislation requiring faculties to put in water refill stations in new building and remodels, and a legislation requiring environmental justice and tribal illustration on California Water Boards.