Los Angeles Times Names "Above & Beyond" Award Winners

LOS ANGELES, July 30, 2004 – Ten Southern California elementary school students were honored for their exceptional academic achievement, community service and cultural contributions with the Los Angeles Times Above & Beyond Award, which was presented Saturday, July 17, at the second annual Los Angeles Times KidCity, a free two-day outdoor educational adventure designed for children and held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The awards presentation was emceed by two-time Emmy nominee Bryan Cranston, co-star of the Fox Television series, "Malcolm in the Middle." Camille Winbush, who plays "Vanessa" on the "Bernie Mac Show" also participated in the ceremony.

Award Winners

Above & Beyond in my Classroom
  • Jose Arias, 13, Hollenbeck Middle School, Los Angeles. He volunteered more than 30 hours after school to videotape two school events on nutrition and helped his classmates film and edit public service announcements while maintaining straight A's.
  • Audrianna Bonilla, 12, Anacapa Middle School, Ventura. A Gifted And Talented Education program student, she excelled as class spelling bee champion, presented a science project to the Ventura Unified School District board and attends nine hours of intensive ballet lessons each week.
  • Lordes Davis, 13, Curtis Middle School, San Bernardino. She overcame many family challenges to raise her grades to As, which earned her several academic achievement awards. She also is an active church volunteer.
  • Eric Torres, 13, Kraemer Middle School, Anaheim. He promoted positive inter-racial relations by serving as a newsletter writer, district-wide writing contest coordinator, awards ceremony emcee and facilitator for "Week of Understanding," which helps sixth-graders appreciate diversity and overcome schoolyard bullying.
Above & Beyond in my Community
  • Nicholas Baker, 13, Milikan Middle School, Van Nuys. After suffering a severe asthma attack at the age of six year, he became an advocate for healthy school environments and helped influence state public policy set by the Air Quality Management hearings, California Environmental Protection Agency and California State Assembly.
  • Shaun Milazzo, 11, Cameron Elementary School, Barstow. An active volunteer at the Desert Discovery Center, she created a scavenger hunt and produced a wildlife puppet show for Barstow children as an educational tool to help kids learn about the Mojave Desert.
  • Julie Marie Pashko, 12, Heart of the Valley Christian School in Reseda and Santa Ana resident. She recruited friends to donate 700 inches of hair – including 15 inches of her own – to "Locks of Love," a non-profit organization providing hairpieces to underserved children suffering from medical hair loss.
  • David Weiland, 12, Andersen Elementary School, Newport Beach. Twice each month he visits children with acute brain injuries at the Healthbridge Children’s Rehabilitation Center and helps organize special events for Make-A-Wish Foundation and its outreach to children with life-threatening diseases.
Above & Beyond in my Cultural Heritage
  • Tiffany Cheng, 13, Santiago Hills Elementary School, Irvine. A Chinese-language student, she promoted her heritage by playing folk songs on her violin, reciting poems in Chinese and serving as master of ceremonies at a Chinese New Year Celebration performance.
  • Brennan Louie, 13, Pilgrim School, Los Angeles. For Asian Pacific Island Heritage Month, he raised $400 – a portion of which was used to expand the school library's Asian Pacific Islander book collection – and recruited a Los Angeles Dodgers executive to address 150 classmates on being a Chinese-American as well as the highest-ranking female in professional baseball.
Selection Process

Award finalists, ages 7-13, were nominated by parents, teachers and community leaders who submitted 200-word essays describing their nominee's contributions. A panel of judges – composed of parents, educators and community leaders from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties – selected the winners from each of those counties.

Winners' names will be published in a congratulatory advertisement to appear in The Times. Each winner received an Above & Beyond Awards statue, four annual passes to a local amusement park and an Above & Beyond awards t-shirt.

About KidCity

Designed for children ages 7-13, KidCity is a weekend celebration of learning and literacy, and a showcase for the literary and creative arts, culture and history, science and technology, and sports. The second annual event was held July 17-18 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

KidCity featured five stages showcasing a variety of children's and family entertainment, including children's storytelling; celebrity readings; wildlife, science and martial arts demonstrations; and traditional ethnic dance and musical performances. It also included more than 50 interactive literacy, arts, science and nature demonstrations, as well as sports contests, games and recreational activities.

About the Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing company, is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country and the winner of 35 Pulitzer Prizes, including five this year – the second-largest yearly total in the history of the awards. The Times publishes five daily regional editions including the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Orange and Ventura counties, the San Fernando Valley, and an Inland Empire edition covering Riverside and San Bernardino counties as well as a National edition. Additional information about The Times is available at