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Top Newport high school students and teachers to be honored at 56th awards dinner

The Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce will present the 56th annual Scholarship Awards Dinner on Wednesday night to recognize the top scholars from Newport Beach high schools.

The event will start at 6 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Newport Beach. This year, 15 students from Corona del Mar High School, 18 students from Newport Harbor High School, and five students from Sage Hill School will be honored for their high scholastic achievement and community involvement.

Two teachers also will receive awards for their work. Heather Kroeger will receive Teacher of the Year for Corona del Mar; and Sally Sefami will receive Teacher of the Year for Sage. Michael Dennin, vice provost of Teaching and Learning, professor of physics and astronomy, and dean of Undergraduate Education at UC Irvine will be the guest speaker.

Tickets to the dinner are $50. For more information, visit


Newport Harbor High School

Jake Bauer

School Activities: Cross country, varsity track.

Academic Awards: Valedictorian, Newport Harbor Academic Letters of Excellence, National Merit Commended Student.


Scholarships: Offered: Cal Grant, UCSC University Grant.

Community Service: Newport Elementary School garden.

Interests: Music playing/learning (piano/guitar) as well as music composition, gardening, programming, snowboarding, and cooking.

College Plans: Major in computer engineering or math-comp sci. Deciding between UCSC, UCSD, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Meeting and learning from/with all my wonderful teachers, peers, and friends.


Travis Campos

School Activities: Varsity track and field, varsity track captain, California Scholarship Federation.


Academic Awards: Sunset League All-Academic Team, Academic Excellence, 2017 valedictorian.

Community Service: Math Lab Tutoring at Newport Harbor Library, computer science tutoring at Newport Harbor.

Interests: Multivariable calculus at UCI, linear algebra at UCI, competitive chess, running, swimming, and lifting weights.

College Plans: Major in mathematics at UC Berkeley or UCLA, minor in computer science.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Taking AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC during my sophomore and junior year, respectively. The course material is extremely interesting and having Brandon Clay as a teacher makes for an amazing, and often comedic, learning experience.


Elise Denghausen

School Activities: Marching band, jazz band, Winterline, concert band, Bridges, peer mediator.


Academic Awards: National Honor Society member, California Scholarship Federation member

Student of the semester — IB English HL2, Student of the year — finalist for math 2016 and 2017, Sailor Music Award in Jazz- awarded Outstanding Freshman, Sailor Music Award in Jazz- awarded Outstanding Sophomore, John Phillips Sousa Award — NHHS Sailor Marching Band.

Scholarships: UCLA Life Science Scholarship.

Community Service: St. Andrews Vacation Bible School, Newport Mesa Summer Music Program, Girl Scout Troop, NHS Service project.

Interests: Marching in Drum Corps International, Impulse Drum and Bugle Corps. I also like to drink tea and sleep.

College Plans: PhD in neuroscience at UCLA.

Most Memorable High School Experience: After-school Bridges leadership meetings with Sophia, Jose, and Mrs. Pogue.


Kyle Duffy

School Activities: President of Young Republicans, Treasurer of Youth and Government, Varsity Lacrosse.

Academic Awards: Student of the Year Nominee Math, Student of the Year Nominee Science, Academic Excellence, National AP Scholar.

Community Service: Eagle Scout, over 200 man hours building raptor housing facility.

Interests: Licensed Falconer, math, investing.

College Plans: Notre Dame, Mendoza Business school, major in finance, minor in mathematics.

Most Memorable High School Experience: The amazement and joy I felt when I checked my score on a Risse test and discovered a whopping 100. In this moment, all of my dreams came true.


Jack Elliott

School Activities: Lacrosse, Beckett’s Buddies, Water for Elephants, Junior Mentor Program.

Academic Awards: English Student of the Year Nominee, Mathematics Student of the Year Nominee, Academic Excellence, Newport Harbor Lacrosse Scholar Athlete.

Community Service: Special Camp for Special Kids, Special Olympics of Southern California, Matt Leinart Flag Football, TiE Entrepreneurial Program, Paws 4 Cause, Little Red Dog Foster Organization.

Interests: Lacrosse, football, guitar, surfing.

College Plans: I will be attend either USC or UCLA.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Going undefeated in the Sunset League last year in lacrosse. It was my first season on varsity and it was a great experience seeing our hard work pay off and representing the Sunset League in the 2016 playoffs.


Dominic Loftus

School Activities: Golf Team, Young Republicans.

Academic Awards: AP Scholar with distinction, CSF, Academic Excellence, Academic pin, Scholar Athlete.

Community Service: San Francisco City Impact, St Andrews Church, Lions Heart, Food Bank.

Interests: Golf, guitar, programming.

College Plans: UCLA

Most Memorable High School Experience: Switching to golf and being able to play the last couple years with the golf team.


Sophia Martinez

School Activities: Marching and Concert Band, Drumline, Winterline, Pit Orchestra, Bridges Club, Peer Mediation, Senior Class Council, tutor.

Academic Awards: Valedictorian, 2017 Science Student of the Year Finalist, freshman and junior band Most Improved.

Community Service: Pit Orchestra, tutor, Bridges Club activities, band fundraisers.

Interests: Playing music, memes, cool dogs

College plans: Major in aerospace engineering at UCLA.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Performing in the Newport Harbor Drumline.


Elijan Mastnak

School Activities: Chess Club once in a while.

Academic Awards: National AP Scholar, Student of the Year Nominee in English, Student of the Year Nominee in Math, Student of the Month (APUSH and Chemistry), Principal’s Honor Roll, Academic Excellence.

Community Service: Coaching Pilot Cup at Kaiser Elementary, habitat restoration of UCI Ecological Preserve, volunteering at soccer camps for Coerver Coaching, invasive plant removal at Bolsa Chica Basin State Marine Protected Area.

Interests: Classical and flamenco guitar, soccer and futsal, bird watching, drawing and painting, human biomechanics, chess, coding and software, signal processing, Olympic weightlifting, native plants, gems and minerals, working out, working on cars, hiking, rock climbing, electric circuits, building things, mathematical proofs, acoustics, music theory, learning languages, cooking and food.

College Plans: Math and physics at the University of Ljubljana.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Any time spent laughing with friends.


Katherine McAllister

School Activities: National Honors Society, National Junior Classical League, STEM Club.

Academic Awards: Student of the month-Math, Student of the month-Science, Student of the year nominee — science.

Community Service: Founder of the Nature Adventure Camp at the ENC, Junior Naturalist-ENC, Second Step, Heritage House, Race for the Cure, Soup Kitchen, Jr. Commodore and Staff Commodore of Lido Isle Yacht Club.

Interests: Sailing, wake boarding, reading, traveling.

College Plans: University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering — biomedical engineering (mechanical) with pre-law emphasis.

Most Memorable High School Experience: My favorite memory at NHHS was my first All Girls Sailing Regatta my Freshman year. We all got to carpool up to San Diego and it was a great weekend to really bond with the girls on my team. I also had my first Hector’s burrito. If you find yourself in San Diego I highly recommend getting one.


Sean-Liam McCarthy

School Activities: Varsity cross country, soccer, and track; Young Life, Wild Life.

Academic Awards: Valedictorian, Student of The Year Nominee , Athlete with Character Award, Student of the Semester.

Scholarships: Regents Scholarship UCSD

Community Service: BIYC Swimming Coordinator, Young Life Winter and Summer Work Crew, Wild Life Student Leader.

Interests: Soccer, running, and reading.

College Plans: Attending either UCSD or UCLA.

Most Memorable High School Experience: This last year in cross country. I know most other people have a similar scenario, where they become friends with their teammates, but I think it’s a rare occurrence when a team that despises racing almost makes it to State.


Sam Nitz

School Activities: Debate club (president, founder), Conservation club (VP, founder), Gay Straight Alliance (VP), National Honor Society, yearbook (co-copy editor), Eagle Scout, two-year aquaponics internship, UCI electrochemistry summer research internship, Field Studies trips.

Academic Awards: National AP Scholar, National Merit Commended Scholar, Student of the Year nominee, IB Learner Profile of the Year: Inquirer, American Legion California Boys’ State delegate, Alternative Coverage Rookie of the Year, National Honor Society member, Principal’s Honor Roll, Academic Excellence, Student of the Semester, Student of the Month.

Scholarships: C2 Education Test Prep scholarship, Balboa Bay Club scholarship.

Community Service: Western Snowy Plover habitat restoration project, ROOTS events at Back Bay Science Center, Eagle Scout project at A Child’s Place preschool, Surfrider Foundation, KID2.0 STEM fair, Newport Sea Base.

Interests: Native plants, chemistry, sustainability, hiking, Spanish, art, music, and baking.

College Plans: Study chemical engineering at MIT.

Most Memorable High School Experience: It’s a tough call, but the trip to Greece in my sophomore year is definitely up there. The food on the cruise ship was terrible and sometimes the local guides weren’t the best, but every single other part of the trip was total magic. Someday, I’ll have to go back.


Kevin Palmer

School Activities: Varsity soccer.

Academic Awards: Valedictorian, AP Scholar with Distinction, Student of the Year Nominee – Science, Academic Excellence, Academic Pin, All- Academic Team Sunset League, National Merit Commended Scholar, National Hispanic Scholar.

Scholarships: USC Viterbi Scholar; University of Michigan Presidential Scholarship; Cal Grant A; USC Merit Scholarship.

Community Service: Environmental Nature Center Fall Fair, YoungLife Lost Canyon Work Crew , YoungLife Student Leader, WyldLife Leader.

Interests: Soccer, 3D modeling, computer programming, surfing, hiking, mountain biking.

College Plans: Currently deciding between attending University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and USC. I am pursing a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering

Most Memorable High School Experience: The final project of AP Physics C: Mechanics my junior year. I partnered up with my friend and we built a very successful battle bot. We ended up losing in the finals by a tie breaker.


Kathryn Peters

School Activities: President of National Honor Society, Vocal soloist with the Jazz Band, marching Band, varsity soccer team captain, peer mediator.

Academic Awards: National Merit Scholarship finalist, Daughters of the American Revolution Youth Citizenship Medal, Student of the Semester, eight-time Student of the Year Nominee, 2016-17 finalist for Student of the Year.

Scholarships: Merit Scholarship from the University of Chicago.

Community Service: Organized Harbor Zone Tutoring, Elected Secretary/Treasurer of Balboa Island Yacht Club, Daily Pilot Cup Soccer Coach, perform National Anthem for Newport Harbor Basketball, Wrestling, Soccer, Football, and Lacrosse, Newport Harbor Computer Science tutoring, Coded a database from scratch in java for the Newport Harbor Exchange Club field of Honor Fundraiser.

Interests: Science and technology, singing, playing the ukulele, reading, sailing, and playing soccer.

College Plans: Attend the University of Chicago.

Most Memorable High School Experience: This year’s Newport Harbor soccer season. Thanks to Coach Schroeder and a dedicated team, we made CIF playoffs for the first time since 2012 and completely turned the program around.


David Sharp

School Activities: Captain of varsity tennis team, president of the Robotics Club, vice president of the Debate Club.

Academic Awards: Valedictorian, IB Learner Profile of the Year: Thinker, Student of the Month, tied for highest student athlete GPA in Sunset League, winner of NHHS Writing Competition, multiple All Academic Team Recipient, IB Diploma Candidate.

Scholarships: Jacobs Engineering Scholarship and Regents Scholarship at UCSD.

Community Service: Walker River Native American Reservation service project, Christ Church by the Sea audio visual system, and Family Promise.

Interests: Building websites, biking, and photography.

College Plans: Next year, I plan on attending UCSD, majoring in aerospace engineering. I am considering pursuing a second major in computer science. I would like to continue on to get a master’s in one or both of those concentrations.

Most Memorable High School Experience: My first before-school conditioning session for tennis from freshman year.


Laura Tran

School Activities: Varsity Lacrosse, marching band, concert band, CSF, Bridges, peer mediation.

Academic Awards: Valedictorian, Academic Excellence, Student of the Semester, Varsity Scholar Athlete, All-Academic Team for Girls Lacrosse, Student of the Semester, Student of the Year Nominee in Science, Student of the Year Nominee in Mathematics.

Community Service: Mariners Kids at Mariners Church Irvine, Anchor Lax.

Interests: Lacrosse, reading, volunteering, child care.

College Plans: Unknown.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Going to Yosemite with my two closest friends —through field studies — and the amazing memories I made there.


Grace Vandervort

School Activities: Sailing Team, IB Program, Mentor Program, DECA Competitions.

Academic Awards: Valedictorian, IB Learner Profile of the Year award: caring and reflective, Academic Letter, Academic Pin, Academic Excellence, 2016 Student of the Year Nominee in English, AP Scholar Award, Student of the Semester in biology, in AP English Language.

Scholarships: Julie Jacobson Junior Auxiliary Scholarship.

Community Service: Environmental Nature Center, Hoag Hospital, Balboa Yacht Club Summer Program, Red Cross Blood Drive, Harbor Heritage Run.

Interests: Sailing, cooking/baking, hiking, travelling, playing with my puppies.

College Plans: I am deciding between UCLA, where I applied undeclared and Cal Poly SLO, where I declared a major in biological sciences.

Most Memorable High School Experience: I tried out for the sailing team freshman year, scared out of my mind that I wasn’t going to make it but within weeks after making the team, I had found more than a team but a whole new family.


Samuel Lane Wertheimer

School Activities: National Junior Classical League (president), Drama Production (stage manager), Debate Club (vice-president), National Honor Society, Thespians (treasurer), California Boys State (Supreme Court Justice), HOBY Delegate.

Academic Awards: National AP Scholar, National Merit Commended Scholar, Student of the Year Nominee, IB Diploma Candidate, 2016 Cappies nominee “Best Stage Management in a Play,” National Honor Society, Principal’s Honor Roll, Academic Excellence awards, Student of the Semester, Student of the Month.

Community Service: NHHS peer tutor, Drama Department, Camp Oakes counselor.

Interests: Reading, chilling with my buds, listening to music, walking my dog Django, and watching a lot of TV.

College Plans: Brown University! I will major in history, astronomy, computer science or international relations.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Every single class with Mr. John Risse, head of the science department and the best teacher at the school. He makes me hopeful for fun college classes and his jokes and shade are the best of anyone out there. Thanks for everything, Risse. Keep on being ridonkulous with your mumbo jumbo.


Jack Woodworth

School Activities: Latin Club.

Academic Awards: National Merit Finalist.

Interests: Reading, listening to music, history, learning languages, lifting weights.

College Plans: Classics at Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Meeting all my friends and enjoying the fruits of true friendship.

Corona del Mar High School

George Adamson

School Activities: President, Speech and Debate, Junior State of America, Model UN; co-president: Peer Leaders/Best Buddies; Human Relations Council.

Academic Awards: Sea King Pride Award, AP U.S. History Student of the Year, AP Scholar with Distinction, Academic Letter with Honors, Speech and Debate Student Congress Orange County, California Scholarship Federation Gold Seal Bearer, Academic Worldquest Trivia Contest.

Scholarships: Regents Scholar: UC Davis, University of Texas Engineering Scholarship and Honors College.

Community Service: Mayor’s Youth Council, East Bluff Community Theater, City of Newport Beach Summer Youth Program, Titan HST App.

Interests: Hiking, flight simulator, trivia, travel, all things “Hamilton.”

College Plans: Study aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Studying the effects of rhino poaching on a South Africa game reserve with nine classmates.


Grant Brown

School Activities: Future Business Leaders of America, Youth and Government, varsity tennis, National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Best Buddies, American Legion Boys’ State.

Academic Awards: National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student, Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen, Academic Letter with Honors, California Scholarship Federation Gold Seal Bearer.

Scholarships: USC Town and Gown.

Community Service: Eagle Scout, Camp ReCreation, Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, Oasis Senior Center, Shalimar, Newport Beach Police Department, construction project in Maneadero, Mexico.

Interests: Hiking, travel, exercise, reading, eating, watching sports, beach going.

College Plans: Deciding between Vanderbilt, USC and UC Berkeley.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Winning the CIF Regional Championship with the tennis team in my junior year.


Luc Courtois

Scholarships: Presidential Scholarship at Tulane University.

Community Service: Junior Blind of America.

Interests: Playing the guitar, traveling, and spending time with family.

Most Memorable High School Experience: CDM Robotics making it to the world championship.


Gabrielle Finear

School Activities: Varsity golf, Youth and Government, National Honor Society, Principal’s Council, YEP for Kids.

Academic Awards : Valedictorian Scholar, National AP Scholar, Academic Letter with Distinction, Gold Seal Bearer Candidate, AP Scholar, Principal’s Honor Roll, California Scholarship Federation Lifetime Member, 3-time gold Presidential Service Award.

Community Service: President of Junior Auxiliary at Hoag Hospital, NHS Peer-Tutor, Golf Tournament Assistant.

Interest: Photography, piano, scuba diving, coding.

College Plans: Accepted to MIT, Princeton, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Duke, UCLA and UC Berkeley. Will attend MIT in the fall to study computer science and corporate finance.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Hosting a German Exchange student for six months / attending the MIT Woman’s Technology Program in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.


Alex Hachigian

Academic Awards: Two-time Presidential Service, Harvard Prize Book, AP Scholar with Distinction, Academic Letter with Honor, seven-time Principal’s Honor Roll, California Scholarship Federation member all semesters, Gold Seal Bearer nominee, Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish.

Community Service: Month-long service trip to Armenia, ordained acolyte at Armenian Apostolic Church, provided free tutoring to local students, volunteered with Newport Beach Little League.

Interests: Travel, golf, photography, skiing.

College Plans: Major in business finance.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Introducing my grandfather at the Living History Luncheon in my sophomore year.


George Lee

School Activities: Madrigals, Music Council, Robotics Club — Triton Tech, track and field, Global Sustainability Project, National Honor Society, Youth and Government.

Academic Awards: Academic letter with honors, AP Scholar with Distinction, Presidential Service Award.

Scholarship: UC Regents Scholarship at UCLA, UCSB, UCI.

Community Service: Discovery Cube OC, Newport Beach Public Library.

Interests: Reading, listening to music, audio books and podcasts, sculpting clay, writing poetry, tinkering.

College Plans: Attend Brown or UCLA for bioengineering, maybe with a pre-med focus.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Visiting South Africa to study rhinos for the Global Sustainability Project. Touring France with Madrigals and performing in Notre Dame. Going to the World Championships for first Robotics in St. Louis.


Ivara Roth

School Activities: Youth and Government, track/x-country, Global Sustainability Project, Equestrian Club.

Academic Awards: DAR Youth Citizenship Award, ASCA Young Women’s Leadership Conference Attendee, Academic Achievement Chemistry, Academic Letter with Honors.

Community Service: Volunteering at my temple’s Sunday school.

Interests: Biology, government, birds/reading, running, raising chickens.

College Plans: Accepted to Tufts and Cornell. Major in biology and minor in animal science and spend as much time as possible at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I also want to become a falconer after spending so much time with one for my senior project.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Traveling to South Africa with the Global Sustainability Project thanks to the Kenneth A. Picerne foundation and studying the effects of humane dehorning on rhino.


Grace Jennings

School Activities: Varsity tennis, varsity track, Youth and Government, National Honor Society.

Academic Awards: Valedictorian Scholar, Rensselear Award for Top Math and Science Student, AP Scholar w/Distinction, CSF Gold Seal Bearer.

Community Service: Three-time Presidential Service Award, volunteer at Shalimar Learning Center, Young Women of Vision, Girl Scout Gold and Silver Award.

Interests: Art, music festivals, snowboarding, skiing, reading and cooking.

College Plans: Study engineering and economics at Vanderbilt University.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Senior year varsity tennis season.


Justine Kaneda

School Activities: Bio-Chem Club (President), Dance to Your Door (President), Orchesis Dance Company (Vice President), National Honor Society, HALO: Dance for Autism, POWER, PAMA.

Academic Awards: AP Scholar with Honor, California Scholarship Federation (CSF), National Honor Society, CdM Academic Letter with Honor, CdM Principal’s Honor Roll, CdM Outstanding Achievement Award, Teacher Commendation Award, 1st Place PTA Reflections Art Program/Dance Choreography, “Miss Dance America,” “Miss Senior Spotlight Dance,” “Most Flexible” Award (Orchesis Dance Company), National Champion/1st Overall Senior Dance Soloist

Community Service: National Honor Society, Bio-Chem Club, Dance to Your Door, HALO: Dance for Autism, POWER, “Jamma Jingles.”

Interests: Competition Dance Studio Team, Orchesis Dance Company.

College Plans: I am incredibly thankful to be attending my dream school, Stanford University. I plan on majoring in human biology and continuing my passion for dance.

Most Memorable High School Experience: After four incredible years at CDM, it’s hard to pick just one memorable experience. However, my top picks would have to include performing in rallies and our annual shows for Orchesis, going to the BOTB football games, and making lifelong friends.


Muhun Kang

School Activities: Co-Chair at AIPAC, Member of Board at Speech and Debate, Safety Captain, Head of Accounting, and Weight Inspector for the Robot at Triton Tech. Former member and lecturer for Academic Decathlon team at CdM

Academic Awards : National Merit Finalist, Academic Letter with Honor, AP Scholar with Distinction Award, California Scholarship Federation member.

Community Service: Working in the children’s section in the public library, working in the theater for a few shows.

Interests: European history and politics, nuclear fusion, Hearts of Iron 4.

College Plans: Considering attending Cornell University.

Most Memorable High School Experience: First time receiving an award for Speech and Debate, a “gavel” for the Junior State of America, followed by eight more awards.


Gabrielle Lau

School Activities: Peer Assistance and Leadership, Protecting Our Women’s Rights, Collaborating with Pencils of Promise and Girls Inc., Santa Ana.

Academic Awards : College Board AP Scholar with Distinction, CDM High School Academic Letter with Honor, College Board AP Scholar Award, California Scholarship Federation – member, CDM Middle School Faculty Award.

Scholarships: Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation Scholarship on Global Sustainability Project.

Community Service: Girl Scouts, Peer Assistance and Leadership, Protecting Our Women’s Rights, Mariners Church, Irvine.

Interests: Hip Hop, visual arts, piano, ukulele.

College Plans: Most likely engineering school at UC Berkeley — bioengineering — but possibly UC San Diego — computer science with specialization in bioinformatics.

Most Memorable High School Experience: The people of CdM are my most memorable high school experience. They have made my days brighter with simple hellos or helping me when I trip up on a difficult subject or in the halls. Students and staff promote the welfare of CDM. They are people who talk big, but act bigger.


Spiro Maleki

School Activities: Cross-country, track and field.

Academic Awards: California Scholarship Federation, member CDM 2013-Present, AP Environmental Science Award, CDM 2016, AP Scholar with Honor, 2016, Academic Letter with Honor, CDM 2016.

Interests: Baseball, traveling, running, skiing, hiking.

College Plans: UCLA, majoring in business economics. My areas of interest include history, international relations, economics, real estate, and law. I plan on going to law school, and I would like to pursue a career in real estate development.

Most Memorable High School Experience: I have a lot of great memories running cross-country my freshman year. I met and got closer to many of my good friends, and matured a great amount. Although there were difficulties throughout the season, the overall experience was a positive one. My friends and I still laugh about the great times we had.


Sam Roth

School Activities: Varsity cross country, varsity track and field, president of Sea Kings for Israel, Speech and Debate, Model United Nations, Junior State of America, Chess Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Youth and Government, National Honors Society, Doctors of Tomorrow, Academic Decathlon, California Scholarship Federation, Biology and Chemistry Olympiad.

Academic Awards : Six Academic Decathlon medals, NMUSD Chess Tournament, Friendship Circle Volunteer Fellowship Award, Corona del Mar High School Academic Letter with Honor, Speech and Debate Public Forum award, Congressional Intern Certificate of Recognition, Cross Country medals.

Scholarships: University of California, San Diego: Regents Scholarship.

Community Service: Congressional Intern for Congressman Ed Royce, Volunteer for Friendship Circle, Newport Beach Police Department Teen Academy Summer Program.

Interests: Politics, medicine, running, watching cross country and track races, “The Walking Dead.”

College Plans: Major in biomedical engineering, with a minor in mechanical engineering.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Running every day after school with my friends.


Danielle Tolsma

School Activities: National Honor Society, Triton Tech Robotics Club, Co-president of International Club, member, Doctors of Tomorrow Club.

Academic Awards : National Merit Finalist, 2017, Bausch and Lomb Science Award, 2016, Second place in tenth-grade narrative competition, 2015, Top First Year Biology Student Award, 2014.

Community Service: Peer tutoring in biology and chemistry, volunteer at Comprehensive Pulmonary Medical Group, Free Wheelchair Missions volunteer in Ecuador.

Interests: Taekwondo, piano, flute, skiing, and reading.

College Plans: Northwestern University, biomedical engineering major with pre-med emphasis.

Most Memorable High School Experience: I will never forget the first robotics world championship in St. Louis. Our team advanced to this international competition by a miracle, and although we did not rank highly at the event, I had an amazing time working together with my teammates and friends, meeting groups from around the globe, and cheering on the “Burlap Beast.”


Sam Wardwell

School Activities: Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, Youth and Government, Water Polo, and Swim Team.

Academic Awards : CSF Honor Society, Gold Seal Bearer, seven-time Principal’s Honor roll, AP Scholar with distinction, Academic Letter with Honors.

Community Service: Lighthouse Homeless, Shelter renovation, Human Options Emergency Shelter renovation.

Interests: Snowboarding, visiting the beach.

College Plans: UC Berkeley or University of Notre Dame.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Playing in the water polo Battle of the Bay with my fellow teammates.

Sage Hill School

Zayn Biviji

School Activities: Honor Committee member, student ambassador, varsity basketball, founder/president of Sage Hill Research Club, Youth Fellow at the UCI Cancer Research Institute Hughes Laboratory.

Academic Awards: AP Scholar with Distinction, Calculus Excellence Award, UCI Research Achievement Award, Sage Hill Symposium Best Research Project in the Biological Sciences, 2015 PSAT National Merit Commended.

Scholarships: UC Berkeley Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship.

Community Service: Lead Volunteer at the Lestonnac Free Clinic in Orange, Founder/Board Officer of Sage Hill Hero Project, Judge/teacher for the Orange County Debate League.

Interests: Medicine, math/science, cooking, working out, and art.

College Plans: Study biomedical engineering at Brown University or chemical and biomolecular engineering at Johns Hopkins University. In either case, I hope to follow a pre-med track and eventually pursue medical school.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Through Spring at Sage I was able to experience New Zealand last year and participate in a service project in New Orleans the year before. My fondest memory from New Orleans was the day we were planting tall grasses on the outskirts of a major swamp to serve as future hurricane protection. Wading through its murky waters, I stepped on crab traps, was brushed by stingrays, and sunk waist deep in mud several times.


Theo Barnebey Evers

School Activities: Lightning Robotics, Sage Robotics, Junior Classical League

Internship: Boeing Summer Intern.

Community Service: e-NABLE (created prosthetic hands), Hello World (taught coding).

Interests: Engineering, building catapults.

College Plans: Deciding between Berkeley, Columbia, and Yale.

Most Memorable High School Experience: My favorite times at Sage were the long afternoons, nights, and weekends spent with Dr. Vivo and the robotics team designing, building, coding, testing, and repeatedly redesigning robots. If engineering requires learning to accept failure as part of the process, this is a lesson I’ve learned well these last years.


Lauren Fishman

School Activities: Varsity Tennis (Co-Captain), Publications (Co-Executive Editor), Literary Magazine (Managing Editor), Sage Hill Alumni Development Endowment (Co-President), Algalita Club (Founder), student ambassador, peer counselor.

Academic Awards: First and fourth place California State Science Fair; First place, Orange County Science and Engineering Fair; OCSEF Excellence in STEM Honored Speaker at UCI; First place Feature Article, CSULB Journalism Camp; Youth for Understanding Campus Ambassador Team Lead; Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, High Honors Award; National Merit Commended Scholar.

Scholarships: Youth for Understanding Community Grant Scholarship.

Community Service: Girls Inc.; teacher’s assistant, University Synagogue; Sage Hill Service Learning Program; Sage Hill Yearbooks for Youth program.

Interests: Tennis, cooking/baking, writing, traveling.

College Plans: Stanford University.

Most Memorable High School Experience: My most memorable high school experience was reaching the CIF semifinals in tennis last year. We worked so hard as a team and bonded so much as a group, and it was really incredible to make it further than anyone ever expected.


Claire Lin

School Activities: Editor in Chief of Sage Hill School Publications, student ambassador, Kiva Chapter.

Academic Awards: AP Scholar Award, OC Journalism Education Association Competition, First place in Yearbook and Copy, Southern California Journalism Education Assn. Competition, Second place in Yearbook and Copy, Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF) Level B2 Junior.

Community Service: Fish to Finance Magazine, Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance, “Tastemakers of OC.” Created a summer magazine on Asian American and Pacific Islander participation in politics. Worked with the youth education department to expand its after-school career oriented programs installed in public schools with high dropout rates.

Interests: Piano, Miss Taiwan World (2016-17): First place in Miss Taiwan World pageant in greater Los Angeles.

College Plans: Attending Brown University as part of the Class of 2021. Planning to concentrate in international relations, economics, and/or foreign languages.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Attending the National High School Journalism convention in Los Angeles last spring with my fellow editor-in-chiefs and inspiring publications advisor Konnie Krislock, who has taught me so much about the importance of fighting for student voices.


Keng Zhang

School Activities: Model United Nations, Future Business Leaders of America, Math Club, water polo, swimming, student ambassador.

Academic Awards: The President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold, 2015), AMC 10/12 Passing, AIME Qualification, Academic Decathlon Orange County, Chemistry Olympiad (School winner, 2014-2015), Future Business Leaders of America, National AP Scholar Award, Math Day at the Beach, ARML 2016.

Community Service: Irvine Police Department, Explorer Sergeant, Discovery Cube Orange County, Newport Bay Water Quality Control, Sage Hill Eco-lab.

Interests: Traveling, reading, EDM/Classical/Alternative Rock, ping-pong, running/working out.

College Plans: Deciding between Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, Georgia Tech, and UC Berkeley.

Most Memorable High School Experience: Playing dodgeball against other advisories and staying undefeated.