Spotlight on Scholars

Lucy Beckett

Name: Lucy Beckett

High School: Cosumnes Oaks High School

EGRSF Scholarship: Trudy Tallerico Memorial

College: University of California, San Diego

Career Aspiration: Judaic Studies

Who inspired you?
I was inspired by Denise Crevin, the Director of Education at my Synagogue.

What was your motivation to finish strong in your high school career?
I wanted to get into a good college to jumpstart my path to becoming a Rabbi.

What was the most rewarding part of high school?
I really enjoyed all of the relationships I made in high school, and know many of those friendships will last for years to come.

Do you have any passions that you discovered during high school?
With my involvement in band in high school, I discovered that I wanted my future career to involve music. This passion helped me in my decision to become a Rabbi.

What was your favorite activity or class that you do not regret taking or being involved with in high school?
I am extremely happy I joined my school’s Link Crew and Spirit Crew. I was able to help freshman with the transition to high school, and I was able to have lots of school spirit at the same time!

What made you choose your major for college?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be the President of the United States of America. Throughout high school, however, I grew and decided the way I wanted to change the world was not through politics, but through the teachings of ethics and morality. I also wanted my career to incorporate music, and I feel especially connected to my religion, so I’ve decided to become a Rabbi and major in Judaic studies.

What life skills learned in high school would you use during your college years?
I learned many life skills in high school, including how to interview for a job and how to apply to college.

What aspect of your college application do you believe made you stand out?
As a student, I had participated in a plethora of extracurricular activities. From sports to community service, I did a wide variety of activities while still maintaining my academics.

Do you have any advice for a student who is about to start high school?
My advice for a student about to start high school is to put yourself out there. If there’s something you think you maybe want to do, go for it! As the great Wayne Gretzky (and Michael Scott from “The Office” television show) said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Linda Nguyen

Name: Linda Nguyen

High School: Elk Grove High School

EGRSF Scholarship: XHOPE

College: University of California, Santa Cruz

Career Aspiration: Psychology

Who inspired you?
My aunt Chung Nguyen (technically Chung Padilla) for teaching me to always help the world in any way that I can, and to use my superpowers for good.

What was your motivation to finish strong in your high school career?
My Madre Tabby and Padre Billy were huge factors, but so were aunts and uncles who were always supportive in me getting good grades and my AVID Teacher Sr. Giordano for actually yelling at the class to finish strong.

What was the most rewarding part of high school?
Growing up with the same set of people and watching as together we developed into these young adults that may one day change the world.

Do you have any passions that you discovered during high school?
Precision military style dancing and the fact that I love the French Language are passions I have discovered during high school.

What was your favorite activity or class that you do not regret taking or being involved with in high school?
Precision Military dance team is my favorite activity that I won’t ever regret taking.

What made you choose your major for college?
I love learning about people and one day hope to become either a behavior analyst or psychologist so I can help those struggling in life.

What life skills learned in high school would you use during your college years?
Communication. Without communication, life is just a mess.

What aspect of your college application do you believe made you stand out?
The fact that I work so hard and succeeded in becoming an overall good character despite family circumstances that become difficult, but not impossible, to overcome.

Do you have any advice for a student who is about to start high school?
Take the time to organize yourself and your study schedule before worrying about what to wear tomorrow. In the long run, you want to remember all the hard work that led to your graduation day, and not the outfit you wore on the 57th day of school Sophomore year.

Emerald Andrus

Name: Emerald Andrus

High School: Florin High School

EGRSF Scholarship: Susan Verne Memorial Scholarship

College: University of California, Merced

Career Aspiration: Psychology

Who inspired you?
My grandmother inspires me every day. She has worked for everything she has, and has given me everything, taking me in when my mother abandoned me. She continues to keep a good attitude and a kind nature despite her circumstances. The strongest woman I know taught me to be strong and smile in the face of adversity. I want to make her proud.

What was your motivation to finish strong in your high school career?
My motivation to finish strong was to make my family proud and to be proud of myself. I was so close to the finish line, that I wouldn’t allow myself to finish in less than my best.

What was the most rewarding part of high school?
The most rewarding part of high school was the bonds I forged and the knowledge and ability to work hard. I learned resilience and mental fortitude so I could take on ever obstacle in my way.

Do you have any passions that you discovered during high school?
I discovered a passion for psychology and counseling in high school when I first took the elective.

What was your favorite activity or class that you do not regret taking or being involved with in high school?
My favorite activity in high school was being a part of the art program. I had never thought of myself as an artist but I grew and I will never regret joining the program.

What made you choose your major for college?
I chose my major because I want to help people with the problems I struggled with in my own youth. Psychology as a subject is also very interesting and will be a fulfilling career for me.

What life skills learned in high school would you use during your college years?
In high school I learned resilience and that determination can take you through the hardest of times.

What aspect of your college application do you believe made you stand out?
I believe my personal essays made my application stand out, my G.P.A. might have caught attentions but it was my words that told the reviewers who I really was.

Do you have any advice for a student who is about to start high school?
My advice would be to expect to get knocked down, just be ready to keep getting back up. Things are always going to go wrong, but don’t let life get the best of you!

Leilani Samson-Bona

Name: Leilani Samson-Bona

High School: Franklin High School

EGRSF Scholarship: Sansone Family Trust

College: University of California, Irvine

Career Aspiration: Public Health

Who inspired you?
My parents are obviously my biggest inspiration in my life. They have supported me through every aspect of my life and encouraged me through school, sports, work and more. Being the middle child of two sisters, my sisters also became a huge inspiration in my life. I looked up to my older sister as i saw her succeed and get into UC Davis, at the same time I had to learn how to be an older sister and inspire my sister that she can follow her dreams just like my sister and I.

What was your motivation to finish strong in your high school career?
I have always been self-motivated to do good in school, and although senioritis is a real thing, I could not let freshman me down. I always think about if past me would look up to future me now, so I always tell myself to never give up, push through and make yourself proud.

What was the most rewarding part of high school?
The most rewarding part of high school is the knowledge I gained and the lasting friendships I made. I love gaining knowledge about new topics because they give me new perspectives on life. I have also made amazing friendships with people at my school, and I’m going to college with my best friend!

Do you have any passions that you discovered during high school?
Throughout high school, I took classes ranging from Psychology, to AP Calculus, to stained glass, to AP Chemistry. Although each of these classes are very different, they each taught me something new and interesting. I’ve always been an artistic person so I loved to take Art classes like stained glass and ceramics, but my favorite thing to learn was math and science. Because of my love for math I decided to apply to Mathnasium, a math tutoring center, where I currently work.

What was your favorite activity or class that you do not regret taking or being involved with in high school?
My favorite activities in high school were the ones that involved my whole class getting together and having fun. In the beginning of my junior year, i participated in all the beginning of the year events including: Club rush, Senior homecoming skit, Franklin Parade, powderpuff, and of course… SPIRIT DAYS!!! These events are something you can always look back on for positive, happy memories with friends. My favorite classes in high school were all of the AP classes i took. Although i didn’t get straight A’s in all my AP classes, they challenged me and prepared me for college. AP chemistry has to be my favorite class because it was the most challenging, but because I loved the class so much, i worked hard when studying for the AP test and I passed!

What made you choose your major for college?
I chose public health because it is a great major to lead me to my future career goal, to become a nurse! I also plan to minor in something, possibly business.

What life skills learned in high school would you use during your college years?
I definitely learned that school is not solely for on academics. School is a place where education comes first, but should be balanced with having fun with friends, going to school events, and creating a high school experience. In these four years, everybody is bound to learn something about themselves whether they choose to or not. However, not everybody is guaranteed an amazing high school experience because that is a choice, but it is definitely a choice that you should make. Choose to take a risk and put yourself out there. Unfortunately, I feel like i haven’t take advantage of my entire high school experience, so in college I am determined to create the best experience for myself. The biggest life skill I learn in high school that I will continue to apply to all aspects of my life is learning how balance school, work, sports, friends, family in a way where that makes me happy.

What aspect of your college application do you believe made you stand out?
I believe my personal insight questions made me stand out the most in my college applications. I spent weeks writing, rewriting, and perfecting each essay in a way that expressed all aspects of myself and my life. I chose to write about my Instagram clothing business, traveling, my greatest challenge, and a medical summer camp I participated in. I also believe that my long term commitments to soccer (15 years) and volunteering for American Cancer Society (5 years) is also something that added value to my application.

Do you have any advice for a student who is about to start high school?
For anybody about to start high school, I hope that you choose to participate in school activities and put yourself out there! My favorite quote is “fake it till you make it”, because there were definitely times when I knew i would be way outside my comfort zone and have no idea what I was getting myself into, but I acted like I could so I did, and I did it for the experience and the friends i would make along the way. Your high school experience goes by fast so make the most out of it. Also take advantage of all the academic preparation your high school provides for you, build a relationship with your counselor and constantly check out the career center because there are many opportunities available that you may not know about, but there will always be people in school who will help you find your way to success.

Jacob Juico

Name: Jacob Juico

High School: Laguna Creek High School

EGRSF Scholarship: Elizabeth Pinkerton Family and History Happened Here

College: University of California, Santa Cruz

Career Aspiration: Psychology

Who inspired you?
My mother, Jesus Christ and God inspired me.

What was your motivation to finish strong in your high school career?
My mother and my faith in God motivates me to finish my high school career strong. The realization that someday I would be successful in the real world by pursuing a career that would help others around me also helped motivate me.

What was the most rewarding part of high school?
The most rewarding part of high school was becoming a part of the top 10 for my graduating class, as well as receiving letters of acceptance from 13 of the 17 universities I applied to.

Do you have any passions that you discovered during high school?
I found a passion for watching volleyball games in my senior year of high school.

What was your favorite activity or class that you do not regret taking or being involved with in high school?
A.P. United States Government and Politics.

What made you choose your major for college?
In my sophomore year of high school, I took AP psychology and fell in love with it. It made me want to pursue a major in it because I found it to be fascinating and really cool.

What life skills learned in high school would you use during your college years?
The ability to work hard and learn from my mistakes has served me well in high school and will serve me well in college. In high school, I also learned to just be myself and not care about what others believe of me.

What aspect of your college application do you believe made you stand out?
My college essays on my life experiences made me really stand out.

Do you have any advice for a student who is about to start high school?
Enjoy the journey and enjoy all of it, make mistakes and learn from them, have fun, say what you need to say to that “special someone,” work hard in high school, find something that inspires you, and surround yourself with people who will lift you up. Most importantly, trust in the Lord and understand that everything He does is for a reason. Understand that He is always there to listen to your prayers and that if it is in His will, He will make it happen.

Gabriela Hernandez

Name: Ganriela Hernandez

High School: Monterey Trail High School

EGRSF Scholarship: Interwest Consulting Group

College: University of California, Berkeley

Career Aspiration: Sociology

Who inspired you?
My mother inspired me. She has always been my inspiration to do better and stay strong in everything I do.

What was your motivation to finish strong in your high school career?
I just remembered that I worked so hard in high school, and I did not want it all to be in vain by giving up.

What was the most rewarding part of high school?
The most rewarding part of high school were the life lessons. Of course the curriculum was rewarding, but learning how to be responsible and how to judge people’s character was the best lesson I could have ever learned.

Do you have any passions that you discovered during high school?
I discovered my passion of working with people. I began volunteering, working with children, and giving speeches in high school. Which I discovered I truly enjoyed and inspired me to pursue a career in human assistance.

What was your favorite activity or class that you do not regret taking or being involved with in high school?
My favorite activity in high school was joining my cheer team. It brought me out my shell and helped me meet new people.

What made you choose your major for college?
I chose my major because I wanted to set myself apart from all the other people wanting to be a lawyer and going the political science route. Just in case I decided to change my career choice I needed a major that was universal for whatever I decide.

What life skills learned in high school would you use during your college years?
I will definitely use my organizational skills. I have definitely learned how to manage my workload, tasks, and social life. In college when I’m on my own, knowing how to keep my life together will be very important.

What aspect of your college application do you believe made you stand out?
I believe my service to trip to Mexico and my blueprint for the suitcase drive I planned for foster youth made me stand out.

Do you have any advice for a student who is about to start high school?
I believe the most important thing to do is start thinking now about what you’re going to do for college. Meaning scholarships are a good place to start, but most importantly think about what you have to do to get in; meaning what you are going to do to set yourself apart. The easiest formula to follow would be to find a major problem you are passionate about and then create a solution for it.

Kelly Griess

Name: Kelly Griess

High School: Pleasant Grove High School

EGRSF Scholarship: Walt Davis Memorial

College: Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Career Aspiration: Biology with a Pre-Med Track

Who inspired you?
Both my parents and my siblings because i saw what great things they accomplished.

What was your motivation to finish strong in your high school career?
I wanted to finish strong in order to prove to myself that I could persevere and keep my good grades. I also wanted colleges to see that I could keep my grades.

What was the most rewarding part of high school?
Being recognized for my accomplishments.

Do you have any passions that you discovered during high school?
I loved science and problem solving. I discovered that being in the medical field would be perfect for me.

What was your favorite activity or class that you do not regret taking or being involved with in high school?
I loved taking ceramics because even though it wasn’t math or science I loved bringing out my creative side and doing something new.

What made you choose your major for college?
I’ve always loved science and Biology is the basis for medicine.

What life skills learned in high school would you use during your college years?
Time management and communication.

What aspect of your college application do you believe made you stand out?
My personal essay because it told my story and gave some insight about my passions and dreams.

Do you have any advice for a student who is about to start high school?
Have fun! Make the most of it and be involved in your school. The more involved you are, the more people you meet and the more memories you get to make. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and go in to your teacher’s rooms for some extra tutoring.

Alexander Lopez

Name: Alex Lopez

High School: Rio Cazadero High School

EGRSF Scholarship: EGUSD Employees Scholarship

College: Cosumnes River College

Career Aspiration: Film

Who inspired you?
My mother is a big inspiration to me. She suffered greatly from birth defects her entire life. In 2015, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to take care of my brother and me as a single parent after the passing of my father that same year. Despite what she has endured, she remains hardworking and optimistic.

What was your motivation to finish strong in your high school career?
Once I realized my potential for academic success, I felt an obligation to myself to live up to it.

What was the most rewarding part of high school?
For me, the most rewarding part of high school would be the connections I made with students and teachers.

Do you have any passions that you discovered during high school?
I discovered how much I enjoy writing poetry from a school held writing contest.

What was your favorite activity or class that you do not regret taking or being involved with in high school?
I was a member of Friday Night Live. This club gave me valuable skills in organizing and communication.

What made you choose your major for college?
I’ve wanted to pursue a career in the film industry for some time now. The video production class at Rio furthered my interest in the field.

What life skills learned in high school would you use during your college years?
The ability to finish necessary work even when you don’t feel like doing it is vital to any form of academic success. I believe this is the most valuable life skill I’ve gained from school because it’s applicable to many areas of life.

What aspect of your college application do you believe made you stand out?
I believe the honors and awards I received throughout high school.

Do you have any advice for a student who is about to start high school?
Do the work given to you as soon as possible as procrastination is the biggest threat to academic success. The next thing I would suggest is to cultivate relationships with your teachers, not only will it make time spent in class that much more enjoyable, the advice and experiences they have to offer have in my experience helped me grow as an individual. Lastly, have fun.

Tracy Ly

Name: Tracy Ly

High School: Sheldon High School

EGRSF Scholarship: Elk Grove Citizen of the Year

College: University of California, Davis

Career Aspiration: Biological Sciences

Who inspired you?
Mrs. Kosney has deeply inspired me in so many aspects – from work ethics to the soft skills. She has been a huge role model for me because she showcased what it meant to be hard-working and passionate about one’s work. Despite all that, she still remains humble and treats everyone with respect and empathy.

What was your motivation to finish strong in your high school career?
My mother is definitely my strongest motivation. She has worked so hard all of her life without much rest, and to show gratitude to her, I wanted to do the best I could academically.

What was the most rewarding part of high school?
The most rewarding part would definitely be the social aspect, as well as finding one’s own identity. As we become more like young adults, we realize what we value in life. As for the social aspect, being with friends that you see in your classes and day-to-day life is fun. That won’t be common in college.

Do you have any passions that you discovered during high school?
I discovered a huge passion for science and for interacting with others. Through the Biotechnology Academy, I was able to harness a lot of lab skills and experience working with various equipment that other student usually don’t see until college. I also realized that I am a huge people-person.

What was your favorite activity or class that you do not regret taking or being involved with in high school?
I do not ever regret doing Science Olympiad. It elevated my work ethics to another level, and the reward in the end was well worth it. I had so much fun learning about astronomy, satellites, and geologic mapping. (When will I ever get to learn that?)

What made you choose your major for college?
The Biotech academy has impacted me to love science. Through a research lab internship, as much as I had fun, I realized that I wanted to do something that interacted with various people. I decided to settle for Biological Sciences for now, and to keep my path open to different occupations that will involve biology.

What life skills learned in high school would you use during your college years?
Through high school, I learned that it was important for you to set your own path. As much as it can be difficult, I learned to take chances and embark on something that can be challenging. This will make me be a better student or person, and I will definitely try out new things in college.

What aspect of your college application do you believe made you stand out?
I believe my essays really made me stand out. I wrote about how I was more than just my grades and extracurricular activities – I wrote about my mother and how she impacted me, and how Buddhism impacted me. I thought it was different and yet, powerful for the admissions staff to realize who I was as a person, not a student.

Do you have any advice for a student who is about to start high school?
Enjoy it as much as you can. You may feel like you want to graduate as soon as possible (trust me, I understand), but youth is something that doesn’t last forever. Have fun, but don’t forget while you’re there. Try something new and take the opportunities while you can. You never know where it will lead you.

Timara Fifer

Name: Timara Fifer

High School: Valley High School

EGRSF Scholarship: Earle Smith Memorial

College: California State University, Chico

Career Aspiration: Public Administration

Who inspired you?
Throughout my life, my parents have always been there for me and provided me motivation when I needed it. Their struggles and their strengths together inspire me to reach stars and never give up even if asteroids crash into me.

What was your motivation to finish strong in your high school career?
My family’s future was my biggest motivation to finish high school strong. As the first person to go to college in my family, I am paving the way for my siblings and our future generations. To be the start of my family’s wealth and ascent from poverty is an honor that I hold dearly.

What was the most rewarding part of high school?
The most rewarding part of high school was forming the many connections and friendships. I was able to meet many people and explore different ways to improve not only myself, but also my community.

Do you have any passions that you discovered during high school?
In high school, I discovered a love for foreign languages and a knack for helping my community. Learning Spanish in high school is hard, sure, but do not give up. In both of my passions, if I had given up on my pursuit, I would mainly be giving up on myself.

What was your favorite activity or class that you do not regret taking or being involved with in high school?
I was a part of Health TECH Academy for 3 years of high school. In taking the required courses I was better able to connect to and help my community and its members.

What made you choose your major for college?
I am going into college with an open mind, but I know that I have a love and passion for my community and I aim to better it, one way or another. As a result, I am starting to study Public Administration at CSU Chico.

What life skills learned in high school would you use during your college years?
I learned that nothing is possible if I do not maintain self-care. Without self-care, I will not be able to do both the things that I love and the things that I want to do. Thus, I learned the skill of self-care.

What aspect of your college application do you believe made you stand out?
I learned that nothing is possible if I do not maintain self-care. Without self-care, I will not be able to do both the things that I love and the things that I want to do. Thus, I learned the skill of self-care.

Do you have any advice for a student who is about to start high school?
For the new students: Enjoy high school, but know that there will always be a time for fun and socialization. The workload may be frightening and the teachers may not support you, but at the end of the day it is up to you to sit down and just do the work. Even if you cannot finish the work at first, never give up and keep trying as eventually you will be able to do it with no help. High school may only be four years, but those four years go by really fast so do not waste them on trivial things. Use high school as a stepping stone to better yourself, not hinder it.

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