The Kiva Senior Leaders
Sammi Pioli, Charlene Louie, Precious Listana, Ilene Jackson, and Gavi Thompson are seniors at Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Francisco, California. They are the leaders of the Kiva Carnival senior class service learning project and the Kiva Microfinance Club. Partnering with Kiva U, Kiva Zip, and local businesses, they regularly lead initiatives at Sacred Heart Cathedral to raise funding for and awareness about the potential for Microfinance to battle poverty, and generate greater gender equity, economic and political stability. Charlene is a Polynesian dancer and business woman to be; Ilene a dancer and interviewer extraordinaire; Precious a rep on the SF Youth Commission and cross country runner; Sammi an animal lover, conservationist and Social Studies wiz; and Gavi an environmentalist and outdoor trip leader. All of them are passionate about providing greater opportunities and access to resources for others, locally and globally.
Aleksi Arostegui is a senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco, California. Born with a medical condition, Aleksi Arostegui, a thriving senior, has experienced significant drawbacks and misfortunes as well as achievements during his studies at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Along his journey he has discovered his aptitude for science and engineering, both of which he intends to study in college. As a personal venture, Aleksi has developed a biomedical stabilizer to correct a weakness in the Nuss surgical implant.
Christian Wilburn is a senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco, California. In the fourth grade, Christian was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder. Christian’s prognosis was grim - he would either not survive or need to live in a “bubble.” Nevertheless, Christian was determined to return to school and a “normal life.” Within a year, Christian returned to school. Motivated by his hardships, he pursued his passions with renewed fervor. Today, Christian is a 4-year varsity basketball player, a dedicated member of the school choir, an avid student of yoga, and a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. Christian has utilized yoga and many other resiliency tools to battle his physical hardships and to successfully pursue the life he loves.
Hallie Baker is a senior at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California. Inspired by her own personal life experiences as a young African American, Hallie will share a message about the complexities and unfortunate realities associated with ethnic stereotyping. A statement from Hallie: “I want this message to reach their ears and tell them that there is nothing wrong with being who you are because other people do not define you. Only you can define who you are and what you want to make of yourself.”
Katherine Pan is a freshman at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco, California. Katherine has a myriad of interests which include technology, teratology, speech, debate, and dance. However, the one activity she dedicates herself to the most is archery. Katherine spends 4-6 days a week training and shooting archery, and competes in competitions across the country. Beyond simply shooting arrows, Katherine sees archery, specifically “The Archer’s Paradox,” as a metaphor for high school and life in general.
Katie Emanuel is senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco, California. Katie has always been interested in activism and gender dynamics, but recent years have found her looking more at how her peers interact with each other, and how the world interacts with her peers. Katie has observed a culture that appropriates the contributions of teenage girls while disregarding the source; a society that invalidated passions, diminished esteem, and instilled in these girls a pervasive strain of internalized misogyny. A statement from Katie: “I hope this talk can shed some light on that phenomenon and reveal some way we can stand together to support a demeaned demographic.”
Mary "Shay" McWeeny
Mary "Shay" McWeeney is a senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco, California. Shay has a love for politics, is an active member in the feminist movement, and is deeply passionate about building community awareness around issues of rape culture in America, misogyny and general sexism towards women, specifically youth in urban settings. Given the urban location of Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, Shay believes that building awareness and community among her female peers is essential. Shay's ethos is grounded in the Roseanne Barr quote: “The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.”
Michael Chichioco is a junior at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, California. Living with Tourette’s Syndrome, Michael has had to persevere through many obstacles presented by his condition, and has developed a deep passion for sharing his story and for inspiring others who might struggle in similar ways. A statement from Michael: “Although I've been faced with many obstacles so far, I've always found a way to venture past these obstacles. Every time I share my story to anyone, my confidence level rises and I slowly start to accept who I am no matter what differences I have!”
Rebecca Harvey is a senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Motivated by her love for poetry and creative writing, Rebecca is head of the school's literary magazine and helps to organize SHC's annual poetry slam. She is a player in the SHC Varsity basketball program, and spends the majority of her free time reading and attempting to write poetry. Rebecca avidly follows the spoken word movement, and hopes to bring the power of performance poetry to the TEDxYouth@SHC event.
Sadie Murray is a junior at Albany High School in Albany, California. Passionate about literature, Sadie discovered the world of FanFiction in middle school, and since then has written both FanFiction and her own original works. Since 2012, Sadie has successfully participated in the National Novel Writing Month, a program challenging writers to write a novel of at least fifty thousand words in a month. A statement from Sadie: “I am someone who is deeply passionate about my interests - like writing - and being able to practice writing techniques while building a repertoire with a ready made community who shared some of these passions has been invaluable to me because I did not always fit in and I did not always feel like there was someone who wanted to listen to my ideas.”
Steve Povlitz is a senior at San Francisco University High School in San Francisco, California. A ferocious learner, Steven successfully taught himself Hypnosis last summer, subsequently creating a viral YouTube video titled “Hypnosis for Beginners” that has over 60 thousand views. Since his introduction to the topic of hypnosis, Steven has delved deep into his study, including effects that the skill can have on sports, art, and medicine.
Tara Downey is a sophomore at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco, California. Tara enjoys reading, writing, and connecting with friends online. Growing up in the Bay Area, Tara has been fostered by other people to awareness of how gender, the perception people have of it, and the roles it has in our society affect people's lives. Tara hopes to change people's opinions on it and help people open their minds.