Andie has always loved storytelling. She has a passion for filmmaking and can be found adventuring to new places with a camera. Andie loves learning more about other people and enjoys being around her friends. Andie has always been big on compassion and empathy. When her mom was diagnosed with cancer her freshman year, she felt as though she couldn’t begin to understand what her mom was going through. She wants to thank her mom for giving her the courage to give a TEDx Talk and for never letting anyone tell her to “stay strong.”
Claire spends her time writing, reading, and pole vaulting and would like to become a writer or a neuro-opthamologist. She is interested in math, science, and the humanities and wants to spent her life doing something that will make an impact on the world. Since she learned how to write, she has been captivated by the ability to create new worlds with just a few sentences. If not at school or pole vaulting in Simi Valley, Claire can be found reading yet another book, contemplating a new novel idea, or hanging out at the movie theatre with friends. She would like to thank her mom and dad for reading all her stories from the very beginning, and her brother for always making her laugh.
Emma seeks to change the world and inform the public about topics not many know the truth about. She hopes to major in environmental engineering, biology, or marine biology, later taking on the role of an activist of wildlife. Whether she is talking about brain injuries or endangered species she will always strive for change. She is an avid worker and a competitor for Thousand Oaks High School’s Mock Trial Team, and competes in DECA as a member of Thousand Oaks’ EThOS Entrepreneurship Academy. She is also a master of ugly faces. She’d like to say a big thank you to her mom and dad for always supporting her and to her brother for always pushing her and inspiring her to take every opportunity that may arise.
Gus has always spoken out on whatever it is he is passionate about. This desire to speak out and have great presence in everything he does has translated to a passion for both public speaking and helping others. He participates in performing arts and political activism clubs at school to help fulfill these passions. Some of his favorite clubs include the YMCA’s Youth and Government, Amnesty International, Hands on Earth, and Girl Up. He’s excited to move forward as an activist and speaker in these programs for the rest of high school. He’d like to thank his parents for their support and help with his speaking skills. He’d also like to thank his sister for inspiring him to make a difference in this world.
Hannah has always loved words. In her free time, she enjoys flipping through the thesaurus and writing down random words that she finds underused and thought-provoking. Hannah loves watching TV with her sister because they over-analyze everything the characters say/do and scream mean things at the screen. She also religious practice the art of crude, dry, somewhat controversial humor. At school, Hannah was an editor for her school newspaper, The Lancer, for two and a half years. She enjoyed writing for the opinion section because she loves having ability to spread her views/ways of thinking to a large audience. Hannah would like to thank her mother for always encouraging her to make every day a great one, her siblings for showing her that it is possible to bounce back from adversity, her grandpa for teaching her to always speak up and ask questions, and her Bama for being her best friend.
James likes spinning toys, the yoyo, has been a central focus for him since he started in 6th grade. He has left California on numerous occasions to complete in state, regional, and national-level competitions and has even judged some smaller tournaments. James is also chasing the Full IB diploma at NPHS and writes for his school newspaper, the Panther Prowler. On the side, James likes to play strategic card games, read up on the news, and watch funny videos on YouTube.
Jamila is a Dawoodi Borah Muslim young woman who began to wear her traditional rida on the last day of eighth grade and wears it everyday in high school. She hopes that others will feel empowered to treat individuals from different backgrounds with the respect they deserve. She is a proud member of the EthOS Entrepreneurship Academy, and loves every kind of sport.
Kelvin is a student who went almost his whole life without knowing where he was from. He fights for the things he believes in. He is dangerously passionate about profoundly impacting underprivileged people. Kelvin enjoys skateboarding, watching YouTube videos, and changing lives. He also wishes he could play the piano.
Lark is a deaf dancer, and has been for most of his life. Lark enjoys dancing and has a strong desire to support those in the community with disabilities. Lark speaks locally at elementary, middle, and high schools to students about how to deal with fellow students who differ from them, and how everyone is the same, yet different. Lark will major in zoology and hopes to go into veterinary medicine, with a minor in dance. Lark would like to thank his family and friends for providing constant support and for helping him get to where he is today.
Maya digs nature. Her favorite place in the world is Yosemite National Park, and her second favorite place is the CVUSD school board meeting room. She wants to study biology or environmental science in college and at some point in her life would like to dabble in the park ranger field. Maya likes to show off her collection of captions for the New Yorker Caption Contest which she has been participating in for about two years, even though she has never won or even placed. At school, Maya is the proud co-president of a club called Hands on Earth and writes for her school newspaper. She also loves to tie dye, and to sell that tye die for a humble profit. Maya would like to thank her family for their infinite love.
Ever since she experimented with snails in elementary school, Maya has been in love with science. Chemistry is her favorite subject because she considers it as the foundational platform to integrate different scientific disciplines. She is president of Health Occupational Students of America, member of Science Olympiad, and was publicist of Computer Programing Unlimited. Her favorite place is Westminster Free Clinic, where she is fortunate to be a medical intern. She is thankful for her family, her chemistry teacher Ms. O’Neill, and the community she had found at Westminster Free Clinic. Maya hopes to use her knowledge in science to help others. She also plays tennis and sings in choir for Newbury Park High School.
Monique is fascinated by why things are the way they are and how they came to be that way. Although she has yet to cement her career path, Monique is considering a multitude of fields, primarily law, medicine, and journalism. Monique is determined to challenge herself in any capacity she can. She hopes to one day profoundly impact the life of at least one other person. She loves to read, work out, make spotify playlists, and be with her friends. Monique would like to thank her great, big, fat Russian family, particularly her mom, grandfather and sister for always being there to put things into perspective.
Prarthana began learning BharataNatyam at the age of six, as a disciple of the Shakti School of BharataNatyam. BharataNatyam is an ancient form of Indian classical dance that revolves around an interpretive narration of mythology, spiritual ideas and themes from Hinduism. She has participated in various productions and performances in Southern California and she completed her solo dance debut at the Scherr Forum Theater, Thousand Oaks, in August 2017. She has grown to embrace the art form and the freedom of expression that it provides. Apart from being a devoted dancer, she is also a field hockey player, staff writer for the school newspaper, and a talented pianist. She hopes to continue her dance through college and beyond.
Sam has been performing his whole life. He began playing piano at six years of age with his cousin and quickly discovered that he could accompany his own voice. With the support of parents and family, Sam has been taking countless acting, voice, and dance lessons since. He auditions for film and TV and shares a love for the stage. Sam began writing songs to express his words the best way he knew how: a career in the performing arts, taking part in both stage and film.
Werkneh is from a rural village in Ethiopia. As a small child, his hands became deformed due to the growth of massive tumors. An American doctor met Werkneh in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying and Destitute and was able to get him to Los Angeles for life-saving hand surgery. Werkneh looks forward to becoming an American citizen someday and is motivated to continually challenge himself so he can make a positive impact on society. He’s interested in studying business, medicine, or both, and he hopes to travel around the world to accomplish his dreams of making the world a better place. Werkneh loves playing soccer, running, swimming, and doing improv. He is grateful for the opportunities he’s been given and dedicates his TEDx talk to all the loving moms, dads, doctors, medical staff, teachers, volunteers, friends, and family that will be in his heart always.