These teens are tops with Modesto mayor

Bee Staff ReportsJune 11, 2014 

Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh has named 33 students as this year’s Mayor’s Top Teens. The program honors teens who have demonstrated a strong commitment to serving others, overcome adversity or unique obstacles in life, achieved a significant accomplishment, or served as positive role models for their peers.

The following are excerpts from biographies used in selecting the honorees. Sixteen of the students are featured today; the other 17 were profiled last week in Buzzz.

Eron Phal – Modesto High School junior

One of 10 children in his family, Eron was described by his nominator as being “loving and kind.” His positive self-image has helped others to learn tolerance and acceptance. Every day, Eron encourages those around him to adopt his “10-second moment” philosophy: to take a small moment in time and brighten someone’s day with a smile or a good deed.

In addition to being an accomplished vocalist and dancer, Eron is a dedicated musician, playing the guitar, drums and bass guitar. He participates in theater and has been cast in three plays. He recently put his talents on display, winning his high school talent show. Despite his many pursuits, Eron maintains an outstanding level of academic excellence.

Glenda “Mili” Rodriguez – Modesto High School senior

Mili entered the International Baccalaureate program just two weeks after her father’s funeral. Despite the emotional challenges, she continues to thrive and keep the pace in this rigorous program.

While serving as a student body officer, she finds time to participate in numerous clubs and organizations, including Aca-Deca, Human Relations, Project Hope, Girl Scouts, MYSA Soccer and confirmation classes. Mili volunteers as a math tutor and helps at the Delta Blood Bank, Modesto Marathon, Wilson Elementary and V&R Business Services. She has received several awards and accolades, including recognition as a Hispanic Scholar (2014); an IB pin (2013); a Bilingual Proficiency Award; a Social Science Award (2012); recognition by the National Society of High School Scholars (2011-2013); a CACE Essay Contest Award (2011); and the Avid School Spirit Award. She also makes caring for her severely autistic brother a priority.

Jairius Matthews – Modesto High School senior

Jairius works on many different projects with the Salvation Army. She is very active in her church youth group. She has been involved in the AVID program all four of her high school years.

Singing is a passion and she has been recognized in this area, most notably as outstanding worship artist. Jairius also plays numerous musical instruments. She’s earned awards in performing arts and sports alike. She lends her leadership and passion for the arts to ongoing camps by volunteering for the programs in any way she can.

Jose Martinez – Central Catholic High School junior

Jose cares deeply for those who have less than he does. His projects include volunteering through St. Vincent de Paul, feeding the homeless, cleaning up his former elementary school and repainting its basketball courts.

Jose is consistently on the honor roll and all CCHS recognition lists. He is enrolled in AP classes, part of ASB leadership and has been selected as the Central Catholic Ambassador to new students. His extracurricular activities include football, track, wrestling and he is currently enrolled in dance.

His dream is to graduate from West Point Academy and start his own engineering firm.

Samantha Adan-Mallon – Beyer High School senior

Samantha volunteers at her church youth group and feels that by serving her community, she can make a positive impact on others. She is a leader and teacher to her peers. She plays soccer, dances and is involved in several campus clubs, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Her passion is the performing arts and their availability to students. She has been involved in drama throughout high school, and when the program was to be cut from the budget her senior year, she became an outspoken advocate and battled for something she believed in.

Angelique Salinas – Enochs High School senior

Angelique consistently earned high academic achievements at her high school, most notably receiving the AP scholar award, alongside equally impressive SAT and ACT scores. She also plays basketball, volleyball and varsity softball. Angelique was vice president of the Future Business Leaders of America and the commissioner of the Autism Awareness Club. She has been accepted to multiple colleges, including Portland State University, which she is strongly considering.

Angelique participates in the youth ministry at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. She devotes her time to several community cleanup activities and actively promotes awareness for victims of suicide.

Rosemary Elias – Enochs High School senior

Rosemary believes that people define their own existence – and she is determined that her existence will mean something.

She is an excellent student and the recipient of multiple presidential academic awards at her high school, where she also is volleyball MVP and captain. She also participates in basketball and gymnastics, competing for her school.

Church is a major influence in her life. Along with her mother, Rosemary teaches the Assyrian language to children at St. Zaia Assyrian Church of the East. She also enjoys participating in fundraising for the church and serving meals to the homeless. When not participating in church or school, Rosemary can be found at Modesto Junior College, where she works as a chemistry technician.

Kimberley Sisk – Valley Charter High School junior

Kimberley feels that she owes much of her success to those who sacrificed for her – a fact that she is not likely to forget.

Thanks to the support of friends, family, school faculty and her church, Kimberley overcame many challenges to become a stellar student at her high school, where she is enrolled in multiple AP courses. She is known and admired for her confidence and her ever-present smile. Her ability to endure and overcome life’s challenges has made her an inspiration.

Kimberley volunteers at the Modesto Gospel Mission Church. She also dedicates her personal time after school to helping other students succeed.

Margaret Von Rotz – Modesto High School senior

After losing a close family member to cancer, Margaret channeled all of her energy into her education, with the goal of assisting children who have been diagnosed with cancer.

She was a full International Baccalaureate student both junior and senior years. She passed the SEAL Multilingual Proficiency certification in Spanish, an exam offered by the Stanislaus County Office of Education, and was awarded a certificate in bilingual proficiency in 2013 for this achievement. She also plays varsity softball and participates in both Project Hope and Mock Trial.

Margaret volunteers as a camp counselor at vacation Bible school. She also is an avid dancer and has performed traditional Filipino dances at the Gallo Center for the Arts on behalf of the Filipino-American Community Organization, of which she is a member. Margaret was a member of the California Scholarship Federation during her full tenure at Modesto High. She is a junior volunteer at Memorial Medical Center.

Caitlyn Wherry – Big Valley Christian High School junior

Caitlyn’s list of accomplishments is astounding. She is an American Legion Award recipient, a member of the National Honor Society, the SCOE Leadership Academy, founder and president of her high school’s Spanish Club, president of the Kiernan Klovers 4-H Club, and a teen leader for the Service Learning Project. In 4-H, she leads and teaches in multiple subjects and has won awards both for cooking and showmanship.

Caitlyn created the No Kid Hungry club at Big Valley. Partnering with NKH and Backpack with a Blessing, her dream is to end childhood hunger in all of Stanislaus County.

Caitlyn is a member of her school drama club. She also plays volleyball and was the basketball team captain last year. In March, she went to the Dominican Republic to assist underprivileged children.

Alex Sanders – Modesto High School senior

Alex loves to go the extra mile. He has competed in cross country and track and field for his entire high school tenure, taking first place in 2012 in his first marathon. Alex also participates in Mock Trial as a pretrial attorney for both the defense and the prosecution. He is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program and is the recipient of an EDDIE Award, given to those students who exhibit outstanding character and moral fortitude. He has received several awards for his art, including an Artel Award.

Alex volunteers as a “puppy raiser” for Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael. His current student is a golden retriever named Hastings. Alex also volunteered with the Modesto Marathon and the Shadowchase Running Club. Alex has served as a member of the student body, both as director of activities and as senior class secretary.

Anthony Borroel – Enochs High School junior

Anthony investigated his rights under the No Child Left Behind Act and petitioned to attend Enochs High School, where he has applied his determination to his academic career. His positive attitude and energy make him a strong role model among his peers.

Anthony volunteers regularly with Hanshaw Middle School, donating his time to the main office and various after-school programs. He is a recipient of the EDDIE award, given to those students who exhibit outstanding character and moral fortitude. Anthony is in the anti-tobacco PHAST club, which also serves to promote health and active living, as well as the South Modesto Youth leadership group.

Brendan Bedolla – Central Catholic High School senior

Brendan possesses natural leadership ability, as demonstrated through his involvement in his school’s Technology Club, where he serves as vice president.

Brendan is known for helping his fellow students with homework and larger school projects. He also demonstrates his academic prowess with the Academic Decathlon Team and has been a WAC Scholar Athlete four straight years. Brendan has played with the school tennis team through his tenure at CCHS and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Mattie Krop – Johansen High School senior

Mattie is concurrently enrolled in multiple AP courses and ranks sixth among a competitive class of 378 students. She recently won a scholarship from the American Heritage Essay Contest, a countywide competition on the topic of First Amendment rights. She participates in multiple clubs, including Mock Trial and Key Club. Upon entering Key Club and Johansen, Mattie impressed her peers so much they immediately elected her president. She then organized and participated in a variety of community aid projects, accumulating more than 200 service hours. She was later selected to attend RYLA, a Rotary-sponsored camp for student leaders, where she was honored for her work in Key Club.

In her spare time, Mattie tutors other students in subjects such as biology and calculus. She wishes to acquire a graduate degree in chemical engineering, with the intent of pursuing a career in biomechanics and chemical engineering.

Spencer Stark – Central Catholic High School senior

Spencer views his academic success and subsequent acceptance to college as his greatest accomplishments. He participated in basketball, track and field and choir, but his greatest love was football. As team captain, Spencer helped Central Catholic take the Division IV State Championship, winning multiple awards in the process, including the Golden Scholar Athlete, the WAC Scholar Athlete, and the Central Catholic We Award. All awards recognized his success both on and off the field.

Spencer volunteers his time for several causes, devoting most of his time to Sinclear Elementary School and Standiford Place, a retirement community. He is also a member of the CCHS Key Club.

Shu-I “Amy” Shen – Central Catholic High School senior

A native of Taiwan, Amy has struggled to learn English since moving to the United States in the 10th grade. She dedicates hours to translating text and rewriting class notes, but with joy and efficiency. Never settling for competency, always striving for excellence, Amy is truly inspiring. In spite of her challenges, she has won several academic awards.

Amy demonstrated her academic excellence publicly in the Science Olympiad and the Math Bowl. As a member of her school’s Beta Club, she holds enrichment classes for college application exams and happily lends her time to other students, tutoring them in multiple subjects. Amy participates in numerous other clubs, including Key Club, S Club, ASB, Pencil of Promise and NHS. She has volunteered more than 200 hours at Doctors Medical Center, where she trains volunteers.

Amy loves golf, but she also is an accomplished musician, singer, artist and public speaker.

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