Meet the Students of 2004


Erika came to our country from Mexico at age 13. Two years later, she was awarded the President's Award for Educational Achievement and then in 2002 she received the Academic Excellence Award in Geometry. Erika is a very motivated student who is completing high school in three years so that she can start Lake Tahoe Community College next fall. She is an excellent role model for second language learners as she never gives up when given a difficult task.

Ariana has a heart for helping others and the environment. She has spent countless hours volunteering at the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center all these four years. She also volunteers her time to the Forest Service and to other community agencies. Few people know that Ariana lost her mother at the tender age of two and that her younger brother died two years later. She is a very mature and independent young lady who dances, races BMX bikes, and snowboards. She is also an excellent student and will attend UC Santa Cruz next fall.

After the death of Ransom's mother four years ago, his determination to succeed carried him to a 4.18 GPA. Ransom has a passion for education, and for volunteerism. He has volunteered for canned food drives, toy drives, campus cleanup days, and the Lake Tahoe Marathon. Ransom has also challenged himself by taking numerous classes at Lake Tahoe Community College. Ransom has become a model student who excels in Music, Mathematics, English, and Science. He is also a Cadet and Lieutenant Commander in NJROTC. Ransom will attend California Maritime Academy this fall.

Cassandra came from Mexico in the eighth grade knowing no English. Cassandra was immediately recognized by her teachers as being very intelligent and a very hard worker. As an AVID student, Cassandra has pushed herself to take a rigorous college prep course of study that includes Advanced Placement and advanced subjects, especially math and science. She graduates with a 3.29 GPA, and has been accepted to Sacramento State University where she has declared Biology as her major. Cassandra eventually plans to become a physician.

As a child in Mexico, Maria had to quit elementary school because her family could not afford even public transportation to get her there. Still, Maria has always had a passion to learn and improve herself and when she came to South Lake Tahoe two and a half years ago she was thrilled at the opportunities presented her. Maria earned straight "A”s in all her classes last year with the exception of a "B" in math. This year, Maria has participated in school activities, is a teacher's assistant, and continues to maintain a "B" average. She is an extremely dedicated student and will attend Lake Tahoe Community College next fall to study Business.

Peter leaves our school having participated in three sports and three clubs. Peter has helped coach little league. He has tutored students in all academic areas. Peter is a Governor's Scholar and a Golden State Exam recipient. He has taken accelerated courses every summer since his freshman year. Peter was nationally recognized by the AVID program this year, and consented to having his picture and quotation on the national AVID brochure. What is most remarkable about Peter is that he is the first in his family to go to college and that his experiences prove that you are what you make of yourself. Peter will attend USC.

Last year Vilma's family was thrown into chaos: her father was arrested and later incarcerated, and her mother was forced to support a family of four alone. Vilma admits that she lost her academic focus and became very distracted, failing Chemistry, Algebra and American Literature. It seemed that her family's struggles of fleeing war-torn Nicaragua to achieve the American dream were quickly slipping away. Then Vilma assessed her own failings and decided that she would do everything possible to improve her academic record. This year, Vilma has earned four A's and two B's in AP and college-prep courses. She has been accepted to every CSU she applied to and will attend San Diego State in the fall.

When Matthew was a sophomore his father lost a difficult and long battle with cancer. When Matt entered his junior year, he made a commitment to himself that he would continue the college-prep goals his parents instilled in him at a very young age. Matthew has been active in South Tahoe High School athletics. He has been involved in community service. He has taken a rigorous course of study that includes summer school, honors and Advanced Placement classes. Matt is a caring, intuitive young man who teachers feel honored to know. He plans to attend Chico State.

Maria is the eleventh child of twelve siblings. She is the first in her family to graduate high school, and will certainly be the first to attend college! For many reasons, Maria has had to live away from her parents for the last two years. In that time, Maria has held a full-time job and has stayed in school. As she has had to support herself, she has allowed her school work to suffer and is keenly aware of her less-than perfect GPA. Still, she is very determined to attend Lake Tahoe Community College this fall and to transfer to either UNR or CSU Sacramento to study education. Maria is very bright, truly bilingual, feisty, and stubborn. Those talents will carry her as will the financial incentive this scholarship awards.

Early in his academic career Kellen had a difficult time adjusting to bouts of depression. At times Kellen has had to be treated for suicidal tendencies, as recently as this school year. Still, he continues to view school as the stepping-stone to community college and to a career in automotive repair. Kellen has achieved a 3.38 GPA in high school and has earned A's in evening college classes like Art and Sociology. Kellen is determined to overcome his illness and to realize his dreams. He plans to study at a community college in Sacramento next fall.

Kimberly decided two years ago that she wanted to graduate early and continue her studies at Lake Tahoe Community College. In these two years, Kim has volunteered after school tutoring students at Sierra House Elementary. She has taken evening classes at Lake Tahoe Community College, has helped take care of her nephew, and has held a job in a local restaurant. Kim plans to eventually study nursing at UNR, where her uniquely calm and mature demeanor will help her in that very stressful career. Kimberly is a great role model for all alternative education students.

Jackie's mother died when she was in elementary school. For the following three years Jackie lived with extended family in Arizona until she and her two brothers were reunited with their father in Lake Tahoe. Jackie's fifth grade teacher remembers that time well and the struggles the family experienced. In some ways, Jackie has had to raise herself. This year, Jackie graduated early to work and save money for college. She will attend Lake Tahoe Community College in the fall and plans to study business. Jackie is eternally optimistic, very funny, and a joy to know.

No teenager should ever have to lose a parent. For Elizabeth to lose her mother in a tragic, fatal car accident last year, it was almost more than she could bear. Elizabeth had been going through typical teen-age problems and power struggles with her mother, and to be robbed of the chance to ever totally mend ways was painful. Still, Elizabeth has learned that life is precious, if not fragile, and that every moment counts. Ironically, Elizabeth has become a better, more focused student. She helps raise her younger brother. She works outside of school. She participates in extra-curricular activities. After this tragic event, Elizabeth plans to become a nurse, and will begin her coursework at Lake Tahoe Community College in the fall.

Nancy has never lost focus of her college dream. Nancy has challenged herself in many ways, but mostly by breaking her family's mold of never even graduating high school let alone going to college. Two years ago, when Nancy's family moved out of state, but Nancy stayed and lived with extended family because she knew that California's university system offers more opportunities than other states. Living away from her family fostered her maturity and independence, but was still difficult for Nancy emotionally. Nancy's parents have a third grade education, but Nancy has settled for nothing less than UCLA where she will attend this fall.

Austyn is an artist at heart. She loves music, art, and all things creative. Sadly, Austyn's father passed away unexpectedly last August. Through this horrible experience, she says "this loss has not only made me a stronger person, but it taught me to live life to its fullest, and to follow my dreams." Austyn's dreams include acceptance to Brooks College to study Interior Design.
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