Hope for the Future
A Salute to the Class of 2010
This year’s graduating seniors win the award for most humble and gracious. Most of the 14 students were genuinely surprised when told Alameda Magazine was honoring them and credited the support of family and friends for helping them achieve success.
Their modesty belies the hard work and dedication that brought them here. This diverse, multi-cultural group has achievements and awards in academics, sports and extracurricular activities. And most have toiled many volunteer hours tutoring and mentoring younger students, raising money for the Alameda Food Bank, feeding the homeless, campaigning for presidential candidate Barack Obama and working for Hurricane Katrina victims.
Raise a toast to Alameda Magazine’s class of 2010, a group of achievers who give us hope for the future.
Alameda Community Learning Center
College Choice: UC Berkeley
Career: Business Administration Teacher
This aspiring business administration teacher, who has a bent for math, earned the elusive and hard-sought black belt in the Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won. The best part? The belt award ceremony.
“It was the culmination of all the hard work and all the time I had dedicated to earning the black belt,” says Vedad Vilogarac.
Vedad credits his parents for being his biggest supporters and cites a personal goal for giving back to them “for their sacrifices.”
Mikana Teralyn Camacho
College Choice: Undecided
When called to her counselor’s office to receive the news of being chosen as an outstanding graduating senior for Alameda Magazine’s annual recognition program, Mikana Camacho thought, “I’m in trouble!” Mikana’s hard work, big heart and sense of fun clearly shine through. Co-chair of Leadership and the school yearbook, she’s also one of the leaders of
both the Waffle Club and the Ultimate Frisbee team.
“I have always had a strong need to help people,” she says. She displays this by serving lunch to the homeless at the St. Anthony Foundation in San Francisco, helping new students at ACLC and working as a camp counselor.
Mikana cites her mom as her source of inspiration and strength and says her mother always encourages her to do well in school.
Alameda High School
College Choice: Cornell University
Surprising Thing: “I am quadrilingual; I can speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin and French.”
If you never met Jonathan Lin and only read his resume, you might be quick to label him as an overachiever. OK, so he just might be, but he considers himself more “unconventional.” The aspiring pediatrician is a man who dares to wear pink and is not afraid to risk change.
This Eagle Scout, National Merit semifinalist and president of the Key Club considers himself “competitive,” especially with his friends who also inspire him and “work really hard” right alongside him.
He attributes his success to growing up in a “balanced family,” with parents and an older sister who were always there for him.
Jonathan advises younger students moving up through high school to live a life with no regrets.
“You have one chance in life. I try to enjoy it to the best that I can.”
College Choice: Columbia University
Surprising Thing: “I’ve done strength and agility training with professional football players and outperformed them in endurance.”
For Kristin Little, the expression, “When one door closes, another opens” is close to home. One week after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, she landed the lead role in AHS’ production of Peter Pan, the role made famous by several pint-sized actors before her. Kristin may be small in stature, but she has been able to use her diminutive size to her advantage. Despite being the youngest and smallest, she led most of her soccer squads, outperformed football players at camp and captained varsity teams.
She is inspired by players (both theatrical and sports) who really enjoy what they do every day and “go after their dream.”
Alameda Science and Technology Institute
College Choice: Harvey Mudd College
Career: Electrical Engineer
Surprising Thing: “I have been practicing Kung Fu since the age of 4 and intend to continue practicing it when I attend university.”
Kerry Chin started high school shy and unassuming, but a “life-changing speech
class brought me out of my shell,” she explains. So much so that a speech she wrote and delivered garnered her first place in a citywide competition. Grateful for the experience and its altering effect on her, she donated her winnings back to ASTI. She went back and won a second time the next year, too. The experience inspired Kerry to spearhead major grant and fundraising efforts for her school.
The Kung Fu black belt will earn an associate of arts degree in natural sciences with more than 80 transferable units by graduation and plans on attending Harvey Mudd College to study electrical engineering. Her goals don’t stop there; today she
is looking to extend her education through master’s and Ph.D. programs in engineering.
College Choice: Undecided
Surprising: “I love tea – I drink at least one cup of tea a day and have several types available for myself to drink.”
When aspiring journalist Acen Datuin became the editor in chief of ASTI’s newspaper, The Talon, he wanted to make a difference.
“I felt our newsletter was taken for granted, often times being left on tables or sitting in recycling bins,” he laments.
Instead of giving up on the newspaper, he assumed a leadership role and led the effort to convert from print to an electronic format and build a new website, astitalon.com.
Being a leader has fueled many passions for Acen, who strives to make his parents proud by volunteering whenever he can, creating new opportunities for himself and others at ASTI.
“I’m always willing to take on new things, always willing to help — whether it’s speaking at an information night or being a part of the ASTI Student Board,” he says.
Bay Area School of Enterprise
College Choice: CSU, East Bay
Career: Business and Music
Surprising Thing: “Some of the goals in my life are to get real far with my music and get married and have two kids.”
Rayshawn Ledbetter has overcome overwhelming odds to get where he is today — an aspiring musician who wants to major in business at Cal State East Bay.
Rayshawn lost his mother when he was 5 years old and was separated from his three siblings. But, today, with the help of his foster parent and surrogate mom, the family sees each other on a regular basis.
His favorite class is spent in a recording studio, and he predicts that one of his happiest moments will be “to walk across the stage” when he receives his diploma.
College Choices: Stanford University or Pitzer College
Surprising Thing: “I’m certified in first aid.”
Angela Sterling-Vick has an incredible attitude for a teenager.
“Every new day brings something meaningful to my life, whether it’s positive or negative, and for this, I am grateful,” she says.
Inspired early in life when her grandparents brought her brother and her to a march in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., she found the experience eye opening and says it “taught me that the world is much larger than myself.”
As a result, the member of the Alameda Fishtix Dragon Boating team has become a leader in her school’s Alternatives in Action board of directors, as well as the city of Alameda Youth Advisory Commission. She also writes for the local youth magazine, Out Loud.
All this will certainly assist in her personal goal of making “an impact on others’ lives.”
Encinal High School
College: University of Michigan,
Career Choice: Director for NFL Films, White House Correspondent, Orthodontist
Surprising thing: “I pride myself as being keenly observant and aware of things around me and as a result can quote numerous movies ranging from Grease to The Hangover and even Little Women.”
Giuliana Allegrotti might just be the most spirited student you will find at Encinal High this year. A scholar and athlete, winning many awards for both academics and sports, she has led her class as president since 2008, played varsity soccer and basketball, edited the yearbook and still had time — somehow — to perform more than 300 hours in community service.
“From day one, I’ve had a spirit about Encinal. I come from a generation of Jets,” Guiliana explains. “My parents met there. They were high school sweethearts, so I have a big love in my heart for the school.”
Her parents have influenced the Ann Arbor–bound student deeper than just imparting her with school spirit. Guiliana cites her father as her biggest inspiration.
“Integrity is my strongest value, and my dad embodies that,” she says. “I want to be like him when I grow up.”
College Choice: UC Berkeley
Surprising thing: “I have moved many times and had to learn to adjust to different schools quickly.”
Strengthened by tragedy — the loss of both his father and stepfather — and major life changes — emigrating to the United States at the age of 8, Amit Grover says he “uses adversity to my advantage.”
Raised initially by his grandparents and aunts in India and then here by his hard-working, and biggest inspiration, mom, Amit learned quickly the importance of independence, self-motivation and a college degree.
“My mother worked grueling night shifts after my father’s death,” he explains. “Through it all, I saw how life could be different with a college education.”
He enters UC Berkeley this fall, more than prepared for whatever freshman year might entail.
College Choice: Undecided
Surprising thing: “In my personal life, outside of school, I’m a huge procrastinator.”
Tangeree Weatherspoon’s decision to become a pediatrician was shaped by an experience she had at the age of 10. As part of a dance team, she performed for a group of mentally disabled children.
“It was incredibly hard to see kids who were the same age as me be limited to regular things because of this,” she says, recalling, however, the grace displayed by a particular girl who had also suffered from cancer. “I became even more appreciative of the little things, like being able to walk and talk and eat. Even now to this day, when I feel myself getting upset or frustrated, I just think about that girl. It was a very humbling experience and definitely made me look at life in different perspective.”
At Island, Tangeree has worked hard in her classes and can’t wait to continue college studies, and she has a long list of goals to pursue: volunteering at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, learning to play guitar, studying piano, taking a boxing class.
College Choice: Undecided
Surprising thing: “I want to go to culinary school. I am a procrastinator.”
Thomas Trinh puts things off. He didn’t do his homework and had a lazy attitude about school.
But when he landed at Island, all that changed, thanks to the support of his English teacher, Carla Greathouse.
“He’s an amazing kid, extra bright,” she says.
“When I came here, I started doing my work; I stopped screwing around. Island has been good for me,” Thomas says, crediting Greathouse with noticing his potential and nurturing it in a supportive atmosphere. He has learned some job skills, helped clean up campus, practiced public speaking and works at the Donald P. McCullum Youth Court.
With a chef mother and a chef father, it’s only natural that Thomas follows suit, and that’s his plan. Meanwhile, he turns up the heat and experiments in the kitchen.
St. Joseph Notre Dame
College Choice: Stanford
Surprising Thing: “I rather have a safari animal (i.e., giraffe) than a domesticated animal (i.e., dog or cat).”
Kkeiruka Umeh learned the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” firsthand. Regular trips to Nigeria, the birthplace of her parents, have had an enormous influence on her.
“By emulating others on my yearly trips to Nigeria, my family instilled in me a sense of pride, perseverance and self-worth,”
Her “family” actually consists of several hundred Nigerian people living in the Bay Area who helped show her the culture and customs of the far-off country.
But, being Nigerian-American doesn’t solely define her. Nkeiruka has remained in the top 10 of her class each of her four years at St. Joe’s and she has captained the varsity track team and both played for and managed the JV and Varsity Basketball teams.
She attributes her success to her parents and friends who are “hard working” and help her “strive to be better.”
College Choice: University of the Pacific
Surprising Thing: “Vietnamese is my
Oliver Dam’s goal to become a dentist has its roots in a comment from his beloved grandmother.
“She had a bad toothache and told me to ‘hurry and grow up to become a dentist so you can take care of me.’ Now my goal is to become an orthodontist,” he says.
A trip to Vietnam for his other grandmother’s funeral in summer 2006 had a life-changing effect on him.
“From the trip, my view of life and the world changed. I gained a new respect for life and was motivated to work harder.”
Oliver has worked hard, earning a class ranking of number one, a spot on the men’s varsity tennis, and a position in the National Honor Society, the California Scholarship Federation and the Spanish Honor Society. The work doesn’t stop there, he also wants to learn how to cook, travel the world and, not surprising, “go skydiving.”