2012-06-14 / Schools
AHS students excel on many levels
When Zach Johnson peers into the future, he sees himself as president of the United States. Whether or not he makes it to the White House, the Agoura High valedictorian has planned for success in whatever path he follows.
Zach was senior vice president at Agoura High and further dipped into the political arena when he worked as an intern for state Sen. Tony Strickland.
He will attend Stanford University in the fall and thinks his acceptance into Stanford may have been influenced by the topic of his admissions essay, a debate he’d had with his family. As the lone family member who believed that a mosque should be allowed to be constructed near the 9/11 ground zero area in New York City, Zach backed up his arguments with enough facts, logic and passion to win over his family. The admissions essay was more than a story about a debate. He delved into the idea that people should stand up for what they believe and be prepared to back opinions with knowledge.
Zach racked up many accomplishments at Agoura High. He was a mock trial finalist and an L.A. History Day finalist. He also won the essay contest in the One City, One Book-Westlake Village Reads program.
A member of the National Honor Society, Math Honors Society and English Honors Society, Zach is not all work and no play. He won first place in the school talent show for his lip sync performance and also loves to play volleyball.
If the current crop of politicians fail to fix Social Security, Zach has pledged to overhaul the system if he becomes president. “We need a system that people could get back the money that they put in,” he said.
Wants to fly
Stephen Uyehara won a full scholarship into a five-year program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Stephen hopes to earn a commission in the Air Cavalry to learn how to fly.
“It’s what he wanted to do since he was a little guy,” said his stepmother, Elizabeth Uyehara. Stephen's mother is Pamela Bassler.
Stephen’s road to West Point was paved with top grades and solid athletic ability. He made honor roll every semester and was a member of the football and lacrosse teams.
“I was pretty excited,” Stephen said when he learned that he’d won a full scholarship to the school of his dreams.
Michael Ambrose, a junior at Agoura High School,scored a perfect 2400 on the SAT.
“It was pretty intense,” he said of the two months of preparation. “For a month or two, all of my free time was spent on studying vocabulary or something else.”
Although Michael was happy to have aced the test since it will open doors to many colleges, he isn’t so sure the test is a valid measure of knowledge. Instead, he believes a high score on the SAT comes down to how hard a student is willing to study for the test.
Michael also won the American Mathematics Competition, scoring within the top 2.5 percentile nationwide. “The SAT score is a big headline, but the math competition (score) will be more useful,” he said.
Michael is looking forward to taking AP calculus next year at Agoura High, after studying the subject on his own.
“Self-learning—it’s how I do everything,” he said.
Michael believes in pursuing his passions outside of school. A competitive musician who has played piano for 12 years, Michael performed with the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic last year.
So far, Michael has a 4.4 GPA and is honing his skills in computer science. He co-founded the Robotics Club and is a member of the Bridge Club and Math Circle.
In addition to academic achievement at Agoura High, the school has had a phenomenal year in other areas:• The Agoura High School Spirit Team was named the USA National Champions in the category of crowd leading, an achievement that the team has repeated for 10 years running.•Jazz Band tied for first place with a magnet music school at the Swing Central competition in Savannah, Ga.•The mock trial team got to the finals of the Ventura County competition.•Bryce Leafman was one of 50 students in the U.S. to win the $20,000 Coca-• Cola scholarship.
Two of John Andersen’s auto tech students won the L.A. County Automotive Technology competition and moved on to the national finals in New York City.