Student accolades abound

Hard work pays
off for new grads


STELLAR STUDENT—At the June 5 awards night, Agoura High School Principal Brian Mercer presents Ava Anhalt with a plaque recognizing her service as the AHS Associated Student Body president RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers

STELLAR STUDENT—At the June 5 awards night, Agoura High School Principal Brian Mercer presents Ava Anhalt with a plaque recognizing her service as the AHS Associated Student Body president RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers

Scores of seniors at Agoura High were honored at the school’s awards ceremony last week, some winning hefty scholarships while others earned praise for their accomplishments in athletics, academics and community service.

All were pleased to be graduating and moving on in life.

The ceremony on June 5 at the school’s performing arts education center kicked off with a pre-party at the venue featuring a live performance by the school’s jazz band.

“This is a special night for a special group of almost-graduates,” said Agoura High Principal Brian Mercer at the start of the event. “We’re celebrating seniors who worked so hard.”

Numerous scholarships were presented to students.

Donald Zimring, former superintendent of Las Virgenes Unified School District, and his wife, Carolyn, presented the Zimring Public Service Scholarship to Nicholas Moran, a full International Baccalaureate graduate. Moran formed the GenUN chapter at school to promote the ideals of the United Nations, including protecting human rights. Zimring said Nick organized a town hall meeting at school with U.S. senators and congressmen to discuss gun laws.

“Nick, you have the ability to do great things,” Zimring said. “Go do them.”

The 30- year tradition of awarding the Diamond in the Rough Scholarship to seniors whose grade-point average improved the most between their junior and senior years of high school continued with a presentation by founder George Thompson, owner of the George Thompson Diamond Co. in Camarillo.

The seniors honored were Samantha Fountaine, Isabella Layba, Michael Molina-Rodriguez, Arvin Nooshi, David Paykel, Francis Provenzano, Madison Rhode, Marly Ross, Cayla Walkes and Cameron Watts.

“They’re the ones who found their educational footing,” Thompson said. “These students’ GPAs went up more than any other students at Agoura High School.”

Sabrina Shaboti received the Calabasas-Las Virgenes Historical Society Scholarship from Julie Shy-Sobol, a member of the society. Shy-Sobol read a portion of Sabrina’s essay to the family, friends and students who packed the theater. The essay outlined Sabrina’s love of local history discovered through the annual Reyes Adobe Days festival.

The Conejo Chinese Cultural Association award of $4,000 was presented to Victor Zhou by Hong Shang.

Mercer presented the Larry Misel Principal’s Award of Promise to Sean Hesen. Mercer said that former AHS Principal Larry Misel started the scholarship 15 years ago for students who plan to launch a career in education.

In all, 16 organizations gave out multiple scholarships to 40 recipients. Some students captured numerous awards, like Maya Harris, who received recognition from the Westlake Library Association, the Westlake Women’s Club, the Democratic Women’s Council of the Conejo Valley, the Westlakers and the National Charity League.

Maya, who will attend Stanford University, is a National Merit Scholar. She was chosen for the honor out of 16,000 semifinalists and is among the top 1 percent of students in the U.S., based on her PSAT score during her junior year, grade-point average, an essay and counselor recommendations.

Volunteerism, student government

Department awards celebrated the achievements of students in various categories. Teachers and department chairs nominate students for the honors.

The Service Learning Platinum Award was given to students Ethan Gage, Kevin Kim and Cassidy Koch for volunteering more than 100 hours during the school year.

The Outstanding Journalist award was presented to Adrianna Ebrahim and Megan Sullivan. The young women’s names were engraved on the perpetual plaque, and they were also given an individual plaque to celebrate their work in journalism at school.

Students who worked in the Associated Student Body at Agoura High were also honored. ASB president Ava Anhalt and senior officers Kira Baruch, Audrey Aldisert, Annabel Asher and Maisam Ghannam received plaques for their work in student government.

Athletics

Young men and women were honored for excellence in fall, winter and spring sports. Amani Dunston claimed the fall award for volleyball, while Aaron Arias was named the fall male athlete for his accomplishments in water polo.

Megan Lee and Kaitlin Gardhouse were named the Winter Female Athletes for girls’ basketball and water polo. Kaitlyn was also the recipient of the scholar-athlete award.

Spring athletic awards went to Tyler Goldstein for her skills on the softball team, and to golfer Nick Burns.

Two students were named Athletes of the Year. Lexy Mills was awarded the Female Athlete of the Year recognition for softball. As a pitcher, Lexy struck out players 916 times.

Spencer Lin was named the Male Athlete of the Year for his abilities in football and baseball.

Vals and Sals

Numerous students fulfilled the criteria to graduate as valedictorians and salutatorians.

Twenty-eight seniors earned the highest honor of valedictorian. To reach this milestone, a student must have a 4.2 weighted grade-point average or higher by the end of the first semester of 12th grade and must have completed 26 semesters of honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes by the end of their senior year.

Nineteen students earned salutatorian status. For the honor, students must have a GPA of 4.1 and must have completed 22 units of honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes by the end of their senior year.