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6th Annual Student Spotlight

05/01/2013 07:05AM ● Published by Style

Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.

This month—in Style’s yearly posting of high-achieving (an understatement) high school seniors—we give you our picks for local teens who always set the pace, both in the classroom and on the playground. Get inspired by the words and accomplishments of these 2013 super-graduates.  

Samuel H. McCrea

El Dorado High School

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies and awards/achievements?

I’m a devoted member of ASB and served as the class president my freshman, sophomore and junior years, and as the ASB president my senior year. I also participate in soccer, track and field, and football. I’ve played the guitar for seven years and enjoy playing many other musical instruments; also, I love both digital and black and white film photography.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

I’m most proud of being first team All-League in soccer for two years in a row. This honor displays the hard work and dedication that I have put into the game over the last 13 years. The late-night practices, intense conditioning sessions, and long travels to tournaments all are shown through these two honors.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?  

I’m absolutely obsessed with photographing the stars, the moon, and basically anything out of our world!

What are your plans after graduation?  

I plan to attend a four-year university in California.

Who is your role model?  

I have two: Mr. Potter and Joe Champion. My soccer coach of five years, Joe Champion, is one of the people I look up to the most because of his ability to teach others the game of soccer in a fashion that is truly unique and rewarding to the players. Another role model who has helped guide me through my years in high school is Mr. Potter, my ASB teacher. Having Mr. Potter every year at El Dorado, he has taught me priceless lessons about both leadership and character. He is, and continues to be, a voice of reason I can always come to for advice with issues, as well as small and big life decisions.

Describe your career aspirations.  

My ultimate goal is to go to medical school—after my undergraduate degree—and eventually become a pediatrician.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?  

I have always dreamed of going to a remote Pacific island where I can learn the ways and customs of another culture.

 

Whitney Standal

Whitney Standal

El Dorado High School

Tell us about yourself.

Colossians 3:23 says: “Whatever you do work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord not men.” It is because of this verse and the hope I have in Christ that I have been inspired to live my life with the underlying purpose of glorifying Him in all things. This life purpose of mine has further manifested into a complete love for people and my desire to positively impact others’ lives. Apart from God and people, I love being active and spending as much time as I can outdoors. I also enjoy positive challenges that enable me to grow into a well-rounded individual.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies and awards/achievements?

I have actively been a part of ASB student leadership for two years now, which has proven advantageous in enabling me to be more involved in my school community. I’ve also been involved with various clubs/groups on campus. I have competed with the varsity track and field team for four years now, and am also a part of the spring musical production of Cats. One of my biggest accomplishments was being chosen to represent EDHS at California Girls’ State last summer.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

The accomplishment I’m most proud of is maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout my high school career. In retrospect, I’m thankful that I established this personal goal early on, as it has proven advantageous in other aspects of my life.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?  

Despite my generally gregarious and outgoing personality now, I struggled with extreme social anxiety as a child. It took a lot of self-motivation and time to pull myself out of that mindset, yet the experience has enabled me to appreciate positive challenges and personal growth.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I will spend the summer at Rock-N-Water Christian Camp working as an adventure guide. After, I hope to pursue psychology at a Christian university where I can further my understanding of people’s minds and hearts with the complete influence of Christ and my faith. Ultimately, I want to attend graduate school and obtain a Ph.D. in neuropsychology.

Who is your role model?

Someone I greatly admire is Rob Pifferini. In addition to being my weight training coach, “Piff” is a role model who passionately lives for Christ and positively influences the lives of his students.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would love to backpack through Europe and experience the variety of cultures, lifestyles and perspectives.

 

Grady Lynch

Grady Lynch

Union Mine High School

Tell us about yourself.

My life has been characterized by determination. Whether it’s four years of monotonous number crunching, a week of especially rigorous swimming, or even a child’s collegiate dream—tirelessly cultivated by its aging successor—each of my endeavors simply must be seen through. My goals are lofty, but as that not-so-tired cliché so perfectly articulates, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” Running parallel to my ambition is, surprisingly, its antithesis—that of a lethargic, Netflix-binging, teenager. While my accolades suggest robotic origins and a lack of sociability, my true disposition, while of course being undeniably devoted, is also undeniably lazy and fun loving. I’ll never be the student that stares indefinitely into the incomprehensible vortex that is a math textbook, but I will be the student that finds the time for fun, relaxation and friends, turning a jaded yet willing eye to those stacks of busywork ever-accumulating on my desk.  

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies and awards/achievements?

My school involvements include varsity swim and basketball, USA year-round swimming with Aquasol, drama, Leo Club, National Honor Society (NHS) and AVID tutoring. My hobbies are drawing, writing and reading. My awards and achievements mostly stem from academics, swimming and basketball.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

I believe that getting into college—especially one of my choosing—has been my greatest accomplishment. It’s everything I’ve been working toward over the last four years. Extracurricular activities, community service and academic devotion have finally yielded a tangible reward.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

I’m 18 years old and I don’t have a driver’s license; I’ve simply been too busy with school, sports and theatre. When all my friends were learning, I was too focused to even consider driving. I’m lucky they’re all willing to cart me around, but it seems almost culturally unsound to be without a license.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to attend a four-year university as either an English or psychology major and enroll in pre-medical courses. As of now I’ll be attending UC Berkeley, but I’m still waiting to hear back from some other schools.

Who is your role model?

My role model is Pete Maravich—the epitome of work ethic—known as “Pistol Pete” by fans of the NBA’s historic greats.

 

Andrew Sprenkel

Andrew Sprenkel

Union Mine High School

Tell us about yourself.

I am the ultimate band geek, as well as an amateur tennis player with two incredible parents, an awesome brother, and a lovable golden retriever. I try to live with a “go with the flow” attitude, yet take advantage of every opportunity given to me.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies and awards/achievements?

I participated in jazz and marching bands all four years of high school. I became the drum major of the marching band my sophomore year and concluded my final season by placing first at the Northern California Solo Conducting Championship Competition in Stockton. I have played tuba for seven years (the instrument I played at the 2013 All State Honor Band), trumpet for eight, and piano for nine. This summer I will be marching contrabass bugle (tuba) with the Sacramento Mandarins. I’ve played on the varsity tennis team for the past two years and am currently in line to be my class’s salutatorian with approximately a 4.2 GPA. When not in school, I enjoy cooking, drinking coffee, dirt bike riding, snowboarding and wakeboarding.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Winning first place at the Northern California Solo Conducting Championship Competition.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

I once unknowingly played through a symphony rehearsal with a rodent inside my tuba; a supersonic cleaning followed shortly thereafter.

What are your plans after graduation?

I want to receive either a music, engineering or physics degree. I’m not sure where I will attend college in the fall, but I have been accepted to California State University, Sacramento, and Cal Poly San Louis Obispo, and have applied to (but have yet to hear from) UC Davis, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Pepperdine, Dartmouth, Stanford, Yale and Harvard.

Who is your role model?

My parents.

Describe your career aspirations.

After I complete my undergraduate schooling, I would like to attend optometry school. If I achieve my license to practice optometry, I would like to own my own practices in Alaska and northern California and provide glasses to the needy.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Venice, Italy. Immersing myself in the unique culture that the area possesses would surely be an enlightening and vastly enjoyable experience.

 

Andrew Keane

Andrew Keane

Ponderosa High School

Tell us about yourself.

I have lived in Cameron Park my whole life and have been blessed with a great family and great friends. Both of my parents were in the military and they are both Christians, so I was raised as a Christian. I like to be active and love snowboarding, wakeboarding, camping and hiking. I also like sports, such as baseball, football, basketball, soccer and wrestling; my favorite sports teams are the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Anaheim Angels and the Los Angeles Lakers. I also like to play the piano and listen to music.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies and awards/achievements?

I wrestled varsity for two years in high school, have been a member of CSF (California Scholarship Federation) all four years and have been involved in Key Club for the last two years. Outside of school, I play piano and have taken lessons for the last six years.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

I’m most proud of maintaining straight As through high school, because education is very important to me and getting straight As isn’t easy.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

I have broken six bones: my left wrist, right radius and ulna, right humorous, right thumb and right first rib.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan on attending the United States Naval Academy (if I get accepted). At the Academy, I want to study mechanical engineering and will go into the Navy as a second lieutenant.

Who is your role model?

My dad—he’s a great guy, a great father, a great husband to my mom, and has taught me a lot.

Describe your career aspirations.

My dream career is to be a Navy SEAL. I plan on having a long career in the Navy no matter what job I have. After that, I will probably go on reserve and pursue a career in mechanical engineering.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would go to Spain—there’s a lot of awesome culture there and I could actually understand most of what they say.

 

Colby Zentner

Colby Zentner

Ponderosa High School

Tell us about yourself.

I’m the second oldest child in my family with two sisters, one brother, two amazing parents and two dogs. I like reading, being outside, spending time with family, and hanging out with my neighbors and friends. I enjoy school very much and cannot wait to see where my education brings me next. I like being challenged and standing up for what I believe in.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies and awards/achievements?

Throughout high school, I have been involved in CSF (California Scholarship Federation), Ponderosa ISAW and Link Crew. I am currently the president of CSF and hold a leadership position in ISAW. My favorite subject is math; AP Calculus BC is my favorite class. My most prized awards and achievements that I have gotten are getting the AP Scholar with Distinction Award (due to my scores on the tests) and being on the winning team of the local Math Steeplechase during my freshman and junior years (and I hope to win this year too!).

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

I’m most proud of my perfect academic record throughout high school and my perfect scores on my Advanced Placement tests taken my junior year. Schoolwork is my strength and pleasure, and because of that, I devote a large amount of time and effort to it. I am proud of my long nights staying up typing essays or doing calculus, which have ultimately translated into academic successes.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

I’m a highly skilled bocce ball player and compete on a local team.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I will sadly leave Ponderosa and my family. I plan on going to a great university and majoring in political science. Eventually, I want to continue my education through higher levels in a graduate school.

Who is your role model?

My role model is my AP United States history teacher, Mrs. Melhus. I had her last year, and will be forever impacted by the qualities she radiates. She is the most kind, caring and enthusiastic person. She always puts an enormous amount of effort in all of her endeavors, inspires people every day and has impacted my life significantly. I admire her amazing qualities and the passion she has for what she does. I only hope that I will be able to have the same positive impacts on people in my future.

 

Nick Young

Nick Young

EDUHSD Virtual Academy at Shenandoah

Tell us about yourself.

I’m an only child and live in El Dorado Hills with my parents. I’m more of a creative person than an academic one. For example, I would rather build a project for a grade than take a test. Fortunately, Shenandoah suits my learning style. I would describe myself as a kind, honest and loyal friend. I enjoy reading, live theater productions, movies and hanging out with my friends.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies and awards/achievements?

Shenandoah is a virtual academy and doesn’t have clubs or sports. My hobbies include shooting archery and Halloween haunted houses. I’m fortunate to have an archery range where I live that is open to the community. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday; not only do I like visiting haunted houses, I like putting them on as well. In 2012, I received the Youth Star Award from El Dorado Hills Community Vision Coalition for my work with a charitable haunted house.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

I’m most proud of my involvement in creating and acting in a haunted house for charity over the last three years. Not only did it benefit Snowline Hospice in Placerville and the Food Bank of El Dorado County, but it was also a fun event for the community.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

I’m a member of a Halloween Haunt Club.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to earn a certificate or AA degree in theater arts from American River College. Hopefully, I’ll also land a part-time job while I’m in school.

Who is your role model?

My role models are my parents. They’ve taught me the value of working hard and never giving up to achieve my goals, have always supported my dreams by giving me opportunities to pursue my passions, and have always believed in me so that I believe in myself.

Describe your career aspirations.

I want to work in the entertainment industry; however, I haven’t narrowed it down. I love acting but also enjoy building props and creating special effects.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

The desire to travel to New Zealand was sparked by the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The scenery was spectacular and I want to experience it someday.

 

Sierra-Rayne Desnoyers

Sierra-Rayne Desnoyers

EDUHSD Virtual Academy at Shenandoah

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a fun loving, outgoing, optimistic person who enjoys being outdoors, going to school, and doing the best I can at everything I do.

What are your school interests and involvements, hobbies and awards/achievements?

I’m very involved with my school; I make flyers for any events we have and promote school pride. I have also completed 300 hours of community service.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

I was going through a difficult time during my junior year and was failing school. I had a few weeks left until the end of the last semester and something clicked that I needed to turn my life and grades around. I managed to turn all my failing grades to high As and Bs before the end of the school year.

What are your plans after graduation?

My plan after graduation is to continue taking classes at Folsom Lake College and receive my associate degree; after, I plan to transfer to California State University, Sacramento, and eventually receive a master’s degree in psychology.

Who is your role model?

My role model is my grandmother. She had a rough life growing up and she chose to make a better life for herself. I’ve also had a rough adolescence; she’s shown me I can overcome any obstacles life gives me and learn and grow from them.

Describe your career aspirations.

I plan to become a children’s counselor; I enjoy working with children and helping others.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would go to France and visit Paris! I have French heritage and would like to explore where my ancestors are from.

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