Paly students honored for community service

'President's Award' honors teens who volunteer 100 or more hours in a year

More than 150 students at Palo Alto High School will be recognized for their service to the community in a presentation Friday (Dec. 9) of the President's Award for Volunteer Service.

The nationally recognized award honors students who perform 100 or more hours of community service in 12 consecutive months. The students' service was in the areas of humanitarian work, health and safety, animals and environment, education, seniors and disabled, food and shelter, civic engagement, homes and construction, sports and more.

Forty-eight of the 158 honorees completed 250 hours or more of community service in the year, earning them "gold" awards. Sixteen students earned "silver" awards, representing 175 to 249 hours of service. Nearly 100 earned "bronze" awards, representing 100 to 174 hours of service in a year.

The combined service of the 158 Paly students amounted to 33,624 hours.

The awards will be presented by Paly's College and Career Center in a ceremony to be held Friday at 11:35 a.m. in the school's Haymarket Theater.

Earning gold awards, for 250 hours or more of service (100 hours or more for 14-year-olds) are freshmen Carmelle Bareket-Shavit, Kallee Bareket-Shavit, Elle Billman, Kristin Carey, Sydney Franz, Jamie Garcia, Christopher Hinstorff, Ethan Jorasch, Coby Parker and Eric Whitson.

Sophomores earning gold awards are Tal Almogy, Joyce Chang, Tessera Chin, Winston C. Ge, Bella Graves, Sean Keegan, Hollis Kool, Kavya Ramakrishnan, Emily Semba, Phoebe So, Heather Strathearn, Jasper Tom, Derek Young, Jonathan Ziegler, and Alvina Zou.

Juniors earning gold awards are Shaheen Essabhoy, Francis Ge, Alvin Kiho Kim, Jennifer Lai, Eric Lee, Megan Lewis, Kelly Stern and Edward Yeung.

Seniors earning gold awards are Tomer Arnon, Alexander (Al) Brooks, Matthew Bungarden, Skyler Dorosin, Heather Gaya, Eve Higgins, Tremaine Kirkman, Gabriel Landa, Morris Mouton (Gates-Mouton), Elizabeth Silva, Zorawar Singh, Skyler Tom, Victoria Tse, Annalise Wedemeyer and Amy Chang (Gunn).

Sophomores earning the silver award are Caroline Johnson, Ethan Look and Christopher Maystead.

Juniors earning the silver award are Yusra Beig, Sara Billman, Xiaoxuan (Christina) Chen, Grace Fang, Elle Fukui, Nikhil Junnarkar, Benjamin May, Juliana Moraes-Liu and Amber Ugarte.

Seniors earning the silver are Mira Ahmad, Shoshana Bortner, Zarek Siegel, Sierra Mieko Temple, Kevin Wang and Kyle Wycoff.

Sophomores earning the bronze award are Talia Brown, Heather Collins, Lena Cuevas, Christian Freyre, Theodore Hu, Victoria Kyone, Julianne Le, Sarah Limb, Samuel Mignot, Kate Musen, Abigail Schmit, Ziv Schwartz, Mehr Sikri, Daniel Sonner, Alyssa (Yumi) Temple and Emma Wolfe.

Juniors earning the bronze award are Kate Apostolou, Charlotte Barry, Micayla Brewster, Christine Chang, Dahae Choi, Quitterie Collignon, Nicholas Farn, James Foug, Staci Fung, Wilbur J. Ji, Nina Kelty, Miles Kool, Samuel Y.W. Lee, Chaejin Lee, Robert Lee, Raymond Li, Caroline Martignetti, Nadya Nee, Weston Preising, David Raftrey, Rohit Ramkumar, Juliana Ronn, Mathias Schmutz, Grant Shorin, Tran Situ, Peter Skorokhodov, Lucas Smeets, Benjamin Wexler, Elizabeth Yan and Jeffrey Yan.

Seniors earning the bronze award are Syed Amaan Abidi, Anjali Ahuja, Michael Augustine, Lindsay Black, Elise Bruguera, Shelby Burk, Tor Carlson, Clara Chang, Samantha Chang, Madeline Dahm, Natalie Demarzo, Lou Paulette Din, Gregory Dunn, Naomi Epstein, Brian Gill, Samuel Hain, Emily Howard, Kirah Ingram, Honora Ip, Hannah Kim, Sonya Kohli, Justin Krasner-Karpen, Allyssa Kron, Peter Lai, Kevin Lee, Matthew Lee, Toby Lee, Linda Li, Grace Liao, Zeyu (Andrew) Liu, Zezhou (Alex) Liu, William Lichtenger, Jeffrey Lu, Jessica May, Paige Morkner, Nicholas Moss, Tin Nguyen, Justin Robinson, Kyle Samos, Ariana Sanchez, Katya Stukalova, Emily Swanson, Hidetaka Tajima, Uma Veerappan, Ryan Vertelney, Justin Wang, Lauren Wong, Livia Wyss, Amitai Zand and Charles Zhang.

Chris Kenrick

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Like this comment
Posted by togfg
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm


Like this comment
Posted by Interested
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Great job! It's nice to read about community contribution and not only academic success. Amazing how kids find time for everything!
Any ideas where those kids volunteered?

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm

For most of these kids - this is an awesome accomplishment! For some, a few weeks over the summer on a "community service" trip to somewhere cool adds up to a lot of hours and an award! I think that classes such as Stage tech, InFocus, etc. can also earn community service hours once their required hours have been completed.

Like this comment
Posted by Erin Kiekhaefer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 9, 2011 at 11:14 am

Good job Amigos kids!

Shaheen Essabhoy, Skyler Tom, Matthew Bungarden, Victoria Tse, Kelly Stern, Elizabeth Silva, and everyone else!

Like this comment
Posted by Moira
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Sorry folks, no comment on the individual kids, but if there were no awards or place to discuss on college applications, you show me how many of these kids would volunteer on their own. Another part of the college-resume building process. Arranged largely by parents, with the more connected parents able to secure the more impressive volunteer positions.

Like this comment
Posted by Susan Colb
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 13, 2011 at 9:19 am

Congratulations to all you kids! What an achievement!! I hope PAOnline will publish some of your stories. Community Service is such an impactful experience for young and old alike -- a win-win for everyone involved and better communities, as a result.

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 13, 2011 at 11:20 am

Moira - there are a number of kids who would still volunteer even without the impact on their "resume" especially those who coach younger kids sports or volunteer at something they have a passion for (I think the extra hours kids put in for school clubs/classes such as theater or InFocus count as volunteer hours). But many of the kids are only doing it for their resumes. There are a number of parents who pay for "volunteer" trips over the summer that cost thousands. I personally want to take the Costa Rica Surfing camp! Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Are you kidding
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 3, 2013 at 1:37 am

Moira I am someone who volunteered for amigos and I honestly want to hit you for saying that. Amigos was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life and I learned so much about myself and the world around me because of it. There was no parent prodding. If anything there was the opposite; my parents were terrified at the idea of me spending 8 weeks in a foreign country. Having spoken to many volunteers I don't know a single one who would do this solely for adding stuff to their application. Amigos required a lot more commitment then someone only interested in furthering their college eligibility would be able to give. It's also disgusting to see you making that assumption. I wish I could see you eat nothing but beans and tortillas for 8 weeks and treck up a muddy mountain every day in sweaty clothes. Amigos is a learning experience and a great accomplishment. Congratulations to everyone who completed it!

Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 3, 2013 at 10:08 am

Let me try to be a peacemaker here. Moira's statement certainly has some truth to it, as anyone who has kids knows from talking with other parents here in Palo Alto.

That said, she's wrong to say the college entrance benefits are what motivates most/all of the youth who participate in a program like Amigos. From my POV, most of the college benefit thinking comes from the ***parents***, not the kids.

I want my kids to work, to see the world from other perspectives, to feel what it's like to not have all they have, and know they'll benefit from those experiences regardless of whether it gets them into a more highly ranked school or not. I'm also of the opinion that where you go to college matters less and less every day, and what you're made of matters more and more.

Like this comment
Posted by B. Hori, retired Paly teacher
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Kudos to those volunteers and those who benefit from programs that exist! But also agree with 1st statement from Zaharias. Sounds like familiar comments.

Like this comment
Posted by Truth Be Told
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 15, 2013 at 12:17 am

My son had to volunteer 15 hours for the Living Skills class requirement. No, he would not have volunteered to help pack food for the homeless if it weren't for the requirement. But it was a good experience and he volunteered many times after.

I am not sure how colleges view this award. My senior earned the award in freshman year by doing something he enjoyed. The only difference in earning this award vs. collecting community service hours is the time factor. The hours must be completed within one year to earn this award. I doubt colleges distinguish between 250 hours and 250 hours in one year.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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