Rajat Mehndiratta-MHS

Name: Rajat Mehndiratta
Age: 18
Grade: Senior (2014)
School: Memorial High School




Accomplishments:
-National Honor Society
-Honor Roll (4 years)
-National Merit Semi-Finalist
-Perfect score on the ACT and SAT
-Debate (4 years)

Favorite class: I really enjoy Biology and Debate; I am going to be going into the science field so biology is super interesting to me and as for debate, I am really dedicated to it.

Favorite things to do after class: Student organizations take up a lot of time, but when I get the chance I like to play basketball and read.

Favorite book: I don’t have a favorite book, but author-wise Friedrich Nietzsche for non-fiction and Isaac Asimov for fiction.

Favorite song or favorite musical genre: I play the trumpet so I like classical music, but I mostly listen to alternative rock.

Favorite website: I spend a lot of time on the internet, mostly on reddit.com.

Favorite TV show: Right now I am into American Horror Story.

Favorite movie:  I don’t have any favorite movies at this moment, for some reason I react a lot to movies right when I see them.

Ambition: Other than taking over the world, I want to go to a good university, major in computer science/electrical engineering and do a lot of research. After I finish college I am hoping to go into the whole start up area.

What drove you to be interested in the start up area?
I think just the fact that they’re accomplishing so much right now; both research and start ups are finding innovative ways to solve problems that people didn't even think about solving in previous times.

What drives you to succeed?
 I have really unhealthy perfectionism.



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David Cremins-MHS

Name: David Cremins
Age: 18
Grade: Senior (2014)
School: Memorial High School




Accomplishments:
-Eagle Scout-Orchestra (President)-United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (President)-National Honor Society (Vice President)-Honor Roll (4 Years)-Perfect ACT score

Favorite class: I really enjoyed Chemistry AP; I took the class during my junior year, and it was a lot of fun. Since it was a small class, we got the chance to become really close. All the students were smart and facing that challenging of a course together was just really fun. 

Favorite things to do after class: I spend a lot of time playing the violin with my friends, I love to read, and I am also involved in theater. I also like to listen to podcasts when I get the chance.

Favorite book: I don’t have a favorite book, but one of my favorite authors fright now is Oliver Sacks, he writes non-fiction.

Favorite song or favorite musical genre: I love classic rock, and I am also into alternative indie.

Favorite website: I spend a lot of time on the typical social media websites, xkcd.com, theonion.com and reddit.com.

Favorite TV show: I really like “Modern Family.”

Favorite movie:  I am a big fan of old movies like Casa Blanca or Citizen Kane.

Ambition: I am hoping to major in cognitive sciences at either Northwestern University or Stanford University.

What sparked you interest in cognitive sciences?
I just started reading some stuff and learning about the brain and how it works with our body. As far as research goes I want to have the chance to make discovers and expand my knowledge.

What drives you to succeed?

 I used to have a perfectionist mentality where I had to be the best at everything I did. I don’t do that very much anymore, but the mentality at being the best hasn’t gone away. I constantly strive to be one of the most advance memories in eve and to make discoveries!

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Ryan Massey - MHS

Ryan Massey: 2013 Galleria Chamber of Commerce Scholarship
Campus: Memorial High School
College Choice: Texas Christian University
Intended Major: Business, finance and/or accounting Career Goal: CFO (Chief Financial Officer)
 
If you were to ask most teenagers going to college at this point in their life, two-thirds of them would most likely tell you that they have no idea what they want to do. I wouldn’t be one of them. I have wanted to be an accountant since I took an accounting class my junior year. My even longer-term goal is to be hopefully be a CFO (chief financial officer).
 
I have come to realize how expensive Texas Christian University is, but feel it’s the best place where I can reach my goal of becoming an accountant. My goals for my college education are to get my degree and get a steady job where I can provide for my own family, as well as my family at home.
 
I would like to major in business, finance, or accounting. Accounting is organized and sometimes exact, which I love about it. I plan to finance this education with financial aid from TCU and with scholarships like yours.
 
During recent years, Ryan’s family struggled with job losses and financial issues, making her scholarship incredibly important to her future success.

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Ryan Baumgartner - MHS

Ryan Baumgartner
Memorial High School
College/School: University of Texas at Austin
Career Goal: Petroleum Engineering


Ryan has been a Student Council representative for four years and served as vice president and recording secretary on the Executive Board of the Student Body. A member of the National Honor Society, he won the Lawrence Tech Award for Excellence in Science and Math. Ryan is a Mustang Student Mentor.

He is active in YoungLife and played varsity football and basketball.

Ryan writes, “Although born and raised in Texas with my American father and Arabic mother, I can’t help but be concerned about the Syrian half of my family struggling to cope with the terror and danger of the country’s civil war, and wonder if things would be different if Syria was as oil-rich as, say, Libya. For better or worse, oil plays a part in every aspect of my life. And the older I get, the more certain and passionate I become that the particulars of the oil industry will also shape my career.”

Ryan plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to study petroleum engineering.

2013 Diane Jackson Scholarship Winner
A longtime employee of Spring Branch ISD, Diane Jackson was a dear friend to many here and in Austin. She was a staunch supporter of public education and passionate advocate for SBISD. She spent many of her days every two years in Austin during the Texas Legislature, helping the district and state lawmakers remain connected. She died three years ago, but her friends and co-workers have kept her spirit alive by continuing to honor graduating seniors with scholarships in her name. 

Diane herself left a financial gift to SBEF for this very purpose.

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Juliana Baik - MHS

Juliana Baik
Memorial High School
College/School: Parsons School of Design/Fashion Institute of Technology
Career Goal: Fashion Design


While Juliana has received many awards for art and fashion, her most memorable was 1st place in local Rep. John Culberson’s Congressional Art Competition, which took her to Washington, D.C. Her painting hung inside the U.S. Capitol for a year.

She has sold several pieces through the local Culture Shapers group and designed bibs, hats and clothes for the company, Don’t Kiss the Baby.

Juliana is president and founder of the Korean Student Association. She is active in the Memorial Mustangs Outreach Bunch and at the Korean Language School. She also received UIL State Solo and Ensemble awards, and she was selected as a member of Regional Orchestra in 2009 and 2010.

Juliana writes that she wants to learn as fast as she can to achieve her dream of being a fashion designer and to see people wear designs that she creates. Her art teacher, Cathleen May, notes that she has a strong record of success: “She looks forward to a challenge and proceeds with strong convictions.”

She will study fashion design at Parsons School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology.

2013 Diane Jackson Scholarship Winner
A longtime employee of Spring Branch ISD, Diane Jackson was a dear friend to many here and in Austin. She was a staunch supporter of public education and passionate advocate for SBISD. She spent many of her days every two years in Austin during the Texas Legislature, helping the district and state lawmakers remain connected. She died three years ago, but her friends and co-workers have kept her spirit alive by continuing to honor graduating seniors with scholarships in her name. 

Diane herself left a financial gift to SBEF for this very purpose.

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Joo Baek - MHS

Joo Baek
Memorial High School
College/School: University of Texas-Pan American
Career Goal: Pre-Dental Studies


Joo Baek writes that she always dreamed of becoming a dentist, but a dentist that cares about the whole patient. She hopes to go to Africa on a mission trip one day to help people who are struggling.
She was in the marching and concert bands for four years, serving as a section leader for flutes.

She was an active member of Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) spending three days a week shadowing nurses at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital. She volunteered at the Korean Community School and in the summer at the HOPE Clinic, too.

Joo’s English teacher describes her as self-directed, disciplined and quick to pick up any new concept. Her academic record and her work ethic are both excellent. She plans to major in the Pre-Dental Studies program at the University of Texas-Pan American.

2013 Diane Jackson Scholarship Winner
A longtime employee of Spring Branch ISD, Diane Jackson was a dear friend to many here and in Austin. She was a staunch supporter of public education and passionate advocate for SBISD. She spent many of her days every two years in Austin during the Texas Legislature, helping the district and state lawmakers remain connected. She died three years ago, but her friends and co-workers have kept her spirit alive by continuing to honor graduating seniors with scholarships in her name.

 Diane herself left a financial gift to SBEF for this very purpose.

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Itzel Vasquez Gonzales - SWHS

Itzel Vasquez Gonzalez
Spring Woods High School
College/School: Houston Community College
Career Goal: Medicine and Theater interests


Her mentor wrote the following about Itzel: “Itzel is torn between wanting to help people by becoming a doctor and her passion for the theater. Itzel is a member of the band and plays the flute and she is also a member of the theater group. She has a delightful and caring personality and will do well in whichever career she pursues. She plans on getting a job this summer and will be attending Houston Community College.”

2013 Nabors Industries Scholarship Winner
Nabors Industries is a Community Partner with SBISD. Nabors employees serve as mentors in the district’s Springboard Mentoring program for middle and high school students. The Nabors Industries adult mentors presented these scholarships to their students, also known as mentees.

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Katheryn Romero - SWHS

Katheryn Romero
Spring Woods High School
College/School: Undecided
Career Goal: Undecided


Katheryn has demonstrated perseverance throughout high school even when presented with many challenges. Katheryn will be the first to attend college in her family and has shared that her desire to continue her education is driven by her motivation to better her family and community. This motivation combined with passion is sure to lead her to a successful future.

2013 Nabors Industries Scholarship Winner
Nabors Industries is a Community Partner with SBISD. Nabors employees serve as mentors in the district’s Springboard Mentoring program for middle and high school students. The Nabors Industries adult mentors presented these scholarships to their students, also known as mentees.

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Wendy Castillo - SWHS

Wendy Castillo
Spring Woods School
College/School: Texas A&M University
Career Goal: Petroleum Engineering

Wendy ranks first in her class of 463 and is valedictorian of the Class of 2013. Her awards include: National Honor Society; 17th in the nation as a freshman on the French National Exam; Academic Achievement Awards in multiple classes; recipient of a scholarship from the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association; and letters in choir, soccer and volleyball.

Aside from excelling in academics and sports, Wendy is genuine, dependable, caring and mature beyond her years. During a three-year absence by her mother who was in Mexico, Wendy took on the responsibility for most of the household cooking and cleaning, while caring for her father, twin brother and other siblings. In addition, she also worked part time, volunteered and studied.
Wendy will attend Texas A&M University to study petroleum engineering this fall.

2013 Nabors Industries Scholarship Winner
Nabors Industries is a Community Partner with SBISD. Nabors employees serve as mentors in the district’s Springboard Mentoring program for middle and high school students. The Nabors Industries adult mentors presented these scholarships to their students, also known as mentees.

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Graham Baker - SHS

Graham Baker
Stratford High School
College/School: University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Career Goal: Musical Theater


This talented Stratford High student has earned numerous awards and recognition for his talents in theater, including a nomination this year for a prestigious Tommy Tune Award for Best Actor in the city.

Graham has served as a Student Council class representative. He played on the football, golf and baseball teams, was a three-year varsity choir member, and was active in the theater program for four years. Graham was a featured performer for the past three years in many Stratford plays.
A Memorial Drive United Methodist Church member, he serves in a Senior Leadership program and Youth Fellowship. He is a member of Young Life. Graham was selected as one of the back-up singers for Lyle Lovett at this year’s SBEF Benefit concert.

Graham writes, “My interest in pursuing a stage career has evolved as I have grown from being Batman, through performing on a field, and now as an actor on a stage. The discipline and leadership I have learned from my experience in athletics and in theater in Spring Branch and at Stratford High School are foundations for what I hope is a successful journey through college.”

He plans to study musical theater at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

2013 Benjamin Cuellar Scholarship Winner
This scholarship was set up by the family of Benjamin Cuellear in his memory. Benjamin was an English teacher at Stratford High School. Mr. Cuellar’s family felt very strongly that a great way to honor their son was to help graduating seniors continue their educational dreams. At this Awards Night, Benjamin’s parents, Julie Sanchez and Juan Cuellar, presented the family award to Graham Baker of Stratford High School.

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Kelly Griffin - SHS

Kelly Griffin
Stratford High School
College/School: University of Oklahoma
Career Goal: Science or energy management


Kelly has been active in Young Life and served as work crew president for the First Junior Women’s Club High School Work Crew. He led a book donation drive for Literacy Advance and helped to improve communication and volunteer involvement by starting up a Facebook page for the group.

Instructor Mary Jackson with Stratford High writes, “Besides his academic ability, Kelly is extremely active in our school and in our community. He is able to manage his time well and is a strong leader in the classroom and with all groups in which he is involved. I am sure his success at the high school level will continue at the college level.”

Kelly writes, “I have often heard that the measure of a man is his character, not his intelligence. While I work hard in school, I try to measure my success by always doing the right thing.” Kelly has been active on Student Council for four years now, serving on the Executive Board this year. He played on the football team, serving as a captain, and he also played lacrosse, where he was selected to represent the high school at the Texas A&M Aggieland Classic Tournament.

Kelly Griffin will be an asset to his community as well as to the University of Oklahoma where he plans to study science or energy management.

2013 Prosperity Bank Scholarship Winner
SBISD Community Partner Prosperity Bank is awarding this $1,000 scholarship.

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Brittany Toy - SWHS

Brittany Toy
Spring Woods High School
College/School: Texas A&M University
Career Goal: Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


Brittany sings in the Spring Woods High School Varsity Choir, serves on Student Council and is a member of the National Honor Society. She played on the SWHS volleyball team and was an Academic All District Softball Member. Having never played softball before, she tried out as a freshman and, one year later, she was a major player on the Varsity team.

Head softball coach Allison Hayworth, describes her well: “Brittany is a very patient and supportive teammate. She is hard working and selfless. She goes above and beyond to make herself better, as well as her team.”

Brittany loves meteorology. She says, “By earning my education through hard work, I plan to start a career in the broadcasting sector of meteorology, and hopefully build my way up to my dream position of being the chief meteorologist of Channel 13 in Houston.” We hope to all be tuned in to Channel 13 when that day comes.

This fall, she enters Texas A&M University to study meteorology and atmospheric sciences.

2013 Rachel Pendray Scholarship Winner
A former student at Spring Woods High School, Rachel Pendray attended Sam Houston State University, where she was involved with cheerleading and she pursued the study of nursing.

In the reading used to present her scholarship, the following was stated: “There were many ways in which Rachel made herself known – she was involved with swim team and diving, was active in her church, and was a friend to everyone she met. She did not know a stranger and was an inspiration to many. Rachel was always laughing and smiling, giving support to those who might be down, and she left a permanent memory of a beautiful girl whose shining face and loving heart touched our lives forever . . . and whose smile was occasionally mixed with a crazy silly grin, pushed up nose and tongue sticking out . 

“While Rachel’s life ended too soon, her short time with us made a tremendous impact on all whose path she crossed. We are excited to present three worthy students the chance to begin their college career while carrying on Rachel’s memory and working towards a future that would make Rachel proud. We ask our honorees to please accept this donation towards your future in honor of a wonderful young lady – study hard, smile a lot and represent Rachel in a way that will make her and her family and friends honored to be a part of your future.”

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Chinh Pham - SWHS

Chinh Pham
Spring Woods High School
College/School: University of Texas at Austin
Career Goal: Visual Art Studies and Computer Science


Chinh is a member of the Student Council, Spring Woods High School Yearbook Staff and one incredible photographer. He was a national finalist in the Nikon Student Photography Contest, won the Reserve Grand Champion Photography Contest at the Houston FFA Live Stock Show, and several other photo awards.

Math teacher Diane Hudson writes, “Chinh’s pictures are not of grand, obvious items. They are of ordinary life, depicted deeply and beautifully. Walking past the same scenes others pass by, Chinh will see a story where others see none. He wields his camera as a poet would a pen.”

Chinh understands the value of hard work and dedication. As he so brilliantly puts it, “Learning alone makes you go fast. But learning together makes you go far with a spirit full of unity, creativity and responsibility.” This fall, he will begin studies in visual arts and computer science at the University of Texas at Austin.

2013 Rachel Pendray Scholarship Winner
A former student at Spring Woods High School, Rachel Pendray attended Sam Houston State University, where she was involved with cheerleading and she pursued the study of nursing.

In the reading used to present her scholarship, the following was stated: “There were many ways in which Rachel made herself known – she was involved with swim team and diving, was active in her church, and was a friend to everyone she met. She did not know a stranger and was an inspiration to many. Rachel was always laughing and smiling, giving support to those who might be down, and she left a permanent memory of a beautiful girl whose shining face and loving heart touched our lives forever . . . and whose smile was occasionally mixed with a crazy silly grin, pushed up nose and tongue sticking out . 

“While Rachel’s life ended too soon, her short time with us made a tremendous impact on all whose path she crossed. We are excited to present three worthy students the chance to begin their college career while carrying on Rachel’s memory and working towards a future that would make Rachel proud. We ask our honorees to please accept this donation towards your future in honor of a wonderful young lady – study hard, smile a lot and represent Rachel in a way that will make her and her family and friends honored to be a part of your future.”

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Cecilia Lopez - SWHS

Cecilia Lopez
Spring Woods High School
College/School: University of Houston
Career Goal: Veterinarian Studies


Cecilia is a member of the National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society and the Humanitarian Society. She is a hard worker who has learned to manage a rigorous course load while taking on additional responsibilities at home. Having lost a parent at the age of 15, she realized it was important for her to help her family and support them emotionally.

Cecelia says that she is grateful for the adults in her life who have been there for her when she needed someone to lend an ear. Her favorite teacher, Mrs. Gutierrez, was one of her biggest advocates. Another supporter and mentor, Wayne Schaper, Jr., says that Cecelia “always keeps a positive attitude and is one of the most focused young ladies he has had the pleasure of working with.”

In her personal essay Cecelia writes, “The loss of my mother is something I will never overcome and it hurts me to think of all the things she’ll miss seeing me do. Yet, I won’t let this stop me. I will accomplish my goals and make my family proud of my accomplishments.”
She will attend the University of Houston and pursue veterinarian studies.

2013 Rachel Pendray Scholarship Winner
A former student at Spring Woods High School, Rachel Pendray attended Sam Houston State University, where she was involved with cheerleading and she pursued the study of nursing.

In the reading used to present her scholarship, the following was stated: “There were many ways in which Rachel made herself known – she was involved with swim team and diving, was active in her church, and was a friend to everyone she met. She did not know a stranger and was an inspiration to many. Rachel was always laughing and smiling, giving support to those who might be down, and she left a permanent memory of a beautiful girl whose shining face and loving heart touched our lives forever . . . and whose smile was occasionally mixed with a crazy silly grin, pushed up nose and tongue sticking out.

“While Rachel’s life ended too soon, her short time with us made a tremendous impact on all whose path she crossed. We are excited to present three worthy students the chance to begin their college career while carrying on Rachel’s memory and working towards a future that would make Rachel proud. We ask our honorees to please accept this donation towards your future in honor of a wonderful young lady – study hard, smile a lot and represent Rachel in a way that will make her and her family and friends honored to be a part of your future.”

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Taishiro Okazaki - MHS

Taishiro Okazaki
Memorial High School
College/School: The University of Colorado
Career Goal: Mechanical Engineer


Taishiro was a member of Memorial High’s varsity track team, theater and National Honor Society. He holds a black belt in Karate. Taishiro has traveled and worked abroad, serving impoverished communities and making a difference in the lives of others.

As a top student, Taishiro thinks critically and he often asks “Why?” Mrs. Shelley, who works in the English Department, says, “Taishiro wants to fully understand concepts, and he is relentless in his pursuit of mastery.”

He has a deep appreciation for nature and is concerned about our planet being destroyed for the sake of profit and industry. He says, “While sitting on the summit of Mt. Shasta, I realized that the environment is something that must be protected for future generations and, in order to do this, I would have to become an engineer. My dream is not to become a typical engineer, but a pioneer, a leader of innovation and environmentalism that will help preserve the great beauty of this land for future generations.”

He will attend the University of Colorado, where he plans to study mechanical engineering.

2013 Roy Brown Scholarship Winner
Roy Brown, a former SBISD Grants Dept. staff member, was a big- hearted man who truly loved kids and learning. He was always on fire and excited about the latest book he was reading, and he sought creative ways to ignite that same passion for learning in all students. Roy’s ideas and the effort he gave to the SBISD Grants Dept. continue to impact the lives of hundreds of young people as they enjoy the enrichment and safety of the district’s 10 ACE Afterschool Programs.

Roy’s enthusiasm, his fine character, and his love for the students he served and the employees he managed, continue to inspire those who were touched by this compassionate man who always had a twinkle in his eyes!

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Kaijia Tian - MHS

Kaijia Tian
Memorial High School
College/School: University of Texas at Austin
Career Goal: Chemical Engineering


Kaijia is a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Society, National Science Society, and many other groups. She has a love for science and independent thinking, and is capable of solving problems on her own through creative means. Karla Lowerre, a chemistry teacher at Memorial High, describes Kaijia as “always happy and enthusiastic and proved to be an incredibly diligent student.”

With a particular interest in clean air, Kaijia wants to join with other chemical engineering students in locating new sources of hydrocarbons and researching novel processes for upgrading the production of fossil fuels, making them more efficient to burn. In her personal essay she writes, “I want to work closely with petroleum companies to develop cleaner solutions of efficient, alternative fuels for the human race and solve the energy crisis not only for ourselves, but also for our descendents to come.”
Her next stop is the University of Texas at Austin, where she will study chemical engineering.

2013 Spring Branch Education Foundation Scholarship Winner
These scholarships are funded by the Spring Branch Education Foundation (SBEF), which is led by a group of committed area business and community leaders, educators and volunteers. These student awards were presented by Mike Rome, chair of SBEF, and Cece Thompson, who is the group’s executive director.

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Jack William Rodgers - SWHS

Jack William Rodgers
Spring Woods High School
College/School: Southern Methodist University
Career Goal: Theater Education


Jack is the 2013 Spring Woods High valedictorian and was a National Merit Commended Scholar with an SAT score of 2230. He is an Advanced Placement Honors student, editor-in-chief of the high school newspaper, and a very accomplished actor who has had roles in more than 20 productions. He has served as an intern for HITS Theater and the Country Playhouse Theater. He is also a four-year veteran of ComedySportz and an active member in his church.

Jack writes this of his future: "If I could take my two greatest joys in the world and put them together as a fluid and cohesive whole, why should I do anything else? If I spend the rest of my life doing nothing more than teaching and directing at the exact same high school I myself attend, I would find happiness. Maybe it isn't being a nurse or double majoring in Biology or statistics at Yale, but why should I waste my time going to a job, day in and day out, that I find no joy in? When I grow up, I will be a professional high school theater teacher. And I will be happy."

He plans on attending Southern Methodist University and pursing a degree in theater education.

2013 Spring Branch Education Foundation Scholarship Winner
These scholarships are funded by the Spring Branch Education Foundation (SBEF), which is led by a group of committed area business and community leaders, educators and volunteers. These student awards were presented by Mike Rome, chair of SBEF, and Cece Thompson, who is the group’s executive director.

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Fernando Trujano - SHS

Fernando Trujano
Stratford High School
College/School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Career Goal: Electrical engineering/computer science


A top high school tennis player, Fernando was the first chair Mellophone/French Horn in the Marching band, Honors Bands and Stratford High School Orchestra. He’s a member of the National Honor Society, National Honor Technical Society, and was involved in the digital filmmaking and internship programs at the Guthrie Center.

Fernando has a passion for learning, but an even stronger interest in teaching other students to learn. He created a web page called “PeerTuts,” that aided fellow classmates with physics and math. Stratford High teacher Davy Barrett wrote, “I have never had such a complete student. I have had those that are exceptional in the classroom, those that are exceptional at interpersonal relationships and those that excel outside the classroom. Fernando is all three and more.”

With a strong interest in computers and digital technologies, Fernando describes himself as “an enthusiastic programmer, filmmaker, motion graphics artist and musician.” He writes that he plans to “touch the lives of many through technology and aid humanity through innovation.”
This fall, he will enter Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an interest in both electrical engineering and computer science.

2013 Shantamboo Charity Scholarship Winner
This scholarship was set up by the Desai family to honor Mr. and Mrs. Ambalal C. Desai. The Desai Family wanted to recognize and honor a well rounded student of good moral character through this award. Ambalal C. Desai presented the local scholarship to Fernando Trujano of Stratford High School.

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Destiny Moriah Lewis - WAIS

Destiny Moriah Lewis
Westchester Academy for International Studies
College/School: University of Texas at Austin/Navy ROTC
Career Goal: Pharmacology/Toxicology


Destiny is a member of the Guthrie Center’s Navy Junior ROTC program, serving as Academic Team Commander, Operations Officer and Honor Cadet. She is also a member of the National Honor Society.

Destiny, who is a senior at 16 years old, has always had an incredible work ethic. Her counselor, Karren Sims, says that Destiny also has a giving heart, eager to serve her community in any way that she can.

When asked how she intends to use her college education, Destiny stated, “I intend to be proactive in my implementation of what I’ve learned to enable me to arrive to my intended destination of success, and ultimately give back to a world that has given so much to me.”
She will join the ROTC program at the University of Texas at Austin. She plans to major in \ pharmacology and toxicology studies.

2013 Houston Westchase Rotary Scholarship Winner
For over 25 years, the Houston Westchase Rotary Club (HWRC) has focused fund-raising efforts by the group on benefiting graduating high school seniors to pursue post-secondary educations. The Rotary is proud to sponsor up to eight graduating seniors annually with awards in both the Spring Branch and Alief Independent School Districts. 

States the group: “Westchase Rotary believes that our future is dependent upon educating our young people so they can go on to fulfill their individual goals toward a strong Houston and Texas. We join our teachers, administrators, parents and patrons in applauding the past and future success of all of our graduating seniors.”

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Rena Dang - SWHS

Rena Dang
Spring Woods High School
College/School: Texas A&M University
Career Goal: Biochemistry


Rena is a member of the National Honor Society, and she is Student Council vice president and president of the Humanitarian Society. She was also a member of the high school marching and concert bands. Rena volunteers at The Village Healthcare Center, Spring Spirit Baseball and as a teacher’s assistant for the Vietnamese School.

She says that her five-year plan is to complete a medical degree and then be a church missionary that travels within the United States. “People may say that the homeless and sick here are better off compared to people in different countries, but there are many people in the United States that need just as much help, especially with rising medical costs,” she states.

Rena’s senior counselor writes that “she is passionate about learning and at the same time compassionate, kind and caring toward her family, friends and people around her. She is highly respected among her peers as well as her teachers.”

Rena plans to study biochemistry at Texas A&M University. Graduating in the top 3 percent of her class with a rigorous Advance Placement schedule, Rena should have no trouble reaching her goal of becoming a doctor.

2013 Houston Westchase Rotary Scholarship Winner
For over 25 years, the Houston Westchase Rotary Club (HWRC) has focused fund-raising efforts by the group on benefiting graduating high school seniors to pursue post-secondary educations. The Rotary is proud to sponsor up to eight graduating seniors annually with awards in both the Spring Branch and Alief Independent School Districts. 

States the group: “Westchase Rotary believes that our future is dependent upon educating our young people so they can go on to fulfill their individual goals toward a strong Houston and Texas. We join our teachers, administrators, parents and patrons in applauding the past and future success of all of our graduating seniors.”

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Sandy Aguilar - SWHS

Sandy Aguilar
Spring Woods High School
College/School: Texas A&M University
Career Goal: Accounting


Sandy earned a letter as a member of the Spring Woods High Drill Team. A member of the Color Guard and Latin American Club, she was Most Improved Student in her Algebra I class. As part of Tigers for Troops, she made Valentine Cards for Iraq soldiers. She was also involved in Junior Achievement, where she helped teach and mentor elementary students at a neighboring campus.
Sandy has an inspiring story. Her father was deported in 2011, and in the fall of that year, her mother passed away from cancer. Sandy immediately faced what would be nearly overwhelming challenges for others. Sandy faced them head on.

“I have moved several times, and lived with various extended family members. I have taken on the responsibility of maintaining a home life for my younger brother and myself. As a result, I had to drop out of school activities in order to take care of the daily household duties. Through all of this, I have remained focused on learning and maintained my class rank (Top 7 Percent of her 2013 Class). With graduation, Sandy will achieve her dream since third grade, which is to become a Texas Aggie and graduate from Texas A&M University. She starts there this fall and will pursue a degree in accounting.

2013 Houston Westchase Rotary Scholarship Winner
For over 25 years, the Houston Westchase Rotary Club (HWRC) has focused fund-raising efforts by the group on benefiting graduating high school seniors to pursue post-secondary educations. The Rotary is proud to sponsor up to eight graduating seniors annually with awards in both the Spring Branch and Alief Independent School Districts. 

States the group: “Westchase Rotary believes that our future is dependent upon educating our young people so they can go on to fulfill their individual goals toward a strong Houston and Texas. We join our teachers, administrators, parents and patrons in applauding the past and future success of all of our graduating seniors.”

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Joshua Lee - SHS

Joshua Lee
Stratford High School
College/School: University of Texas at San Antonio
Career Goal: Computer engineering


Joshua is the drum major in the Stratford Marching Band and a member of the National Honor Society. He has received multiple accolades for his achievements in the classroom, as well as for his talents as a musician. Joshua makes it a priority to serve his church and local community.

Mary Jackson, his student council advisor, describes Joshua as “a young man with great morals and values, well respected by his administrators and peers. He sets his goals high and does not stop until he reaches them.”

Joshua plans to study computer engineering for spiritual reason. In his personal essay he states, “My passion for this major is that I can make a difference in my church and local community through computers, not just phone applications or streaming live sermons, but for something greater to teach the Word of God not just in the United States, but to the other nations across the world.”

He plans to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio.

2013 Spring Branch Lions Club Scholarship Winner
Spring Branch Lions Club established this scholarship award to help graduating seniors pursue a higher level of education through a four-year university, junior college or technical school. Club members Donald and Ronald Landers presented the scholarship.

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Jennifer Hoang - WAIS

Jennifer Hoang
Westchester Academy for International Studies
College/School: University of Houston
Career Goal: Psychology


Jennifer is this year’s valedictorian at Westchester Academy for International Studies. She is a member of the National Honor Society and played varsity tennis at Spring Woods High School, where she earned multiple medals. She also volunteered three hours a week for three years at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital. Since February, she has held two part-time jobs.

Jennifer writes that “giving back is what my purpose in life is, and I love doing it. What other activity will get my heart going as much as giving back? I feel like using my education within the field of psychology would be the most rewarding.”

She plans to study psychology at the University of Houston or, with scholarship help, attend either Texas A&M University or the University of Texas at Austin.

2013 Spring Branch Lions Club Scholarship Winner
Spring Branch Lions Club established this scholarship award to help graduating seniors pursue a higher level of education through a four-year university, junior college or technical school. Club members Donald and Ronald Landers presented the scholarship.

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Marlene Alfaro - SWHS

Marlene Alfaro
Spring Woods High School
College/School: Sam Houston State University
Career Goal: Chemistry or Biology


Marlene is a member of the Association of Latin America Students and Spring Woods Senior Women. She was elected Student Body President, and she is an executive officer in the Navy Junior ROTC at The Guthrie Center. A volleyball player, she has already earned 12 semester hours of college credit through the dual credit program at Houston Community College.

Her community service activities include Junior Achievement, assisting at the annual SBISD Celebration of Sharing, Agnes Moffit Park volunteer, and translation services at the Spring Branch Health Center Fair. Marlene is currently employed as a nurse’s assistant at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital.

She writes about her interest in healthcare: “I have always had an interest in pursuing a career in healthcare. During this past year, I was able to follow that dream by obtaining a job as a nursing assistant at Memorial Hermann. This hands-on experience has assured me that healthcare is the field I truly love. I am dedicated to pursuing this career because I am passionate about helping and caring for others.” She plans to pursue a degree in chemistry or biology at Sam Houston State University this fall.

2013 Spring Branch Lions Club Scholarship Winner
Spring Branch Lions Club established this scholarship award to help graduating seniors pursue a higher level of education through a four-year university, junior college or technical school. Club members Donald and Ronald Landers presented the scholarship.

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Timothy Davis - MHS

Timothy Davis
Memorial High School
College/School: University of Texas at Austin
Career Goal: Chemical Engineering


Timothy demonstrated his leadership this year as the senior class president, as an Eagle Scout, and as photography editor of the high school yearbook. He is an entrepreneur, having started his own photography business. His accomplishments include National Honor Society Member, National Merit Scholar Finalist, Houston Chronicle Student of the Week and AP Scholar of Distinction. Timothy won awards in the Farrington Foreign Language Competition, the Welch Summer Scholar Program, and he also received the Rensselaer Medal Award.

Timothy’s Chemistry teacher writes, “He loved being challenged and enjoyed solving the tough questions. He was capable of figuring out alternative ways of working problems. Once he had figured it out, he was more than willing to help others – and he did so with grace and ease. He is thoughtful and considerate without exception. He always made time to help fellow students.”

Timothy plans to study chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

2013 Monica Neubauer Scholarship Winner
The Neubauer family established the Monica Neubauer Scholarship in memory of their daughter, sibling and family member. Monica was a geography teacher at Memorial High School, and her scholarship fund was the first to honor a member of the SBISD family. Monica’s parents, Debbie & Buddy Neubauer presented this scholarship.

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Imani Webster - SWHS

Imani Webster
Spring Woods High School
College/School: Texas State University
Career Goal: Pediatrician


Imani has been on the Spring Woods High girl’s basketball team for all four years of high school and has been the team captain the last two years. She is a National Honor Society member and is enrolled in the dual credit program at Houston Community College. With hectic sports, academic and work schedules, Imani still found time to volunteer with a church mission trip to Costa Rica during Spring Break.

Her basketball coach says that Imani is very enthusiastic, and she welcomes criticism as a way to improve. She held the position of starting guard/captain in basketball, which takes athletic ability and trust. She worked to advance her skills and tried new offensive moves with no reservations. She took criticism from her peers to improve her skill set.

Imani works well with others. She was a leader on and off the court. She participated in church functions, and she qualified for Regionals in track while keeping up with her busy schedules. She will attend Texas State University this fall. She wants to become a pediatrician.

2013 Don Coleman Scholarship Winner
The Don Coleman scholarship was established in honor of Coach Don Coleman, who is a retired Memorial High School basketball coach. The scholarship is the most prestigious award a student can win in high school basketball, but it doesn’t necessarily go to the best player.

After Coach Coleman retired, many of his former players and friends established this scholarship to honor one boy and one girl basketball player from SBISD that shows the discipline, dedication, selflessness and work ethic that Coach Coleman demanded from his players. Northbrook, Spring Woods, Stratford and Memorial high schools have all celebrated boy and girl success stories who have won this scholarship, and then gone on to successful careers.

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Parker Lund - SHS

Stratford High School
College/School: Texas A&M University
Career Goal: Business

Parker Lund exemplifies leadership. He holds high-level positions in numerous groups: Excutive Leader, Student Council; Vice President, National Honor Society; Co-Captain, Varsity Basketball Team; Senior Leader Memorial Drive United Methodist Church Youth Group; Prom Committee and Link Crew Freshman Mentor.

Parker is an All A’s Honor Roll student. He received the Academic Excellence Award for four years, 2009-2013, and he was a State of Texas PTA Reflections winner and also a Business Professionals of America state qualifier. He was also a PTA Council Scholarship nominee.

He chooses to lead by example until it’s time to speak up – it’s a serious matter when Parker speaks. He’s not afraid to step out on a limb and get his teammates in line when it is necessary. “He is the glue that holds our team together! He truly lives his life with Honor, Character and extremely high moral and ethical conduct,” his nomination reads. Parker plans to major in business at Texas A & M University this fall.

2013 Don Coleman Scholarship Winner

The Don Coleman scholarship was established in honor of Coach Don Coleman, who is a retired Memorial High School basketball coach. The scholarship is the most prestigious award a student can win in high school basketball, but it doesn’t necessarily go to the best player.

After Coach Coleman retired, many of his former players and friends established this scholarship to honor one boy and one girl basketball player from SBISD that shows the discipline, dedication, selflessness and work ethic that Coach Coleman demanded from his players. Northbrook, Spring Woods, Stratford and Memorial high schools have all celebrated boy and girl success stories who have won this scholarship, and then gone on to successful careers.



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Evan Rauch - MHS

Evan Rauch 
Campus: Memorial High School
Grade: 11th Grade (Junior)

Accomplishments: 
• National Honor Society nominee
• Honor Roll student
• Sold more than $6,000 in homemade jewelry
• Intern at “New for the Night” retail store
• Taught Sunday School prekindergarten class at Congregation Beth Israel
• B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO) chapter officer
• Started a jewelry fundraiser to raise money for breast cancer

Favorite class: “My favorite class is statistics because I really like math and it is the most interesting topic to me, and makes the most sense.” Favorite things to do after class: “I spend most of my time beading and working on my jewelry, but I also play tennis with friends and go on runs. I also like to do art at home.” 

Favorite book: “I have read so many good books, but two of my favorites are “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen and “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel.” Favorite song or favorite musical genre: “I listen to a lot of acoustic and singer songwriter stuff – bands such as ‘Train’ and ‘Mumford and Sons.’”

Favorite website: “I love to mess around on Polyvore.com, you can put together outfits and create a board of your interest – it is really entertaining and I get inspiration for my jewelry and style. I also like Henry Bendel’s website and Pinterest; I am a Pinterest addict.”

Favorite TV show: “My favorite TV show is without a doubt ‘Gossip Girl,’ it is so addicting; I could watch all of the seasons a million times through, and it would never get old.”

Favorite movie: “I love comedies. ‘Pitch Perfect’ is my current favorite. I also like ‘The September Issue,’ a documentary about (American Vogue editor-in-chief) Anna Wintour.”

Ambition: “I hope to be accepted to New York University (NYU) and get an internship in fashion. I want to major in math and get a business minor. I love math so I think it would be a good major if fashion doesn’t work out. I think I am going to get my master’s in business; I would love to be on the business side of a brand.”

What drives you to succeed? “My parents expect me to work as hard as I can but I am also really self driven. I am competitive with myself and I want to prove to others that I can succeed in everything I work hard at.”

What got you started making jewelry? “I started making jewelry in 8th grade, everything I made was horrible. I think I had like a beading kit I worked off of and then over time I just learned the trade and started going to bead stores everywhere – I became a bit obsessed. My business has brought me so much opportunity though.”

Was there ever a point in time where you realized “Hey this is an actual business?” “Yes, I had my first trunk show last year and sold all 44 bracelets I had made. I think that is when I realized that people actually liked my product and were willing to spend money to buy it. Following that trunk show, I had lists of orders and they didn’t stop coming; it is so flattering to have as many people wearing your artwork as I do.”

Do you think your self-made business has prepared you for a future career? “Yes, definitely. I have learned to be comfortable with complete strangers and I’ve become more of a people person. I think being able to interact and work with various types of personalities is a great skill for future jobs in any industry.” 

What is your internship? “I actually just got my internship for a store called ‘New For the Night’ that rents out clothing and accessories. The manager saw my work through a friend and asked me to come intern and sell my jewelry in her shop. She wants to teach me what will sell and won’t sell in the industry, and teach me the inventory side of the job.”

Can you tell me a bit about your fundraiser? “Yes. I am raising money for breast cancer through giving a portion of profits to help find a cure for breast cancer. I decided to donate money to a cause I think everyone is familiar with and has been affected by – we all know someone who has survived or been taken by breast cancer.”

What are three things that you cannot live without? “I can’t live without beads, Netflix or a pencil.” This interview and report was compiled by Communications Dept. intern Kali Venable.

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Helen Nguyen - MHS

Helen Nguyen: Class of 2013 Collegiate Challenge Mentee
Campus: Memorial High School
College Choice: University of St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland
Intended Major: Sustainable Development

What was the most helpful thing you received as a member of Collegiate Challenge? 
I would have to say the help I received with applications was crucial to my success senior year. Applying to college is so confusing, especially with the narrow timeline to submit applications and the mass amount of competition. My mentor and I set deadlines for all of the application stuff I had to get done, and it helped me avoid procrastination as well as relieved stress.

Does going to college in another country make you nervous? 
No, not really. I feel prepared for college with the academic career I have had at Memorial and with the help from my Collegiate Challenge group—I am ready to head off on my own. The long-distance thing surprisingly doesn’t bother me. I am excited to see the world and travel. I must admit I am a little nervous for how my mom will handle not having me around.

This interview was compiled by Communications Intern Kali Venable

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Render Villalta - SWH

Render Villalta: Collegiate Challenge Class of 2013
Campus: Spring Woods High School
College Choice: Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas
Intended Major: Biology

Do you know what you want to be when you get older? 
Yes, I want to go to medical school after I graduate from Texas A&M and become an obstetrician. I want to be an obstetrician because I think bringing new life into this world would be fulfilling and not as high pressured as other medical professions.

Is there anything you think people should know about Collegiate Challenge?
Yes, if you want to make something of yourself, then Collegiate Challenge is the program to be in. They are always there to mentor you. There was a lot of pressure, but it was good pressure. You learn to push yourself and stand out from the crowd.

Why did you choose to attend Texas A&M? 
The swaying factor was probably the amount of scholarships that A&M offered me. As of now, they are paying for 90 percent of my tuition and I am working over the summer to pay for the other 10 percent – the financial opportunity was too good to pass up.

What are you most nervous about heading into your freshman year? 
I am nervous about living in the small town of College Station. I have always been a city person so being in such a close-knit town will be weird. The southern conservative atmosphere will also be new to me, I think.

Interview compiled by Communications Intern Kali Venable Student photograph courtesy of Professional Photographers of America (cesar@photographer.net)

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Patrick Vu - NBH

Patrick Vu: College Challenge Class of 2013
Campus: Northbrook High School
College Choice: University of Houston Intended
Major: Civil Engineering
Mentor: Patty Cordrey

Why did you choose to major in civil engineering? 
I chose to major in civil engineering because I like learning how things work and how structures are pieced together. I have always been fascinated by the amount of work that can go into a complex engineering project.

What was it like to have an individual mentor? 
Having my own mentor was probably my favorite part of the Collegiate Challenge program. We met every Thursday to turn in college application stuff. She was always there to help me get things done and push me to go above and beyond. The individual attention I received was incredibly helpful and I developed a relationship with her that I plan to continue after high school – we will always be in touch.

Interview compiled by Communications Intern Kali Venable Student photograph courtesy of Professional Photographers of America (cesar@photographer.net)

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Destiny Lewis - WAIS

Destiny Lewis: Collegiate Challenge Class of 2013
Campus: Westchester Academy for International Studies College Choice: University of Texas at Austin with the option of transferring next year directly to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Intended Major: Toxicology and Pharmacology
Mentor: Greg Donaldson

Why did you decide to go into the Navy? 

It wasn’t anything I planned. When I was selecting classes as a freshman, I read the information about the Navy Jr. ROTC program (in Spring Branch). It sounded interesting and I needed another elective.

Little did I know the I would really learn to love the lifestyle . . . the regimentation, the uniforms, the sense of order. I soon had a leadership position. I knew I wanted to continue with the (military) service and decided to apply to the Naval Academy in Annapolis. I went through the steps and was accepted and ready to go, but one day I got a call that I had to be 17 before the beginning of classes. I was 15 so I applied for, and then was accepted by ROTC at UT-Austin. I plan to make the Navy a career.

I want to be a JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer and handle internal and legal affairs.

You will graduate at 16 years old. Has being younger been an issue for you? 

I was moved up a couple of grades when I was much younger. At first, I did not want people to treat or view me as different. I told no one my age, but then I guess that I got good with it so that now I tell people if it comes up. I think that being young pushed me to try harder, and maybe some people expected more from me.

What was the most important element of Collegiate Challenge for you? 

Having my mentor, Greg Donaldson, to lead me through the maze of applying for and to be accepted by the right school. He was there when I found out that I wouldn’t be going to Annapolis this year, helped me get into UT. As the parent of two college students, his knowledge of “the college process” made everything easier. He knows what classes are “musts” and how to get in them, and where the money comes from, and how to get it.

From Day One of Collegiate Challenge classes this year, all of us had to apply for a scholarship every week. I’m receiving a full ride from the Navy for my education, but I will need money for things like travel, supplies and laundry. I received a Spring Branch Education Foundation grant, which will also help a lot. Photo courtesy of Professional Photographers of America (cesar@photographer.net)

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Bushra Bangash - WAIS

An International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program student at Westchester Academy for International Studies who wants to be a women’s physician is one of just 10 Houston students named a Class of 2013 Gates Millennium Scholar. Bushra Bangash, a native of Pakistan who came to Spring Branch as a seventh-grader, is one of only 1,000 students from across the United States selected for this prestigious and selective scholarship.

 The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, directed by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), issues “good-through-graduation” scholarships for students to pursue degrees in any undergraduate major at the college or university of the student’s choice. Established in 1999, the GMS Program is made possible through a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This year, 122 Texas students were selected for the scholarships. Bushra set this top scholarship as a graduation goal five years ago.

Bushra’s accomplishments at Westchester Academy for International Studies:

• International Baccalaureate Diploma Program graduate
• Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital volunteer (358 hours)
• President, Muslim Students Association
• Vice President, Science National Honors Society
• Member and Public Relations Officer, National Honors Society (3 Years)
• Spanish & Math Honors, National Honors Society
• Secretary, Medical Club
• Executive Board, Model United Nations
• Alton Frailey Award, 10th and 11th Grades

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Katie Redd - SWH

Name: Katie Redd
Age: 18 Grade: 12th Grade (Senior)
School: Spring Woods High School

Accomplishments: • National Honor Society • National Technical Honor Society • First Spring Branch ISD (SBISD) student to receive full college tuition from the Posse Foundation • SBISD PTA Scholarship • Citizen Achievement National Merit Award • Academic Achievement Award in Social Sciences

Favorite class: “My favorite class is psychology because I am really interested in the social sciences and it goes hand in hand with my future career desires.”

Favorite things to do after class: “I work most of the time at Rockport Shoes, but in my free time I like to
also to write fiction work.” Favorite book: “Tight Rope” by Gillian Cross

Favorite song or favorite musical genre: “I am a born and raised Texan; I love country music.”

Favorite website: “I am on Facebook more than I would like to admit.”

Favorite TV show: “Rules of Engagement.” It is hilarious.

Favorite movie: I really like all of the “Die Hard” movies.

Ambition: I am going to Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. I received a full scholarship to major in International Studies and Russian Studies with a minor in Psychology. My dream is to work in the Behavioral Analysis unit for the FBI.

What drives you to succeed? “I am very self-driven, I get support from my mom, but I am the one that
constantly encourages myself to try harder and do better.”

Communications Dept. student intern Kali Venable compiled this report. 

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Waaris Mohammad - SWH


Name: Waaris Mohammad
Age: 18 Grade - 12th Grade (Senior)
School: Spring Woods High School

Accomplishments:

Debate Awards - Ranked 1st in National Forensic League (NFL) Space City District,  Ranked 31st on NFL All-American, Placed 12th at the Tournament of Champions in Congressional Debate, National Competitor in Speech and Debate, 4 Event Qualifier For State Speech and Debate, 7 times Over Qualified in Congressional Debate, Recipient of the Lanny Naegelin Excellence Award and Scholarship for Speech & Debate ($250),  Highest Degree of Recognition in the NFL, Premier Distinction, Debate President, Harvard National Congress Tournament Semi-Finalist, Two-time National Qualifier for the NFL Tournament, Two-time District Champion in Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking, District Champion in Congressional Debate for Senate

Academic Awards - Top 7 Percent, Honor Roll

Clubs/activities - Debate/Playing guitar/Working out/Eating

Favorite class and why - “Debate - I am able to engage in deep, intellectual conversations regarding politics while honing my public speaking skills.”

Favorite thing to do after school and why “Engage in the consumption of piping hot coffee while reading The Economist.”

Favorite musical genre (or band or song) and why “Progressive Metal, like Sezaam or Dream Theatre. The music spins a story, much like a symphony, in a modern way. Besides, it’s good pump-up music.”

Favorite website and why “Reddit.com. It’s a website that’s a smorgasbord of interesting pictures, discussions, and videos gathered from the wide reaches of the web.” Favorite TV show and why “Don’t really watch/like TV. (It’s great white-noise though.)”

Favorite movie and why “V for Vendetta.” It shows how the actions of a single figure can shape an entire
society.”

Favorite book and why “George Carlin’s ‘Brain Droppings.’ It provides an interesting perspective of society from a man who many considered one of the greatest cynical comedians.”

Ambition (career, future school, etc.) “I plan on getting my bachelor's degree from The George Washington University in the District of Columbia in International Affairs and Economics in order to land a career in foreign services.”

What are you passionate about? “Politics. It’s a series of systems, policies, etc., that were created to help govern society. Politics change in accordance to what the people in a country believe, and I believe that society is progressing and moving forward with the present generation.”

What inspires you? “Young advocates for change who take the initiative to better society, regardless of what others tell them. In this respect, the one who inspires me the most would be William Igobowke, a political communication graduate from the University of Texas who is running for mayor in Jacksonville, Texas. Young, educated, and full of fire, he’s one of my biggest role models.”

What three items can you absolutely not live without? “Coffee, the Internet, and my ‘Foreign Affairs’ magazine subscription.” *Please include three sentences about change you’d like to see in the world.* “I would love to see more social progress in society, more movements for connecting people and creating opportunities, because without such, society can never truly advance. George Carlin put it best when he said, ‘...And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don't even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven't learned how to care for one another. We're gonna save the freakin’ planet?’ All other problems, war, education, poverty, etc., can be solved if people took the initiative to care and help one another.

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My Future is Bright Campaign

We're excited to launch a new recognition campaign to honor the hard work and achievement of our students in SBISD.

This blog focuses on sharing real stories about real students. Why? We want to honor and celebrate our students' achievements and empower others to take action in achieving their own personal dreams.

Stories spotlighted here are of high-achieving students in Spring Branch and what they are doing to ensure success - in school, for their future and in life. We've also provided a resources page for students, parents and anyone looking to make a positive change in their life. 

We hope you enjoy the postings on this site, and take time to participate in our Facebook campaign.  Details will be posted soon on how you can join us in supporting T-2-4 and students success...simply by putting on your sunglasses and snapping a photo.  Look for more information soon!

We're glad you are here!

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Samatha Moon - Guthrie & MHS

Guthrie Center CTE Program 2013 Scholarship Winner
Career & Technical Education Scholarships

Samantha Moon, Guthrie & Memorial
Jane Primrose & Christy Capps, Nominating Teachers

When defining the ideal Agricultural Sciences student, or any student for that matter, it would simply require a photograph of Samantha Moon.

Sami shows many of the characteristics that a model student, as well as a model citizen, should possess; she simply craves to make our community better than when she began. Sami is involved in FFA, National Technical Society, National Charity League, Theater, Band and many other activities. She is the Guthrie Center "Character Without Question" nominee for 2012 - 2013. She shows conscientiousness and humanity when working with her animal projects and thrives on learning both the physiology and behavioral aspects of all living things around her; never settling for good enough.

This quality, along with her impeccable leadership when working solely as well as in a group, have made her an immeasurable asset to the Spring Branch FFA chapter. Moreover, her communication skills have equally positively impacted our chapter and community by exemplifying to community members the “product” of an SBISD education as well as educating our future agriculturalists that will succeed her.

She is simply an amazing individual that I feel blessed to have been a part of her journey. Educators can simply only hope to have a few “Sami’s” in their careers. Sami has aspirations of attending veterinary school and I undoubtedly know that she will be successful in that venture as well as become a leader in the veterinary sciences field.

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Jordan Jump - Guthrie & SWH

Guthrie Center CTE Program 2013 Scholarship Winner
Career & Technical Education Scholarships

Jordan Jump, Guthrie & Spring Woods
Sonia Greiner, Nominating Teacher

Jordan Jump is the “go-to” guy. He’s the guy you want on speed dial and several people do, including principals! He has this innate talent for knowing when an individual needs his assistance. Time after time and without hesitation, he jumps in to help his teachers, fellow students or strangers. Jordan has been blessed with an incredible work ethic.

His extracurricular activities are solid with his active participation as Technical Director/Scenic Designer of the Varsity Technical Theater, as a swimmer on the Varsity Swim Team, as Secretary for National Technical Honor Society, and active participation in Class of 2013 Leadership Group, UP Leadership Conference, and a member of OSA (Organization of Student Architects).

He regularly volunteers at The Houston Food Bank, Tallowood Baptist Church, Shadow Oaks Recreation Association, for Council Member Brenda Stardig and Spring Woods High School Thespians.

He has held down part time employment with Shadow Oaks Recreation Association as pool manager, Sky High Sports, and St. Francis Episcopal Church while attending school.

His GPA score of 6.3 on a 6.5 scale only accentuates his academic abilities. He has received high school honors such as 2012 Texas Thespian State Show, Lighting Chief, SWHS Academic Achievement Award, Most Improved Varsity Swimmer and the Principal’s Award for Outstanding Achievement. Jordan would like to attend Texas A&M and study industrial engineering.

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Jeremy Dyer - Guthrie & Westchester

Guthrie Center CTE Program 2013 Scholarship Winner
Career & Technical Education Scholarships

Jeremy Dyer, Guthrie & Westchester
Jennifer Cardenas/Erin Land, Nominating Teachers

Jeremy arrived at the Guthrie Center Culinary Program as a freshman and has remained a strong force in our culinary classes throughout high school. He may have begun as a quiet,studious, focused worker, but he leaves us confident, skilled, and a viable force to reckon with in the Food Service Industry.

While Jeremy is academically advanced, his creativity and love of food and the science of working with it, has propelled him into a future that few may ever imagine. We have no doubts that he will make advances in the research and understanding of what makes food appetizing and interesting.

He plans to attend the University of Houston, pursuing a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

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Lucero Gonzalez - Guthrie & NBH

Guthrie Center CTE Program 2013 Scholarship Winner
Joan Vastola Scholarship

Lucero Gonzalez, Guthrie & Northbrook
Betty Franklin, Nominating Teacher

Lucero Gonzalez is in the top ten per cent of her class, participates in multiple supportive pursuits in volunteering, competing,representing Northbrook and the Guthrie Center in a highly commended fashion. She participated in District 8 Skills USA Competitions and obtained 1st place in 3D Acrylic Nail Art and 3rd Place in Prepared Speech.

While maintaining outstanding scholarly values, Lucero has tutored kids at Edgewood Elementary, worked with Rebuilding Houston painting homes, and cooked at Turning Point for the elderly. She is a member of the Childress Foundation, National Honor Society, Honor Roll and National Technical Honor Society.

After high school Lucero plans to continue her college education with a major inHuman Service Psychology and a minor in Technology Engineer.

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Lydia Sweet - SHS

Guthrie Center CTE Program 2013 Scholarship Winner
Village Family Practice Scholarship

Lydia Sweet, Stratford
Sean Plake, Nominating Teacher

Lydia Sweet is a young lady with a dream. Her dream is to study medicine and one day have an advanced degree in genetics or pathology. As Lydia has made her way through high school, she never lost sight of her dreams.

She is an academic wonder that will quickly rise to the top in a collegiate arena. Lydia has been part of Stratford’s award-winning orchestra and band programs, an active member of her church Altar Guild, volunteering with Project C.U.R.E. and West Houston Assistance Ministries. She is a young lady that gives back to others.

Quoting her, “The world is full of issues that one person can’t resolve, but sometimes just one act of kindness can have a major impact on another person’s life. I have never regretted the time I spent helping others have a better life”. Lydia plans to attend the University of Washington and majoring in Microbiology.

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Spring Branch ISD