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Torreys Recognized 2024

By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
We’re beaming with joy.
In celebration of dedicated Torreys pursuing their passions, discover how they excelled and earned well-deserved recognition for their work in writing, science, design and innovation, community service, and citizenship.

Design and Innovation
Community Service

YoungArts Awards
Among more than 9,000 applications to the YoungArts Awards, Victoria “Vicki” Huang ’25 was one of the 97 writing winners chosen for her non-fiction submission. Nearly 700 award winners were selected across 10 artistic disciplines, from music to dance to writing. The highly competitive award recognizes work that demonstrates exceptional technique; a strong sense of artistry; and a depth of thinking/performance that exceeds the level of peers at this career stage. ​​The winners, all 15–18 years old, are chosen for their caliber of artistic achievement by discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process. In addition to cash prizes and a medallion, winners join a distinguished community of artists and receive a lifetime of creative and professional support from a robust network of peers and mentors. Previous notable winners include Amanda Gorman, Nicki Minaj, Timothee Chalamet, Kerry Washington and Andrew Rannells. 

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards 
At the regional level this year, 18 works from seven students in Grades 8, 9 and 11 were awarded Gold Keys (2), Silver Keys (7) and Honorable Mentions (9). The final numbers haven’t been released yet, but to show the magnitude of this contest, over 300,000 works of art and writing were entered from more than 100,000 Grade 7–12 students from U.S. territories, Canada, and all 50 states last year. The Gold Key recognitions from Isabel Finch ’28, “Growing Up” and Sophia Brotman Flores ’25, “Audentes Fortuna Iuvat” (Latin for “Fortune Favors the Bold”) advance to the national level. National winners are announced in June.

Congratulations to the winning writers!
  • El Bevash ’27: Silver Key
  • Sophia Brotman Flores ’25: Gold Key and Honorable Mentions (4)
  • Qikun “Max” Feng ’25: Silver Key
  • Isabel Finch ’28: Gold Key and Honorable Mention
  • Vicki Huang ’25: Silver Keys (5) and Honorable Mentions (3)
  • Sedona Lineback ’28: Honorable Mention
  • Michang “Mitchell” Wang ’25: Honorable Mention 

2024 NCTE Promising Young Writers Contest
LJCDS educators nominated two Grade 8 students (the maximum allowed) to enter the National Council of Teachers of English writing contest—and they won. Congratulations to Gavin Li ’28, who earned First Class and Anya Rosen-Ahmed ’28, who earned Superior designation out of the 177 eighth graders nominated. The 2024 prompt asked students to think about connection, disconnection and reconnection. National judges evaluated each piece for expression of ideas, language use, and unique perspective and voice. The writers were rated on the effectiveness of each piece for its intended audience and whether they exhibited the power to inform or move an audience through control of language.

State Science Fair
Kudos to Oliver Cottrell ’30, who earned second place in the California Science and Engineering Fair Electronics and Electromagnetics junior division for inventing the Automatic Hockey Puck Passer Machine. After 11 Torreys were recognized during the 70th Annual Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair in March, Oliver, Jonathan Brough ’30 and Gavin Ni ’25 qualified to compete at the online state fair in April.

Wildlife Documentaries
Upper School English and Humanities Educator (and Professor at USC) Amy Parish, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized primatologist and anthropologist. As one of the world’s experts on the social behavior of bonobos, she has appeared on NOVA, the Discovery Channel and National Geographic films. Just in time for LGBTQ+ Pride Month, she is featured in two documentaries about the diversity of animal sexuality. Queer Planet (TV-14), narrated by actor Andrew Rannells, debuted on June 6 on Peacock, NBC’s streaming network and Second Nature, narrated by actor Elliot Page, was screened at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and will be in theaters later this month.

Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge
Seniors Allison Casey and Carter Feinman found out a week before commencement, on college gear day, that their project won two awards in the international Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge as winners were announced during the online ceremony being played by Director of Design & Innovation Dan Lenzen’s laptop. They tied for the top prize, Best Overall Social Innovation, and won the Photonics Innovation Award. They will receive $2,500 to donate to a charity of their choice. The competition was fierce, with more than 4,700 students from 32 countries participating in the fifth year of this annual event launched by the Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education at the University of San Diego.

Alison and Carter’s winning project, IlluminArt, was a multiyear collaboration with the Helen Bernardy Center at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. After user testing and feedback from the Center’s teachers, the final design is an interactive and adjustable product for students with severe mobility or cognitive impairments to have a visual and tactile experience. The product uses an adaptive switch to activate an LED light matrix in a fun and exciting way to stimulate and motivate the students. Watch the submission video. Read more in this La Jolla Light article.

World Design Capital
In partnership with the San Diego Environmental Film Festival, Junobi Ree’s ’25 design project, Youth Speculative Design, was awarded $10,000 in funding from the World Design Capital 2024. He will use the grant to democratize urban design by using AI collaborators for youth to propose environmentally sustainable designs for the future of the San Diego-Tijuana Region. 
This fall, the designs from 100 youth will be showcased in libraries, schools and community organizations around the city. Junobi’s project was one of only 17 successful recipients awarded by the Community Driven Design Grants Program, a partnership of the City of San Diego and the World Design Capital 2024. Considered “the Olympics of design,” the World Design Capital / Capital Mundial del Diseño 2024 was awarded to San Diego-Tijuana, making San Diego the first U.S. city ever to receive the WDC designation and San Diego-Tijuana the first binational awardee. 

Build a Bright Future
Matthew DuBois ’26 won a $3,000 first prize vision grant in the 10th annual Build a Bright Future Program, organized by Frigo® Cheese Heads® (a division of Saputo Foods) and Whatever It Takes (WIT). As one of the 35 winners, Matthew can attend a four-week entrepreneurial/leadership course to enhance his skills and knowledge. He also has a year of access to the WIT Community, a virtual membership-based entrepreneurial community with tweens and teens worldwide. Students aged 8–15 submitted their creative ideas and short video pitches for their businesses, nonprofits or side hustles, and applications were judged based on creativity, merit and purpose.

Champions of Change
The United Nations Association of the USA and InnerView recognized LJCDS and 29 students in the 7th Annual Community Service Impact Awards, designed to connect student community service activities, skill development and commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (the UN Global Goals). Schools with a collective student impact above 2,000 hours of service, the equivalent of a full-time employee, are recognized with a School Impact Award. Upper School students invested more than 6,760 hours in community needs this school year, earning the Emerald Award. According to the LJCDS Community Service Impact Summary, Torreys had the most impact on these four global goals: quality education, good health and well-being, life below water and life on land. The Kroger Co. presented the fifth annual Zero Hero Awards to students for taking action to help create communities free of hunger and waste. 

Students had the option of creating a digital service resume to showcase their skills and interests. Based on hours of service this school year, awardees are listed below. Eight students are Ambassador Awardees for 100 hours, six students are Honor Awardees for 60 hours, and 14 students are Merit Awardees for 30 hours, plus three Zero Heroes.

Ambassador Awardees: Maya Bateman, Allison Casey, Ashirvad Chourasia, Maya Couey, Stella Horn, Ariana Ludwig, Talia Mackin, Sonali Pathria
Honor Awardees: Giovanni Cozic, Emily French, Isabelle Hinrichs, Soyoung Hong, Chloe Richardson, Yihan Yuan
Merit Awardees: Rose Brennan, Heather Crean, Jojo Criado, Brody Glazer, Juliet Harbach, Jack Levin, William Mirhashemi, Ally Needle, Anissa Patel, Sareena Perez, Madeline Toranto, Isabella Vazquez Gloria, Yunzhe Wang, Anqi Xie
Zero Hero Awardees: Wyatt Harris, Talia Mackin, William Mirhashemi

President’s Volunteer Service Award
Bravo to the 16 Upper School students who earned a President’s Volunteer Service Award, a prestigious national honor offered in recognition of volunteer commitment. ​​The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation founded the award in 2003 to recognize the critical role of volunteers in America’s strength and national identity. Led by AmeriCorps and managed in partnership with Points of Light, the award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities nationwide and inspires those around them to take action.

Five students earned a Gold Award for more than 250 volunteer hours in a 12-month period, one earned a Silver Award for between 175 and 249 hours, and 10 earned a Bronze Award for between 100 and 174 hours. 
  • Gold: Karch Borsa ’24, Ashirvad Chourasia ’27, Vincent Moore ’27, Madeline Toranto ’24, Yihan Yuan ’25
  • Silver: Talia Mackin ’27
  • Bronze: Maya Bateman ’24, Allison Casey ’24, Maya Couey ’24, Emily French ’24, Isabelle Hinrichs ’25, Soyoung Hong ’26, Ariana Ludwig ’26, Sonali Pathira ’24, Sareena Perez ’25, Kaia Roy ’24

Senior Prom at Belmont Village
The residents of the Belmont Village La Jolla senior living facility put on their best attire to attend an intergenerational prom organized by LJCDS students. To connect and create community with our neighbors, students brainstormed themes and activities, recruited student musicians and performers, decorated the room and provided refreshments. The celebration included dancing, crowning a prom king and queen, sharing stories and life wisdom, and lots of smiles. Read more in the La Jolla Light article

National Security Language Initiative
Gabriel “Gabe” Rosen-Ahmed ’25 will study Chinese (Mandarin) this summer in Taiwan on a scholarship from the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI‑Y), a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. He was among 540 students selected from thousands of high school applicants across the United States. While in Taiwan for six weeks, Gabe will live with a host family, immerse in the local culture and host community, and engage with local peers to enhance language learning and build mutual understanding. 

Gladiator Mock Trial
Anna Holland ’25 was selected to compete in the ninth-annual Gladiator One-on-One Mock Trial World Championship in Atlanta this July. The tournament showcases the best high school mock trial competitors around the globe in a series of one-on-one competitions. Anna will play the role of prosecuting and defending attorneys and as a witness for each side. Having just won San Diego County Mock Trial 2024 Best Defense Attorney, LJCDS is cheering for her to come back with the trophy, a life-size replica Gladiator helmet—and the title of Best in the World. Good luck, Anna! 

America’s Youth in One Room
Alise Polselli ’24 will represent LJCDS at the Stanford Democracy Lab’s America In One Room: the Youth Vote conference in a historic gathering of 500 first-time voters this July in Washington, D.C. Over four days, students from a variety of geographic, demographic, socioeconomic, cultural and ideological backgrounds will consider key policy issues facing the country, such as health care, economic issues, democracy and elections, and social media and technology. To become informed and engaged citizens, they will deliberate in small groups in a thoughtful, civil and substantive fashion and have town hall discussions with balanced groups of policy experts.

Civics Contest
Natalie Amir-Lobel ’27 was named a finalist in the 2024 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest. Her second-place essay win in the Southern District of California was one of 42 essays out of the 737 submitted to advance to the next round of competition at the circuit level. This year’s theme was “70 Years Later—The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education.” Students were asked to discuss the impact they think Brown has had and why. Circuit winners will be announced in June.

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