Governor’s Award honors four county high school students

Years of attaining good grades, participating in extracurricular activities and volunteering are paying off for four San Mateo County students, who will receive a new academic award from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday.

The Governor’s Academic Awards Recognition Program will honor the best of the best from the state’s high schools in a ceremony Tuesday. The award recognizes students for their school rankings, grades and test scores but leaves the selection of students up to each county.

“I think we do not do enough to recognize the really superlative students that we have,” Peter Burchyns of the county’s Office of Education said. “It’s a good thing for us to provide kids that we’d like to hold up as role models to our community.”

One of these role models, Aurora David, 18, of Westmoor High School, immigrated to Daly City from the Philippines her sophomore year and quickly became the school’s top student. David achieved a score of 2260 out of 2400 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test and volunteers with Filipino organizations. She has been accepted to Stanford University but has not decided if she will attend.

Joy Wend Zhang, 17, a senior at Carlmont High School in Belmont, also has been accepted by top schools — Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California Institute of Technology — for her achievements in mathematics, including competing in the prestigious U.S. Math Olympiad. Zhang also keeps busy by playing the piano and performing with the Peninsula Youth Orchestra as a violinist.

“Teenagers waste a lot of time doing nothing — there is a lot of downtime. I just have less downtime,” she said.

Jasmine Nachtigall of Hillsdale High School fills her free time by taking college courses. By May, she will not only graduate from high school, but also receive an associate degree in science from College of San Mateo. Nachtigall has raised money for victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina and competed in national tennis tournaments, and she has played the violin for 11 years.

“I’m very lucky to have time to do other things besides academics,” she said.

South San Francisco High School senior Margaret de Larios also pursues after-school programs. De Larios, 17, is rehearsing for a musical, working on the school’s yearbook and participating in Girl Scouts.

“I’m completely flattered that I got this award,” she said. “I’m looking forward to meeting the governor.”

svasilyuk@examiner.com

businessLocalScience & TechnologyScience and Technology

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Anti-eviction demonstrators rally outside San Francisco Superior Court. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Report: Unpaid rent due to COVID-19 could be up to $32.7M per month

A new city report that attempts to quantify how much rent has… Continue reading

Music venues around The City have largely been unable to reopen due to ongoing pandemic health orders. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to cut $2.5M in fees to help 300 nightlife venues

San Francisco will cut $2.5 million in fees for hundreds of entertainment… Continue reading

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett departs the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after Ginsburg’s death. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
GOP senators confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court in partisan vote

By Jennifer Haberkorn Los Angeles Times The Senate on Monday confirmed Judge… Continue reading

Curator Tim Burgard looks over a section of the galleries comprising “The de Young Open,” a huge, varied collection of work by Bay Area artists. (Photo courtesy Gary Sexton/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Bay Area artists jam-pack vivid ‘de Young Open’

Huge exhibition — with works for sale — showcases diversity, supports community

SF Board of Education vice president Gabriela Lopez and commissioner Alison Collins listen at a news conference condemning recent racist and social media attacks targeted at them and the two student representatives on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Online attacks on school board members denounced by city officials

City officials on Monday condemned the targeting of school board members, both… Continue reading

Most Read