By Elizabeth Gillingham
Triple E winners
Bea Evenson, a local philanthropist, generously donated funds to Patrick Henry High School to award students who have exhibited the three E’s in community service: Excellence, Ethics and Enterprise.
Awards have been given in the past for many activities including participation and achievements in various community organizations, all manners of volunteer work at hospitals, parks, libraries, charitable events, churches, synagogues, homeless shelters, humane societies, and other contributions to the community.
This has been a very special tradition at Patrick Henry High School for over 35 years and we are proud to give the Triple E award to 23 special students this year. Here is a quick description of each award winner this year:
Elizabeth Arevalo’s quest to find a paying summer job turned into a rewarding adventure volunteering at the library, an animal shelter, and Alvarado Hospital, and she now understands how important it is to always do her best and to give back to the community.
Sophia Bozone volunteered for PHHS’s Aquaponics club, church youth group, making holiday stockings and clothing for the homeless, working for the breast cancer three-day walk, Allied Gardens Springfest and MissionTrails days.
Eric Chaing’s passion since ninth grade has been the environment. He has been a dedicated volunteer with the Environmental Club since he started at Patrick Henry and this year he has taken a leadership role as the club secretary.
Tom Do has also done a lot of volunteer work in the Environmental Club working on the ongoing campus cleanup and recycling activities. Tom is also proficient in making a wilmat — a rug made out of plastic and plastic bags donated to the homeless. He also volunteers for PHHS Engineering Academy’s STEM day, Pumpkin Smash and the Rolando Street Fair.
Joel Foster’s volunteer career started when he was 4 years old, handing out water and cheering on the runners at the America’s Finest City Half Marathon. Thirteen years later he continues to help out with the marathon, and has branched out into other volunteer activities like various tennis clinics, festival play days, PHHS Feeding America Club, camps and Temple Emanu-El’s SanETY Midnight Run. But one of his favorite roles is as a teen coach for the U.S. Tennis Association Learning Program at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. The program teaches tennis to the children of our servicemen and women.
Andrew Hua has been a superhero volunteer for Kaiser Hospital in Grantville, putting in 130 hours of time since last summer. This work has given him the skill set he will need as he works towards becoming a psychologist.
Sophia Lewko started volunteering with the YMCA this year and has demonstrated her deep knowledge of gymnastics and coupled this with her ability to connect with her young students. She positively communicates with co-workers, students, and parents on a daily basis.
Shor Masori has been a volunteer photo journalist for the San Diego Jewish World newspaper, covering all kinds of current and local events of interest to the Jewish community. His most rewarding volunteer experience was the time he spent with six teenagers from the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo who were selected to stay with a few families halfway around the world.
Caroline Meyers has volunteered for several varied organizations for many years. She is an altar server at the San Diego Mission de Alcala, getting up early on Sunday morning to help set up and prepare for the Mass. In middle school, she joined the National Charity League keeping company with the elderly at a Senior Center downtown and helping with Bingo. She has also had the opportunity to make and serve dinner to the 80 homeless residents at the PATH center Downtown.
Max Mittleman is a long-time volunteer at Temple Emanu-El in Del Cerro. Max consistently demonstrates an abiding dedication to his community and in his role as the programming vice president has been tireless in his work.
Andy Nguyen started volunteering by signing up for the Environmental Club as a freshman and later was inspired to form the Park Beautification branch (cleaning up the small community parks in the area) of the Environmental Club. He also volunteers for the San Diego Tet Festival in Mira Mesa where he learned the joys of working the city’s cultural events and is the chairman of the Vietnamese American Youth Alliance.
Jason Pham is involved in many activities in his parish. He sings in the choir, is a leader in the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society, and is a parish school teacher assistant. At another church, he was noted for setting high standards and excelling with his duties as a volunteer. His main assignment was to oversee and plan small group curriculum, activities, and tutoring students in the youth program.
Margaret Poltorak has been a volunteer for Foothills United Methodist Church for many years where she’s worked on the Annual Thanksgiving Canned Food Drive, the Christmas Tree Project, the annual rummage sale, and the weekly beach cleanups and coffee cart. She has also contributed as a girl scout and volunteers in many other activities like feeding the homeless and collecting old clothing at the Connection House, food drives, and working many runs and walks to benefit cancer research, and helping build homes for the homeless with the Sierra Service Project.
Sophia Pruden has been a tireless volunteer raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of her aunt — since she was 7 years old. Her fundraising efforts for LLS started as a lemonade and cookie stand in her driveway. In the last 10 years, it has grown to a full-on block party with a raffle, silent auction, food, live music, face painting, a bouncy house, and serves 80 gallons of lemonade and 350 dozen cookies. She has been responsible for raising over $82,000 for LLS with the help of her family and community. Sophia is also president of the Patrick Henry Environmental Club and she created the Student Thrift Store to recycle clothing and build community.
Elise Rappel volunteers at Kaiser Hospital. Every Saturday for the past 10 months she has spent four hours helping patients and guests of Kaiser Hospital, directing and greeting visitors, escorting visitors to patient rooms, and helping the nursing staff. Thanks to her hospital duties, Elise has become a more understanding and patient teenager.
Hannah Ravitch’s volunteer achievements include: Kiwanis sponsored events, Special Olympics, volunteer and fundraising efforts through Patrick Henry Cheer, beach and environmental cleanups including helping the I Love a Clean San Diego organization, feeding and clothing the homeless, and Key Club.
Oliver Shirley’s volunteer service started when he was 6 years old as a Cub Scout and as a Church youth group member. His very first job was putting American flags on the graves at Rosecrans National Cemetery on Memorial Day. Through the years his service has included food drives, renovating an old church, collecting and distributing essentials for the homeless, and participating in the La Mesa Flag Day Parade with his Boy Scout Troop. Oliver’s Eagle Scout service project included researching, organizing and leading 28 scouts and adult volunteers in the construction and installation of 12 bird nest boxes for Mission Trails Park.
Stephanie Smith has been an active volunteer at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. She volunteers for the San Diego Military Outreach Ministries (MOMS) by providing resources for low income military members and their families and each year she helps by supporting a food and Christmas toy drive. She also volunteers in daycare nurseries, as a junior counselor at The Kroc Center, and at the church’s summer bible school.
Veronica Smith volunteers with the Military Outreach Ministries during their food and toy drives. She has also been noted for baking treats for the firefighters at her local fire station.
Abril and Chanel Sosa-Pineda, PHHS twins, have done their volunteer work together. They love volunteering at their church, San Diego Mission de Alcala. They have sold tickets, been part of the church choir, and finally taking on some leadership roles to provide breaks to the adults during the masses. Their volunteer work for Patrick Henry includes: helping during the August student registration, lending a hand in the finance office, library, and generally helping out wherever else there is a need. They also both helped with the 2017 Special Olympics held at PHHS last spring.
Erica Tolley has volunteered for AJ’s Kids Crane event at Rady Children’s Hospital, collecting toys for the drive. She is also an active volunteer for the PHHS tennis team and babysits in her community.
Mark Vo created a new club at Patrick Henry called Helping Out People Every day (HOPE). Each Saturday, Mark, with the other club members, prepared food to distribute at the Urban Angel’s homeless shelter. Project HOPE collected clothing, dental products and other necessities to help those in need. Mark created camaraderie among the club members and used their collective energy to provide resources for the homeless community.
CCTE Showcase winners
Congratulants to PHHS students who won the Open Team Submission at the San Diego Unified School District’s Annual CCTE (College Career and Technical Education) Showcase event held last May.
The 2017 CCTE Showcase is the culminating event to exhibit an outside of the classroom product attempting to address an outside the classroom problem in collaboration with at least one adult from the business or local community. In addition to being a showcase for student projects, the CCTE Showcase is a contest.
PHHS seniors Ryan Beck and Latrell Crenshaw were big winners with their design of a football helmet. Ryan and Latrell worked all year to a design for a helmet that would reduce the amount of concussions an athlete might face with the current helmets.
They started looking at the solutions that were already available on the market. They then interviewed parents, coaches, and medical professionals about concussions, their causes and long term affects. From there they researched various materials and came up with a 3-D model which they then presented to those same mentors, and then they developed a prototype.
Throughout the competition, they also had to develop a business plan and an online portfolio of their work to share with potential mentors, investors and companies. Currently, they are working on getting a patent and want to sell their product for children and Pop Warner football.
They won $500 and bragging rights with a big banner for their classroom. Champions were determined by the points earned for their written Project Design Elements and the Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: Performance Metrics. Student prizes were determined by donations from the Nick Cannon Foundation.
IScholar honors third student with scholarship
IScholar was founded and launched in 2014 by Henry graduate Irina Chukhray, who is currently a Ph.D. student in Sociology at Rice University.
After graduating from high school, Chukhray set her mind to one day give back to the school and especially the teachers who motivated and encouraged her to pursue her academic goals. She decided to help PHHS seniors currently mentored by the same teachers that mentored her.
Chukhray designed IScholar with the intention of creating a scholarship that would be useful to its applicants. In her own experience of applying for scholarships, she noticed that the required essay component seemed like an extra writing assignment that did not directly relate to the college application process.
The application requirements for IScholar, however, mirror current college application requirements, resulting in a practice run (i.e. essay draft and required supplemental material) for college applications. Using that format, she structured her prompt and selected a student.
IScholar began as a small scholarship but Chukhray hopes to grow it with community support so that future winners will receive a larger award and possibly more than one grant given each year.
This year’s 2017 award went to Ibtihal Hussein (class of 2017) and was presented by Principal Listy Gillingham during the senior’s graduation rehearsal. The process of a former student using her own money to help a current student was inspirational to all that witnessed this special award ceremony.
—Elizabeth Gillingham is principal of Patrick Henry High School.