The Brisbane Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education Program started in 1996 with three awardees and $4000 in grants. Since that time the program has made 239 grants totaling $295,000 (including this year). I would like to thank our donors whom without your support this would not be possible. Our donors this year include: Recology, South San Francisco Scavenger, Integrated Resources Group, Universal Paragon Corporation, Tri Counties Bank, Golden State Lumber, BiRite Foodservice, and The DoubleTree Hotel SF Airport North.
COVID-19 forced us to do things a little differently this year. We interviewed candidates via Zoom and had to forgo our usual reception. However, our entire committee (Jennifer Wilder-Smith from BiRite, Rich Borghello from Recology, Freddy Beaman from US Bank, and Teresa Montgomery from South San Francisco Scavenger) thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our applicants, even under these circumstances.
While we cannot celebrate our recipients with a formal ceremony, we would like to honor them within The Luminary and we hope you’ll take the time to read about each of our deserving students.
Hannah Chan resides in Daly City and recently graduated from Oceana High School with a 4.08 GPA. She’s a swimmer, cross country runner, and enjoys gardening. While practicing social distancing at home with her family, she’s spent many hours tending to her garden. We were impressed with her thoughts on food waste and the environment. Hannah worked as a lifeguard at the Brisbane Pool prior to its COVID-19-related closure. She plans to attend Pitzer College in the Fall, majoring in Environmental Analysis. Ultimately, Hannah hopes to conduct field study related to climate change or pursue a career in environmental law or policy.
Jessica Co, a resident of Brisbane graduated from Summit Shasta High School with a 4.36 GPA. She served her school as Student Body Secretary and President. Outside of school she studies ballet at the Westlake School for Performing Arts, plays soccer, and participates in Science Club. Interested in a career in neuroscience, Jessica spent the summer leading up to her senior year interviewing neuroscientists, psychologists, educators, clinicians, and researchers across the nation about their work. From there, Jessica asked a doctor in the Radiology department at SF General Hospital if she could intern. From that experience, Jessica gained invaluable experience looking at brain scans, witnessing diagnostic processes, and learning from those she worked with. In the Fall she plans to attend UC Berkeley studying Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology. Jessica plans to pursue an MD/PhD and conduct clinical research in neuroscience.
Danica Vicente also calls Brisbane home. She graduated from Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco with a 4.33 GPA. She served her school as Vice President of Publicity, promoting student events and activities with flyers and posters. She also actively volunteered through the Lasallian Vincentian Youth Club and participated in parish ministry at Our Lady of Mercy Church. During her interview she taught the scholarship committee a little sign language and spoke to us about what she learned about the deaf community through her ASL studies. In the Fall she plans to attend UC Davis and study Biological Sciences. Eventually, Danica hopes to attend medical school and become a pediatrician.
Ethan Yuen lives in Burlingame and recently graduated from Mills High School with a 3.2 GPA. He played on the football and soccer team and also participated in a number of roles at New North Church. During his interview, Ethan also impressed us with his thoughts on food waste and serving others based on his experiences as a server at a country club. In the Fall, Ethan plans to attend College of San
Mateo with the hopes of transferring to a four year university. During his time at CSM, Ethan intends to explore different fields in Engineering.
Zach Zavodnik, a resident of Brisbane, graduated Terra Nova High School with a 4.06 GPA. Zach is a longtime swimmer and has competed in a number of major meets including the Junior Olympics, PAL Championships, and CCS. He was a member of his school’s 2019 undefeated swim team and was named Varsity Swim Team Captain in 2020. Zach expanded his love of water sports by joining the Water Polo Team and was named “Outstanding Senior” in 2019 by his coach. When not in the water, Zach is a talented classically trained pianist. In the Fall, Zach plans to attend UC Santa Barbara and study Economics and Accounting. Zach hopes to earn an MBA, law degree, and become a business lawyer in order to help small business owners survive in a business climate dominated by large corporations.
The Brisbane Chamber applauds our 2020 Excellence in Education award recipients and wishes them the best in their higher education studies.
Outstanding Brisbane School District
Students of the Year
Panorama 5th Grade Student
BY: Donna Hong, Panorama 5th grade teacher, firstname.lastname@example.org
Panorama Elementary School’s 5th grade student of the year is Jasmine Lee. Jasmine shines in all that she does. She is the kind of student who loves to learn, and welcomes challenges. She consistently gives her personal best.
Jasmine’s greatest strength is her leadership skills. Jazzy can see the big picture down to the small details. She can organize people to do jobs they’ll be successful doing and she will support their efforts. She has been a great ”go to person” for students as well as her teacher, during this historical time of distance learning.
She gets the pulse of the class by hosting meetings or sending emails. She takes initiative to talk to the teacher on behalf of her peers!
Jasmine was voted Mayor of our Classroom City simulation project. The Shelter in Place has altered this project for us and Jasmine took the lead, worked on her own time to create new laws, and helped the Bank President to change over to online banking.
Jasmine was also a Playworks Junior Coach. She took her role very seriously and led games, making sure play was inclusive and fair. She also helped to transition the school back into learning after recess. Jasmine has the perfect personality for this job. She is justice minded and a natural mediator of conflict.
On top of it all, Jasmine is kind, funny, outgoing, and positive!
For all of this, Jasmine Lee is Panorama’s 5th grade student of the year.
Brisbane Elementary 5th Grade Student
BY Janine Lee, 5th grade BES teacher, email@example.com
Brisbane Elementary School’s 5th grade student of the year is Ayxa De Alba.What an honor it is to teach a student like Ayxa De Alba. Very early this school year, it was clear how focused, responsible, and conscientious a learner she is. Whether learning skills that come quickly to her or navigating a subject that is extra challenging and requires more time and effort, Ayxa’s hard work rises to whatever level is needed to do her absolute best. Every. Single. Time.
She is one of the strongest examples of perseverance and the “Growth Mindset” I have ever encountered. She takes joyful yet humble pride in her academic accomplishments, and if the results are not what she’d hoped for, she relentlessly continues pursuing those skills and knowledge to better herself. And that is what’s truly remarkable about Ayxa – her efforts are for the pure sake of learning and growing, and already at this young age, she has visions of her future and is taking responsibility for it right now!
Ayxa is driven to do well for all the right reasons, and she keeps life in balance. Friends and family are important to her. She is caring, fun-loving, attentive, and always willing to help. She is independent, takes initiative, and has a deep sense of integrity.
As if it wasn’t already obvious how incredible her work ethic and attitude are, Ayxa’s response to Distance Learning has left no doubt how deeply committed she is to learning. The school environment has changed for everyone, and quite dramatically for her. From hundreds of miles away, outside of the country, she has still been single-minded in her efforts to connect with our Zoom lessons, problem-solve her way through technological issues, do everything possible to follow through after each lesson, and complete every assignment – all to keep GROWING!!!
I couldn’t be happier to know, teach, and honor Ayxa De Alba as Outstanding Student of the Year from Brisbane Elementary School.
Lipman Middle School Students:
BY: Jolene Heckerman, Lipman Middle School Principal, firstname.lastname@example.org
Keymora Panaligan: On campus, none overmatch Keymora Panaligan in working towards a sense of inclusion. One can often witness Keymora aiding classmates with new concepts, helping them find a personal effect or simply checking in when they seem down. Keymora is a bright star on the Lipman campus in her efforts to show care, kindness and appreciation.
Keymora goes the extra mile in her work as a rule. Keymora strives to fulfil her duties as a student and complete work of the highest quality often going beyond 8th grade expectations. Year after year, Keymora has demonstrated excellence in all subject areas and is at the top of her class in science and mathematics. This year she was a finalist in our Science Fair with her “Inhale, Exhale” project.
Finding oneself in one’s intellectual efforts, being imaginative in identifying what’s interesting in what might otherwise be quite drab, is the mark of a wonderful mind. Keymora consistently achieves this fusion of mind and heart that will make life a continual adventure for her.
We are so excited for this next chapter in Keymora’s life and education and do hope to hear where life takes her in the future. We have the greatest expectation that no matter where the four winds carry her, she will bring the same vivacity, creativity and kindness that will make for a beautiful life.
Ilarion Kovatchev: Ilarion Kovatchev is consistently found modeling intellectual curiosity, attentiveness and engagement in class at Lipman. What’s particularly special about Ilarion is not that he is showing mastery of content during these lessons (although he does that often enough with his final products), but that he is modeling an acceptance of not knowing and eagerness to learn, and this humility is the most important quality of any scholar.
Ilarion’s work is thorough, honest and imaginative. Ilarion has begun to use his writing as a tool of self-discovery and expression which makes it something truly engaging and enlightening to read. It is this approach that is hardest to teach, because it requires a real maturity and investment from the student. Ilarion works hard to develop his gifts and to help others.
Not only does Ilarion excel in all academic subject areas but he played on the Lipman basketball team, served as student council treasurer and was captain of the Lipman Math Team, leading the team through a math competition this spring.
Next year Ilarion will attend Nueva Upper School. Ilarion has a bright future ahead, and we do hope to hear where life leads him. Ilarion’s intellectual curiosity, humility, and his ability to share those gifts are a wonderful recipe for success and happiness, and we hope that Ilarion will continue to develop and celebrate these virtues as he continues to discover new ones.