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Early College High School Students Receive Accolades
Posted 5/20/20

Student Honored with President’s Volunteer Service Award

Zaira Aguilar

Volunteering is an integral part of student’s priorities Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD). Volunteering provides a unique opportunity for students to make a difference in their local community, as well as develop skills that lead to work experience, building community awareness, networking, and more. 

Zaira Aguilera, 12th-grade student at Early College High School (ECHS), was selected to receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award. ECHS Principal Dr. Dave Martinez nominated Zaira for the national honor last fall in recognition of her exemplary volunteer service.

Zaira completed nearly 600 hours at non-profit organizations including Pomona Elementary School, Save Our Youth student center, and the 5 Saturdays Summer Program. Some of her volunteer responsibilities include:

  • Support elementary students to improve their reading, writing, and math skills
  • Tutor secondary students in a variety of subjects
  • Assist in promoting free community events
  • Distribute items at the local food bank
  • Participate in environmental cleanups 
  • Present educational lessons to business and non-profit organizations
  • Support peers by organizing mock interviews and resume workshops

“Zaira’s ability to maintain stellar academic performance and provide her time and expertise to make a positive difference in our local community is commendable,” said ECHS Principal Dr. Dave Martinez.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award, Created in 1995 by Prudential and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, is the United States’ largest youth recognition program that recognizes individuals who volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including initiative, effort, impact and personal growth. Several factors to consider when judging applications:

“I am the happiest when I’m helping others,” said Zaira Aguilera.“I know what it's like to need help and I want to ensure that nobody feels that way,” she said. 

Zaira feels that volunteering has an everlasting ripple effect that can change lives. She plans to attend the University of California, Los Angeles and study Social Work and Policy Analysis as she pursues a career toward improving the current foster care system.

Students Receive Angels Baseball Foundation Scholarships

The following two students were selected as Angels Scholars and awarded four-year college scholarships from the Angels Baseball Foundation. This is a prestigious recognition that was awarded to only 20 of the more than 100 students that applied. This is the fourth year in a row that at least one NMUSD student has received an Angels scholarship.

This year’s NMUSD Angels Scholars include:

Kelly Nguyen

  • Kelly Nguyen
    She plans to study microbiology at the University of California, San Diego

Paola Mendez

  • Paola Mendoza
    She also plans to study Sociology with an emphasis on Social Inequity at the University of California, San Diego

Since 2016 the Angels Baseball Foundation has awarded four-year college scholarships to outstanding high school seniors. The process includes Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teachers nominating students based on high academic achievements, financial need, community involvement, and the desire to pursue higher education. The AVID program helps schools shift to a more equitable, student-centered approach that focuses on closing the opportunity gap to prepare all students for success in a global society. 

To be eligible for the Angels Scholars Scholarships each graduating senior must meet the following criteria:

  • 3.0 unweighted grade point average 
  • Accepted to a 4-year higher education institution
  • At least one Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or college transferable course 
  • 50 or more hours of community service 
  • At least one extracurricular and/or leadership activity
  • And more…

“We are proud to have two deserving students awarded four-year scholarships to college, thank you to the Angels Foundation for investing in our students’ future! ” said ECHS Principal Dr. Dave Martinez