37 Valley Area Young Achievers and Three Teachers Recognized for Their Achievements
Program Sponsored by Van Nuys Airport and the Rotary Club of Greater Van Nuys
Van Nuys Airport, awarded three educational mini-grants to Los Angeles Unified School District middle school teachers in the San Fernando Valley, as well as grants to Valley middle school students and four deserving young achievers. Aphrodite Antoniou from Frost Middle School in Granada Hills received a $500 mini-grant for utilizing aviation in community service in her teaching. The $300 mini-grant went to Janice Wald of Nobel Middle School in Northridge and LaRue Fernandez received a $200 mini-grant for her program "A Bird's Eye View."
The Young Achievers program honored 37 exceptional Valley middle school students (from 15 schools) who excel in academics, athletics, the arts and community service/ leadership. Teachers and counselors nominated the students, and the top student in each category received $100 funded by the Rotary Club. This is the first year there was a tie in two categories:
- Academics: Citlalli Castillo, Madison Middle School, North Hollywood
- Athletics: Brian Piche, Valley Alternative Magnet School, Van Nuys and Nancy Alanis Vista Middle School Van Nuys
- Arts: Justine Yap, Vista Middle School, Van Nuys
- Community Service/Leadership: Inkiad Ahmed, Frost Middle School; and Nayellie Barragan-Mejia, Madison Middle School, North Hollywood
When asked what the award meant to her, Nayellie Barragan-Mejia said "It is a great honor, makes me feel proud that teachers believed in me." Nayellie won the Community Service/Leadership award for creating a club that donates to the City of Hope as well as provides pen pals to sick children in the hospital.
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.