19 Under 19

They’re distinctive. They’re talented. They’re inspiring. And they’re just getting started. Meet a handful of the amazing young South Bay women and men ready to conquer the world … as soon as they finish their homework.

  • Category
    People
  • Edited by
    Darren Elms

 

TAILORED TALENT

Jake Marshall, 14
Rancho Palos Verdes
Palos Verdes High School

Something only your best friends know about you: That I can sew.

Proudest accomplishment: Sewing 30 Christmas stockings for kids in a local foundation.

Person you admire the most: My grandmother, because of her generosity.

Future aspirations: I would like to have a career that includes both invention and creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

BEAUTIFUL MIND

Saneth Devalapurkar, 15
Torrance
West High School

Proudest accomplishment: After getting into MIT, being a part of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and winning there.

Person you admire most: Alexander Grothendieck, for his incredible insight into the structure of mathematical objects.

One difference you’d like to make while on this earth: I’d like to inspire people to learn the true beauty of mathematics and change the public’s fear of the subject. Math is all about understanding—not random symbols.

ASPIRING ALTRUIST

Michael McFarland, 17
Rancho Palos Verdes
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

Proudest accomplishment: When Governor Brown appointed me to the State Board of Education.

Something only your best friends know about you: I’m actually pretty artistic and really appreciate the little things in life that people deem to be “unimportant.”

Prized possession: I have a blue tie that I wear to all my interviews and meetings in Sacramento. I know it sounds pretty silly, but I like to believe that it gives me good luck.

INQUIRING INSTINCT  

Mia Felt, 13
Manhattan Beach
Chadwick School

LIFE-CHANGING

Activity: The Young Entrepreneurs Academy Over the course of eight months I founded the small business I’m Nuts! Bars LLC and was equipped with the tools necessary to kick-start my own company.  

Prized possession: My red notebook. In it Iwrite down thoughts, ideas and dreams.

Future aspirations: I aspire to use my involvement in journalism to speak for the voiceless and expose injustices such as global poverty and sexism in society.

BURGEOING BIOLOGIST

Onyi Onyeador, 16
Rancho Palos Verdes
Palos Verdes High School

Person under 19 you admire the most: Female education activist Malala Yousafzai.

Artist to record
the soundtrack of your life:
Jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara, because her music is so dynamic and uplifting.

One difference you’d like to make while on this earth: One difference I would like to make is to demonstrate how anyone, regardless of background, can provide great insight to the scientific community.

 

 

 

 

 

AMAZING GRACE

Raquel Gastelum, 11
Rancho Palos Verdes  |  Ridgecrest Middle School

Proudest accomplishment:  
When I won first place at the Yorba Linda figure skating competition and got my name inscribed on a big trophy next to Olympian Michelle Kwan’s name.

Prized possession:
My skates. I could not imagine life without them. Nothing else makes me feel happier or feel freer than gliding on the ice and lifting myself into the air while spinning and landing a double axel.   

Person you admire most:
I admire my dad more than any other person in world. He has been battling cancer for more than two years and has been getting 54 hours of chemotherapy every other week for more than a year. He never complains and has never missed any important event for me or my brother or any of my skating competitions.    

Future aspirations:
I want to skate for the gold at the Olympic Games. Then I want to become a doctor and be part of the effort to cure cancer.

 

HOLDING COURT

Ena Shibahara, 17
Rancho Palos Verdes
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

Proudest accomplishment:
My proudest accomplishment was winning CIF individuals three years in a row—holding an undefeated record within the three years.

Person who inspires your greatness: My family has always pushed me to become a better player. Without their guidance and support, I would not have been able to climb up to the level where I stand today.

Secret to your success: The secret to my success is the quality I put into my practice and training. Being a student athlete, I only have four hours to practice and there is no time to waste. As a result, to make the best out of my short time frame, even if it rains I would train in the gym or watch tennis videos to improve my game.

Future aspirations: My aspirations for the future is to be a professional tennis player, win a Grand Slam, then become #1 in the world.

 

 

MUSICAL MOMENTUM

Robert Hu, 15
Rancho Palos Verdes  |  Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

Proudest achievement:
Maintaining a 5.0 GPA while taking vigorous courses, as well as doing numerous extracurricular activities and being able to play music at a high level.

Something only your best friends know about you:
That I’m so pressed for time, I’ll change out of my pajamas in the car on the way to school with disheveled hair.

Activity that changed your life: Playing in a symphonic orchestra has changed my life tremendously. It has taught me teamwork, leadership, discipline, and it is such a big part of my life.

One difference you’d like to make while on this earth: I want to bring a positive attitude to the people around me and always leave a situation better than it was before I came.

 

 

 

 

 

GREEN MACHINE

Max Riley, 13
Hermosa Beach
Hermosa Valley Middle School

Proudest accomplishment: Over the last two years I’ve planted 100 trees on the Hermosa Beach greenbelt with the help of at least 350 sixth-graders at HVS, 50 adults and 100 awesome donors.

Person you admire most: I most admire entrepreneur Elon Musk, because he makes a huge difference in not only the things he is most interested in but also in making our world a cleaner, greener place.

Future aspirations: I aspire to become an aerospace engineer at SpaceX.

Which person inspires your greatness? The whole community inspires my greatness. Whenever one of my projects happens, almost everyone is super-supportive and rushes to help.

 

TRULY FOCUSED

Dilan Mistry, 17
Rancho Palos Verdes  |  Palos Verdes High School

Prized possession: My dad’s old point-and-shoot camera probably. When I would play with the camera, it didn’t even work, but for me it was the act of pretending I was a photographer that really inspired me to become an actual photographer.

One difference you’d like to make while on this earth: Brighten up random strangers’ days by the use of my photography and videography skills.

Something you are not good at: Dancing. Just ask any of my friends!

 

 

 

 

CREATIVE CONSCIOUS

Shelby Friedman, 15 (left)
Manhattan Beach  |  Mira Costa High School

Proudest accomplishment: Raising $3,500 as an individual for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. I won an award for highest fundraising individual. I also won an award for being the captain of the highest fundraising team at Relay for Life, raising $12,000 as a team.

Person you’d like most to meet: I’d love to meet Tina Fey. I just finished reading her book Bossypants. I think she’s hysterical and great at being a mom and a smart businesswoman.

Person under 19 you admire the most: My good friend Natalia is in an all-girl band called Bahari. She’s committed to her artistry, and she works really hard to pursue her dreams. I think she’s awesome.

Prized possession: We found my cat on the freeway when he was 10 weeks, so I named him Freeway.


NATURAL LEADER

Emily Fechner, 18 (right)
Rolling Hills Estates  |  Palos Verdes High School

One difference you’d like to make while on this earth: I would like to advocate for the rights of women, especially in the foreign sphere.

Person you’d like most to meet: Meeting Emma Watson would be a surreal experience, as her role as United Nations ambassador for un-radical feminist organization HeForShe inspired me to create my own HeForShe club at Palos Verdes High School. She has helped to change the face of the feminist movement, remove some of the stigma surrounding the word “feminism” and galvanize men in the fight for gender equality.

Fictional character you most identify with: I identify with Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice because of her strong and empowered personality and loyalty.

Last time you smiled: A few minutes ago for no real reason. I smile a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

SOUL SURVIVOR

Kerolyn Shy, 17
Redondo Beach
Redondo Union High School

Proudest accomplishment: Beating epilepsy and still keep my grades high. Prior to my brain surgery I would have up to 15 seizures a day.

Person you admire most: I greatly admire my neurologist, Dr. Joyce Matsumoto, who was instrumental in helping me.

Activity that changed your life: Technical theatre. I started while still diagnosed with epilepsy and discovered I loved it. I got my first job through technical theatre.

 

SOARING TALENT

Brennan Burrows, 18
Manhattan Beach  |  Chadwick School

Proudest accomplishment: After two years of studying everything from mechanics to meteorology to actually flying an airplane, I earned my FAA private pilot’s license.

Something only your best friends know about you: Only my closest friends truly understand and appreciate my passion for nature, the outdoors and my ongoing adoration of Yosemite

Place on the earth you’d most like to visit: I’d like to travel the state of Alaska by bush plane … preferably with me flying.

 

SERVING APTITUDE

Norene Iosia, 17
Torrance  |  Redondo Union High School

Proudest accomplishment: Winning the gold at the South Pacific games in Papua New Guinea last summer.

Secret to your success: Stay calm and keep your composure during intense games.

Something only your best friends know about you: My fear of heights.

One difference you’d like to make while on this earth: To give back to the younger generations that are trying to pursue their dreams as an athlete.

 

 

 

 

PEDAL PUSHER

Makayla Macpherson, 12
Redondo Beach
Member of South Bay Wheelmen

Proudest accomplishment: Winning the national championships for 11/12-year-olds.

Prized possession: My bike.

Fictional character you most identify with: I feel I most identify Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games because she is strong and can surprise you.

Secret to your success: The secret to my success is that I ride harder when it starts to hurt the most and to look to others for encouragement.

 

RIDING HIGH

Emily MacLean, 17 (photo on mag cover)
Rolling Hills Estates  |  Palos Verdes High School

Proudest accomplishment: Placing second in ASPCA Maclay Regional Medal Finals in 2014 was really important and intimidating because George Morris judged the class. He won the National Maclay medal finals as a child and went on to win medals in the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, Nations Cup teams and more.

Prized possession: My horses are my treasures. I feel especially lucky to own San Francisco, who is now 21 years old and retired in my backyard. I ride him for fun now. He built a huge show record, having worked hard during his showing career.

A person who inspired your greatness: I gain inspiration from anyone around me, especially when I am competing. When I ride, I push to be like whoever is the best.

Activity that changed your life: I volunteer at Ride To Fly, a therapeutic riding program that supports clients with challenges. You can see them connecting with the horses. My cousin Claire does a similar program in Seattle called Little Bit. Animals are such great therapists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 SEAFARING SISTERS

Leah James, 17
Manhattan Beach
Mira Costa High School

Activity that changed your life: The King Harbor Youth Race Team. Sailing now consumes my life. I met some of my current best friends through sailing, and it is now how I spend my free time.

Proudest accomplishment: Traveling to Florida with my sailing partner without parents, because it gave me the opportunity to establish my independence, while doing what I love … sailing.

Place on the earth you’d most like to visit and why: I really want to visit is Antarctica. It would be a great life accomplishment to travel to all seven continents.

What band or solo artist would record the soundtrack of your life? I would have Florence and the Machine record the soundtrack, because their songs are all extremely relatable to everyone’s life and what is to come in the future.


Sara James, 17
Manhattan Beach
Mira Costa High School

Proudest accomplishment: Volunteering at Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, a program that teaches disabled kids and adults how to ski or snowboard.

Person you admire most: The person I admire most is my Grandma Betty. She has lived a simple yet full life, and I aspire to be as great of a person as she was. She was able to travel the world while still working and having a family, which amazes me.

Something only your best friends know about you: I hate when cabinets or drawers are open. I don’t know when or how it started, but if I see one open anywhere I will automatically close it.

Secret to your success: The secret to my success is to never give up, and although that sounds simple, it takes a lot of determination to keep on fighting even if it doesn’t seem like the effort is doing anything.  l

 

 

 

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