Introducing This Year’s Southbay 20 Under 20

The future is bright.

  • Category
    People
  • Photographed by
    Kathryn Mueller

Simone Jackson

18 | Bishop Montgomery High School
Hometown: Redondo Beach

Greatest Hits:

  • #1 ranked soccer player in Southern California
  • Received USC scholarship as a freshman
  • Cofounded the Black Student Union on campus

Biggest Hope:

Her generation will be the biggest step toward eliminating racism


“I want to inspire. I want to lead. I want to encourage others that look like me that whatever their aspiration is, it is possible. And while those little black girls are dreaming, I want them to know that they are just as good, or just as pretty, or just as smart and more than capable of accomplishing whatever it is the world tells them they cannot do.”

Lucan O’Neal

18 | Vistamar School
Hometown: Los Angeles

Greatest Hits:

  • Accomplished classical pianist
  • Competitive Dice Masters and chess player
  • Board member of Conradh na Gaeilge Irish heritage group

Future Goal:

To move to rural Ireland and become a music director and private piano instructor


“I’ve always thrived on routine, and the pandemic offered me an opportunity to construct each and every day around my needs and goals. That freedom to create my own structure has facilitated more productivity and achievement than would’ve been otherwise possible. So despite the many downsides, I can’t imagine where I’d be right now without this silver lining.”

Juninho Paniouchkine

17 | Redondo Union High School
Hometown: Torrance

Greatest Hits:

  • President of Model United Nations team
  • Translator for Latinx adults applying as U.S. citizens 
  • Teaching assistant with Catholic Charities Los Angeles

How Others Describe Him:

Unapologetic with a fierce voice


“I do want to run for public office someday, and I want to have a direct impact on this country’s future to make it a more hospitable place for people like me or my family. I’m from two immigrant families who have struggled to make it work in this country because of a lack of opportunity, and if I have any chance to make it easier for other families like mine, I’ll act on it fast.”

Eissa Quinones

17 | Redondo Union High School
Hometown: Redondo Beach

Greatest Hits:

  • Soccer player selected for the Cal South Olympic Development Program
  • Chosen to represent her soccer club on the Girls Academy Southwest Committee
  • Created charcuterie board business called Score Board

How Others Describe Her:

Driven, competitive, creative and witty


“After the tragic death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I assessed myself and recognized my privilege. I began using my privilege to speak out against injustice against the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community. I began to look into other causes that aligned with my beliefs and began to do my own research regarding being a youth activist.”

Slade Brown

18 | Redondo Union High School
Hometown: Redondo Beach

Greatest Hits:

  • Self-taught welder
  • Surf team

Proudest Accomplishment:

Building his own PC


“Taking my first welding class had a huge impact on me because I can use my hands to make things and feel capable for the challenges ahead. I want other kids to feel inspired to follow their own path.”

Clarice Akunwafo

17 | Rolling Hills Prep
Hometown: Inglewood

Greatest Hits:

  • #2 ranked center for girls’ basketball in the nation
  • Scholarship to USC

Biggest Hope:

That all races, genders, sexualities and religions can be more open-minded and accept one another


“My generation is the future. We need to fight for the change we want to see in the future. We are capable of doing this by coming together and using our voices to fight against the inequalities in this world.”

Nicole Laeno

15 | South Torrance High School
Hometown: Torrance

Greatest Hits:

  • Dancer with more than 1 million YouTube subscribers
  • Winner of South Bay’s Got Talent at age 10

Future Goal:

Inspire girls that they can accomplish anything


“When I first booked a huge gig, I told all my family and friends. On the first day of the shoot, they decided not to use me and let me go. This was just the first of many lessons that I would learn in life. Not everything works out the way it’s supposed to, but it happened for a reason and it only makes you stronger!”

Ethan Hoffman

17 | Army and Navy Academy
Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates

Greatest Hits:

  • Battalion commander of the Army and Navy Academy
  • Top delegate at Harvard Model Congress
  • “Silver A” award, the highest distinction a cadet can receive

Core Values:

His school’s pillars: honor, integrity, respect, responsibility, compassion and gratitude


“My greatest hope is that our generation realizes there is no quick fix to any problem that’s worth solving; we have to get our hands dirty.”

Parth Badhwar

17 | Mira Costa High School
Hometown: Manhattan Beach

Greatest Hits:

  • Successfully lobbied Senator Dianne Feinstein to cosponsor a bill (the Global Child Thrive Act) in the U.S. Senate
  • Political affairs intern for nationwide nonprofit The Borgen Project
  • Copresident of the Grammy-award winning MCHS band program

Impactful Event:

Mr. Rucker’s eighth grade U.S. history class at Manhattan Beach Middle School sparked his interest in politics and social studies


“During the 2020 election cycle, I spent a lot of time researching our public education system for the campaigns I worked on. It was surprising to see how bad a state we’re in—from college enrollment rates to testing to mental health. There’s a lot that needs to be fixed. My top priority right now, and in the future, is to help fix it.”

Max Hromadka

17 | Mira Costa High School
Hometown: Hermosa Beach

Greatest Hits:

  • Member of Young Eagles (EAA Chapter 96)
  • Earned private pilot’s license
  • Ray Aviation Scholarship recipient

Biggest Hope:

To have all transportation go electric, including airplanes


“I want to make a meaningful impact in some way through flight. Travel and flying can be a very exciting experience for travelers. By becoming a commercial pilot, I can allow people the opportunity to experience new places around the world safely.”

Devon McVicar

17 | Palos Verdes High School
Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates

Greatest Hits:

  • Three-time recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award
  • Co-organized a paddle-out for the Black Lives Matter movement; raised $1,400 for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Minnesota Freedom Fund
  • Soccer captain, coach and surf camp instructor

Impactful Event:

Volunteering at Pediatric Therapy Network’s Camp Escapades, a summer day camp for children with special needs and developmental delays


“The chaos and unrest in our political system have inspired us to want to get involved and make a difference. Regardless of sides, most of us are informed and passionate about the issues facing our society today and are not afraid to use technology to exchange ideas and mobilize around causes.”

Natalia Brar

16 | Torrance High School
Hometown: Torrance

Greatest Hits:

  • Started the 501(c)(3) Helpful Homeless Hands
  • Made masks for local shelters and hospital workers

Core Value:

Helping others and realizing how important it is to give back to the community when possible


“The creativity learned during the pandemic will allow my generation to become more innovative, adaptable and resilient in order to create change in the world.”

Rhys Moon

16 | Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
Hometown: Rolling Hills

Greatest Hits:

  • Created Mindful Coping to provide free and accessible resources for teens with OCD and Tic Disorders
  • Ambassador for the Tourette Association of America

Proudest Accomplishment:

Lobbying for the Safe Step Act and encouraging Congress to support the bipartisan Tourette Syndrome Caucus


“Whether it’s via grassroots organizing or large-scale initiatives, I want to work toward educating others on mental health and eliminating the pervasive stigma.”

Nate Goldberg

16 | Rolling Hills Prep
Hometown: Manhattan Beach

Greatest Hits:

  • High-performing surfer
  • Filmmaker and animator

Proudest Accomplishment:

Commercial he created that screened at the virtual BeachLife Festival


“I feel that our generation has been centered on activism. The evolution of technology and social media has allowed anyone to have a voice. We all have access to hundreds of different communities in the palm of our hand.”

Yaya Shi

18 | Rolling Hills Prep
Hometown: Palos Verdes

Greatest Hits:

  • Hearing loss advocate
  • Speaker on panels at John Tracy Clinic and USC Caruso Center
  • Artist and champion basketball player

Future Goal:

Become a social and clinical psychologist/researcher to understand the issues of stigma surrounding mental health and trauma


“My generation is not afraid to speak their truth and use their voice; we are fearless when we stand up for ourselves, the people we love and the issues we care about.”

Chloe Dowling

18 | Palos Verdes High School
Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates

Greatest Hits:

  • Creative director, chief photographer and cofounder of Z Magazine, a platform for young creatives to voice their opinions on topics relating to social justice and human rights
  • Piloted special editions to elevate the voices in the Black and LGBTQ+ communities
  • Founded a 10-day youth summer debate program with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at their Youth Activities Leagues

Core Value:

Acceptance


“In a time when unity is needed the most, we must acknowledge our differences and recognize the power we have to heal together and learn from one another.”

Andrew J. Salzman

17 | Chadwick School
Hometown: Manhattan Beach

Greatest Hits:

  • Created A. Julian Edits, which publishes articles for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, athletes and influencers
  • Founded Project WikiLights, a nonprofit organization that sheds light on the stories of marginalized, disenfranchised and oppressed groups by composing, editing and publishing papers on Wikipedia
  • Sold Instagram account @sportoffight to entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s Leverage Game Media

Biggest Hope:

That the internet creates a new breed of social media that becomes an agent for positive change


“I love history and the context it can provide for things that are happening today. Pursuant to my hopes for our generation to create a more society-focused social media, I would like to help disseminate accurate information to empower others to be involved citizens.”

Naomi Porter

16 | Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
Hometown: Rancho Palos Verdes

Greatest Hits:

  • Girl Scouts Gold Award recipient
  • Founder and creator of EntrepreYOUership
  • 2020 honoree for @theconversationalist

Future Goal:

To transform the public education system to create multiple pathways for students


“Activism, changemaking and civic stewardship are the best products of the pandemic. Our lives are almost entirely online, making it easier to connect with like-minded peers from around the world to amplify our voices and accelerate change.”

Brennan Lieu

17 | South High School
Hometown: Torrance

Greatest Hits:

  • Design and production applications specialist at AWA Composites, a start-up focused on next-generation transportation technology to reduce fuel consumption
  • Co-inventor on two pending patents filed for the products he developed
  • Started nonprofit Take Back Our Planet to fight environmental racism and climate change

Proudest Accomplishment:

Developing composite engine components that will improve engine efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions


“I believe many of us are extremely passionate and want to change the status quo, which is currently not working for many vulnerable communities.”

Emma Powell-Wyse

14 | SMASH
Hometown: Torrance

Greatest Hits:

  • Lead singer of the South Bay teen rock band Scream Revolution
  • Created One Kid, One Guitar to get instruments into the hands of kids and teens who need them
  • Partners with Play it Back Songs, an organization that gives music lessons to kids going through cancer treatment

Biggest Hope:

For everyone to feel some sense of belonging


“I think we can change the world by letting everyone’s voice be heard. As a female in the music industry who especially leans toward rock music, the majority of people who have stood out in pop culture have been straight, white, cisgender men. And of course there’s nothing wrong with them being heard too, but including diversity throughout not only rock music but the whole world would be very beneficial.”

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