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IUSD Stellar Student Spotlight

City Honors International Preparatory School - Isabel Rodriquezkevin

Isabel Rodriguez is the 2024 co-valedictorian for City Honors International Preparatory School (CHIPS)! With a 4.5 GPA, Isabel will attend Cal State Long Beach on a FULL scholarship! She was also accepted to UCSB, UCSD, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State LA, but chose CSULB because of their pre-nursing program and to have a debt free college experience. Isabel aspires to become a nurse because she wants to be a hands-on health care provider, and foster meaningful relationships with her patients. She has aunts who are nurses and they have also inspired her to go into the nursing field. Isabel would like to use her experience in caring for her younger siblings to eventually become a pediatric nurse and work with children, making them feel better emotionally and physically. 

In addition to being a fervent scholar, Isabel also believes in serving her community and being active in her school community. She is a Generation Connect volunteer where she attends weekly, virtual meetings with the elderly offering tech support, sharing advice, and playing games such as BINGO. She has also been a member of student government since 10th grade, and is her current senior class’s treasurer. Isabel participated in the Brotherhood Crusade Mentorship Program with the LA Chargers throughout the school year, where they would meet once per week, engage in activities such as touring the NFL offices, financial literacy workshops, and public speaking training to help students find their voices. During her senior year, she also participated in a lunchtime financial literacy program for CHIPS students sponsored by the non-profit Our Own. Lastly, Isabel has been a member of City Helpers for the last 4 years, which is a CHIPS program that participates in community beautification projects and other community service opportunities, such as reading to elementary students for Read Across America week, food drives, book drives, and hygiene kit drives. 

Isabel says that her stepmom is her greatest inspiration because of the example she has set for her. She describes her stepmom as someone who is caring and who listens to her kids. She models excellence for Isabel because she went to college, provides for her family as an accountant, sacrifices for her family, and is a pro at time management. Isabel says that her stepmom is very busy but puts her family first and always makes time to do the best she can for them. When she is not studying or serving her community, Isabel enjoys going to the beach, spending time with friends, listening to music, and coloring for relaxation. 

Isabel has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: "The years pass quickly, and life will sometimes be overwhelming, so take it one day at a time.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

Morningside High School - Olivia Williskevin

Olivia Willis is Morningside High School’s 2024 valedictorian! With a 4.4 GPA, Olivia has committed to UCLA where she will major in pharmacology and toxicology. She aspires to become a pharmacist one day and says she has always loved STEM and knew she wanted to go into the medical field. In 2021, Olivia lost her grandfather to prostate cancer. She watched him suffer through the side effects of the various medications he was taking, which inspired her to become a pharmacist. Olivia hopes to one day develop medications that can work simultaneously with minimal side effects. 

While at MHS, Olivia has been a part of the My Sister’s Keeper club (MSK) for girls, which provides life skills training in areas such as etiquette, to help prepare girls of color for college and beyond. She also has participated in the IUSD MESA (Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement) program since she was in 7th grade, where she won 1st place in a local MESA competition for her invention of a prosthetic arm. Additionally, Olivia won 2nd place at the 2023 IUSD Science Fair for her project on thermodynamics! 

Community service is also important to Olivia. Through Habitat for Humanity, she uses her engineering skills learned in MESA to build playhouses for underprivileged children. Additionally, she volunteers her time to coordinate and work fundraisers for My Sister’s Keeper club, where the proceeds provide scholarships to MSK seniors. Olivia explains that her mother has been her greatest inspiration because of the emotional support, financial support, and inspiration she has given her over the years. She has seen her mother provide, and create opportunities, for her as a single mother. Olivia believes that because her mother was able to push through adversity and get a college degree, she can too. 

Olivia has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: "In the grand scheme of things, it’s easy to forget that the little day-to-day things in life make an impact, but in the end, it’s those little things that help you get where you need to be in life..”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

Inglewood High School - Aneyeen Salgado Hernandezkevin

Aneyeen Salgado Hernandez is Inglewood High School’s 2024 Valedictorian! With a 4.5 GPA, Aneyeen has committed to Cal State University Los Angeles, but was also accepted to UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton and CSU San Marcos. She tells us that family is of the utmost importance to her, which explains why she wanted to stay in southern California for college. She can’t imagine a life without her family, who has supported her at every turn. Aneyeen plans to major in pre-nursing, and her dream nursing school is UCLA. She has aspirations of becoming a pediatric nurse one day, because she has always been a natural caretaker and wants to help care for children in a hands-on way. She believes that kids have such a sense of unjaded innocence and she wants to surround herself with the happiness and joy that kids possess. She wants to be someone kids can count on and feel safe with.

While at IHS, Aneyeen has been captain of the tennis team, and has been part of the TRIO program, which assists students with college prep/readiness, study skills, and college applications. She is also a founding member of the Community Club, which was created through the AVID program. The Community Club focuses their efforts on school beautification projects, such as collecting bottles for recycling, and cleaning up trash left behind at football games and other school events. While volunteering her time in high school and getting straight A’s, Aneyeen still found time to complete 2 college classes successfully at El Camino College and Compton College. Aneyeen’s hobbies include painting landscapes and nature scenes, reading classic novels, and playing tennis. 

Aneyeen tells me that her greatest inspiration is her mother, because she is an overcomer. Her mother left her whole family behind in Mexico to come to the United States for a better quality of life. Her mother has taught her to persevere, and that no matter how many times you fall, you can always get up. Aneyeen is grateful for her mother’s sacrifices and recognizes that she would not have the opportunities she has today without them. 

Aneyeen has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Be involved and present in your school experience, work hard, and enjoy every moment, because time flies!”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

City Honors International Preparatory School - Alexis Linareskevin

Alexa Linares is the City Honors International Preparatory School's (CHIPS) 2024 Valedictorian! With a 4.5 GPA, she was accepted into UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cornell, and numerous other universities, but has committed to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She plans to double major in neuroscience and public health, and would like to attend medical school one day at either Stanford or Harvard. After medical school, Alexa aspires to become a pediatrician and eventually a neonatologist. She explains that she is the only daughter in her family, her parents have always worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, and so she has helped care for her little brother who was born with severe food allergies. This inspired her to want to provide quality medical care to babies and children in need.

Community service has always been paramount for Alexa. Through "One For All" non profit in Inglewood, Alexa has helped to feed families with food insecurities through food drives, and assisted with various fundraisers for senior scholarships. She also volunteers at Kaiser Permanente medical center every summer in the "after delivery care" department, caring for mothers and newborn babies. At CHIPS, she served on the yearbook committee and was editor for the yearbook class. Last summer, Alexa participated in the USC Bovard Scholars program alongside 99 other first generation college applicants that were selected from across the U.S. Through this program, she attended seminars, panel discussions, and a worksite panel at Children's Hospital LA where she toured the facilities, and learned about advances in the areas of cancer research and physical therapy.

Since starting high school, Alexa has completed 7 college courses through CHIPS' partnership with El Camino College and UPenn, and has made Principal's Honor Roll all 4 years. Alexa has always been a go-getter, and she tells me that this is all because of her mom, who she describes as her greatest inspiration. Alexa explains that she and her mom have always been close and she remembers the days where they would have to catch the bus for an hour just to go grocery shopping. Reflecting on how far her family has come, inspires Alexa to always put her best foot forward in striving for excellence. As her mother always taught her, "My job is to take care of you and your job is SCHOOL".

Alexa has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: "Education is power, but always enjoy the journey- not just the destination."

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

Morningside High School - Annamarie Bakerkevin

Morningside High School senior Annamarie Baker was born to lead! With a 4.2 GPA, she represents her school as the Associated Student Body president, and leads by example. She also holds the honor of being named the MHS 2024 Salutatorian! Annamarie has committed to CSU Long Beach, but was accepted into numerous other universities including San Francisco State University and San Diego State University. She is also a deserving recipient of the MHS Alumni Scholarship!

Being an active member of the MHS community has always been important to Annamarie. She has been head captain of the MHS girls volleyball team for 4 years, managed the MHS boys volleyball team for 4 years, served as ASB vice president her junior year, was sophomore class president, and has been a consistent member of Student Council and the Female Empowerment Club. She volunteers her time to work at the student snack shop during lunch and football games, makes posters for MHS events, and is also a vital part of the MHS Accelerated Radio podcast- “Side City”, which airs live on Twitch every Friday at 11:00 a.m. Additionally, Annamarie was selected as the District Student Advisory Council (DSAC) lead for IUSD, where she helps facilitate monthly meetings to discuss what IUSD can do to improve schools. Throughout her high school career, she has been showered with various honors such as Principal’s Awards, High Honors Awards, Good Attendance Awards, and made the 1st team in the Ocean League for girls volleyball.

Not only has Annamarie achieved stellar student status at MHS, but she is also active in service to her Inglewood community. She feeds the homeless and participates in park beautification projects monthly through her church. She tells me that her dad is her greatest inspiration because of his dedication to his children. Annamarie’s father brought his family to the United States from Tonga in 2006. She tells me that her family was living a very comfortable life in Tonga, but there are no colleges or universities there, and her father’s dream was for his children to attend college. In essence, he gave up a life of comfort there for a life of struggles here, just so his children could have access to what he did not.

Annamarie has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: "Live life to the fullest, because we only get one life and we have to make the most of it.”To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

La Tijera- Jair Hernandezkevin

All Jair does is WIN, WIN, WIN no matter what!! This 3rd grader from La Tijera Academy of Excellence was the grade 3-5 first place winner of the 2024 City of Inglewood MLK speech competition! Jair recited his award winning speech at the Inglewood Black History Month celebration on February 24th, and was awarded a $300 check from the City of Inglewood! This straight A student is described by his teachers as being a great friend to others who always promotes kindness, has high expectations of himself, continues to persevere despite any challenge he may face, and helps lead others to make good choices. Jair has been named student of the month every year since he has been in school and has also made the Principal’s List, which is the highest level of honor roll a student can receive.

At his tender age, Jair already gives of himself to serve others. At LaTijera he assists his teachers with passing out papers and backpacks, tutors his classmates, and volunteers alongside his mom in assembling and distributing care packages for foster children. In addition to being a stellar student and volunteer, Jair enjoys playing soccer, cooking, and playing board games with his cousins. He plays left and right forward for his soccer team in the Premier Soccer League, where his team ranked 1st place in 2021 and 2nd place in 2023. Jair tells me that he wants to become a police officer and a soccer coach when he grows up because he wants to help people in need and make a difference in the lives of kids like him who love soccer. 

Jair says his dad is his greatest inspiration because of the example he sets for him. According to Jair, his dad is his number one role model. He’s always eager to help others without expecting anything in return, and also models a strong work ethic for Jair. Additionally, his dad has taught him that if he has a plan, he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to. 

Jair has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: "To be successful, enjoy kindness, love, care, and support, and always trust your instincts.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

kevinCrozier Middle School - Julia Rodriquez

Julia Rodriguez was born to be an advocate for children! This 8th grader at Crozier Middle School boasts a 3.75 GPA and has much to be proud of. Her dream college is UCLA where she would like to major in Political Science. After college, she would like to continue her studies at UCLA Law School. Julia aspires to become a family law attorney focused on child advocacy. She believes that children have rights and someone has to protect them and do what is in the child’s best interest. She wants to open a law practice to primarily serve Black and Brown families.

Community service is also important to Julia. Julia provides meals to the unhoused on holidays through her church. At Crozier, Julia joined Tea Time, a lunch time support group for girls, because she wanted a safe space to express herself and bond with other Crozier girls. She also joined the GEMS (Girls Empowered Motivated and Strong) mentoring program at Crozier because she wanted to have opportunities to learn new things and have new experiences. 

Julia shares that her greatest inspiration is her mother because she never gave up on anything that she put her mind to. She has worked consistently as a culinary artist to provide a good life for her children. Originally, Julia’s mom wanted to become a musician, but had to begin working in kitchens in order to support her family. This level of sacrifice is commendable in Julia’s eyes, and Julia strives to have that same ability to pivot and do what is needed to survive. 

Julia’s hobbies are writing, drawing, and reading. Her other interests include STEM and music. In summer 2023 Julia received a scholarship to the Engineer Factory summer robotics camp. She successfully completed the STEAM project of building a Piper Computer, which included using a blueprint to build the hardware, installing the CPU, screen, audio system, and all the electronic wiring. Additionally, Julia is active in Crozier’s musical theater program, where she loves to sing. 

Julia has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: "No matter how hard life gets, push through it."

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

Frank D. Parent - Hudson Morris

Hudson Morris doesn’t need to wait until February to have a heart for community service! This 8th grader at Frank D Parent K-8 School volunteers at beach clean-ups for Heal the Bay, makes sandwiches for the unhoused at the Midnight Mission organization, and also assists his elderly neighbors decorate their homes for the holidays. Hudson takes pride in his environment, and when he sees trash in the water in his marina community, he grabs a net and takes it upon himself to clean it up. Also, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, he wrote inspirational messages in chalk on the marina docks to encourage his neighbors. 

Excellence has always been important to Hudson. He currently has a 4.0 GPA and has been on honor roll every year since he started school at Parent in kindergarten. He has been named student of the month multiple times, and has received PBIS awards for demonstrating positive behaviors on campus. Hudson has played on soccer and basketball teams, and has even explored archery. His hobbies include reading sci-fi novels, hiking, and playing video games. 

Hudson says that his parents are his greatest inspiration because they always push him to be his best self and to be open to new experiences, such as the Outward Bound hiking camp that he participated in last summer.  Hudson has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: "Uplift yourself and those around you- we’re stronger together."

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

La Tijera- Kevin Aikhionbarekevin

Kevin Aikhionbare didn’t wait until the new year to make his resolution! This 8th grader at La Tijera Academy of Excellence turned over a new leaf last school year, when he decided that he wanted to prepare himself for high school. He believes what you do in high school can determine what options you have for the rest of your life. 

Kevin’s family moved to the U.S. from Nigeria. He says that he is most inspired by his mother, because of her resilience. He has seen his mom go through some difficult times, and watched her push through. Kevin tells me that he knows he can overcome any obstacles that life presents, because he has seen his mother do it. He says his mother is his greatest role model. 

In addition to being a stellar student, Kevin plays for the La Tijera basketball team as a point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. He aspires to become an NBA player when he grows up, but his plan B is to become a software designer. His dream college is University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, because his favorite basketball player, Michael Jordan, attended college there. Kevin would like to major in computer engineering and also play college basketball. Kevin’s hobbies are basketball, video games, reading the Bible to learn more about God, and his favorite subjects in school are P.E. and history. 

Kevin has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: “Embrace every challenge, conquer each lesson, and remember, your grades don't define you – they're just stepping stones to your incredible journey through life.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected].

arzuBennett- Kew- Brycen Rankins

Brycen Rankins, an 8th grader at Bennett Kew K-8 School, has the “spark” necessary for success!  He wants to become an electrician one day and have his own electrical contracting company. Brycen says he chose this career path because he loves using technology and has always been fascinated with the way things work. He is inspired by his grandfather, who is a retired electrician and head engineer for LAUSD, who also had his own electrical contracting company at one point. Brycen aspires to take his grandfather’s dream to new heights. His dream college is UCLA, where he hopes to play basketball and major in computer engineering and minor in business. 

In addition to being a stellar student with a 3.3 GPA, Brycen has a passion for sports. This point guard has been on the basketball courts at his local recreational center since age of 4. His team won first place at the Baldwin Hills Recreation Center (BHRC) championship, and he also won the “Skills and Drills” contest. In addition, Brycen also played baseball for BHRC for 2 years, where his team won a baseball championship! He names his mom as his greatest inspiration, because she encourages him to do his best at all that he attempts and helps him to brainstorm ideas on how he can be more successful in school and in life. He also is inspired by Steph Curry because he is also a point guard and has excelled in his career, despite injuries.  

Brycen has always found joy in being of service to his school. At the elementary level, he was a member of the fun club after school program where he completed his own homework, but also helped tutor his peers in math, which is his best subject. As a middle school student, he is a member of Associated Student Body (ASB) where he assists with  fundraising and helps plan student activities. Brycen was also awarded student of the month at Bennett Kew for October 2023. 

Brycen has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Be positive and grateful at all times.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected].

arzuCity Honors International Preparatory School- Nevaeh Taylor

By Maygan Orr, M.A.Ed, Ed.S

Nevaeh Taylor knows how to use her voice for the greater good! This 9th grader at City Honors International Preparatory School holds a 4.75 GPA and hopes to become a pediatrician one day. She shares that all kids deserve to be healthy and she wants to help ensure that. She would like to attend UC Berkeley or LMU and major in Pre-Med sciences. Nevaeh’s hobbies include reading, going to the movies, listening to the waves at the beach, volunteering at church and school, drawing, and learning about all things Japanese. She currently takes a Japanese language class at City Honors and hopes to study abroad in Japan one day. 

You may recognize Nevaeh’s name if you are an Accelerated Radio Live Podcast listener! She has had the honor of interviewing Mayor Karen Bass, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, rapper Yo-Yo, and other artists at the 2023 Gardena Jazz Festival. Nevaeh successfully completed the Accelerated Radio program under the leadership and guidance of Kevin Nash and Richard Bankhead from KJLH. Nevaeh is no stranger to achievement. During her time at Hudnall Elementary School she was a consistent honor roll student, received perfect attendance awards, citizenship awards, and was even selected to be “principal for a day”. At Crozier Middle School, Nevaeh continued to excel, receiving the Principal’s Honor Roll award and was awarded “Top Earner” in the school’s annual fundraiser. Additionally, Nevaeh successfully completed the Kaiser Permanente “Hippocrates Circle” program, which is a program for students who want to become doctors. 

Nevaeh says her greatest inspiration is her grandmother because she is her biggest supporter.  Her grandmother has raised her since she was 3 years old and Nevaeh tells me that they do everything together. Nevaeh’s grandmother always encourages her to strive for excellence and helps her set goals to accomplish. 

Nevaeh has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Believe in yourself, because the best YOU is yet to come.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected]


Crozier Middle School- Aaliyah Herron

by Maygan Orr, M.A.Ed, Ed.S.

Aaliyah Herron has a bright future as a leader in animation! This Crozier Middle School 8th grader boasts a 4.0 GPA, excelling in ALL academic areas. At Highland Elementary School, Aaliyah was a part of the 6th grade Ambassador leadership program, where she served in school beautification, assisting teachers and administrators with various tasks, and tutoring younger students. She maintained her status as an honor roll student and also played violin. She has received multiple accolades, including attendance awards and exemplary honor roll for 3.8+ GPA. At Crozier, she joined Tea Time, a lunch time support group for girls, because she wanted to meet peers that she has things in common with, to support other girls that may be going through similar issues, and wanted a safe space to express herself. She also joined the GEMS (Girls Empowered Motivated and Strong) mentoring program because she wanted a way to be active in the community, and have opportunities to learn new things. Aaliyah has fulfilled her desire to serve her community by creating care packages for homeless women, and volunteering at a local animal shelter.  

Aaliyah’s hobbies include talking to her friends and singing, but her main interest is art. Aaliyah is passionate about drawing characters from her favorite shows and also various natural environments. She was nominated by her Crozier animation teacher because he has taken note of how she has gone above and beyond in his 3D animation class over the past 2 years. He describes her as a “student with a true passion for art, animation, and bringing her art alive.” Aaliyah’s specialty is character design and development, which she is particularly excited about. She hopes to attend college at UCLA and major in coding and animation, and eventually become an animator for Cartoon Network. Aaliyah’s greatest inspiration is an artist that goes by the name “Kyutsii”. Aaliyah is inspired by her because she loves the vibrant color combinations she applies, and the unique “pointed” style of her character art. 

Aaliyah has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: "Never pressure yourself to learn too quickly- learn at your own pace."

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

Crozier Middle School- Alani Florencearzu

Crozier Middle School 8th grader Alani Florence leads by example! Alani says her love of learning began in Pre-K, and continued throughout her years at Warren Lane School, where she made honor roll every year, and was selected as student of the month numerous times. Alani also began playing violin in 1st grade, and has also been in the Dancer 4 Life tap and ballet program, where she participated in dance competitions. 

At Crozier, Alani continued her success story, maintaining a 3.7 GPA, receiving the Principal’s Gold honor roll award. Additionally, Alani excelled in her 3D animation design elective class, and joined Crozier mentoring programs “Tea Time”, and “Girls Empowered Motivated and Strong” aka “GEMS” (led by Beverly Hills West chapter of the Links, Inc). Alani shares that she joined GEMS because she wanted to improve her confidence and increase female empowerment on campus, and she joined Tea Time to have a place to express herself without judgment. 

Ms. Orr nominated Alani to receive a scholarship to the Engineer Factory this summer, and she was selected! Mrs. Thompson, director of the Engineer Factory, describes Alani as a standout student, who was hard working, one of the first to participate in activities, improved 68 points in the EdReady math software program, and had one of the highest increases in math proficiency of all the students. Alani also successfully completed the STEAM project of building a Piper Computer, which included using a blueprint to build the hardware, installing the CPU, screen, audio system, and all the electronic wiring. She then used coding skills to complete more than 20 progressively difficult tasks!

Alani aspires to attend college and major in fashion design and minor in accounting. She wants to become a fashion designer one day, because she always loved watching Disney movies and was fascinated with what the characters wore. While she still enjoys Disney princess fashion, she now also enjoys watching what’s on the runway at fashion shows for designers such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. Alani also sketches designs of her original pieces- her favorite being a Cinderella inspired, puffy gown with a corset and faux bird attachments!

Alani has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Hard work makes a beautiful future.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

City Honors Preparatory International School-Elizabeth Perezarzu

Elizabeth Perez Lopez is this year’s City Honors International Preparatory School’s (CHIPS) Co-Valedictorian! She has obtained a 4.6 GPA by taking AP classes and college courses, because she says she wanted to challenge herself. Elizabeth has committed to UC Berkeley, receiving the Regents, Chancellor, and Yardi scholarships! She plans to major in industrial engineering and research operations, and would like to attend law school, because as someone from a family of immigrants, she wants to help the undocumented become U.S. citizens. After college she aspires to have multiple careers throughout her life, starting off as a Chief Operations Officer (C.O.O.) or a Chief Procurement Officer (C.P.O.) of a startup, in order to support new minority owned businesses. Additionally, she wants to mentor youth and one day write and illustrate children’s novels. 

Community service is important to Elizabeth. She serves as president of City Helpers Club, a school club that connects high school students with volunteer opportunities in the community. City Helpers partners with OFA (One For All), a non profit organization started by community leader Mari Morales, where they engage in activities such as tutoring for elementary school students, food and clothing drives, and Mother’s Day events. Elizabeth is also VP of CHIPS club El Milagro (a Latin heritage club), and is a co-founder and event coordinator of the Mandarin Club. Elizabeth has also been a Scripps College Academy member since sophomore year, where she has taken summer classes to improve her writing skills, and participated in various STEM activities. Lastly, Elizabeth participated in the Women in Entertainment program in her junior year, where she was assigned mentor Marie Sheely- senior VP of William Morris Agency (WMA). She says this program helped develop her leadership skills. 

Elizabeth tells me that her greatest inspiration is her “village”, because they have provided her with support all along the way, and she reflects on that whenever times get hard. She says her village includes her mother, her pastor, former teachers, mentors, and even Jesus!

Elizabeth has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “You can have multiple accomplishments and successes but without good character, none of it matters.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected]

Morningside High School-Aileen Tejedaarzu

Aileen Tejeda is Morningside High School’s 2023 Valedictorian! This senior with a 4.3 GPA has committed to USC where she will major in business administration. After college she would like to attend graduate school to obtain her doctorate in business administration and eventually become a high level professional in the fashion world. Aileen already has a clothing line called Avier Collections. Her fashion focuses on women's empowerment and positive body image. She wants her clothing to uplift women by making women, of all shapes and colors, feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. Aileen says she always valued taking pride in her appearance, which inspired her love of fashion and hair care. She used to take clothing items that her peers considered “ugly” and made them fashionable and her own. As she got older, her passion grew to styling her siblings and friends. She designs dresses, bodysuits, jumpsuits, blouses, and casual sets. She hand selects the fabrics used and designs all of the collections herself. Her fashion can be seen and purchased on her Instagram page @aviercollections. In 2020, Aileen also started styling hair for family and friends, specializing in braids and ponytails. She has greatly increased her clientele via word of mouth and advertising her services on her business Instagram page @hairbyaileenn. 

In addition to being on an honor roll student throughout high school, Aileen also is President of the Hispanos Unidos Latin Culture Club at MHS, and has been a MHS cheerleader for the past 3 years. Not only is Aileen an entrepreneur and active in her school community, but she also believes in giving back. Every holiday, she prepares meals for the homeless at her local church, and plans on continuing this outreach while attending USC. She believes that the homeless should be treated with dignity and that no one should be without a good meal on a holiday. Aileen says her greatest inspiration is her older sister because she was the first one in their family to attend college, and is currently getting her masters degree. Although she faced many adversities in her life, such as having a child at a young age, her sister still persevered to become a juvenile probation officer who helps inspire youth to improve the course of their lives. Aileen sees her sister making an impact in her community and wants to do the same. 

Aileen has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “There will be times we lose motivation and determination, and THERE WILL BE SET BACKS, but during these moments think about what it is that made you want that dream in the first place.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected]

Inglewood High School- Mireya Zanabriaarzu

Mireya Zanabria is Inglewood High School’s 2023 Valedictorian! This senior with a 4.5 GPA has committed to the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) where she will major in Biology. After college she would like to attend graduate school for pathology and eventually become a Pathologist or a Pathologist’s assistant. Ever since she was young, she has always wanted to help people medically and help find cures for deadly diseases. 


Service is the standard that Mireya has set for herself. From freshman to junior year, she was Vice President of Youth United in Creative Action (YUCA), which is a school club that brings awareness to the dangers of substance abuse. Mireya helps to plan YUCA events at IHS, and passes out flyers to students and community members. She also volunteers at church events, assists with church fundraising, and helps with preparing Catechist students. 


Mireya has played trombone in the infamous Inglewood High School marching band since freshman year, and is currently the trombone section leader. Along with her band members, she has performed at the Blue Dodger Diamond gala 2022, the Dodger Stadium Black History Heritage Month event, and the Getty Center’s Black College Success event. Additionally, she participated in the 2022 IUSD Science fair and won 1st place for Engineering. Mireya says that her greatest inspiration is her mother because she taught her right from wrong, taught her resilience, to follow her dreams, to not let anyone make her feel less than, and to always keep pushing even when times are hard. 

Mireya has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: ''Envision what you want your life to be in a few years and make it your own - don't make it just your dream- make it your reality, and remember, it's all about a growth mindset.'' 


To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

Inglewood High School- Kamerin Bradleyarzu

Kamerin Bradley is a champion in the City of Champions! This Inglewood High School senior has a 3.0 GPA and has committed to attending Bennett College and North Carolina A and T (dual enrollment) on a full scholarship! She will major in business finance and minor in dance, with plans to eventually obtain a doctorate degree in exercise science. Kamerin would like to become a physical therapist and/or trainer for the NFL one day, because she enjoys helping others on the field. Assisting her younger brother’s traveling football team with injuries, and injury prevention, inspired her to pursue a career in caring for others on the field through physical therapy. 


Kamerin has been active in competitive cheering since the age of 4, is a former IHS varsity cheerleader, and is currently an IHS drill team majorette. Since 5th grade, she has also been a mentee in Ms.Tina’s Angels, which is a non-profit mentoring program founded by Beyonce’s mother- Ms Tina Knowles Lawson. Additionally, Kamerin has cheered for Inglewood Cheer Dance Palace (ICDP) for the last 6 years, and is a 19 time JAMS national champion! Kamerin has also served on the IHS yearbook committee over the past 2 years, was Associated Student Body (ASB) vice president during her junior year, and was the IHS girls flag football quarterback during junior year. 


Not only does Kamerin care for others on the stage and field, but also believes in caring for her community. She was part of the 2021-22 Rejuvenation Project at Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery in Compton, and feeds the homeless on holidays through her aunt’s non-profit “Feed the Hub”. Finally, Kamerin wants to be a role model for younger girls, which is why she is a volunteer cheer trainer for the Train to Go (TTG) cheer team for local girls aged 13-15. 

Kamerin has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Never let your past mistakes delay your future- there's always a tunnel of hard work to get through in order to reach success.


To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected]

arzuFrank D. Parent TK-8 School- Ashleigh Arzu

Ashleigh Arzu is an inspiring young voice on her way to success! This accomplished 8th grade student at Frank D. Parent TK-8 school is ranked first in her class. During her time at Parent, she has been awarded with an Achievement Award, and has maintained a 4.0 GPA, making her an honor roll student. Recently, she was chosen to speak in front of the IUSD Board of Education about her school's program offerings. 

Ashleigh is passionate about seeing her peers succeed, and often volunteers her time tutoring classmates after school. She helps her friends because she doesn’t want to see them struggle, and it brings her joy to help others understand new concepts. Additionally, she teaches short math lessons during her math class, which demonstrates her confidence in mathematical ability and her passion for helping her peers. Ashleigh spends her free time indulging in “Slice of life” genre books, where she connects with the main character and seeks to understand their perspective, individuality, and story. She also enjoys playing video games and music. She takes drum lessons and also plays the glockenspiel. 

Ashleigh wants to further her love for mathematics by pursuing a finance degree from Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount University, or University of Southern California. She would like to become a financial advisor one day to increase financial literacy and wealth in her community. Ashleigh says her greatest inspiration is her cousin Kaelyn, who is studying abroad in London for her Master’s degree. Like Ashleigh, Kaelyn is from Belize and has soared to new heights through education.  

Ashleigh has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Life is a journey with problems to solve and lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected]

City Honors International Preparatory School- Lena BarrettLena

For Lena Barrett, art is life! This City Honors International Preparatory School (CHIPS) senior boasts a GPA of 4.5, and is a proud recipient of the Posse Scholarship, courtesy of the Posse Foundation. She is one of 90 L.A. area students selected for this prestigious honor. She has received a full tuition scholarship to Kalamazoo College in Michigan where she plans on majoring in art or English with a concentration in Film Studies. Lena would like to become an animator one day to create media where she can showcase people that look like her. Her artistic inspiration is illustrator Gabriel Picolo, because she likes the way he designed the Teen Titan characters in the comic book series, making them more realistic and more relatable to teens. 

Lena has made Honor Roll all 4 yrs of her high school career, and recently received an Inglewood Unified School District Certificate of Recognition for her grades and citizenship. She plays on the Inglewood High School soccer team as a defender, is current VP of CHIPS Black Student Union, and has been secretary of CHIPS Mandarin club and theater club. She is also enrolled in Ryman Arts, a 3 semester art program through Otis College. Through this program, Lena has honed her skills in foundational drawing (drawing fundamentals), intermediate drawing and painting (figure drawing with watercolors), advanced art/painting (use of acrylics), and is now in the final advanced class. 

Despite her busy schedule, Lena never fails to give back to her community. She volunteers at the Lovejoy Foundation animal shelter in Inglewood, facilitating exercise for shelter dogs, maintaining a clean environment, and ensuring that animal needs are met. Additionally, she always steps up to serve at CHIPS events, such as the 2022 prom, and the 2022 CHIPS assembly for incoming 9th grade students and their parents. Lena tells me that her mom is her greatest inspiration because she is a single parent and has had to provide for her children independently. She describes her mother as ambitious, and Lena strives to follow in her footsteps. She says her mom “always finds a way to focus on the positive aspects of whatever the situation may be.” Lena adds that her older brother also inspires her because he is a visual and musical artist and has consistently helped her improve her art. Lena’s hobbies are playing guitar and bass, creating digital art, playing soccer, and napping.

Lena has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Be a rat - get your cheese!”To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

GabriellaCity Honors International Preparatory School- Gabriella Logeman

Gabriella Logeman is a young Renaissance woman with a bright future! This City Honors Preparatory High School (CHIPS) senior is a proud recipient of the POSSE Scholarship, courtesy of the Posse Foundation. She is one of 90 L.A. area students selected for this prestigious honor. She has received a full tuition scholarship to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she plans on majoring in nursing. She aspires to become a geriatric or pediatric nurse one day. Gabby was inspired by her grandmother to become a nurse. From 9th to 11th grade, Gabby cared for her grandmother who was in home hospice. Working alongside her grandmother’s caregivers, Gabby developed a love for leadership and care. 

Being successful academically wasn’t always easy for Gabby. In 9th grade, she was failing several classes at one point. She tells me that she never felt academically inclined up until 10th grade, so she didn't put her best foot forward. Her teachers advised her she wasn’t living up to her potential. Her mom and aunts were already going through so much with her grandmother’s illness, and Gabby didn't want to put further stress on the family by continuing to get sub-par grades.

In 10th grade Gabby looked inward and realized that she could perform well academically, she just had to work harder. She developed self confidence and bloomed. After the pandemic, she started the Black Student Union (BSU) at CHIPS. As founder and president, Gabby created fun and educational events for students, such as Black history escape rooms during Black History Month. Additionally, she was invited to speak at an IUSD board meeting to discuss BSU, and also won a $1,000 scholarship at the Black College Expo for writing an essay about why going to college is important to her. Gabby also participated in the Women in Entertainment program, which pairs successful female mentors in the entertainment industry with female high school students in underserved areas. Gabby received a full year of mentorship from CAA Agent Shone Jemmott, a $10,000 college scholarship, and a Macbook. Finally, Gabby is also a member of the CHIPS Mandarin Club and El Milagro (Latinx Club). She also runs track and received a gold medal for shot put (1st place for Ocean League). 

Gabby says her greatest inspiration is her grandmother, because of all that she was able to accomplish, despite her circumstances. Her grandmother was raised in poverty in Birmingham Alabama, wore donated clothes, had 9 siblings, but still sought a better life. She received a full scholarship to Alabama A&M and eventually became a middle school teacher. Gabby believes that going to college is a homage to her grandmother.  Gabby will be a 3rd generation college student, with her grandmother setting the standard for Black excellence in her family.

Gabby has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “It doesn't matter how you start, but finish well!

City Honors International Preparatory School- Mikala Nwachukwus

Mikala Nwachukwu is living the American dream in Inglewood! This 10th grader at City Honors International Preparatory School immigrated to the U.S. earlier this year from Lagos, Nigeria, and is already making her mark academically and socially. Mikala boasts a 3.95 GPA, plays forward position on the girls soccer team, and her school counselor describes her as someone who “takes full advantage of student opportunities and immerses herself into all things CHIPS”. 

Aside from being stellar academically, Mikala also has a heart for serving her community, wherever in the world that may be. As a student in Nigeria, she regularly helped build classrooms, and collected school supplies for orphans in underserved communities. Additionally in Nigeria, she was on the “CDC Day” planning committee, where she organized school fundraisers for charity. Mikala was also awarded for excellence in ELA and Biology at Nigeria’s “Prize Giving Day”, and won 2nd place at the “Private School Games” soccer tournament in Lagos.  

Mikala would like to attend Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, or University of California, Berkeley for college, major in Biology, and become a Doctor of Internal Medicine one day. She has always loved science, and watching her aunt fight cancer inspired her to want to help people in meaningful ways. After becoming a physician, Mikala would also like to return to Nigeria temporarily to open schools for girls in impoverished areas. Mikala’s hobbies include playing soccer, hanging out with friends, video games, shopping, and teaching herself guitar, and violin. She says her greatest inspiration is her mom, because she is a hard working single mother who makes sure her children never lack.   

Mikala has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Once you speak what you want into the world, you’re already a step closer to achieving it”.

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected].

Crozier Middle Schsool- Daniel Sanchez
Daniel Sanchez has a bright future as a top chef and is also at the top of his class! This 8th grade “foodie” at Crozier Middle School ranks #1 in his class and has a 4.0 GPA. Daniel wants to attend culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education after high school, and would like to become a chef and food critic one day. He would also like to open his own restaurant, specializing in traditional Mexican cuisine and Mexican bakery items. Daniel says he wants to serve food that represents where his family comes from, Jalisco, Mexico, known for its Birria and Pozole. Daniel’s dedication to cooking stems from the love and dedication to the recipes that have been in his family for decades.

During the pandemic, Daniel became known in his family for his delicious carne asada burritos, and enjoys baking cakes and cake pops with his mom for family gatherings. Daniel says his favorite recipe to make with his mom is Pozole. His mom, and You-Tuber and travel/food blogger Will Sonbuchner of “Best Ever Food Review Show”, are his greatest inspirations. Daniel’s mom inspired him to become a chef because he always helps her cook at home. Daniel says Will Sonbuchner inspires him because he travels around the world and explores food from various cultures. Besides cooking, Daniel’s hobbies include playing video games, and spending time with his family.

Daniel has this quote of advice for his fellow IUSD students: “Your education is like cooking - if you put in the right ingredients, you will get the right results.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

Oak Street TK-8 School-Montzerrat Borjas


Montzerrat Borjas has a desire to change the world! Montserrat, 6th grader at Oak Street TK-8 School was the grand prize winner of the most recent “Water is Life” art contest, sponsored by the West Basin Municipal Water District. Her art piece, entitled “Every Drop Counts”, was selected from 850 submissions, and was awarded an Apple iPad to continue her artistic efforts. In addition to creating art, Montzerrat enjoys playing volleyball, running, biking, and swimming. Her dream college where she plans to attend is the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA). Montzerrat would like to become a news anchor when she grows up, because she loves to read and wants to connect with people in her community and address their needs.

Montzerrat has received various acknowledgments every year that she has been a student at Oak Street, such as the student of the month award, achievement awards for grades and citizenship, and a perfect attendance award. Not only does Montzerrat believe in academic achievement, but she also believes in serving her community. At her church, she volunteers at fairs and other events where volunteers are needed. Montzerrat says that her greatest inspiration is her parents, because they work hard no matter what difficulties they face and they always encourage her to go to college and find success in life.

Montzerrat has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Trusting in yourself, working hard, and setting goals will help you have more control over your life”.

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, please email [email protected].

City Honors School-Madison Robinsons

Madison Robinson is a STEAM superstar! This incoming 9th grader at City Honors International Preparatory School received a full scholarship from Crozier Middle School to attend The Engineer Factory’s summer STEAM camp. During the five-week camp, Madison mastered 55 math topics on EdReady, built a model Piper Computer, where she installed all of the electronics and major computer systems, and completed 24 levels of coding! She and the other campers also had a VIP, STEM-focused tour of SoFi Stadium, and went on a college tour of Cal Poly Pomona.

Madison is no stranger to achievement. She has been a winner since Hudnall Elementary School, where she won the spelling bee in 3rd grade, the Martin Luther King speech contest in 1st grade, and received annual honor roll awards. During her time at Crozier Middle School, she continued her winning streak by receiving the Principal’s Honor Roll award at the 8th grade commencement ceremony for her 3.9 GPA, and by winning the 8th grade spelling bee. Additionally, Madison has been a member of the Southern Area Youth Juniors Golf Association, where she has participated in multiple golf tournaments, and has won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies. 

In addition to being a stellar student, Madison volunteers at a daycare in her community during the summer because she enjoys helping others, especially children. She wants to become a pediatrician one day to help children live healthy lifestyles. Madison says that her greatest inspiration is her older sister (who is also a Crozier alumna) who attends Cornell University. She has inspired Madison to get good grades and never just do the bare minimum, but to always strive for more. 

Madison has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Work hard even when the work’s hard.”  

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

Inglewood High School- Brianna Posada image

Brianna Posada is Inglewood High School’s 2022 valedictorian. This senior has a 4.5 GPA, and has received a full scholarship to University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)! Brianna has already completed 8 El Camino College classes, is on the Inglewood High School’s varsity volleyball team, and the academic decathlon team. At UCLA, she will major in Political Science, and wants to become a criminal defense attorney. Brianna’s inspiration for this career path has been the injustices her brothers have experienced. She says she has seen them move in and out of the judicial system for crimes they sometimes did not commit. Brianna wants to advocate for justice reform and provide fair representation for people in low-income communities.

Although her brothers have inspired her, Brianna’s greatest inspiration has been her 2-year old daughter. Becoming a mother her sophomore year of high school created unexpected challenges, but Brianna faced them with determination and without fear. She has stayed positive, broken barriers, and exceeded expectations!

Brianna has this piece of advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: "Don’t settle for less; strive for greatness."

City Honors School- Edgar Diaz image

Edgar Diaz is City Honors International Preparatory School’s 2022 valedictorian. This senior boasts an outstanding GPA of 4.69, and has received a full scholarship to Stanford University! Edgar will major in Symbolic Systems, which is a blend of computer science, psychology, and philosophy. After college, he plans on attending medical school and aspires to become a pediatrician. Edgar says he wants to help children because he “loves how authentic and fearless they are”.

While at City Honors, Edgar took El Camino College courses, participated in the “USC Board Scholars” program, the “Experience Berkeley” program, and co-founded the “Gears Club”. He was elected student council treasurer and also is a member of the Senior Committee. Edgar serves his beloved Inglewood community by tutoring younger students at local schools and tutoring his nephews. He identifies his older brother as his greatest inspiration. His older brother was undocumented, faced many challenges, became an American citizen, and eventually a college graduate. Edgar says that his brother always stressed to him the importance of education as a pathway to success.

Edgar has this piece of advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: "Don’t let fear of the unknown stray you away from the greatness that is to come; fear isn't your friend but rather a burglar in disguise."

Morningside High School- Jaquelynne Latin Barrera image

Jaquelynne Latin Barrera is Morningside High School’s 2022 valedictorian. This stellar senior has a 4.6 GPA, and has received a full scholarship to University of California Davis (UCD)! Jaquelynne will major in psychology, and would like to become a therapist or a nurse. She says that she wants to improve the health and mental health of people in her community, especially after the multiple traumas brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jaquelynne says her mother is her greatest inspiration, because she always encouraged her to pursue education and work hard at anything she attempts.

Jaquelynne has completed multiple advanced placement classes, and even a college course, during her time at Morningside. She is the historian for the Morningside club “My Sister’s Keeper”, which encourages female empowerment and entrepreneurship. Through this club, she has volunteered her time for the Girls Empowerment Summit and also organizing activities for senior girls. Additionally, Jaquelynne is a member of the Morningside Environmental Club, and Hispanos Unidos, which celebrates and honors Latinx culture. Lastly, Jaquelynne received an award for her partnership with the Bioflex program, which is a mentorship program where students learn social skills, job application skills, participate in STEM workshops, and a paid internship.

Jaquelynne has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “To be successful, it’s okay to receive help and support; however, you must ‘meet in the middle’ and do your part by putting forth the effort.”

City Honors International Preparatory School- Brooklynn Wintersimage

Brooklynn Winters’ life imitates her art, and they are both outstanding! This senior at City Honors International Preparatory School was accepted into the Ryman Arts Program as an 8th grader, earlier than most applicants. This 3-year art program teaches students fundamental art skills in preparation for college, and a career in the arts. She attended California State Fullerton and Otis College of Design for two months each year to develop her craft and immerse herself in all things art and design. She has also participated in our Engineer Factory summer program and the Aerospace Bridge Program.

Brooklynn has maintained a GPA over 4.0 throughout high school, and has taken 7 college classes through City Honors’ dual enrollment partnership with El Camino College. She has been offered the Presidential Scholarship and the Diversity Scholarship at Otis College. She would like to double major in Studio Arts and Women’s Studies, and aspires to have 3 careers in her lifetime: a freelance artist, an art teacher, and a museum curator. 

Brooklynn excels in painting and drawing, but also enjoys sculpting and digital art. Her other hobbies include reading action/adventure books, knitting, and spending time with her family. Brooklynn has been a key player on the Inglewood High School girls’ volleyball team, serving as team captain this year. She gives back to her community by volunteering at the annual “Make Your Mark in the Park” event, where she teaches art to community members of all ages. In addition, she donates books annually to the City Honors book drive.  

Brooklynn has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “The biggest mistake you can make is not asking for help, support gives us strength.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, please email [email protected]

Bennett-Kew Elementary- Israel Jimenez

IUSD Stellar Student Spotlight
Israel Jimenez puts the “leadership” in Bennett Kew Leadership Academy of Excellence School! This 5th grader is a scholar and a true leader, as shown by his actions on campus. He guides his peers to make good decisions on campus, as seen through his work as a member of “Paw Patrol”.  He volunteers to help others so that all his peers WIN in the end. Israel has been on the principal’s honor roll every school year as well as selected as Student of the Month. Additionally, he has received multiple awards for his school leadership and perfect attendance. 

Israel is stellar in all academic areas, and is determined to learn new and challenging concepts, while always completing his assignments on time. You can often find Israel on task, attentive, and willing to help others who are struggling. Israel goes above and beyond on school projects, presenting exemplary work in his Ecosystem and 13 Colonies projects. He loves to participate in class discussions and loves school! He is a great help in the classroom as well, and often offers to stay behind to help clean up.

Israel would like to attend UCLA for college and medical school. He wants to become a plastic surgeon one day, so that he can help patients needing reconstructive surgeries feel better about themselves. His hobbies are playing outside with his brother, playing video games, and hiking. 

Israel has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: “Always do your best, and success will come.” 

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, please email [email protected].

Crozier Middle School- Taniyah Storey

IUSD Stellar Student Spotlight Crozier Middle School 7th grader Taniyah Storey is a real MVP! She was nominated for the Stellar Student Spotlight by her basketball coach who says that she is his most dedicated player. Coach Goldman says that Taniyah has never missed a practice or game, and is the first player to show up at practice. He adds that she also has one heck of a crossover dribble, which he has witnessed her work very hard to perfect. In addition to being a key player on the Crozier girls basketball team, Taniyah is also on the Crozier dance team, and a part of the Crozier mentoring program “Tea Time”. Taniyah’s hobbies are dancing, video games, and acting.

Taniyah’s mother, a dentist, passed away when she was only 3 years old, so she is being raised by her aunt and older sister. Taniyah says that they are her greatest inspirations because she sees how hard they work, and despite challenges, they still find a way to take good care of her. Taniyah would like to follow in her late mother’s footsteps and join the medical field when she grows up. She would like to become an emergency room doctor so that she can help save lives. Her dream colleges to attend are Harvard or UCLA.

Taniyah is known by her teachers and peers as being kind, helpful, hard working, and a leader. She serves her community by assisting her elderly neighbors with carrying in groceries and helping keep their porches clean. She also babysits her neighbors’ children when needed.

Taniyah has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “If you try your hardest at everything, you will be the best you can be at everything.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected].

Highland TK-6 Elementary- Brandon Guardado


IUSD Stellar Student Spotlight Brandon Guardado is an honor roll ace! This 6th grader at Highland TK-6 school has received 2 student of the month awards this school year, as well as the principal’s honor roll award. Not only is he a stellar scholar, but he is also a stellar citizen. Brandon is the 6th grade “ambassador” at Highland, which means he was selected by his principal to take on responsibilities such as passing out notices to teachers, helping students when they are hurt or get bullied, and also assists the principal and teachers with other tasks as well.


Aside from being a leader amongst his peers, Brandon also has a heart for his community. He regularly donates food, clothing, and blankets to the homeless at the local Salvation Army with his mom. He wants to become a firefighter when he grows up because he says he wants to save people, and their homes, in the Inglewood community. Brandon’s hobbies include playing his cello, playing basketball, watching anime, and playing video games. 


Excellence is not foreign to Brandon. According to his teachers and principal, Highland students and staff all regard Brandon as a caring, respectful, and dedicated student. Brandon shares that his greatest inspiration is his older brother who is a junior with a 4.1 GPA at Inglewood High School. Brandon’s mother is extremely proud of her sons, and shares that they will be first generation high school graduates in their family. 


Brandon has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: Anything is possible when you believe in yourself!”


To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted email [email protected]. 

Centinela K-8 School - Valentina Quiñonez
Valentina Q.By Maygan Orr
Valentina Quiñonez is a shining star at Centinela K-8 School! This 8th grader with a 3.5 GPA has received various awards for honor roll and class participation. She also received a perfect attendance award for attending every class during the pandemic! Valentina volunteers at a local animal shelter because she loves animals and wants to improve their lives by helping to provide them with loving and quality care. Her hobbies include playing volleyball, softball, the ukulele, and spending time with her family. 
Valentina strives to make this country a better place, particularly for immigrants. Her goal is to attend college at either Harvard or UC Berkeley, and become an attorney specializing in immigration law. She has seen family members miss opportunities due to their immigration status. Valentina's mother, a Guatemalan immigrant, has always had a talent for creating floral arrangements, and dreamed of owning her own flower shop, but was unable to achieve this goal because of her immigration status.
Valentina plans to turn her passion to purpose, and make the immigration process more attainable for people like her mother. 
Valentina has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Life will throw many challenges your way, but never giving up is the way to handle them.” 
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected].

Frank D. Parent - Jay'Ceon Flucus
JayCeon FlucusBy Maygan Orr 
Jay’Ceon Flucus has a running start in life! This Frank D. Parent 2nd grader has been running cross-country since he was 6 years old, and will be competing in the national Junior Olympics on December 10th with his team, the L.A. Jets. He has been training 5 days a week, while still making honor roll grades. Jay’Ceon participated in the Crown City Classic Screenland 5k race and the Jet to Jetty Race, where he ranked 1st place, and he also ranked 3rd place out of 40 runners at the L.A. Jets’ 2000 yard invitational. Additionally, Jay’Ceon placed 7th at the Regional Championship, and placed 6th at the Association Championship. 
Jay’Ceon’s teacher describes him as eager to learn and helpful. He assists his teacher with passing out papers, being a class monitor, and is always ready and willing to tutor his fellow classmates. Jay’Ceon says that he would like to become a pediatric dentist when he grows up, so that he can help kids have the best smiles. His greatest inspiration is Buhia Singh from the documentary “Marathon Boy”. Buhia overcame great adversity to become one of the greatest runners in India at only 5 years old. Like Buhia, Jay’Ceon wants to be an inspiration to others. Aside from running, Jay’Ceon’s hobbies include boxing, playing Minecraft, and playing with his action figures, Spiderman is his favorite. 
Jay’Ceon has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: “Anything is possible- NO BRAKES!!"  
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted email [email protected].

Crozier Middle School - Justen and Branden Key
Justen and Branden Keyby Maygan Orr
These Crozier Middle School students are the epitome of brotherly love! Seventh grader Justen Key and eighth grader Branden Key are brothers who are standout students in and out of the classroom. Both brothers attended Highland for elementary school, and were consistently on the honor roll and principal’s honors list. Justen and Branden have won medals and trophies for their sportsmanship and skills playing for the Jr. Clippers traveling basketball team. At Crozier Middle School, they both maintain a 3.2+ GPA and play for the school’s flag football team and the basketball team.
Justen’s dream college is Stanford University, where he wants to major in Chemistry. He says he wants to become an astronaut one day, because he wants to “go places that no one has ever gone”. Justen’s hobbies are playing football, basketball, video games, and boxing. Branden’s dream college is Duke University, where he would like to play basketball and major in Biology. He wants to be drafted into the NBA one day, but his plan B is to become a scientist, so that he can help cure diseases such as Cancer, and find solutions to food insecurity. Branden’s hobbies are basketball, video games, skateboarding, and boxing. Both Justen and Branden serve their community with their fellow church members by helping to feed their neighbors experiencing homelessness. They also take time out of their Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations to feed those experiencing homelessness.
Justen has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: “Always believe in yourself, work hard, and persevere.”
Branden has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: “Never give up on your dream- anything is possible when you have faith.”
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected].

Crozier Middle School - Genesis Aguilar
Genesis AguilarBy Maygan Orr
Genesis Aguilar is finishing this school year off right! As a top scholar at Crozier Middle School, this 7th grader has earned a 3.4 GPA in her honors classes, setting the bar high for being a stellar student as well as a student leader. Genesis attended Oak Street Elementary School, and while there, she assisted her math teachers with grading, and creating homework assignments that were interesting and meaningful to her fellow students. Math has always been her favorite subject because she enjoys problem solving. Her hobbies include drawing buildings and tropical scenes and listening to Spanish music- specifically Banda and Corridos. Genesis would like to attend UCLA for college one day and become a graphic designer. 
This school year, Genesis demonstrated her leadership skills in the Beverly Hills West (CA) chapter of the Links, Incorporated’s GEMS program- (GIRLS EMPOWERED, MOTIVATED, and STRONG). GEMS is an after-school program designed to prepare middle school girls to meet the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood, make positive life choices, and maximize their authentic potential as young ladies of color. Through the GEMS program, Genesis attended virtual workshops with guest speakers twice a month, and took on volunteer leadership roles within the workshops, such as introducing guest speakers and creating slide shows. Some of the workshop topics during the 2020-2021 school year were: virtual field trips to Ghana, Senegal, and Paris, skin care, Earth Day, celebrating Women’s history, STEM, Black and Latinx artists as well as the inauguration of Links, Inc. member- Vice-President Kamala Harris. Genesis shared that her favorite event was the Women’s History month workshop, because it increased her confidence and inspired her to become a woman that serves her community.  
Genesis has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “We all start at 0, so we can all get to 100.”

To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected].

Centinela Elementary School - Oswaldo Garcia
By Maygan Orr
OswaldoGarciaOswaldo Garcia knows how to represent the city of champions! This goalkeeper for the Inglewood Galacticos soccer team has not only won 3 regional soccer championships, but has also won honor roll awards, perfect attendance awards, and an IUSD award for outstanding achievement!
As a 7th grader at Centinela K-8 School, Oswaldo is a straight A student, and a leader amongst his peers. As student body president, he facilitates the planning of school fundraisers and events. Oswaldo has also been active in Boy Scouts since he was in 3rd grade. He believes being a Boy Scout is important because he is able to give back to communities through activities, such as painting murals at schools, feeding the homeless, and hosting fundraisers like “Pinewood Derby” where the scouts design and make cars out of wood and race them. In Boy Scouts, he also learns about honor and service.
Oswaldo’s favorite subject is Math because he loves a challenge. His dream college is UCLA. He would like to become a veterinarian one day, because he enjoys researching how to help his two pet Chihuahuas when they are hurt or sick. Oswaldo’s hobbies are playing soccer, drawing cartoon characters, and playing classical music on the piano.
Oswaldo has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: “Any kid, or adult, can achieve anything in their lives as long as they put in the time, and put their minds to it.”
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected].

Crozier Middle School - Destiny Agbagwu
Destiny AgbagwuBy Maygan Orr
Destiny Agbagwu is not only at the top of his game but also at the top of his 8th grade class at Crozier Middle School with a 4.0 GPA! Destiny and his family moved to the U.S. from Nigeria in 2016, in search of a better life and greater opportunities. Destiny shared that his father is his greatest role model, because he has shown him all the rewards that hard work can bring. According to Destiny, his father has exemplified the balance of work and family. 
Education is of the utmost importance to Destiny, and his favorite subject is math. He would like to attend UCLA, Brown, or Howard University for college and major in computer science. He is interested in becoming a lawyer one day to effectively argue for causes that he believes in, such as social justice and civil rights. Destiny believes that he has been called to serve.  He has a heart to give back and provide service to others. He is a regular volunteer at his church, and a primary Bible reader in his youth Bible study classes. 
Destiny has received numerous awards, including honor roll, the IUSD Academic Excellence award, and the Youth Leadership award from his church. His hobbies include playing video games, soccer, and conducting youth Bible studies.  
Destiny has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: “There is only failure when there isn’t an attempt.” 
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected].

City Honors International Preparatory High School - Ja'Cobe Simms
Ja Cobe SimmsBy Maygan Orr
Beginning his football career with the Inglewood Jets at the age of 6, Ja’Cobe Simms has become a stand-out athlete. He is currently a senior at City Honors International Preparatory School (CHIPS) and plays the guard position for the Inglewood High School Sentinels. Ja'Cobe recently received offers from 6 colleges but accepted an official offer on February 3, 2021 from Arizona Christian University (ACU), where he will play next Fall as an offensive lineman and major in Business. In January 2021 he toured ACU, a Christian faith-based school with a family-like community, which is important to Ja’Cobe and one of the reasons he fell in love with the campus. He also likes that ACU isn’t too far from his family in California.
Although Ja’Cobe will be out of state for college, he wants to maintain his roots by opening an Inglewood barbershop one day. Ja’Cobe is a self-taught barber and an entrepreneur who wants to start his own clothing brand called “Hustle Vision”. The inspiration behind his brand comes from his personal experiences, and his artistic skills. Growing up Ja’Cobe sometimes struggled in school, but later realized the importance of staying motivated to be his best, which is why he plans to include inspiring messages on his brand pieces. He hopes to spread this positive message to everyone who sees it. In addition, he also enjoys drawing and wants to use his original designs for his clothing brand.
Ja’Cobe loves the City of Inglewood and has bettered his community through mentoring local youth at the Boys and Girls Club, as well as volunteering at the Red Cross. Ja’Cobe has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: “No matter what you have been through, never give up.”
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, please email [email protected].

La Tijera Academy of Excellence - Cree Suttice

CreeSutticeDon’t underestimate this 3rd grader! Our Stellar Student for February is La Tijera Academy of Excellence’s best classroom secretary - Cree Suttice. Cree has served as class secretary for her second and third grade years at La Tijera. Her exceptional work ethic and passion for helping others has impacted her teachers and peers. She takes her class secretary role very seriously, even during online learning. Cree is always assisting other students and her study buddy through Zoom. She has shown true leadership and has set a shining example for her classmates.
Not only is Cree a great help to her class, she is also an outstanding student. She enjoys learning, and her two favorite subjects in school are math and English. Her love of math allows her to use her critical thinking skills and work through difficult math problems. Having begun spelling at the young age of two, Cree has become a great storyteller and artist, who enjoys writing short stories as well as illustrating them. Over the years she has finished 6 of her own original stories. Her love for math and English are reflected in her grades and recent diagnostic test scores, where she scored at the 6th grade level in both subject areas! Cree’s hobbies include playing soccer and basketball with her cousins and listening to classical and hip hop music. She was also an assistant at her church before the pandemic. Cree’s dream job is to become a pediatrician because she loves to help people. Her kind nature is seen through her acts of service, and will continue to carry on in her bright future!  Cree has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD Students: “Don’t let what you can’t do, interfere with what you can do.” (by Maygan Orr)
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, please email [email protected].

 La Tijera Academy of Excellence - Pamela Ruiz Zermeno

Pamela ZermenoShe has big plans for 2021! This 8th grader at La Tijera Academy of Excellence has decided to create a task force to clean up her community in Inglewood. She says she is tired of seeing trash in her neighborhood, and wants to inspire others to be better stewards of the Earth. She also hopes to create an application one day that will bring awareness to issues that adversely impact our planet, such as excessive tree-cutting (deforestation), animals becoming endangered, and pollution.   
Pamela has always been dedicated to service. While maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Pamela has always found a way to assist her teachers, whether it be organizing papers, or taking attendance. She has also helped to organize functions at her church. Pamela’s favorite subject is Math and her hobbies are computer programming, running, and reading.  
Pamela would like to attend UCLA, Harvard, or Stanford for college, and plans to major in computer science. Her dream is to work for Facebook or Amazon as a game and application designer. Her teacher, Mr. Wilson, who nominated her, describes her as an outstanding student with perfect attendance. Pamela has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Fight for your dreams. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, because many doors will open afterward. Always remember that every sacrifice has its reward." (By Maygan Orr)
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month, email [email protected]

Crozier Middle School - Gerardo Gonzalez

GerardoGonzalezGerardo Gonzalez is a shining star at Crozier Middle School! This 7th grade student exemplifies excellence in all of his classes, even virtually! He has perfect attendance and a 3.5 GPA. He not only attends every class, every day, but is eager to participate in class lessons and activities. He never misses a chance to shine!
Gerardo’s teachers describe him as hardworking, polite, and ready to learn. They deem his work habits and citizenship as outstanding. Gerardo enjoys playing outdoor games such as tag and hide and seek, and loves to draw video game characters with his cousins. At home, he enjoys helping his mom with his baby sister. He would like to attend UCLA or USC for college, and wants to become an environmental scientist one day. Gerardo says that he would like to find ways to save plants and animals from becoming extinct.

Gerardo has this advice to share with other IUSD students: “Believe in yourself and try your best. If you fail, try and try again- never give up.”
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected].

City Honors International Preparatory High School - Justyn Martin

IHS_Justyn Martin photoWe are excited to share Inglewood High School starting quarterback Justyn Martin who is ready for football season! Justyn is a junior at City Honors Preparatory High School, and a 4-star athlete. He maintains a 4.0 GPA, and demonstrates excellence in all that he does.  Justyn has participated in community service such as making sandwiches and delivering them to the homeless. He also helps clean Rowley Park and helps the staff set up sports equipment. Justyn is not only focused on his grades and football, but also wants to make this world a better place. He wants to be an NFL football player one day and use his platform to create social change. Justyn has this advice to share with his fellow IUSD students: “Embrace your role as a person and never become complacent.”      
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted next month email [email protected].

Payne K-8 Students - Giselle and Jocelynda Anguiano

Payne-Giselle-and-Jocelynda-Anguiano photoGiselle Moreno and Jocelynda Anguiano are the pride of Payne STEAM Academy! These two 7th graders have been volunteering to raise awareness and assist families with completing the Census 2020. Both students were inspired to volunteer in response to the State Board of Education's 9/10/2020 News Release regarding the new "State Seal of Civic Engagement Award", and their principal, Dr. Brian Coffey’s call to action. For this Project-Based-Learning activity, the students learned about civic duty and researched the census to be informed and share information with families coming to Payne's “Grab and Go” meal distribution. They have a booth set up with a Chromebook for families to complete the Census survey on the spot, and IUSD community liaison, Ms. Subrina Miller, provided Census-themed goody bags to pass out.      
Giselle and Jocelynda plan to write about their experience and share what they learned with their U.S. History classmates, and possibly be "guest teachers" in primary grade classes to impart their wisdom on younger students. They aspire to continue this platform to raise awareness surrounding the November election, and their hope is they will inspire other classmates to join them. Giselle and Jocelynda have this advice to share with their fellow IUSD students: “Encourage every adult you know to VOTE and be COUNTED—everyone should use their voice.”
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted email [email protected].

Frank D. Parent 7th-Grader - Saraiyah Slack

Saraiyah SlackShe maintains a 3.7 GPA, is a student fundraising leader for the Associated Student Body (ASB), and a student representative on the School Site Council (SSC). Saraiyah would like to become a computer science entrepreneur.
Saraiyah believes in making her school the best it can be through service. She volunteers her time in the student store and also volunteers as an Algebra Club peer tutor, where she tutors fellow students struggling in math. She enjoys art, and is a member of the Art Club, and also was a Frank D. Parent cheerleader.
Saraiyah would like to attend UCLA, USC, Harvard, Brown, or Yale for college one day. She is preparing herself for the financial world, by participating in the Stock Market Game competition (both National and Regional levels). Frank D. Parent has six teams in participation, among 244 teams in the middle school level competition. Saraiyah is on “Team Black Pantherettes”, which ranks 66th out of the 244 Southern California teams!
Saraiyah has this advice to share with her fellow IUSD students: “Always use integrity in your everyday life, because it is integrity that builds a better person."
To nominate a stellar IUSD student to be spotlighted email [email protected]