2013-06-20 / Schools
Senior standouts: NPHS
A Newbury Park High School valedictorian and recipient of an International Baccalaureate diploma, 17-year-old Nicole Chernavsky will attend UC Berkeley in the fall as a Regent’s Scholar majoring in bioengineering.
The daughter of Nikolay and Inna Chernavsky served as senior class vice president and treasurer of both the Academic Decathlon and the American Math Competition Club.
A varsity tennis player since her sophomore year, Nicole is a musician who has earned medals in numerous piano competitions and currently works as a piano teacher.
The National Honor Society member said her favorite teachers at NPHS included Mr. Johnson, Ms. Conner and Mr. Soto. She especially enjoyed taking honors and International Baccalaureate biology with Mrs. Lockwood and honors math analysis with Mr. Kim.
She says her mother has had the biggest influence on her life up to this point.
“My mother is responsible for keeping me humble,” Nicole said. “She always reminds me it does not matter what gifts I was born with, but what I do with them. She insists that the world has enough smart people but not enough good people, so I must use my gifts to better the world.”
Creator of ThisTeenLife.com, a web show that explores social topics and has reached thousands of teens across the U.S. and in 36 countries, Jaclyn Lee aims to help the youth voice be heard.
The 18-yearold was selected as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley’s 2011 Youth of the Year. She served as a peer counselor, senior class vice president and mass media commissioner for Panther Television at NPHS.
As a sophomore, Jaclyn, daughter of Bill and Cathy Lee, was awarded High School Volunteer of the Year by the City of Thousand Oaks. This past year she was honored with the ZONTA Young Women in Public Affairs Award, the Elks Most Valuable Student Award and a first-place scholarship from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
Jaclyn said her parents have had the biggest influence on her life up to this point. Her dad, she said, taught her to consider her experiences as “life lessons” so she can learn from them and become a better human being.
The aspiring television journalist, who served as vice chair of the Thousand Oaks Youth Commission over the past four years, said her favorite class at NPHS was International Baccalaureate English with Ms. Hodson Burt.
Set to attend UCLA in the fall as a pre-med student, Madeleine Monroe said her favorite classes were biology and psychology.
“I am fascinated by the way the human mind works,” the 18-yearold said, adding that her favorite teacher was Ms. Walker, who taught psychology and European history at NPHS.
Madeleine thanks her parents, Astrid and David Monroe, her grandparents and her Uncle Karl for the support they’ve given her. She credits her father with instilling in her the drive to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Besides graduating as a valedictorian and Advanced Placement scholar with honors, Madeleine received the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and Presidential Scholar Award for maintaining a 3.5 GPA or higher while participating in the cross country and swim teams.
She has volunteered more than 350 hours at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center and given about 100 hours of community service through the NPHS Interact and American Red Cross clubs. The aspiring doctor, a National Honor Society member, served as community service co-chair of the Interact Club and co-president of the American Red Cross Club.
Ten years from now, Madeleine said, she hopes to be working part time at a hospital and still doing plenty of volunteer work.
“If I am doing that, I will be happy,” she said.
Jeffrey Wettstein sees himself in the future making a cuttingedge breakthrough in the field of computer science, working in technology management and becoming a college professor.
As an independent iOS developer for Apple Inc., the 17-year-old has come up with eight apps that together have received more than 200,000 downloads worldwide. He founded the iOS App Development Club at NPHS and served as head of technology for TEDxYouth@Conejo, an independent TED (technology, entertainment, design) conference.
The son of Jeffrey and Natorae Wettstein took the equivalent of six years of math classes and five years of science at NPHS. He graduates as a valedictorian, a Principal’s Scholar Athlete in tennis and a two-time National Honor Society Student of Character.
Jeffrey said his mom never let him play video games when he was young.
“It drove me to get into developing them myself and led me towards app development,” the graduate said. “Each day (my mom) provides me with new life skills, advice and love, and I would not be anywhere without her.”
A past president of the NPHS Interact Club, he said his favorite teacher at the school was Mr. Soto, whom he had for Advanced Placement calculus and International Baccalaureate mathematics.
Jeffrey will attend UC Berkeley in the fall as a Regent’s Scholar and will major in electrical engineering and computer science.
NPHS graduate Cassandra Zhi plans to spend the next three months touring China and Taiwan, where she will spend about four weeks teaching English to underprivileged children.
The 17-year-old daughter of Ben Zhi and Guirong Sun was an intern at the Legal Aid Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and a teacher’s assistant at Thousand Oaks Chinese School.
Cassandra was also a regular volunteer at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, Sun Learning Center and the Newbury Park Library, where she assisted with the summer reading program.
She said her classmates, friends and family have had a “tremendous” influence on her life over the past four years.
“They have made me who I am today, both the good and the bad.”
Cassandra was a member of the NPHS Key Club, National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation and Future Business Leaders of America.
She also served as secretary of Higher Hopes, a student-run volunteer organization.
The aspiring anesthesiologist will pursue a pre-med degree at Drexel University in Philadelphia.