tag. Generated: 7/31/2015 -->
Skip to main content

Student Spotlight

Apr 30, 2010 05:00PM, Published by Style, Categories: Wellness, In Print


Photos by Dante Fontana



Another year has passed and some important milestones reached! Three more senior classes will take the stage, nab their diplomas and awards, and set their post-high-school plans in action. Style scoped out 6 stellar students with a myriad of talents and a ton of ambition. Check out the thoughts, reflections, and advice of these chart topping seniors. 

Kirtana Bavanaka

Graduating Senior
Folsom High School

Tell us about yourself – school interests, hobbies, awards and achievements.
I am a member of Key Club, CSF, WLSS, the Girls Varsity Tennis Team, and Newspaper Production. Family and friends mean the world to me and I love spending time with them. My hobbies include playing tennis, biking, watching movies, and recently I’ve started yoga and playing the guitar.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
As a friend and relative of cancer survivors/victims, I have been a consistent supporter of the Relay for Life event by the American Cancer Society for four years. It always manages to bring groups from all over together where everyone has fun while doing something beneficial for others.

How has living in the community shaped you as a person, and how do you feel it will affect the way you contribute to the world in the future?
Folsom has been an amazing environment to grow up in, from the wonderful schools and the friendly neighbors to the well-rounded and safe community. From being a part of community service clubs and helping out at the Folsom Public Library, I have been exposed to an environment where it is common to give to others. This has motivated me to give back to the community and the world by using skills that I will acquire in my future.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
Always follow your passions and see where they lead you, but education is also important; it’s the basis on which you ultimately build your life in order to pursue higher dreams. Never hesitate to take guidance from friends, family, or even that tiny little voice inside your head. At the same time...time waits for no one. You only have four years to experience all that you can, so just have fun.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?
It’s not just one event, but rather a compilation of everything – the good times and even the bad. These are all the amazing hangouts with my friends, the stressful study groups and every little incident that brought me laughter and joy. Although I have been accepted to great universities all over the country, I haven’t decided where to go yet. I would like to get a bachelor’s degree in engineering as I love math and later get an MBA or Ph.D.

Describe your career aspirations.
At college, I plan on making the most of my experiences, following my passions, and discovering what exactly I want to do. Then, I plan on getting a job in the engineering field to help advance the world and also give back to my parents in whatever way I can. Sometime during or after all this, I want to travel the world.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I would love to travel everywhere. However to pick one, I would choose India because it’s my birthplace and where my family/ancestors were raised. It’s important to learn about your roots and where you come from before facing the future.

Ben Olpin

Graduating Senior
Folsom High School

Tell us about yourself – school interests, hobbies, awards and achievements.
I served as captain of the varsity basketball team, as well I won the sportsmanship award for our entire Delta River League. I also play the string bass for the One O’Clock Jazz Band, and have earned outstanding musicianship awards at various contests, including the Reno Jazz Festival. I play the cello for the school symphony, and have sat as principal cellist for the past two years. This year I also performed in a string quartet.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
I love the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services because that is where I did my Eagle project for Boy Scouts. The people who work there are so friendly and truly love their jobs.

How has living in the community shaped you as a person, and how do you feel it will affect the way you contribute to the world in the future?
Living in such a great community with so many great friends who I look up to has helped me to become a better person. I feel that because of these exemplary people, I can go into the world and be a good, honest person wherever I live.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?
I have performed in George Frideric Handel’s Messiah for the past six years.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
I would tell them to not procrastinate, and to try and get good grades. I would also tell them just to relax and not worry about what other people think.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?
So far, the most memorable has been beating Sheldon on our home court. That was the greatest feeling of the whole basketball season.

What are your plans after graduation?
I will be attending Brigham Young University in Provo for two semesters, and then I will serve a two-year mission for my church.

Who is your role model?
I have a few. My dad is a definite role model for me because he is such a hard worker and a great example of a good father and husband. My band director, Curtis Gaesser, is also a role model to me because he is incredible at what he does but is still humble about it, and is a great person to be around.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I would go all over Europe. I took a vacation like that a few summers ago and it was the most incredible trip.

Addison Duane

Graduating Senior
Oak Ridge High School

Tell us about yourself – school interests, hobbies, awards and achievements.
I enjoy spending time with my friends, reading my Kindle, traveling, and making lists. I love watching The Office and learning Regina Spektor songs on the piano. I’m the president of the Oak Ridge Chapter of the National Honor Society, as well as secretary for the El Dorado Delegation of California’s Youth and Government Program. I like singing songs in Spanish, babysitting for three of the cutest kids in the world, and being part of my church youth group. I received the Oak Ridge Hero award both my junior and senior year, and have been recognized for choir, youth and government, and academic achievements. I’m generally a cheerful person with a loud voice and a love for organization.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
At the beginning of the school year, I found out about a disease my Spanish Senora Pomares’ granddaughters have called Mitochondrial Disease. Simply put, people with Mito lack the ability to get energy from the foods they eat. Because of this, entire organ systems shut down and the effects are devastating. I became involved with an organization the Pomares family started called Help MitoKids, Inc., and we held the First Annual Walk for MitoKids on Saturday, March 13. Over 500 people attended and we raised over $20,000 to go towards research and helping the affected families.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?
I have a slight obsession with colored post-its. I also come from a family of six children and my Volkswagen Beetle’s name is Delilah.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
I would advise all to take classes they actually enjoy. Because if you love the things you learn about, you will excel in those areas. Also, don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things; you’ll never know until you try.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?
Seeing 500 people walking down Harvard Way, the street in front of my school, and knowing that I had done something to make a difference and help someone else. It was not only the best day of my senior year but also one I will remember for the rest of my life.

Describe your career aspirations.
I would love to have a job where I interact with people all the time and be part of something that makes me happy, whether it be an event coordinator or an NBC executive, I hope to enjoy whatever it is that I do.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I have made it my life goal to fill up all the pages of my passport. With that said, I would love to spend time in Spain and South America, as well as London and Australia...just to name a few.

Connor Duthie

Graduating Senior
Oak Ridge High School

Tell us about yourself – school interests, hobbies, awards and achievements.
I have had little time for anything other than academics. My hobbies, awards, and achievements have all been related to this.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
Shriner’s Hospital for Children. I had spinal surgery there in 2003, and know first-hand the good work that they do.
How has living in the community shaped you as a person, and how do you feel it will affect the way you contribute to the world in the future?
My community has given me an extraordinary education at Oak Ridge High School.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?
I made two trips to Shanghai, China before I was four years old to undergo Chinese Traditional Medicine treatment.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
Be ready to work hard. The results are worth it.

What has been the most memorable event off your senior year?
My application was accepted to the University of California at Davis.

What are your plans after graduation?
I will attend UC Davis pursuing a mathematics degree.

Who is your role model?
Dr. Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist who, like me, has overcome a neuromuscular disease.

Describe your career aspirations.
Teaching or research in advanced mathematics.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Spain. I admire its history and culture, and I took three years of Spanish at Oak Ridge.

Alexa Hess

Graduating Senior
Vista del Lago High School

Tell us about yourself – school interests, hobbies, awards and achievements.
School interests: Journalism, Media productions, English
Hobbies: Dance, Cheer, listening to music. Awards and Achievements: AP Scholar Award, All-Star Individual Cheerleader Award - Universal Cheerleaders Association (July 2007, 2009); Outstanding Academic Achievement - People To People Leadership Program (January 2009); Attended Presidential Inauguration - Washington, D.C.; Varsity Athletic Award - Cheerleading(2008-2009)
Best Copy Writer - Yearbook (2008-2009); Principal’s Honor Roll - School - All Semesters (2006-2010); Most Dedicated Cheerleader - JV Cheer(2007-2008).

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
I enjoy volunteering my time at my church, as well as at Guiding Hands School. Faith plays a huge role in my life, and through volunteering to help younger students at church, I am able to share in the building of their own faith. Guiding Hands School is close to my heart because the school provides the best education possible to those with extra needs, including my little brother.

How has living in the community shaped you as a person, and how do you feel it will affect the way you contribute to the world in the future?
Living in the community has presented me with numerous opportunities that have shaped me as a person. Moving to a new town with new people and various classes after freshman year helped me to discover myself, my talents and my passions to make a positive impact on the world.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?
In the summer of 2006, I went to China as a Student Ambassador representing the U.S. organization People to People.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
Work hard throughout all four years and become active and involved in school and community activities. It truly pays off!

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?
Waking up extremely early the morning of the homecoming rally to get ready with my best friend and then pulling up to the school to see our entire class decked out in head to toe with white – a student-initiated organization of a class color.

Who is your role model?
My role model is my mom. She’s extremely organized and always has it all together. I know I can rely on her for anything and she helps me whenever I need her.

Describe your career aspirations.
As a journalism or communication major, I plan to work in those fields. I hope to become an executive editor of a magazine or be a film editor for television shows.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
In reality, if I could travel anywhere, I would love to travel everywhere. If I had to choose, I would travel all over Europe.

Kristina Bodeman

Graduating Senior
Vista del Lago High School

Tell us about yourself – school interests, hobbies, awards and achievements.
I have played on the Girl’s Varsity Tennis Team for three years, and this season, I was selected as team captain. Also, I love art. I spend most of my time in the art classrooms and talking to the teachers in the art department.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
Pink Ladies, because I’ve had many family members who have had breast cancer and one who recently passed away from it.

How has living in the community shaped you as a person, and how do you feel it will affect the way you contribute to the world in the future?
It has made me more comfortable with who I am and I have become a lot more outgoing. In the future I hope that it allows me to positively influence the people around me.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?
Although I may not act like it, I can be very insecure about myself.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
Don’t be nervous or afraid. There are many friendly students and teachers that can help.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?
My friends and teachers make everyday memorable.

Who is your role model?
My funny, nice, inspiring and awesome art teacher Mrs. Martin.

Describe your career aspirations.
Ever since I met animation teacher Mrs. Kile, I have wanted to become an animator myself.

Congrats Seniors! We wish you every success!


More Q&A:


 


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to the Style - Folsom El Dorado Hills free newsletter to stay informed



our kids feature


PROUDLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY THESE COMMUNITY SPONSORS