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Class of 2011

May 03, 2011 05:59AM, Published by Style, Categories: In Print


Photos by Dante Fontana



Lynsey Carpenter
Folsom High School

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

I love to cook and have also recently discovered a love for art. Mr. Carter, the teacher for my AP drawing and painting class, has encouraged and inspired me. I am currently finishing a 12-piece portfolio of musicians with their instruments. Also, over the last four years, I have taught drum lessons to several students from ages five to 14. I really enjoy working and playing with kids.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?

Dream big, work hard and don’t ever give up!

Who is your role model?

I have many role models in the different facets of my life. Firstly, Jesus Christ. I want to be as selfless and loving to everyone as He was. Secondly, my parents (together and as individuals) for showing me how to work hard, be true to myself and be a responsible person. Musically, I respect Imogen Heap. I aspire to be a creative and versatile musician and admire her ability to be true to her creative expression.

Describe your career aspirations.

For the past two summers, I have worked as an intern at a studio in Hollywood on sound and music for various film projects. This has cemented my career aspiration in being a composer for movies, television and video games. I also hope to be able to write popular and inspirational music. I would enjoy producing music for musicians and groups and composing for wind ensembles, symphonies and jazz bands as well.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would love to travel to Greece. I am fascinated by the vast amounts of history as well as the beautiful scenery and beaches.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?

This year, I served as the president of the Invisible Children Club at my school. This organization raises awareness and aid for kids and teens in Africa that have been torn from their families and forced to become child soldiers.

Also, my best friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last summer and I started a fundraiser on his behalf. This experience made me more aware and sensitive to cancer patients, their families, and the harsh and painful experiences that cancer brings.


Blanka Hodur
Folsom High School

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?

Snowline Hospice is a great local charity we have. Just recently, they helped many girls find dresses for the prom.

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 this close-knit community has taught me the importance of cooperation in accomplishing goals and the importance of having people you can count on to help you when you are in trouble.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?

One piece of advice I would give to incoming high school students is to work hard and don’t slack, but at the same time enjoy your high school experience.

Describe your career aspirations.

I do not know what I want to do as a career. However, I am very interested in the sciences and am going to major in biological sciences.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would go to Poland to see what it’s like, since I was born there but don’t really remember anything.


Navneet Kahlon
Oak Ridge High School

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?

The most important thing to keep in mind during high school is not to take the opportunities presented to you for granted. High school is a great place to explore your interests, give back to the community and receive a great education. Just don’t take it too seriously – spend time making friends and having fun because it will go by really fast.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?

I don’t have one specific memorable event of my senior year, more of the senior experience. Cheering at school rallies; playing in the snow during class; having study sessions for tests. All the great moments with my friends and classmates are memorable and I will always cherish them.

Who is your role model?

My parents are my role models. They have taught me, through their actions, the importance of hard work, honesty, and character; and I thank them for it. They have made me into who I am and I want to make them proud.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

After four years of Spanish class, I would definitely love to go to Spain, and hopefully after that, explore all of Europe.

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?

The best aspect of living in El Dorado Hills has been the availability of opportunities to volunteer and serve the community. Helping the local schools and library has taught me the importance of volunteerism and giving back –something I hope to do in my future and all over the world.


Kasra Behizad
Oak Ridge High School

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?

I admire the El Dorado Hills Food Bank because they care for a basic human need that most people take for granted. They not only lessen the economic burden of buying food for many families who cannot afford it, but also the stress of constantly worrying where a person’s next meal will come from.

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?

The teachers of Oak Ridge High School have been this community’s greatest influence on me. I can honestly say that my eagerness to learn and attraction to academics has developed because of exemplary teachers like Mr. Campbell, Mrs. Soroka and Señora Pomares. This community has always provided the opportunities and resources to help me realize my aspirations. Experiencing the impact that such a community and such individuals have had on my life has made me forever attentive to the influence that my future community will have on the youth living there.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

Most people would think of me as a spiritual person, but not everybody knows that I am a Bahá'í. The Bahá'í faith is an independent world religion whose purpose is to unify humanity in service towards one God. Bahá'ís believe that the betterment of the world can be accomplished through good deeds and pure actions, that although every individual must focus on improving himself, he must also strive to improve the society around him, and that as spiritual beings we show our love for God by offering service to humanity.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?

Find what you love to do and go after it! I know so many people (I was one of them) who are preoccupied with filling their time with things that’ll look good for colleges and tailoring their life so they look good on paper. After going down that path, I have realized that the most fruitful endeavors, the one’s that you can sit down in an interview and speak passionately from the heart about, are those that honestly represent who you are as a person. When that happens, everything else will fall into place.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?

A big theme for the Inter-Faith Unity Club this year was the equality of men and women. In order to translate this principle into action, we put on Oak Ridge’s first “Equality Week.” Hundreds of students listened as we spoke about the global injustices that prevent women from enjoying equality; they watched as we unveiled an eight-foot-long mural symbolizing the equality of men and women; and they “pledged to be prejudice-free” by putting their handprint on a second mural that now accompanies the original in our school’s library. The mural portrays a bird in mid-flight with both wings outstretched – symbolizing how, just as a bird can’t soar with only one wing, humanity can’t progress unless it enjoys the equality of both sexes.

Who is your role model?

I don’t see just one person as my role model. I believe that different people excel in different areas, some in academics, some in sports, and others in arts or music. For this reason, I look up to many of my friends and family as examples.

Describe your career aspirations.

I definitely know that I want to go into medicine, but I still have not decided what type of physician I want to be. Reconstructive plastic surgery interests me though because it is a dynamic, evolving field that has the potential to radically improve the quality of peoples’ lives.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would travel back to South America. The warmth of Latin culture is something that I fell in love with when I visited Peru, and there is nothing I would like more than to travel throughout South America as a physician and help the underserved and rural populations there.


Carly Melchers
Vista del Lago High School

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

I am a Unitarian Universalist. Being part of this congregation has taught me to accept others, keep an open mind, lend a helping hand and create my own spiritual path.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?

Be yourself; get involved in things you are passionate about; don’t forget who you are; and do what you love.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?

When I went to visit Washington and stepped on the campus of the Evergreen State College. I believe Evergreen will accept me for who I am, nurture and help me to reach my true potential, and provide the tools which will allow me to make a difference in the world.

Who is your role model?

My parents are in every way my role models. My dad and I share a love for the same music and books along with a sense of deeper meaning in life. My mom has taught me to never leave a log unturned, literally! From a very young age, she has helped develop my passion for the natural world. Together, they encouraged me to follow my heart and be honest.

Describe your career aspirations.

My ultimate goal would be to become a wildlife photographer for National Geographic. Working on wildlife conservation and rehabilitating endangered species would be a dream as well.

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?

Dance defined who I was through freshman year and in many ways still does. Being part of the Hawkins School of Performing Arts and Stages taught me leadership, time-management, and how to express myself. I would like to thank Deirdre Hawkins for providing the platform from which I have grown, along with Alyson Meador and Erin Nobbe for tolerating my occasional wildness, while teaching me teamwork and developing my tap, ballet and performance skills.


Kenny Wang
Vista del Lago High School

What are your plans after graduation?

This summer, I will spend as much time as possible with my friends before going our separate ways. In the fall, I plan on attending a four-year college. I will most likely be studying mass communications and media in Southern California, or maybe even musical theatre in New York.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

I was six years old when my mom was pregnant. I already had two sisters, and I was stoked that I might have a little brother to play with. When my parents announced they were having another girl, I started crying. My sisters still tease me about this today.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?

The best advice I could give to next year’s freshmen is that you are better than anything people say about you. People in high school can be mean, but no matter what other people say, only you can decide who you are and what you believe in.

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?

Vista del Lago High School and Folsom have really taught me that hard work is a group effort, and that no one needs to take the workload alone. This will definitely affect my work habits or any plans I make. I will have an expectation to contribute and everyone else will pitch in, too.

Who is your role model?

My music teacher Vince Martini has many creative and unique visions for his music classes and he provides students with knowledge about the current music world. He is a very understanding and friendly mentor who I have known for four years. Without him, my high school music education would not have included guitar or my favorite artists like The Script or Jason Mraz.


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