2021-2022 CJSF DiGiovanna Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2021-2022 DiGIovanna Award Recipients who submitted the award winning essays.

Central Region
Bailey Peters
, 1219 Emilie J Ross Middle School
Adviser Gary Grant, Principal Mary LaRosa

Central Coast Region
Michelle Hopkins
, 1206 Creekside Middle School
Adviser Sumin Cha, Principal Susan Shih

North Region
Garry Bicknell
, 676 Brittan Elementary
Adviser Heather Azevedo, Principal Staci Kaelin

South Region
Cielle Peloquin
, 881 St. Junipero Serra Catholic School
Adviser Elaina Stokes, Principal Tim Tolzda

South Central Region
Mayte Esparza
, 1135 Bellflower Middle School
Adviser Veronica Reynolds, Principal Michael Lundgren

2021-2022 Seymour Award Finalists

Congratulations 2021-2022 Seymour Finalists!

Established to honor both Charles F. Seymour and his wife, Marian H. Seymour, who together supplied the inspiration and leadership which fostered the California Scholarship Federation. The Seymour Award is regarded as one of the highest scholastic honors given to high school students in the state of California. This award recognizes excellence in academics and service to school and community.

Region recipients will be chosen at region group interviews and announced after the Awards Ceremony on April 9, 2022.

2021-2022 CSF Seymour Award Central Region Finalists

Central Region

  • Madison Allan, Chapter 512, Redwood High School,
    Adviser Georgette Cheatwood, Principal Matt Shin
  • Triptaan Dhami, Chapter 157, Ripon High School,
    Adviser Marybel Reyes-Nungaray, Principal Keith Rangel
  • Tingyu Gong, Chapter 1379, Sierra Pacific High School,
    Adviser Brian Dull, Principal Darin Parson
  • Krista Gonzalez, Chapter 1227, Sunnyside High School,
    Adviser Lydia Gonzalez, Principal Michele Anderson
  • Tanvir Grewal, Chapter 895, Monache High School,
    Adviser Brandy Culver, Principal Eric Barba
  • Brenda Manyvanh, Chapter 1263, El Diamante HS,
    Adviser Jerry Perez, Principal Kim Nelson
  • Anahi Ramos Silva, Chapter 96, Porterville High School,
    Adviser Michele Patrick, Principal Jose Valdez
  • Brynlee Rasmussen, Chapter 512, Redwood High School,
    Adviser Georgette Cheatwood, Principal Matt Shin
  • Brooke Watson, Chapter 888, Kern Valley High School,
    Adviser Erin Woodward, Principal John Meyers
  • Molly Watson, Chapter 888, Kern Valley High School,
    Adviser Erin Woodward, Principal John Meyers
2021-2022 CSF Seymour Award Central Coast Region Finalists

Central Coast Region

  • Hollis Belger, Chapter 1016, Redwood High School,
    Adviser Tristan Bodle, Principal David Sondheim
  • Saurav Gandhi, Chapter 312, Santa Clara High School,
    Adviser Sara Carvalho, Principal Greg Shelby
  • Kent Goodman, Chapter 597, Redwood High School,
    Adviser Tristan Bodle, Principal David Sondheim
  • Priscilla Kim, Chapter 873, Archbishop Mitty HS,
    Adviser Janie Falcone, Principal Katherine Caputo
  • Harshita Krupadanam, Chapter 1421, Quarry Lane School,
    Adviser Shannon Harrison, Principal Candice McGraw
  • Lauren Lee, Chapter 570, Castro Valley High School,
    Adviser Kelley OHern, Principal Blaine Torpey
  • Kristine Pashin, Chapter 494, Notre Dame High School,
    Adviser Amy Huang, Principal Mary Beth Riley
  • Mackenzie Van Laar, Chapter 98, Gilroy High School,
    Adviser Matt Hungerford, Principal Greg Kapaku
  • Andrew Vuong, Chapter 762, Piedmont Hills,
    Adviser Nancy Kennett, Principal Ginny Davis
  • Aarushi Wadhwa, Chapter 743, Westmont High School,
    Adviser Joy Brawn, Principal Jason Miller
2021-2022 CSF Seymour Award North Region Finalists

North Region

  • Emma Alvarez, Chapter 168, Chico High School,
    Adviser Kris Hahn, Principal Douglas Williams
  • Alondra Garcia Sifuentes, Chapter 119, Napa High,
    Adviser Ana Andrilla, Principal Ean Ainsworth
  • Ava Hamelburg, Chapter 1210, Windsor High School,
    Adviser Julie Cordell, Principal Brian Williams
  • Eric Liu, Chapter 335, Folsom High School,
    Adviser Rachel Doller, Principal Howard Cadenhead
  • Dylan Martinelli, Chapter 1054, Downieville Jr./Sr. High,
    Adviser Niecea Freeman, Principal James Berardi
  • Gurnoor Saini, Chapter 1366, River Valley High School,
    Adviser Eric Ricketts, Principal Lee McPeak
  • Leighton Tarke, Chapter 239, Sutter Union High School,
    Adviser Janet Finitzer, Principal Ryan Robison
  • Benjamin Van Lienden, Chapter 1403, Woodland Christian School,
    Adviser Zak McGaugh, Principal LaRon Gordon
  • Natalie Vogt, Chapter 1403, Woodland Christian School,
    Adviser Zak McGaugh, Principal LaRon Gordon
  • Kendra Whitmore, Chapter 239, Sutter Union High School,
    Adviser Janet Finitzer, Principal Ryan Robison
2021-2022 CSF Seymour Award South Region Finalists

South Region

  • Lauren Angelus, Chapter 667, Sunny Hills High School,
    Adviser Hera Kwon, Principal Cathy Gach
  • Camille Dang, Chapter 1006, Gretchen Whitney High School,
    Adviser LaMonica Bryson, Principal John Briquelet
  • Sarah Dong, Chapter 1276, Westview High School,
    Adviser Diana Loo, Principal Tina Ziegler
  • TImothy Dull, Chapter 1293, Great Oak High School,
    Adviser Diana Arban, Principal Aimee Ricken
  • Emily Govea, Chapter 1313, Segerstrom High School,
    Adviser Kim Nguyen, Principal David Casper
  • Sara Habibipour, Chapter 1234, Palm Valley School,
    Adviser Susie Zachik, Principal Steve Sherman
  • Sean Lai, Chapter 799, Glen A. Wilson High School,
    Adviser Ember Arteaga, Principal Danielle Kenfield
  • Ruby Mejia, Chapter 496, Mater Dei High School,
    Adviser Gloria Guzman, Principal Frances Clare
  • Senara Subasinghe, Chapter 74, Elsinore High School,
    Adviser Felicia Asbury, Principal Robbin Hamilton
  • Cat Toung Tran, Chapter 801, Pacifica High School,
    Adviser Zsolt Girba, Principal Steve Osborne
2021-2022 CSF Seymour Award South Central Region Finalists

South Central Region

  • Earl Bumagat, Chapter 1048, Downtown Magnets High School,
    Adviser Lisha Gonzalez, Principal Sarah Usmani

  • Joshua Chandran, Chapter 106, Simi Valley High School,
    Adviser Shauna Poutre, Principal JC Baxter

  • James Christian, Chapter 1395, St. Monica Academy,
    Adviser Jacqueline Halpin, Principal Marguerite Grimm

  • Dylan Davis, Chapter 254, Nordhoff High School,
    Adviser Briana Beebe, Principal David Monson

  • Simaranjeet Kaur, Chapter 417, Bellflower High School,
    Adviser Babak Aminitehrani, Principal Michael Lundgren

  • Natalie Leon, Chapter 796, Channel Islands High School,
    Adviser Magen Anthony, Principal Marianne Ramos

  • Gelina Liobing, Chapter 796, Channel Islands High School,
    Adviser Magen Anthony, Principal Marianne Ramos

  • Alessandra Lucchesi, Chapter 254, Nordhoff High School,
    Adviser Briana Beebe, Principal David Monson

  • Edmund Shryock, Chapter 757, John Glenn High School,
    Adviser Cynthia Johnson, Principal Jennifer Padilla

  • Neev Vinchhi, Chapter 729, Ernest Righetti High School,
    Adviser Jennifer Dolan, Principal Ted Lyon

Brandon Beck Seymour Award 2020-2021 Central Coast Region Finalist

Audrey Kaefer
Central Coast Region
Chapter 1423 – Tilden Preparatory School
Adviser Jane Muller

Brandon Beck is a student at Tilden Preparatory School in Walnut Creek.  Brandon is the president of the Tilden Leadership Club, and the founder of the Tilden Music Club.  As a part of the Tilden Debate Club & Social Justice Club he is active in promoting awareness of current social justice issues occurring in the world and community. 

Brandon is an accomplished singer and has performed in a number of musical theatre productions as both a volunteer and a paid performer.  Among his performances, Brandan has played Gavroche in Les Misérables at the Contra Costa Musical Theatre and improvised interactive shows for children at the Chevron Family Theatre Festival. 

Brandon is a Youth Ambassador to the Narcolepsy Network, an organization that raises awareness of, and advocates for, narcolepsy and other rare diseases. In his personal statement, Brandon expresses how personal challenges have led him to advocate for others, which has included a trip to Washington DC to lobby on Capitol Hill for support for science-driven policies that improve and save lives.  Brandon delivers presentations and leads discussions during nationwide webinars that assist youth and young adults. 

Brandon states, “My goals are to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels empowered rather than diminished. I am dedicated to creating hope by changing the healthcare landscape and improving healthcare outcomes…I am looking forward to the challenge!”  To bridge the gap between innovation (science and technology) and the patient, Brandon will pursue degrees in Economics and Business Administration, and hopes to attend UC Berkeley. 

Jane Muller, Brandon’s CSF Adviser, talks about Brandon thusly, “With his enthusiasm for life, his natural empathy for those around him, and his innate emotional intelligence about others, he has the capability to be a strong leader.  It is extremely rare to encounter someone that is so gifted intellectually yet so humble and genuine.” 

Cynthia Zorn, the Director of the Narcolepsy Network’s youth program, explains in her letter of recommendation for Brandon, “It is a privilege for me to share his extraordinary commitment to his work and leadership responsibilities, his loyalty to fellow volunteers, and his gifts for listening and demonstrating empathy toward people of all ages.  He is a great inspiration to many, young and old alike.”

Aya Aziz Seymour Award 2020-2021 Central Region Finalist

Aya Aziz
Central Region
Chapter 512 – Redwood High School, Visalia
Adviser Georgette Cheatwood

Aya Aziz is a student at Redwood High School in Visalia and is currently serving as Vice-President of her CSF chapter. Her activities while a member of CSF include the Thanksgiving Canned Food Drive, Kaweah Oaks Preserve, Visalia Rescue Mission, Prestigious Assisted Living Home and a blood drive. As an activity that serves to continue to promote CSF for years to come, Aya developed and promoted a CSF Freshman Orientation Power Point that was utilized via Zoom this past year as well.

CSF Advisor, Georgette Cheatwood writes “Aya sets goals, and then methodically puts strategies in place to turn her dreams and ideas into reality.”  Her fondness of music led to the creation of the Playing Love Quintet with fellow high school musicians which has been a platform for raising funds for Preemptive Love, an organization providing relief to refugees of war. Aya expressed the importance of this organization as it is a link to her Iraqi heritage and memory of the sacrifice her parents made.

In her letter of recommendation, Rudolfina Sjostrand states “Aya plays not only for herself, but for others.” She has also been recognized by the Tulare Kings County Music Educators Association Honor Orchestra, the California Orchestra Directors Association Annual All-State Honor String Orchestra, the College of Sequoias Symphony as well as the Redwood High School Chamber Orchestra. Aya has also participated in the Science Olympiad and tennis teams and has worked at the Visalia Cardiovascular and Medical Center this past year.

She will continue her education at Stanford University studying Science, Technology, and Society.

Steven Conaway Seymour Award 2020-2021 South Central Region Finalist

Steven Conaway
South Central Region
Chapter 1395 – Saint Monica Academy
Adviser Jessica Halpin

​Steven Conaway is a senior at Saint Monica Academy in Montrose California where he is actively involved in his CSF chapter and serves as its president. A national merit commended scholar and an AP Scholar with Honor, Steven also works heavily with Robotics. 

His CSF adviser, Jacqueline Halpin , mentioned that “Steven founded the Robotics Club that has successfully competed in regional and state competitions in addition to his garnering a multi-thousand dollar grant from the Dan Murphy Foundation to build a dedicated Robotics classroom.” 

Michael Murry, from the East Los Angeles Youth Center commends Steven for his hard work and dedication.  “Steven was part of a group that was tasked with teaching the Arduino run Smart Car Class to elementary aged children.” states Mr. Murry, “As time went by, we offered courses in robotics, drones, and even initiated a grant-funded Air Quality Testing Using Drone Technology to test the ambient air in East Los Angeles” all of which Steven helped greatly with. 

In the next phase of his life, he plans to go into Computer Science or Computer Engineering at Notre Dame, or MIT.  He looks forward to continuing to teach robotics both virtually and in person.

Yadira Castillo Seymour Award 2020-2021 South Central Region Finalist

Yadira Castillo
South Central Region
Chapter 634 – Ulysses S Grant Senior High School
Adviser Erin Suess

Yadira Castillo attends Ulysses S Grant Senior High School in Van Nuys where she has served as the Secretary of her CSF chapter. Throughout her school career she has spent a lot of time working with a variety of community service projects including canned food drives, Teacher appreciation days and videos, and a local Secret Santa program.  She has excelled in the Academic Decathlon program through her school, receiving numerous Medals in both the regional and state levels of competition. 

Erin Suess, her CSF adviser states “If you ask Yadira why she works so hard, she will tell you it is to honor her parents. Yadira’s drive is not just for herself but for her entire community.” 

“As a volunteer at the Casa Durango, Yadira had an integral role in teaching both English and basic arithmetic classes. She is a shining example of someone who is both proactive and driven.” says Nilsa Dipp. 

She found economics the most difficult subject to understand when working in the academic decathlon, so after high school, Yadira plans to attend Yale, or Harvard, or Columbia and study economics.