On March 20, Ryan Gonzales and Julian Roque traveled to Schurr High School in Montebello to compete against eight other students representing the CSF’s South Central Region for the Seymour Award and $3,000 in scholarship money. As finalists, they previously earned $2,000 scholarships
While they failed to win the top Seymour Award, Gonzales and Roque were the 12th and 13th Channel Islands High students since 1998 to reach the Seymour finals, noted Terri Romines, Channel Islands High’s CSF adviser.
“We’re proud that 13 of our kids have gotten that far,” Romines said. “I’m a little sad that Ryan and Julian didn’t win this time, but they both received a one-of-a-kind California Scholarship Federation medal, and that’s special.”
Each spring, five CSF regional committees choose 50 outstanding Life Members from among candidates nominated by their chapter advisers. This process includes an application, essay and letters of recommendation from teachers and community members.
On Saturday, the 10 finalists from each region underwent intensive interviews conducted by CSF judges, with the winner selected on the basis of character, leadership and service.
“In the past we’ve had great kids, but they were shy and didn’t do very well in the interview,” Romines said. “These two aren’t shy and timid.”
Gonzales and Roque honed their interviewing and speaking skills as lead members of Channel Islands High’s Mock Trial team which placed sixth out of 24 teams at February’s Ventura County competition. Gonzales was the team’s defense attorney while Roque served as prosecutor.
Both students immerse themselves in other school activities. Gonzales is active in student government, is a member of the school’s French Club and played on the Raiders’ volleyball team. Roque has been the marching band’s drum major for two years and has also been active in CIHS’s MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Club and the school’s Speech Team.
Gonzales, 16, has a 4.67 grade-point average and wants to double-major in political science and English in college major and minor in international relations. He has already been accepted to Stanford, Notre Dame, Dartmouth and Brown but is leaning toward attending Stanford in the fall. Gonzales career goal is to become a lawyer.
Roque, 17, has a 4.57 GPA and plans to study biology and education at either UC Davis or UC San Diego. He wants to be a biology teacher at either the high school or college level.
Previous Seymour Award finalists from Channel Islands High were: Franco Canet (1998); Erica Villasenor (2001); Danielle Stratton (2002); Erica Centeno and Georgia Rodriguez (2003); Corazon Cano (204); Fernali Arenzazu (2006); Gem Liobing (2007); Nikki Reyes (2008); and Armi Agor and Griselle Liobing (2009).
Formed in 1921 by Charles F. Seymour, CSF seeks to recognize students living in California who possess high standards in academic scholarship, community service and citizenship. CSF has over 1,000 chapters and approximately 100,000 student members statewide.