By Joyce LEE and Mary O’KEEFE
With only a month left until graduation, the Crescenta Valley High School senior class is nearing the end of its high school memory- making. These memories would not be complete without the traditional presentation of the Falcon Award, CVHS’s sole school-wide and student-run scholarship program.
The Falcon Award was established in 2000 by Pat Rabe, retired CVHS math teacher, and the Falcon Award committee, a group of students who determined what epitomized a true Falcon. Each year one senior who displays the characteristics of leadership, service, character, and commitment is presented as the winner with a monetary award of $1500 at the annual Falcon Award assembly in the spring. The remaining contenders are given scholarships of $300 and $150.
This year’s awardee was David Lee.
Lee is an aspiring politician who expresses his love of serving others through his daily actions and community involvement. He has a GPA of 4.3 and solid leadership skills that will aid him in his desire to become a lawyer. He is president of Youth and Government Verdugo Hills, youth reporter at Korea Daily and a youth reporter and editor at Chamyang Magazine. He is actively involved in debate at NOVA 42, volunteers with the American Red Cross, is a member of Junior State of America, Future Business Leaders of America, California Scholarship Federation, and National Honors Society. He is deciding on attending either Amherst College or UCLA, and plans to major in political science/legal studies. He said that his dream of becoming a lawyer started when he was 7 years old.
“I was put on a mock trial by my aunt, a corporate lawyer, in front of a jury that consisted of my parents, grandparents and cousins. I was put on trial under the suspicion that I had not really brushed my teeth the night of our family reunion.
“A seemingly random childhood memory actually piqued my interest in the judicial system and my consistent involvement in debate has pushed me to use my public speaking abilities to pursue a career in law,” Lee said.
He credited the responsibility of being the president of Y&G as demonstrating what it takes to become a leader.
“It may sound cliché, but what Ferris Bueller said in the movie is true: ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,’” Lee said. “The impending end of high school is bittersweet. Without a doubt, it is very scary and nerve-wracking, but I am ready and eager to see what the future holds for me.”
The Falcon Award Committee and the Selection Committee are led by two CVHS math teachers, Amy Besoli and Whitney Katzer.
“In addition to having outstanding grades and [performing] community service, the finalists share a common denominator, which sets them apart from their fellow students. Their passions for the activities they are committed to are reflected through their eyes. They enjoy helping people with a polite but sincere attitude,” Besoli said.
Also vying for the Falcon Award were Rosa Kwak, Jaeho Lee, Joy McCreary, Nari Shin and Sarah Worden.
On Wednesday, prior to the Crescenta Valley High School Falcon Awards presentation, Small Change for Big Change (SCBC) presented the Teacher and Classified Employee of the Year awards.
Teacher Win Saw and Marine Sanosyan, the school’s registrar, were each surprised with an award and $500 as a way to say thank you from staff and students, past and present.
SCBC, an organization composed of CVHS graduates, began about four years ago. Since its conception, members have worked to show how much they appreciate the school staff and what being a Falcon has meant to them.
“This is the third year for the [Teacher of the Year] award,” said June Bayha, SCBC member. This year the organization included the classified, or non-teaching, employees as part of their awards presentation.
Saw knew he was one of the seven finalists, but was surprised when his name was announced during an early morning CVHS assembly.
“If you look at the panel [of finalist teachers] … you have some high caliber teachers. I was just honored to be standing with them,” Saw said.
Saw is celebrating his 20th year as an educator, all spent at CVHS. He said over the years the students have remained pretty much the same, but are taking more Advanced Placement classes.
“More students are pushing toward higher academics,” Saw said.
He teaches math, second year calculus, and technology. He opens his classroom to students who need help during 10 a.m. snack, lunch and after school. Whether a student has taken his class in the past, is a present student or has never had him as a teacher doesn’t matter – his door is open for anyone who needs help.
“I love working with these kids,” Saw said. “They keep me on my toes.”
This is the first year SCBC has given an award to a classified employee, so when Sanosyan walked into the auditorium for the morning assembly, she had no idea she was about to be asked onto the stage.
“I didn’t know [about the award]. I was invited by our principal [Linda Junge to attend],” she said.
When she received the award and the $500, she was pleasantly surprised.
“This is huge. Oh my gosh, it is very exciting,” she said.
Sanosyan is the person to go to when students, and parents, need transcripts, which is especially important at the end of the year when seniors need that information for colleges.
“I deal with a lot of seniors,” she said. When asked if the students are nervous she replied, “Oh yes, a lot are extremely nervous. Some are very confused about the college process, but it’s all good. We make it happen for them.”
Bayha said it was important to the SCBC members to recognize the teachers as well as the classified staff.
“They are a huge part of this school. It is important to recognize them for their service … to their school,” she said.
The organization was part of the voting process along with the school.
“This year we collaborated with the school leadership. In the past we did our own [voting procedure],” Bayha said.
The entire staff and student body were eligible to nominate their favorite candidates and to cast a vote.
To join or help support SCBC visit www.scvcnow.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call