Pleasanton Unified School District

Congratulations to this year's Juanita Haugen Community of Character Scholarship Winners

Four high school seniors have been selected by the Community of Character Collaborative as recipients of the 2017 Juanita Haugen Memorial Scholarship. Applicants were required to explain how their actions have reflected any or all of the six characteristics adopted by the Pleasanton Unified School District, City of Pleasanton, the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce and other faith and organizations: compassion, honesty, respect, responsibility, integrity, and self-discipline. These values are often represented through their service and community involvement. The scholarship was created to honor the memory of Juanita Haugen, founder of the coalition, who died in 2007 due to cancer. Mrs. Haugen was a former president not only of the local school board, but also
of the California School Boards Association. Students from each of the Pleasanton high schools’
graduating classes is eligible to apply for one of the annual awards.
 
Congratulations to this year's scholarship winners: 

Nicole Zhang is a senior at Amador Valley High School. Her parents, Jialing Sun and Gary Zhang are immigrants from China. She loves learning and leading in civic engagement. She plays soccer for Amador Valley and the Pleasanton RAGE, plays the piano, and studies French. After a 7th grade classmate fell on the track and got hurt, she decided to raise enough money for a new track and organized events to raise $30,000, half of the amount needed by the school district, which funded the remainder. Her goal is to help others and make the world a better place. She is the Co-Founder and President of the Student Inter-Schools Action Council (SIAC), Student Board Member on the PUSD School Board, Chairperson of the AV School Site Council, and PUSD Student Representative on the Local Control and Accountability Committee (LCAC). She co-founded the Wheelchair Ambassador program and worked with the Wheelchair Foundation to organize wheelchair basketball games and fundraisers. She painted a mural at Amador, was a math tutor her sophomore year, organized musical performances for patients in a nursing home, and donated hair for children with medical hair loss.
 
Abbie Cooper is a senior at Amador Valley High School, her parents are Mitchell and Corri Cooper. She says, her parents taught her the values of selflessness, hard work and thoughtfulness. Being born with a club foot, dance lessons were one of the ways of improving the physical condition and taught her the value of determination, self-confidence and hard work as well as overcoming her biggest insecurity. These challenges taught her a strong work ethic and allowed her to empathize with others who face their own personal challenges. She participated in fundraising events and was a camp counselor for Outdoor Education. Through the
AV Leadership class, she worked on Teacher Recognition, Earth Week, Donversity Week and Salute to Service. As Senior class Vice President, she planned events such as Senior Picnic, Senior Sunrise and Senior Ball. She was in the AV Girl Up Club, which focuses on protecting rights of women, including education in third world countries. She volunteered at Open Heart Kitchen, was captain of a team of dancers raising over $25,000 for Dancers Against Cancer and organized volunteers for Rooms of Hope, an organization that raises money for terminally ill children.
 
Kathryn Ann Lee is a senior at Foothill High, her parents are Frank and Mary Lee. In the 6th grade, she joined the National Charity League (a Mother-Daughter service organization) and began volunteering at the Taylor Family Foundation, was granted a summer internship in the 8 th grade helping children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses and developmental disabilities. She accepted larger roles and responsibilities, organizing the training for over 200 volunteers for their annual fundraiser. She learned compassion through working with these children, who lived each day with severe disabilities and health conditions. She was a member of the FHS Peer Advocates, helping to promote acceptance and respect among students. She has volunteered at numerous events for the County Fair, Red Cross, Foster a Dream, Special Olympics, Meals on Wheels, Pleasanton Library, etc, all while playing soccer for the Pleasanton Rage and FHS Varsity.
 
Rachel Mundaden is a senior at Foothill High, her parents are Mary John and John Mundaden. Through the Catholic Community of Pleasanton, she has volunteered at soup kitchens and founded an annual backpack and school supply drive for needy families. She founded the Girls Who Code club at her school to empower girls in the STEM field. The club goes on field trips to tech companies, has grown to about 25 members, and has started outreach programs. She
also taught coding skills at the Chinatown YMCASF and Donlon Kids Club. She received the Girl Scout Gold Award, completing her project by conducting an Earth Day event at Donlon Elementary, where 300 students learned about climate change, water conservation, recycling and other environmental issues. She is the youth representative on the City of Pleasanton’s Energy and Environment committee. She is on the Foothill Varsity Lacrosse team and 1st Chair viola in the school orchestra.
 
Note: Both AVHS recipients in their applications credited Mr. Eric Thiel, Biology teacher at AVHS for the values he taught them though his compassion and example. Mr. Thiel passed away in June, 2017, retiring after 38 years of teaching.
 
These scholarship recipients will be honored at the Annual Luncheon / Fund Raiser, which also honors other community members for their service. The Annual Spring luncheon is open to the community. The 2018 luncheon will be held in May at the Veterans’ Memorial Building.