Their high school resumes include stints in student government, volunteering at hospitals, and serving on softball as well and robotics teams. They have been motivated by their families and peers, faith and community. Now, as members of the graduating class of 2018, these Eastside high school grads are headed to Columbia, Stanford and UCLA to pursue their interests, ranging from psychobiology to neuroscience.

We contacted several area high schools to find out more about their highest achieving graduates. Here are their stories:

Karen Argueta (GPA 4.53)

Abraham Lincoln High School, Lincoln Heights

Karen credits her teacher, mentors, and friends for guiding her throughout her years at L.A. Unified. As a child of immigrants, Karen has given back to Lincoln Heights through a youth program – the same community that gave her family a home. She works with members of diverse backgrounds and aims to do the same at UCLA this fall, majoring in psychobiology.

Karen Preciado (GPA 4.269)

Theodore Roosevelt High School, Boyle Heights

Karen is passionate about softball, having played on the varsity team and participating in other local organizations. Karen is also a natural leader, having served on the Mayor’s Youth Council and as Roosevelt’s Student Body President. Her parents, Ramon Preciado and Dinora Rodriguez, are her biggest motivators, offering unconditional love and support. Before heading to UC Santa Barbara in the fall, she will travel with her family.

Itzel Melgoza (GPA 4.4 & IB Diploma Candidate)

Woodrow Wilson High School, El Sereno

The STEM  (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field inspires Itzel, so she joined the Robotics and STEM club at Wilson. Itzel searched for ways to improve Wilson as an elected student body official during all four years, including serving as Student Body President this year. She demonstrates the same desire for the city as a member of Mayor’s Youth Council. While Itzel will be heading to New York to major in neuroscience and behavior and Columbia University, she plans to return to the Eastside to help others.

Stephen Sills (GPA 4.397)

Woodrow Wilson High School, El Sereno

Stephen remained strongly connected to his beliefs while remaining open to other perspectives as president of the Bible Club, Debate Club, and MCASA of Urban Visionaries at Wilson. His faith keeps Stephen optimistic about his community and his future. Motivated by the C.S. Lewis quote, “There are far, better things ahead than any we leave behind,” Stephen will make the most out his summer by taking an economics course at a community college, work at the East Los Angeles Courthouse and write a book. In the fall, he will attend Stanford University as a Gates Millenium Scholar.

Alexia Olguin (GPA 4.4)

Alliance Susan & Eric Smidt Technology High School, Lincoln Heights

Alexia is known for caring for others in her community. For her fellow students, she works with the student council to plan activities and events. For homeless people, she organizes food drives with the National Honor Society. For Spanish-speaking immigrants, she serves as a translator at a local hospital to ensure everyone receives proper medical treatment. Alexia also empowers herself and other women through the Step-Up program, exuberating self-confidence and strength. Despite living in a low-income community, Alexia is optimistic about the future and is proving that with hard work and support, anything is possible. She will attend the University of Pennsylvania as a Gates Millenium Scholar, pursuing a pre-med track.

Christopher Morales is a Lincoln Heights native currently majoring in communications at Cornell University

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