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Congrats to Anna Artiaga (daughter of our beloved Santos Artiaga) – finalist for Junior Carpinterian of the Year

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C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S to Anna Artiaga. (daughter of our beloved Santos Artiaga) who was one of this year’s finalist for Junior Carpinterian of the Year.

Gandhi’s instructions to “be the change you want to see in the world” guide Carpinteria High School senior Anna Artiaga. Serving as the associated student body president this year, Artiaga works to make everyone at CHS feel accepted and supported, no matter their popularity, skin color, gender or physical limitations. With Gandhi’s words in mind, she coordinates rallies and other events aimed at unifying the campus and eliminating alienation. Read more below and listen to Anna’s interview too.

Three wow-worthy seniors selected as Junior Carpinterian of the Year finalists

Every year the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce faces a mission impossible: choosing just one Junior Carpinterian of the Year. The committee starts with a pool of worthy applicants, pares it down to interviewees, then announces three finalists. At the annual Community Awards Banquet, scheduled this year for Saturday, March 10, one of these three will be named the Junior Carpinterian of the Year, an honor that comes with a $4,000 college scholarship.

The multi-page applications submitted by the 2018 finalists once again elicit head shaking and beg the question, “What have you not accomplished?” They document hundreds of hours of community service, club participation, sports teams and off-the-charts GPAs. A closer look and a conversation with the three seniors help to paint the colors and shapes of each individual—music, art, athletic dedication and academic passions.

At CVN, we vote for all three to win—because we can, because thankfully we don’t have the impossible job of choosing just one.

Mikayla Blair

None of Mikayla Blair’s teachers or coaches will be surprised when she’s running a Fortune 500 company a few years down the road. The multi-sport athlete and standout student has already proven to be a top-notch entrepreneur and business leader.

As the CEO of a student-run company that invented a water conservation Smartphone app, Blair and her team won the Taste of Success competition last year against a field of bigger, more experienced high schools. The presentation, she said, was nerve-wracking, but the resulting win lit a fire that the young businesswoman plans to fuel with a business administration degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Like her fellow Junior Carpinterian of the Year finalists, Blair boasts a highly successful athletic career at CHS. She and her twin sister Amanda have helped to bring the girls golf team out of a long slump in competitive play. She is proud of her accomplishments on the links, but the softball diamond is her favorite athletic venue. “I love softball a lot,” said the four-year starting second baseman.

Blair’s future company will be built with a big heart. Her community service includes volunteering with children at church camps, mentoring incoming high school freshmen and working with special needs kids in the Challenger baseball program. She rounds out her impressive resume with extensive club participation and a spot with her clarinet in the marching, concert and jazz bands.

Jeremy Saito

It’s tough to stand out as the youngest of four super-successful siblings, but Jeremy Saito has managed. The charming Carpinteria High School senior who was voted Mr. Warrior last fall, maintains a 4.41 academic GPA and a dedication to music that fills hours of each day.

Modesty, it’s worth noting, is another of Saito’s defining characteristics. He pointed out that his competitors for Junior Carpinterian of the Year are just as deserving as he is, and said that he relishes being part of a tight-knit senior class full of “amazing people.”

Saito’s face has appeared prominently in CVN over the last four spring seasons, when his contributions to the varsity tennis team regularly land him in the sports section.

Music is Saito’s top passion, and he credits teacher Elise Unruh for igniting that love. Toting a clarinet and an alto saxophone around the campus, he excels in four music education classes. Two nights a week he’s on campus for jazz band and choir, and during the day he takes concert and marching band.

But when it comes to future plans, Saito has plotted his course in the sciences. His 200 hours of community service at Cottage Hospital have inspired him to become a pediatrician. He hopes to attend Harvard University, but acknowledged that U.C. San Diego is his more realistic back-up.

Anna Artiaga

Gandhi’s instructions to “be the change you want to see in the world” guide Carpinteria High School senior Anna Artiaga. Serving as the associated student body president this year, Artiaga works to make everyone at CHS feel accepted and supported, no matter their popularity, skin color, gender or physical limitations. With Gandhi’s words in mind, she coordinates rallies and other events aimed at unifying the campus and eliminating alienation.

A U.S.-born citizen, Artiaga feels connected to her El Salvadorian heritage. Her parents immigrated to the United States just two months before her birth. She considers them role models for overcoming obstacles to give her a better life, and for the value they both place on education. Her father earned an associates degree in film production as a recent immigrant, and her mom completed some college as well.

In addition to her ASB leadership, Artiaga’s proudest accomplishment is in athletics, where she has managed to participate in three sports—including three years on the varsity tennis team—while also maintaining a 3.64 GPA and involvement in Spanish Club, Interact Club, the Homeless Outreach Club, MESA and Youth Wellness Connections. “Athletics have taught me to push harder in everything in life, to put 100 percent into any activity,” she said.

The ambitious senior has set her sights on a career in mechanical engineering. She is still waiting to hear back from top choice George Washington University, but would be thrilled to attend San Francisco State University, where she has already been accepted.

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