19 Under 19

The future looks brighter than ever. Meet 19 of the South Bay’s most impressive young men and women … a group so active, smart, creative, inspiring and generous, we could barely contain their brilliance in a single feature. Enjoy.

 

On stage at the Warner Grand Theatre

 

Covi Loveridge Brannan, 18

Palos Verdes Estates

“I come from a family of actors and theatre artists, so I grew up in that wonderfully crazy world,” says aspiring actress Covi, a senior at Harvard-Westlake School. “As I got older, I became a lot more self-conscious and unsure of myself, but when I was on stage I felt free and at home.”

Her exploration of the dramatic arts proved well-rounded, as she studied not only acting but playwriting and stage managing. In 2012, she performed alongside her parents at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, and she has also interned at both the York Theatre Royal in England and the Rogue Machine Theatre here in LA.

“I believe my greatest accomp-lishment so far was having my one-act play Ghost Girl selected and produced in the annual Harvard-Westlake Playwrights Festival last year,” she says. In between rehearsals for her lead role of Rosalind in Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It, she traveled coast-to-coast auditioning for college theatre programs, hoping to share her talents with a new audience.

“The human race is my main source of inspiration. As a citizen of this world, I believe it is my duty to contribute to society as much as I can—” Covi shares, “to help others and listen to others and work with others and inspire others, all in an effort to make the world a better, more compassionate place.”

Lindsay Richardson, 17

Redondo Beach

“When I was in third grade, I saw the movie Freaky Friday and thought Lindsay Lohan looked so cool playing guitar. And I knew that I wanted to try it,” shares Lindsay, a senior at Vistamar School. “What I didn’t expect was how passionate I became about playing and improving.”

Soon the budding musician was playing drums, bass, piano and even ukulele. “In my freshman year I was going through a really rough time in my life, and my best friend was always there for me,” she recalls. “I had never had such a caring, supportive friend in my life before, and I wanted to show her how much I appreciated. In January I wrote ‘On My Side,’ which I dedicated to her. That song was the beginning of a new outlet for me: writing.”

Although she knows a music
career and a tough industry could have its challenges, having people appreciate what she writes and having faith in her talents keeps her moving forward.

“Here there are surfers and skaters, poets, artists and other musicians making everything so diverse. There’s everything from rock to country and electronic to reggae. Everyone’s doing what they want to do, and that’s what makes the South Bay such a great area to live in.”

Geovanna Nichols-Julien, 18

Manhattan Beach

“From a very early age I was handed a key to the greatest music education any 12-year-old had access too,” says Geovanna, an opera singer and
senior at the Orange County School of the Arts. “At the hands of my teachers, Heather Gold, Denise Haslop, Shanti Belasco, Ann Grennan and many more, I was lovingly guided into an understanding that mastering music takes hard work and the highest expectations.”

Although she admits to enjoying singing as much as most little kids, she didn’t take it seriously until the cantor at her church approached her mom about taking private lessons. That moment began an attraction to the study of classical music—for both the discipline required and its roots in history.

“Singing opera is something a person can only do after decades of school and study,” she notes. “I need to stay determined and focused in order to be successful, and I think my ability to discipline myself to do that has proved useful in every aspect of my life. Also the fact that I am able to pick up a piece of paper and reproduce an art form that was written hundreds of years ago is fascinating.”

When asked what inspires her passion, she’s quick to respond. “Stories. If I can get just one person to relate to my character’s story and help them reflect on life or culture or hatred or love, I have done my work well.”

 

 

 

Our philanthropists relax at Ayres Hotel

 

Quintin Hartman, 13

Redondo Beach

Quintin first became involved with Cancer Support Community-Redondo Beach as his mother was diagnosed and treated for cancer and after losing an older brother to the disease. One of the older kids in the program, Quintin quickly took on a mentor role to the other children who also had family members affected by cancer.

“I especially like to help kids because they are so easily influenced, so I hope I can turn them in a good direction away from bullying and away from their own negative feelings—” he shares about his experience, “mostly because I have been on the other side of that bullying and don’t want anyone to have to deal with that.”

In addition to his volunteer work at CSC-RB, the eighth-grader at Parras Middle School also finds time to play the trumpet and French horn, study hard and be a Boy Scout. Although a few years off, he’s happy his family supports his goal of one day graduating with a master’s and doctorate in psychology and helping him keep his grades up.

Kate McEvilly, 18

Manhattan Beach

Inspired as far back as seventh grade, Chadwick School senior Kate knew she needed to help bring clean water to people in Africa. She campaigned for Wells Bring Hope and helped raise money to help drill five clean-water wells in the country of Niger, one of the poorest in the world. Devoting hours of cupcake baking, fundraising, auctioning, raffling and volunteering, Kate says her work on the project has to be the most rewarding of her young life.

“I cried in 2012 when I saw the photos from the first well of the men, women and children in the villages jumping with joy because they have finally have clean water—a basic human necessity that we all take for granted,” she says. She also notes the wells not only improve the lives of the villagers who now have clean water and better health, they mean girls can go to school and women can get micro-loans to finance small businesses.

“Strong women motivate me to do what I love the most. Whether that be my mom, my grandmother, the women of Niger or even Shonda Rhimes … strong, successful women make me want to be that much better.”

Ben Meyers, 18

Rancho Palos Verdes

“I have always been persistent and pretty relentless at finishing projects and getting done what needs to get done,” shares Ben. “School has always come first, and once I am done with school, I move on to the next item on the agenda—whether it’s studying sports, volunteering, thinking of ways to help the community or hanging out with friends.”

The senior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School started the Native American Student Union and translated his struggles with juvenile diabetes to helping others with the disease.

“It is never easy to balance and juggle several activities all at one time, but we all try to make them work,” he confides. “Sure, I am tired all the time and dreaming of sleeping a little bit more, but as my dad always says, ‘You can sleep when you’re dead. Carpe diem!’”

 

 

 

Steven Delcarson, 18

Palos Verdes Estates

“Sports are a very important part of my life,” says Palos Verdes High School senior Steven. “My sisters were always active playing multiple sports. It just felt normal for me to follow the same path, and my parents were very supportive of participation in athletics.”

As a football quarterback, he helped lead his team over tremendous adversity to a CIF championship. But Steven is much more than a jock; he’s also a stellar student, academic team competitor, community volunteer and school news anchor. To say he is a well-rounded person would simply be an understatement.

“I love building things, leading teams and helping people succeed,” he says. “I am motivated by the joy and excitement I receive from working together to achieve a goal and winning. It gives me great pleasure to feel like I am making a difference and impacting others positively.”

Olivia Polischeck, 16

Palos Verdes Estates

“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes the summer before I was about to start middle school. It was the scariest thing of my life,” shares Olivia, who at the time hoped to join her middle school’s cross-country team. “Instead of my parents holding me back, telling me no, they were completely supportive of me to start a new sport, which would end up becoming one of my biggest passions in life.”

Now a sophomore at Palos Verdes High School, she and her tight-knit team would push each other to win at the CIF finals and state this past year.

“In a weird way being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has been a blessing in disguise,” she says. “I have become a lot stronger mentally, and I am so much more aware of things around me—whether it’s eating healthy, exercising a lot and just really taking care of my body.”

She hopes to become either a political lobbyist for type 1 diabetes or an endocrinologist, and become a role model for others. 


Duncan Reid, 17

Palos Verdes Estates

“It has taken a lot of different people to help me achieve my goals, which is quite humbling,” says Duncan, a junior at Palos Verdes High School who counts his family, physical trainer and gastroenterologist among his greatest supporters these days.

In 2013 the triathlete was coming back to the game after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and anemia and wasn’t expected to participate with his varsity cross-country team. But he surprised them all and went on to run as the team’s fifth runner and place third in state.

Last spring he qualified for his first USA Triathlon junior national team trip to Monterrey, Mexico. He hopes to guide his cross-country team to a CIF and state title next fall and find the perfect college to study public policy or political science and, of course, run cross-country and track.

“The South Bay is a fantastic place for an endurance athlete to grow up—the opportunities to ride in Palos Verdes and all the way up to Marina Del Rey … it’s pretty much perfect.”


Matthew Katnik, 18

Rolling Hills Estates

“Athletics have made me become a great time manager. I am very understanding of my priorities and aware of when things need to get done,” says Matt, a senior who played offensive guard for St. John Bosco High School’s astounding varsity football team and aspires for Olympic greatness with his shot put.

“I want to throw 70 feet this year. There have only been 13 people in history to do it, so [it would be great] if I could join them in the record books.” As he chases this goal, this 4.4 GPA student also prepares to attend USC this fall on scholarship.

“The thing that motivates me most is my
desire to win,” he says. “I hate to lose, so I always push myself harder in training in order to come out on top.”

 

 

 

Photographed by Shay Williams

Chloe Kim, 14

Torrance

Too young to compete at the Sochi games in 2014, teen Chloe is already being touted as the next superstar of snowboarding. At the X Games in Aspen this January, she became the youngest competitor to take gold in the Snowboard SuperPipe, upsetting legend Kelly Clark. Although she considers Torrance home, the athlete spent two years in Switzerland to learn French (she also is fluent in Korean) and currently attends Mammoth High School Independent Learning Center while she trains. So what can we expect of Chloe in the future? Just ask one of her idols, Kelly Clark. “In years to come, I’ll be able to look at women’s snowboarding and know that not only is it in good hands, but it’s in the hands of someone I’m proud of.” (AP and USA Today)

 

 

 

Getting studious at  Malaga Cove Library

 

Jesse Padveen, 14

Manhattan Beach

“When I see something that leaves me speechless or unable to put into words, I naturally end up behind the lens capturing what I find incredible and expressing it in that way,” shares Jesse, a freshman at Mira Costa High School. The skilled photographer turned his hobby into a business, producing high-gloss, lightweight metal photo prints of his nature-driven shots.

“Running a business while being in school is great preparation for real life,” he says. Luckily, his family members and friends have been incredibly supportive of his goals. His dad taught him to use accounting software to better manage the business, and his mom wakes up at 4 a.m. to drive them to Laguna for sunrise pictures.

The shutterbug also holds a job with The Beach Reporter. “I live in the present but look at the future with optimism. Whatever path I take will be another adventure.”

 

Colton Williams, 17

Torrance

“At a young age I realized how important politics actually are in our country, state and local community. I just wanted to be a part of the process, however small my part is,” says Colton, who spent six months in Washington, D.C., working 60-hour weeks as a page for the United States Senate.

Throughout his time at the capitol, he continued a full schedule of studies and is set to graduate from Redondo Union High School later this year. Eventually he hopes to get involved at the state level as an intern for Ted Lieu and later begin a career in the financial sector.

But he’s in no rush to settle down. “I’m the kind of person who will ask a question and then need to know the answer no matter what it takes,” he shares. “If the answer leads to more questions, I’ll follow the trail. That’s what I love … learning something that I didn’t know before.”

 

Quin Severo, 17

Manhattan Beach

“From a young age I have enjoyed art. My parents have told me that when I was as young as 2, I would sit in my high chair for hours on end drawing,” shares Quin, a junior at Mira Costa. With the help of her folks, she started the Be Kind project, a viral public awareness campaign that has blown up on social media.

“There are the common things that we as teenagers all undergo, like education, social pressures and hormonal changes,” she says. “In many ways, the Be Kind project sends an important message to others that, despite our daily challenges, we can make an impact simply by spreading kindness.”

Her campaign stickers and t-shirts proved hugely popular over the holiday season, with 100% of the profits going back into the effort. She adds, “I also plan to get Be Kind Art turned into an official organization and legitimate charitable organization so that I can inspire others to give back on a larger scale.”

 

Max Arseneault, 17

Redondo Beach

“My great-grandmother’s Steinway & Sons piano was given to us when I was a child,” says Max, a senior at Redondo Union. “She played in silent films, so I was curious and started playing in first grade.”

The budding pianist turned his interest to the sciences, a subject he studies with great passion. “I was drawn to science research for the same reasons … it fascinates me and feels great to know you contributed to the available knowledge. You can personalize your research and guide it down any path that you want.”

That path led him to becoming a Siemens Competition 2014 semifinalist for his research on detecting muscle failure with accelerometer data, something he considers one of his biggest accomplishment to date.

“I’m not sure right now whether I want to go into research or do engineering, he says. “What I do know is that I want to be a science activist as a side job and promote science in the public sphere, similar to what Carl Sagan, Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins do.”

 

Allison Westley, 15, and Arianna Menzelos, 16

Palos Verdes Estates

“Students need to be exposed to science in a new, more engaging way—in a way that makes them feel empowered with a newfound knowledge that could potentially lead them to an impactful future of their own,” says Arianna, who along with fellow Chadwick School sophomore Allison started the Hands on Science program to inspire a love of science in younger students of the community. With the help of the Palos Verdes Rotary Club and school fundraising efforts, the budding scientists are able to create lesson plans, buy lab supplies and manage volunteers for their educational outreach.

“I have always loved exploring science because of the mystery of the unknown that surrounds us every day—how things work and why things happen,” says Allison. “Our passions for science motivated Arianna and I to start the program, but I am motivated every day to continue with the program because of the results we see in the students.”

Both young women plan to extend their own education as long as possible and someday make an even bigger impact on the world with their curiosity and knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

Alex “walking the dog” with Flash from Bullies and Buddies rescue organization.

 

Alex Hattori, 17

Torrance

I was initially drawn to yo-yoing because of the creative nature of the sport, and then I discovered I could yo-yo with two yo-yos at the same time,” says Alex, a senior at South High School who also happened to become a professional yo-yoer at age 13 and two-time national champion. “I realized I could combine my passion for yo-yoing with my passion to help others by teaching, fundraising and mentoring.”

His achievements also include three-time state champion, West Coast regional champion and runner-up in the Duncan Toys international contest. “Nickelodeon invited me on a game show; I won an all-expense-paid trip for my entire family to stay at a resort in upstate New York called Rocking Horse Ranch,” he shares.

Although he’s currently seeded to compete at the World Yo-Yo Contest in Tokyo in August, he’s also focusing on a separate passion for robotics, programming and engineering and designs and builds his own quadcopters.

“I admire people who will have a positive impact on future generations, like Bill Gates and Elon Musk,” he says. “Although I appreciate every moment of this journey that I’m on, I dream that I will someday be fortunate enough to end up in the same circles as these incredible men.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savannah Stroyke, 10

Hermosa Beach

“When my family went on a ski trip in Tahoe, we all rented skates, but I was the only one who was skating around on two feet,” remembers Savannah of the first day she fell in love with her sport. “My aunt told my mom to get me into lessons and that I was a natural.”

The competitive skater and fifth-grader at American Martyrs School will tell you it’s not all floral bouquets and classical music getting to the top.

“My mom wakes up at 4 a.m. every day to take me to the rink. Then my dad comes to stay with me at 6:30 so my mom can go back and get my brothers off to school. I work with great coaches, take ballet and stretch classes, and go to other rinks to see special choreographers, stroking and spin coaches. Ice skating is a very difficult sport.”

All that hard work is paying off. Savannah won the Pacific Southwest Regional Championship, placed third at National Showcase and was featured in the Christmas show at the Toyota Sports Center. Before someday going for gold at the Olympic Winter Games, she would first love to try to make it out of regionals as a first-year juvenile.

“When I’m skating, I am transported to another world that is full of fun and adventure,” she says. “When you step on the ice and feel the cold air on your face as you jump and spin, it is magical.”