19 Under 19

Amazing. Diverse. Exceptional. Inspiring. No matter how you label them, our 19 Under 19 picks for 2018 are #awesome.

  • Category
  • Edited by
    Darren Elms
  • Photographed by
    Monica Orozco
  • Illustrated by
    Christine Georgiades

In an era when young people endure constant pressure to make the grade or get into the best college, sometimes the smartest of the bunch know when to put down the pencil and pick up a guitar … or travel abroad … or sprint away the stress. These well-rounded South Bay citizens get it. And while they really can’t be contained to a printed page, we’ll give it a shot. Enjoy!


Alden Tetreault, 17 (pictured above)
Chadwick School

Greatest hits
  • Taught in Ghana before high school
  • Traveled to Cambodia last year to teach young girls and learn about human trafficking
  • Raised money to send four Cambodian girls to college
  • Co-founder of Speak Up
Future aspiration

“In my precalculus class we’ve been learning about federal and state taxes, which I oddly enough find absolutely thrilling. I think it would be really neat if I could find a way for people to see how their tax dollars are being spent in real life so that they are able to realize how their money is making a positive difference in our country.”


“I don’t care about being  remembered by millions, but I do want to be remembered by at least one for being compassionate and thoughtful.”


Ian Irish, 18
Palos Verdes High School

Greatest hits
  • Award-winning surfboard shaper
  • Master Meet champ for 800m track event
  • Future mechanical engineering student at Columbia University
Person you admire

“Paul Naude, the CEO of Vissla. He found a way to combine his hobbies with a business and paved the way in providing many opportunities to become more environmentally friendly, which will surely be the future of the surf industry at some point.”

Biggest fear

“Crocodiles. ‘Maybe deep down, I’m afraid of any Apex Predator that lived through the KT Extinction. Physically unchanged for 100 million years because it’s the perfect killing machine: a half-ton of coldblooded fury with a bite force of 20,000 newtons and stomach acid so strong it can dissolve bones and hooves [from TV


Seraphine Sun, 17
Palos Verdes High School

Greatest hits
  • Received $7,000 for her Whiskers & Tails Foundation from NCL
  • Accomplished equestrian and harpist
  • Member of Congressional Youth Advisory Council
Person you admire

“My god-grandmother March Fong Eu, who passed away a few months ago. She was a political legend and a trailblazer who shattered many glass ceilings. But to me, she was the gentle and kind granny who always remembered my birthdays and prepared my favorite snacks whenever I visited her.”


“I hope to either become a veterinarian and pursue my passion of taking care of animals or to become a prosecutor like my mom.”


Isabella Bacallao, 15 & SaraJane Bacallao, 12
Chadwick School

Greatest hits
  • Environmental advocates
  • Leaders in Hermosa’s no-oil campaign
  • Volunteers at The SEA Lab
Proudest moment

Isabella: “Celebrating in The Standing Room when Hermosa won the vote against E&B drilling for oil in Hermosa Beach. Everyone was cheering and singing and celebrating—not as individuals but as one. A truly impactful and memorable experience.”

Secrets to success

Isabella: “Find passion in things you do. Enjoy them. Don’t look at them as a task but as an adventure.”

SaraJane: “Expect the unexpected to avoid disappointment.”


Anthony Karambelas, 16
California State University, Los Angeles

Greatest hits
  • Entered college at 14
  • Davidson Young scholar and Mensa member
  • Performed at the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Life event that impacted you

“When my father passed away due to an aneurism when I was 5, it robbed me of a father figure to look up to. At the same time, I’ve been forced to remain true to myself and forge my own identity, which has actually been a blessing in disguise.”

Who inspires you?

“Honestly, all my peers and friends. I know it’s not always healthy to compare yourself to others, but being surrounded by motivated, like-minded individuals provides me a bit of a reality check. They’re a constant reminder that life is all about the journey—not the destination.”


Katie Champion, 14
American Martyrs School

Greatest hits
  • Top 300 in Broadcom national science, technology, engineering and math competition
  • First place at California state and Los Angeles County science fairs
  • Nationally ranked synchronized skater
Moment that made an impact

“In third grade we were learning about the moon in class, and this led to a conversation with my dad about the idea of antigravity. This seemingly small conversation is when my affinity for science clicked.”


“I hope I can make a discovery in astrophysics that will improve travel in space and possibly provide ideas to better transportation on Earth; finding some solutions for environmental issues is an alternative to my first goal. I would also like to help provide education for those without access, to help them find their passions.”


Cora Downey, 16
South Torrance High School

Greatest hits
  • Acrobat and aerialist
  • Performed at Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Norway
  • Dog advocate

“I would love to attend a film school and later on make a short film to share circus arts with the world. Many people have this idea in their minds that a circus is just clowns and contortionists; however, I want to show all aspects of the art … the beauty and grace of the dance involved and the strength of the artists as athletes.”

Secret to success

“I believe my success comes from willingness—my willingness to try new things and step out of my comfort zone … the ability to be vulnerable and uncomfortable, because that is when magic is created.”


Drea Keswater, 17
Rolling Hills Prep School

Greatest hits
  • Helped create school sailing program
  • U.S. Sailing certified Level II sailing instructor
  • Junior Commodore at King Harbor Yacht Club
The difference you’d like to make

“I’d like to discover a new energy source that is not petroleum. It’s one of the reasons I have chosen my major of chemical engineering.”

Activity that changed your life

“Sailing has given me a chance to grow more independent. In the boat I have to make decisions for myself, and I have applied that to everyday life. I see this, now that soon I will be on my own and have to be my own person.”


Claire Easton, 18
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

Greatest hits
  • Healing arts advocate
  • Yearbook editor-in-chief
  • National writing award winner
  • Word that best describes you

“Undefined. Growing up in a multi-cultural household, I was taught to embrace the intertwining and over-lapping of thought, tradition and belief. I have a lot of varying, inter- disciplinary interests, and I pride myself on following a nonlinear path, smashing stereotypes and being wholly myself.”

Say what?

“During my freshman year, my school’s science research advisor told me, ‘Social sciences aren’t real sciences. People are unreliable subjects. People don’t win you science fairs.’ These words lit some sort of fire inside me, motivating me to prove him wrong. After spending the past two years conducting art therapy behavioral science research, I think my mission was accomplished.”


Isabella Giaquinta, 16
Marymount High School

Greatest hits
  • Hospital volunteer in Sri Lanka
  • Selected for Perry Outreach program, inspiring women to be leaders in orthopedic surgery
  • Manhattan Beach Mayor’s Youth Council, Sandpiper Junior and Model U.N.
Being a teen in 2018

“Being a teenager in 2018 is basically like living in Europe during the 14th through 17th centuries. We are living in a technological renaissance where incredible advancements happen every day, creating exciting future choices for teens.”


“While on this earth, I would like to close the STEM gender gap. I hope to advance the cause of women in STEM to enrich our nation’s scientific capabilities through diversity. I plan to advocate for the role of women in the workplace and empower girls to pursue careers in STEM fields where we are underrepresented.”


Kai Johnson, 14
El Segundo Middle School

Greatest hits
  • Guitarist and musical composer
  • Festival performer
Life event that made an impact

“I think that being born in Japan is a very important part of who I am. My Japanese heritage influences every aspect of my day, including my music and my philosophy on life.”

Secret to success

“Be confident and be myself. Be unique; be different. Remember that we are all special, and that’s a beautiful thing.”


Christian (Kai) Bathurst, 17
Mira Costa High School

Greatest hits
  • Record-breaking MCHS swimmer
  • Academic All-American
  • Olympic hopeful
Person you admire

“Michael Phelps for two reasons: First, he’s the greatest athlete/swimmer of all time, and second, he was able to make a mistake and come back stronger—showing perseverance.”

Prized possession

“Free time is my most prized possession because I don’t have a lot of it. Every once in a while I like to do nothing.”


Amy Ross, 18
Peninsula High School

Greatest hits
  • Civil Air Patrol NCO of the year for Los Angeles County and state of California
  • USA Water Polo Academic All-American
  • Middle school national championship of CyberPatriot

“I want to make coding as common a skill as sending text messages is today.”

Fictional character you identify with

“Ma Joad from Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. If she had been born a few decades later, she would have been a multinational corporate CEO. She was powerful, fixed everything that was broken and always owned her condition and found the means to make it right.”


Barbra Lyons, 17
Mira Costa High School

Greatest hits
  • Competitive synchronized ice skater
  • Junior mentor with Walk With Sally
Life event that impacted you

“My mother passed away from cancer. I admired her greatly.”

The difference you’d like to make

“I would like to help under-privileged kids go to college, continue their education and set them up for a better future.”


Kira Levin, 17
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

Greatest hits
  • 2018 National YoungArts Foundation finalist in jazz voice
  • The Music Center’s Spotlight quarterfinalist
  • 2017 Grammy Jazz Camp jazz choir finalist
What’s the soundtrack of your life?

“If Jazzmeia Horn recorded a record with John Coltrane and Bill Evans. They are some of my favorite artists.”

Prized possession

“My record player. I love collecting and listening to vinyl records. If anyone’s looking for someone to give their old records to, definitely give me a call.”


Kaylen Ng, 17
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

Greatest hits
  • Filmmaker and documentarian
  • Started first all-girl CyberPatriot team and led them to state championship
  • TEDx speaker on power of editing in film and in real life
Being a teen in 2018

“Empowering. I feel like our generation has been the most vocal about issues of equality and rights than any other generation has been in decades. Being a teenager and seeing all of these role models stand up for what they believe in only inspires us to do the same.”


“I’d like to make at least one person have a ‘that’s me’ moment when watching something I make. To see yourself in a character on screen is really important in the fight for representation, and I hope that I can help make things that have parts that represent everyone.”


Izzy Taulli, 16
Chadwick School

Greatest hits
  • Award-winning U.S. competitive Irish dancer
  • Will represent U.S. at the World Irish Dancing Championships in Glasgow, Scotland
Prized possession

“My dancing shoes are one of favorite things because I use them almost every day.”

Secret to success

“To me, the most important part of reaching your goals is intrinsic motivation and your own will to work hard. Other people can push you, and maybe the success of others may motivate you, but ultimately only the motivation that comes from inside you combined with the right guidance will lead you to success.”


Austin Koehler, 17
Redondo Union High School

Greatest hits
  • Started his own business, G.O. Nuts (Genuinely Original Nuts)
  • Donates 10% of the company’s profit to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in honor of his type 1 brother
Activity that changed your life

“The YEA!, or Young Entre-preneurs Academy, taught me how to start a business.”

Secret to success

“I work hard and learn. Working hard is a step in the right direction, but you also have to be able to learn from your mistakes and others’ successes. “

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