These 19 South Bay teens shine for their individuality, aptitude and authenticity

They can’t wait to make their mark on the world.

The South Bay’s young men and women can’t wait to put their mark on the world. Here we celebrate 19, nominated by our readers for their individuality, aptitude and authenticity. 

Bonus! Southbay is teaming up with the BeachLife Festival to send one of our Top Teens and a friend to the festival for 3-days of music and let-your-hair-down fun, right here in our own backyard. After reading their stories below, click here to vote!



Malgy A. Blue

18  |  Redondo Union High School

Hometown: Redondo Beach

Greatest Hits:

Eagle Scout

Leader at Jack and Jill of America

Head of Hackathon Club

Impactful Life Event:

Attended the California Boys State program and delivered speeches in front of 1,000 young men from around California

“My biggest hope is that one day every person on Earth can be acknowledged for who they are, rather than what they look like. Our skin color and ethnicity should be secondary to the individual that we
present ourselves as.”

Gabrielle Faulkner

17  |  Marymount High School

Hometown: Manhattan Beach

Greatest Hits:

Multi-issue social activist


Speaker at march organized by nonprofit Project Femme

Proudest Accomplishment:

Being named as one of the Getty’s 10 Emerging Artists and having her art
displayed in the Getty Museum

“To me, being a teenager in 2019 is to be constantly exhausted, angry, passionate, creative, driven, outraged and everything in between. Being a teenager in 2019 reminds me of the quote, ‘If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.’”

Kennedy East

16  |  Redondo Union High School

Hometown: Redondo Beach

Greatest Hits:

Competitive water polo player

Richstone Foundation fundraiser

Advocate for teen suicide awareness

Impactful Life Event:

Playing in the water polo national championship for Junior Olympics at Stanford with her SOCAL water polo team

“My generation has a good understanding of different groups within society, and we should focus on tailoring our interactions in order to respect other people.”

Kyra Williams

18  |  Mira Costa High School

Hometown: Manhattan Beach

Greatest Hits:

Co-captain of varsity surf team

Volunteer at Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation

Ambassador for Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word

Biggest Hope:

That people understand climate change is real, take accountability and care for the planet

“Growing up during a time of disruption and political discord has forced my generation to become more globally aware and realize what is important to us and what we want for our future. I believe we know that if we want to make the world a better place, we need to step up and do something about it.”

Anika Rehan

16  |  California Academy of Mathematics and Science

Hometown: Torrance

Greatest Hits:

Mental health advocate

Classical Indian dancer

Aspiring doctor

Biggest Hope:

For maternal, neonatal and child health to be made a priority worldwide

“We’re in an era of scientific innovation and social change. The world is more connected now than ever before, and teens are actively contributing to the betterment of society. It feels amazing to be surrounded by such powerful and inspiring teens.”

Kennedy Dierks

17  |  Bishop Montgomery High School

Hometown: El Segundo

Greatest Hits:

Aspiring doctor

Intern at Osborne Head & Neck Institute

Cancer survivor

Impactful Life Event:

Diagnosed with melanoma at 13 years old; named a national spokesperson for John Wayne Cancer Foundation

“I strive to be honest and dedicated—whether it be in the operating room or the neurology lab, while sorting crayons or sharing my cancer story. I hope to inspire others to live authentically and passionately.”

Maxwell Yee

18  |  Palos Verdes High School

Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates

Greatest Hits:

National and international competitive fencer


Biggest Hope:

To win the Ivy League Championships with his future teammates at Yale University

“Our generation has already begun to change the world. Teenagers are becoming empowered with social media and other tools, and the impact that people my age have made astounds me.”

Jamisen Jarvis

17  |  Homeschooled

Hermosa Beach

Greatest Hits:

Opened for Donavon Frankenreiter at age 13

Saint Rocke “Artist of the Month”

Featured artist at several charity events

Biggest Hope:

That when people hear her music, they don’t feel alone

“After I sang at a local venue, this woman came up to me and said, ‘I’ve been going through what you just sang about, but I didn’t realize it until you just sang it.’ It was the first time I realized it was actually worth me going through a difficult situation so I could relate to someone and let them know that it gets better. I get emotional when I think about it.”

Naomi Scott

13  |  Rolling Hills Preparatory School

Hometown: Lomita

Greatest Hits:

Dedicated conservationist

Teacher at Future Stars Academy

Competitive swimmer

How Friends Describe Her:

A compassionate and caring individual who’s a natural leader, knows what’s best for the group, has a knack for getting things done and always strives for the best

“I think water has influenced my life in so many ways. This is why I created a water conservation curriculum to educate preschool and elementary-aged children. Perhaps the first swim class I took at 6 months old set the stage for the rest of my life because it sparked my love of water.”

Justin Dauer

14  |  Coastal Academy ISP

Hometown: Torrance

Greatest Hits:

Pro-division yo-yo competitor

Contest organizer

Proudest Accomplishment:

Chosen as one of the Top 5 most improved professional yo-yoer players by Scales Collective, a group a nationally ranked yo-yo players

“I’m only 14, but my plan is to stick with good people and don’t follow the crowd. ‘You were born an original, don’t die a copy.’”

Chris Gutierrez

17  |  Socal ROC

Hometown: Torrance

Greatest Hits:

Youngest in California to achieve welding certification

Student mentor

Biggest Hope:

To become a successful welder and own his own company

“I think with everything going on in the world right now, people are stepping up and fighting for what they believe in. Many problems in the world that are kept quiet will be brought into the public eye, and more people will fight to change them.”

Brooke Charlton

16  |  Vistamar

Hometown: Manhattan Beach

Greatest Hits:

Competitive ice hockey player

Student ambassador for LA84 Foundation

Panelist at National Girls and Women in Sports

Biggest Hope:

To inspire other girls not to be afraid to try something new, to believe that there is something out for them and that they should never give up when trying something

“My core value is authenticity because no one is just like me, and I want to show who I am.”

Emerald Padgett

18  |  Harbor College

Hometown: Hermosa Beach

Greatest Hits:


Aspiring architect and builder

South Park committee member and outdoor space visionary

Impactful Life Event:

Survivor of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, an auto-immune condition that kept her bedridden for a full year in high school

“I think our generation is capable of changing the world because we have access to any information we want. Information is powerful fuel, and
technology has a special way of
holding us all accountable.”

Ryan Panganiban

18  |  South Torrance High School

Hometown: San Pedro

Greatest Hits:

Aspiring architect

Cross-country athlete

TED Club president

Core Values:

Live simply … Love others … Search for beauty

“More than ever teenagers have access to resources that allow them to explore and pursue their interests and, with enough determination, have success in their pursuit. Being a teenager in 2019 is defined by, like most things, what the teenager makes of it.”

Jessica Bahny

16  |  Palos Verdes High School

Hometown: San Pedro

Greatest Hits:

Skilled equestrian

Animal hospital intern

2017 World Champion Laser-Run Junior Relay in Capetown, South Africa

Proudest Accomplishment:

Taking the blue ribbon in Western Dressage at the United States Pony Club Championships West in Auburn, Washington

“There’s so much to get caught up in; just living life the best you can is what I think is important. You can only control your own actions, so make those actions count for something.”

Armaan Ismail

17  |  Vistamar School

Hometown: Los Angeles

Greatest Hits:


Elementary school reading advocate

Attendee of global service and leadership camp

Proudest Accomplishment:

His two businesses: Guardian Locket, a cause-based company with a device and companion app that allows individuals to send discreet requests for help in unsafe situations, and TechNinja, a subscription-based, on-demand service aiming to bridge the digital divide by providing support for senior citizens having difficulties with technology

“We need to put away our prejudices, put away our phones and bring together all of the different walks of life that we come from to create the most impactful, sustainable solutions to the world’s problems for the 21st century.”

Hannah Bauer

15  |  Chadwick School

Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates

Greatest Hits:

Award-winning robotics designer

App developer and coder

Code teacher

Proudest Accomplishment:

Part of a 14-member team distinguished as a 2019 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam; they received a $10,000 grant to create an invention that benefits their community; concluding sleep deprivation is a worldwide issue affecting people of all different ages, created a device and app to optimize the user’s sleep time so they get more “deep sleep” and therefore feel more rejuvenated when they wake up

“My priorities are work hard—whether it is in programming, robotics or school. I do whatever I can to make the finished product the best that it can be. I also appreciate how great I feel when I’m outside. I enjoy surfing, playing soccer and hiking. To me having this work-life balance is very important.”

Mackenzie Whitehead

15  |  Palos Verdes High School

Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates

Greatest Hits:

Competitive water polo player

Varsity starter

Impressive debater

Proudest Accomplishment:

Making the USA Women’s Cadet National Water Polo Team

“I walked solo onto a pool deck when I was 13 years old to join an all-boys high school water polo training session. I endured stares as if I was an alien! I pushed through the practice—terrified almost all the time. When the session ended, I knew I could now conquer anything.”

Sergio Quechol

18  |  Vistamar School

Hometown: Inglewood

Greatest Hits:

Hispanic Heritage awardee

Conference speaker on “Being Young and Queer in a Latinx Household”

How Friends Describe Him:

Someone with great sense of fashion style who makes others laugh, appreciates those around him and keeps an open mind

“Being a teenager who’s a queer Latino comes with many points of confusion and incapability. Nevertheless, that pushes me to advocate and reform for teenagers who experience similar issues like me.”

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