2019-2020 GGUSD Valedictorians

Han Dinh

Bolsa Grande High School: Han Dinh will attend University of California, Los Angeles where she will major in Financial Actuarial Mathematics in the hopes of becoming a fully qualified actuary before the age of 26.  Han’s academic accomplishments include receiving awards from the Science, Social Science and Mathematics Department, earning the title of AP Scholar with Honors and Distinction, and receiving consideration for the UCLA Alumni Scholarship.  While in high school, Han enjoyed going on a hike with Wilderness Adventurous Club, participating in the MESA Competition at UCI, and volunteering at the “Walk to End Alzheimer” Event. Han’s most memorable high school experience was being excited for the Coronavirus temporary school closure without realizing it was the last day she would see friends and teachers before going to college.  A resident of Santa Ana, Han’s parents are An Dinh and Vi Tran.

Howard Trinh

Garden Grove High School: Howard Trinh will attend University of California, Los Angeles to major in Aerospace Engineering.  Howard excelled in sports and academia being named National AP Scholar, earning the National Merit Scholarship, being named Argo Aquatics Rookie of the Year, Varsity Water Polo Most Valuable Player, Varsity Water Polo Offensive Player of the Year and ranked Diamond in League of Legends. While at Garden Grove High School, Howard enjoyed the Boy’s League socials, AP Physics Class, Water Polo and Swim.  Howard’s most memorable high school experience was going to Twicelights with friends over the summer. A resident of Garden Grove, Howard’s parents are Son and Mai Trinh.

Breanna Diggs

Hare High School: Breanna Diggs will attend Golden West College in the fall and will transfer to California State University, Fullerton, where she will major in English or Political Science. Among Breanna’s accomplishments she is most proud of making Principal's Honor Roll and being class of 2020’s Valedictorian. Breanna’s favorite high school activities were PBIS Festival, Leadership/ASB and volunteering at Zeyen Elementary school. Her most memorable high school experience was attending the 7th Annual Latinos Unidos conference where she increased her appreciation for different cultures. A resident of Anaheim, Breanna is the daughter of Elaine Diggs.

John Cao

La Quinta High School: John Cao will attend UCLA in the Fall to major in Chemistry to pursue a career as an Anesthesiologist.  While attending La Quinta High School, John enjoyed his participation in the Winter Drumline, the Orchestra and Math Club.  John was named a National AP Scholar, a Perfect Scorer on the California Math League Competition and was selected as a National Merit scholarship recipient.  John’s most memorable high school experience was performing in the Boys’ League Talent Show with a set of boomwhackers and getting 3rd place!  A resident of Garden Grove, John’s parents are Oanh Pham and Tri Tuc Cao.

Peter Nguyen

La Quinta High School: Peter Nguyen will attend UCLA to major in Applied Mathematics to pursue a career in medicine or academia.  Peter’s top three favorite high school activities were being a member of the varsity tennis team for three years and serving as captain his senior year, serving as Class Treasurer his sophomore year, and volunteering at community service events with other NHS members.  Among the academic accomplishments Peter is most proud of is earning a GPA of 4.61 while taking 13 AP courses, earning a 1550 SAT, with an 800 in Math, receiving an AP Scholar with Distinction Award, being named a Gates Semi-Finalist, getting accepted into all colleges he applied to, being named 1st Team All-League in Tennis, and Garden Grove Tennis Doubles League Finalist. Peter’s most memorable high school experience was hanging out with his closest friends and senior classmates during junior year prom. A resident of Fountain Valley, Peter’s parents are Sen and Phuong Nguyen.

Richard Khang Nguyen

Los Amigos High School: Richard Khang Nguyen will attend the University of California, Los Angeles to major in Biology to pursue a career as a science teacher, hopefully in GGUSD.  Richard’s proudest accomplishments include becoming the Los Amigos 2019/2020 Valedictorian, being named the President of the National Honor Society, winning the Lieutenant Governor’s Spirit Stick for Key Club, and being able to maintain his elementary school friendships even though they all had to go to different high schools. While at Los Amigos, he enjoyed playing tennis, being an active member of the Key Club, and attending school dances. Richard’s most memorable high school experience was the day UCLA released their acceptances and knowing so many of his friends were able to share in the same joy. A resident of Fountain Valley, Richard’ parents are Dung Ho and Liem Nguyen.

Rachel Lee

Pacifica High School: Rachel Lee will attend Johns Hopkins University where she will pursue a Double Major in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Psychology. She has several career goals including surgical oncologist, author whose novels foster a more empathetic world, and social entrepreneur who can create a nonprofit that connects those struggling with individuals who have survived similar situations and are in a better position to provide advice. Rachel is most proud of being awarded the Gates Scholarship, Gold Presidential Community Service Award, AP Scholar with Distinction Award, Mariner of the Month Award and for being named a Finalist in the OC Mikva Challenge Soapbox Speech Competition.  Aside from these notable awards, Rachel has also been selected as a USC Bovard Scholar, the president of NHS, and as an intern at CHOC this summer.  Rachel takes joy in serving the Pacifica High School community as the president and co-founder of NAMI, being a mentor for students with autism every Saturday at Buddy and Buddy (B&B) and learning alongside students whose passion for knowledge is truly inspirational.  Rachel’s most memorable moments were those she spent at CHOC with her physicians, nurses, and CAs where she experienced firsthand the power of kindness and empathy and truly shed light on a difficult period in her life. A resident of Garden Grove, Rachel’s parents are Hea W. Lee and Young B. Lee. 

Jenny Lu

Rancho Alamitos High School: Jenny Lu will attend University of California Berkeley in the fall to major in Molecular and Cell Biology.  Jenny would like to attend medical school where she will seek to become an obstetrician gynecologist or a gynecologic oncologist.  Jenny has received English, Science, and Social Science department awards and has been named an AP Scholar with Distinction.  She takes pride in serving as the Director of Human Resources at Project Exchange, Interning at Fiveable, and being a part of the Biology Teaching Staff at Beyond the Five.  Jenny’s favorite high school activities are playing flute in the marching band where she is the president, volunteering with Key Club, and attending beach clean-ups with the California Scholarship Federation. Jenny recalls her most memorable high school experience as the weekend of the 2019 Strawberry Festival where she was able to march in the parade with the school’s marching band, volunteer selling tri-tip sandwiches for the band booth and funnel cakes for the Kiwanis boot; she loved every second of it because she got to spend time with the people she considers her second family.  A resident of Garden Grove, Jenny’s parents are Thuy Hoa Quach and Ronald Lu.

Benjamin Le

Santiago High School: Benjamin Le will attend University of California, Berkeley to major in chemistry to become an Agricultural Chemist or Forensic Scientist.  Benjamin’s high school accomplishments he is most proud of include being part of the class that has graduated through a global pandemic, wrestling in high school, and receiving a Unanimous Superior Award in Orchestra during his year as cello section leader.  Benjamin enjoyed gardening in the school’s edible garden, playing Super Smash Bros at school, and performing in Spanish 3 skits.  Benjamin recalls his most memorable high school experience as the time he baked a cheesecake at home and sharing it with friends at school. A resident of Garden Grove, Benjamin’s parents are Thuy Linh Thi Dao and Duc Tuan Ngoc Le.

Kathy To

Santiago High School: Kathy To will attend UC San Diego to double major in Political Science/History.  Kathy is most proud of getting Most Valuable Athlete for Track and Field, graduating as valedictorian, being one of the top five hurdlers in the district, coaching her teammates, and getting accepted into college. Her favorite high school activities were going to Red Cross events, racing with friends in cross country, and participating in track and field.  Kathy’s most memorable high school experience is meeting the friends she has now and growing up with them throughout high school; her friends have been her biggest support group and have been there for her through figurative and literal hurdles to get her to where she is today. A resident of Garden Grove, Kathy’s parents are Yen Phan and Canh To.

Tracy Tran

Santiago High School: Tracy Tran will attend UCLA in the fall to major in Climate Science.  The academic accomplishments she is most proud of are receiving the GGEA Scholarship, the Vocal Music Medallion and becoming valedictorian. While at Santiago, Tracy enjoyed being involved in Choir, Marching Band, and Winter Drumline.  She recalls that her most memorable high school experience was running for Homecoming Queen which took her out of her comfort zone but allowed her to learn and grow as a person. A resident of Garden Grove, Tracy’s parents are Huy and Lanh Tran.

2019-2020 GGUSD Salutatorians

Ashly Nhi Nguyen

Bolsa Grande High School: Ashly Nhi Nguyen will attend University of California, Irvine: Honors Collegium to major in Aerospace Engineering. She aspires to work at NASA or SpaceX as an astronautical engineer or computer scientist. At Bolsa Grande High School, her favorite activities were attending field trips, football and basketball games, and prom and winter formal. The accomplishments she is most proud of include being accepted to Cal-Berkeley, USC, and UCI on a full ride scholarship; serving as president of four clubs: National Honor Society, Math Club, Pay It Forward, and Game Club; and being recognized as a “AP Scholar with Distinction” by College Board. Her most memorable high school experience is playing on Bolsa’s basketball team as a captain for two years. She loved the practices, games, playing alongside teammates, and competing against other schools. She will never forget scoring 20 points in a single league game, and no other experience can replicate the thrill of being in a high school sport. A resident of Santa Ana, Ashly is the daughter of Xinh Dang and Ted Nguyen.

Michelle Nguyen

Bolsa Grande High School: Michelle Nguyen will attend University of California, San Diego to major in Neurobiology/BioEngineering to become a General Surgeon.  Michelle’s greatest academic accomplishment was being selected Salutatorian of the Class of 2020.  Her favorite school activities included attending night assemblies at Bolsa Grande High School, performing at the Drumline Showcase and watching other schools’ performances, and competing in swim meets. Michelle’s most memorable high school experience was participating in a Summer PreMed Program at UCI that involved fun experiences with surgical techniques and cadavers. The program offered her exposure to the medical field and appropriate doctor-patient interactions; every activity sparked Michelle’s desire to further her path into the future of medicine. A resident of Garden Grove, Michelle’s parents are Tuan and Phuong Lien Nguyen.

Keyla Rafael

Garden Grove High School: Keyla Rafael will attend USC on a Presidential Merit Scholarship and will major in Biological Sciences.  Keyla’s most notable recognitions are being selected as a Questbridge Finalist, being named an AP Scholar with Distinction and being on the Honor Roll all four years of high school.  Keyla was actively involved in the Medic Club, the swim team, M.E.Ch.A from which her most notable memory is dancing Ballet Folklorico at the Don Wash Auditorium during International Week.  A resident of Garden Grove, Keyla’s Parents are Yolanda and Jose Luis Rafael.

Iratze Rico

Hare High School: Iratze Rico will attend Santa Ana College to study Phlebotomy. Iratze’s academic accomplishments include making Principal’s Honor Roll and being named Salutatorian. Her most memorable high school experience is being able to attend high school while her son was being cared for on campus allowing her to focus on school work.  While at Hare, Iratze enjoyed her Exploratory CTE and UC Medical Core class as well as playing volleyball.  A resident of Garden Grove, Iratze’s parents are Celia Ocampo and Luis Rico.

David Tran

La Quinta High School: David Tran will attend University of California, Los Angeles to major in Biochemistry with the aspiration of becoming a neurologist. David’s favorite high school activities were competing in the Caltech Harvey Mudd Math Competition and building a boat from scratch in his AP Physics class.  As the Math Club President, David also participated in the Orange Coast College Math Meet, California Math League, and AMC12.   David cites his being named a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist and his participation in the Future Medical Leaders Club as his most notable academic accomplishments.  David’s most memorable high school experience was when he and his friends dressed up as scouts from Attack on Titan for Halloween and got third place in the school’s costume contest.  A resident of Westminster, David’s parents are Amy Chau and Paul Tran.

Benjamin Estabrooks

Los Amigos High School: Benjamin Estabrooks will attend California State University, Long Beach to pursue a degree in Physics.  Among Benjamin’s many accomplishments, Benjamin is proud to have received Principal’s Honor Roll for all four years of high school, distinguished student award in math and social sciences, a 5.0 GPA for the second quarter of senior year and a few 9’s for essays in AP Language. Benjamin’s most memorable high school experience was working on a class project with his classmate which involved making a video of them cooking a Vietnamese dish; Benjamin learned that the best solution to a problem is oftentimes the simplest one.   A resident of Fountain Valley, Benjamin’s parents are Maurice and Jennifer Estabrooks.

Andy Nguyen

Los Amigos High School: Andy Nguyen will attend UCI to major in Computer Science to become a Software Engineer.  Andy’s academic accomplishments include being awarded UCI’s Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship and making Principal’s Honor Roll.  His favorite school activities were participating in the National Honors Society and CSF and attending school assemblies.  Andy’s most memorable high school experience was the first day of freshman year as he was nervous at having to make the jump from middle to high school; it turned out to be a new and refreshing experience in which he was able to meet new people and form strong friendships.  A resident of Santa Ana, Andy’s parents are Nga Quan and Huan Nguyen.

Kim Nguyen

Los Amigos High School: Kim Nguyen will attend UCLA in the fall to major in Psychobiology in the hopes of becoming a pediatric psychiatrist. Kim’s many accomplishments include receiving the Young Leaders Award, Vietnamese American Exemplary Character Award from the Vietnamese Catholic Association, Distinguished President for Key Club, receiving admission to USC Bovard Scholar Program, being named a Regents’ Scholar at UCI, being named a Questbridge Finalist and a Jack Kent Cooke Finalist and gaining acceptance to UC Berkeley, Rice University and Northeastern University. Kim enjoyed working for Teen Line as a peer counselor, helping raise over $5,000 for the Pediatric Trauma Program while serving as the President of the Key Club and spending a week in the mountains for UCI’s CampMed. Kim’s most memorable moment was the day she surprised her AP Biology teacher (Ms. Murphy) with a birthday celebration and poster.  A Resident of Santa Ana, Kim’s parents are Nguyên Nguyễn and Oanh Nguyễn.

Melissa Vu

Los Amigos High School: Melissa Vu will attend University of California, Riverside to major in Biochemistry with the hopes of becoming a doctor.  While at Los Amigos High School, Melissa was the President of Girls’ League, received the Science Attainment and Math Success awards and was named Salutatorian.  Melissa enjoyed her math and science classes, conducting science experiments and watching the dance team perform at assemblies.  She recalls her most memorable high school experience as the time when she and her friends dressed up as Hydroflasks winning them first place at the school’s Halloween Contest.  A resident of Garden Grove, Melissa’s parents are Ha Ta and Phat Vu.

Elizabeth Bulla

Pacifica High School: Elizabeth Bulla will attend UCLA in the fall as a Pre-Human Biology and Society major with a focus on Public Health to pursue a career in the field of epidemiology. Elizabeth will be receiving her High School Diploma in Music after showing mastery in playing the piano and dedicating 10 years to lessons, performances, tests and competitions. Elizabeth also takes pride in being selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Chemistry Olympiad Student Award from the American Chemical Society, the Pacifica High School’s Scholar of the Quarter Award and for being selected as an intern at UCI for the Furche Research group.  Elizabeth enjoyed volunteering with the Pacifica National Honor Society, being a Mariner Mentor to incoming freshmen, and taking part in lunchtime activities such as the Pacifica Clash of Classes. Elizabeth’s most memorable high school experience was participating in Pacifica’s Christmas Adopt-A-Child; she and her child rode on scooters, drove remote control cars, chased each other around and took lots of pictures with Santa!  A resident of Garden Grove, Elizabeth’s parents are Mykhanh and Donald Bulla.

Caleb Huang

Pacifica High School: Caleb Huang will attend Rice University to major in Social Policy Analysis with the goal of obtaining a career in education administration.  Caleb’s notable academic accomplishments include being a California Boy State Senator Delegate, NJROTC Area 11 Leadership Academy Graduate, being the NJROTC Orienteering Team Captain of National Qualifying Team (2019-2020), being a member of West Coast All Navy Drill Champion Drill Team, and being the Red Cross Club President.  Caleb takes pride and joy in serving as Red Cross Blood Drive Organizer at Pacifica, a Mariner Mentor, WASC student representative, and participating in NJROTC Orienteering, Drills, and Competitions. A resident of Garden Grove, Caleb’s parents are Fanling Mo and Weimin Huang.

Jessica On

Pacifica High School: Jessica On will attend Duke University with a full ride scholarship to major in Public Policy with an emphasis on Education and Child Policy.  Jessica’s many accomplishments include becoming the 2019-2020 Mariner of the Year, recipient of the 2019-2020 School Leadership Award, finalist in the QuestBridge National College Match, receiving World Language and AP Chemistry Department awards, receiving all 5’s in her AP exams, all while serving as the GGUSD Board of Education Student Representative.   Jessica enjoyed planning all the unforgettable school events as part of the ASB, facilitating monthly crafts with local senior citizens as the Senior Citizen Trustee on board of National Honor Society, and being on volleyball and track & field freshmen and sophomore year and cheering non-stop and super loud at late night games. Jessica’s most memorable high school experience was dancing with the Staffulty routine at the Clash of the Classes Assembly during which a fuse blew and the music cut off in the middle of the dance; everyone knew the routine so well that they all kept dancing as they sung the lyrics to the song, and the whole crowd joined in singing!  A resident of Garden Grove, Jessica’s parents are Jenny Tran and Hung On.

Brendon Maus

Rancho Alamitos High School: Brendon Maus will attend California State University, Fullerton to major in Computer Engineering with the aspiration of developing artificial intelligence as a Software Engineer. Brendon’s academic accomplishments are earning first place for Rancho Alamitos High School in the Orange County American Chemical Society (OCACS) regional competition, being awarded the Most Improved award for both tennis and cross country at the varsity level, and receiving the SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union scholarship along with earning numerous academic awards in the fields of science, math, and history. Brendon’s favorite activities while at Rancho Alamitos High School include participating in Quiz Bowl, Student League, Model United Nations Club, CSF Club, competing in cross country and tennis at both the JV and Varsity Levels and teambuilding exercises in classes such as Physics and History, most notably the Physics life size boat races. Brendon recalls his most memorable high school experience as the first day of high school because of the nervousness in being in a new place, but also the excitement of potentially making a difference at the school. A resident of Garden Grove, Brendon’s parents are Melissa and Don Maus.

Baylee R. Kaylor

Santiago High School: Baylee R. Kaylor will attend University of California, Los Angeles to major in Education and Social Transformation and minor in Psychology with the hope of becoming a Special Education Teacher.  Baylee is most proud of being able to overcome the hardships thrown her way throughout high school and still maintaining good grades.  Baylee’s favorite activities include participating in ASB and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), performing community service and tutoring.  Baylee’s describes her most memorable high school experience was working with ASB to organize dances, spirit weeks, and going to Leadership camp at UC Santa Barbara every summer.  A resident of Garden Grove, Baylee’s parents are Brent and Michelle Kaylor.

James Nguyen

Santiago High School: James Nguyen will attend Orange Coast College for two years before transferring to obtain a degree in Aerospace Engineering with the hopes of being hired as a flight operations aerospace engineer for Boeing.  Among James’s accomplishments are building a gaming computer with his oldest brother, catching a large striped bass with his older brother and having fun while serving the community with the Key Club, NHS, CSF, and LXG.  His favorite high school activities include talking to friends and teachers, playing tennis, and calling his friends while doing homework.  James recalls his most memorable high school experience was freshman year, when he and his friends would walk to get Boba three times a week during the entire year. A resident of Garden Grove, James’s parents are Annie Nguyen and Bon Nguyen.