For the next several weeks

the RUSD News will be spotlighing some of our amazing seniors as graduation for the Class of 2023

marches closer.

RUSD Seniors Headed for the Ivy Leagues

Nogales High School Noble and Ivy Bound Senior, Ricardo Cuautle

RUSD is proud of several of our seniors who have been accepted to Ivy League Universities. We are spotlighting this week Ricardo Cuautle from Nogales High School and Dylan Kang from Rowland High School, both who will be walking the halls of the infamous Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.


When first meeting Ricardo Cuautle, you can see the curiosity and determination in his eyes. His love for math began at a young age but it was his first business course at Nogales High School that began his interest in the field of finance. Ricardo was selected to participate in the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership program and the prestigious Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Youth Leadership Institute (HSF) at USC.

“HSF really helped me find myself and my purpose to help others. I had so many ideas! I really wanted to inspire more students to take advantage of the AP programs on campus and increase access to college information.” This led him to found the AP Scholars Club on campus and co-found a College Connect Club that is tied with the District’s College Connect program.


“I remember when I met Mrs. Kim and Mr. Ricardo with College Connect and they first asked me what my dream school was. USC and UCLA were the only two I really knew of.” He also was selected as a Questbridge College Prep Scholar. “Questbridge was another resource for me to connect with and learn about top universities and institutions from across the country.”


During the summer before his senior year, he was admitted to Dartmouth Bound, an all-expenses paid fly-in program at Dartmouth. It was this program and support from his HSF mentor that truly pushed him out of his comfort zone, to meet new people and for him to begin to visualize that attending an ivy league university was possible. “My mentor would discuss the large network of friends that he could rely on for help at college and that is what I wanted in a school, resources and opportunities that would be available to me.”


Ricardo is also a scholar athlete, having participated in both cross country and track and is co-captains of both. He earned the Montview League Scholar Athlete award, along with other honors including the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awards (bronze recipient) and the Equitable Excellence Scholarship, where he will receive $5,000 a year for the next four years toward educational expenses.


His first acceptances came in from Notre Dame and Dartmouth. “It was an amazing experience to travel there and walk on these huge campuses. It was also nice to experience something new... climate! It was constantly changing, cold, raining and it even hailed with thunderstorms!” Although he enjoyed the trip, he could not see himself as a student on either of these campuses.


When he was accepted and received a full scholarship to the ultra-selective Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, he felt that this would be the place where he could truly make an impact.


“Financial problems were always a barrier for me and that’s why I want to be more financially informed so these problems don’t happen to me. But then I realized it is not just for me, but for my community overall. My drive is to help others. I see everyone struggling and I feel like this opportunity to go to the Wharton School of Business would be a waste if I didn’t take it. It is really important for me to give back to my community. I am really looking forward to the connections I can make, that is why I chose UPenn.”

"There is nothing generic about Ricardo; authentic and unapologetic. He is an anomaly full of surprises who should never be underestimated! He is limitless," said RUSD College Advisor, College Access Liaison and Co-Founder of RUSD's College Connect program.


Advice to Nogales Nobles: “Take risks and don’t fear failure. As one door closes, another one really does open. At first I didn’t want to go to college, I feared it. But now I am really open to it – I still fear it – but you have to endure it and push through it!”

Rowland High School Raider and Ivy Bound Senior,Dylan Kang

Dylan Kang embodies the spirit of work hard, play hard – but add in with a huge heart. This Rowland Raider is a National Merit Commended Student and very active on the campus through several clubs and activities as the President of the CSF, Korean, and UNICEF clubs. Dylan is also an excellent athlete and has been part of the water polo and badminton teams since his freshman year and is captain of the water polo team.

He completed Finance/Investment Management and Investment in Technology at Columbia’s Academic Year Immersion program. He also attended Harvard’s summer school, where Dylan became a member of their multicultural club.

Dylan’s enthusiasm is contagious as he gushed with excitement about how it felt when he received the news that he was accepted to his dream school, The Wharton Business School at UPenn.

“I knew I wanted to pursue a career in finance, specifically investment banking and Wharton is top rated in this field. It also seemed like it would be a fit for me since it is known as a social Ivy League. I am the type of person to go out and have fun, but then really focus. I applied for an early decision but I really didn’t think it would happen. I was avoiding opening the email because I was super nervous. Eventually I had my mom and sister in the room, we turned on the computer and uploaded my portal. When I opened the email, it was my sister who noticed the confetti raining down first – and I will never forget her yelling, ‘OH MY GOSH DYLAN!’ I knew I got in because of my sister! My mom started jumping up and down. It was a crazy eventful night and then we all went out to celebrate.”

During quarantine, Dylan and his friends had time on their hands and really wanted to get outside and make a difference in their community. He co-founded a volunteering organization called Go Choose Change. “We went to L.A./Pasadena and assisted with food banks, beach clean ups, charity hikes, and offered our volunteers to other nonprofits such as Love My Neighbor, which fights homelessness in downtown L.A. It was so much fun and we tried to bring in as many people as possible, sometimes 20 to 25 volunteers.”

His inspiration: “There are great faculty here and I have been inspired by many teachers such as my water polo coach, Coach Mike, Mr. Ludlam, Mr. Wong, and Mrs. Vasey, but my dad is someone I have always been inspired by and have looked up to. He is one of the reasons I want to go into the finance industry. He is in the medical field, but he discussed it with me and when I was young researched opportunities, shared with me personal contacts in the field and got me into classes that furthered my interest.”

Dylan had the opportunity to visit Wharton by chance when he traveled recently to New York. “What is amazing and cool about Philly where UPenn is located is that transportation is so convenient. I actually had students from Diamond Bar reach out to me when they found out that I got in and offered to give me a tour. I even got to sit in a class. It was by far the most beautiful campus I had ever been to. I was really stunned and amazed and could really envision myself there the next four years.”

"One year Dylan asked me if he could change one of his teachers because this teacher has a reputation for being extremely rigorous. I told Dylan he could not change his teacher. At the end of the semester, Dylan said to me, 'I have never been more relieved for getting the teacher that many students had consistently warned me about. This teacher has completely changed my passion and outlook on this subject and the entire process for learning...Despite the many challenges I faced througout the semester, it has truly been an unforgettable experience with no regrets,'" shared Steve Elder, Rowland High School Counselor.

Advice to Rowland Raiders: GET INVOLVED! There are so many clubs and activities on campus. make the most of it during your time.”


VIDEO of Rowland Unified School District Administrator of the Year,

Dr. June Sakaue., Principal at Blandford Elementary

Principal Dr. June Sakaue is an exceptional instructional leader who leads with the needs of students, staff and community at the forefront of her work.

Last month Dr. Sakaue was called as a ruse to an "off-site emergency meeting," and when she returned was suprised with a school-wide assembly, where the RUSD Board of Education presented her with the award as RUSD's Administrator of the Year.

She leads her school with incredible integrity, kindness, and a big heart for students, families, and staff. She advocates for all students, ensuring that have a voice and an opportunity to reach their highest potential. Rain or shine, Dr. Sakaue is out in front of the school, welcoming students as they start their day and sending them off in the afternoon with good wishes.

Congratulations once again!

Pictured left with Superintendent Dr. Julie Mitchell.

Student Winners of Stop4Aiden

Pedestrian Safety Video

STOP4Aidan Pedestrian Safety Winning Video From Rowland High School

The Tam Family with student winners of this year's Stop4Aidan

pedestrian video contest who were recognized at the May 11 RUSD Board Meeting.

Stop4Aidan is a non profit organization that brings attention to and advocates for pedestrian safety. Aidan Tam was a Blandford Elementary student - intelligent and full of energy. In May of 2014, Aidan was tragically hit by a driver who did not have the patience to wait for pedestrians to cross in the crosswalk. Today, Aidan would be a junior at Rowland High School, who no doubt would be highly involved and engaged with his learning and social activities.

To honor the memory of this amazing young child, the Tam family established the Stop4Aidan organization. The Tam family has been active in bringing pedestrian awareness to the greater Southern California community. This year Stop4 Aidan initiated a video contest for high school students to bring awareness to pedestrian safety.

The Tam family is proud to acknowledge the winners for the 2022-2023 school year.

Rowland High School

Andre Balderamos

Sarah Chun

Karmela Relativo

Nogales High School

Beatriz Mandujano

Kassandra Olivares

Cynthia Ayala

Brenda Ornelas

In the News...

SPECTRUM NEWS 1 VIDEO LINK: Alvarado Intermediate's Matador Scholar students were given a platform to share their real life stories. Spectrum 1 News Reporter Sarina Sandoval came to the campus to speak with these students and Alvarado BEST Support Assistant Gina Garcia on the transformative work that is taking place to support students.

RUSD is incredibly proud of the work and impact our BEST TOSA's and BEST Support Assistants are having with encouraging RUSD students to embrace their feelings and providing a safe space on each school campus that supports our students' social emotional needs.

Reminder: Rowland Adult Open House Tomorrow Morning at Gemini Campus!

May 18, 2023 Issue RUSD News Editor [email protected]

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