BY EMILY DeRUY
Canyon Crest Academy senior Judy Li graduated June 18, but she'll leave an indelible mark on the school when she goes. She's been in the Ecology Club since her freshman year, and has served as president for the past two. The Eco Club, as it's known by students, develops environmental services for the campus.
"We started the recycling program for the school," said Judy. "We also have awareness campaigns, like Earth Day, and projects promoting water conservation. We started a native plant garden that we hope will grow."
Judy has trouble naming the club's greatest accomplishment, but says overall, she's proud of providing a foundation for the club to continue to flourish.
"I'm confident that when I graduate, it will be even better than when I got here. We've worked on developing club infrastructure, and training the students that will take over next year. I know they're going to do great things."
She's careful to point out, however, that Canyon Crest has allowed her to be involved in more than just Eco Club. She's also in Key Club and the Youth Care Club. She tried out Science Olympiad and Math Team, and did the Science Fair this year.
"Canyon Crest has really helped me find what I can personally excel at, because it doesn't have such a cutthroat environment. There are so many opportunities that allowed me to explore different areas without feeling like I should be studying all day."
Judy has spent her fair share of time studying, though. She will join the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley in the fall, a school she picked specifically for its environmental activism.
"I'm going to end up standing on the podium and freaking out because I don't feel like I should be graduating. It's been a long four years and I'm ready to move to college, but at the same time, it's sad. I have good memories."
Canyon Crest Academy graduating senior Matthew Voss is passionate about Science Olympiad, a nationally organized competition for students in biology, earth science, chemistry, physics and technology. Serving as president of the school's team, Voss has led his teammates to victory against powerhouse Torrey Pines High School at regionals, and logged two consecutive third place finishes at nationals.
A parent volunteer in middle school sparked his interest in Science Olympiad.
"I had a great mentor, Vickie Driver," he said. "She taught powders, where we were given powders and learned to test solutions."
Voss now helps coach Science Olympiad at his former middle school.
Voss has focused on building up Canyon Crest's Science Olympiad team. He's helped take the team from 30 students to 67. Now, it's a draw for many students considering the school.
"We try to make it fun, so kids stay interested" he said.
He is proud of the fact that although ranking is based on a school's top team, Canyon Crest has no elite team, and holds no tryouts. "We had 64 students place at regionals," he said. "All kids should do well."
While Voss devotes significant time and energy to Science Olympiad, he also captains the track team, and serves as vice president of the math team. He holds numerous track records and has been named his team's MVP for scoring the most points. That title didn't come easily. After a bout with pneumonia that left him with lung scarring, Voss had trouble breathing. Instead of scaling back, he joined the cross-country team to increase his endurance.
In the fall, Voss will attend the California Institute of Technology, where he plans to study chemistry. Caltech runs the state Science Olympiad, and he hopes to either help write the test or continue assisting his former middle school's team. Either way, he plans to make Science Olympiad a priority in the future.
"I will miss my friends," he said. "But I'm excited to move on to college."