By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Oakdales Junior Achievement Nominees Saluted
Alyssa Castano
Alyssa Castano


Four young difference makers are in the running for the Junior Achievement Award, to be presented Friday night at the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce 70th annual Awards Dinner. Following are brief summaries of why these young people – Alyssa Castano, Gustavo Torres Carrillo, Hope Kindred and Kate Wessling – have been tapped for the recognition.


Alyssa Castano

Alyssa has been nominated because she is an outstanding student in and out of classroom. She is determined to succeed and is a hard worker.

Alyssa has been a member of Leadership for Oakdale Jr High. She also plays on the basketball and volleyball teams. She has all pre-AP classes and excels at everything she sets her mind to. Alyssa is a hard worker in class and a role model to her peers. She was awarded student of the year in 6th grade and continues to maintain a 4.0 GPA.

GRIT has been defined as a core idea in OJUSD which means you strive for courage and resolve along with strength of character. Alyssa has GRIT and does not give up when things get difficult.


Gustavo Torres Carrillo

Gustavo is a very genuine young man. He always smiles, is very polite and happy to help out. In 7th grade Gustavo struggled with a 1.7 GPA but he made a commitment to work hard and graduate. Throughout his 8th grade year he has maintained a 3.0 GPA. He has been working very hard to improve his GPA. He attends help sessions and talks with his teachers. He works very hard and is showing great success.


Hope Kindred

Hope Kindred is a 15-year-old who attends Oakdale High School. She is a caring student that does much good for the betterment of others. She works with a non-profit program to provide homeless pets with blankets, food, feeding bowls and more. She is in the planning phase of this project but has already started gathering supplies. Hope volunteers for the annual river clean-up, gathers food support for needy families, and participates in multiple community based 4-H activities, Oakdale High School’s FFA and Leadership Class. Hope participated in the 88th Macy’s Parade, she presents to elementary schools information on Ag Day and in her spare time she shows animals for the 4-H Club and FFA at the County Fair.

Due to Hope’s commitment to making a difference in the world she has been training two guide dogs for the blind. Each day she brings one of the dogs to school with her, as well as most other places she travels. She is committed to working with these service dogs from 8 weeks of age through 15 months. She has been asked to do presentations to area schools about her guide dog trainings and how the program works.

During Hope’s non-stop days, she is not only a student but also the current Sierra 4-H President, OHS-FFA Historian (previous – Greenhand President) and the current Oakdale High School Leadership Class Secretary.

Hope has two very caring parents who have supported their daughter in her passions. She has a heart of gold. This allows her to care about her community more than the average teenager.


Kate Wessling

Oakdale Junior High student, Kate Wessling, is a tireless volunteer at Oakdale Veterinary Group. Kate helps improve the lives of animals and their owners and at the same time she is showing the community that kids can make a difference and truly care about the community in which they live.

Kate is learning so much through volunteering. She is gaining valuable information, as well as, learning team work and goal orientation. Plus, she provides soothing care and makes the lives of the animals more comfortable while putting their owners at ease.

Kate volunteers her free time, mostly weekends, at the vet hospital. She helps with paper work, calming animals and owners and any other way veterinarians need. She is a 4.0 student with the aspirations to help all animals now as a volunteer and as a vet in the future.