The newspaper business will be minus one well spoken, mature-beyond-her-years teen as Oakdale High School senior Rachelle Pabalan turns her sights elsewhere heading into her collegiate future.
Pabalan was recently named the Leo Volz Scholarship recipient for the 2015 graduating class at OHS. She plans to attend Stanford University in the fall.
She pointed to journalism as her dream career in her early days as a Cloverland Elementary School Cougar, that choice later altered slightly by educational experiences. She intends to major in Symbolic Systems at Stanford, a major she chose based on her interest in the educational system, teaching and most specifically, policy making.
The OHS senior and outgoing Oakdale Joint Unified School Board Student Representative touted that position as one of many experiences that altered her career interest.
“I think being on the school board and just having all these different places on my campus throughout the years, as president of clubs, involved in sports, on our academic competition teams even which are a different thing from our extra curriculars,” she said. “I just began to see all the ways that our school is run and the different components that go into creating our educational space for these students that’s meant to be safe and is meant to be engaging. I really just wanted to be a part of that.”
Pabalan was accepted to UC Davis, UCLA, UC Berkeley, University of Pacific, Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania and wait listed at Harvard University. She admits to feeling as if she were intended to be a Bruin for quite some time, yet stated her final visit to the Stanford campus altered this feeling and will keep her closer to Oakdale even while she is off at college.
Pabalan noted that in addition to the abundance of opportunity that surrounds the campus, it also offered her a feeling of ‘home’ and camaraderie with the student body.
Possessing a somewhat humble demeanor, being her own best advocate did not come naturally for Pabalan.
The scholarship recipient acknowledged that wisdom and guidance from Oakdale educators played a critical piece in who she came to be as a student. Words which were shared with her early on by retired teacher Guy Lilly and later echoed by OHS instructor Pete Simoncini.
“The gist of it was… Don’t squander the opportunity’s that come your way,” she recalled. “Don’t ever feel like you don’t deserve the opportunities that come your way. For better or worse, that’s what you’re dealt and you have to learn to make the most of it.”
Advice which helped see her through successful participation with the OHS tennis team for three years, School Board Representative, ASB, Model United Nations, Gay Straight Alliance, Interact, S Club, CSF and Aca Dec. Pabalan completed her senior year with a 4.27 grade point average and earned a total of over $110,000 in scholarship money.
The Leo Volz Scholarship award was established to present financial opportunity to a student or students who have displayed above average (GPA of 3.8 or higher) academic achievement as well as financial need. Volz was an Oakdale farmer who in his will asked OJUSD to set up a scholarship, which was endowed with $2 million.
A total of 47 students applied, 18 of which were chosen to compete in the application process. A committee of eight reviewed and evaluated the applicants through an anonymous process. Students are assigned identification numbers for the application process.
In addition to the Leo Volz Scholarship, Pabalan along with 141 fellow OHS seniors were honored with presentation of multiple scholarships during the 47th Annual Senior Scholarship Night on Tuesday, May 5. A total of $55,575 was awarded to students for their academic achievements, sports accomplishments, community club participation and college major educational endeavors. The following is the list of the first half of recipients with last names starting with A through L. The remaining (students with last names starting with M-Z) will be featured in the May 20 edition of The Leader.
Maria Aguilar-Campos: J.O. Gossett Memorial.
Andrea Alvarez: Emmalene “Em” Rippe Memorial.
Esmeralda Anzaldo: Alumni & Community.
Nicholas Aprile: Oakdale Teachers Association; Phyllis Bordona Honorary Service Award.
Martin Arellano: Anthony Ponzio Memorial/Oakdale Community Band; Music Boosters; Robert & Thomas Douglas and Helen & Larry Brimm Memorial; Music Boosters/David Schwartz Memorial.
Annette Arias: Dr. Thomas A. Dooley, Council #5303; Knights Ferry Garden Club; Knights Ferry Parent-Teacher Club; Oakdale High School HYLC.
Ashley Arnett: Alumni & Community Scholarship.
Karina Ayala: Academic Boosters Kim Whitemyer Honorary Renaissance Most Inspirational; Arcos Family; Oakdale High School HYLC; Oakdale Realtors.
Christian Backman: Alumni & Community Scholarship.
Jesus Baez: Alumni & Community.
Taylor Barnes: Alumni & Community.
Brandon Basore: Robert J. Cardoza Memorial.
Shane Baxter: OHS General Continuing Education.
Melanie Benge: Oak Youth Softball Association – Oakdale High School Mustang Softball.
Sydne Brainard: Dr. Thomas A. Dooley, Council #5303; Emmalene “Em” Rippe Memorial.
Wade Branch: Mark Dickens Hustle for the Future Scholarship.
Preston Brunk: Mark Dickens Hustle for the Future Scholarship; Rick Jones Perseverance Award.
Kaitlin Burke: Knights Ferry Parent-Teacher Club; Native Daughters of the Golden West/Oakdale Parlor; OHS Volleyball Dedication.
Lizette Camacho: Alumni & Community.
Koral Captain: Oakdale Realtors; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post #2922 and Ladies Auxiliary.
Garrett Carlucci: Alumni & Community.
Jonathan Carmelich: Oakdale Realtors.
Ashley Caron: Oakdale Chamber of Commerce; Oakdale Garden Club; Oakdale High School CSF; Phyllis Bordona Honorary Service.
Andrea Carillo: Alumni & Community.
Breanna Chapin: Alumni & Community.
Caleb Clavin: Music Boosters.
Danielle Conway: Alumni & Community.
Samantha Cosmero: Alumni & Community.
Sarah Courtney: OHS General Continuing Education.
Dalton Crawford: Oakdale Teachers Association.
Emilie Crossman: Oakdale AAUW; OHS Valedictorian and Salutatorian Recognition.
Miranda Crowley: Jenessa Pitassi Memorial; Violet Drew Memorial.
Cindy Cuaraque: Bright Family Foundation, Modesto Junior College; Elmo and Alice Garcia Senior; Oakdale Realtors.
Iris Guadalupe Gutierrez-Dela Torre: Alumni & Community.
Maria Yasmin Gutierres Dela Torre: Alumni & Community.
Joy Deos: Alumni & Community.
Destiny Derby: James Pitassi Memorial.
Nicole Descrochers: OHS Volleyball Dedication.
Dylanie Donahue: Stanley Colombo Memorial.
Logan Eaton: G.W. Wingo Memorial; Joe Schuler Wrestling Fund.
Marissa Eichman: Alumni & Community.
Lillian Fabry: Alumni & Community.
Caden Farquer: Cowboy Museum Ag.; Dr. Pezoldt; Jamie Charles Memorial; Kim Stogdell Memorial; Oakdale Chamber of Commerce; Oakdale Cheese Dairy & Food Science; Oakdale Garden Club; Oakdale Irrigation District Agriculture; Academic Booster Essays (In Memory of Kim).
Quinn Gagos: Alumni & Community.
Eva Galindo: Oakdale Realtors; Soroptimist International of Oakdale.
Raymond Glow: Kaye Ryan Memorial Fund.
McKaela Golding: Alumni & Community.
Jessica Gonzalez: Alumni & Community.
Jessica Gonzalez-Ibarra: Family Support Network “Helping Hands” Award.
Aaron Green: Alumni & Community.
Mariah Grimes: Coach Hogwood Memorial; Oakdale Realtors.
Jennifer Guzman: Arcos Family; Exemplary Christian Life; Oakdale High School Sports Booster Club; OHS Volleyball Dedication; OHS/ Valedictorian and Salutatorian Recognition