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Santana High School held their graduation ceremony last night at Nogales High School Stadium. Congratulations to the 81 students from the Class of 2022!  CLICK HERE to view event photos.


Graduations Live Streamed Tonight! 


Rowland Unified is proud of our Class of 2022 and celebrates their significant achievements. 

#WeAreRUSD – #Classof2022Proud!

Noble Faith Recinos To Become A Trojan

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Nogales High School Senior Faith Recinos headed to USC.

Nogales Noble Faith Recinos is bubbling with excitement. “It’s slowly starting to sink in that I am going to USC. I actually had to wait to open my acceptance email since my Mom was traveling out of state. We all sat around the dinner table when she returned and I was so nervous I made my Dad read the email! He said it was cool - I got in!”


Faith is a scholar athlete who has excelled in leadership. She was recently selected as one of the Montview League 5 Scholar Athletes for her performance on the courts as well as in the classroom. In badminton and tennis, she made it to the team and individual CIF championships. At school, Faith is both the President of Link Crew and the President of the California Scholarship Federation. She is also a member of the Key Club and National Honor Society. Faith was also selected as a Finalist for the coveted Edison STEM Scholarship and Algorithmic Justice Scholarship.


Her love of STEM and science began in middle school, where she remembers fondly summer science camps filled with science projects learning about volcanoes, earthquakes and inventions.


“I am passionate about engineering and STEM. I love creating things, generating ideas and letting my imagination flow. I am super excited about being accepted into the Computer Science and Games program at USC that focuses on engineering and cinema where I will learn about coding and developing models."


She says it is a family affair. "Gaming is a really big part of my life. My parents are avid gamers too! As a family, we have an XBOX in the living room. We play GarageBand, Street Fighter and I love the Lego Star Wars Games!"


Not only is her family a gaming family, but the colors maroon and gold run deep, as both of her parents are currently attending USC for their Masters. “They really encouraged me to go for it and apply. I also learned so much about the college admission process from Mr. Ricardo. I can’t thank all of them enough for pushing and helping me succeed.”

Cornell is Calling for Bohan Frank Yang


Rowland High School Senior Bohan Frank Yang is excited to be on his way to the prestigious Ivy League College, Cornell University, to study Computer Science and Business.


While many seniors were anxiously awaiting news of college acceptances this spring, Rowland Raider Bohan Frank Yang was a bit more relaxed. He said with a smile, “I found out through the early decision process that I was accepted to Cornell University in December. It’s a great school and has an excellent engineering program. I plan to major in Computer Science and minor in Business.”


Besides being an AP Scholar Student with Distinction, Bohan has received The President’s Volunteer Service Award - Gold in 2020, Top 10 Juniors Awards in 2021, and a CTE General Financial Literacy Certificate in 2019. Bohan actively participates in Clubs, such as the Glue Club, FBLA and is President of the Programming Club and Vice President of the Chess Club.

He also had an internship where he was a research assistant applying EEG data for early detection and classification of mild Traumatic Brain Injury.


It was his work in the Programming Club and a summer program called AI that had an impact on him. “I learned about machine learning and various AI models. It really inspired me to continue in computer programming. I see how AI can make a difference in the world.”


Outside of school, Bohan is an active volunteer in his community, serving as the Regional Representative since 2020 of a student founded organization, Cornerstoneedu, which promotes Chinese culture. He also volunteers at the Hsi Lai Temple to help during Buddhist ceremonies and serving food in the temple cafeteria. You can also find him at the Discovery Cube to run science exhibitions in the center.


“I am excited about getting out of California and going far away. Cornell is located in Ithica, in rural New York. I have never gone that far away and my family looks forward to visiting me.”


Santana ASB Students

Lead With Care

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Santana ASB Students left to right: Abraham Calleros, ASB Junior Representative, 

Isabella Perez, ASB Senior Representative and Maelena Enriquez, ASB Senior Representative and Santana’s Class of 2022 Salutatorian.

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The room is filled with a buzz as groups of students are focused on their creative craft. One group is painting posters for Cinco De Mayo. Others are sorting materials that have been donated for the school-wide recycling program and also organizing donations for the school’s food bank. Then there is the table where students are drawing incredibly detailed mini-superhero faces on the shells of hard boiled eggs for a science challenge.


This year’s Santana High School ASB leadership students have really transformed the campus into a hub of activities for the school. “We have a really big class this year and I am so proud of the students and the work they are doing,” said Santana English and ASB Teacher Briana Fuentes. “Our amazing students have so many ideas, are truly involved and really care about their community.”


One project that became school-wide started with watching a video in Fuentes’ English class. ASB students were driven to action to help a small village in Mexico.


“We learned that in the community of Chiapas, Mexico, the people are struggling because Coca-Cola has taken over their water supply. The water that was originally given to the people is now used by the company. Obesity rates are also skyrocketing. I felt really sad. Here in the U.S., we are blessed. We don’t think about the water we waste every day showering, washing our dishes. It made me think what ASB could do to help. We started a school recycling program where every penny collected is donated to the cause,” said ASB Junior Representative, Abraham Calleros.


“This story really hit close to home,” said ASB Senior Representative Maelena Enriquez. “Many of our students have family in poor areas of Mexico and we could really relate to it. We thought we have the power and ability to do something so we did. It’s been a great experience taking action and doing things not only for the students of Santana, but for communities we care about.”

Questbridge Scholar Melody Dao

Rowland High School Senior Melody Dao received a full ride scholarship to Rice University for being selected as a Questbridge Scholar.


Rowland Raider Melody Dao was on a quest… she was not only committed to gaining entrance into college, but the goal was to receive financial aid so it would not be a burden on her family. She discovered the Questbridge Scholar Match Program in her Sophomore year, and if you get selected, you are matched with a prestigious college and receive a full-ride scholarship.


“I feel so honored and grateful to be chosen as a Questbridge Scholar and matched with Rice University,” said Dao. “I really am passionate about business and Rice has a super new program that is taught by MBA professors and there are so many opportunities. Plus, the University is located in one of the most exciting, diverse cities -- Houston, Texas. It was not only the academics that drew me to the University, but the great people I met. I could really envision myself there.”


Melody is an AP Scholar with Distinction with a 4.39 GPA, maintains Principal’s Honor Roll status, and ranks first in her class. She is a well-rounded athlete who has twice received the Athletic Award for Junior Varsity and Varsity Girls Tennis and was the 2019 Valle Vista League Champion and CIF Southern Section Finalist. Melody is in leadership roles in a long list of extracurricular activities such as the Interact Club, Do Something Club, and also competed with FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), winning multiple awards, including First Place in Broadcast Journalism for the Southern Section FBLA Competition (2020 & 2021).


“During the pandemic, I was so bored so I created my podcast Study Break, to keep myself busy. It was an interview show where I talked to a new teen guest every week. It really opened up opportunities for me that I never knew was possible without trying. Study Break frequently appears as a Top 100 Society and Culture podcast on Apple Podcasts in various countries. I was even interviewed in VoyageLA, a popular Los Angeles magazine company that features local inspiring stories. It feels so amazing to have this platform where I can spread awareness regarding mental health and social movements. I feel like I am making an impact when my podcast followers message me on Instagram saying how I motivated them to explore new interests and helped them feel less alone through their struggles.”


Melody’s ultimate career goal is to become a social entrepreneur. “I want to use business to create a bigger positive social impact on the world. Anything from non-profits or creating a business that has philanthropy to it is what I really am interested in. I want to be able to give back to my community and help people.”

Arturo Caldera Headed for Claremont McKenna

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Nogales High School Senior Arturo Caldera bound for Claremont McKenna College.

Nogales High School Senior Arturo Caldera can’t stop smiling. Yes, it’s his sunny personality, but also because he is headed this fall to Claremont McKenna College to pursue a degree in history.


“I remember getting the email to check the portal but it didn’t say yes or no. As soon as I was signing in, confetti filled the screen. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I waited two days before telling my parents because I wanted to find out all the details of what was covered. When I found out that I received a full $82,000 scholarship, I was in shock. My parents and our entire family are so excited!”


Arturo was recognized by the CollegeBoard with the highest AP honor, AP Scholar with Distinction, and he has taken a full AP course load over the last four years at Nogales High School. He was also recently recognized as a Gates Millennium Scholarship Finalist. He has shown a passion for visual arts and tennis. He received the Walnut Valley Women’s Club Scholarship and the ACSA Robert Gray scholarship funded by former Nogales High School Assistant Principal, Dr. Mark Anderson. He is involved in Key Club, Varsity Tennis Captain and President of the National Hispanic Honor Society.


“Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a teacher. I used to sit down my family members and pretend I was teaching them a lesson! It wasn’t until the pandemic that I really started to focus on how I can make an impact and do something more by teaching. What I love about Claremont McKenna is it is a liberal arts college that appreciates the things I am passionate about, the fine arts, painting, drama and also the social justice movement. I can make a difference for the future. I will have so many choices to explore.”


When asked who has been his inspiration, he beams. “I can’t imagine the college process without Mr. Ricardo Ramirez. Before taking my summer college essay writing class with him, I really had no knowledge of what it took to get into college or even which colleges. I am so glad he told me about Claremont McKenna and provided opportunities for me to learn more by taking virtual tours, talking with alumni. It was really cool to experience those things and he inspired me to apply.”

June 2, 2022 Graduation Issue RUSD News Editor

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