Alta Sierra Intermediate School (Clovis Unified)
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Parents: Randy and Leanne Fox
Sydney Fox is always crunching numbers in her head.
Whether it's doing schoolwork at Alta Sierra Intermediate, counting tempos and beats in tap and acting lessons, or times and distances while running cross country and track, Sydney is always drowned in digits.
"I really like math because it gets me thinking," she said. "It's really interesting to get my brain going and learning numbers."
The seventh-grader earned straight A's in a schedule with advanced honors algebra and science courses.
At Alta Sierra, Sydney is on the cross country and track teams, and has improved her mile time -- dropping from seven minutes to five.
But Sydney, a member of the Children's Musical Theater program at California Arts Academy, wants to pursue a career in acting and film more than anything else.
"I've always wanted to be an actress," she said. "I want to be the next Kristen Chenoweth."
The 13-year-old will star as Ariel in "The Little Mermaid" in June for Children's Musical Theaterworks.
Her performance skills also helped her and three other classmates win the Fresno County History Day sweepstakes award for grades 4-12. The group created a skit on Title IX, the act that gave women equal opportunity. Sydney played women's tennis great Billie Jean King.
"It was so cool to step into (King's) shoes and realize what she had to go through," she said.
While the workload with school, sports and acting may seem like a lot, Sydney wouldn't want it any other way: "All the stuff I do is fun for me, so I can barely tell I'm busy."
Teacher and cross country and track coach Dustin Beauchamp said Sydney's defining characteristic is that "everything is important to her. Not just the schoolwork but the people around her. She puts 100% effort in whatever's going on at the moment."
Honorable mentionJeanine Kaileh, 13, Kerman
School: Kerman Middle School (Kerman Unified)
Parents: Husam and Najwa Kaileh
Achievements: Jeanine, who has a 4.67 grade-point average and is on the Principal's List, won the National Mathematics Award from the U.S. Achievement Academy and was crowned school spelling bee champion this year. She also excels in sports, playing basketball and tennis at school. Jeanine completed 57 hours of community service with the California Junior Scholarship Foundation. She's also been a member of the Girl Scouts of America for four years. A piano player and opera singer, Jeanine embraces her culture in Greek folk dancing and singing. "Jeanine is an amazing student with a positive attitude and great work ethic," said teacher Milagros Delgado.
Nicolo Beach, 13, Fresno
School: Kastner Intermediate School (Clovis Unified)
Parents: Alec and Sinead Beach
Achievements: Nicole volunteers at a senior living facility when she's not in class at Kastner Intermediate, where she has a 4.0 grade-point average. She also plays the piano and is a Girl Scout. The seventh-grader was recently named to the Principal's Honor Roll and received the Character Counts award. On campus, Nicole is active in drama, band, tennis, soccer, science fair and Destination Imagination, where she reached the Global Finals last year. "Nicole is a model student," said her teacher Joe Lugo. "She's attentive, polite, humble and yet very intelligent."
Rhiannon Corgan, 12, Clovis
School: Rayburn Intermediate (Clovis Unified)
Parents: Chandra and Paul Blasquez
Achievements: Rhiannon starts her school days at 6:30 a.m. with zero period physical education so she has time for sports and music lessons after school. The 4.0-GPA student at Rayburn Intermediate is on the Principal's Honor Roll and part of the G.A.T.E. program. In the fall, Rhiannon swims and plays water polo for her school while balancing a schedule that includes band and choir practice and private piano lessons. She also volunteers doing secretarial tasks for the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls/Heart of the Valley Assembly and raises money for community organizations. Said Melissa Manion, Rhiannon's adult leader for the Heart of the Valley assembly, "She always performs her work flawlessly and she can always be counted on."