Academic All-Stars

May 30, 2014

Fifth grade, Nevyn Albert Santillan, Fremont Elementary-Fowler

Nevyn Santillan's piano teacher is trying to teach him to read music, but Nevyn already composes masterpieces on his own. MacNeil described Nevyn as an overall team player when it comes to the classroom, too.

Nevyn Santillan's piano teacher is trying to teach him to read music, but Nevyn already composes masterpieces on his own.

He began playing piano by ear, mother Karen Santillan said. Now he composes his own recital music and plays it back on his iPad.

Though he has received superior ratings at the Fresno State Piano Celebration every year he has participated, he doesn't always play for ratings. He also plays for the church choir and at a Reedley convalescent home.

RELATED: Full list of Academic All-Star nominees; download a certificate

Nevyn is also a top student and star athlete.

He plays baseball year-round for the Central Valley Heat of Kerman and also is part of the Cal Ripken all-star team. He has also earned many medals for swimming and qualifies for the Valley finals each year, his teacher, Melissa MacNeil, said.

MacNeil described Nevyn as an overall team player when it comes to the classroom, too.

In his fifth-grade class at Fremont Elementary, Nevyn makes insightful comments during class discussions and always tries to guide and help the other students, MacNeil said.

Fremont principal Stephanie Verners calls Nevyn "a breath of fresh air."

"You can't help but to gravitate toward someone like that," Verners said.

When he grows up, Nevyn aspires to play for the Oakland Athletics. He is also thinking about running for president.

His mother said Nevyn takes everything seriously. "He knows if he wants to succeed he has to push hard and have goals."

Notable

Age: 11

School: John C. Fremont Elementary

Home: Selma

Parent: Karen Santillan

HONORABLE MENTION

Juliana Cedillo, 11, Fresno

School: West Fresno Elementary, Fresno

Parents: Juliana Gutierrez and Richard Cedillo

Achievements: Juliana always goes the extra mile to exceed expectations and goals, her teacher Jessica Lambert explained. She serves as class representative on Student Body Council and maintains a 4.0 GPA. She assists with literacy programs and family nights at school.

Ki Riley, 10, Fresno

School: Dailey Charter Elementary, Fresno

Parents: Dana and Larry Riley

Achievements: Ki's teacher, Tarren Waer, describes him as a balanced student, with many achievements inside and outside of the classroom. He maintains a 4.0 GPA, reads many books and has written essays that make it to the "Hall of Fame" writing wall, Waer said. Outside of school, Ki takes drum lessons, participates in judo and is a member of the Community Cares group through the United Japanese Christian Church. "He is principled, reflective, shows commitment, is knowledgeable, inquisitive and is truly internationally minded," Waer said. "He inspires other to think globally."

Karla Cruz, 10, Del Rey

School: Del Rey Elementary, Sanger Unified

Parents: Ramona and Blas Cruz

Achievements: Not only does Karla have a 4.0 GPA, she is also in the Peace Club, is a peer mediator and helped in the a community clean-up day, says her teacher Ryan Osier. Karla also received the Tom Flores award for being an outstanding student.

2014 Academic All-Stars

First grade, Gianna Manfredo, Quail Lake Environmental Charter

Second grade, Juliette Ann Vazquez, Fort Washington Elementary

Third grade, Kyle Derksen, Maple Creek Elementary

Fourth grade, Lanie Murrieta, Fremont Elementary-Fowler

Fifth grade, Nevyn Albert Santillan, Fremont Elementary-Fowler

Sixth grade, Victoria Sanchez, Eric White Elementary

Seventh grade, Trevor Amarante, John Sutter Middle

Eighth grade, Neil Maitra, Edison Computech Middle

Ninth grade, Emma Marie Boone, Clovis West High

10th grade, Onkar Sandhu, Clovis North High

11th grade, Madison Meredith, Monache High

12th grade, Henry Lee, Clovis West High

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