Academic All-Stars

Fifth grade: Garrett Chan, Sun Empire Elementary School

Garrett Chan is considered to be as big-hearted as he is tech-savvy.
Garrett Chan is considered to be as big-hearted as he is tech-savvy.

Everyone at school knows who fifth-grader Garrett Chan is, his teacher Oneida Gonzalez said. His mother said it’s easy to get along with him because he equally likes to get to know others.

The big-hearted, tech-savvy 11-year-old is considered to be well-rounded in many things he does, like playing the piano and saxophone and using his digital skills to access online tools. He even likes tennis and baseball.

Garrett typically gets ahead and learns things before his classmates. That adds a unique concern for his mom.

“I am afraid he will get bored at school,” Mindy Chan said, laughing. “It happens.”

Garrett recently learned to speak Chinese before the family went on a trip to China. In the fourth grade, Garrett learned of the Great Wall of China and was eager to see it in person.

Gonzalez believes Garrett is like “the next Bill Gates.” But for now, she noticed he has one specific goal in mind – to build a following of YouTube subscribers. His mom said he loves to watch other so-called YouTubers.

Garrett personally likes to watch simulations of the video game “Minecraft,” where users build constructions out of textured cubes.

But it’s more than just fun online. During his online exploration, Garrett also picks up on more educational things – like world statistics and global warming – which eventually get taught in class, his teacher said.

Although Gonzalez has a special experience as Garrett’s fifth-grade teacher because she was also his first grade teacher, she said, “I’ve never had a student like him before.”


Age: 11

School: Sun Empire, Kerman

Home: Kerman

Parents: Mindy and Robert Chan

Achievements: 4.0 GPA and winner of the Principal’s Award. Garrett enjoys trap-shooting and photography. He takes honors classes in school and has been named student of the month.

Honorable mention


School: John C. Fremont, Fowler

Parents: Mitchell and Tiffany Jimenez

Achievements: Kathy Yager said her student, Ianthe, works tirelessly to maintain a 4.0 GPA in school. Ianthe is described as “natural scientist” because she is inquisitive. Each year of elementary school, Ianthe has received the character of the month award for respect.


School: Thomas Law Reed, Reedley

Parents: Jesse and Cathy Hinojosa

Achievements: Along with winning the Terrific Kids award each year in elementary school, Raven has also earned the Reader of the Month award each year. Raven helps out in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms. At home, Raven helps her mom with her three younger sisters. She is described as a humble student, wishing the best for others.