Academic All-Stars

11th grade: Ryan Golden, San Joaquin Memorial

Ryan Golden maintains a 4.29 GPA taking multiple advanced placement classes and has served as a student ambassador.
Ryan Golden maintains a 4.29 GPA taking multiple advanced placement classes and has served as a student ambassador.

Although Ryan Golden has yet to pick a college – he’s only just started touring campuses – his mother is pretty certain he will major in chemistry.

“He’s got such potential,” Susan Golden said. “His interest in chemistry and math has really grown, and his focus on subjects of interest is what drives him to enjoy it more.”

The junior is a powerhouse at San Joaquin Memorial High School, maintaining a 4.29 GPA, and has served as a student ambassador, according to San Joaquin Memorial administrator Shawn Carey. Golden is an altar server at the school and takes advanced placement trigonometry, calculus, chemistry and U.S. history classes. “Ryan is an outstanding leader who has made a difference here at school,” Carey said. “He exemplifies the attributes of integrity and sportsmanship while remaining a role model to other students.”

Golden is also dedicated to helping out those in need. In the past he has volunteered at the Nazareth and Poverello houses, and at Catholic Charities. He is also caring to his friends, helping to tutor when they need help, his mom said. “Beyond being highly intelligent, he’s also a good-hearted person and someone who is always there to talk to his friends and is always honest and encouraging with them.”

Golden also plays soccer and participates in the performing arts, Carey said, making him a well-rounded student. He has also learned Spanish, said his mom.

Heavily involved in Boy Scouts, Golden just wrapped up his Eagle Scout project where he raised funds and supervised 25 Boy Scouts for a landscaping project for the Diocese of Fresno, Carey said. He expects to earn full Eagle Scout rank by the end of the summer.

Golden’s mom said the environment Golden has grown up in has fostered his love of learning. “The whole family is oriented to doing the right thing and prioritizing growth and development and education,” she said. “Not just in school work, but in personal growth.”


Age: 17

School: San Joaquin Memorial High

Home: Fresno

Parents: Michael and Susan Golden

Achievements: 4.29 GPA, National Honor Society member, advanced placement trigonometry, calculus, chemistry and U.S. History classes, tutor, plays soccer, altar server, student council

Honorable mention


School: Riverdale High

Parents: Jose and Esther Hernandez

Achievements: When Hernandez emigrated from Mexico as a 2-year-old, she used YouTube as a way to learn in her new country, says her former English 10 Honors teacher and Upward Bound adviser, Gregory Farris. “She is easily the most positive person and enthusiastic learner that I have ever met in my 21 years in education.” Hernandez has straight A’s, takes honors and AP classes and is an athlete. In addition to becoming ASB treasurer, she also mentors freshmen and is in the robotics club. Growing up in a non-English-speaking household has not stopped Hernandez from excelling. “Miriam realizes she has an opportunity,” Farris says. “(She’s) been on fire.”

KELSEY EWING, 17, Clovis

School: Buchanan High

Parents: Kim and David Ewing

Achievements: Not only is Ewing a National Honor Society officer with a 4.5 GPA, but at 17 she is in the process of creating her third social enterprise, which will help teach middle school girls computer and tech skills. The first, K-Bear Cares, donates to no-kill animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centers. She also co-founded a second enterprise that helps senior citizens stay connected via technology. Kelsey is a school senator, takes honor and AP courses, speaks French and participates in many other clubs and programs. Her robotics team took the world championship in 2015, and she earned first place in the regional science fair this year. “Kelsey is an effective leader, a passionate advocate and a dedicated student who is determined to succeed,” her mom, Kim Ewing says. “She is truly an inspiring young woman.”