Class of 2020 Youth Media Project


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Adriana Marquez is an ambitious senior at Alvarez high school. This year she is taking part in an organization known as Young Voices Media Project. Her motivation behind this was her writing passion and her inspiration through a journalism course through school. She was born in Salinas California, and plans to attend USC or UCSC and major in business. She lives by the phrase “honesty before loyalty,” because she’d rather know the truth than having someone (or herself) lie to another person.

Alyssa Piñon lives in the city of Salinas and attends Rancho San Juan High School. Next year she will be taking on the so-called ‘most challenging’ year of high school, Junior year. Her involvement in her school’s yearbook gave her experience in interviewing and writing, which inspired her to join the Young Voices Media Project. She believes that she can learn more about interviewing and get more journalism experience. At Rancho San Juan she participates in ASB, AVID and cheerleading. In her free time, compassionate Alyssa loves to help volunteer at the Senior Care Center. In the future, she envisions herself attending a four-year university and majoring in either law, journalism or teaching.

Amber Solorio is a 17-year-old and a senior at Soledad High School. She is a leader in both her school and her community. In school, Amber participates in track and field, ASB and CSF as an officer. In her community, she advocates for the youth and is a founding member of the youth council in her city. Amber has a deep love for her community and a desire to help the youth be heard. In the future, Amber hopes to attend UCLA and wishes to incorporate journalism into whatever she ends up studying. She additionally envisions herself moving to New York when she’s older because she loves the city lifestyle and feels at home when she’s there. After living in New York for some time, she hopes to come back to her community and give back. For now, she is staying at home with her parents and her two siblings doing the things she loves, including running, reading and writing.

Angela Rodriguez is a vibrant 16-year-old student at Gonzales High School who aspires to become a writer. Raised in Gonzales, she is a proud Mexican-American who hopes to inspire others to take a step into the world of journalism. During her free time, she writes fan fiction and poetry, and is very involved with her community, volunteering with the Gonzales Interact Club and Gonzales Youth Council. Rodriguez is also constantly ranked in the top 10 for high school grades and plays tennis. Angela Rodriguez wants to make her parents proud and is thankful for all the sacrifices they made by bringing her to the United States.

Daniela Gomez was born and raised in the beautiful city of Salinas. She considers herself a true part of her community. Daniela is an active Junior at her school, Everett Alvarez High. She is involved in mock trial, tennis, and dual enrollment courses at Hartnell College. Daniela is also involved in her school’s ASB student council, where she gives input in incorporating school policies to better her school. Daniela hopes to one day attend a school on the East Coast. She would love to go to school at Yale major in Political Science with a minor in history/economics.

Ethan Solorio is a 14-year-old attending Soledad High School as a sophomore. The Young Voices Media Project of 2020 is the first one he has attended with the intent to expand his  writing knowledge. Through this year’s program, his passion will be explored more deeply. During his free time, he reads, listens to music and plays video games. He will pursue a degree in marine biology at UC San Diego after finishing high school. If that does not work out, then he will pursue music.

Karen Dorantes is a lively 15 year-old who attends Rancho San Juan High School and is about to be a Sophomore. She is involved in volleyball, Puente, and her school’s ASB . She is interested in journalism and has joined Young Voices as a way to gain experience. She wants to improve her writing skills and wants to find a new way to express herself. She hopes to attend a 4-year university after high school and move away to Salinas. She is particularly intrigued with sports journalism. Karen hopes to live a carefree life, travel the world and enjoy life to the fullest.

Kimberly Piñon is a 16-year-old incoming junior at Gonzales High. Although she was raised in a town as small as Gonzales, her mind is set on the wide world. She longs to venture the globe, feel the winds of distant lands, meet people of different worldviews and encounter different cultures. Piñon says she is tired of watching others live life on the fast lane while she lingers in place; she says she wants to push forward as others have done. But Kimberly Piñon isn’t just an adventurous spirit, she is also quite grounded in the times and cares deeply for those around her; the reason she joined the Young Voices Media Project was in order to improve her writing skills, so she may inform the public on important issues. Ms. Piñon says, “I hope to give every community a voice and a chance for them to be heard.” Piñon holds affection for her community and hopes to give back to the people who built her. She often volunteers around the city, usually at the daycare center in her local church, all while juggling advanced classes, college courses, tennis, and her own personal life. Piñon graduated from her middle school with honors and has received perfect attendance for all years of high school. She is involved in the MyLife club, a club for young women in high school, because she understands the importance of knowing one’s own identity. If Kimberly Piñon could describe herself in one word, it would be, “Unapologetic.”

Sophia Espinosa is an incoming junior at Rancho San Juan, with a bubbly and outgoing personality. She is never afraid to get out of her comfort zone, as she is an extroverted person who is fearless when it comes to experimenting with the environment around her. Sophia is the first-ever captain of the varsity volleyball team at Rancho San Juan and is always there to make sure her team is organized and ready to go. In school, she is not afraid to show school spirit as she is an active member of Rancho San Juan’s ASB. Aside from being a leader within school and sports, Sophia is a leader amongst herself. She does her absolute best to make sure she is organized at all times. She takes the time to better understand her mind by practicing yoga, having a well thought out bullet journal, and focusing on the more positive aspects of her life. At a young age, Sophia has discovered that her biggest inspiration in life is herself, as she isn’t afraid of competition or any challenges that she faces.

Soraya Zepeda is a junior at Rancho San Juan High School. On weekends you can find her enjoying her daily runs. Soraya was captain of the junior varsity cross country team as well as track and field team. She has an eye for creating and representing herself through clothes. Soraya, 16, believes her fashion is comfy, expressive, and has a charming retro vibe. You can often find her rocking a beanie.  After high school, she plans to pursue criminal law.

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