Book Prize

The Harvard Club of Silicon Valley is pleased to announce  13 winners of the 2011 Harvard Book Prize.  The Harvard Book Prize is awarded to an outstanding Junior year student selected by the faculty of each participating high school, based on academic excellence, exceptional personal qualities and significant contribution to school or community.  Each winner receives a personally inscribed copy of “The Harvard Book”, an anthology of essays written by Harvard alumni spanning three centuries.

Since 1910, the Harvard Book Prize has been an important way for Harvard Club members to help attract talented young people to Harvard and the opportunities in Cambridge.  Harvard Book Prize books are presented annually in more than 1,900 high schools around the world, and are made available through generous donations from individual Harvard Club members.

Through the Harvard Book Prize program, we at the Harvard Club of Silicon Valley hope to raise the visibility of Harvard among local secondary schools, and to encourage outstanding students in Santa Clara County to consider applying to Harvard.  We especially thank our members and friends who have generously contributed, and appreciate your continued support through future donations.

2011 HCSV Harvard Book Prize Winners

Archbishop Mitty High School Makoto Lalwani
Fremont High School David Cordero
Homestead High School Chen-Hsi Steven Bi
Independence High School Sarah Cabreros
Los Altos High School Ridthi Sanjanwala
Los Gatos High School Rachel Magnan
Monta Vista High School Michael Whittaker
Mountain View High School Megan Hartney
Notre Dame High School Hannah Nguyen
Palo Alto High School Mark Nishimura
Prospect High School Marcella Quinn
Saratoga High School Michael Chang
Valley Christian High School Laraine Chan



David Cordero
Fremont High School

David Cordero is known for his passionate desire for social improvement.  He balances sports, extracurricular activities, and a wide range of leadership activities on top of several rigorous classes seamlessly in hopes of one day bringing change to his surroundings. The enthusiasm he places into everything highlights the kind of student he is; he has a weighted grade point average of 4.42, runs as a leader of his cross country and track teams, is a part of the junior class cabinet, is an active member of several service clubs, and is always involved in activities across Fremont’s campus and his community. David is always acknowledged by adults and his peers for his dedication to better himself, others, and his environment. David’s goal will always be to continue to help others and his community, whether he becomes a CEO, engineer or politician.

Michael Chang
Saratoga High School
Michael is described by his English teacher as “a great writer who always shows critical thinking, originality, and incredible effort in his work.”  His insightful analyses span topics as diverse as Heller’s Catch-22; new philosophies on the subject of insanity in Hamlet; and the Harlem Renaissance poets.  He is presenting his individual website on the Chinese Exclusion Act, entitled “Chinese Exclusion Act: Half a Century of Debate and Diplomacy”, at the state level for History Day.  In addition, Michael is a leader of the school’s Mock Trial team.

Megan Hartney
Mountain View High School
Megan is passionate about children and their education. All during high school, she has served as a weekly reading partner at a local elementary school with a high proportion of low-income students. Her volunteer work in a daycare center during 8th & 9th grade turned into paid work in 10th.  Megan also has started a club facilitating student outreach to volunteer and work with children in homeless shelters. Not only seeing the inequities present in our communities and world, but acting in small steps towards eliminating them, Megan has motivated and set into action a group of amazing young volunteers.  In addition to a superior academic record and her volunteer work, Megan has trained in dance, both studio & Irish, continuously since 6th grade.  Her college plans focus on the fields of psychology and education.

Mark Nishimura
Palo Alto High School
Mark’s academic interests are diverse, ranging from Math and Science to English, Social Studies and Music.  At school, he plays trumpet in the Jazz Band, competes with the Advanced Problem Solving Club, and is President of the GO Club — all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.  Outside of school, Mark plays on an AYSO select soccer team and has achieved the highest level 10 in piano studies.  As for future career interests, he is contemplating an equally broad spectrum of possibilities: Engineering (either mechanical or electrical), Chemistry, Astrophysics, Math, Medicine, and Music (instrumental).

Laraine Chan
Valley Christian High School
Laraine Chan designed the incubator for the first high school experiment aboard the International Space Station.  Her passions include science and playing and teaching piano.  Laraine is part of Valley Christian High School’s Community Outreach class which mentors at-risk students at a local elementary school.  Laraine uses her talents to give piano lessons to these students.  She is also a small group leader at her church where she mentors middle school and freshmen students.  For the past few years, Laraine has used her summers to go on mission trips and to help her church with Vacation Bible School.  Laraine hopes to major in Biology in college where she can continue to experiment in the science field.

Chen-Hsi Steven Bi
Homestead High School
I am currently most interested in pursuing a major in economics or accounting. I am the treasurer of two of my school’s clubs (Math Club and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)). I also frequently compete in various academic competitions, including various physics, programming, math, and business competitions. I was invited to the USA Junior Mathematics Olympiad (USAJMO) last year, and placed 2nd place at the national level competition for FBLA in Accounting I. This year, I have so far placed 1st at state for Accounting II and 2nd in Business Financial Plan. I am also an active volunteer at the Sunnyvale Library’s Teen Advisory Board.

Makoto Lalwani
Archbishop Mitty High School
Makoto is dedicated to Archbishop Mitty High School’s Robotics Team, where he has served as a leader of the Chassis and Environmental Manipulator subdivisions and taught computer-aided design (CAD) skills to newer members. He has played clarinet for 7 years and is a member of Mitty’s Wind Ensemble and Pep Band; he also serves as Vice President of the school’s Above the Influence Club, where he helps raise awareness of issues such as teen drug abuse and alcoholism. He is also a frequent contributor to the school newspaper, The Monarch. Outside of school, he is a member of the Boy Scouts of America, and will soon attain the final rank of Eagle Scout. Makoto has a love for all school subjects, and has been honored at Archbishop Mitty’s annual Undergraduate Awards ceremony in the departments of Mathematics, Science, English, Social Studies, and Modern Language. He particularly enjoys the subjects of math and science, and is looking to pursue a career in engineering or chemistry. This summer, he will be heading to the Native American reservations of New Mexico and Arizona as part of Archbishop Mitty’s immersion program, as well as working as an air traffic control intern at NASA Ames Research Center.

Ridthi Sanjanwala
Los Altos High School
Ridthi Sanjanwala is a junior at Los Altos High School, California. She is an exceptional student who enjoys challenging herself by setting goals that are hard to achieve. During her time in high school she has taken a rigorous course load of AP and honors classes while maintaining straight A’s. Besides her academic pursuits, has a passion for oil painting, astronomy and the study of celestial bodies. An outgoing young woman, she enjoys working with her peers. For example, she is tutor in the World Studies Skills class teaching struggling freshmen the skills they need to build their confidence and succeed in the course. She is also part of the Mountain View-Los Altos Speech and Debate Team and mentors new students as they improve their speaking skills. Ridthi also studies Kathak, and Indian classical dance.

Marcella Quinn
Prospect High School

Marcella is described by her English teacher as “an amazing thinker, an outstanding writer and a very kind person. “  She loves writing, physics, Shakespeare, metal music, kittens and fast cars.  Not necessarily in that order!  Marcella has studied the violin for almost 13 years and has performed with the San Jose Youth Chamber Orchestra for the past 5 years.  She played violin in the Prospect High School String Orchestra during her freshman year.  More recently Marcella has taken up the viola as well.  She has continued to perform in the Prospect High School String Orchestra leading the viola section in both her sophomore and junior years.  She mentors younger student musicians in both violin and viola, volunteers at Kitten Adoption Fairs and planted roses in the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden.  This summer Marcella will travel to Greece, Italy and France as a Student Ambassador with People to People, an organization promoting the bridging of cultural and political borders through direct interaction.  After returning home, she will head to UC Berkeley to participate in the National Student Leadership Conference in Engineering.  She hopes to study physics or engineering in college.

Hannah Nguyen
Notre Dame High School
Hannah is deeply impassioned by her work with her favorite charity, Pacific Autism Center for Education (PACE), a nonprofit organization that provides quality educational programs to children and adults with Autism and other related disorders in the San Francisco Bay Area.  As a freshman volunteer, she established the Youth Leadership Committee (YLC) within PACE, with the goal of uniting siblings of individuals who have been affected by Autism.  As president of the YLC, Hannah led the group in organizing many fundraisers netting nearly $20,000 to support PACE programs.  At school, Hannah played defensive specialist on the JV volleyball team, worked alongside the Stanford Blood Center to organize blood drives at Notre Dame, and served as a Eucharistic minister for Campus Ministry.

Michael Whittaker
Monta Vista High School

As a three-year varsity football player and captain and CCS qualified wrestler and team statistician, Michael Whittaker isn’t your typical bookworm. When he is not breaking records in the weight room, he’s melting hearts in the classroom with four chorus rhapsodies. Over the past couple of years Michael has been very active in student life – from organizing spelling bees as an ASB Leadership student to competing in the annual student versus staff Quiz Bowl.  Michael also is an active member of the local community and volunteers his time at a local Retirement Community. In his free time Michael teaches himself Morse code and American Sign Language and creates epic meals with calorie levels measured in the tens of thousands.

Sarah Cabreros
Independence High School
While maintaining an exemplary academic record, Sarah has been a starting pitcher for the Independence High School Varsity Softball team, as well as for an Under 18 Travel softball team.  Sarah serves as team captain, and also received the female IHS Scholar Athlete Award.  In her free time, Sarah plays volleyball and volunteers through the Sacred Heart Community Center, collecting, organizing and distributing food and clothing.  A co-president of the National Honor Society, she is currently leaning towards the study of biomedical engineering in college.

Veronica Bither
Presentation High School
Veronica Bither has earned a overall GPA of 4.78 which is the highest in the Presentation High School Class of 2012.  In addition to pursuing the most challenging curriculum that has been available to her, Veronica is also an accomplished volleyball player, and has been the starting setter on the Presentation Varsity team  which this past fall season spent a number of weeks ranked No.1 among high school teams in the nation.  Veronica has been selected to the all West Catholic Athletic League second team twice and the All Mercury News honorable mention team twice.