David and Kassandra are an amazing duo demonstrating a positive force of both academic excellence and community leadership.
Both are members of the business program, DECA, and together are exploring their united goals and individual passions within the financial and entrepreneurial fields. They have managed to connect their studies with community service endeavors and hope to leave a lasting impact not only within the GHC student population but expand their compassionate reach through co-founding the volunteering club, GHC Student Ambassadors.
Kassandra explained how she began her involvement with community outreach, “It started last year mainly, we’re both part of DECA and in our Business Stats class, they provided a lot of volunteer opportunities with Ms. Bonnee Lallouz (Engagement and Advocacy Coordinator from the Communications Department). It was mainly like street fairs, setting up events, taking down events, and greeting people. This year we started a club called GHC Student Ambassadors and it’s basically a more formal group of what we started last year”.
What exactly do Student Ambassadors do?
Kassandra elaborated, “We represent the school publicly as volunteers. David and I volunteer at every event”.
David and Kassandra were recognized for their services when they got to lead the pledge of allegiance at the Heroes of Education Event in 2021. Additionally, outside of the DECA program and the volunteering events that Ms. Lallouz organizes, they remain involved in helping causes personal to them. For example, Kassandra shared, “... I’ve volunteered at the animal shelter, Best Friends Animal Society and a dance studio near my house”. David also told us about his passion for helping out, “I volunteer at my tennis clinic at Birmingham High School, I help them out with the varsity team. The girls' and boys' varsity teams depending on the season. I also help out younger kids in my group, that’s something that I really like to do”. What started as a hobby during his free time, quickly became a passion for volunteerism.
A significant part of Kassandra’s story was her admissions journey into Granada Hills Charter. Her mother is a huge motivation, pushing her towards a promising future, “My mom and dad are both immigrants. My parents got divorced when I was six, so it’s mainly been me and my mom”. The story of her high school acceptance could not go without mention. She described the details, “Granada is not my homeschool. So I didn’t really think I was going to get in. I actually got into VAAS first and I took their Spanish exam to see what level I was, I had their PE clothes, and I was going to go audition for the dance team. The day I was going to the audition I got into Granada”!
When explaining her plans after graduation, Kassandra emphasized her family’s influence over her academic career and business goals, “I want to study business administration and maybe a minor in accounting or double major. My mom runs her own business and my stepdad is in the jewelry business. Growing up, I’ve been surrounded by that, and then joining DECA has also pushed me to really realize that I like business. During COVID I started selling clothes online, and I liked packing the orders and doing customer reviews and all that, it’s kind of like managing your own business. Schoolwise, I really want to go to Pepperdine”. Her goals are ambitious, but definitely not out of reach with her well-rounded resume.
David has a similar background. He shared the way his parents' stories inspired him to pursue higher education; not only to gratify them but for himself as well, “I think two of my biggest influences - no doubt, are my parents. They were both born in Mexico and raised in Mexico, and they both studied in Mexico. They’d always tell me these really harsh stories about how they had to work two jobs and go to school at night and I really take that into consideration given my dad never graduated high school because he had to take care of his family”.
The pandemic gave David time to explore his interest in stocks, he commented, “I wasn’t really sure why I liked it, I just had a really deep love for stocks that I was always buying and selling. I realized I like to question things. I like to know why things happen, why they go up, why they go down, and why things fluctuate. I think that’s probably a sign to do business economics. I can relate this back to my community because I want to give my voice and have a say in what happens. So, I’d like to see where that takes me”. His choice to graduate high school a year early really exemplifies his determination and hard-working mindset.
David and Kassandra are truly amazing students, and there is no doubt they will continue to excel in their personal and academic pursuits. They embody the ideal of what it means to be a GHC student – someone who is dedicated to community service and striving for excellence.