Making Their Mark

Meet four people that inspired us this year.

Teen Author & Mentor

Last spring, we met Woodbridge High senior Avika Patel. In addition to writing two books and helping Irvine students launch satellites into space, Patel founded a nonprofit through which she organizes workshops for middle school girls to develop apps, design websites and create games. Her science teacher, Kim Hermans, says girls look up to Patel, who shows them that computer science is cool.





Kids’ Favorite Officer

Alex Mendoza says the D.A.R.E. curriculum he teaches to IUSD students helps them understand their emotions so they can make good life choices. Mendoza is a student favorite, thanks in part to the end-of-year bike ride he arranges for his campuses. He says being a D.A.R.E. officer has been the most fulfilling position he’s had in 27 years as a police officer.





Home-Grown Talent

Matt Meddock, the owner of Sessions West Coast Deli in Woodbridge Village Shopping Center, grew up in the neighborhood that is now home to his third shop. The community has embraced his business, Meddock says, and friends and family are frequent guests at the restaurant, which offers views of North Lake.






Get Sage Advice

If you want to learn about the great outdoors, take a hike with Matilde De Santiago of Irvine Ranch Conservancy. Her specialty is the rare coastal sage scrub community of plants that provides homes for native animals and nesting birds – keeping the entire ecosystem functioning. Her favorite plant? White sage. “I love the scent,” she says.