UC Berkeley, here I come

School newspaper editor: ‘I jumped up and screamed!’

Franny Shih

I’ll attend Berkeley this fall, majoring in environmental economics and policy. I love the campus and amazing faculty there. I recorded a video of me opening my acceptance letter, so I first expressed my excitement in front of the camera. Then, I jumped up and screamed to let my parents know that I got accepted. According to my younger brother who was walking outside, all of my neighbors could hear me.

One of my proudest accomplishments was being editor-in-chief of our school newspaper, El Vaquero. Writing became my outlet to express my opinions in a way that I couldn’t before. Now I can articulate my beliefs and recognize the importance of freedom of expression.

My favorite memory is definitely our senior prom. Dancing, singing and hanging out with all my friends and people I had not seen during quarantine was so much fun and unforgettable.

I’m passionate about teaching. Starting as a sophomore, I taught violin and music theory to kids in a nonprofit organization. I also serve as an English tutor to young girls in Asia without the same resources we have. Through volunteering, I learned to appreciate what I have and recognize what I can give.

– Franny Shih, 18, Irvine High

Basketball star: ‘I want to make sustainable energy.’

Samantha Grable

I chose UC Berkeley to get an amazing education with incredible research opportunities and still be in the state. When I got accepted, I ran downstairs and told my dogs and then called my parents to celebrate. I plan to major in environmental science with an emphasis in chemistry. I want to work in research and renewable energy after college.

I played varsity basketball and volleyball for three years. My favorite memory is my last basketball game. It was just a great moment to end on a high note and celebrate the end of high school with my teammates.

My friends would probably say I’m driven but goofy.Most people don’t know that

I’ve actually played piano for 13 years. A perfect day for me would include a hike and playing board games with good friends.

I have received heritage awards in biology, chemistry and earth science. I started an environmental club at my school called ECO Irvine, and I volunteered with a habitat conservation nonprofit, OC Habitats.

– Samantha Grable, Irvine High

Pep squad captain: ‘I volunteered over 400 hours.’

Abigail Hopper

I’ll attend Vanderbilt University, double-majoring in cognitive studies and medicine, health, and society. I learned sign language at age 10. And I want to pursue a career in audiology. Many people take for granted the value of a hearing device, such as the ability to hear the voice of one’s partner, child or parent – and connect.

My friends would describe me as reliable, bubbly and determined. I was captain of the pep squad and competitive cheer team all four years. My favorite memory is the competitive cheer team placing third at USA Nationals. Also, cheering at all the football and basketball games.

I am passionate about volunteering and making a change in the community. I developed a free, six-week tutoring program with two of my friends. We’ve helped over 40 lower-income children. I also volunteered over 400 hours at Ronald McDonald House and the local senior center, to try to spread kindness and make a difference in other people’s lives.

I also earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award, Magna Cum Laude, AP Scholar Award, and I founded our Children’s Hospital of OC Club.

– Abigail Hopper, 18, Portola High