Local Girl Scouts earn highest award

Gold Award Girl Scouts are rock stars, role models and real-life heroes.

Haley Kothari is one of four Gold Award Girl Scouts recently honored.

Gold Award Girl Scouts are rock stars, role models and real-life heroes. They use everything they learn in Girl Scouts to fix problems in their community or make a lasting change in the world. Few Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, yet Irvine has its fair share. The Girl Scouts of Orange County recently honored four Irvine Gold Award winners. Here are their stories:

Haley Kothari, 16, surveyed over 450 young people around the world, then collaborated with students in Orange County and India to reduce plastics thrown into the sea and encourage recycling. “Being a Girl Scout helped me learn new skills and become confident in myself,” the Beckman High senior says.

“A small effort can make a big difference. I learned that you are capable of doing almost anything.”

Fellow Beckman High senior Saarah Rangwala, 16, designed therapy mats for Alzheimer’s patients at an Irvine hospice where she has volunteered since she was in sixth grade.

“I joined Girl Scouts to make friends,” she says, “but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the importance of leadership and giving back.”

Beckman High graduate Shalini Aggarwal, 17, held workshops and created a YouTube channel to help new female drivers learn about auto repairs. She is headed to UC Berkeley to study molecular and cell biology.

“I joined Girl Scouts at 5 years old, and it taught me to help other people,” Aggarwal says. “I think turning that into a career is important.”

Portola High graduate Saachi Pavani, 18, previously earned her Gold Award and was honored with the Outstanding Senior award for her additional efforts as adviser to the Girl Scouts board of directors. She is studying at UCLA to become a health care administrator.