Young achievers earning lot of golds

Olympica Gymnastics Academy’s Level 9 gymnasts, from left, Ali Karner, Zita Conot, Jessica Wright, Natalie Bray and Sarah Quan. (Courtesy of Kris Quan) Scout’s Gold Award project tapped personal experience

A Mission Viejo teen, Aubrey Mills, recently earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award.

Girl Scouts typically spend one to two years on their Gold Award project, which involves taking action on a local or global issue (such as poverty, education, or the environment) and results in long-term, sustainable change.

Mills, a member of Troop 375, was inspired by her own experience with juvenile arthritis. She partnered with the Arthritis Foundation to help educate people about the disease, and held an Arthritis Awareness Fair in Mission Viejo. Guests with arthritis learned about valuable resources, while guests without arthritis gained understanding about juvenile arthritis and how to support those with the disease.

As part of the event, Mills coordinated the creation of 150 turtle pillows to benefit campers at Painted Turtle camp, which serves children with serious medical conditions (and their families). Attendees at the Arthritis Awareness Fair stuffed pre-made turtles, which were then finished and delivered to the camp’s office in Santa Monica.

Aubrey also started an Arthritis Awareness club at her church, which created more than 1,200 craft bags for children in the hospital, and has continued to work with her 4H club and friends to assemble additional bags.

– Submitted by Girls Scouts of Orange County Olympica Gymnastics continues to medal

The competitive team from Olympica Gymnastics Academy in Laguna Hills traveled to Colorado Springs recently to compete in the Pikes Peak Cup at The Broadmoor Resort.

Level 9 gymnast, Natalie Bray (Dana Point), took the gold on floor exercise and silver on vault. Zita Conot (Mission Viejo) took the bronze on floor exercise in the junior division. Both qualified for the event finals and Natalie took home the bronze with a personal best score. Sarah Quan (Ladera Ranch won the bronze on floor in the senior division.

The Level 8 team took home the third place team award and had several individual top finishers. In the child division, Julia Rojas (San Clemente) took the gold on uneven bars and Kaitlyn Driessen (Rancho Mission Viejo) took gold on the vault. Teammate Reagan Johnson, (San Clemente) placed second on floor in the senior division. In the junior division, Madison Thrall (Lake Forest) placed third on beam.

Level 7 gymnast, Cameron Craycraft (Ladera Ranch) had several podium finishes in the senior division. She placed second on floor, third on beam and third all-around. Misha Parsons (Dana Point) took the bronze on vault.

Level 6 gymnast, Kylie Phillips (Laguna Niguel), had an excellent meet. She took home silver on bars, vault and the all-around and bronze on beam in the child division. Bela Block (Aliso Viejo) took the silver on beam and Addison Malue (Mission Viejo) took the silver on vault in the junior division. The level 6 team took the third place team award.

The next competition for the team is the California Classic in San Diego on Feb. 22-24.

– Submitted by Nicole Rusin Santa Margarita seniors travel for MUN conference

Fourteen Santa Margarita Catholic High School seniors recently returned from the 11th annual Model United Nations Conference held in Prague, Czech Republic. The conference was hosted by the Gymnázium Jana Nerudy. Students from around the world debated economic, political, and social issues facing the international community.

The Santa Margarita students who participated are Patrick Villasenor of Coto de Caza, Kamran Shoaei of Laguna Hills, Josh Prentice of Coto de Caza, Bryce McMahon of Ladera Ranch, Macy Lustig of Dove Canyon, Sara Enyeart of Mission Viejo, Ayn Duringer of Ladera Ranch, Molly Finn of Rancho Santa Margarita, Melody Tajalli of Aliso Viejo, Audrey Narkchareon of Aliso Viejo, Caitlyn Mayes of Coto de Caza, Darna Tajonera of Rancho Santa Margarita, Casi Roque of Mission Viejo and Chloe Grubb of Rancho Santa Margarita.

During the conference, the students represented the countries of Norway and Kazakhstan in a simulated meeting of the United Nations. They also got to have a private meeting with Norway’s ambassador, the Honorable Robert Kvile, who answered their questions relating to Norway and international politics.

–Submitted by Maureen McAndrews

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