ROP Students Snag Scholarships

The Annual ROP Distinguished Student Awards ceremony awards scholarships in five career majors as well as a select number of special scholarships funded by the ROP staff and community partners.

When students earn awards through the Capistrano-Laguna Regional Occupational Program, a whole audience gets to hear their praises from the teachers who shepherded them along.

The nominating teachers used words like "passion," "vision," "intensity," "achievement," "outstanding," "driven," "talented," "remarkable" and "inspirational."

The audience hearing these adjectives were with well-dressed students, supporting family members, sponsoring business partners and many representatives from the  and  school districts, who filled the theater at  to the brim Wednesday.

The ROP honored outstanding students who enrolled in specialty classes which focus on career-oriented instruction, including but not limited to:

  • Advanced automotive
  • Fire science
  • Dance
  • Creative fashion
  • Public services
  • Arts and design

“This school year we have served over 4,500 high school students, 300 adults, offered 228 sections of career technical education courses within five career pathways and have over 300 business and community internship sites partnering with our program,” said ROP Superintendent Kim Thomason in her opening comments.

Each school nominated students for the various categories, and those students then went before a selection committee for interviews, Thomason said.

“My ROP experiences gave me the essential skills for improving my business, and has inspired me to try my hardest in anything I do, giving me confidence to do anything,” said Anastasia Kyriakidis of in Mission Viejo, the entrepreneur spirit award winner.

The most inspirational award went to Las Flores' student Kristyn Petracek for sports medicine, who found her passion as a result of working through her own injury.

Facing the additional challenge of her parents relocating to Colorado earlier in the year, Petracek stayed in town and finished her senior courses while living with friends, all the while maintaining her above-4.0 GPA. Her parents made the trip for the ceremony.

The student-of-the-year award, sponsored by the OC Chapter of Regional Occupation Centers and Programs, was Analuisa Del Rivero from for her excellence in production art.

She said ROP has helped her to set goals of eventually owning her design business.

Paul McManus, teacher of information technology, shared his sentiment about Ashton Sachs of , who was awarded the ROP Achievement award for network communications.

“The ROP class has inspired me to pursue a career in the field of computers,” Sachs said.

McManus said Sachs may in fact be a better programmer than his teacher. The student also volunteers to teach computer skills to seniors at his grandma’s retirement home, which elicited audience applause.

Career pathways scholarship awards were sponsored by , MEGGIT of San Juan Capistrano, Schools First Federal Credit Union, and .

For each award, the nominees were called to the stage. The crowd got silent, anticipation filled the room, and the winners were announced.

The final two awards of the night introduced two very amazing students of the year for each of the school districts.

's winner Bailey Hartman's passion for animal health care was rooted in the loss of a pet horse. Presenter Darleen Mitcheltree had many kind words to share.

”Bailey has a great deal of professional pride, is an excellent student and surely has a bright future,” Mitcheltree said.  

's winner was Karen Hernandez, presented by San Juan Hills teacher Catherine Nolan. Taking ROP classes since her sophomore year, Hernandez knew she wanted to work with children.

Her ROP experiences helped to guide her to her ultimate goal of becoming a speech pathologist, Nolan said.

“Karen has a set of values and standards that are far beyond any mark or grade. She consistently amazes me with her high level of energy, and her passion for making a difference,” Nolan said.

When asked how this year’s event was compared to last year, ROP's Thomason simply said: “It just keeps getting better and better.”  

Here's how the local high schools compared each other overall for wins:

  • With four awards, San Juan Hills High students earned the most awards
  • Capo Valley High School was next with three awards
  • A five-way tie for third with two awards apiece for , Dana Hills, Tesoro, and

Here is the complete list of awards:

Dr. K Turner “Heart for Students” Award                      

Laura Otsu, LBHS (senior)                            

Dance Production: Classical

Instructors: Danielle Pigneri, Lisa Jay


Barbara Laird Memorial Award

Tianna Raphael, CVHS (senior)

Emergency Medical Responder

Nominated by Career Guidance Specialist: Linda Deckert


Entrepreneurial Spirit Award                                            

Anastasia Kyriakidis, CVHS (junior)            

Small Business Management

Instructor: Tonya Whiteside


Most Inspirational Student Award

Kristyn Petracek, THS (senior)

Sports Medicine II

Instructor: Mike Otoupalik


Kaiser Permanente Scholarship Award                            

Madison Estel, SJHHS (senior)                     

Medical Assistant I

Instructor: Dyiane Sharber


Orange County ROP Chapter Awards

High School Student of the Year

Analuisa Del Rivero, SJHHS (senior)

Production Art

Instructor: Greg Carlson



Timothy Andrus, CVHS (senior)                                                       

Advanced Auto Specialist

Instructor: Mel Merwin


ROP Achievement Awards (4 Winners):

Tyler Kline, THS (senior)

Automotive Repair

Instructor: Doug Mack


Christopher Reza, ANHS (senior)

Emergency Medical Responder

Nominated by Career Guidance Specialist: June Anthony


Ashton Sachs, DHHS (senior)

Network Communications

Instructor: Paul McManus     


Natalie Sanaee, ROP (adult student)

Medical Terminology

Instructor: Rita Bennett


Arts and Design Award                                                       

Kaard Bombe, ANHS (senior)                                              

Digital Video Production

Instructor: Mark Reid


Business and Marketing Award

Julia Ballou, DHHS (senior)

Careers in Fashion I

Instructor: Marla South                      


Health Sciences Award                                                        

Kori Fairfield, SJHHS (senior)                                  

Animal Health Care

Instructor: Darlene Mitcheltree                                  


Public Services Award

Skyler Bennis, SCHS (senior)

Fire Technology

Instructor: Brett Russell


Science and Applied Technology Award                           

Dallas Krick, SCHS (senior)                                      

3D Model Making II

Instructor: Malcolm Wilson                           


Distinguished Students of the Year:


Laguna Beach Unified School District Student of the Year Award                   

Bailey Hartman, LBHS (junior)                                 

Animal Health Care

Instructor: Darlene Mitcheltree


Capistrano Unified School District Student of the Year Award

Karen Hernandez, SJHHS (senior)

Careers in Teaching II

Instructor: Catherine Nolan


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