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Meet Our Students & Staff

Eunseo Eu, Saratoga HS, Class of 2025

"I really value this enthusiastic environment where everyone is giving their best to maximize the resources offered to them, and this inspires me to endeavor through my high school journey."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
I really value this enthusiastic environment where everyone is giving their best to maximize the resources offered to them, and this inspires me to endeavor through my high school journey. 

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?
I volunteer at a special education program where I simply hang out with neurodivergent teenagers to adults. We meet every Saturday from 9:30-3:30 and walk to the park, have lunches together, do taekwondo, and work on art. I (also) train for taekwondo where we prepare for various competitions from local to national. While I still compete sometimes, I mostly referee at competitions now. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I see myself as a medical doctor in a big hospital. Even though, for now, I am uncertain about the specific field in medicine I want to specialize in, I am sure that I hope to study medicine where I can provide professional help to people who might need it. 

Read More about Eunseo Eu, Saratoga HS, Class of 2025
Mike Minkel, Los Gatos HS Teacher

"My favorite part about being at Los Gatos HS is working with an amazing staff!"

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
Working with an amazing staff!

What was your 1st job?
Baseball Coach at Saratoga.

What are your words of wisdom to live by? 
Don't talk about it, be about it.

What's something we might not know about you?
I enjoy picking up trash for three reasons... Helps the Environment, keeps me grounded, & good karma!

Read More about Mike Minkel, Los Gatos HS Teacher
Avi Taneja, Saratoga HS, Class of 2025

"The ability to be able to be in a school with such a diverse culture where I can challenge myself is something unbeatable." 

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
The ability to be able to be in a school with such a diverse culture where I can challenge myself is something unbeatable. 

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?
Badminton

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In Medical School

Read More about Avi Taneja, Saratoga HS, Class of 2025
Caitlin Okonkwo, Los Gatos HS, Class of 2024

"(I'm proud of) the strong and caring community."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
(I'm proud of) the strong and caring community.

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
My mom

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school? 
My hobbies and extracurricular activities are field hockey and helping out around my community.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself hopefully in ten years working in the medical field as a pediatrician or a psychiatrist.

Read More about Caitlin Okonkwo, Los Gatos HS, Class of 2024
Marissa Alvarado, Saratoga HS, Admin. Asst

"The Students and Staff make me proud to be a SHS Falcon. It has been extremely rewarding working with students and seeing them grow throughout the years."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
The Students and Staff make me proud to be a SHS Falcon. It has been extremely rewarding working with students and seeing them grow throughout the years. It is my 3rd year here at SHS and I now see students that I helped in 9th grade soon walk across the stage!

What was your 1st job?
Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I started this job when I graduated High School at 17 years old. I was the toppings person to all the burgers and enjoyed making sure every topping was perfectly prepared.

What are your words of wisdom to live by?
"Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about". I live this everyday to be kind to others. Sometimes we don't know what is happening behind closed doors. I love seeing people's reactions when I say " Hi, How are you?". My husband always tells me, Everyone always loves to engage with you and many people trust and love talking to you. For this, I will always be kind to everyone and hope I can impact brightening someones day.

What's something we might not know about you?
I am an adventurous person and love to swim and be in the water. I have parasailed 1200 feet in Hawaii! On my honeymoon, I also swam with turtles and was inches away from a stingray. 

Read More about Marissa Alvarado, Saratoga HS, Admin. Asst
Isabella Burlinson, Los Gatos HS, Class of 2026

"I am proud to be a part of this beautiful supportive community."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
I am proud to be a part of this beautiful supportive community. I have such supportive kind, caring, and loving teachers and staff members in my life here at LGHS that have all really inspired me in beautiful ways. 

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
My hero and inspiration is my Golden Girls Nika , Dana, Emily, Charity Ann, and Alexis. They are my heroes because they are always there for me and each other.

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
My hobbies are singing and dancing with my Golden Girls Best Friend Group/dance team and music/singing group.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself as a vet tech, helping animals and making sure that they are adopted. I really want to learn more about different diseases and different medical conditions that certain animals are more prone to and treating so many animals and nursing them back to health.

Read More about Isabella Burlinson, Los Gatos HS, Class of 2026
Frances Piasecki-Andrews, Los Gatos HS, Attendance Clerk

"Our amazing staff, students and supportive community is what makes me very proud to be a wildcat!"

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
Our amazing staff, students and supportive community is what makes me very proud to be a wildcat! It has been such a fun school year and getting to be apart of so much history in the making of our youth day in and day out. I appreciate everyday, as it’s a special time for me as well, as I get to share in some milestones with my very own two wildcats. I feel truly blessed to be here and to be a Wildcat!!!!

What was your 1st job?
When I was 16 yrs old. I started working at Oakridge Mall for a Sports Appeal Shop during the holiday season. 

What are your words of wisdom to live by? Live and Experience Life to Fullest! Our Time here isn’t a guarantee…so make the most of everyday that is given to you!

What's something we might not know about you?
Something you may not know about is that I got to experience 6 weeks of backpacking around Europe when I was 18 years old and was also an exchange student in Germany for two weeks

Read More about Frances Piasecki-Andrews, Los Gatos HS, Attendance Clerk
Sierra Ward, Saratoga HS, College & Career Center Advisor

"The Saratoga community is so supportive and inclusive, from the administration to our students, staff, and parents."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
The Saratoga community is so supportive and inclusive, from the administration to our students, staff, and parents. Teachers are incredibly dedicated to their craft. Students are motivated and excel at so many things - theatre, cheer, dance, music, robotics, history, and so many individual athletes and their team sports - but also know how to relax at lunch, in the stands for sports, or audiences for performances.

What was your 1st job?
My first job out of college was The Village Cheese Shop in Haddonfield, New Jersey. At graduation I had no idea what I wanted to do in life yet, and even several months after it as my first post-grad summer came to a close I was still uncertain, so I moved to my girlfriend's hometown. I was walking down the main street one autumn afternoon and saw a Help Wanted sign, peeked in, and it looked charming with all sorts of not only cheeses, but also olive oils, breads, crackers, jams, candies, soups and more. The owners were a married couple, and it was one of the best jobs I ever had, since it taught me a lot about small businesses, the importance of personal relationships, dealing with the public, and gritty hard work. Downside: I had to shower as soon as I got home because I smelled like stale cheese.

What are your words of wisdom to live by?

Do what you want to in life, not what others want you to do: you'll be much more intrinsically motivated, driven, and energetic. Even better, help young people navigate their lives (at least for me, through a stressful college search and application process), and support them in their activities by being there for them. Also, surround yourself with motivated people: they will lift you up. Listen to a lot of music, including from the present so you don't just get stuck in the past. Lastly, don't forget to eat some M&M's from time to time, especially purple ones.

What's something we might not know about you?

I'm trying to become the first transgender person in history to reach the highest point of all 50 states. 43 down, 7 to go! Remaining are Alaska, Hawai'i, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, and California, mostly quite dangerous, with 3 or 4 summit attempts planned for this summer, the others to follow! But I'm trying to be a role model and inspiration for a lot of people who need it: set goals, train and prepare, study, don't be afraid but don't be stupid, have a lot of patience, and go for it!

Read More about Sierra Ward, Saratoga HS, College & Career Center Advisor
Neil Khandelwal, Los Gatos HS, Class of 2025

"I am proud to be a Wildcat because of the community fostered on campus. The teachers create comfortable class environments and my friends help make school fun. "

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
I am proud to be a Wildcat because of the community fostered on campus. The teachers create comfortable class environments and my friends help make school fun. 

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
All the people that have helped me learn or grow into the person I am today. Whether it is my friends, teachers, or my parents, they all have a part in shaping who I became. They inspire me to work hard to validate all the help they have provided to me. 

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
Everyone around me knows that I'm almost always practicing drums. I compete in both state wide and national competitions for percussion music as a whole for independent groups around California. I also am a member of all the band programs available on campus such as, jazz band, wind ensemble, and marching band. Outside of music I enjoy meeting new people and spending time with friends. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully having a good work life balance where I could teach and play music on the side. 

Read More about Neil Khandelwal, Los Gatos HS, Class of 2025
Lilly Nickerson, Saratoga HS Class of 2026

"As a proud falcon, I find great joy in serving my community and spreading happiness among its members."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
As a proud falcon, I find great joy in serving my community and spreading happiness among its members. Whether it's volunteering at local events, organizing fundraisers for Saratoga High School, or simply lending a helping hand to those in need, the opportunity to make a positive impact fills me with great satisfaction. Witnessing the smiles on people's faces and knowing that my actions contribute to their happiness is truly rewarding. Being able to uplift and support others not only strengthens the bonds within our community but also fuels my sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?
Volunteering is one of my greatest passions outside of school. I love dedicating my time and skills to various organizations. Whether it's serving at a local soup kitchen or participating in environmental clean up efforts, I find fulfillment in giving back and making a positive impact. One of my most cherished volunteering experiences was helping organize a charity fundraiser for a homeless shelter in San Jose. I coordinated with local businesses, rallied volunteers, and promoted the event to raise funds and awareness for the shelter's crucial work. Seeing the community come together for such a meaningful cause was incredibly rewarding. Overall, volunteering allows me to channel my passion for helping others into meaningful action, and I'm proud to contribute to the betterment of my community in any way I can.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years, I envision myself on the way to becoming a skilled and compassionate anesthesiologist, having pursued my passion for medicine through rigorous training and dedication. As someone deeply committed to making a difference in people's lives, I see myself playing a pivotal role in the healthcare field, particularly in the critical area of anesthesia.

Read More about Lilly Nickerson, Saratoga HS Class of 2026
Shobha Vaidyanathan, Saratoga HS Therapist

"I love that the SHS staff is very friendly- I have many friends here. I love that our school atmosphere is warm and inclusive and I love that our students are diverse and willing to listen- it is a joy to work with them!"

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
I love that the SHS staff is very friendly- I have many friends here. I love that our school atmosphere is warm and inclusive and I love that our students are diverse and willing to listen- it is a joy to work with them!

What was your 1st job?
After my first Masters degree- I worked as a Clinical Psychology intern at a psychiatric hospital in Mumbai, India. 

What are your words of wisdom to live by?
Be 100% and Accept people and situations as they are!!

What's something we might not know about you?
I am a singer. I have been learning Indian classical music since I was 5 and continue to learn today!! I speak up to 5 Indian languages in addition to English and can understand some Korean :) . Lastly , I work out regularly and meditate daily to take care of my body and my mind!

Read More about Shobha Vaidyanathan, Saratoga HS Therapist
Elizabeth Snyder, Los Gatos HS Class of 2024

"The classes are very rigorous and the teachers are dedicated to their students' learning."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
The classes are very rigorous and the teachers are dedicated to their students' learning. The administration, in the past few years, has really made an effort to listen to the students and cares about everybody's success.

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
My grandfather John Rich, who was a great mentor to me. He always encouraged my curiosity and was passionate about so much. Although he passed away about a year ago, I still think of him every day and try to let his example guide me.

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
I've been a member of Los Gatos Rowing Club since eighth grade. I've also been involved with Interact Club since freshman year, and this year I am president of the club. I also do photography in my free time, and I've sold my photos and calendars in art shows.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
As an astronaut. It's been my dream since I was a small child and never faded.

Read More about Elizabeth Snyder, Los Gatos HS Class of 2024
Yu-kuan (Aiden) Chen, Saratoga HS Class of 2025

"(I really appreciate) the relationships I’ve built with staff and students alike."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
The relationships I’ve built with staff and students alike.

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
My mother

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?
I play baseball and am currently being recruited to play Division 1 baseball.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
If I’m not pitching professionally I’ll be doing something else related to baseball and passing my passion down to the next generation.

Read More about Yu-kuan (Aiden) Chen, Saratoga HS Class of 2025
Cathy Sanchez, Los Gatos HS Administrative Asst.

"I have a deep appreciation for both the students and staff at LGHS. The students are so interesting, energetic, inspiring, smart and funny!"

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
I have a deep appreciation for both the students and staff at LGHS. The students are so interesting, energetic, inspiring, smart and funny! They keep me in tune with what is relevant to today's youth; what they are 'into', concerned with, and working towards.

I enjoy working with and for, the dedicated, passionate and hardworking staff members who strive to foster a positive and engaging educational environment. I consider myself fortunate to be a part of the supportive & spirited Wildcat community.

What was your 1st job?
My first job at LGHS was as the Health Clerk.

What are your words of wisdom to live by? "Tenet fe" which means "Have faith" ; The adage "The only thing constant in life is change" from Heraclitus; and my own "Life is a roller coaster-just hold on tightly!".

What's something we might not know about you?
I'm an EMT and a Fencer (as in En-garde and Touché).

Read More about Cathy Sanchez, Los Gatos HS Administrative Asst.
Nikki Rodriguez-Dully, Saratoga HS Teacher

"I am proud to be a Falcon because the students, parents, staff, and faculty are outstanding individuals that come together to form a welcoming and wonderful community. I am grateful to be at a school where education and teachers are so highly valued."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
I feel so lucky to have been accepted as a part of the SHS family! I am proud to be a Falcon because the students, parents, staff, and faculty are outstanding individuals that come together to form a welcoming and wonderful community. I am grateful to be at a school where education and teachers are so highly valued.

What was your 1st job?
My mom is (still) a kindergarten teacher, and my first job was helping out in her classroom when I was young. I started helping when I was in elementary school, and continued until I was an adult. When I had days off from my school, I would go into her classroom and help with activities like crafts, classroom routines, and reading stories to the students. This experience impacted me greatly, and inspired me to become a teacher. The kindergarteners called me Miss Nikki, which is why I still like to go by Ms. Nikki today!

What are your words of wisdom to live by?
Pottery wheel wisdom that applies to life: Take a deep breath, plant your feet, take stretching breaks, have patience, adapt to changes, find your rhythm, grow from your mistakes, and celebrate your wins!

What's something we might not know about you?
Of course I love art, but I am also passionate about getting outdoors and protecting the environment! In college I was a trip leader/organizer, and director of marketing for an outdoors organization that leads camping and backpacking trips for students. I love to get outside and hike, run, or roller skate whenever I can.

Read More about Nikki Rodriguez-Dully, Saratoga HS Teacher
Rory McKee, Los Gatos HS Guidance Counselor

"The students and staff at our school make me extremely proud to be a Wildcat. It's very humbling to be part of our school community where so many outstanding things are happening on a daily basis."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
The students and staff at our school make me extremely proud to be a Wildcat. It's very humbling to be part of our school community where so many outstanding things are happening on a daily basis. I am genuinely proud to tell others that I work at Los Gatos High School.

What was your 1st job?
When I was 14, I was hired to work in a camp kitchen. I prepared/ served food, interacted with campers and the other staff, and did dishes—lots of dishes, haha.

What are your words of wisdom to live by? It's never too late to make a meaningful life change!

What's something we might not know about you?
I was adopted from South Korea when I was four months old. I have an older sister (Mrs. Mercer!) who was also adopted from South Korea when she was four month old, two years before my adoption. Though we are not biologically related, we couldn't be closer siblings :)

Read More about Rory McKee, Los Gatos HS Guidance Counselor
Medha Ravi, Saratoga HS Class of 2024

"I am so proud of the SHS community. I thrive off of healthy and friendly competition. My peers are extremely driven, many of them undertaking incredible projects from prototyping robots for space travel to dominating their sport at a national level."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
The community. I thrive off of healthy and friendly competition. My peers are extremely driven, many of them undertaking incredible projects from prototyping robots for space travel to dominating their sport at a national level. Not only are SHS Falcons impressive academically, they also offer any support I need-- whether it is through mentorship programs, tutoring sessions, or collaborative study groups. The sense of camaraderie within the SHS Falcon community fosters a positive and encouraging environment, where everyone is motivated to excel and help each other succeed. It's this combination of high achievement and mutual support that makes me proud to be a SHS Falcon.

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
Judith Polgar serves as my source of inspiration due to her groundbreaking achievements in chess, shattering gender barriers. Her strategic brilliance and fearless play style redefine possibilities for women in chess, motivating me to challenge norms in my pursuits. Off of the chessboard, Polgar's advocacy for global chess education resonates with my commitment to education. Her resilience, strategic mindset, and dedication to breaking barriers inspire me to pursue excellence, challenge stereotypes, influencing my approach to life, leadership, and the pursuit of my passions.

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?
Outside of school, my passion for mathematics has led me to conduct research in the field of origami constructible numbers. Beyond academics, my commitment to mental health advocacy is evident through my leadership at the Saratoga High Wellness Center, where I spearheaded initiatives and raised participation. As a filmmaker, my documentary on antibiotic resistance won two festivals and garnered global attention. Additionally, my roles in the Water Polo team, as the chess club president, and as a mentor in competitive mathematics showcase my diverse interests and leadership skills.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself completing a PhD in a STEM field (maybe working on increasing the efficiency of space travel?). I will still be playing chess and waterpolo as well as advocating for the importance of mental health in young teens worldwide.


Whether conducting research, competing in sports, or championing mental health causes, my goal is to lead a fulfilling and purpose-driven life that combines my diverse interests and positively influences the world around me.

 

Read More about Medha Ravi, Saratoga HS Class of 2024
Maxwell Tan, Los Gatos HS Class of 2026

"What makes me especially proud of Los Gatos High School is our immensely welcoming community and proud diversity. Since my freshman year, I have experienced nothing but open arms from both peers and teachers."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
What makes me especially proud of Los Gatos High School is our immensely welcoming community and proud diversity. Since my freshman year, I have experienced nothing but open arms from both peers and teachers. Especially during marching band, I was immediately struck by the passionate empathy of most of the seniors, as someone who initially felt intimidated by high school life. It is not an exaggeration to say that our school always goes above and beyond to ensure the optimal learning environment for students of every background. From the first two years of high school, my teachers have been some of the most inspiring figures I have ever met; their everlasting kindness and thorough passion for their subjects have fueled my drive for academic success. We have a wonderful structure of support, including school counselors and wellness specialists, letting me know that I am never alone in my journey towards college.

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
As a determined straight As student with a strong passion for STEM, it may seem surprising for my inspiration to be my older sister, an outgoing art student who ended AP Stats with a C. However, my sister's constant positivity and confident leadership have shaped me into the person I am today. Growing up in a traditional Asian family, my sister's passion in art has always been looked upon with disgrace and distain. My sister proved that her hobby was not only a sustainable career path, but also an immense source of happiness. She has taught me to harness a certain level of individuality and to always persist on my dreams -- not everything I do has to be related to math or finance. Having love towards volunteering and music in my free is nothing to be ashamed of, a lesson I later affirmed when considering my extracurriculars. While I do not wish to exactly embody my sister when I grow up, I do look up to her constant happiness and groundedness.

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
Elpizo Foundation (President): In 2023, I founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the goal of fostering positive impact in local communities and promoting routine volunteering to high school youths. Our volunteer events include creating STEM activity kits for children, planting trees locally, and cooking meals for the homeless. We are already operating in three different schools and have accumulated over 100 hours of student volunteer service. This experience has not only helped me make a tangible impact as a leader, but also enhanced my skills as an entrepreneur and ability to manage a large organization.


Applied Math Club (President): I founded the applied math club based on my love for math and STEM concepts. Each week, I give lectures on economics, cryptography, and physics topics to a wide audience of students, which has not only cemented myself as a leader, but also a teacher and a master of my knowledge.

Stock Market Club (Secretary): In my free time, I love studying various industries and their potential for growth, and trading stocks based on technical and fundamental analysis. Having the chance to teach students these concepts each week has deeply leveraged my presentation and mentoring skills.

Band: My experience with band has harnessed my dedication and commitment towards routine practice and performance. As a principal player of my band, I have learned to lead by example and always be prepared for new challenges. Furthermore, I have been doing marching band since freshman year, where I have excelled as a commanding and determined leader. Henceforth, I have been awarded several awards for my precise efforts and collaboration.

Programming & Engineering: Whether it’s video games or electrical devices, I love doing engineering projects in my spare time. Electrical engineering and programming are hobbies I have developed since a young age, and I hope to continue these activities to work towards more real-world applications. My experience includes building functional embedded systems that harness sustainable energy, and designing optimal models of wind turbines and solar circuits based on the theoretical concepts of wind energy and photovoltaics. At the moment, I am working on developing and launching a functional rocket for the 2024 American Rocketry Challenge.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I wish to master my passion in engineering and economics after graduating from a prestigious university. Becoming an innovative computer engineer is more than building contraptions; it is also about becoming a teacher, leader, and innovator. I see myself enhancing my leadership and management skills, developing as a mentor, and putting myself in a position where I can lead a growing team. I want to make an impact on those around me -- someone people of my field can look up to for inspiration. Finally, I want to put myself in a role where I have the freedom to innovate and push the boundaries of everyday technology.

Read More about Maxwell Tan, Los Gatos HS Class of 2026
Paul Weir, Saratoga HS Operations/Plant Supervisor

"I am proud to work closely with my staff to help the teaching staff succeed at their mission."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
I am proud to work closely with my staff to help the teaching staff succeed at their mission.

And, of course, I'm so proud to support the students. I am frequently impressed by them, their decorum and effort at their work here at SHS. I am proud to contribute to their successes in any way I can.

What was your 1st job?
I have always worked in the construction, maintenance and facilities realm, but my first "real" job was as U.S. Facilities Manager for NetManage and then ARM Holdings. During the early days of the internet it was wildly creative and exciting to be a part of.

What are your words of wisdom to live by?
If you want to be good at something- Practice! But the most important element is to practice things that are good for you.

What's something we might not know about you?
My Bleu Cheese, I call "Big Sur Jade" has won best of show at both Santa Cruz and Monterey county fairs. In my retirement years I plan to watch cheese age!

Read More about Paul Weir, Saratoga HS Operations/Plant Supervisor
Claire Mayder, Los Gatos HS Class of 2025

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
This school's spirit and sense of togetherness makes me proud to be able to be part of it. All the different groups we have, there's a place for everybody to feel welcome. 

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
History. While I know that this is not really a person and is more a concept, it's true. All the women and men before me who fought to change the world so that future generations could as well inspire me. 

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
I spend time with my family and on my computer designing various things. I keep my notebook, of in which has various things from the day's mess to the designs I make. These designs I do help me run the club that I run at school, Cats: Future of Engineering. 

I'm (also always) in the pool either for the school's swim team or just for personal reasons. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to see myself making a difference. I'd probably have my masters degree by then where I'd focus on mechanical, aerospace engineering. 

Read More about Claire Mayder, Los Gatos HS Class of 2025
Mariana Cozzella, Los Gatos HS Wellness Center Coordinator

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
I'm proud to say I work alongside some of the best friends I've ever had. There's a sense of community that I feel so lucky to work here! I am also so thankful for our students and witnessing their growth.

What was your 1st job?
This is going to give away my age but I worked at a Blockbuster (kids will have to Google what these were. Hint: VHS!)

What are your words of wisdom to live by? 
Kindness. Every time, all the time. 

What's something we might not know about you?
I speak 4 languages and have 3 dogs. Also, my daughters went to Los Gatos High School!

Read More about Mariana Cozzella, Los Gatos HS Wellness Center Coordinator
Mike Tyler, Saratoga HS Teacher

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
I love that the school offers so many pathways to success, and the community is so supportive of the learning and activities that go on here. I also value the extraordinary level of dedication of the teachers, admin team, and support staff. Those are the constants I've seen in my 27 years on staff. It's an amazingly good high school, and kids are lucky to go here.

What was your 1st job?
I worked as a dishwasher and cook at my dad's breakfast restaurant starting shortly after high school and continued working there throughout college. 

What are your words of wisdom to live by? 
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

What's something we might not know about you?
In high school, I played on the baseball team for three years and was the captain of the team in my senior year. The dedication and hard work I learned from playing sports as a kid taught me about what is needed to be successful in other areas of life.

Read More about Mike Tyler, Saratoga HS Teacher
Katie Yang, Saratoga HS Class of 2027

"It's a truly amazing feeling to be in such a supportive and welcoming environment that continues to make my journey throughout high school truly exceptional. I've made so many friends already, all of my teachers guide me, and the overall atmosphere at SHS creates a positive experience for me." 

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
It's a truly amazing feeling to be in such a supportive and welcoming environment that continues to make my journey throughout high school truly exceptional. I've made so many friends already, all of my teachers guide me, and the overall atmosphere at SHS creates a positive experience for me. 

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
My oldest brother, Alex Yang, was a Saratoga Falcon and is currently a sophomore in college. He is a significant inspiration for me because he has been a guiding light in my life.

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school? I'm involved in robotics, where I apply my problem-solving skills and creativity to design and build amazing mechanisms. I'm also an avid artist, enjoy crocheting during my free time, and enjoy playing violin.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I'm leaning toward becoming an engineer. Engineering intrigues me because it combines problem-solving, innovation, and a chance to impact the world. 

Read More about Katie Yang, Saratoga HS Class of 2027
Ken Nakamoto, Los Gatos HS Teacher

"I'm proud to get to work with some of the best colleagues and students every single day. The amount of support we get from our community is second to none." 

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
I get to work with some of the best colleagues and students every single day. The amount of support we get from our community is second to none. 

What was your 1st job?
My first job was helping out as a marching band instructor. I taught kids how to march. There was a lot to learn in that first year and I am grateful to the people who entrusted me to help out.

What are your words of wisdom to live by? Choose excellence. Do everything (and I mean everything) with the highest detail and care. It was something that one of my mentors told me and it has always stuck with me. Though easier said than done, the more you can make that conscious choice there's nothing you can't do.

What's something we might not know about you?
I have an older brother, mom (who's also a music teacher) and dad that are all musicians. It was one of those things growing up I thought I had to do because my whole family did it. Outside of music, I enjoy fishing, bouldering and watching the niners play.

Read More about Ken Nakamoto, Los Gatos HS Teacher
Tammy Coe, Saratoga HS School Resource Aide

"Students here have so many different types of amazing talents, interests, and strengths, as well as needs that working with them is never dull. The staff is phenomenal in their enthusiasm, work ethic, and support of students, as well as one another. It is a privilege and an honor to work alongside them."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
Students here have so many different types of amazing talents, interests, and strengths, as well as needs that working with them is never dull. The staff is phenomenal in their enthusiasm, work ethic, and support of students, as well as one another. It is a privilege and an honor to work alongside them. 

What was your 1st job?
1st private job was babysitting. 1st public job was at a Carl's Jr.

What are your words of wisdom to live by? I would like to grow in wisdom by listening a great deal more than I speak. When I do speak I would like to do it thoughtfully and even find at least one complimentary thing to say if I get the opportunity and it is appropriate for the time, person, and place.

What's something we might not know about you?
I have younger brothers that are identical twins.

Read More about Tammy Coe, Saratoga HS School Resource Aide
Jaylen Thomas, Los Gatos HS Class of 2024

"I'm proud to be around friends that I've pretty much grown up with. Also the atmosphere at Los Gatos just can't be replaced. We also have traditions that no other schools have... so its a unique experience."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
Being around friends that I've pretty much grown up with. Also the atmosphere at Los Gatos just can't be replaced. We also have traditions that no other schools have... so its a unique experience.

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
My Uncle Ivory because throughout my childhood he was a really important mentor to me. He was also a football player and I had always tried to play like him and still do today. He passed a couple years ago but I continue to let him guide me spiritually through my football career

Do you have any hobbies/ extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
I've been a football player since I could walk. I am now a captain on the LG varsity football team. I have been on varsity since I was a sophomore. I also run track to improve my overall athleticism and speed. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Graduated and either living out my NFL dream or in some job/coach of any sport

Read More about Jaylen Thomas, Los Gatos HS Class of 2024
Amy Obenour, Teacher

"I have been blessed to be a part of an incredible Falcon family that never ceases to love and support me."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
I have been here 31 years and have been blessed to be a part of an incredible falcon family that never ceases to love and support me.

What was your 1st job?
Working at CVS as a cashier.

What are your words of wisdom to live by? Be the change you want to see in the world and Education is all about building relationships.

What's something we might not know about you?
I have been to 3 presidential inaugurations and volunteered at the 1996 Olympics as an athletic trainer to the Olympians.

Read More about Amy Obenour, Teacher
Gina Vu, Production Technician

"I really enjoy being around intelligent and talented students, and am grateful to work with such amazing and dedicated teachers and staff."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
Whenever I am asked: "Where do you work?", I proudly answer: "I work at Los Gatos High School". 

I am proud to be a LGHS Wildcat because of the high academic standards, community involvement, and beautiful school setting.

I really enjoy being around intelligent and talented students, and am grateful to work with such amazing and dedicated teachers and staff. 

Read More about Gina Vu, Production Technician
Karthik Sangameswaran, Class of 2025

"I am proud of the attention our school gives to wellness, with things like Mosaic and the wellness center, as averse to things like academics. Saratoga (High School) listens to the students and focuses on mental health."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
The attention our school gives to wellness, with things like Mosaic and the wellness center, as averse to things like academics. Saratoga (High School) listens to the students and focuses on mental health.

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
Ibram x Kendi.

He fights discrimination like me.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
President of a foreign country

Read More about Karthik Sangameswaran, Class of 2025
Dominika Spitzer - Turkevich, Class of 2026

"My community, friends, and family make me proud to be a Wildcat."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
My community, friends, and family make me proud to be a Wildcat.

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
My inspirations are my loving friends Isabella, Lexi, Dana, Charity, Emily, and Eda.

Do you have any hobbies/extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
I like to recite poetry, play the piano, and solve riddles.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself as a graduate of either Rice University or UC Davis and with a job that I truly love.

Read More about Dominika Spitzer - Turkevich, Class of 2026
Sarah Thomas, Class of 2024

"Our community's resilience and commitment to bettering ourselves makes me proud to be a Falcon!"

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
Our community's resilience and commitment to bettering ourselves makes me proud to be a Falcon!

Do you have any hobbies/extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
I'm super proud to be part of our school's Anti-Racism Task Force and I consider myself an activist off campus, as well. I’m also a former member of the national team of Diversify Our Narrative, a student representative on the District's Strategic Planning Design Team, and a part of a team researching ways to better the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to be graduated from higher education at that point and pursuing a career in policy that allows me to be more involved in the social causes I care about.

Read More about Sarah Thomas, Class of 2024
Liv Johnson, Los Gatos HS

"I am deeply proud to work alongside such caring teachers and staff. I look out my window and the grounds are so beautiful. It looks like I teach on an episode of the Gilmore Girls."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
I am deeply proud to work alongside such caring teachers and staff. I look out my window and the grounds are so beautiful. It looks like I teach on an episode of the Gilmore Girls. I was so touched at our back-to-school staff meeting by the parents (who are) so supportive of the teachers. And then there are the amazing students. Whether it's their incredible artistic, musical, theatrical, athletic, robotic/ engineering talent or countless examples of being a good human, our student body continuously knock my socks off.

What was your 1st job?  
I simultaneously worked at my parents' bookstore, Moraga Books in Moraga, CA right by Saint Mary's College, and....a frozen yogurt shop in Lafayette, CA.

What are your words of wisdom to live by?
I try to "pre-pave" the next day by imagining an absolutely awesome day,....but as if it's already happened. I'd say between 3-5 nights out of the week I take less than 5 minutes to write/script a journal prompt "about" the next day like it's happened and then I try to "set" the day on my drive. I also visualize putting on sunglasses with heart-shaped lenses to "view the day through the lens of love". I fully acknowledge that these may sound  extremely cheesy but they work for me and help me zero in on the wonderful moments that each day holds.

What's something we might not know about you?
I led backpacking trips for a group called Adventure Outings that offered affordable adventures to Chico State students.

I was also on the kids' TV show in the '70's "Romper Room" (for one day with my pre-school).

Read More about Liv Johnson, Los Gatos HS
Archie Ljepava, Saratoga HS

"I'm proud of the family atmosphere Saratoga has as a staff and the way they let that trickle down to the students; the passion for teaching the students not only to be successful in a chosen career but also in life."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
My parents graduated from Saratoga High School. My family has been part of the community for many years, where they had apricot orchards here. It makes me proud to still be part of this community and being able to give back to the community on a different level.

Additionally, I'm proud of the family atmosphere Saratoga has as a staff and the way they let that trickle down to the students; the passion for teaching the students not only to be successful in a chosen career but also in life.

Being the Campus Supervisor and a Coach on Campus, I get to have a lot of interaction with students and athletes. Being able to watch the level of dedication and passion to be the best versions of themselves everyday and how they strive to be great, makes me the most proud to be a Falcon!

What was your 1st job?
My first while I was attending high school and playing multiple sports was at the Shell gas station in Los Gatos. I fixed tires and pumped gas for customers. 

What are your words of wisdom to live by?
Treat People the way you would want to be treated!! Treat everyone with kindness and understanding. We never know what someone is dealing with that day and sometimes a simple hello matters!!

What's something we might not know about you?
I was a 3 sport Varsity Athlete through High School. I played football, soccer, and ran track and field. I had the Long Jump record for my high school and was voted best all around athlete.

Read More about Archie Ljepava, Saratoga HS
Andrew Stein, Class of 2024

"I'm proud to be a Wildcat because of our staff, especially our teachers because they our able to challenge us and help us grow as students and as people."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
Our staff, especially our teachers because they our able to challenge us and help us grow as students and as people.

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
My Dad and my brothers

Do you have any hobbies/extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
Weightlifting, and community with my local church

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself being a successful civil engineer designing infrastructures to help marginalized communities.

Read More about Andrew Stein, Class of 2024
PJ Yim, Saratoga HS

"I am happy to be working at a school that values education, hard work, and academic/personal integrity."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
I am happy to be working at a school that values education, hard work, and academic/personal integrity.

What was your 1st job?
As a high school student, I had interned at IBM and worked at a car rental place. 

What are your words of wisdom to live by?
Work hard, be kind, and that's pretty much it.

What's something we might not know about you?
I am a father of three and a husband of one.

Read More about PJ Yim, Saratoga HS
Sophia Krish, Class of 2026

"LGHS has options for everyone, whether it be an athlete, musician, or mainly academic student. There is a place for all students here, and I value that."

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
LGHS has options for everyone, whether it be an athlete, musician, or mainly academic student. There is a place for all students here, and I value that.

 Who is your hero or inspiration? 
My inspiration is my mom. Ever since a young age, she has taught me lessons that have stuck with me to this day, and made me a better person. Not only does she help me believe in myself, but she is a role model of kindness, love, drive, and hard work for me to look up to.

Do you have any hobbies/extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
I particularly love sports. I currently play both at LGHS and on a year round club softball team as a pitcher and center fielder, and have been playing since I was four years old! I also played volleyball this year for the first time on the LGHS Freshmen Girls Volleyball team, and have played soccer for ten years.

I also love music. I've been taking piano lessons since I was young, and have performed onstage in musical theatre all my life. I love singing, whether it be onstage or in the shower. Just recently, I got to perform at Friday Night Live with my brother Devon who will be a graduating senior this semester. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to be finishing medical school, as I want to be a doctor one day! I hope to contribute to our knowledge of the sciences to improve health in our communities. 

Read More about Sophia Krish, Class of 2026
Anatta "Blue" Chankhunthod, Class of 2026

"The level of academics and extracurricular really make me proud to be a SHS Falcon. My fellow classmates and teachers are another reason I'm proud to be a SHS Falcon."

What makes you proud to be a Falcon?
The level of academics and extracurricular really make me proud to be a SHS Falcon. My fellow classmates and teachers are another reason I'm proud to be a SHS Falcon

Who is your hero or inspiration?
My inspiration in life is my mother, father, brother and sister. I strive to become great people like them, and to accomplish just as much as they have and just as much as they will in the future. My family is also my hero, as they have always supported me.

Do you have any hobbies/extracurricular activities you do outside of school?
The only real hobbies/extracurricular activities I have are basketball and photography. Despite my lack of hobbies, though, I love what I do, be it playing on the basketball court or being in the garden taking photos.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully with my own home, a stable job, and an enjoyable life. If not, probably still in school. 

Read More about Anatta "Blue" Chankhunthod, Class of 2026
Sydney Backhus, Class of 2023

"I’m so grateful for the opportunities I have gained from my time at SHS, along with my teachers and fellow classmates who have made my high school experience great."

Sydney Backhus
Class of 2023, Saratoga HS

Read More about Sydney Backhus, Class of 2023
Matthew Hardiman, Los Gatos HS

"As a former student and now a teacher at LGHS, I am proud of the community and the students drive to succeed. Day in and day out, the students are the ones that make this campus a special place and it shows in their work in and out of the classroom."

Matthew Hardiman
Teacher, Los Gatos HS

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
As a former student and now a teacher at LGHS, I am proud of the community and the students drive to succeed. Day in and day out, the students are the ones that make this campus a special place and it shows in their work in and out of the classroom.

Also, the teaching staff are an incredibly welcome and helpful group of people that have been super supportive to both the students and I. 

What was your 1st job?  

My first ever job was working at Vasona Park as a boating attendee/camp instructor. It was a great summer job that actually encouraged me to become a teacher because I found my joy of working with kids and seeing them grow and succeed. 

What are your words of wisdom to live by?

Habits develop into character and life isn't that serious as we sometimes make it seem. I believe that healthy and creative habits that you can complete every single day will help you become the person that you want to be in life. Also, with those habits and improving yourself, you sometimes need to take a step back and have some fun along the way. 

What's something we might not know about you?

In my spare time I like to backpack/hike. Since I like to do that, I am trying to visit each national park across the country over the next decade and hike each of their most popular trails. 

Read More about Matthew Hardiman, Los Gatos HS
Lisa Tripp, Los Gatos HS & Saratoga HS

"I love the energy of working in high schools, and watching students develop into bright, independent thinking adults.  LGSUHSD is a special place, and I am grateful to have joined the team!"

Lisa Tripp
District Nurse, Los Gatos HS & Saratoga HS

Read More about Lisa Tripp, Los Gatos HS & Saratoga HS
Ryan Lin, Class of 2025

"The teachers at LGHS are always very dedicated and passionate about teaching their subjects and always go above and beyond to ensure every student succeeds. I am also proud to be a Wildcat because our school provides a strong sense of community and respect with many small clubs and organizations, school events, and opportunities to get involved and connect with others."

Ryan Lin, Class of 2025
Los Gatos HS

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
The teachers at LGHS are always very dedicated and passionate about teaching their subjects and always go above and beyond to ensure every student succeeds. I am also proud to be a Wildcat because our school provides a strong sense of community and respect with many small clubs and organizations, school events, and opportunities to get involved and connect with others.     

Who is your hero or inspiration? 
My heroes and inspirations are my parents. Ever since I was born, they have worked tirelessly to provide for me and my siblings with the best opportunities and education. From my parents, I have also learned the importance of hard work, commitment, and perseverance, to show me what it means to be a good person.

Do you have any hobbies/extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
I am one of the Vice Presidents of a non-profit organization called CENG, which teaches children worldwide how to code at no cost. 

While serving my community, I have also accumulated many volunteer hours, which has led me to the Gold and Bronze President's Volunteer Service Awards. I also play the violin and am a member of the LGHS Chamber Orchestra and the Vice President of the Tri-M Honors Music Society at LGHS, a program of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). For sports, I currently play tennis and golf.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I see myself as a successful computer scientist working in a field that I am passionate about. I hope to land a job at a tech company after completing my studies where I can apply my skills to make a positive impact on society. 

Read More about Ryan Lin, Class of 2025
Kathy Nakamatsu, Saratoga HS

" The students and staff at SHS are AMAZING. I have five wonderful classes of Honors Chemistry students. I love teaching sophomores because I get to help them transition from 9th graders to 11th graders. The growth they experience during this year is monumental. My students are so polite, too - they say "thank you" even when I hand them a test! I love the teachers I work with as well. Some of the hardest working and dedicated staff I've ever met."

Kathy Nakamatsu
Teacher, Saratoga HS

Read More about Kathy Nakamatsu, Saratoga HS
Liz Olson, Los Gatos HS

"The staff at LGHS truly care about our students. It is wonderful to work with these amazing people. My two sons are currently attending LGHS and it is such a special opportunity to be here and a part of their journey." 

Liz Olson
Library Technician, Los Gatos High School

Read More about Liz Olson, Los Gatos HS
Anand Agrawal, Class of 2023

"Saratoga HS not only boasts great extracurriculars but also an incredible community to supplement them. As an example, our annual Bombay in the Bay show now shines with cultural representation not just limited to Southern Asia; diversity and inclusivity is a key element of the show. Our students simultaneously encourage their peers to pursue their interests.

Anand Agrawal, Class of 2023
Saratoga High School

Read More about Anand Agrawal, Class of 2023
Ro Venezia, Class of 2024

"I'm so proud of our incredible music program. LGHS has phenomenal choirs, bands, and orchestras, and I am proud to be a part of Mixed Choir, Marching Band, and Jazz Band."

Ro Venezia, Class of 2024
Los Gatos High School

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat? Our incredible music program. LGHS has phenomenal choirs, bands, and orchestras, and I am proud to be apart of Mixed Choir, Marching Band, and Jazz Band.

Who is your hero or inspiration? My vocal teacher, Caitlin Clarke. She and I have been working together for almost 7 years and she's my biggest source of inspiration and encouragement.

Do you have any hobbies/extracurricular activities you do outside of school? I have a lot of music based hobbies. I play electric and acoustic guitar, piano, electric bass, kalimba, and I'm starting to take up drum lessons. But my favorite instrument will forever and always be my voice. I have a natural knack for singing and I've been working my entire life thus far to improve my vocal skills. Using my voice and instruments I write and record my own original songs which I upload on any and all music streaming platforms. You can find me almost anywhere by the name "romeoh" or "romeoh_music". Apart from music, I'm a huge fantasy nerd. I play D&D a lot with my friends, mainly acting as the DM for the groups I am apart of. D&D is one of my favorite creative outlets because of all the possibilities of stories and magic. Some of my best memories with my friends come from sitting around a table rolling dice and defeating monsters. I also enjoy reading comics (particularly Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes), completing escape rooms, and collecting dice and card decks.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully having moved back to Massachusetts and having opened my own studio to record music.

Read More about Ro Venezia, Class of 2024
Brian Safine, Saratoga HS

" The Saratoga community is filled with passionate, dedicated students and educators. I am proud to be involved in a community where so many people are invested in student success and young people are encouraged to pursue their dreams. Our students care about life beyond the classroom and are genuinely concerned about the well-being of others."

Brian Safine, Guidance Counselor
Saratoga High School

Read More about Brian Safine, Saratoga HS
Cynthia Wang, Class of 2024

" Something that makes me proud to be a student at LGHS is being with my friends or in class and experiencing the strong, academically-driven community that we have. It inspires me to both improve as a student and as a person."

Cynthia Wang, Class of 2024
Los Gatos High School

Read More about Cynthia Wang, Class of 2024
Mike Navrides, Los Gatos HS

" I love the school spirit and the fact that many of our students exemplify what it means to be a student/athlete, with the student part coming first. We also have a wonderful staff, made up of caring individuals who are always willing to go the extra mile to help their students be successful."

Mike Navrides, Statistics Teacher
Los Gatos High School

Read More about Mike Navrides, Los Gatos HS
Allison Tan, Class of 2023

"I’m proud to be a Falcon as I’m surrounded by bright individuals who all have unique passions to contribute to the world."

Allison Tan, Class of 2023
Saratoga High School

Read More about Allison Tan, Class of 2023
Andre Rosenberg, Class of 2024

" The truly amazing staff and student body we have at LGHS. I love many of the kind hardworking people who are at our school. I've always found it quite enjoyable to go to class and interact with outstanding teachers and kind compassionate students. In my time at LGHS I've never been prouder to be a Wildcat when I'm working on a project with my friends, you're listening to one of our amazing teachers."

Andre Rosenberg, Class of 2024
Los Gatos High School

What makes you proud to be a Wildcat?
The truly amazing staff and student body. I love many of the kind hardworking people who are at our school. I've always found it quite enjoyable to go to class and interact with outstanding teachers and kind compassionate students.  

Who is your hero or inspiration?
I'm inspired by some of the great political thinkers of the past 150 years. Listening to some of the things these people have said, including Mahatma Gandhi's amazing advancements in human rights and peaceful protests or Franklin Delano Roosevelt ability to lead a nation through war and put an end to a horrible NAZI regime with just words is inspiring. 

Do you have any hobbies/extracurricular activities you do outside of school?  
I love hanging out with my friends whether in video games or going to the store or just walking around. This  is a big part of what I do outside of school.

I am also fascinated by international relations and military science. I'm currently doing a few noncredit classes trying to learn more about these subjects. I also am a big thrift shopper and have a small collection of computers dating back to 1980. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My current intention is to go to college to get my master's degree and join the Navy. 

Read More about Andre Rosenberg, Class of 2024