MORGAN HILL, Calif. (KGO) --For 11 years, ABC7 has recognized seven Bay Area high school seniors for their extraordinary achievements and awards each with a $1,000 scholarship toward his or her college education.
Meet a South Bay student committed to protecting our Earth through environmental policy.
ABC7 Star Scholar Julia Leal has walked off Live Oak High School's farm in Morgan Hill to take on The Farm in Palo Alto in a matter of weeks.
"I will be attending Stanford University to study earth systems," she said. "Earth systems is a really unique program. It encompasses many different forms of science and even government. Understanding the fundamentals of the land that we live on, the soil and the biology behind that. But on the other side of the spectrum, there's government. So different types of policy, how humans personally interact with the environment."
"Julia is awesome," math teacher Kristopher Boursier said. "I see her in some type of government position promoting sustainable food, promoting taking care of the planet, ways to leave the earth a better place."
"I would really be interested in something involving environmental policy," Leal said.
Eric: "Do you think many kids your age feel like hmmm, that's an unusual interest?"
Julia: "Not necessarily in this community, because FFA and 4H are so big in Morgan Hill. I know when I go to Stanford, they don't really understand because Silicon Valley is so high-tech. It's easy to get lost in the technological advances nowadays but I think agriculture is still a really important aspect in our daily lives."
This valedictorian was also named Female Student of the Year. It's fitting since Leal is known to lead her fellow students in class, service organizations and sports, including her favorite, badminton.
"Being named an ABC7 Star Scholar is amazing," she said. "Just being able to serve as an outlet for the students and share my story is really amazing."
You can watch our ABC7 Star Scholar special on Saturday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Do you know a change-maker in your community? They can apply for a $500 Summer of Service grant for their community project. Just go to ysa.org/beinspired.