Meet the 2022 Superintendent's 21st Century Award Winners!
Jazmine Guzman, John O’Connell High School
Jazmine’s passion for creating cultural artwork began in elementary school. As a resident of the Mission District, Jazmine grew up amid the colorful inspiration of houses, grocery stores, schools, and alleys adorned with murals. She continued her artistic expression through childhood with the Mission District's annual Carnaval parade.
At John O’Connell High School, Jazmine worked with school administrators to advocate for more diverse arts opportunities and served as a student representative for SFUSD’s Arts Department. In that role Jazmine supported art educators by enhancing their curriculum with lesson plans relevant to their students. For instance, she recommended that educators celebrate Latinx Heritage, Women’s History, and LGBTQ+ Pride, outside of their designated months. As a result of her advocacy, Jazmine was awarded as an Arts Ambassador for SFUSD.
According to Jazmine, SFUSD encouraged her to make a difference in her school by advocating for equitable arts opportunities for all students. With plans to pursue architecture or engineering after high school, Jazmine is Ready to Create.
Zainab Wisniewski, San Francisco International High School
Growing up in a small village in Sierra Leone, Zainab didn’t have access to textbooks or academic support, and was told by adults that “girls weren’t allowed to play sports.”
Zainab knew she wanted more opportunities. When she first enrolled in San Francisco International High School as a freshman, Zainab described herself as shy, scared, and nervous. She joined her school’s International Committee and Peace Club and the after school program, Community Youth Center.
As part of developing leadership skills, Zainab organized school events, helped other students with their homework, and gave presentations to students in advisories. She learned that sports are not just for males and quickly took a liking to soccer, volleyball, and badminton. From playing these sports, Zainab learned that teammates should encourage each other and be there for one another when a team member is in need, because it is only through teamwork that the whole team can win.
Her school’s athletic director describes Zainab as a leader on her sports teams, helping younger players feel welcomed and learn the game. With just a few months left until she attends college, Zainab is Ready to Lead, Ready to Work with Others.
Carlos Huang, Balboa High School
At the start of Carlos’ freshman year at Balboa High School, he struggled to speak and understand English beyond an occasional greeting. With support from his English teachers and an after school program for newcomer students, Carlos emerged with a strong grasp of the language and soon discovered his love of math and politics.
When taking his first American Democracy course, Carlos says his teacher used his own pedagogical knowledge to give students a chance to fully think outside the box and practice critical thinking in regard to American politics and economics. This course showed Carlos how much his own voice matters in his community, and thanks to his participation in the class, he now understands that existing issues require the voices and engagement of everyone to proactively push for social justice.
Carlos’ teachers describe him as curious, driven, passionate, and considerate. It is through these traits and his experience in SFUSD that makes Carlos Ready to Think, Learn and Grow.
Un Ieng Sit, Galileo Academy of Science and Technology
When Un leng immigrated to America at the age of 10, she had a difficult time with the language barrier. With the support of her teachers and the books in her school library, Un leng forced herself to step outside of her comfort zone.
At Galileo Academy of Science and Technology, Un leng participated in the JCYC Talent Search program for college preparation and career exploration support. She credits her teachers and counselors with helping her stay on track, and with their encouragement, Un leng challenged herself to take AP classes and community college classes.
Un leng says her counselors also encouraged her to take advantage of youth programs to gain skills outside of the classroom, including Youth for Community Engagement (YCE) Club, Youth for Single Room Occupancy (YSRO), and Newcomer Club (NCC). As vice president of the YCE Club, Un leng planned and facilitated bilingual tablet classes to teach seniors how to use up-to-date technology.
During shelter-in-place, Un leng’s work became especially crucial to bridging the gap between seniors and the outside world. As a Chinatown resident, she saw the needs of low-income seniors and families living in SROs and during the pandemic she collaborated with three peers to write a $2,000 grant and launched an educational summer health program for 40 SRO families. Through this program Un leng organized and facilitated health workshops, activities, and field trips, as well as online curriculum as a math tutor for children living in SROs. Her experience caring for her family and her community shows that Un leng is Ready to Tackle a Changing World.
Joanne Yen, Abraham Lincoln High School
Growing up on San Bruno Avenue in the Portola District, Joanne developed a passion for learning about the diverse cultures that presented themselves in San Francisco, but most importantly, her own culture she identified with.
During her time as a student at Lincoln High School, Joanne was determined to become involved in the community and completed an internship with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 9. While volunteering at the Mission Food Hub through her internship, Joanne was introduced to a SFUSD Health internship at the SFUSD Early College program. She credits these SFUSD programs with helping her develop friendships with fellow volunteers and teaching her the importance of representing her community.
As a result of these opportunities, Joanne was inspired to help co-found Lincoln High School’s Key Club, organize in-person and virtual campaigns for low-wage workers with Youth MOJO (Movement in Justice and Organizing), and present on the AAPI ethnic studies mandate at AAMPLIFY (Asian American Advocacy and Mentorship). With plans to pursue a profession in the humanities, Joanne is Ready to Be Her Best.
Tashi Gotlieb, Lowell High School
A participant of the decade-long Mandarin Immersion Program in SFUSD, Tashi says his ambitions were nurtured amid the vibrant learning environments of Starr King Elementary School and Aptos Middle School, where his teachers pushed him to reach his full potential.
Now a student at Lowell High School, Tashi credits being part of the unique and inclusive cohort with encouraging him to aim for the stars within the classroom, while always practicing self-introspection. During distance learning, Tashi took the initiative to complete ten college classes online. He has been a member of Lowell’s Parliamentary Debate team, Community Service Officer of the BuildOn club, which builds schools in developing countries, a member of the Boy’s State program, and participated in summer internships working at BlackRock and SF Transit Riders.
Tashi says his proudest characteristic is the growth mindset that set him on a path to improve San Francisco’s public transportation system. His ground-level activism, aiming to solve problems in his community, earned him the 2021 Rider-First Award from regional public transportation action organizations. With plans to become a financial analyst or entrepreneur, Tashi is Ready for Career and Ready for Life.
This page was last updated on May 11, 2022