Golden Valley High School

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Student: Natalie Bueno 

Year in School: Senior

Plans After High School: Natalie’s dream school is California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO) where she hopes to pursue a degree in civil engineering and minor in architecture; this prestigious university offers both degrees. She likes the school because classes are targeted specifically towards her major. 


What Makes Natalie #BulldogSTRONG: One of the essential behavior expectations of being #BulldogSTRONG is the ability to demonstrate SERVICE in the COMMUNITY by being a good citizen. For Golden Valley High School Senior Natalie Bueno, this expectation was exemplified in her participation in We The People as she not only joined in order to improve her public speaking skills, but to increase her knowledge of the constitution in order to become a more knowledgeable, engaged, and educated citizen. This year, students participating in We The People were faced with many challenges as they were forced to do everything virtually as a result of the global pandemic of Covid-19. For Natalie and the rest of her teammates in Unit 5, they took to analyzing, studying, communicating, and collaborating on the Bill of Rights entirely on Zoom or other video conference applications, sometimes after spending the entire day behind a screen in distance learning.  “Some struggles of working through Zoom and video conferencing were the technology issues because different internet connections would sometimes make it difficult for us to communicate with each other,” states Natalie,  “A positive thing about this experience is that we were still able to participate in the We The People competition. We worked hard together to do our best.” On Saturday, December 5, 2020, Natalie and the rest of the GVHS We The People Team competed virtually in the annual We The People Kern County Congressional District Competition. For many students, it was a bit nerve wracking competing online in a virtual environment. “I was nervous,” admits Natalie, “But after going over the information with my unit, I felt more confident in myself and my teammates and I knew that if I stumbled, my teammates would be there to help me.” Natalie’s confidence would turn into success for her and her teammates in Unit 5 as they finished in 2nd Place as a unit, helping to catapult GVHS to a 2nd place overall finish in the 21st Congressional District. Individually, Natalie was recognized for her candor and ability to provide in depth articulation on various issues surrounding the Bill of Rights as she was one of two students at GVHS that received the Dr. Jack Brigham Award for Outstanding Display of Civic Virtue and Civic Learning, an honor reserved for students who demonstrate GROWTH or leadership while participating in the We The People class. 


1Competing entirely on Zoom, Natalie Bueno (Center Far Right) and the other students of the GVHS We the People team, finished in 2nd Place for the 21st Congressional District.


In addition to her successes she had in the analysis of the constitution, Natalie has been a model student in GVHS’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a program designed to foster and develop the necessary skills for students to become an engineer. In her four years as a PLTW student, Natalie has helped create and design a number of innovative and creative projects including an air hockey cooler as well as an automated vehicle that was coded to navigate and manipulate an obstacle course without human intervention. As a result of her participation in PLTW and interest in engineering, Natalie’s dream school is California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO) where she hopes to pursue a degree in civil engineering and minor in architecture. Overall, Natalie has had much academic success in her tenure as a Bulldog as she has accumulated a 4.122 GPA while being enrolled in the most rigorous GATE, Honors, and Advanced Placement courses that GVHS has to offer. Natalie is extremely grateful to all the staff that have helped her in her academic journey and takes PRIDE in being a Bulldog. “Golden Valley has amazing staff and teachers that are always willing to help us with anything related to school or in any aspect of our lives,” graciously states Natalie, “GVHS has allowed me to flourish as a student and this school has provided me and all students with the resources we need in order to ensure our success.” For her desire to become a more engaged and educated citizen as a member of the We The People team and in her pursuit of academic excellence through the Project Lead The Way program, Natalie Bueno is #BulldogSTRONG. 


1Natalie Bueno designed an air hockey cooler as part of the Project Lead the Way Program.



Natalie Bueno designed, coded, and built an automated vehicle that could manipulate an obstacle course without human intervention. 


What #BulldogSTRONG Means to Natalie: "Being #BulldogSTRONG means encouraging others to do their best, whether it be in the classroom, on campus, or in the community. #BulldogSTRONG has taught me to show respect towards others, giving back to my community, and taking pride in where I come from.”


What Teachers and Staff Think of Natalie: 

“Natalie Bueno is the epitome of a student who exhibits the Growth, Pride, and Service characteristics that make-up being #BulldogSTRONG. As a learner she challenges herself to grow even though she is on the shy side she challenged herself to being a part of the We the People debate team. While challenging herself to gain the confidence to participate in a public speaking contest she exhibited tremendous growth. Also, Natalie took Pride in her work and attended every meeting outside of the normal school hours for We the People, even over the summertime. To recognize Natalie’s accomplishments academically, her positive demeanor, and her growth in We the People I recommended her to receive the Dr. Jack Brigham Award, which recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding values of citizenship in our community. Truly it has been a joy having Natalie in class this year.” John Hansen, Government and Economics Teacher and We The People Coach, Golden Valley High School


"Natalie has shown amazing GROWTH on becoming a future engineer through our Project Lead the Way program.  She helped to design an air hockey cooler as well as build and code an automated vehicle that needed to navigate and manipulate an obstacle course - without human intervention.  I hope she does incredibly well at Cal Poly SLO pursuing her degree in Civil Engineering!” Judiah Hopkins, Project Lead the Way Teacher and Head Coach of E Sports, Golden Valley High School


“I've only known Natalie since the start of this year, but she has proven to be extremely dedicated to her studies. She is gracious to her classmates, patient, and works hard to improve on every assignment. She takes great PRIDE in her academic studies and shows GROWTH from week to week by implementing whatever feedback I give her. She is a joy to teach and I look forward to learning more about her as the year progresses.” Madison Bealessio, AP English Literature Teacher and Yearbook Teacher, Golden Valley High School


“Natalie is such a wonderful young lady! Always responsible, motivated and trying her best. Although I haven’t been able to meet her in person, I’m so lucky to have her in class.” Yaneli Bravo-Ceja, Spanish Teacher, Golden Valley High School


“Natalie was a wonderful student for me in my AP US History class. She had a great disposition, always smiling, and ready to work.” Terri Richmond, Social Studies Department Chair and WASC Coordinator, Golden Valley High School


“Natalie has been a pleasure to teach during the difficulties of distance learning.  She comes to school daily and does her assignments and asks questions when she doesn't understand. Her Stats projects are really creative and interesting. She's learning so much about how to display data that's interesting to her. She's a fabulous AP Stats student.” Sheryl Cleveland, Math Department Chair, Golden Valley High School