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#BulldogSTRONG Student Spotlight 2020-2021 » Samantha Medina, May 28, 2021

Samantha Medina, May 28, 2021


Student: Samantha Medina 

Year in School: Senior

Plans After High School: After high school, Samantha is attending the University of California, Davis with one of her closest friends and past #BulldogSTRONG Student Spotlight recipient, Samantha Aguilar. As of right now, her major is Biological Sciences but is considering Political Science or Sociology.


What Makes Samantha #BulldogSTRONG: A common theme that has been expressed throughout each and every #BulldogSTRONG Student Spotlight for the 2020-2021 school year is the importance of family. For our final #BulldogSTRONG Student Spotlight this year, family is the cornerstone of the success and motivation for Senior Samantha Medina as a student at Golden Valley High School. For Samantha, she is grateful for the sacrifices that her family has made in order for her to be successful, especially her father. Samantha is fully aware of the long days and hours committed to work (16+ hours a day sometimes) that her father has put in to ensure that she has a future with the least amount of financial obstacles possible. “Making him proud of not only me but himself, for raising a daughter who is as hard a worker as he is, is my life’s goal and it’s what drives me every single day,” graciously states Samantha, “I could not have experienced my success without him, and that’s a fact.” With this motivation from her father, Samantha has experienced tremendous academic success. For her efforts, Samantha has accumulated an eye popping 4.47 GPA which places her tied for first in the Class of 2021 with one of her closest friends and future collegiate classmates, Samantha Aguilar. Perhaps even more impressive is that Samantha has taken and passed 5 AP Exams with AP English Language, AP Spanish Language, and AP Statistics receiving scores of 5 (which is the highest a student can receive) and AP European History and AP US History with scores of 4 (3 is passing). In the fall, Samantha will attend the University of California, Davis with aspirations of majoring in the biological sciences, but she is also considering political science and sociology. 


1With a 4.47 GPA, Samantha Medina will be attending UC Davis in the Fall and is considering Biological Sciences, Political Science, or Sociology as majors.


In addition to the appreciation she has for her family and in her father’s example for the success she has experienced, Samantha is grateful for the staff and friends at Golden Valley High School that have also positively impacted her tenure as a Bulldog. Samantha credits Ms. Filbin, Mrs. Bravo-Ceja, Mr. Flores, Mrs. Richmond, Mrs. Yamauchi, and Ms. Brown as teachers that have influenced her outlook on herself, her future, and her life by providing advice (sometimes beyond academics) when she needed it the most. “They deserve special recognition for all the help they have given me and each of their students,” graciously comments Samantha, “They are some of the best teachers I have had the honor of being in a classroom with.” Furthermore, special memories with her Bulldogs friends have also left an impact with Samantha. From staying on campus late with her mock trial team, going to club meetings, watching musicals at lunch, making incomprehensible inside jokes, sharing advice on any given topic, studying for her driving test, doing eyebrows in Statistics class, or just cheering on the football team from the bleachers - precious memories have been made. “Every single one of my limited high school memories with my friends is special to me, and I will hold onto them for the rest of my life,” smiles Samantha, “And it is thanks to GVHS that I have them.” For the tremendous academic success she has experienced as a result of the support she has received from her family, friends, and staff and for the many precious memories that she has of GVHS that she will cherish forever, Samantha Medina is #BulldogSTRONG.


1Through support from her family, friends, and staff at GVHS, Samantha Medina has had incredible success and memories that she will cherish forever.


What #BulldogSTRONG Means to Samantha: "To me, #BulldogSTRONG means to work hard enough to meet your own goals, not the goals people expect of you. It means to not live by the standards that others have set for you and have pride in the effort you put out. It means recognizing your worth and the respect you deserve.”


What Teachers and Staff Think of Samantha: 

"Samantha Medina is an excellent exemplar of what it means to be #BulldogSTRONG. In the classroom Samantha has shown excellence in her coursework, participation, and her support of her peers. Throughout the school year  Samantha has demonstrated a keen intellect and she has been an active contributor throughout the year in our class meetings. Additionally, she has shown pride and service as a student by committing to a plethora of activities including serving on the WASC Committee, being on the Mock Trial Team, and being in We the People on a Unit that placed 2nd in their hearings. Throughout her time at GV and this school year Samantha has shown the characteristics of Growth, Pride, and Service and she has a bright future ahead of her.” John Hansen, Government/Economics Teacher and We the People Coach, Golden Valley High School


“I have known Samantha for three years and have been her teacher for two. In that time, she has improved her reading and writing skills in Spanish. Samantha has always embraced the challenges of a rigorous academic program and has confronted those challenges unflinchingly. She is well on her way to continuing in college what she started at GVHS – proving that success comes only through dedication, hard work, and perseverance.” Gabriel Flores, AP Spanish Teacher, Golden Valley High School


“Samantha is inquisitive, bright, and always ready to discuss controversial issues with detail. I have enjoyed her wit and wisdom over the last two years.” Terri Richmond, Social Studies Department Chair and WASC Coordinator, Golden Valley High School


“Samantha is a very unique girl! Always willing to help others. Always responsible. Always highly motivated and willing to do her best. I’m very proud of you mija!” Yaneli Bravo-Ceja, AP Spanish Teacher, Golden Valley High School  


“I had the pleasure of getting to know Samantha during her sophomore year in my AP European class. What I remember most about Samantha was that she could be loud and opinionated, but she was also the first student during class to get serious about getting assignments completed and that she was always willing to help her classmates. As I recall, Samantha did exceptionally well on the AP European History Exam, and well deservedly so! Another fond memory I have of Samantha were the earsplitting games of Uno that she and some of her classmates played the last few weeks of class once the AP Exam had been taken. Samantha exhibits the well-rounded qualities of being an exceptional student who also has a playful side.” Tracy Costa, AP European History Teacher, Golden Valley High School 


“I had the pleasure of meeting Samantha on her first day at GV. She was in my ‘most spirited’ English 9 GATE class. Her leadership abilities quickly emerged as she worked to keep all of us on task. Her contributions to class discussions and Socratic seminars were exemplary. She posed questions that others had not thought about, and she enriched and deepened her classmates’ understanding of a text. She also made us laugh. A lot. Samantha and her classmates were fond of a particular sub that I used frequently that year, and the notes I received from the sub were not nearly as thorough and entertaining as the notes and comments I received from Samantha (which occasionally included fire emojis). For her leadership abilities, collaborative skills, and the ability to make us laugh, Samantha proved she was #BulldogSTRONG from day 1. Jamie Contois, English Teacher and ELD Teacher, Golden Valley High School


“Samantha has been a joy to get to know and teach this year, virtually. She is on top of her learning and is a self-starter in so many ways. While maintaining a vigorous academic schedule and subsequent excellent grades, she is still able to maintain a positive, bright attitude in the classroom. She overcomes barriers seemingly easily and keeps me on my toes as a teacher. She is funny, confident, a deep analytical thinker, and pursues the highest form of excellence, and she astounds me daily. She is the epitome of growth, pride, and service as she exhibits these traits every day. In an often challenging year with online learning, Samantha has been a bright light for me as a teacher. I’m honored to have taught her and know she will go on to be successful in her future pursuits in college.” Madison Bealessio, English Teacher and Yearbook Adviser, Golden Valley High School


“I have been lucky enough to have Samantha in classes and clubs for four years.  She has always been amazing., Samantha has given 100% of her energy and efforts into being an academically successful student. She is truly an excellent example of a student who takes great pride in her studies. She is conscientious, thoughtful, and very focused on doing her best.” Judiah Hopkins, Project Lead The Way and Mathematics Teacher, Golden Valley High School


“Samantha is a fantastic young lady! Samantha is a hard worker and always pays close attention to all details. Samantha has the drive to succeed and is very kind and approachable. Without hesitation I know Samantha will be very successful in college and when she finishes will impact the job force in a great way. I very much enjoyed being her Anatomy teacher.” George San Miguel, Anatomy Teacher, Golden Valley High School


“Samantha Medina is such a spirited and dedicated young woman and I have loved getting to know her over the past few years. Samantha is unapologetically herself and encourages those around her to be the same. She exudes confidence and she is a bright spot in the day of everyone that she encounters. She also puts her whole self into everything that she does and this is evident in all of her successes throughout high school. I have witnessed tremendous growth in her through her two years on the Mock Trial team and I could not be more proud of her.” Trisha Brown, Social Studies Teacher/Mock Trial/Head Swim Coach, Golden Valley High School