2011 Teen Service

Community Volunteer Awards
2011 Honorees
Kailey Chen, Jerry Xiong and Vanessa Martinez
Kailey Chen, Jerry Xiong and Vanessa Martinez

Distinguished Teen Service

Kailey Chen, Jerry Xiong and Vanessa Martinez

Cordova High School has many outstanding students, but three seniors who have demonstrated a particular devotion to community service stand out from the crowd. Kailey Chen, Jerry Xiong and Vanessa Martinez have all worked together in the service of their fellow students and the community in general, while also adding individual accomplishments. They are scholars and leaders, innovators and more. Together and separately, they will leave a remarkable record when graduation day arrives in a few months. 

Kailey Chen is the inspirational president of Cordova High's Key Club, which she has led the largest membership ever. Kailey has inspired Key Club to become involved in a wide range of community events. She has done the same as an officer of the Interact Club. Events ranging from iFest to Kids Day to the Christmas Tree Lighting would not be possible without the hard work of Kailey and her crew.

Kailey's service started early: she was named the outstanding student at Mather Heights Elementary, and was in the Builders Club and leadership at Mitchell Middle School. Her leadership skills have continued to blossom at Cordova High School.

Kailey has taken her Key Clubbers everywhere to volunteer: Veggie Run, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Relay for Life, Easter Pancake Breakfast and more. If it's a holiday for you, it's a work day for Kailey's warriors.

Advisor Alan Withers said this: "Kailey is a natural born leader. She has been the best Key Club leader that I have ever had at Cordova High School in my 20 years of working with Key Club. She has extended the community service that the club has done and she has organized the students into the most valuable volunteer group in the City of Rancho Cordova."

Kailey is an athlete and an outstanding student with a 4.18 grade point average who ranks ninth in her class of 400. She is a Mathlete, a Science Olympiad team member and member of the California Scholarship Federation for the last four years.

A remarkable individual with a heart for service, Kailey is a fantastic young woman who has truly made a difference in her community and at school. She is the future of our All-America City.

Jerry Xiong came to our attention while he was still in middle school where he was involved in leadership and other activities. He stood out from the rest and over the ensuing years would be selected to attend the National Teen Leadership Conference in Washington, DC and to attend the Inaugural Celebration of President Barack Obama.

Jerry's notable service projects have included Lancer Camp, Relay for Life, Lancer Leadership Summit, Interact Club fund-raising projects and more. He was part of Interact Club's first-ever Interact Work Day Project where they helped at the home of a single mother in need of help. He volunteers for speaking assignments as a way to improve his English skills.

Jerry's work has already racked up many awards, including the Community Service Planning Council of Sacramento's People Helping People Youth Volunteer Award and a proclamation from the Rancho Cordova City Council.

Advisor Conrade Mayer had this to say: "Jerry has so much potential, I am often amazed at everything he is able to accomplish. I encourage him to test his abilities often and he always rises to the occasion. When I am working with Jerry it seems as if I am working with an adult and I find myself looking to him for answers because of his leadership."

Jerry spends his summers teaching other members of his Hmong community academic disciplines while saving for his educational future, which is promising. He is a member of the California Scholastic Federation with dreams of one day becoming a scientist in the discipline of biology. His work ethic and focus on his bright future has produced a personal pathway that has success around every corner.

Vanessa Martinez' happy personality is an immense asset as she leads as president of the Cordova High School Interact Club. In addition to helping at the many Cordova Community Council events, Vanessa has led her charges in clean-up of the American River Parkway, the Rancho Cordova Parade at the State Fair and many other activities.

Her record of community service was so strong, she was selected as a teen representative on the Rancho Cordova All-America City delegations to both Tampa in 2009 and the 2010 winning team at Kansas City. She has also been selected to serve as an intern here in City Hall, which is both an honor and a challenge afforded only the strongest Cordova High students.

Vanessa's heart for the world is huge. She is the founder and creator of Cordova High School's "Charity Arts Night." Vanessa was so inspired at a youth leadership conference by the overwhelming need in other countries that she took it upon herself to bring forward Charity Arts Night. She took responsibility for organizing the event in order to raise funds for water projects in Africa, Peru and for relief efforts in Haiti.

Advisor Conrade Mayer said: "Due to Vanessa's efforts, Interact Club has doubled in size in the past two years. Thanks to her leadership, for the first time ever, Interact Club committed to continuing club meetings over the summer, spreading the organization's important service work."

Kailey, Jerry and Vanessa, Cordova High School has produced many fine leaders and you join that elite group of the best among the best. Rancho Cordova is so proud to call you her own, though we certainly expect to someday share you with the world.

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