Every year, the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime’s community service award program identifies stellar high school seniors who are nominated for their volunteerism and community involvement.
Bainou is a volunteer for the Goleta Union School District’s special education summer school program, Santa Barbara Zoo Camp, the Santa Barbara Kids Triathlon Camp, Nite Moves and his church’s Vacation Bible School, and is an AYSO soccer referee.
He heads the Channel Islands Junior State of America and is a member of the Dos Pueblos cross country, track and soccer teams, the Mock Trial team, the Triathlon Club and JSA.
As Teen of the Year, Bainou won the program’s $2,250 scholarship and a $500 savings bond from the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. Runner-up Mallary McCauley, also a senior at Dos Pueblos, was awarded $1,750 in scholarship money.
The experience with the program was incredible, Bainou said, and he will encourage all of his friends to get involved for the next year.
“Standing up there, listening to all the other finalists be introduced — it really put into perspective what a great group of teens this is,” he said.
Even before the program began, he had met all the finalists before, either through clubs or junior high school.
“This program was the venue and opportunity to get to know them all better,” said, the son of Mary and Henri Bainou.
He said he is applying to about 16 universities and isn’t sure where he wants to go, but he can’t wait to get acceptance letters and visit campuses. He hopes to go to law school and become an attorney specializing in constitutional law.
McCauley is a leader of Young Life and its Wyld Life junior high group and is involved in the anti-bullying group Peer Mediators. She’s most proud of getting a job when she was 15 and being able to buy her own car at 16.
For their Teen of the Year essays, the finalists had to explain what they would take to a deserted island. McCauley said the 30 days away from the world would be a gift, and a chance to reflect on life.
Every finalist was allowed to donate $100 from the Rotary Club to a charity of their choice.
Mr. Santa Barbara himself, Larry Crandell, announced the winner and runner-up, and told the group that they “perform as handsomely as you look.”
“I could pick any five of the seven of you, and I personally am older than the sum (of your ages),” noted Crandell, who is now 90 and isn’t likely to ever grow out of his sense of humor.
This year’s other five finalists were Dos Pueblos seniors Zacharias Garza, Nimisha Shinday and Lauren VanValkenburgh, and San Marcos High School seniors Sofia Lochner and Duncan Proctor.
At Thursday night’s ceremony, hosted at the UCSB Faculty Club and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime, local leaders also honored last year’s winner, 2011 Teen of the Year Shandeep Ahdi, a freshman at UC Santa Barbara.
“As a former Goleta teen myself and one who struggled a lot, it’s great to see this altruism from teens,” Williams said.
Ahdi, a pre-biopsychology major with aspirations of graduating early and attending medical school, congratulated the current class of finalists.
“Without students like you, this community wouldn’t be the way it is,” she said.
The Goleta Teen of the Year program, now in its 37th year, is open to high school students at Bishop Diego, Dos Pueblos, Laguna Blanca and San Marcos high schools and living within the 93110, 93111 or 93117 ZIP codes.
In addition to the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime, the program is sponsored by Deckers Outdoors Corp., Goleta Jewelers, the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and Luxury Limousine.
The Goleta Teen of the Year committee was chaired by Barbara Klein, who was joined by Sunanda Bhargava, Connie Burns, Michael Gartzke, David Gore, Steve Jones, Christine LeBon, Patricia McFarland, Karin Napel, Sheridan Rosenberg, Reyne Stapelman and Clara van Meeuwen.
This year’s judges were Burns, a retired real estate agent and past Goleta Teen of the Year committee chairwoman; McFarland, a senior trust administrator at Accrued Benefit Administrators; Goleta Union School District Superintendent Bill Banning; Errin Cecil-Smith, corporate communications director at Deckers Outdoor Corp.; Goleta City Councilman Ed Easton; Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen; and Eric Onnen, CEO of Santa Barbara Airbus.
Click here for more information about Goleta Teen of the Year.