By the time California High senior Denisse Palominos arrives to campus for zero period at 7:20 a.m., she has already prepared her three younger siblings for school while her mother departs for work in Downtown Los Angeles at 6 a.m.
For Palominos – who maintains a 4.1 GPA and is captain the Cal High volleyball team – taking responsibility for the care of others while balancing a full schedule of classes and extracurricular activities comes naturally, earning her respect from classmates, teachers and administrators alike for her cheerful demeanor and leadership skills.
She was recently recognized with an Award of Merit by the Whittier Union Board of Trustees on Nov. 12.
“I’d like to thank my family, and especially my mom for all she’s done for me. She’s always there, even when things are hectic,” Palominos said. “I’d also like to thank everyone at Cal High for their support. I definitely wouldn’t have had all of these opportunities at school without them.”
Inspired by her mother, who works in the Los Angeles County Office of the Assessor, Palominos joined Cal High’s Business Academy. There, she focuses on subjects like accounting and computer information systems while also taking challenging Advanced Placement and honors courses.
Palominos came to the attention of Cal High staff during her sophomore year, when she was a teacher’s assistant in the curriculum office for zero period.
“Denisse didn’t have to be a TA during zero period – she wanted to do it as an act of service,” Cal High Principal Bill Schloss said. “She is an outstanding example of the wonderful students we have at Cal High. They face challenges in their lives, but just keep smiling, working hard and showing up every day. Denisse is going to be a huge success in life because she has the best attitude of anyone I know.”
Palominos fully embraces school life, from ordering uniforms for the volleyball team to being an LCAP Advisory Board student representative. She has been selected as a Cal High’s Student of the Month on three separate occasions.
Looking forward to a career in business and real estate, Palominos has applied to several four-year universities, including UC Davis and Cal State Long Beach.