2019 Teen of the Year Finalists

The Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime (RCGN) has announced the selection of six finalists for 2019 Goleta Teen of the Year honors.

The initial group of teens has been narrowed to six finalists. The recipient of this year’s Teen of the Year award will be determined by a panel of community leaders. The panel will select a winner and runner-up after considering the teen’s application, their participation in the Teen of the Year events, their overall record of community service, the quality of a required presentation to members of the RCGN, and their performance at a panel interview on October 20. The recipient of this year’s Teen of the Year award will be revealed at a presentation of the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime at Glen Annie Golf Club’s Frog Bar and Grill. The winner will be awarded $3,000.00 in college scholarship. All finalists will receive a monetary award and other acknowledgements, including designation of a community charity for donations from the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime.

The finalists (in alpabetical order) for 2019 are:


GTY Finalist Margot Contolini

School Information: Senior at San Marcos High School
Parents: Matteo and Alexa Contolini
Donation: Margot has requested that the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime make a donation on her behalf to Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center

Margot Contolini volunteers at Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center, dedicating her time to helping rehabilitate the differently-abled. Margot is the Public Relations officer on the Health Occupations Students Association (HOSA) Club, in which she has contributed to organizing the school blood drives as well as teaching CPR to students. She is a board member on the Resource Families Association Student Support Club, devoting time to supervising the kids and supporting the foster parents. She is also an Advanced Company member at the Goleta School of Ballet. She plans on earning a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and then attending medical school to ultimately become a pathologist. Her goal is to study and develop cures for cancer as well as other diseases that afflict people all around the world.


GTY Finalist Meghan Downing

School Information: Senior at San Marcos High School
Parents: Dennis Downing and Pearl Francis
Donation: Meghan has requested that the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime make a donation on her behalf to
Extreme Mobility

Meghan Downing, a senior at San Marcos High School, is a legally blind athlete and musician. Meghan is passionate about empowering the disabled, especially the visually impaired. She is an active participant in the Extreme Mobility program (XMO) which offers action sports to the blind to help develop their confidence and independence. Through XMO she has surfed, wake-boarded, snowmobiled, and even downhill skied. Meghan thrives on leadership and helping others in our community. Currently, she is President of the Youth Wellness Connection Club at SMHS, as well as a member of the Youth Wellness Council, run through the Mental Wellness Center. Meghan has been captain of the JV Water Polo and Swim Team at SMHS. She has been the President of the A Capella choir for the past two years. Meghan plans a career in music and has an interest in Teaching or Music Therapy so she can help others through the healing power of music. Currently, Meghan teaches ukulele and guitar to a wide variety of students, including some special needs individuals. She is a lead singer in a pop-rock band and sometimes can be found busking at our local Farmer’s Markets.


GTY Finalist Nora Kelly

School Information: Senior at Dos Pueblos High School
Parents: Brian Kelly and Helen John-Kelly
Donation: Nora has requested that the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime make a donation on her behalf to Medical Missions for Children (MMFC)

Nora has been volunteering with Medical Missions For Children since she was just 11 years old in Rajasthan, India and Cusco, Peru. MMFC is an organization that changes lives by performing free surgeries for children in impoverished regions around the world who are born with cleft lips and palates, along with ear deformities. She annually attends the week-long trip to Cusco, Peru to help organize operating room set-up, assists surgeons in surgery and works intimately with the families and children from every step pre and post-operation. Outside of the week-long mission trips, Nora is pioneering ways to advance MMFC locally by starting toothbrush drives in school for the dental teams and helping set up fundraisers in town to raise money for the missions. Nora’s ambitious and passionate spirit is also pervasive in the local community, as the Editor-in-Chief of The Image, Dos Pueblos’ nationally recognized yearbook, President of her high school’s National Honor Society and an active member of her Varsity mock trial team. Her love for helping others, a knack for leadership, and creative spirit have motivated her to one day attend medical school. Nora wants to become a plastic surgeon and continue to be a part of the change that has inspired her today, closing the gap between modern medicine and third world struggle.


School Information: Senior at Dos Pueblos High School
Parents: Annette and Alex Kowblansky
Donation: Andrew has requested that the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime make a donation on her behalf to Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is a local nonprofit that supports families who have children battling cancer, whether it be with education opportunities, financial situations or activities for the children receiving treatment. Andrew has been working with Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation since his sophomore year of high school and has been greatly impacted by the organization. He has morally connected with the organization since we can see the direct impact volunteering has on our community. After volunteering at his first event, he knew that he needed to help grow the organization. Soon after, he made a local chapter at Dos Pueblos High School. By doing this, he incorporated his peers to become involved with this organization since he wanted them to experience the same fulfillment he received from participating and helping these children and their families. Furthermore, he helped the organization receive more volunteers for their events which was a constant problem they were experiencing. Andrew looks forward to pursuing either biomedical engineering or a premed track in college, to continue supporting the common good of humanity.


GTY Finalist Andy Nguyen

School Information: Senior at Dos Pueblos High School
Parents: Lynn Tran and Philip Nguyen
Donation: Andy has requested that the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime make a donation on her behalf to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital

Andy is a proud and unrelenting volunteer at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. He assists with the sterile processing department, laboratory, and patient transport, gaining over 450 hours of service. He built relationships with nurses, doctors, and a pathologist who he had the opportunity to shadow. Yet, what he is most passionate about is the patients he meets and the bonds he forms― with them even if it is for a brief moment.  Outside of his pursuit in the medical field, Andy is the ASB President of San Marcos High School as well as was the president of several clubs such as Latin Club, Math Club, and ESports Club. He also is a Link Leader, where he supports freshmen as they enter high school, and loves to swim and perform both regular poetry and slam poetry competitively. He is an avid Dungeons & Dragons player.  Soon to be a San Marcos Health Academy graduate, Andy intends on pursuing a Bachelors’s in Immunology and earning a medical degree in Molecular Pathology in order to contribute to the growing field of genetics.


School Information: Senior at Dos Pueblos High School
Parents: Virginia and Daniel Panizzon
Donation: Maya has requested that the Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime make a donation on her behalf to Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Explorer Program

Maya has been part of the Explorers program of the Sheriff’s Office for about four years. She holds a high rank of Corporal, being the second-highest position out of 20 other Explorers ages 14-21. The Explorers program is a mentorship specifically tailored to prepare youth for law enforcement. In the future, she is attending Santa Barbara City College for two years to complete her general education, then transfer to study Mechanical Engineering. The Explorers program has surrounded her with good people, kept her busy serving the community, honed her public relations skills, taught her determination and to work hard, to be committed and dedicated. It is so important for youth to have something like this available because it is these qualities that will see us through the difficult times we will inevitably face in the future. Maya volunteers at most public events within the county such as the Lemon Festival, Firework Shows, parades, races, and many different children events, along with working the EOC during crisis. She is in the Leadership class at Dos Pueblos as well as in the Youth Wellness Connection Club on her campus.