The Citizens Environmental Council (CEC) awarded scholarships to three Burlingame High School (BHS) students who graduated in June: Vanessa Teo (left), Sydney Roncal (right) and Gemma Rice (center).

This was the sixth year that CEC has honored BHS students who have demonstrated a sincere concern for sustainability issues and who have shown promise to continue addressing environmental problems that threaten our future.

Vanessa Teo is the Founder and President of the Bay Area Youth Climate Action Team (BAYCATS) and she has been active in the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter’s Environmental Stewardship Program, Environmental Legislative Action Team and Bay Advocacy 2030 Programs. Vanessa attends U.C. Berkeley, where she intends to complete a double major in applied mathematics and environmental policy or environmental economics.

Sydney Roncal is majoring in Environmental Engineering at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. Inspired by her studies in AP Environmental Science, Sydney started her own home garden and then began a volunteer project with the Burlingame Recreation Center to establish a composting program at the community garden.

Gemma Rice has an exceptional record of public service volunteering, including helping with Girl Scout programs since 2008. Gemma also volunteered at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, where she trained to be a docent, and she attended an Outward Bound Sea Turtle Rescue program in Costa Rica. Gemma is the Founder and President of the Ocean Conservation Club at BHS. She is enrolled in the Honors Pre-Nursing program at California State University, Chico.

Mike McCord, Chair of CEC, said, “We were very impressed with these students, and we are confident that they will continue to have a positive impact in their professional and private lives.”

The CEC Scholarship program has been largely underwritten by the Morris S. Smith Foundation, Sterling Franklin, Trustee.