Hillbrook School alumni Grace Hammers (‘17), Camilla Williamson (‘17), and Ben Makarechian (‘17) were named recipients of the Los Gatos Youth Citizen of the Year Award for 2017. They were honored at a ceremony with the other recipients on Saturday September 30, 2016 in Los Gatos. Young people who receive this award are members of Los Gatos or Monte Sereno and are acknowledged for their exemplary leadership and outstanding service to others within their communities in the past year.
Grace Hammers: During her time at Hillbrook, Grace actively contributed to the school and the greater Los Gatos community. She volunteered her time as a tour guide on campus and regularly volunteered off-campus, serving lunch at Georgia Travis House Shelter and assisted in the classroom at Anne Darling School. She also supported in the classroom, teaching pre-schoolers, in the Playways program at St. Mary’s Church in Los Gatos. In 7th grade, she dedicated her weekly study hall time to be a teacher’s assistant in the 4th grade classroom. In her 8th grade year, Grace pursued a culminating self-guided Capstone project in which she researches how young children play and learn in junior kindergarten. Grace is a freshman at Archbishop Mitty High School.
Ben Makarechian: Ben actively contributed to the school and outside community during his years at Hillbrook, volunteering time as a tour guide at school, participated in monthly off-campus experiences with his advisory, serving lunch at Georgia Travis House Shelter, helping at Our City Forest nursery, and participating in various service efforts through his church group “Edge” at St. Mary’s in Los Gatos. He also worked with two other students on a virtual reality dodgeball project for his 8th Grade Capstone Project, including organizing fundraising for the project through Kickstarter and GoFundMe campaigns. The group also gave a TedX Youth Talk about the project last spring at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco. Ben Makarechian is a freshman at Sacred Heart Preparatory.
In their final year at Hillbrook, Grace and Ben served as Co-Heads of Student Council, peer-elected positions, leading announcements at our school’s weekly all-school assembly, Flag. They also co-facilitated weekly Student Council meetings comprised of approximately 15 5th-8th grade students.
Camilla Williamson: Since her 6th grade year at Hillbrook, Camilla traveled with the school's annual international service trips to Nicaragua, China, and Ecuador. During her time in all three countries, she worked with the local community members, helped to build schools, and led activities for migrant children. She also volunteered regularly for service learning opportunities through Hillbrook, including helping in a classroom at Anne Darling School, working with Our City Forest nursery, and volunteering time with Live Oak Adult Day Services.
Camilla also served as the lead set artist for Hillbrook’s 8th grade play, The Little Mermaid Jr., in her final year and earned an honorable mention to this year’s “Gypsy Robe” award for her focus, support, and teamwork. She also dedicated her creativity to a self-guided Capstone project in which she crafted artifacts for and taught others the art of bookmaking. Camilla is a freshman at Los Gatos High School.
Los Gatos Youth Citizen of the Year Awardees must be local residents and have committed themselves to special projects, community service pursuits, or received special awards. Youth Citizens of the Year will be acknowledged at a Town Council meeting, light the tree at the Los Gatos Tree Lighting Ceremony, and blow the inaugural whistle and ride in the lead car of the Los Gatos Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 2.
Hillbrook students have been nominated, selected, and acknowledged as Los Gatos Youth Citizens of the Year every year since our school was first invited to participate.
Hillbrook School’s recipients of the Los Gatos Youth Citizen Award include:
2017: Grace Hammers, Camilla Williamson, and Ben Makarechian
2016: Alexander Nickel and Liam Strand
2015: Isabel Perez
2014: Olivia Borenstein-Lawee and Courtney Mathisen
2013: JT Belshé and Cole Hammers
2012: Molly Ball
2011: Jordanne Sanford