Desert Sands's CalRTA 2021 Scholarships

CalRTA 2021 Scholarships

CalRTA 2021 Scholarships
Posted on 04/26/2021
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CalRTA recognized seven of our very own DSUSD class of 2021 seniors who were their scholarship recipients.

Derek Carmona

Space beckons Derek Carmona, a soon-to-be summa cum laude graduate of La Quinta High School. He has already been a co-enrollee at College of the Desert, studying mathematics to help prepare for a career in electrical or aerospace engineering. He’s interested in attending Cal Poly Pomona or CSU Long Beach, but may start at COD. Hobbies include staying fit and competitive multi-player games such as League of Legends. You may also run into him at a certain local big box store, where he works part time. 


Sergio Casarrubias

Is there time for anything else when you march in Indio High School’s The Pride of the Desert Marching Band? For Sergio Casarrubias the answer is yes!  He’s a magna cum laude scholar with California Scholarship Federation membership, five senior-year AP classes, a published article in The Desert Sun, acting with The Circle Theatre Acting company with a fondness for improv and musical theater, water boy for Indian Wells Ironman Triathlon, Wind Symphony member, and studying French in an effort to become trilingual.

Antonio Catanzarite

A former English teacher describes Palm Desert High School’s Antonio Catanzarite as “fully capable of writing and debating at the college level,” one who excels at rhetoric and persuasion. This can only stand him in good stead as the scientist he wants to become, as he creates the technological and scientific collaborations to meet pressing environmental problems. Eagle scout, swim team competitor, blood donor, lymphoma fundraiser, lighting technician, musical theater actor, winning Botball team robotics coder and builder, and of course summa cum laude scholar.

Luke Ceja

Shadow Hills High School’s Luke Ceja makes the world a better place by rolling up his sleeves and pitching in – compassion through action – whether doing park and graffiti cleanup in Indio, packing boxes and serving food to the needy, helping Rotary at the county fair, providing valentines for senior home residents, and leading DeMolay activities. He has committed to attending California Baptist University in the fall, where he wants to major in finance. To start saving a nest egg, he has worked outdoors as a laborer at a Headstart nursery in Mecca. An excellent scholar-athlete as well, Luke golfs and is a co-founder of the Bowling Club at Shadow Hills HS.


Dakota Frazer

Will there be lawyers on Mars? There might be if Dakota Frazer has a say; he is very Interested in law, physics related engineering and Mars exploration. He has walked glaciers in Alaska and the rainforest in Belize. He has cultivated friendships around the world and has a global perspective. When not maintaining a summa cum laude level of scholarship or studying for AP Statistics or Physics at Shadow Hills High School, he relaxes as a Dungeons and Dragons gamemaster. If he doesn’t end up back east at an Ivy League school, California will be happy to have him attend in state.


Tatum Mahoney

Some people you should simply never argue with. Interested in law, Tatum Mahoney has been an avid debater since sixth grade, as coach, judge, competitor and workshop presenter. Her mastery of critical thinking, research, argumentation and public speaking will help at COD. With no program at Horizon High School, she created her own team with an out-of-state peer. They won first place in NextGen Debate’s inaugural high school tournament. Maintaining summa cum laude grades, she also finds time to hostess at a restaurant. She is a girls’ STEM advocate and AVID tutor and is active in Girl Scouts.


Danica Larson

A former teacher of Palm Desert High School’s Danica Larson writes of her: She radiates “…beauty and kindness to others through selfless service.” She is Desert Sands’ school board student rep; she serves on the DSUSD Diversity and Equity Committee and PD High’s School Site Council. An Honor Roll student and cheerleading captain, she volunteers with the National Charity League, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Alzheimer’s Association, and Meals on Wheels. She to plans to continue to serve, as a third-generation teacher and eventually a lawyer. But first, political science studies at a university in the Northwest, Hawaii, Arizona, or Southern California.

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