Join the ITE Community!

Join the ITE Community!

The ITE EcoNetwork

The EcoNetwork is made up of youth, ages 14-20, who are currently in ITE programs and actively contribute to the ITE community, as well as 200+ young alumni who have participated in programs in the past.

Youth who are part of the EcoNetwork are among the first to be recruited for paid and unpaid ITE Internships and have access to ITE EcoNetwork Benefits and Services.



Contact

Do you have questions about the EcoNetwork or EcoPrograms?

Email Kristen Sawyer, Youth Development Manager, at Kristen@ironwoodtreeexperience.org

ITE EcoPrograms & Internships

EcoNetwork Youth 2022

Terra Gomez

Terra Gomez (she/they)

Terra Gomez

Hi! My name is Terra Simone, and I’m an architecture student in the CAPLA program through the UofA. I was born and raised here in Tucson and enjoy learning about community and sustainability, which is why I love ITE. Through ITEs various internships and opportunities, I have learned so much about the earth and the connection I have to the earth (more specifically, my connection and love for my home here in the Sonoran Desert). While on a trip with ITE, we visited the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, which is where I found my desire to study and become an architect. I hope to someday design and build homes that work with and are made from the environment around.

ITE Internships & Programs: Envisioning Urban to Wild 2022, Community Action Toolkit 2020, Desert Youth Heritage Project 2020, Wilderness Warriors 2019, EcoNetwork 2019-2022

YASWC – Carlos

Carlos Raygoza (he/him)

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Carlos has been with ITE for 3+ years. He enjoys hiking, camping, and balancing nature time with his work schedule.

ITE Internships and Programs: Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2020, EcoNetwork 2019-2022

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Mimi Breault-Evans (she/her)

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Mimi has been with ITE for 2+ years and has participated in various programs and internships. She is an avid reader and writer, and enjoys interviewing her family members for ITE projects, observing the dinosaur birds in her yard, and traveling to the east coast to see the water and sand dunes.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2020, WorldWildWeb 2020, Desert Youth Heritage Project 2021 &  YAC Advisory Committee, EcoNetwork 2020-2022

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Blake James (he/him)

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My name is Blake James, I am 15 years old in my sophomore year of high school. I love hiking, camping, playing video games, watching movies, watching football, and writing fiction stories. I am mostly American but am part Irish, Ukrainian, and German. My Favorite thing about nature is how animals and people can adapt so well. For example there is water that we can drink, trees that give shade which can make the ground up to 30 degrees cooler, and some plants even have food that some animals and people live off of.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2021, Desert Youth Heritage Project 2021, EcoNetwork 2021-2022

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Jesus Mendoza-Villela (he/him)

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I am Jesus Mendoza-Villela, I am 16 years old and I go to UHS. I love to listen to music pop and classical music, watch tv and attend/participate in school competitions. What I love about the environment is nature and how different species evolve.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth for Blue Skies 2022, Envisioning Urban to Wild 2022, Creativity on the Fly 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

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Jorge Abril (he/him)

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I’m from Nosotros Academy and I’m a graduate of class of 2022. I’ve been very lucky to attend the ITE trips. I love how nature is just so quiet and it’s so beautiful you get to learn new things about nature good and the bad things and to see all the life out there that you don’t get to see in the city.

ITE Programs and Internships: Envisioning Urban to Wild 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

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Samantha Miranda (she/her)

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My name is Samantha, I’m sixteen years old and I have done the Youth for Blue Skies internship with Ironwood Tree Experience. It has given me so many new opportunities and it has taught me so many new skills and has allowed me to meet some incredible people. I find nature fascinating in so many ways but especially in all of the life that it holds and how all of that life lives in harmony together. I think the diversity and symbiotic relationships in nature serve as a great example for how our communities should be.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth for Blue Skies 2022, Envisioning Urban to Wild 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

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Bianca Carnazza (she/her)

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My name is Bianca. I’m a senior at Rincon. What I love about ITE is that it’s very supportive, nurturing, and is a judgment-free zone. I’ve done 3 programs with ITE: YAC, DYHP, and Youth for Blue Skies. For me, I love how community and nature come together when it’s really important. For example, there were a bunch of kids who did a walk out to show their passions. Community is about action, family, being supportive, and beauty!

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2021, Desert Youth Heritage Project 2022, Youth for Blue Skies 2022, Envisioning Urban to Wild 2022, EcoNetwork 2020-2022.

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Jazmine Lopez (she/her)

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Hello! my name is Jazmine Lopez. I’m 16 years old and I am a mix of Mexican and Native American specifically the Tohono O’odham Nation. Growing up I wasn’t very connected with my culture but as I become more of my own person I find more of an interest in my traditions. I’m starting off by reconnecting myself with nature because I know that natives are very connected to this earth because mother earth has given us everything and we should be thankful for that. i’m hoping that the more I work with ITE the more I’ll be connected with the earth. this trip to New Mexico will be the second trip I’ve taken with ITE. on our last trip we ventured to Mount Lemmon it was one of the highlights of that time for me. I got to spend time with some good friends and experience the beauty of nature. I think ITE is an amazing program because it gives you the chance to realize that we can get entertainment and amazing memories without technology.

ITE Programs and Internships: Envisioning Urban to Wild 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

Santos

Santos Cardeñas (he/him)

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Santos has been with ITE for 2+ years through programs and school field trips. He is an avid mushroom whisperer, often finding them before ITE field staff even can. He enjoys camping, walking, making art with devil’s claws in nature, and traveling.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2021, Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2022, Wilderness Warriors 2022, EcoNetwork 2021-2022

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Destiny Shosieduran (she/her)

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Destiny has been with ITE for 2+ years. She is an avid writer and loves to explore nature. She is interested in learning more about climate change because she has learned a lot about air pollution and other environment injustices but her knowledge on climate change is very minimal. She’s heard many different opinions on climate change but hasn’t gotten hands on learning or solid facts about it. She believes it is important to have more information on this subject especially because of how much it truly impacts not just one state but the whole world. Climate change is something that creates a chain reaction within environments and human nature.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2021, Desert Youth Heritage Project 2021, Youth for Blue Skies 2022, EcoNetwork 2021-2022

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Oscar Delgado (he/him)

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I am Oscar Delgado; I go to Nosotros Academy. I value that ITE doesn’t care about how weird you act. My last ITE internship I have done with ITE was Wilderness Warriors. I value how many animals are in these community’s and how they evolved to live in these areas.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2022, Wilderness Warriors 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

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Gabriella Olm (she/her)

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I am interested in learning about intersectional environmentalism. From a young age I’ve been taught about environmental consciousness and its importance. Being able to learn about the environment and preservation of it, is fascinating and it has become a very important part of my everyday life. This past year I was able to learn more about intersectional identity and why intersectionality should be recognized, which interested me a lot. Learning about environmentalism and how it impacts diverse people is very compelling and sounds right up my alley.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth for Blue Skies 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

James

James Alcaraz (he/him)

James

I like trees and water, lakes, rivers, I’m passionate about being outdoors and learning new things. I’m curious about harvesting food from bushes etc, my favorite classes are history and PE. I’d like to learn how to harvest foods and how to survive outdoors, I call home wherever I can sleep at and I hope to learn medical certification, farming, and cooking as I get older. The sun on my skin helps me feel connected while outside, and the smell of rain in the Sonoran desert.

ITE Programs and Internships: YASWC 2022, Wilderness Warriors 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

Julia Ortiz Tzul

Julia Ortiz-Tzul (she/her)

Julia Ortiz Tzul

Julia has been with ITE for 3+ years since she went on an ITE hike with her gardening class. She joined her first internship and has been in almost every program since. She loves running and walking in nature, connecting with birds and all creatures, traveling the world (she’s currently in France for her senior year), and interviewing and recording stories.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2020, WorldWildWeb 2020, Desert Youth Heritage Project 2021, YAC Advisory Board, Wilderness Warriors 2022, Creativity on the Fly 2022, EcoNetwork 2020-2022

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Ali Soland (they/thwm)

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I’ve been really enjoying learning about environmental education and all of the aspects of the Sonoran Desert through my previous internship with the Arizona Trail Association. I’m taking as many chances as I can to learn more and to spend more time with this environment. Ali is also passionate about restorative justice, environmental activism, and the intersections of mental health and nature.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth for Blue Skies 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

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Analuisa Santos (she/her)

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My favorite thing in nature is the smell of the air I just think it’s so natural. I’m very passionate about seeing new things and trying out new stuff. My favorite class is graphic design, I love art projects, and I like to learn about animals. Places I call home is where I feel safe. I would consider school home. I hope to learn how to grow and how to grow a healthy body.

ITE Programs and Internships: EcoNetwork 2022

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Narciso Gonazalez (he/him)

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I am 17. I love art. I love the beach. I am passionate about being a good person that people can count on and I love to read. I live with my mom and two sisters and I’m always ready to go!

ITE Programs and Internships: EcoNetwork 2022

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Damaris Rivera (she/her)

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I am in a lot of activities I do a public high school for example Im in swim, soccer, hiking, and biking, two of those which are with Mr. Somoza, and then I’m also in student council. I feel like this could be a great way for me to learn more about nature and I could spread more of the worry about nature to Pueblo High School which then would be more environmentally friendly.

ITE Programs and Internships: YASWC 2022, Wilderness Warriors 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

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Joel Moreno (he/him)

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I love nature and I’m a very outside person…but also not (lol). I participate in biking and hiking clubs at school as well.

ITE Programs and Internships: EcoNetwork 2022

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Mia Ramirez (she/her)

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I love nature, hiking but I definitely love learning new things around me. I love art, my preferred mediums are acrylic and watercolors. I also want to work in the science field, I love art and all but learning new things everyday is so much more fun.

ITE Programs and Internships: EcoNetwork 2022

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Jacob Peters (he/him)

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My favorite thing about nature has to be climbing even if it’s not considered a biological subject but I really enjoy different amphibians and reptiles within nature. I’m most passionate about physical activities such as climbing, and hiking because i love how they bring me into nature and I can experience the outdoors more but I also enjoy rugby as a way of somewhat letting out my aggression that we all contain over time. I’m most curious about definitely reptiles such as snakes, geckos, and frogs but any amphibian/reptile is very interesting to me. My favorite classes are JROTC, Biotech, and Spanish because I enjoy increasing my knowledge on language, biology, and also physical activities. The places I call home are obviously my home but I find my most peaceful and inviting places in the mountains; I’ve always found them peaceful and beautiful and I’ve spent a lot of time hiking and climbing in them with my family over the years. What I hope to learn as I get older would probably be about how I can be a more humble and loving person to the people around me to be a facet for their passions and dreams.

ITE Programs and Internships: EcoNetwork 2022

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Angela Marcos (she/her)

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Angela is a senior in high school and is a visual artist who combines nature and culture into painted works of art.

ITE Programs and Internships: Creativity on the Fly 2022

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Michaelle Vega (she/her)

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Michaelle is a visual artist who loves nature, movement and creativity. Along with spending time in nature, she manages the cross country team. She creates works of digital art that capture the complexity of our natural world.

ITE Programs and Internships: Creativity on the Fly 2022

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Audrey Bellows (she/her)

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I am especially connected to nature because I went to a Montessori school for middle school and every quarter we would go on a camping trip and at the end of the year we would go on a big trip (one year we went on a river trip and the second we went to Prescott). I think those experiences highlighted my love of nature and it brought me closer to the Hermosa community. My mom’s side of the family first came to Tucson in the 70’s from Taiwan, and it was difficult for them to live here, as there weren’t a lot of other Asians (there still aren’t) and people were prejudiced. I always thought it would be easier if they had just gone to LA or Flushing like our other relatives, but over time I’ve found I still love this city even though there’s something left to be desired in terms of finding other people like me.

ITE Programs and Internships: Nature and Culture Beyond Borders 2019, Desert Youth Heritage Project 2021, Wilderness Warriors 2022, Creativity on the Fly 2022, EcoNetwork 2019-2022

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Juan Manuel Fierros (he/him)

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Tucson has always been my home. I have never lived anywhere outside of the south side, which to me is the cultural epicenter of Tucson. The strong northern Mexican and northern indigenous peoples influence on the south side is one that has kept my side of town a cultural and economic epicenter for the residents here. With the nature of the south side it is a flourishing landscape, but one in which is slowly industrializing more with more infrastructure being put in place of the desert. In areas outside of the metropolitan south side, such as the Tucson mountains, my relationship to the desert is widened with seeing an abundant amount of cactus, wildlife, and scenic views of the landscape that isn’t visible elsewhere. I appreciate it for the beauty, and I hope it never goes anywhere. The relationship I have to my surroundings is a more mutualistic approach. I am provided with a nice living environment, not to mention I always make sure to clean up wherever a mess is left, in turn the local environment would benefit from my acts of cleanliness. I like knowing that my own cleanliness is somewhat helping the desert. This desert has been here for hundreds and thousands of years, and although my ancestors don’t come directly from Tucson, or the Sonoran desert, it is officially a part of my cultural history, because my family and I live here. I choose to educate myself and others about the place where I live because I know it has a huge hold on who I am as a person, but it also has a huge hold on the indigenous residents of the land itself. And I believe it is one that needs to be preserved and praised.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2020, Desert Youth Heritage Project 2021

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Deshawn Davis (he/him)

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Deshawn is a tree-loving gardener who currently works for Tucson Clean and Beautiful focusing on planting native trees and addressing issues of shade equity. He can be found around ITE or other natural spaces in Tucson learning about culture, fungi, desert gardening, climate change, deforestation, and any other number of topics.

ITE Programs and Internships: Wilderness Warriors 2022, WorldWildWeb 2020, EcoTruths for Indigenous Youth 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

Dot

Dot Pallanes (they/them)

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When asked to describe the Santa Cruz River Valley, Dot says, “The Santa Cruz and the Sonoran desert have been the home and migrating path for the Yaqui, Tohono O’odham and Hohokam people since time immemorial. The ecosystem is unique to the Sonoran desert- we have drought resistant plants like the saguaro and we have water gulping plants like desert cotton wood. the color pallet of this place is a bright baby blue, jade and olive green, and a dark brown and dark purple. the people here are a community of veterans, auto workers, hippies, white liberals, chicano boys and girls, and many an athlete. Everyone has a different story here and they can all be shared over delicious food on any corner of the city.”

Dot is currently studying fashion and environmentalism at university on the east coast. They also work as a teacher for the EcoTruths for Indigenous Youth program, and they’ve been on our advocacy panel for Youth for Blue Skies.

ITE Programs and Internships: Wilderness Warriors 2019, Desert Youth Heritage Project 2020, Community Action Toolkit 2020, WorldWildWeb 2020, EcoTruths for Indigenous Youth 2022, EcoNetwork 2019-2022

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Jasper Konrad (he/him)

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Jasper has been participating in ITE programs since 2019. He loves walking, hiking, and birds. For his contribution to Creativity on the Fly, he wrote, “I drew this picture because I enjoy watching these multicolored birds at Sweetwater Wetlands and other ponds in Tucson. They are very entertaining because of their surprising behaviors like fluffing up their feathers, mating and chasing their mates, and nesting in cavities of dead trees. Their habitat is threatened by lack of open water, lack of adequate vegetation, pesticide use, and sometimes they are still hunted by humans. We need to continue to provide safe places for these animals to live in our community.”

ITE Programs and Internships: Nature and Culture Beyond Borders 2019, WorldWildWeb 2020, Creativity on the Fly 2022, EcoNetwork 2019-2022

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Mileah Yancey (she/her)

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My favorite thing about nature is the mystery of things we do not know about and being able to learn new things about the system of the plants and animals in nature. I am passionate about protecting the environment to the best of our ability because once it’s gone, we won’t be able to go back to the way things used to be. I take and environmental science class and I think it’s interesting to learn about all of the ways that humans are harming the planet so I know how I can help to preserve it.

ITE Programs and Internships: EcoNetwork 2021-2022

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Oscar Rios Sanchez (he/him)

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My favorite thing about nature is the warmth, the exploring and encountering new wildlife and the tracks of different species. I’m passionate about basketball because that’s where I want to further my career along with other experiences that open up opportunities to me. My favorite classes are science, math and P.E. A favorite project of mine was I was offered to participate in a science fair where my project was how much bacteria is in places of everyday use. Places I call home are where I’m with the people who care about me and help me to throughout my paths in life. As I get older in life I hope to learn as much as I can and get a variety of different information that I can pass down to my children.

ITE Programs and Internships: EcoNetwork 2021-2022

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Kierra Harrison (she/her)

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Nature is a magical wonderland full of billions of different qualities. We, humans, use certain aspects and parts of it to guide and aid us, but there is still so much that we don’t know, or never will. My goal is to learn as much as I can about this amazing world I’ve been born into, and to simply appreciate it when I’m not knowledgeable. I like to think that I am connected to nature as a student, and admirer. As for community, I am not as connected as I would often like to be. I hope that by participating in programs like this one that I might find more belonging, and help those surrounding me more than I do today.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth Ambassadors for Southwest Cultures 2021, EcoNetwork 2021-2022

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Drew Cruz (they/them)

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What community means to me is when people get together and are like a family taking care of each other. I feel most connected to the environment when my family and I go to the mountains to go hiking or camping. The skills I’m bringing to the team is leadership and I like to make good decisions. Most of my teachers always tell me that I’m like a mom to people because I will be nice with them and take care of them and listen to their ideas while trying to see how they would work.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth for Blue Skies 2022, EcoNetwork 2022

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Araceli Romero (she/her)

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To me, community means different species live together and help each other survive and grow. All species rely on others to perform certain tasks, for example plants need insects to help spread their pollen or humans need trees and plants for oxygen. I feel most connected to the environment when I am surrounded by nature, specifically in the mountains. This is because when I am in nature I can interact closely with all species I hear or see slightly in my everyday life, when I’m closer to it I can get a better look and feel more connected to the things around me that help me survive and grow.

ITE Programs and Internships: Youth for Blue Skies 2022

ITE Young Alumni

YAC – Gianna

Gianna Alvarenga

YAC – Gianna
CAT – Andrea

Andrea Casas

CAT – Andrea
YAC – Miguel

Miguel Ceballos

YAC – Miguel
Matvey

Matvey Cronyn

Matvey
s (32 of 41)

Gabe Sampliner

s (32 of 41)
YAC – Sebrana

Sebrana Dowayee

YAC – Sebrana
Diego Gray

Diego Gray

Diego Gray
YAC – Hako

Hakó Kaplan

YAC – Hako
Sam

Sam Love

Sam
Michaela Silva

Michaela Silva

Michaela Silva
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Josh Heath

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Love

Lové Garcia

Love
Isaiah

Isaiah Haley

Isaiah
Diego

Diego Huerta

Diego
Nola

Nola Stockam

Nola
EMC – Yada

Yada Leal

EMC – Yada
Annie

Annie Hanson

Annie
YAC – Ben

Ben Ge

YAC – Ben
YAC – Claire

Claire Yarrington

YAC – Claire
YAC – Gabe

Gabe Sampliner

YAC – Gabe
home_fss

Josh Levine

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YAC – Lydia

Lydia Ge

YAC – Lydia
Will

Will Kleiner

Will
YAC – Izaiah

Izaiah Provencio

YAC – Izaiah
Ethan

Ethan Shooshtari

Ethan
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David Cervantes

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Abbey

Abbey Mandell

Abbey
Samantha

Samantha Duranta

Samantha
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Quinn Weltzin

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Phoebe Meixner

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Alegria

Alegría Gray

Alegria
Jared Russo

Jared Russo

Jared Russo
YASWC – Clarissa

Clarissa Savel

YASWC – Clarissa
YAC – Samantha

Samantha Zazueta

YAC – Samantha
Jazleen

Jazleen de la Vara

Jazleen
Pino

Arthur Pino

Pino
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Aimee Reynolds

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Ivy Miller

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Ally Friberg-Landon

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