2019 Young Citizen of the Year
This Westie is awarded to a high school student in the Westlake area who has contributed time, energy, and heart to both their school community and the Westlake community at large. It is in recognition of their outstanding contributions through community service activities that have made them an inspirational role model for other students in the Westlake community.
Finalist: Melissa Khasbagan, Westlake High School Senior
Melissa’s passion is to serve her community and give others access to opportunities. In 2017, she traveled to rural Inner Mongolia. She was shocked at the lack of resources for students learning English. So upon her return to the US, she began collecting books. To continue her work long term, she founded 1000 Books For, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which empowers young changemakers through education and entrepreneurship initiatives. Her youth-led organization operates in nine countries, working with 400 teachers and impacting 35,000 students.
Through her nonprofit work, Melissa has been commended by the Presidential Office of Mongolia and recognized as a 2019 Global Teen Leader, Princeton Prize Winner, and Gloria Barron Prize Honoree. In addition, she is a TEDx, SXSW, and LearnFestATX speaker, promoting youth education and diversity equity.
At Westlake High School, Melissa serves as the President of the Interact Service Club, encouraging students to participate in community-service programs.
Finalist: Leo Lowin, Westlake High School Senior
Leo Lowin will attend the West Point Military Academy in the fall of 2020 on a football scholarship. As Captain of the Westlake Varsity Football Team, Leo helped lead his team to the Texas State Championship Title this past December. Leo exemplifies leadership through his multiple academic and athletic awards and honors including Football Academic All State First Team, Varsity Baseball District First Team, All Star Preps All-Centex Athlete of the Year nomination and multiple academic achievement awards and honors. Leo has a passion for community through his service with Young Men’s Service League as Leadership Chair, Historian and Philanthropy and Meetings committees. His philanthropy work has earned him with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, Veterans and Military Families.
Finalist: Sidharth Srinivasan, Westlake High School Senior
Sidharth lives by the philosophy of “beautiful multiplicity” - driving personal passions to have a positive, snowballing, multiplicative effect on larger populations. This tenet applies across multiple spheres - his choir program involvement, youth entrepreneurship advocacy, or delivering STEM education through his startup, Trashbots. A two-time TMEA All-State Choir member and two-time WHS Musical lead, he occasionally leads the Madrigals and Varsity Choir. Sidharth also co-founded Trashbots, an affordable robotics platform to enhance student STEM, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Almost all EISD schools use Trashbots to inspire kids to learn STEM by doing. As a top 15 US teen entrepreneur (Entrepreneur magazine) and top 15 Innovator Reshaping Texas (Texas Monthly), partnering with LemonadeDay.org, he testified to the Texas House to pass HB-234 to legalize kids’ lemonade stands aSicross Texas and delivered TEDx-style talks, podcasts, and TV interviews (KXAN, FOX7) about his entrepreneurial journey, inspiring kids to experience entrepreneurship through lemonade stands.
Last Year's Winner: Blake Sbrocco, Westlake Senior Class of 2019
Last Year's Winner: Julia Breeden, Westlake Senior Class of 2018
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