Hometown: Oxnard, CA
high school: Oxnard
college: Stanford University
MAJOR: Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity
GRAD. PROGRAM: University of California, Los Angeles (2006, MA)
Described by his teachers and guidance counselors as “one of the most impressive students ever to attend Oxnard High School,” Tristan ranked in the top 2% of a graduating class of 520. He is a National Achievement Scholar and winner of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Achievement Award. On statewide exams Tristan earned High Honors in U.S. History and Economics, Honors in Chemistry, Geometry, and Literature, and recognition for his writing ability.
Tristan’s academic accomplishments are all the more impressive because they have been achieved against a background of parental divorce and illness which has necessitated several moves. Living with his grandparents, Tristan excelled in 9th grade at the Academy of Mathematics, Science, and Applied Technology, a prestigious magnet school in Las Vegas. There he participated in the Varsity Band and acted in two drama productions, playing Aide Turkle in “One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest,” and Wally in “The Impossible Years.” He was introduced to a version of Knowledge Bowl, which later became one of his passions.
At the beginning of 10th grade, Tristan joined his mother in California and enrolled at Oxnard High School where he thrived academically and socially. His AP Chemistry teacher remembers him not only for his outstanding work in the class, but also for his “compassion and humanity” in organizing a fund raiser for students who could not afford the fees for the AP exam. Tristan served as Vice President of the school’s National Honor Society, played in the Varsity Band, and acted in a production of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
Tristan excels in academic competitions. He was high scorer of the Knowledge Bowl Team in 10th and 11th grades, and captain in 11th and 12th, leading his team to an 8-0 season his senior year. As a member of the Academic Decathlon team in 11th grade, Tristan won a gold medal for Language and Literature, and silver medals in Speech and Music. He captained the team his last year at Oxnard, receiving gold medals in interview, speech, music, and social studies, a silver in essay, and a bronze in language and literature as well as the team spirit award. Tristan sees these competitions as great stress-relievers. “Put an electronic buzzer in my hand,” he confesses, “and I’m happy!”
Writing about his other accomplishments in the face of daunting obstacles, Tristan strikes a more serious note: “My success is not for me. Rather, my success is for the child I once was and all those children who still are. I want to look at all those children and be able to say, ‘You are the author of your own biography. All success lies upon the belief in the power within.'”