18 Under 18: Notable Novato High Students

Youtube sensation Kane Parsons holding his Gold Play Button, awarded for reaching 1 million subscribers

Marguerite Marley, Reporter

Novato High is full of exceptional students. Here’s a list of 18 students doing exceptional things all across campus.

  1. Zach Lee (‘22): With all the things Zach Lee has done at Novato High, it’s no wonder he got accepted into Princeton.  He’s been in the MSA musical theater program for all 4 years. His favorite productions include Small Mouth Sounds, The Music Man and Young Frankenstein.  He was nominated for a best supporting performer at the Rita  Moreno California High School Musical Honors. Outside of musical theater, he enjoys songwriting and learning languages. He chose Princeton because of its “strong balance in its academic and artistic learning environment” as well as its proximity to New York City.  He plans on majoring in musical theater with a concentration in Spanish
  2. Rustin Barth (‘22): Rustin Barth is the first student at Novato High to receive a scholarship for Esports. He was offered scholarships from Culver-Stockton, West Virginia University, and Pensacola State College, University of Nebraska, Missouri Valley College, and the University of New Haven. He plans to attend Culver-Stockton, majoring in criminal justice.
  3. Maggie Childers (‘22): Maggie Childers believes there’s no time like the present to write a 400 page novel. A senior creative writing student, she has an incredible passion for the craft of writing, and though the novel isn’t complete yet, she’s already hired an editor. She’s looking to get it published sometime over the summer. The novel, called Magpie, explores how sometimes harrowing experiences can change you for the worse and how recovery isn’t always linear.
  4. Ben Simpson (‘22): Ben Simpson is a senior in both Theater Arts and Cinematic Arts. This year, he filmed The Tempest for the Lenaea High School Theater Festival. He played Igor in the Marin School of the Arts production of Young Frankenstein, he was nominated for a Rita Moreno Award for Lead Actor in a Musical. Simpson plans to attend Iowa Cornell College in Iowa to study Musical Theater.
  5. Scott MacQuarrie (‘22): Scott MacQuarrie plays trombone for MSA’s Jazz 1 and wind ensemble. He started playing the trombone the summer before he started 6th grade. As a freshman, he was put in a jazz band dominated by juniors and seniors. As an exceptional student learning music, MacQuarrie is always trying to reach higher and higher levels. His advice to students is, “don’t sweat the small stuff. Just have fun!
  6. Kaley McIntyre  (‘22): Kaley McIntyre is a highly decorated swimmer both inside and outside of Novato High School. She was a finalist in the Speedo Champion Series in 2018 as well as a finalist in the Arizona Short Course Senior Open Championships in 2019. She plans to attend New York University to study history and  swim for the University.
  7. Kane Parsons (‘23): Earlier this year, Kane Parson’s short film “The Backrooms” went viral. The video has over 25 million views on YouTube and his YouTube channel Kane Pixels has around 1.2 million followers. A very talented filmmaker, Parsons has developed a giant following and has brought a lot of positive attention to MSA Cinematic Arts.
  8. Ava Nielsen (‘23): Ava Nielsen is an accomplished equestrian rider and has made waves in the equestrian competition world. She competes in Dressage, Show Jumping, and cross country. 
  9. Kekoa Madayag (‘23):  Junior star wrestler Kekoa Madayag made headlines earlier this school year when he qualified and placed first in the North Coast Section tournament for the 100 lb weight class. He was also named MCAL boy Wrestler of the Year.
  10. Coco Spargur (‘23 ): Coco Spargur was one of over 20 students from the MSA creative writing program to be honored at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She won a Gold Key (the highest award) at the county, state, and national levels in the personal essay category. Spargur will be traveling to New York this summer to accept the award. 
  11. Noah Chhan (‘23): Noah Chhan  started playing guitar at age four. The talented guitarist has been in the MSA advanced rock band for three years and has performed at showcases, concerts and homecoming games, impressing many. He loves playing R and B as well as neo-soul. His favorite place to play is in garages with his friends.
  12. Bryden Thielenhaus (‘23): Bryden Thielenhaus is an incredibly talented swimmer. He won first place at the PC OAPB Far Western LCM Championships in the 100 L Fly. He has also been commended by the USA Swimming Scholastic All-America. More recently he won the 200 yard freestyle competition at MCALs as well as placing second in the 100 fly. Though only a junior, he is already committed to UC-Santa Barbara.
  13. Lizbeth Mendieta (‘23): Over the past four years, Mendieta has been on the Marin County Youth Commission. She has worked on the Racial Equity Subcommittee with teachers and students to start a conversation of race and privilege in the classroom. She has also been a Peer Health Promoter for the Novato Teen Clinic for the past two years, helping teens with their sexual and mental health. She was recently recognized by the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership and was recognized as Youth Volunteer of the Year.
  14. Jessica Mendieta (‘24): Jessica Mendieta is the chair of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs prevention subcommittee within the Marin County Youth Commission. Her subcommittee this year focused on Narcan training and distribution. Additionally, she is part of the RxSafe Marin Youth Action Team. The Youth Action Team works with the County Office of Education to ensure all middle and high schools in Marin stock Narcan (a drug that has the ability to reverse overdoses) on campus. She also works with Jackie Davis to develop curriculum guidelines for high schools on substance abuse focused on harm: reduction-based education.
  15.  Lyla Stanger (‘24):  Lyla Stanger works with other teenagers to spread awareness about pressing topics in our world. In 7th and 8th grade She joined a club called Children 4 Change. During her freshman year, she started the club at Novato High educated people on homelessness and hunger in Marin and went to the Marin Food Bank. This year, along with Surabhi Chinta, she created the Women’s Empowerment Club, where she ran the period product drive and went to the Marin Teen Girls Conference with the club. She is also the president of a club called Invent2Prevent where she works to prevent hate crimes. Recently, Stanger won an award for Youth Volunteer of the Year in Marin and Napa county at the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership. 
  16. Alysha Lee (‘24): Alysha Lee has been dancing since she was four years-old. She started dancing classical ballet as well as Chinese folk dance in San Francisco. She is currently in her first year in the MSA dance program. Her favorite styles of dance include jazz and classical ballet. She was recently honored with an award at the Bay Area arts contest for a contemporary ballet piece she performed.
  17. Luana Stathopolous (‘24): won second place in the MCAL boys championship (there weren’t enough wrestlers in her girls class) as well as placing second in the North Coast Section tournament in the girls’ division. She was also named the MCAL female Wrestler of the Year.
  18. Sophia DeMoe (‘25): Despite being a freshman, DeMoe won several awards for her writing. She was first honored in a Creative Writing Challenge at the beginning of the school year. She went on to receive a regional Gold Key at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She was also published in the Bay Area Creative Anthology. Most recently, she received an Exceptional Merit award at the Bay Area Creative Youth Awards.