Emily Knuutinen holds Sweden very near and dear to her heart. Both of her parents are Swedish and her father grew up in Sweden. Emily had the good fortune of meeting two Swedish friends in elementary school who would prove to be very important for her in learning more about her own Swedish heritage. When these friends moved back to Sweden, Emily, although saddened, kept up the strong bonds of friendship. She was able to spend many summers in Sweden with her family and friends and loved getting to know about her culture by celebrating midsummer night on the first day of summer. She has fond memories of picking wildflowers and enjoying beautiful scenery and new food. Emily writes that: “In the evening we would walk down to the beach and watch the sun set at around midnight. Summers like these made me want to live in Sweden.” Emily will graduate San Marcos High School this June with a 4.64 GPA and hopes to attend Pitzer College to study Psychology.
Dylan Rogers immigrated to America from Sweden at a young age, and remembers his mother speaking both English and Swedish at home. Dylan was enrolled at a small school for his elementary education – The Open Alternative School – and found the transition to a large junior high school difficult. He felt very shy and knew he had to overcome this shyness to succeed and be able to make the most of school. One experience did the trick perfectly and that was a summer spent volunteering at the Santa Barbara Visitor Center, where he spoke to hundreds of tourists a day. Dylan says in his essay that he was no longer shy speaking to strangers and that “overcoming that weakness helped me in all aspects of my life, especially in school.” Dylan has done exceptionally well in school, and will graduate San Marcos High School with a GPA of 4.22. He participated in the Majors Program at his school and identified a strong interest in Engineering. He hopes to attend Cornell University in the fall to study Electrical Engineering.
Daniel Wagstaffe’s family emigrated from Denmark to the United States, settling in Solvang. With his father away in San Jose during the week for work, Daniel’s family hired different nannies through the years, all of them from Denmark. This experience kept him connected with his ancestral roots. His family was also host to five international students at various times, exposing Daniel to other ways of life and different world views. His own world view combined with his strong Christian values has spurred him to complete many hours of community service, including an outreach trip to Mexico. His desire is to aid third world countries through engineering and infrastructure. Daniel attends Santa Ynez Valley High School, where he is an accomplished student. He currently has a 4.25 GPA and hopes to attend Pepperdine University in the fall to study Engineering.