WHITTIER – Santa Fe High School senior Geneveve Castañeda will never forget the feeling of stepping on the football field for the first time as a freshman member of the Chieftain Tribe Marching Band, waiting for the drum major’s signals. The camaraderie Castañeda experienced, along with love from her family, would inspire her to become a campus leader and eventually rise to the position of drum major in her senior year.

Castañeda, who has a 4.26 GPA, is poised to graduate at the top of her class while also serving in the Associated Student Body (ASB) and as vice president of Santa Fe’s Filipino culture club, Barkada, all of which contributed to her being named Santa Fe High’s standout student for the 2021-22 year.

For her academic and leadership abilities, Castañeda was recognized by the Whitter Union Board of Trustees with an Award of Merit during its Jan. 11 board meeting.

“I am so thankful to everyone who has gotten me here,” Castañeda said. “To my sister, who motivates me; to my brother, for being forgiving and kind; to my fellow ASB and band members, who give me confidence to do what I love without fear; to my teachers, who taught me to be resourceful and confident; and most importantly to my parents, who have supported me every step of the way.”

Castañeda credits her parents for giving her the skills to find her moral compass, and bestowing her with a love that drove them to help her without hesitancy, whether picking her up from school at 1 a.m. or chauffeuring her and her friends to a band performance. According to Castañeda, her parents can even intuit her needs.

“They always know what to do,” Castañeda said. “Like a hug, words of advice, eggs and weenies on Saturday mornings, or Vitamin D after a long school day. Vitamin donuts that is.”

Castañeda has thrived by pursuing challenging courses, completing eight semesters of honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes, including AP Calculus, AP English Literature, AP Physics and AP Government. Castañeda is also part of Santa Fe High’s Top 100 students.

Castañeda is a member of Jazz Band, Yearbook and ROP Video Production, as well as serving as Web and Media Designer for ASB. Castañeda also received two opportunities to study abroad in South Korea, including one opportunity funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. However, both opportunities were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Castañeda is looking toward earning a degree in music business and pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. The colleges she has applied to include UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, New York University and several Cal State schools, although her dream college is USC.

“As a result of her great work in and out of the classroom, we know that Geneveve is going to continue to attain great success throughout her lifetime,” Santa Fe High Principal Craig Campbell said. “Geneveve’s strong work ethic, drive and desire to excel gives us great certainty that she will be successful in whatever path she takes. Geneveve is an amazing young woman who exemplifies everything we want from a Santa Fe High graduate.”


WUHSD_AWARD1: During a Board meeting on Jan. 11, Santa Fe High School senior Geneveve Castañeda received an Award of Merit from the Whittier Union Board of Trustees for her academic and leadership qualities.