Rotary acknowledges local shining artists | La Habra Journal

Posted on 14 January 2016 by La Habra Journal


Jane Williams/La Habra Journal Shining stars: Sonora’s Ellese Castro, La Habra High School’s Zoya Martin and Whittier Christian’s Carolina Reynoso were recognized as top performing arts students by the La Habra Rotary.

The La Habra group recognizes top high school students
who excelled in theater and
performing arts.

By Jane Williams
La Habra Journal

At its last meeting of 2015, La Habra Rotary met the stars who will shine brightly in the coming years. This is the month where those who have distinguished themselves in performing arts at their high school received all the attention. Whittier Christian praised its three arts performer, Carolina Reynoso, who has won rave reviews whether acting, singing or dancing. In addition, she is the school’s media director, a member of the Choir Council and acknowledged as the best in choreography. She is a member of the National Honor Society, and has also started her own business. She will bring a Neverland Princess Party to any aspiring princess’s home. Reynoso wants to study musical theater and has applied to Boston University, NYU, and Carnegie Mellon. One of her teachers described her as a natural leader who sparkles on stage and in the classroom. Sonora’s Ellese Castro was described as an amazingly gifted student as well as a true giver with a heart for those in need and acted upon her desire to help them by volunteering regularly at the Union Rescue Mission. But what pleased her principal Adam Bailey the most is the fact she has perfect attendance. Castro is also the top performer in the theater program and plans to apply to Carnegie Mellon University when she is ready. She hopes to become a screenwriter in the future. La Habra High’s Zoya Faith Martin is the daughter of Vetta Martin, an accomplished pianist of Russian descent and Craig Martin. Vetta taught piano while Zoya was still in her womb and she continued to do so throughout Zoya’s childhood. At the early age of four, people began commenting on Zoya’s singing voice. She loved singing for anyone who would listen. It was early on when Zoya heard about a musical at Hope International University and decided to audition. She was selected to play a Who in “Suessical,” and she was hooked. At Rolling Hills elementary School she heard about Fullerton Children’s Repertory Theater, but it wasn’t until seventh grade that she decided to audition for a role in a Rep production. She got the lead in their production of “Peter Pan,” after playing Maria in the Sound of Music at the end of eighth grade, she admitted that she wasn’t quite prepared to leave her friends at the Rep and its director, Brian Johnson. So she decided to follow them all to La Habra High. By her sophomore year, she was off to New York City for the Macy Awards Ceremony for her performance as Maria in the La Habra High Theater Guild’s production of  “West Side Story.” At the end of her junior year, Zoya applied and won a generous Musical Theatre West scholarship in Long Beach. This year she was Belle in the Guild’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” and will be Babe in the upcoming production of “Pajama Game.” She has applied to colleges renown for their musical theater programs such as Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan, NYU , UCSD and Southern Oregon located in Ashland, home of the famous Shakespeare Festival each Spring. Johnson, LHHS theater instructor, said, “Zoya will have gone wire-to-wire obtaining every lead in all our Plummer mainstage musicals. I liken it to the Mater Dei quarterback who takes every snap from entering his eighth grade year through the final down of his senior season.”

Johnson went on, “She is without a doubt the best student I have taught in 12 years, and I’ve had some great ones. We’ve had some incredible students of great moral character and academic prowess in my program and she exceeds them by a lot.”

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