BY LINDA HULL
Rotary Club of Los Alamos
The Rotary Club of Los Alamos is pleased to announce that Justin Peña has been selected as one of its two 2020 Great Expectations Award recipients. The honor carries an award of $2000 and is given to well-rounded high school seniors whose futures are deemed especially promising. Traditionally the awards are presented during the Los Alamos High School Convocation at the end of May. We regret that public health precautions prevent us for applauding these graduating seniors in person!
Peña has provided significant community service through his participation in the Naval Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NJROTC) and through the Summer Education Enhancement Program (SEEP) at San Ildefonso Pueblo.
Peña has served in NJROTC for four years and holds the rank of Chief Petty Officer. In giving more than 100 hours of community service, Pena has been active in breakfasts at the Elks Lodge and in blood drives. He has also stood in bitter sub-freezing temperatures during Veterans Day ceremonies “honoring all servicemen. Their dedication and sacrifice. That’s the moment I truly learned about the real world. How sacrifice and dedication did not go unnoticed. And even if you weren’t mentioned by name, you were still held high in everyone’s heart, which inspired me to be dedicated to every aspect of life, so one day I could inspire like they did.”
As an assistant with SEEP, Peña helped oversee groups of children, grades K-6. His active role in the program led to an invitation to attend a two-day workshop, the Leadership Academy Summit, in Albuquerque which focused on youth leadership and money skills.
In addition to his service in NJROTC and SEEP, Peña is a student liaison to the board of the Los Alamos Public Schools and is a member of the Youth Tribal Council in San Ildefonso Pueblo, where he has helped organize many cultural and holiday events. As a student athlete, he has participated in track and field since 7th grade. Peña is currently an employee at Ruby K’s Bagel Shop, training new co-workers and holding managerial responsibilities when a manager is not present.
The Rotary Club of Los Alamos commends Pena for his community service and wishes him only the best as he pursues his studies in college.
Peña is the son of Melanie and Laurence Peña and was highly recommended for this award by Los Alamos High School German teacher Elizabeth Bates.