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LVJUSD Students Honored as DreamMakers & RiskTakers at Innovation Tri-Valley Awards Ceremony

November 9, 2023 - Livermore, CA - Students from the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) were among the young visionaries recognized at the 2023 Innovation Tri- Valley’s (ITV’s) DreamMakers & RiskTakers Awards on November 7, 2023. Optimism and awe filled the air as business, education, and civic leaders applauded the innovative and important work of Tri-Valley youth who have brought positive social change and scientific advancement to our region and beyond.

Granada High School senior, Trenton Thomsen, was recognized for his impressive resume of social justice leadership. Thomsen founded the Granada High School club, Humans Against Hate, for peers who share his vision in combatting hate speech on campus, and who work collectively to promote a more inclusive, respectful, and safe campus culture for students. Thomsen has also facilitated staff professional development related to hate speech; providing a student perspective on how staff and students can work together to appropriately address and diminish hate speech at school. “One of our key focuses this year as a district is our united commitment to addressing vulgarity and hate speech on all of our campuses. This was determined to be a priority, in part, by voices like Trenton’s who weren’t afraid to share with teachers, administrators, district leaders, and Board members that hate speech should be more acutely addressed as it impacts student connection and feelings of safety at school,” shared Chris Van Schaack, LVJUSD’s Superintendent of Schools. 

Along with Thomsen’s work to combat hate speech, his involvement with the ACLU National Advocacy Institute and his leadership role as the operations chair for Granada’s 24-Hour Race against human trafficking, provided further examples of his commitment and dedication to not just bringing awareness to complex problems, but for also engaging and empowering others to take action. 

Four additional LVJUSD students and a peer from Pleasanton Unified were jointly recognized for a regional award at this year’s event. Shrish Premkrishna, Thaarak Sriram, and Darshini Binduraj from Livermore High School, Alexander Pepper from Granada High School, and Sahil Mehta from Amador Valley High School received the ITV 2040 Regional Visionary Award for their leadership roles in the planning of the region’s first annual Youth Climate Summit this past September. Aligned with one of ITV’s 2040 Vision Plan regional goals of a green economy, the Youth Climate Summit promoted climate change awareness, provided solutions-oriented education, and introduced climate-conscious and sustainability action plans for the future. Through partnerships with Quest Science Center, Tri-Valley Air Quality Climate Alliance, and other local environmental agencies, these students also worked to initiate climate literacy resolutions for regional school districts, develop waste-auditing practices in schools, and perform energy efficiency research related to electrical and environmental restoration.

“When you witness the passion, drive, and commitment that our youth have for social and environmental change, it’s hard not to feel optimistic and hopeful about the future. This generation is action-oriented and ready to take on challenging issues that affect us all,” expressed Emily Prusso, LVJUSD Board Member. Prusso, fellow Board members, and District leaders attended the awards ceremony to honor and celebrate those being recognized for their outstanding contributions.

Visit ITV’s website for more information and photos of the DreamMakers and RiskTakers Awards. 

Photos Courtesy of LVJUSD 

DreamMakers & RiskTakers
Photo 1: Honoree Trenton Thomsen (Granada High) pictured with LVJUSD staff and Board members

Youth Climate Summit
Photo 2: Youth Climate Summit leaders from Livermore High and Granada High pictured with LVJUSD staff, Board members, and Quest Science partners

Youth Climate Summit
Photo 3: Youth Climate Summit leaders (left to right): Darshini Binduraj (Livermore High), Sahil Mehta (Amador Valley High), Thaarak Sriram (Livermore High), Alexander Pepper (Granada High), Shrish Premkrishna (Livermore High)  

Trenton Thomsen
Photo 4: Trenton Thomsen (Granada High) pictured with teachers Sommer Newkirk and Emily Wilson