Jabari Magnus is a shy, skinny kid with a sweet grin. His classmates at Westchester High School were stunned recently to see him on television and in magazines ads for McDonald's. Magnus, 17, was a national winner in the McDonald's Black History Makers of Tomorrow contest.
If his family and teachers are any judge, it will be only the beginning of Magnus' honors. The high school junior is active in track and football and has close to a 4.0 grade-point average.
"His teachers think he's brilliant," said Esther Hugo, his college counselor. Magnus laughed. "I just work hard and try to always do my best," he said.
Underneath Magnus' modesty, however, is a fierce pride and determination. He grew up hearing about how slaves were shipped to this country and about their fight for freedom. He is determined to carry on that battle by becoming a role model.
"We should be inspired by our ancestors. It's still a hard world out there for black people. We still have to work extra hard to be successful and prove we can make it," he said.
He credits much of his success to the love of his family. He lives in Windsor Hills with his grandparents, baby sister and five cousins, and he sees his parents, who are divorced, frequently. "We all stick together," Magnus said.
The young scholar dreams of attending an Ivy League college and said he may become an engineer. His grandmother, Lenore Magnus, has even bigger dreams. "One day, he will be president," she said.
UCLA veterinarian Jessie O. Washington has received this year's Golden Bruin Award.
The award, created in 1961, is given annually to an exceptional individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the UCLA Center for the Health Sciences.
According to a UCLA official, Washington, who has been campus veterinarian and director of the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine since 1977, was honored for his "dedication and commitment to ensuring that UCLA's laboratory animals are cared for in a humane manner while enabling the university to meet its obligations as a leading research facility."
Pacific Palisades resident Bruce Givner has been elected president of the San Fernando Valley Branch of the Arthritis Foundation. Givner, a tax attorney and partner with Grayson, Givner, Booke, Silver & Wolfe in Encino, has been a longtime volunteer at the foundation. He is also active with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Jewish Homes for the Aging and the UCLA Alumni Assn.
The Tandy Technology Scholars Program has awarded certificates of academic excellence to St. Monica High School teacher Ronald Dela Torre and student Lara Accad. The certificates were given in recognition of achievement in mathematics, science and computer science. The program is open to students and teachers in accredited high schools throughout the United States.
Rod Cohen, a 1990 Loyola Marymount University graduate, earned a first-place award in the Academy of Television of Arts and Sciences' 12th annual College Television Awards.
His film, "The Howie Rubin Story," earned the highest award given nationally for a student comedy film. Cohen, a Los Angeles resident, was presented with a $2,000 award March 10 in Beverly Hills.