The Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council and 92129 Magazine proudly present the winners of our “Growing Up PQ” essay contest. Although picking just three winners from among the many entries received was exceedingly difficult, the three essays below represent the best in each grade-level category. We were both impressed and inspired by the words of our community’s kids and we hope you will be too. Join us in congratulating these three
young authors.


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Elementary School Winner:
Ava Yamamoto
3rd grade
Canyon View Elementary School

PQ_AvaDo you know anything wonderful about Rancho Peñasquitos? There are lots of nice people here. Here is an example from about a month ago. While my mom was driving my sister and me to our piano lessons, we stopped at a stoplight on the corner of Paseo Montalban and Black Mountain Rd. When the light turned green, my mom tried to go, but the car was stuck! I felt weird, because I didn’t know what was going to happen. Then we looked up and saw some PQ firefighters going back to their station. They saw us and came over to help. How lucky! Four firefighters helped push our car to a shady place. Then my teacher from first grade, Mrs. Alexander, saw us and stopped to see if we were okay. Five minutes later, our friend Amanda, her mom, and brother were also driving by, and stopped to see if we needed help. Even a stranger asked if we needed any help! That’s how nice the people are here.

We have gotten to know more people in our neighborhood because of our school recycling program called Canyon View Cares. A bunch of school families collect recyclable bottles and cans to make money for Canyon View Elementary School. Lots of caring neighbors donate to our program.

You can learn lots of different sports here. If you like basketball, you can play Rancho Peñasquitos Basketball. My sister Zoe and I have also done gymnastics, basketball, and dodge ball at Rancho Family YMCA and Master Your Sports.

The Rancho Peñasquitos Library has lots of good books. You should go there some time. And how about the Vons shopping center? When I was in kindergarten, my class did a walking field trip to PQ Donuts. Everybody loved that. Also, Subway sandwiches are very popular. Those and many other great stores are in our Vons shopping center!

I think PQ is a very good place to live. I hope you think so, too!

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Middle School Winner:
Joshua Chuang
6th grade
Mesa Verde Middle School

PQ_JoshuaMy life in Rancho Peñasquitos is interesting and exciting. I have been living here for 10 years and it is very cool to watch as my community grows. I enjoy many activities in our community, such as participating programs in the library, playing sports at the parks, and biking or strolling around the neighborhood. Every year, tons of new books arrive at Peñasquitos Library that I love to read. I also enjoy going to different parks in Peñasquitos with my brothers and dad. We play basketball at their courts and play other sports on the field such as soccer, baseball, and frisbee. My dad leads us around the community on bikes too. We go to parts of the community that we haven’t known. Here in Rancho Peñasquitos is a very nice place to live too. There are much vegetation, friendly people, many top-rated schools and tons of gorgeous, comfortable, and affordable houses, condos, and apartments. I think Rancho Peñasquitos continues to grow bigger as long as people keep on coming and help keep this fabulous place wonderful.

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High School Winner:
Anita Dev
12th grade
Westview High School

I am not a native Californian – no, indeed. I was born 2,406 miles away, in the perpetually-under-50°F city of Cleveland, OH. But they say that a home is where your memories reside. Thus, the only home I have known is Rancho Peñasquitos. It was a job offer that drew my family and me to this town, but the people and opportunities were what made us stay. I can think of no other place in the world that could have offered me as many experiences that have helped shaped who I am. If San Diego is America’s finest city, then I have no qualms in saying that Rancho Peñasquitos is its’ finest town. Small it may be, but the resources that we have available to us are beyond comparison. This was something I realized on the first day of elementary school at Park Village. I remember growing beans and planting sunflower seeds in the little garden plot next to the ESS trailer. How many other kids were as lucky as I was? From the very start, I was exposed to lofty ideals like environmental stewardship and eating local. I’ve traveled a lot, and I have not yet run into another place that provides their children with such amazing opportunities. Since then, my deep appreciation at being able to live in Rancho Peñasquitos has never ceased. Have I ever wanted to move out and tour the world? Sure. Most teenagers are caught with itchy feet, anyways. But there’s something about this place that will always call me back. I’ve lived pretty much my entire life here – whenever I travel abroad, whether it be for a week or for two months, a nagging feeling of homesickness always follows me. My childhood, or whatever hazy recollection I have of it, is a blur of voyages to the local library, wandering around Los Peñasquitos Canyon and waiting to see the elusive waterfall, and playing tag in the numerous parks dotting our neighborhood. As I’ve grown up here, my appreciation for this little town has increased by leaps and bounds. How can I forget about local traditions such as Fiesta de los Peñasquitos, fireworks at Westview High, or Christmas Card Lane? Whenever someone drops by our house for the holidays, that’s the first place we take them. I’ve never been one to be particularly cheerful about the holiday season, but one must be the Grinch to not feel joy at the sight of blocks of miniature railroads, nativity scenes, and Disney-themed holiday greetings. These are the traditions that I’ve grown up with and hope to revisit for the rest of my life. I’m now a senior in high school, and looking back on all of the years I spent here fills me with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. In a few months, I’ll be leaving this all behind – maybe I’ll be in a different city, maybe in a different state. There’s no telling where I’ll go in the next few years, but I owe it all to everything that this little gem of a town has given me.