La Jolla News Nuggets: Sally Ride coin, Cuvier Street, scholarships, no-hitter

Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, on the flight deck of the space shuttle Challenger in 1983.
Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, communicates with ground controllers from the flight deck of the space shuttle Challenger in 1983.

Sally Ride to be honored on coin

The U.S. Mint announced that late La Jolla resident and astronaut Sally Ride and late writer Maya Angelou will be the first two women honored on coins issued under the American Women Quarters Program.

“Sally would be so moved by this great honor,” said Tam O’Shaughnessy, Ride’s life partner and co-founder of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego Extension. “It’s especially fitting that it comes during the 20th-anniversary celebration for Sally Ride Science. This tribute reflects Sally’s legacy not only as a trailblazing astronaut but also as a champion of diversity and inclusion in STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] fields.”

Sally Ride Science, a program under the auspices of UC San Diego Extension and named for America’s first woman in space, is celebrating two decades in operation this year.

The new Sally Ride quarter will begin circulating next year. Over the four-year period from 2022 through 2025, the Mint will annually issue up to five different reverse designs emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of a prominent American woman.

Plan for Cuvier Street vacation gets PDO approval

La Jolla’s Planned District Ordinance Committee unanimously gave its support April 12 to the planned vacation of part of Cuvier Street to accommodate expansion of the La Jolla Recreation Center.

“The vacation of Cuvier Street is an important part of the La Jolla Rec Center playground expansion,” said La Jolla architect Trace Wilson.

The renovation plans, which would update the building and redesign the grounds, have been given conceptual approval by all La Jolla planning groups and advisory boards. The project has the support of the adjacent Bishop’s School. The plan also proposes changing Prospect Street parking spaces from parallel to diagonal, Wilson said, “which increases our parking supply” and would replace the parking lost by the vacation of Cuvier — adding approximately a third more spaces.

Trustee Gail Forbes said it would “definitely be a benefit to the community.”

Chairwoman Deborah Marengo said it “looks really good” and would be “a big improvement.”

The Planned District Ordinance Committee meets, pending items to review, the second Monday of each month. Learn more at

La Jolla High senior wins $40,000 Triunfadores scholarship

Juliana Balanzar, a student at La Jolla High School, was recently awarded a $40,000 Triunfadores scholarship from the College Board for her efforts to plan and pay for college.

She and Isaias Torres, a student at Elmer Meyers High School in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., were the only two seniors selected across the country to receive the scholarship.

College Board and Telemundo Academy Triunfadores is a collaboration that guides Spanish-speaking families through the college planning process.

Students earned opportunities for that and other scholarships by completing any or all of a series of six key college planning steps through the College Board Opportunity Scholarships program.

“When I think about my college journey, I can’t help but think about my family and how far I’ve managed to make it because of their support,” Balanzar, who plans to pursue a degree in nursing, said in a statement. “Having that college planning guide helped me better prepare for the SAT ... and applying to college. I got a lot out of it.”

La Jollan receives Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Grace Dessert of La Jolla, a major in neural engineering at Duke University, has won a national Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Grace Dessert of La Jolla, now a junior at Duke University in North Carolina, has won a national Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Dessert is completing a self-designed major in neural engineering at Duke and has studied the neurophysiology of seizures with professor Warren Grill, creating computational tools to improve epilepsy localization. Dessert plans to obtain a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and aspires to be a professor in neural engineering.

The Goldwater award encourages students to pursue careers in math, natural sciences and engineering. Each Goldwater scholar receives an annual amount equal to the cost of tuition, room and board, mandatory fees and books.

Vikings pitcher throws no-hitter

La Jolla High School pitcher Gavin Graff pitched a complete-game no-hitter April 6 in a 1-0 win over San Dieguito High School, the first by a Viking since 2008.

“Gavin did it all,” coach Gary Frank said. “Great effort on the mound and, of course, at the plate. Our team played a very good defensive game in support of Gavin.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools just over a year ago, the La Jolla High School baseball team was about a quarter of the way through its season.

The no-hitter followed Graff’s Most Valuable Player award in the Vikings’ championship in the 70th annual Lions Tournament over Easter weekend.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff