“And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”
– Mark 10:18
John has been playing piano since age six and violin since age seven. In May 2010 John won First Place in the middle school division of the Richard Carpenter Performing Arts Scholarship Competition. He performed piano and violin for the judges in front of a live audience in the Scherr Forum Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, along with eight other semi-finalists.
In 2012 John composed an orchestral composition for strings. He taught himself Finale, a software program which many professional composers use. In June 2013, his piece, Dance of the Dragonfly (to Glorify God), debuted at the Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. It was performed by the strings division of the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra (CVYO). John was a member of CVYO’s Youth Strings and Preparatory Orchestra for five years.
Below is a link:
In March 2014, John passed the Certificate of Merit (CM) Level 10 (Advanced) in music theory and piano performance. John earned Branch Honors, awarded by the California Music Teachers Association (CMTA).
John continues to perform for school and various volunteer events. In December 2016, John produced a music video of his performance of Carol of the Bells Boogie, arranged by Emmy-nominated pianist Michael Preddy. Below is a link:
John began acting in 2009 when he was cast as the hero in an episode of I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant on The Discovery Channel. Later that year he was cast in an episode of Modern Family, as Manny’s (Rico Rodriguez) fencing opponent. In November of 2009, Jonathan Friday directed John Monday in Chalk, a short film produced by the Los Angeles Film Studies Center. Below is a link to this film:
John has also acted in student films as well as in theater productions, primarily as part of the Young Artists Ensemble (YAE), a local theater group for children ages 10-19. In 2012 John performed the role of the Bookseller in The Neverending Story and the role of Louis in The King and I. In January 2015 he performed the role of Prince Formally Know as “The Artist” in Aladdin, Jr. In May 2015 John performed the role of Demetrius in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Below is a link to John’s IMDb Resume:
Community Service and Congressional Award
For over 10 years, starting in 2006, John volunteered regularly at Senior Concerns, a local residential day facility for the elderly. He plays his piano and violin for them and enjoys this tremendously. John started volunteering there when he was 8 years old, so the staff of Senior Concerns have also enjoyed watching John grow up. He continues to volunteer there during school and holiday breaks.
John has volunteered over 560 hours at Stepping Stones Riding Program, an equestrian facility at the local YMCA which pairs rescued horses with riding students, providing low cost lessons to those who would otherwise not have this opportunity. John started his equestrian volunteering by working over 50 hours at Ride-On, a therapeutic facility which provides equestrian therapy for the mentally and physically disabled.
Last fall John combined his gratitude for his volunteering opportunities with his love of music and photography. He assembled various photos that he and others took at Stepping Stones during his first three years of volunteering there. He created a video, with himself playing piano in the background, to post to the group’s Facebook page as a thank you. Below is a link to this slideshow and the paragraph he wrote thanking the director of the program:
In the summer of 2014 John spent two weeks traveling to areas both urban and rural in The People’s Republic of China. John was a Student Ambassador with People to People, a nonprofit organization founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to promote world peace through understanding and increasing global awareness.
In 2014, John earned the Congressional Award Bronze Medal. Below is a link to a local news article about the Bronze Medal presentation ceremony:
On April 7th, 2015 U.S. Congresswoman Julia Brownley presented John with the Congressional Award Silver Medal at her local Southern California office. It is the United States Congress’ award for young Americans which is voluntary, non-partisan, and non-competitive. It involves setting goals in four program areas: Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.
Below is a link to Congresswoman Brownley’s Facebook post about this:
John earned the Congressional Award Gold Medal in November, 2015. He attended a special Gold Medal Presentation Ceremony in Washington, D.C., held in June, 2016.
Below is a link to Congresswoman Brownley’s Facebook post about this and a link to the Congressional Record as well as photos of John receiving his award:
John with Congresswoman Julia Brownley for California’s 26th congressional district.
John with Paxton Baker, Congressional Award Chairman of the Board and Congressman Pete Aguilar for California’s 31st congressional district.
From late elementary through high school, John regularly attended church summer camps in Missouri, Colorado, and British Columbia. He became a member of The Mother Church in 2010 and of his local branch church in 2014. John has traveled with church teen groups to Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., visiting The Mother Church, Broadway, Googleplex, Independence Hall, and the U.S. Capitol.
John’s article My Treehouse Healing was published in the Christian Science Sentinel in January 2012. Below is a link to the article on JSH-Online:
John recently wrote a blog for Young Voices about the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. Below is a link to the article published on JSH-Online in September 2015:
Animals and Activism
John loves animals and has been raised to be concerned for their welfare. He has grown up with many animal companions, all of whom have been rescued from the streets, animal shelters, or other homeless situations. These animal companions have included a frog, a dwarf hamster, two guinea pigs, three bunnies, four rats, six dogs, six cats, and 12 goldfish.
In 2008, John helped campaign for California Proposition 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. As a lifelong vegan, it was natural for John to join his mother on the street corner with signs supporting this legislation which prohibits the confinement of farm animals such that they cannot stand up, lie down, turn around freely, or extend their limbs fully.
In 2010, John began recycling bottles and cans at Greenopolis kiosks (a division of Waste Management) located at Whole Foods Markets. Each bottle and can that John recycled was worth points that added up to money which could be donated to a nonprofit. John chose the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). John also organized a way for other customers and recyclers, who would normally throw away their points, to leave their points with the store manager for John to collect. Each week John collected the points, recorded them onto the Greenopolis website, and donated them to HSUS. During the first year his efforts resulted in over $1700 given to HSUS; the second year $5,000, and another $5,000 the third year! During this time John was a featured front page blogger on the Greenopolis website.
John with Wayne Pacelle, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Humane Society of the United States.
John with Producer Ellie Phipps Price, Actress Julia Putnam, and Director Monty Miranda.
In the summer of 2014, John helped promote the public screening of American Mustang, a docudrama about the plight of this national icon, at a local Muvico Theatre. John introduced the film with a moving presentation to a sold-out audience, to increase awareness about the conflict between ranchers, the BLM and the horse lovers who want to preserve this beautiful creature for our country.
President and Senate Election Campaigns
During the 18 month campaign season preceding the 2008 Presidential Election, John joined his mother in a grassroots effort to elect Senator Barack Obama President. He assisted the campaign phone bank volunteers, bringing them their lists and delivering snacks to their desks. John also helped campaign for President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.
In 2016, John volunteered for Senator Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign. He phone banked and canvassed door-to-door in New Mexico and California. He also volunteered at the following Bernie Rallies: Santa Fe, NM; Irvine, CA; Santa Monica, CA; Ventura, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and Hollywood, CA. He also electioneered at a poll site in Washington, D.C. for their June primary election. As part of an effort to “Get out the vote,” John trained and registered as a Voter Registration Agent (VRA) to help his fellow classmates register to vote. John also served as a poll worker in the 2016 CA Primary Election.
Below is a link to Senator Bernie Sanders’ Santa Monica Rally with John standing behind Senator Sanders, volunteering his support:
In 2016, John also volunteered for Henry Stern’s successful California State Senate Campaign. John canvassed door-to-door and phone banked in California State Senate District 27:
58th Presidential Inauguration
During the week of January 20th, John volunteered with the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) for the historic inauguration of our 45th President, Donald J. Trump. John escorted guests to help resolve their ticket issues and helped to deliver tickets, memorabilia, and other sensitive documents in the D.C. metro area.
In the Spring of 2015, John completed Tuk’e’m Mountain Ghost, a 10 minute documentary film he made for a high school theatre class about the proposed wildlife corridor over the 101 freeway in Los Angeles County just west of Liberty Canyon. He taught himself the professional editing software Final Cut Pro X, used an iPhone 6 Plus to film, and wrote the background music.
John had the privilege of interviewing environmental and public officials for this film: the California Director of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the Public Affairs Officer of the National Park Service (NPS), a local Ventura County Supervisor, a wildlife biologist and mountain lion expert from the NPS, the Executive Officer of the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains who is also the architect of the proposed wildlife corridor, the Curator of the Chumash Indian Museum of the Conejo Valley, and former State Senator Fran Pavley who represented California’s 27th State Senate district. John made presentations of this issue to a high school science class, to two high school theatre classes, and to a third grade elementary school class.
Tuk’e’m Mountain Ghost won Best Documentary at The Eagle Film Festival, June 2015. It was also chosen to screen at the Earth Charter Film Festival presented by Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions (CPR). The film was chosen because it exemplifies the Earth Charter principle of Ecological Integrity. It was also chosen to screen at the G2 Green Earth Film Festival, October 2015. Below is a link to this film:
John was invited to speak about the proposed wildlife corridor to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on March 15th, 2016. Below is a link to this 10 minute Moment of Inspiration: