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IRVINE STANDARD: Local Girl Scouts Earn Highest Award

Irvine Standard article by Tom Berg
From left, Shalini Aggarwal, 17, Saachi Pavani, 18, Haley Kothari, 16, and Saarah Rangwala, 16, all earned the award by making a difference in their community and the world. Their projects ranged from helping Alzheimer’s patients to reducing ocean pollution.


Gold Award Girl Scouts are rock stars, role models and real-life heroes. They use everything they learn in Girl Scouts to fix problems in their

 community or make a lasting change in the world. Few Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, yet Irvine has its fair share. The Girl Scouts of Orange County recently honored four Irvine Gold Award winners. Here are their stories:

Haley Kothari, 16, surveyed over 450 young people around the world, then collaborated with students in Orange County and India to reduce plastics thrown into the sea and encourage recycling. “Being a Girl Scout helped me learn new skills and become confident in myself,” the Beckman High senior says.

“A small effort can make a big difference. I learned that you are capable of doing almost anything.”

Fellow Beckman High senior Saarah Rangwala, 16, designed therapy mats for Alzheimer’s patients at an Irvine hospice where she has volunteered since she was in sixth grade.

“I joined Girl Scouts to make friends,” she says, “but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the importance of leadership and giving back.”

Beckman High graduate Shalini Aggarwal, 17, held workshops and created a YouTube channel to help new female drivers learn about auto repairs. She is headed to UC Berkeley to study molecular and cell biology.

“I joined Girl Scouts at 5 years old, and it taught me to help other people,” Aggarwal says. “I think turning that into a career is important.”

Portola High graduate Saachi Pavani, 18, previously earned her Gold Award and was honored with the Outstanding Senior award for her additional efforts as adviser to the Girl Scouts board of directors. She is studying at UCLA to become a health care administrator.


Girl Scouts of Orange County

We are 25,000 strong – nearly 15,000 girls and 10,000 volunteers and adult members who bring girls’ dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs reaching girls in every zip code in Orange County, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and thousands of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit