2023 Milken ScholarsPhoto 14 of 21
Music is an important part of Brandon Quach's life. When the marching band program at John A. Rowland High School (RHS) shrank from 120 to 50 students after COVID-19 school closures and the high school band director suddenly left, Brandon, then the woodwind captain, and the drum majors stepped in. They worked with the middle school band director to rebuild the pipeline, encouraging incoming ninth graders to join the high school band. For eight weeks before the new band director arrived, the student leaders held evening practices to prepare the band for competitions. Brandon was elected band president, in addition to his roles as concertmaster and soloist of the school's symphonic band and bass drum section leader of the winter drumline. Brandon also co-founded Music and Movement, a free Saturday class held at a children's museum. Brandon's percussion lessons have served more than 400 families, and he has trained volunteers to continue Music and Movement's classes after he heads to college.
Brandon graduated from RHS with an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. He is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a member of the National Honor Society. Brandon focused on peer tutoring and college preparation as secretary and vice president of the California Scholarship Federation. As president of the IB Association Club, he organized regular blood drives, recruiting more than 150 donors and collecting 120 units of blood for cancer patients at City of Hope. Brandon co-founded RHS' Little Free Pantry, distributing canned goods through the Family Resource Center to district families in need.
Since elementary school, Brandon has been interested in aquaponics, growing plants in fish tanks. He secured grant funding to bring an aquaponic tank to school, teaching classmates about biology and environmental science — fish provide nutrients for the plants, while the plants detoxify the water for the fish. Brandon's IB research focused on aquaponics as a sustainable future for agriculture and the use of halophytes to decrease soil salinity.
Brandon will study biology and environmental science at Yale and plans a career in scientific research.
All photos should be credited to "Milken Family Foundation" unless otherwise noted.