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Lafayette Youth
Arts Society
About Us
Uma Unni | Founder, President
Uma Unni, 17, is a senior at Acalanes High School. She has four invisible cats (and hopes to add a visible one to the family). Much like her cats, she tends to stay up until the early hours of the morning writing fiction, and prefers to catch up on sleep during the day. Sadly, school prevents her from sleeping all day (though that hardly stops her from writing all night anyways). She also loves technology and web design, and when she's not writing fiction, she does another kind of writing- code writing.
Zoe Portnoff | Vice President
Zoe Portnoff, 17, is a senior at Campolindo High School, and previously attended Stanley Middle School. From a young age, she has had a passion for learning, leading her to join the Academic Decathlon team at her school. At Campolindo, she also plays the trumpet in the Symphonic Band, and is currently the only female member of the Jazz Band. In addition, she enjoys reading, sketching, archery, and British TV shows. She also volunteers at Tony la Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, tutors students in math and reading at Kumon, and writes for the Lamorinda Weekly. At the moment, her favourite authors are Charles Dickens, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Jane Austen.
Isabel Rurka was born in Berkeley, California, and lived there for ten years. She moved to Lafayette two years ago. Her favorite subject in school is anything but math. In her spare time, she enjoys Track and Cross country and taking pictures with her dad’s old camera. She has twin siblings, Nathan and Haley. Last year she adopted a Labrador retriever named Sammy. She is excited to help plan the next LYAS photography and writing contest. 
Isabel Rurka | Associate
Sam Swan is a 9th grader at Acalanes High School, and she likes to write and read in her spare time. (When she's not spending her time on Minecraft) She classifies herself as a huge nerd and loves Star Wars, Legos, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, The Hobbit, and Harry Potter.
Samantha Swan | Associate
Ellie is a 13 year old girl who attends Contra Costa Jewish Day School. She loves to travel and has been out of the country multiple times. Ellie also loves photography, writing, reading, and watching TV (I mean, who doesn't). Ellie likes to spend time with her family and play board games with her sister Becky. Ellie loves to draw and wishes to one day work at Disney and draw cartoons.
Ellie Grintsaig | Liaison
Noam Franbuch is 13 years old, and attends the 7th grade at the Contra Costa Jewish day school. She lives in Danville with her mom dad, and two little twin sisters. Noam has three bunnies, and a dog named Fritzi that she loves. Her favorite books are “RULES” by Cynthia lord, and “Are you there God? Its me, Margaret” by Judy Blume. Noam figure skates at Dublin Iceland and is on a synchronized skating team called the Dublin Dolls. She also enjoys art, writing, reading, math, playing guitar, acting, singing, taking pictures, and trying new things.
Noam Franbuch | Liaison
Elena Mountin | Associate
Elena Mountin is 15 years old and a 10th grader at Acalanes High School. She likes reading and sketching, and TV. She enjoys watching Spanish soap operas for their outrageous plotlines. Her favorite author is John Green.
Adina Levin is 14 years old, and is currently in 9th grade at Campolindo High School. She lives in Walnut Creek with her mom, dad, and younger brother. Adina has no pets, although she really wants a hamster. Her favorite books are, "The Mother-Daughter Book Club" by Heather Vogel Frederick, and "Counting by 7's" by Holly Goldberg Sloan. Adina enjoys reading, playing soccer, taking pictures, traveling, doing math, spending time with friends and family.
Adina Levin | Associate
Sophia Benveniste is a 9th grader at Acalanes High School. She lives in Burton Valley with her parents, younger sister and 3 cats. Sophia loves to make art. Her favorite medium is painting on canvas but she recently became interested in photography and takes pictures everywhere she goes. Sophia also loves to play soccer, swim and decorate cakes.

Sophia Benveniste | Associate
Nicole Nader, 12, is a seventh grader at St. Perpetua School. She enjoys creating new recipes in the kitchen and loves drawing and painting. In her spare time, she also likes to read and exercise (gymnastics, soccer and volleyball. Above all, Nicole’s favorite pastime is traveling internationally and experiencing different cultures. She is a resident of Walnut Creek.
Nicole Nader | Liaison
Kristi Conner is 12 years old and currently a 6th grader at Stanley Middle School. She lives in Lafayette with her parents and her 10-year-old sister Kate, who she adores. Kristi loves photography along with traveling, sports and music. She plays soccer for LMSC and lacrosse for Tenacity and Lamorinda Lightning. Switching from flute, Kristi now plays the saxophone for Stanley's bronze band. In her spare time, Kristi likes to volunteer for organizations helping the homeless, work with her Lamorinda chapter of the National Charities League, as well as read and relax with friends.  
Kristi ConnerLiaison