Our Lady of Peace Student One of 10 Nationwide to Win NCEA Award

Isabella Cubillas ’22 with Dr. Lauren Lek, OLP Head of School, and Matthew Cordes from the Diocese of San Diego.

Imperial Beach resident Isabella Cubillas ’22, a senior at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP) in San Diego, is one of only 10 students nationwide and the only student in the state of California to win the Youth Virtues, Valor, and Vision Award from the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA). The award annually recognizes extraordinary young people in Catholic schools in the United States who, through their selfless service, innovation, and commitment to social justice, are changing the world.

Isabella is the founder and president of the Tijuana Sin Hambre (Tijuana Without Hunger) social justice club at OLP, which supports a local nonprofit organization focused on ending hunger in the border city of Tijuana. Isabella volunteered more than 785 hours in 2021, delivering food and home goods to low-income families living in Tijuana.

Collectively, the group has helped more than 20,000 Mexican residents. The group receives about 55 calls on average each day asking for help.

OLP’s club Tijuana Sin Hambre has 60 members committed to making a difference. Isabella’s role is to provide information to the club members about the realities of families in Tijuana, many of whom have children the same age as Isabella and her OLP peers.

NCEA received hundreds of nominations from across the United States. Isabella is the only winner in the state of California and one of only 10 student winners in the nation.

Matthew Cordes, associate director of schools for the Office of Schools at the Diocese of San Diego, and representing NCEA, presented the award to Isabella on February 1 during Catholic Schools Week.

“Isabella is a tremendous representative of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, living out their charism of unifying love and their mission that all may be one,” says Dr. Lauren Lek, OLP’s Head of School. “We are grateful to her for being an example to all of us, and for carrying on their tradition beyond these walls; beyond, even, this country.”