by Laura Boss, Temecula Valley Unified School District
In light of the current COVID-19 state and county public health orders, the April Student of the Month Recognition event was held via a Zoom video conference. Families, students, staff, sponsors, and dignitaries joined us online to honor students.
Great Oak High School – Raymond Lee
Principal Ricken announced that Raymond is GOHS’ 2020 Salutatorian. Raymond will be attending Yale, where he plans to major in mathematics and economics. Raymond shared that his most important life lesson is that things have happened by design, though not his design. He shared, “The lows as much as the highs keep me motivated to make myself better and the best version I can be. I need to accept and forgive myself.” Raymond is optimistic and shared, “I can’t wait for what’s ahead in my next four years.” His teacher and family shared that Raymond is empathetic, charismatic, an athlete, and dedicated to his service organizations.
Chaparral High School – Jennifer Chaidez
Principal Miller shared that Jennifer was nominated as an Emerald Puma. “She shows pride in everything she does, and she understands the importance of respecting and embracing everyone’s heritage and cultures,” shared Mrs. Miller. Jennifer shared that she has not yet chosen her college. She would like to attend UC Berkeley or UC Irvine and major in chemical engineering. Jennifer shared her experience as a first-generation American in her family and the challenge she had in overcoming a language barrier. Today, she has achieved two biliteracy seals and is an AVID student.
Rancho Vista High School – Nick Arzola-Vizzera
Principal Dignan shared that Nick is a very positive influence on our campus and that the teachers all appreciate him. He is tenacious and someone who school has not always come easy for, but he still shows up. Nick plans to attend Palomar and study psychology. He shared that he has had experiences with different behaviors in people and, “I’ve always been interested in what makes people respond in the way they do.” He further shared, I haven’t been the best with school work but I have never given up. This award is a great achievement for me.” Nick’s teacher shared, “No matter what situation Nick is faced with, he always chooses kindness. I admire him.” His family shared that, educationally, Nick has overcome his challenges.
Susan Nelson High School – Maichel Astafanous
Principal Dignan shared that Maichel was born in Egypt. He is the model student for an independent study program and has been very successful. Maichel plans to attend UC Merced to study environmental engineering. He shared that one of the biggest life lessons he has learned is time management. “The key is to create a schedule, and always set goals to monitor your progress and development”, he shared. Maichel’s teacher shared that Maichel works, contributes financially to his family, all while managing his schoolwork with no intervention from teachers. “He’s figured out time management and his goals. He will be successful in pursuing his dreams, and I am excited about his future.
Linfield Christian High School – Haley Manning
Principal Wilson shared that Haley has a significant impact on Linfield. Haley is a behind the scenes person. “She is always pushing the truck. Students have ideas, and she always makes sure that things happen and does it with great influence,” said Principal Wilson. Haley plans to attend Point Loma Nazarene to teach education. Haley shared her story about why she wants to become a teacher. Haley further shared, “The sight of that exuberant, inspired young girl showed me that I want to carry that impact forward the same way teachers have had an effect on me.” Haley’s teacher echoed the principals’ comments sharing that she is the person that makes things happen and always in a positive light. She stated, “Haley is strong, courageous, and not afraid to do the work in front of her to make the people around her better.”
Temecula Valley High School – Logan Whetstone
Principal Williams shared that Logan is an incredible young man. Logan has transitioned from a student that initially needed some additional supports and is now in AP Government. Logan is a member of the CIF championship football team as an offensive lineman. Principal Williams described the position as the hardhat people on the team and that, “We set up other people’s success, and that’s Logan.” Logan told Principal Williams that he wants to be a father, husband, and a great family man. Noble pursuits in life. Logan plans to attend Palomar and study fire tech and become a firefighter. Logan described his life as being faced with a lot of adversity and that he developed an obsession with improving himself. He shared, “I always try to find a way to be better and gain more knowledge to make better decisions.” His teacher described Logan as “the ultimate turn around story.”