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February 2020 Temecula Students of the Month

Linfield Christian High School – Nathanael Marino – Administrators, teachers, and family members shared about Nathanael (Nathan). Principal Wilson shared that Nathan is the voice of Linfield every morning. He is Linfield’s’ student of the month because he is a culture maker. Nathan is all about people and stands for his beliefs. He cares more about others than himself. Nathan has a strength of character, authenticity, and genuine love for people. He shared that his biggest struggle in life so far has been the feeling of being a flash in the pan or one-hit-wonder. He shared his feelings of, “Is this the best I will ever be.” His service to others has helped him transition this feeling into his greatest lesson. Nathan shared that he has come to realize that you will never be a flash in the pan when you serve the light of the world. Nathan’s father shared that he hopes his son will not only move mountains but move people with his kindness and unwavering care and love.

Temecula Valley High School – Indiana Rivera Gandrung – Administrators, teachers, and family members shared about Indiana. Principal Williams reflected on the movie character Indiana Jones and his qualities of being academic and adventurous. “He’s an actor. Our Indiana is the real deal!” Indiana is involved in aquaponics and was part of the inception of TVHS’ Bio-Sustainability Program at TVHS. She has also been instrumental in writing the curriculum for TVHS’ elementary summer school science program. Indiana shared reflections on her own family’s life and circumstances. She shared, “There were many times where our family didn’t have enough money to cover bills or provide food.” All these problems caused her stress, but they also strengthened her. She realized she needed to open up and share with her school advisors. They were instrumental in assisting her, and she turned her family circumstance into a life lesson. Her teacher shared that Indiana consistently fosters group determination and comes from a place of how she can make things better for everyone. Indiana plans to attend UC Davis and study animal science and eventually become a veterinarian and work for the USDA.

Rancho Vista High School – Angel Britton – Administrators, teachers, and family members shared about Angel (AJ). Principal Dignan shared that in his thirty-one years as an educator, Angel’s story has been one of the most inspiring to him. “She is going to do amazing things. AJ has gotten up so many times, nothing is going to keep her down,” said Mr. Dignan. Angel reflected on her life and shared that she previously didn’t put much effort into school. She struggled in life and made some poor decisions. In September of 2018, as a junior, after attending five different high schools, she ended up at RVHS. Angel reflected on what changed her life and direction. She shared, “My teacher believed in me, inspired me, and taught me that I could be anything I wanted to be.” She reflected on her mindset that she didn’t matter but said that she had overcome that. Angel shared, “I cannot wait to pursue my passion for helping others.” Her teacher said, “AJ is a solid, remarkable young lady. As a teacher, you wish these kids could see in themselves what we see in them.” Angel (AJ) plans to attend college and pursue a career as a juvenile attorney. She also has a passion for cosmetology and beauty.

Susan H. Nelson High School – Julia Steinberg – Administrators, teachers, and family members shared about Julia. Principal Dignan shared, “Julia is independent and essentially has all her ducks in a row.” She is a young lady that knows where she’s headed and what she wants to do. Julia chose to attend an alternative school because of her focus on completing her education without distractions. She wanted to be able to get a job, travel, and move onto college. Julia shared about her family and that for the last several years, her father has had Parkinson’s disease. She reflected on her dad’s perseverance and worked to transition himself to a healthy lifestyle to extend his life with his grace and passion. She shared that he taught her, “With hard work and perseverance, anything can happen.” Julia’s teacher shared that she is dependable, courteous, and responsible. “She is amazing, an exemplary student for independent study, and achieves at an unprecedented level.” Julia will be graduating early and plans to attend Cal State San Marcos and major in psychology. She then plans to transition to a university to study neuroscience.

Great Oak High School – Caleb Kim – Administrators, teachers, and family members shared about Caleb.Principal Ricken shared that Caleb is academic. He loves random facts. He is incredibly involved in science and math, but he is also philosophical. She also said, “He could probably pull a cot out and sleep at GOHS with the time he spends on campus due to his involvement in everything.” Caleb is involved in science olympiad and math. He’s a planner; he likes to lead and is a teamwork kind of student. For Caleb, it’s about teaching people how to live more prosperously. He’s also a gamer, but for Caleb, it’s about the strategy. Caleb shared that his most significant obstacle in life so far has been himself. He is a full IB Diploma student at GOHS. The program and commitment are intense. He made a decision not to take calculus one year and skip it despite his teacher’s expressed concern. Caleb shared, “That was a big mistake, and I paid for it with an incredible amount of stress.” He recognized the real problem was that he was getting in his way. He shared that he overcame the obstacle and boundaries of his mental prison that he had imposed on himself.

Chaparral High School – Nilson Rodriguez Cadenas – Administrators, teachers, and family members shared about Nilson. Assistant Principal Fielstra shared that Nilson exemplifies the American dream. He is a four-year AVID student, and he will be the first in his family to attend college. Mrs. Miller, CHS’ Principal, was not able to participate in today’s event but wanted to share that she was Nilson’s middle school teacher, and she had the honor when he was in 8th grade to recognize him as a student of the year at DMS. Nilson shared his story about not being supported by his parents to attend college. He shared that while he experienced issues, he always put on a happy face for everyone else. He has had difficulty trusting people. Nilson shared, “My AVID teacher changed my life.” Nilson’s teachers, who also refer to themselves as his school mom and dad, shared about his campus life. They shared that Nilson is an academic, takes ten different AP classes, is the leader of four various clubs on campus, is a peer leader, and also works a part-time job. “Nilson demonstrates the courage to overcome his obstacles in life despite others blocking him. He is going to do tremendous things for other people to make sure they feel welcome and supported. He is this warm light that never turns off.” Nilson has already received acceptance from Stanford and Berkeley.

Left to Right – BACK ROW – Sally Myers with school administrators/representatives;
FRONT ROW – Nathanael Mariano, Linfield Christian HS; Indiana Rivera Gandrung, TVHS; Angel Britton, RVHS; Julia Steinberg, SNHS; Caleb Kim, GOHS; Nilson Rodriquez Cadenas, CHS.