Six Temecula high school seniors were honored as Students of the Month on Jan. 10 by the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce. The students were recognized by their families, teachers, school administrators, the business community, and locally elected officials. The Student of the Month program honors students who are making a difference at school and in their community.
This month’s honorees are:
Temecula Valley High School - William MacGavin
English teacher Andrew Arnold describes Will as “electric, well-rounded, motivated, ambitious, friendly, and outdoorsy.” He says Will is a hardworking student who has taken on multiple college classes in Temecula Valley High School’s Dual Enrollment program with Mt. San Jacinto Community College. Will is President of the Science Olympiad, President of Didgeridoo Collaborative and involved in the National Honor Society. Will says he has learned in life to “look at problems from varying prospective.” He says his life lesson is to “Be creative. Creativity is what leads to a future in anything.” Following high school, Will plans to double major in environmental studies and environmental engineering.
Chaparral High School - Gabriel Caceres
AP Statistics teacher, Kristan Morales says she nominated Gabriel not only for his math skills, but also his ability to be a class leader. Mrs. Morales says, “Gabriel asks thoughtful questions and regularly leads class discussions and problem solving tasks. Gabe is a hardworking, highly motivated self-starter who pays attention to detail.” Gabe says he is the youngest of three children and is the third to graduate from Chaparral. After high school, he plans to attend Arizona State, where he would like to major in pre-nursing and eventually become a Physician’s Assistant.
Great Oak High School - Megan Bernhard
English teacher, Ms. Ricken describes Meg as both, “passionate and competitive.” Meg says she has wanted to be a writer as long as she can remember. In her sophomore year at Great Oak, she earned an internship with the Valley News newspaper. Since then, she has earned a paid position as a photojournalist and staff writer for Valley News Sports. Working with the paper as well as Great Oak’s literary arts magazine has taught Meg about the strength of a community. She says, “Individuals will always need to find their niche; we need a strong support system, and the people of Temecula have always provided me with this necessity.” Meg holds a cumulative 4.7 GPA, a 5.0 GPA her senior year, and has applied to Princeton and Yale. She plans to major in English. Following college, Meg aspires to become a photojournalist and essayist, working as a field reporter for the National Geographic. She would also like to be a contributor to her favorite magazine, the New Yorker.
Linfield Christian High School - Yash Pandey
English teacher Melissa Blades describes Yash as, “passionate, determined, intelligent, hard-working, honest, and kind.” “Yash is an excellent student with a great academic record.” Ms. Blades says she nominated Yash in large part because of his role as leader of Linfield’s Chapel Band. She says, “I’ve been so impressed with the way he has become such a bold and awesome role model at Linfield.” As a boy, Yash’s father died when he has just 10 years old. He says while the situation was challenging, it gave him a greater appreciation for life. He says, “It has taught me to value the time spent with loved ones.” After high school, Yash plans to study biological sciences and hopes to attend medical school.
Temecula Preparatory School - Spencer Shadley
Spencer was nominated by Varsity Basketball coach, Shawn Stroud who says, “Spencer has taught me to be a better leader.” In addition to basketball, Spencer plays volleyball and golf. He is also a member of National Honor Society, has completed over 500 hours of community service work and has gone on two humanitarian trips to Haiti. Spencer will take part in the ROTC Scholarship program in college, which means he’ll graduate as an officer. He says he looks forward to having a career in the military. Coach Stroud says, “Spencer works with everyone, students of all grades. He is a true leader and makes everyone feel special.”
Rancho Christian High School - Amber Neal
Amber was nominated by her Literature teacher, Wendy Gorham and Math teacher, Lisa Bruce. Both describe Amber as cheerful, enthusiastic, helpful, honest, and organized. Amber says having grown up in a small family and attending a private Christian school since kindergarten, she has learned to put her life in God’s hands. She says, “He will lead me down the right path to the future that he has planned for me.” Amber hopes to attend Texas Christian University where she would like to major in biology and go into the medical field.
—News release written by Melanie Norton, spokesperson for the Temecula Valley Unified School District