Six Temecula high school seniors were honored as students of the month Nov. 13 by the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The students were recognized by their families, teachers, school administrators, the business community, and locally elected officials.
This year, the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce Student of the Month program celebrates twenty years of honoring students who are making a difference.
Sarah Zdanowski, Chaparral High School
After being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 3 ½ and undergoing chemotherapy for 2 ½ years, Sarah says the experience taught her to “enjoy life as it happens and to always do my best.” She says she tries to always persevere because she knows the results are always worth the struggle.
Librarian Sandy Wren says that as the President of the Puma Readers Club for the past two years, Sarah has helped grow the club from six members to 24. Mrs. Wren says Sarah is the type of person who makes others feel welcome, even reaching out to those who would otherwise keep to themselves.
Sarah says one of the greatest lessons she’s learned so far is that, “Everyone around us can be an inspiration.”
She says after graduation she would like to attend college and earn a degree in geology.
Marianne Dang, Great Oak High School
Born in Queens, New York, Marianne says she has moved around frequently during her adolescence. Having changed schools around seven times, she says the experience has taught her that “change and adaptation” are things that come with such travels. Marianne’s Speech & Debate coach January King describes her as, “thoughtful, inquisitive, inspiring, insightful, and driven.” Mrs. King also says she is most impressed by the close relationship between Marianne and her mother. She says, “This is a family who realizes the importance of family and raising their kids to make them who they are.”
After graduation, Marianne plans on attending college and would like to become an engineer.
Angeline Rivkin, Temecula Preparatory School
Angeline Rivkin’s nominating teacher describes her as “diligent, focused, passionate and dedicated to her community and school.”
Angeline is described as the type of student who has a positive calm and who students gravitate towards. Her parents say Angeline is fascinated by the world around her and has a deep compassion and appreciation for the struggles of others.
Angeline says she would like to attend UCSD and pursue a career in medicine.
Ericka Solis, Rancho Christian High School
Ericka’s nominating teacher, Mrs. Gill says Ericka is a vivacious, compassionate, kind, and trustworthy student. She says, “Ericka is the whole package. She sets the bar high and inspires others to rise up.” Mrs. Gill says Ericka is a woman of integrity and “the type of student who arrives early and stays late.” Those who know Ericka best say she always maintains a positive attitude. Ericka has been a student at RCHS for seven years and considers RCHS to be “like a second home.”
Still deciding where she’ll go to college after graduating, Ericka says she wants to major in biology and minor in photography and hopes to be an optometrist.
Rhett Johnson, Linfield Christian School
LCHS’s Principal, Holly Wilson says Rhett exemplifies what a Student of the Month should look like. Rhett is genuinely concerned about everyone on campus; he is kind, respectful, represents family, and lives life well. Rhett says he was often sick when he was young, but the support of his family and doctor helped him achieve in school and influenced him to choose a career in medicine. His goal in life is to make an impact on others, similarly to how his doctor made an impact on his life.
He has applied to Stanford, USC and Pepperdine.
Alexis Rae Olson, Temecula Valley High School
Alexis' psychology teacher, Mrs. Murray-Sibby describes Alexis as a hard charging responsible leader. She says “Alexis is one of the brightest I’ve ever taught. Her leadership inspires me.” Having been in the cheer program for three years, and now as captain of the team, Alexis says she has learned the importance of leadership and being considerate of the person you’re speaking to. She says, “One word to me could mean something completely different to someone from a different background.”
Alexis would like to attend either the University of Colorado Denver or Northern Arizona University to study psychology.
—News release submitted by Melanie Norton, spokesperson for the Temecula Valley Unified School District