The following was submitted for publication by the Temecula Valley Unified School District:
Six Temecula high school seniors were honored as
Student of the Month on March 13, 2014 by the Temecula Chamber of Commerce
The students were recognized by their families, teachers, principals, the business community, and locally elected officials. This is the 23rd year the TVCC Student of the Month Program has honored students in the Temecula Valley.
The students are pictured seated in the front row from left to right:
Alisa Knowles (Temecula Valley), Andrew Tran (Chaparral), Jessica Gilbert (Rancho Vista), Caden Wakefield (Linfield) and Daniela Salazar Monarrez (Great Oak). Not in the photo but still honored was Miranda Morales (Susan H. Nelson).
Back row from left to right:
Sally Myers (Founder of SOM), Tim Ritter (TVUSD Superintendent), Alice Sullivan (TVCC President/CEO), Brooke Nunn (SOM Program Chair) and Charles Walker (City of Temecula).
Here is more about each student:
Chaparral High School - Andrew Tran
Andrew Tran’s Science teacher, Mr. Koscielak nominated Andrew for being his top student for the last two years. Mr. Koscielak says, “Andrew not only does his best on all work, he brings out the best in others. I admire his work ethic, sense of humor, high level of achievement, and individuality. He knows who he is!” Andrew has a motto he likes to live by: “we like to make the impossible, possible”. Andrew believes “we are capable of so much as long as we try and put in hard work”. It is from this motto that Andrew believes he can someday cure Alzheimer’s disease.” Mr. Koscielak agrees, “When Andrew says he aims to cure cancer/ Alzheimer’s, everybody in his class believes it will happen.” Andrew’s ambition was influenced by his AP Psychology and AP Biology classes “because I found myself fascinated with the brain, cognition, memory, and many other topics. Being a part of Key Club has also influenced me wanting to help others.” Andrew plans on getting his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and then enroll in medical school and eventually become a neuropathologist and conduct research on potential cures for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Great Oak High School - Daniela
Daniela Salazar Monarrez moved to the United States when she was just five years old, and moved around the country about three times before moving to Temecula. More than anything, Daniela loves to learn and appreciates the value of diversity and empathy. Ms. Aimee Ricken, IB English teacher, describes Daniela as creative, a leader, motivated, and insightful. “She is by far one of the most impressive students we’ve ever had on our campus!” Next fall, Daniela is going to the University of Chicago to major in linguistics and minor in computer science. “I’ve always loved languages and hope to study as many as I can.”
Linfield Christian High School - Caden Wakefield
Caden Wakefield comes from a big family in a small home. His attitude: “enjoy everything life has to offer”, and says he wants to “do as much as I can while I am young”. Caden’s Leadership/ASB teacher, Ms. Marla Renno says, Caden is “responsible, adventurous, and fun” and nominated him for Student of the Month for being “an enthusiastic school leader”. After high school, Caden plans on getting a 4-year degree in business finance and continuing his father’s business.
Rancho Vista High School - Jessica
Ms. Imelda Donnely, Jessica Gilbert’s APEX Credit Recovery teacher, describes Jessica as “well spoken, respectful, and kind”. She nominated Jessica for Student of the Month because Jessica worked hard turning her life around. Jessica wants to go to college and become a Social Worker. “I want to help the kids of generations to come with the problems that I had no one to help me overcome. I want people to look at me as a person that has overcome obstacles like graduating high school when all of the odds are against you. I want to inspire people to reach for the stars because if you are a genuine good person you can become anything.”
Susan H. Nelson High School - Miranda
Miranda Morales’ teacher congratulates Miranda for being nominated for Student of the Month. In 2012, Miranda’s junior year, she was a student struggling to pass her courses and in fear of not being able to graduate. After much hard work and a number of months with the program, she overcame her personal and academic struggles, eventually resulting in a complete turnaround. Miranda works full-time and takes ROP courses outside of the program offering and has managed to earn enough credits to graduate early.
Temecula Valley High School - Alisa Knowles
Alisa Knowles has lived in Temecula since kindergarten. She likes running, science, playing the harp, fruit, her sister, and singing in the car. She has learned in life “to always have a positive attitude”. “Everyone experiences personal struggles, both big and small. The best thing to do is accept whatever happens and to then act to improve the situation. This mindset has helped me and will hopefully always help me be happy.” Mr. Anthony Mendez, AP Environmental Science teacher, describes Alicia as “very intelligent, insightful, responsible, and does everything with a smile on her face”. Alisa says she was fortunate to have amazing teachers for AP Biology and AP Chemistry and plans of studying human biology or biochemistry in college. With her “love for science”, Alisa hopes to go into the medical field and help others some day.