Pictured are February’s Students of the Month; Sally Myers, Founder; Mayor Michael Vargas, City of Perris; Matt Johnson, Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce; Cindy Espinoza, Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce; Melissa Lopez, Heritage High School; James Kelly, Perris Lake High School; Samantha Valdez, Perris High School; Mayor Neil Winter, City of Menifee; and Timothy Dalton, Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce (Not pictured, Victoria Marquez, Paloma Valley High School).
The Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce kicked off the 2016-2017 Student of the Month program in September 2016. The students are nominated by their teachers and staff at their respective school sites and are chosen for their character, integrity, love of learning, ability to persevere and overcome challenging circumstances, community service, and how they make a difference on their high school campus.
February’s students and their families attended a breakfast sponsored by the Perris and Menifee Chambers of Commerce along with local businesses and organizations. Principals and teachers from each high school shared stories about the students and they each received certificates of recognition, numerous gifts, congratulations and encouragement from local, county, state and federal dignitaries.
Paloma Valley High School’s Cadet Lieutenant Victoria Marquez is February’s Student of the Month. Although Victoria was not in attendance due to illness, it did not stop her Principal Mr. Williamson or her teacher MSgt. Frank Puebla, from praising her character and accomplishments. According to Mr. Williamson Victoria has shown self-motivation in all her leadership skills. And because of leaders like Victoria, Paloma Valley’s NJROTC have advanced to the national competition in Pensacola, Florida in April. Her mentor, MSgt. Puebla, shared that aside from the hard skills needed for NJROTC, Victoria encompasses the soft skills as well which makes her a great leader to other cadets. Victoria is already enlisted in the army and will go active in the summer. She plans to be a medic and then go into nursing.
James Kelly is Perris Lake High School’s Student of the Month. “James is a skateboarder who has rolled himself to the top to earn this recognition” according to Principal, Dean Hauser. He stated that all the Perris Lake teachers were unanimous in that James was the perfect fit this this month’s nominee. His teacher, Mr. Benson shared that James is a quiet gentleman, but will not hesitate to gently remind you of mistakes that are made. James stated that he was excited to be graduating in March but never pictured himself to be an A student. However, after coming to Perris Lake he became motivated and focused thanks to the teachers and staff who show a tremendous amount of support to all of their students. James plans to attend San Diego State University to study civil engineering.
Perris High School’s Student of the Month is Samantha Valdez. Samantha has had to face some difficult challenges in her life. At the age of 12 she was placed in the foster care system. However, according to her Principal, Mr. Hilton, it’s not what defines her. What defines Samantha is her perseverance in overcoming those obstacles. Through these challenges Samantha maintained a positive attitude and has developed a desire to help others. She is well respected and has become an exemplary role model to her peers. Samantha shared that being separated from her family was one of the most difficult things she’s experienced, but by staying focused, she has been able to accomplish her goals. Samantha plans to attend Cal State San Marcos and major in social work to help other foster children.
Heritage High School’s Student of the Month is Melissa Lopez. Melissa has overcome some major obstacles to reach this point in her educational career. Struggling with a stuttering issue growing up has been a challenge. However, she did not let that get in the way of her goals. Melissa shared that she has worked hard taking speech classes participating and not holding back. As a result is has made her a stronger person. Both, her Principal, Mr. Arce and her teacher Mr. La Rochelle, speak highly of her passion for school issues and her desire to help and encourage other students. Melissa is looking to attend either UC Santa Barbara or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and will double major in biology and Spanish. She is planning a career in orthodontics to help provide healthcare to the Spanish speaking community.
All of these students demonstrated a desire to work hard and have a drive to exceed others and their own expectations. The Perris Valley Chamber and the Menifee Valley Chamber wish them the best in their endeavors. If you wish to learn more about the Student of the Month Program, please contact founder, Sally Myers at (951) 506-8024.