On November 17, 2016, students from Hemet Unified and San Jacinto Unified were recognized as Students of the Month at an awards breakfast held at the Sizzler Restaurant in Hemet. Students were selected from Hemet High School, West Valley High School, Tahquitz High School, Hamilton High School, Helen Hunt Jackson, Western Center Academy, San Jacinto High School, and Mountain View High School/Mountain Heights Academy.
Sponsors of the Student of the Month Program donated backpacks filled with gifts, gift certificates, a plaque, and much more. The students had an opportunity to thank their families and teachers who have supported them and helped them plan their future life goals.
Cassiopeia Tichy was chosen as Hemet High’s Student of the Month by her home hospital teacher, Melissa Smith. Smith said teaching Cassi has been one of the greatest privileges of her teaching career. Cassi was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, the second-most common cancer found in teenagers. Cassi said that the disease taught her that she was a strong person. Cassi said she was raised to value her education and plans on attending college within the next few years. However, at this point, she and her family are still focused on her health. Cassi hopes to pursue her passion for art either in illustration or animation.
Christina Muoio was chosen as West Valley High School’s Student of the Month. Christina was chosen for her hard work and determination. She is one of the top 10 students at West Valley, on the school’s Academic Decathlon team, an AVID student, and is enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) classes. She said she has always had a passion for learning, but had to learn to stop comparing herself to others. She said, “Everyone has their own journey, and I need to focus on mine.” She hopes to attend college next year and major in Art History or English.
Reuben Rodriguez was selected as Tahquitz High School’s Student of the Month. Reuben was nominated by his AP Physics teacher, James Trimm, for his ability to step up to every challenge he faces. Reuben explained he was very shy when he came to Tahquitz because he came from a very small middle school. He said Tahquitz has opened many opportunities for him through their Career Technical Education (CTE) courses and the Cross Country team. He is enrolled in Dual Enrollment and AP classes and is now the captain of the Cross Country team. He dreams of attending the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he hopes to narrow down a major.
Randi Nuanes was selected by Mary Kleinvachter, her Economics teacher at Hamilton High School. Ms. Kleinvachter said she nominated Randi for her positive attitude. She said she is an exceptional student who is humble, kind, and always has a smile of her face. Randi expressed she knows that if she continues to work hard she will be successful in the end. “When I feel like quitting, I know that’s the time I need to keep going,” she said. Randi hopes to major in Fine Arts and continue her passion of art.
Brooklynn Wright was nominated by Linda Olsen, as Helen Hunt Jackson’s Student of the Month. Ms. Olsen said she nominated Brooklynn because she is diligent, hardworking, and the quintessential Independent Study student. Brooklynn has been on the campus since she was in 6th grade. Olsen said she has maintained a high GPA throughout her time in the program, been a cross-aged tutor, and runs her own photography business. Brooklynn said the most important thing she has learned from the program is how to become an independent student. Brooklynn plans on attending a local community college and transferring to California State University, San Marcos, where she would like to pursue her career in photography.
Fatemah Odtallah was chosen as the first Western Center Academy’s Student of the Month. Fatemah was nominated by her teacher Samantha Opperman. Ms. Opperman said she nominated Fatemah for her passion and for being an advocate for students who feel that they are unable to stand up for themselves. She continued to say that Fatemah has impacted her and made her teach differently. Fatemah said she has been the subject of bullying due to her religious beliefs, but these instances have just made her stronger. She said there is nothing like being the subject of hate to learn how to love. Fatemah goes to school six days a week to continue her passion for learning a new language. She hopes to attend University of California, Riverside to major in Psychology.
Congratulations to the students, teachers, principals, and family members. It was an inspiring morning celebrating these students and their bright futures.