Jaelen Cooper was nominated by Teacher Lee Clark for Allesandro High School’s January student of the month. “Jaelen positively influences others, and he’s comfortable leading,” shared Mr. Clark, who also noted that Jaelen’s cousin was selected as a Student of the Month a few years ago, making a legacy for his family. Jaelen is 18 years old and currently lives with his aunt as his family is now living in Belize (Central America). He works two jobs, has a passion for acting, and enjoys encouraging other students to get back on track and complete their requirements for graduation. “I believe the quote ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’ is right,” said Jaelen. He noted he plans to attend college to study theater and drama. Principal Tara O’Malley said she enjoys the positive energy Jaelen brings to school. His aunt shared a phone recording from his parents in Belize, telling Jaelen and the audience how proud they are of his accomplishments and their belief he will continue to do well in all that he works towards.
Hamilton High School’s January student of the month, Alexia Delgadillo, was nominated by Teacher Julie Cope. “Alexia works hard to make things happen,” said Mrs. Cope. Principal Dr. Natalie Ruddell shared a quote by Gail Devers, a retired track and field athlete in her introduction of Alexia, which depicts the need to work hard and have determination, and truly appropriate since Alexia is a cross-country athlete for her school. Alexia shared her ‘why’ of working hard—to lead by example, especially since she says her younger brothers’ look up to her. “My mother has struggled taking care of us, but she’s always been there for me,” noted Alexia, who intends to study law enforcement and is trying for scholarships as she completes her busy senior year.
Elliott Tate was nominated by English Teacher Laura Brown for Hemet High School’s January student of the month. Principal Dr. Emily Shaw reminisced about the first time Elliott’s mother called, the summer before his freshman year. Mother explained a transition was beginning and it was more than just the entering of high school, it was a gender transition. Mrs. Brown said Elliott has done a great job with the transition, has had his writing published, held significant roles in drama, and enjoys working with other students. Elliott shared that his first two years of high school were filled with fear and he still feels unsure about all there is to being a young man. “But I do know that love overpowers hate, and I respect others as human beings, even if I don’t understand them,” explained Elliott. He noted that he gained more acceptance by others when he used kindness. Elliott plans to attend San Francisco State to study psychology and creative writing.
Jacob Torres was nominated by Teacher Trisha Ochoa for Mtn. View High’s January student of the month. Principal Ken Swanson said he’s never heard a bad thing from the mouth of Jacob, and Mrs. Ochoa said in her two years of having him in class, Jacob has been nothing but an awesome role model. She also noted that Jacob is great in sports and an unselfish team player, always helping get less-skilled team mates on the basketball court to play. Jacob was able to graduate high school early and is now attending winter quarter at Mt. San Jacinto College. He plans to attend UC Riverside to become an architectural engineer. It was health and attendance issues as a sophomore that led Jacob to MVHS, and he found energy and happiness to not only get back on track but complete high school early. Jacob has seven younger brothers and sisters at home, and his brother Angel says he motivates them all.
AVID Teacher/Golf Coach Niki Gray nominated Victoria Arevalo for San Jacinto High School’s January student of the month. Attendees at the SJHS 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony will recognize Victoria, said Interim Principal Courtney Hall, as Victoria was the poised and articulate AFJROTC student leader for the event. Mrs. Gray nominated Victoria because of her great example of being a light that is meant to shine, always first to arrive and last to leave in her role as Cadet Commander. Victoria announced that she was swearing into the armed forces on January 18, and her military career goal is to become a Navy Seal and then study marine biology. Victoria said her greatest accomplishment to date is being a role model for her siblings and overcoming a fear of public speaking. “ROTC events and teaching juniors about leadership helped me learn to talk in front of others,” said Victoria.
Nancy Perez Yanez was nominated by Teacher Art Zambrano for Tahquitz High School’s January student of the month. “She has grit and resilience,” said Mr. Zambrano. “She now encourages others to make good choices, I’m so proud of her!” he exclaimed. Nancy shared that she had been in a lot of fights in middle school and early years in high school, but decided to turn her life around. She has given back to the community by helping feed homeless and being helpful to her own family, helping run the house. Nancy plans to attend Chico State University next fall.
West Valley High School’s January student of the month, Danielle Gamez, was nominated by Teacher TJ Hepburn. Principal Shannyn Cahoon said she loves the Student of the Month program because the students exude optimism and hope, with her student Danielle as no exception. Mr. Hepburn shared that Danielle is a continuous leader and very active in drama and color guard, always at school ready to help. Danielle is the Thespian Club president and thoroughly enjoys performing. She said that being picked on for being nice, overweight, or a bad singer actually motivated her. Danielle realized that a bully was jealous and it pushed her forward—plus, her teachers believed in her and helped her to not give up on her dreams. Danielle plans to attend Cal State Fullerton for performing arts and teaching. Danielle’s father said they don’t see her that much at home, but he is proud of her for working hard at her passion.