■ Chronicle News Service
Students from Hemet Unified and San Jacinto Unified were recognized as Students of the Month at an awards breakfast held Sept. 28 at the Hemet Sizzler Restaurant. Students were selected from the following high schools: Hemet, West Valley, Tahquitz, Hamilton, ACE Academy, San Jacinto, and Mountain View/Mountain Heights Academy.
Jordan Cunningham was nominated by Al Fernandes, a teacher at Hemet High School, for being a quiet and persistent leader. Jordan is involved in several campus clubs and organizations. She currently has a 4.2 GPA, is a member of the varsity girls’ softball team, and is a safety representative for the school’s Safety Committee for 2016-17. Jordan feels that no matter what circumstance she is faced with, she will be able to overcome it due to the effort she puts forth. After high school she plans to attend college and major in kinesiology. “She is a shining star at Hemet,” said Fernandes.
Monique Biantes was chosen as West Valley High School’s student of the month. Rod Martel, Monique’s multimedia teacher, said he is impressed with her ability to balance the rigor of her class schedule, sports, community service, homework, and her home responsibilities. Besides having perfect attendance and being in the top 10 percent of her class, Monique helps her single mother raise her three younger sisters, saying that she wants to be an example for them. She is currently taking four advanced placement classes, is the co-captain of West Valley’s girls golf team, and still finds time to help her fellow students. After high school, Monique would like to attend college and earn a business degree.
Ernesto Calumpang was nominated by his ROTC instructor, Major Antonio Williams, as Tahquitz High School’s student of the month. Williams described Ernesto as a smart and amazing young man. He is currently the commanding officer of the ROTC program and wants to ensure he sets the best example he can to the nearly 170 other students in the program. Ernesto said leadership is the biggest contribution one can give and he is a firm believer in working hard; he often stays up until 1 a.m. studying. Major Williams overheard Ernesto describing to his fellow classmates that he was no smarter than them, but chose to put more of a priority on the things that are important to him in life. He wants to attend college and major in biology to become a surgeon.
Miguel Barajas was selected by Julie Cope, one of his senior class advisors and a teacher at Hamilton High School. Cope nominated Miguel for his respectful attitude and his high work ethic. Miguel is Hamilton’s senior class president and worked tirelessly over the summer to set up a variety of fundraisers to ensure the senior class has a memorable year. Miguel is involved in a variety of clubs on campus, is the school’s representative to the district’s Governing Board, and enjoys community service. After attending college, he hopes to become an orthodontist.
Ryan Wilson was nominated by Felice Hill as ACE Academy’s student of the month. Ryan was unanimously chosen by staff members for his commitment to achieve success despite adversity. Hill is amazed by Ryan’s dedication to graduate high school. He is determined to attend school each day, even when transportation is difficult, attended extra class sessions and summer school, and uses his class time efficiently. He has made up more than 100 credits since his enrollment at ACE. Ryan is currently enrolled in the Career Technical Education program for criminal justice and the Hemet Police Explorers program. “I am excited to see what this young man does in the future,” said Hill.
Gabriel Ambriz was nominated by AFJROTC Instructor Senior Master Sgt. (retired) Richard J. DeMarti for San Jacinto High School’s student of the month. DeMarti shared that Gabriel is a well-rounded cadet who takes advanced placement and International Baccalaureate courses all while leading the Color Guard. Principal Luke Smith agrees that Gabriel is an outstanding student and has worked through hardships with unwavering discipline, including recent economic stress that forced his family to leave their home. He attributed the purpose and structure of ROTC and the camaraderie within the program for helping him overcome obstacles and achieve academic success throughout high school. Gabriel plans to attend a private university after serving in the U.S. Air Force.
Zack Weir was nominated by math teacher Dr. Jordan Smith for Mountain View High School’s student of the month. “Zack is a perfect example of a Mountain View Warrior – he’s polite, prompt, present and productive,” said Smith. Principal Ken Swanson also noted that Zack encourages others on campus, and has really worked hard over the past two years to regain credits. Zack explained that his first two years of high school he earned zero credits, a decision he still regrets. However, Zack has only five credits left to complete to earn his diploma. Since his mother and grandmother were not able to attend the breakfast, Zack brought his best friend Cody Kile, a former Mountain View High graduate who is now an MSJC student. Principal Swanson noted that Kile helped Zack through his requirements for high school and is now leading the way for continued education. “Zack has always been my ‘go-to man’ and I’m happy to share congratulations for his selection as student of the month,” said Cody.
Sponsors of the Student of the Month Program donated backpacks filled with gifts, gift certificates, a plaque, and more. The students thanked their families and teachers who have supported them and helped them plan their future life goals.