Murrieta Valley Chamber of Commerce announces Student of the Year winners

Shown sitting from left to right, the Murrieta Valley Chamber of Commerce names Lakeisha Stanford, Shane Alayvilla, Nandeeni Patel, Natalie Lopez, Isaac Cunalata, Adam Schwab and Megan Everts as the 2017 Student of the Year winners, while Sally Myers, SOM founder; John Hunneman, representing Sen. Jeff Stone; Brenda Dennstedt, representing Congressman Ken Calvert; Murrieta Valley Unified School District Superintendent Patrick Kelley; school board President Robin Crist; Margaret Jones, SOM chairwoman; school board member Ken Dickson; Murrieta Chamber of Commerce CEO Andy Morris and Jen Pham, SOM chairwoman, stand behind them. Kip A. Cothran photo
Shown sitting from left to right, the Murrieta Valley Chamber of Commerce names Lakeisha Stanford, Shane Alayvilla, Nandeeni Patel, Natalie Lopez, Isaac Cunalata, Adam Schwab and Megan Everts as the 2017 Student of the Year winners, while Sally Myers, SOM founder; John Hunneman, representing Sen. Jeff Stone; Brenda Dennstedt, representing Congressman Ken Calvert; Murrieta Valley Unified School District Superintendent Patrick Kelley; school board President Robin Crist; Margaret Jones, SOM chairwoman; school board member Ken Dickson; Murrieta Chamber of Commerce CEO Andy Morris and Jen Pham, SOM chairwoman, stand behind them. Kip A. Cothran photo

MURRIETA – The Murrieta Valley Chamber of Commerce recently announced their Student of the Year awards during a recognition program held Thursday, May 25.

The students and their families attended a breakfast sponsored by numerous local businesses. Principals and students shared stories, and each Student of the Year received a $2,314 college scholarship along with numerous gift certificates from community businesses, certificates of recognition and congratulations and encouragement from local, county, state and federal dignitaries.

Murrieta Mesa senior Isaac Cunalata is an Advanced Placement scholar with a 4.3 GPA. He has over 200 hours of community service leading youth worship and teaching Sunday school. Cunalata is a member of National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, the Rooted in Christ Club and TED Talks Club. He has also been on the cross country team for four years and is a gifted vocalist in the choir. He has played the lead role in several school theater productions. Cunalata will attend West Point Military Academy and he plans to major in international law.

Murrieta Valley High School senior Megan Everts has a 4.4 GPA, and she is co-valedictorian of her class. She will earn an International Baccalaureate diploma. Everts is secretary-treasurer of National Honor Society. She has been on the yearbook staff for three years and was in marching band and symphonic band. Everts was also involved in Science Olympiad and the Interact Club. Everts attended a summer program at the University of Oxford in England and she spent a month in China teaching English. Everts will attend the University of Pennsylvania and plans to major in international relations. She hopes to earn a postgraduate award as a Rhodes scholar.

Springs Charter School senior Shane Alayvilla is in the top 5 percent of his class and he holds a 4.25 GPA while taking advanced and dual enrollment classes. He is president of the National Honor Society, president of the Interact Club and president of the school’s Robotics Team. Alayvilla attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and he is a youth worship leader at his church. Alayvilla interns at a local engineering company. Alayvilla will attend California State Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo and plans to major in electrical engineering. Alayvilla has a passion for service and after college he would like to travel to other countries with Engineers Without Borders to help meet people’s basic human needs.

Murrieta Canyon Academy senior Natalie Lopez has pursued independent study since her sophomore year. At Murrieta Canyon Academy, she learned the importance of time management and how to be a self-directed learner, as  well as mentored other students at the school. Lopez loves helping other people recognize their abilities and gifts. She served on the school’s aesthetics committee and helped choose the new school’s logo and school colors. While working as a receptionist at a physical therapy office, Lopez developed an interest in pursuing a career as a physical therapist. She plans to attend Mt. San Jacinto College for two years and transfer to California State University San Marcos.

Oak Grove Center senior Lakeisha Stanford has become an inspirational leader who is known for her integrity and character. She is on the honor roll and her classmates look up to her example. Stanford mentors younger students and students with special needs. She is also an outstanding vocalist. Stanford has overcome challenges and adversity by staying focused on her goals and dreams, making wise choices for herself and never giving up. Stanford plans to attend Riverside Community College and transfer to San Diego State University.

Calvary Murrieta Christian High School senior Adam Schwab is an outstanding student who maintains a 4.21 GPA. He is a member of National Honor Society and was valedictorian of his class. He plays piano and guitar, sings and leads worship at his school. He was the quarterback on the football team and also played basketball and baseball. Schwab plans to go to Azusa Pacific University and pursue a double major in systems engineering and humanities. Schwab loves helping people and is known for his character, compassion for his classmates, diligence in his studies, sense of humor and love for his Lord.

Vista Murrieta High School senior Nandeeni Patel is actively involved in the community and school. She is state president of the California Association of Student Councils, student board member on the Association of California School Administrators Legislative Policy Committee, Murrieta City Council representative, president of the Murrieta Youth Advisory Committee and she serves as an intern at Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center and University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation. Patel is also a member of the Associated Student Body and the National Honor Society. Patel plans to attend Claremont McKenna College and major in international relationships with a minor in political science. She plans to be an international lawyer and focus on human rights and the refugee crisis.

The Student of the Year awardees were chosen by a panel of anonymous, independent judges from this year’s Student of the Month winners. These outstanding college-bound students were 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.

To learn more about the Student of the Month program, contact Founder Sally A. Myers at (951) 506-8024.

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