TEMECULA – Six Temecula high school seniors were honored as Students of the Month on January 16th by the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce (TVCC). The students were recognized by their families, teachers, principals, the business community, and locally elected officials. This is the 23rd year the TVCC Student of the Month Program has honored students in the Temecula Valley.
Temecula Valley High School ~ Maritza Massol
AVID teacher Brenda Chiuminatta describes Maritza as, “an amazing young lady”. She says, Maritza is “a true leader- inspirational, driven, a great example to her peers.” Maritza will be the first in her family to attend college. Her mother, who is from Mexico, and her father, who is from Puerto Rico, moved to Temecula when Maritza was five. Maritza says her parents always instilled in her the importance of education. She credits her parent’s positive encouragement for helping her achieve academically. Maritza currently holds a 4.5 GPA and hopes to attend Georgetown University or New York University. She hopes to eventually obtain a PhD and would like to work in national security. She says her dream job would be to work as a Counter-terrorism Analyst in the CIA.
Linfield Christian High School ~ Will Campbell
English teacher Desirae Jesse says, “Will stands out not only as an exceptional student at the top of his class, but he also exhibits kindness and humor on a daily basis”. She describes him as “intelligent beyond means”, “humble”, and with a “heart that shines bright.” Will is a senior member of the school’s video announcement cast. He’s also one of the stars of the boy’s soccer team. Prior to moving to Temecula seven years ago, Will lived in Florida and South Carolina. He says moving schools and having to make new friends each time was a learning experience for him. He says, “I’ve learned to never quit, no matter what.” Mrs. Jesse says, “I’m privileged to have known Will and watch him grow. He has a wonderful future ahead.” Will would like to attend UCLA where he would like to study Civil Engineering.
Chaparral High School ~ Haley Knapp
English teacher, Michelle Loza says Haley is a “leader on campus” and someone who puts “110% into everything she does.” Among the reasons she was nominated, Haley goes above and beyond in everything she does and always has a great attitude. Haley is friendly, reliable, analytical, and dynamic. She is engaged and puts 110% in everything she does, and she doesn’t do it for accolades.” Haley has lived in Temecula her entire life and is the youngest of three children. She is an avid golfer and has been on the Varsity Golf Team for four years. The biggest life lesson Haley says she has learned is that “anger does not help and it’s better to keep moving forward and looking towards always doing better”. Haley would like to attend Johns Hopkins University and then a graduate school to study Biomedical Engineering and ultimately become a researcher in a specialized area of medicine.
Great Oak High School ~ McKenna Wade
International Baccalaureate (IB) teacher January King describes McKenna Wade as “passionate, thoughtful, and magnanimous”. English teacher Melissa Casady says McKenna is “a quiet, resolute leader” who is highly respected by her peers. McKenna says that growing up in a military family taught her to become independent and taught her to help out whenever possible. She says, “Moving around taught me to be adaptable.” McKenna volunteers her time working in the Food Pantry at Camp Pendleton and is President of the Student Auxiliary at Fallbrook Hospital. McKenna has a passion for both Math and English and has earned a 4.24 GPA. She would like to pursue a career in pediatrics or oncology.
Rancho Vista High School ~ Nicolas MacDuffee
Nominating teacher, Mr. Wrisley says Nicolas started out as a quiet student, but slowly developed into someone who is, “confident, expressive, and insightful.” Mr. Wrisley says that as he got to know Nicolas he realized just how much he has to offer. Music is a passion for Nicolas, who is also interested in pursuing a career in audio engineering. Mr. Wrisley says, “he is incredibly creative and talented”. Through his focus and determination at Rancho Vista, Nicolas has created a new path for himself that will surely be full of promise.
Susan H. Nelson High School ~ Makenzie Lane
Teacher Brian Balaris says Makenzie is an incredibly “perseverant” young lady. He says, “Once she focuses on something, nothing stops her.” Makenzie attends Temecula Advantage Virtual School. She says, “Once I left Chaparral High School, the virtual school was a whole new experience for me.” She says the flexibility and personalized attention she receives in the virtual program has been a tremendous help for her academic studies. Mackenzie has a learning disability that wasn’t diagnosed until later in adolescence. She says that finally having the disability diagnosed took a tremendous weight off of her shoulders. She says learning disabilities may be hard to overcome, but “people will learn to accept that that’s who you are.” After graduation Makenzie plans on attending Palomar Community College where she would like to study Photography.