Menifee Valley students honored in February

Pictured are February’s Students of the Month; Front Row: Genesis Morales, Heritage High School; Ella Stenerson, Paloma Valley High School; Cherylann Burke, Perris Lake High School; and German De Lara, Perris High School. Back Row: Sally Myers, Founder; Nancy Salazar, City of Perris; Grant Bennett, Superintendent, Perris Union High School District; Councilmember Bob Karwin, City of Menifee; Jason White, Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce; Jerry Sepulveda, Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce; Jorge Savala, Assemblyman Dr. Corey Jackson; and Jett Benavidez, Congressman Ken Calvert. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Sarah Rico

Special to Valley News

The Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce kicked off the 2022-2023 Student of the Month program in September. The students are nominated by their teachers and staff at their respective school sites and are 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.

February’s students and their families attended a breakfast sponsored by the Perris and Menifee Chambers of Commerce along with local businesses and organizations. Principals and teachers from each high school shared stories about the students and they each received certificates of recognition, numerous gifts, congratulations and encouragement from local, county, state and federal dignitaries.

Heritage High School’s Student of the Month is Genesis Morales. Genesis plays on the girls’ basketball team and is a video director/producer of various events including the Student of the Month program. She has had a passion for videography since the sixth grade and has developed her craft while at Heritage. Genesis shared that she initially struggled when she first started at Heritage feeling very alone and not wanting to get involved with anyone or anything at school. However, through some encouragement from her PE teacher she tried out, and made, the basketball team which helped her come out of her shell. She then got involved in film production which changed everything for her, giving her the courage to move forward with her passion of videography. Genesis is currently undecided as to where she will continue her education. However, she does have an opportunity to start her videography career right after completing high school.

Paloma Valley’s Ella Stenerson is February’s Student of the Month. Ella currently holds a 4.5 GPA. She is involved in AVID and is part of the Student Gospel community. Ella is amazing in academics earning nothing less than an A, according to Principal Dr. Jennifer Thomasian. Many teachers agreed with Thomasian, as there were over 10 of them supporting her nomination giving many accolades on her behalf. Her AP Calculus teacher Ryan Lundstrom quoted from a number of comments about Ella including the following, “Ella is a great choice. She is so kind and joyful, also an exceptional student academically. When I had a new student in my class very late in the semester, she took her under her wing and really made her feel welcome.” Ella plans to further her education at either UC Davis or Texas A&M to become a veterinarian and also minor in American Sign Language.

Cherylann Burke is Perris Lake High School’s Student of the Month. Perris Lake is a unique campus in that this is one of the last opportunities students have to complete their high school credits and earn their diploma. Cherylann’s high school journey did not start off positively. She attended multiple schools before coming to Perris Lake and received negative feedback from some of her prior teachers that affected her confidence. However, after coming to the “Lake,” she was met by a loving and attentive staff and now, she is thriving in school. Cherylann shared that her confidence has increased, and she is very grateful for the staff at Perris Lake. “I’m on the Honor Roll, I’m Student of the Month, I have great grades, and I have the most amazing people and teachers I could ask for,” she said. Cherylann plans to continue her education at Mt. San Jacinto College and then transfer to a four-year university to major in animal science to become a veterinarian.

Perris High School’s Student of the Month is German De Lara. German’s story is a story of success, according to Principal Juan Santos. He has overcome a number of obstacles and has grown immensely in the last couple of years. German shared some of his struggles and how he came to the realization that if he wanted something to change in his life, he had to be the one to initiate that change. “It came to a point in life that I realized that my choices were not taking me anywhere,” he said. “I stopped hanging out with these bad influences, and now I’m 73 school days from graduating from high school.” German’s case carrier, Ms. Cintia Osuna, shared how proud she was of him, seeing him now being an example for others and making an impact at Perris High School. German plans to attend trade school after graduation with an interest in electrical or auto mechanics.

All of these students demonstrated a desire to work hard and have a drive to exceed others and their own expectations. The Perris Valley Chamber and the Menifee Valley Chamber wish them the best in their endeavors. If you wish to learn more about the Student of the Month Program, please contact founder Sally Myers at 951-506-8024.

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