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January Students of the Month

On January 19, 2017, students from Hemet Unified and San Jacinto Unified were recognized as Students of the Month at an awards breakfast held at the Sizzler Restaurant in Hemet. Students were selected from Hemet High School, West Valley High School, Tahquitz High School, Hamilton High School, Alessandro High School, San Jacinto High School, and Mountain View High School/Mountain Heights Academy. 

Sponsors of the Student of the Month Program donated backpacks filled with gifts, gift certificates, a plaque, Certificates of Recognition, and much more. The students had an opportunity to thank their families and teachers who have supported them and helped them plan their future life goals. 

Hemet High recognized two students this month, because one of the students was unable to make it to last month’s celebration. The first student recognized was Michael McGivney and he was nominated by his math teacher Kristin Dewitt. Dewitt said Michael is the smartest math student she has ever taught. She continued to say that having him as a student is like having another teacher in class. He patiently helps his other classmates and is able to take complicated subject matter and explain it in a way that makes sense. Michael is the ASB President, Varsity Water Polo Captain, top scorer in the Hemet High School California Math League Competition Team, placed second in the state on the Trigonometry State Competition, and is on the school’s Academic Decathlon Team. Michael said he has applied to Stanford and would like to major in Biomedical Engineering. 

Caitlyn Toomey was the second Hemet High School student recognized at the event. Caitlyn was nominated by her agriculture teacher Sara Mosqueda. Caitlyn is one of the top five students on Hemet’s campus. Aside from her various classes, she is the prosecuting attorney for the school’s Mock Trial Team, President of a local 4-H Club and collects food for local pantries. She plans to attend University of California, Los Angeles or the University of California, San Diego to pursue a degree in engineering. Afterwards, she plans on getting her masters in engineering or attending law school. 

Kristina Usenko was chosen as West Valley High School’s Student of the Month. Kristina was chosen by her AP Literature teacher Kirk Dawson for her positive attitude and quiet leadership. Kristina and her family moved to the United States from Russia when she was in fourth grade. Her father said they moved in order to provide a better education and opportunities for Kristina. Within two years, Kristina was reclassified from an English Learner to English Proficient. She said she became very shy because she was self-conscious about her ability to speak English so she became an avid reader to extent her vocabulary. She is now a tutor on campus, plays on the Varsity Girls’ Water-Polo team, and volunteers at Hemet Hospital. Her volunteer work has piqued her interest in becoming a nurse. She plans to attend a junior college and then transfer to Loma Linda or Biola University to pursue her dream. 

Karla Almaguer was selected as Tahquitz High School’s Student of the Month. Karla was nominated by her art teacher, Lee Corcoran, for her astute and meticulous nature. Corcoran said having Karla as an aide in his class is like having another adult in class. He admired her ability to turn anything into something great and that her mind is free of prejudice. Karla currently has a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) after dedicating all of her efforts to bringing her grades up after failing many of her classes. She said she suffered from low self-esteem due to a learning disability and was told she was so far behind it would take five years to graduate high school. Thanks to support from her family, she began to focus on her school work and is happy to announce she will graduate on time. She plans to attend Mount San Jacinto College (MSJC) and become a ceramics teacher. 

Hale Castorena was selected by Preston Brimhall, his teacher at Hamilton High School. Mr. Brimhall said he nominated Hale for his optimism and insightfulness. Brimhall said Hale possesses a combination of millennial and old-school values. He embraces technology while still maintaining the value of respect and loyalty. Hale is on the cross-country team at Hamilton and helped lead them to CIF qualifications. Hale has wonderful character and is extremely hard working. He does all he can to help those around him and provide everyone with a laugh with his insightful wit. Hale plans on entering the workforce after he graduates from Hamilton High. While he hasn’t decided on a career field, he expresses an interest in becoming a Correctional Officer. 

Roma Moran was nominated as Alessandro High School’s Student of the Month. Mr. Mueller, her advisory teacher, said Roma came to Alessandro because she was deficient in credits. She dedicated herself to not only academics, but being involved in school activities and clubs. In one semester she has completed 103 credits with a 4.0 GPA, an entire year’s worth of credits, became the Secretary for ASB, and a member of Peer Leaders Uniting Students. Mueller said Roma motivates him to be a better teacher. Roma plans on attending MSJC to receive her Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification and transfer to The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina and major in English.

Congratulations to all the students, teachers, principals, and family members. It was an inspiring morning celebrating these students and their bright futures.

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