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Casey, Clark, Maxwell and Hernandez lauded


Last updated 12/15/2006 at Noon

The various talents and accomplishments of the December community Student of the Month recipients again illustrate that “outstanding” is a word that can be defined in many ways. The four honorees all have various qualities that deem them remarkable.

When the Student of the Month committee met with community and educational leaders at the Fallbrook Golf Club’s Hukilau restaurant on Thursday, December 7, these four local students were lauded: Dusty Hernandez of Ivy High School and Michaela Casey, Corey Clark and Rachel Maxwell of Fallbrook Union High School.

A representative from San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn’s office told the audience that he “encourages young people to excel.” Also present were representatives from other local government offices.

Fallbrook Union High School Superintendent Tom Anthony remarked, “You are the best of the best – your parents should be proud.”

Rod King, principal of Fallbrook Union High School, told the audience, “We have insight into what makes them special beyond just being [students].”

Dusty Hernandez, a senior at Ivy High School, was honored in testimonials by teachers John Roche and Janet Williams. Both commented on how difficult it has been for Hernandez to overcome the loss of his sister, but he has persevered, dealt with emotional obstacles and become an excellent student. “He is always on time, always prepared, works very hard and asks questions,” said Roche. “He is not the type to complain.” Hernandez enjoys working on the computer and browsing the Internet. “Whenever I start talking to Dusty he always has a lot to say,” Roche commented.

Teacher Janet Williams mentioned, “It is refreshing to have a student say he’ll try – he always has such a willing spirit.”

Hernandez, himself, told the audience, “My sister never got through school – I am doing this for her.”

He enjoys working with animals, is a volunteer at the Temecula Cat Sanctuary and thinks he may work toward a career as an optometrist or a veterinarian.

Michaela Casey, a senior at Fallbrook Union High School, is lauded by teacher Pam Munro as “quietly outstanding, distinguished in music and a published poet.” Casey has won awards for both her music and writing endeavors. She plays three musical instruments – flute, viola and piano – and has been a member of the Warrior Marching Band for three years.

Casey has been a captain of the FUHS Academic Team and is a National Merit Scholar finalist.

She is a FUHS KOPA literary magazine contributor and also a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the Model United Nations. In addition, she works summers in the library.

Ms. Munro also mentioned that Casey is “mature beyond her years and an uncomplaining hard worker.”

Her father, Mike, said that Casey has an incredible thirst for knowledge, “like a vacuum cleaner.”

She is one of those rare intellectuals who shines both in the subjects of English and mathematics. She plans to pursue a double major in college.

Corey Clark, a senior at FUHS, has “a great zest for life” and “unselfish character” according to FUHS Coach Patrick Schmidt. He plays on the varsity football and basketball teams with “infectious enthusiasm.” “He taught us that hard work can be fun,” commented Coach Schmidt.

He is a “giver,” according to his father, Denny, who also told the audience that Clark volunteers with the Special Olympics.

Clark also has an enthusiasm and passion for life that is contagious. His fourth grade teacher commented to Clark years ago, “God has something special in store for you.” Friends Jackie and Brittany agreed, “He has a heart of gold and blesses everyone he touches.”

Clark, in his excellent impromptu speaking style, told the audience, “This award is about hard work.”

He plans to attend Point Loma Nazarene College to major in education and eventually become a high school history teacher and basketball coach. He attends North Coast Church, Fallbrook Campus.

Rachel Maxwell, a senior at FUHS, has played on the FUHS varsity field hockey team for three years and possesses a “quiet, ‘get it done’ competitive nature and is an excellent role model,” according to Coach Kathy Waite of FUHS. Maxwell has been honored as captain, All League and All County. Maxwell also plays on the soccer and lacrosse teams and serves as a Youth Soccer League referee on weekends. She has been described as “well-rounded.”

Maxwell commented that sports has molded her personality and taught her discipline. She is considering a college where she can play field hockey and is interested in a career with a “physical aspect” such as a firefighting.

Rachel also excels at art, loves music and animals and is a “goal-driven” person, commented her Aunt Karen.

“When the going gets tough she gets tougher,” Rachel’s father commented. She has a “great enthusiasm for life and on the field,” he said. “She doesn’t give up.”

In addition to certificates and cash awards, this month’s honorees will be able to see their names in lights on the FUHS marquee and will also enjoy premium parking spaces for a month.

Two longtime supporters of the program were noticeably absent due to recent hospitalizations: Frank Larkin of the American Legion Post 365 and Village News photographer Dick O’Brien.

Committee members also mentioned that although emcee Sue Johnson was at a Las Vegas trade show selling her own line of jewelry, she returned to Fallbrook for the day to honor the students.


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