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Ballif, Eskue, Hatch, Turner honored as exceptional

“This is our future – our Fallbrook Community Students of the Month,” said emcee Sue Johnson at the December 4 event held at the Hukilau restaurant at the Fallbrook Golf Club.

Four students were honored as exceptional: Fallbrook High School students Elizabeth (Lizzy) Eskue, Greta Ballif and Daene Turner and Ivy High School student Dennis Hatch.

Lt. Alex Dominguez, who heads the Fallbrook Substation of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, told the honorees to “take this responsibility and think of how you can affect your peers.”

Dennis Hatch was given a testimonial by economics instructor Dana Smith. Dennis is on the Principal’s Honor Roll and was selected for Ivy’s Organic Gardening class, which is limited to 15 students. Smith mentioned that Dennis is of great help to his classmates.

Dennis did well in Smith’s economics class and his teacher mentioned, “With everything that is in his life, with issues stacked against him, he has accepted the challenge and is literally a symbol of the school’s ‘second chance’ theme. He is a role model for other students. I am glad to be his teacher.”

Dennis, who was also a Student of the Month 11 years ago, dedicated the award to his father, who recently passed away. Dennis told the audience,“he always believed in me.”

His sister said that they have had a hard life but Dennis chose to make a better life for himself. A friend mentioned that Dennis had a “tough upbringing” and “has a lot of potential.”

Greta Ballif was given a testimonial by Pam Munro, one of her instructors.

This outstanding academic student is on the Principal’s Meritorious Honor Roll, is a Warrior Head (for involvement in school, community and academics), AP Scholar, member of CSF, the FHS Academic Team, is French Club secretary and an accomplished poet. She also volunteers at an assisted living center.

Munro mentioned that Greta is an excellent critical thinker with a calm and generous demeanor and that she is one of the finest students that Munro has ever had.

“She takes a concept and runs with it on an incredible level,” Munro said. “She is so far above most of the students that I find myself learning from her.”

Greta is the eldest of nine children and I observed that even during the Student of the Month breakfast she had charge of one of the youngest. That in itself is an unusual and awesome responsibility for a high school student.

Greta’s mother mentioned that she is “very grateful that [Greta] came first.”

Daene Turner, an AP student at Fallbrook High School, was nominated by instructor Larry Koch. Daene is in Koch’s restaurant class and was presented as mature, a good leader and outstanding in the ROP restaurant class.

Daene mentors ‘special needs’ students and is also a prolific writer. Koch mentioned that Daene has a great sense of responsibility and is very attentive to detail. He always gives 100 percent.

“We don’t choose our students but Daene is the type of student you want,” Koch commented. Koch also mentioned that Daene is a leader and an example to friends. He never complains about anything and always has a word of encouragement for his fellow students.

Daene’s father said that he has always been a hard worker and has a great deal of drive. He plans to pursue a career as a chef and said that is his “true passion.”

Lizzy Eskue was nominated by Fallbrook coach Kathy Waite. Waite told the audience that Lizzy is not only a varsity team captain but a team player as well. She is encouraging and inspirational, dedicated and driven, has a big heart and cares about others.

Lizzy participates in field hockey, track and softball. She is an AP student and has been a Girl Scout for nine years. She has been a Candy Striper (hospital volunteer) and a member of the St. Peter’s Catholic Youth Group and a VBS volunteer. She is a member of the San Diego Indoor Field Hockey Tournament team, which placed first in competition. She was also a JV team captain at FHS.

Her father said that Lizzy has tried hard all of her life, has fallen down, but always gets up again.

Lizzy was also chosen as one of ten Girl Scouts in the nation for a trip to Mexico. She is bound for the University of the Pacific in the fall.

All students were presented stunning “Lamp of Knowledge” medals by Frank Larkin and Karl Fekete of the American Legion Post 365.

The honored students were also presented certificates from Supervisor Bill Horn, Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, Congressman Darrell Issa and US Senator Barbara Boxer.

All of the honored students will receive a special school parking spot for a month and were also presented with goodie bags filled with certificates and presents from local organizations and businesses.

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