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Outstanding high school students honored at breakfast

Jessica Cauthen-Fox, Kyle Little and Matthew McHolland of Fallbrook High School and Austin “A.J.” Harper of Ivy High School were named Fallbrook Community Students of the Month and honored for their achievements at a special breakfast held October 1 at Fallbrook Golf Club’s Hukilau restaurant.

“On behalf of Fallbrook Union High School District, we are extremely proud to share in the recognition of these students,” said Dale Mitchell, district superintendent. “These students illustrate the achievements of many other students.”

As the students were introduced at the breakfast, they were each presented a special medal depicting the Lamp of Knowledge by the American Legion.

Cauthen-Fox was selected as a Student of the Month following the recommendation of Fallbrook High School English teacher Betz Critchley.

“[Jessica] is a self-starter and in the top five percent of her class,” said Critchley. “She has been selected to this year’s academic decathlon team. She has scrupulous integrity and speaks out against injustice.”

Cauthen-Fox was described as having “a thirst for knowledge” and as being extremely helpful to her peers.

While she played three years of field hockey on the high school team, she is currently focusing solely on the sport of lacrosse. Last year she served as captain of the lacrosse team and was named most valuable player.

She is currently deciding which college to attend.

“I really don’t like to be in the limelight, but I want to thank Ms. Critchley for nominating me. I’m just really honored,” said Cauthen-Fox.

Little was honored as a Student of the Month after being nominated by Fallbrook High field hockey coach Kathy Waite.

“[Kyle] has pushed herself to excel in many ways,” said Kathy Waite. “She’s a team motivator and is a very well-rounded individual.”

Little carries a 4.0 grade point average, is on the Principal’s Honor Roll and has served as team captain for the field hockey team. In addition, she was a CIF finalist in pole vault and has garnered many Girl Scout awards.

She has been described as an excellent role model with a high level of integrity. Her community service work has included Habitat for Humanity, volunteering at orphanages and more.

Because of her talent and the fact that she has played on elite teams with national recognition, Waite said colleges such as Cornell University have been interested in recruiting Little for field hockey and are impressed with her grade point average.

“I want to thank everyone for being here,” said Little. “It’s really an honor and I want to thank everyone for everything.”

McHolland was recommended for the Student of the Month honor by Fallbrook High mathematics teacher Rebecca Dawson.

“[Matthew] is really amazing,” said Dawson. “He is a perfectionist; his work is immaculate. I wish all my students demonstrated as much diligence, responsibility and good work ethic as he does.”

McHolland entered Fallbrook High School as a freshman who did not speak English fluently. Prior to moving to Fallbrook to live with his father, McHolland lived in Mexico with his mother.

Self-driven and determined to excel, it only took one semester for him to gain control of the English language and earn his way into regular classes.

With the help of the AVID program, McHolland has succeeded and earned the praise of his teachers. He also serves as president of the school’s French Club.

“The AVID program really helped me,” said McHolland. “My goal is to study international business. I want to thank everybody, especially Ms. Dawson; she is the best teacher at Fallbrook High School. This is really an honor.”

Harper was named Student of the Month based on a nomination from Ivy High School English teacher Kelly Walker.

“We are very proud of A.J.,” said Walker. “We are proud of the positive choices he has made and he will be graduating this year.”

Walker explained that Harper successfully overcame a substance abuse problem through a rehabilitation program, saying, “He’s committed to sobriety.”

While participating in rehabilitation, Harper’s mother passed away, adding another challenge to his life. “He’s had several hurdles to overcome but he has been successful,” said Walker.

An avid skateboarder, Harper hopes to eventually compete at the professional level in the sport, and expressed his gratitude at the honor bestowed upon him at the breakfast.

“Thank you to everyone for coming out for this,” he said.

Friends, family and members of the business and service communities, as well as representatives of elected officials, attended the prestigious event and provided certificates of achievement and gifts to the students honored.

Now celebrating its 13th year, to date the Fallbrook Community Student of the Month program has honored 405 exemplary high school students.

The Fallbrook Community Student of the Month program is organized by a committee of the same name and is funded by generous local businesses and organizations, including the Angel Society, Bonsall Rotary, Bonsall Woman’s Club, Coldwell Banker Landmark Group, Fallbrook AAUW, Fallbrook High PTSA, Fallbrook Republican Women Federated, Fallbrook Village Rotary, Fallbrook Woman’s Club, Dr. Daniel Flores, Dr. Richard Goble, Kiwanis Club of Fallbrook, Major Market, North County Orthodontics-Dr. Michael Allen, Rally for Children, Soroptimist International of Fallbrook, American Legion Post 365, Fallbrook Printing, Pacific Western Bank and the Village News.

“We wouldn’t have this program if it wasn’t for the support of these organizations,” said program emcee Sue Johnson.


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