Max Martin, David Salm and Michele Valencia of Fallbrook High School, and James Jimenez of Ivy High School were named Fallbrook Community Students of the Month and honored for their achievements at a special breakfast held Feb. 4 at Fallbrook Golf Club’s Hukilau restaurant.
“On behalf of the Fallbrook Union High School District, we are delighted to take this opportunity to celebrate your achievements and accomplishments,” said Dale Mitchell, district superintendent, to the students being honored. “Each of you has a prominent future ahead of you.”
As the students were introduced at the breakfast, they were each presented a special medal by the American Legion depicting the Lamp of Knowledge.
Martin was selected as a Student of the Month following the recommendation of Fallbrook High School teacher Pam Munro.
“[Max] is ranked as second in his class. He is a thinker; he’s so bright, and has a quiet confidence,” said Munro. “He makes me a better teacher for all my students. I’m not surprised that Max has never gotten anything lower than an ‘A’.”
A former child actor, Martin acted in the “Best Damn Sports Show Period” and other shows.
Currently Martin is on the high school academic team, in the school band, participates in ASB activities and volunteers at his church and as a photographer for the Fallbrook Healthcare District. Martin has also been involved in cross country.
He is currently planning on attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to study materials engineering.
“I wouldn’t be here without those surrounding me,” said Martin. “What an honor it is to be here.”
Salm was honored as Student of the Month after being nominated by Fallbrook High School teachers Jeff Brandow and Trace Deneke.
“A lot of my friends ask me why I teach and coach basketball,” said Brandow, who is one of Salm’s teachers and is his basketball coach. “It’s for kids like [Salm]. He has a lot of charisma, and no matter what happens, he always greets me with a smile.”
“I wish we had six more like him on the football team. He has an incredible amount of empathy for others,” said Denke, who works with Salm on the Link crew, a program in which high school seniors spend time with freshmen to help them succeed in their academics. “David Salm is the face of Link crew.”
Salm is also involved in the Fallbrook High School 4-H program, is a FHS Warriorhead and has dedicated 200 hours of community service, which he said “taught him about hard work and responsibility.”
He is planning on attending the University of San Diego (USD) to study mathematics.
“I know that this opportunity would not have been available to me if I hadn’t been raised in a great community like Fallbrook,” said Salm.
Valencia was chosen as a Student of the Month after being nominated by Fallbrook 4-H leader Jan Hilton.
“Role models are hard to come by, and should be considered as gifts,” said Hilton. “[Valencia’s] personality and style make her a gift. She has outstanding moral and ethical values, which is evidenced in the way she always uses her good mind wisely. The 4-H motto is ‘to make the best better,’ and she does that.”
Valencia is a member of National Charity League, San Luis Rey Chapter, is on the Principal’s Honor Roll, and currently dedicates over 50 hours weekly to community service. She is also involved in the high school senate, Link crew, Warriors for Christ, and field hockey.
Known for having a “caring heart,” it is no surprise that Valencia plans on becoming a nurse. She is currently in the process of deciding which university to attend.
“Thank you all for this opportunity,” she said.
Jimenez was nominated to be the Ivy high school student of the month by teacher Michael Mistriel.
“[Jimenez] is one of the finest students that has been in this program since I have been working for Ivy, which has been about ten years,” said Mistriel. “He asks excellent questions in class and pushes me to be a better teacher for the other students. [Jimenez] is looking to further his knowledge, and is never satisfied with anything less than an ‘A.’”
When Jimenez began attending Ivy School in August 2008, he was credit-deficient, with only 40 credits. However, since attending the continuation school, his “GPA has exploded,” Mistriel said, and Jimenez is set to graduate in March.
Jimenez plans on attending college to further his education, and is in the decision process.
“When I started coming to Ivy, I didn’t care about education,” said Jimenez. “Now I know that it has value, and that it’s important to work hard in class.”
Friends, family and members of the businesses 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.
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, Coldwell Banker and Landmark Group, Fallbrook AAUW, Fallbrook High PTSA, Fallbrook Republican Women Federated, Fallbrook Village Rotary, Fallbrook Vintage Car Club, Fallbrook Woman’s Club, Kiwanis Club of Fallbrook, Major Market, North County Orthodontics – Dr. Michael Allen, Rally for Children, Village Kitchen and the Village News.
“Every time I emcee Student of the Month, I get a giant knot in my throat just knowing that we have such a great group of kids in our schools,” said emcee Sue Johnson.
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