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Goodpasture, Bunts, Prentiss and Maiers honored for excellence

Stephanie Goodpasture of Oasis High School and Tommy Bunts, Rebecca Prentiss, and Matt Maiers of Fallbrook High School were honored on May 6 as Fallbrook Community Students of the Month at a breakfast celebration held at the Fallbrook Golf Club’s Hukilau Restaurant. Students are selected for the honor based on their academic achievements as well as contributions to their school and/or community.

After being introduced by event emcee Sue Johnson, Dale Mitchell, Ed.D., superintendent of Fallbrook Union High School District, said to the honorees, “we are here to celebrate your outstanding achievements; you are special; you are making valuable contributions to your school.”

After the students were introduced to the crowd, they were each presented with a keepsake medal depicting the Lamp of Knowledge by Frank Larkin and Karl Fekete, representing American Legion Post 365. Each medal was individually inscribed with the recipient’s name.

Stephanie Goodpasture was nominated for the Student of the Month honor by Oasis High School teacher Kevin Kent.

“Stephanie is one of the nicest, hard-working students I know,” said Kent. “She is here because of her academic achievements.” He also described her as “miraculous, organized, and thorough,” and having perfect attendance.

Kent explained that Goodpasture will graduate in June, achieving her high school diploma in only three years. It was explained that Goodpasture earned between 35 and 45 credits each semester in the three years, and completed some credits in summer sessions.

Her future plans include attending University of Southern California (USC) in the fall to study business management and she hopes to own her own business one day.

“Oasis has done a lot for me and my family,” said Goodpasture. “It teaches you about being independent and responsible.” A resident of Pala, Goodpasture was joined at the event by her family members and Pala Tribal Chairman Robert Smith.

“I want to congratulate all of the students being honored today and say that Stephanie is a good example of a person who is moving forward in a positive way,” said Smith.

Tommy Bunts was honored as a Student of the Month based on the recommendation of Fallbrook High teacher Betz Critchley.

“[Tommy] is brilliant,” said Critchley. “He’s such a great kid and very driven. He is going to accomplish great things.” The teacher described Bunts as a “role model,” “trustworthy” and of “high integrity.”

Bunts has participated in the school’s Model United Nations organization, Key Club, cross country and track, and been a member of the academic team. Critchley said Bunts plans to attend University of California, Los Angeles in the fall where he will study political science.

“I want to thank Mrs. Critchley for nominating me for this honor and for all her help with the academic team practice sessions,” said Bunts. “I also want to thank my mom, dad, and the community for all they do.”

Rebecca Prentiss was recommended for the Student of the Month honor by Fallbrook High teacher Debbie Berg.

“Rebecca has a huge heart,” explained Berg. “The qualities she has make her an outstanding individual. I just know she is going to go far.” Fellow teacher Betz Critchely added her endorsement, “Rebecca is a perfect student; very engaging and charming.”

Described as “honest,” “moral,” “dedicated,” and “helpful to her peers,” Prentiss was also noted for her contributions to the Associated Student Body (ASB) organization. She has been involved in tennis, field hockey, and much more.

“It’s an honor to be here and receive this award,” said Prentiss. “I’m so thankful. I have had the best teachers at Fallbrook High School. Mrs. Berg is an awesome teacher and Mrs. Critchley really cares about her students; she prepares you for life.”

Matt Maiers was nominated for the Student of the Month award by teacher Elizabeth Moon.

“Matt is a very fine young man,” said Moon. “He has been instrumental in the FFA (Future Farmers of America) program here and it is to our benefit Matt came to Fallbrook High. He is polite, humble, helpful, and community-spirited.”

Moon explained that Maiers relocated to Fallbrook from Oregon with his family prior to his sophomore year in high school. Maiers admitted to the crowd that he was reluctant to move to Southern California, but his parents sought a high school for him with a significant agriculture program. Maiers has also been heavily involved in the metal shop program and spoke out at a recent board of trustees meeting on the importance of preserving the program amidst budget cuts.

“After [Matt] spoke at the board meeting, it was the talk of the campus because he was so impressive and articulate,” said Moon. For this student, the news that he had received the student of the month stunned him.

“I just did what I thought needed to be done,” explained Maiers. “It’s kind of bizarre to be congratulated for things I’ve done; I’ve never been in this situation before and was shocked. I think I can speak for all four of us (students) here today - when we are part of a community, we don’t expect to be recognized.”

In summary of the accomplishments and characteristics of all four student honorees, emcee Johnson told the students, “You’re not here just for what you are doing toady; it’s about what you will do in the future.”

Johnson, who has served as emcee of the event for 13 years, announced to the crowd at the breakfast that due to an impending out-of-state move, it would be the last one she could lead.

“I’ve watched these incredible students for 13 years and they have always amazed me,” she said. “This is my heart. I’m always here because I love to hear the students’ stories.”

A resident of Fallbrook for 35 years, Johnson said she will be moving in August.

“This is it for me; I’m going to be a grandma full time,” she quipped. “It’s been a fun ride.” The Fallbrook Community Student of the Month committee that organizes the monthly program presented Johnson with a farewell gift.

Family, friends, 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.

The celebratory event is sponsored by generous local businesses and organizations, including the Angel Society, Coldwell Banker 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, American Legion Post 365, Fallbrook Golf Club & Hukilau, Fallbrook Printing, Pacific Western Bank and the Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News.

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