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By Tom Ferrall
Staff Writer 

Ahrend, Callagher, Petersen and Wade honored as top students


Last updated 11/5/2018 at 11:48am

Crystal Gates photo

The Students of the Month for October are, from left, Trent Ahrend, Grace Wade, Kaitlyn Callagher and Audrey Petersen.

The nonprofit organization Fallbrook Student of the Month presented its first recognition breakfast of the 2018-2019 school year Oct. 4 with Kaitlyn Callagher, Audrey Petersen and Grace Wade of Fallbrook Union High School and Trent Ahrend of Oasis High School being saluted as the Students of the Month for October.

The celebratory breakfast was held at North Coast Church and pastor Greg Coppock of SonRise Christian Fellowship served as emcee of the event, which is sponsored by Angel Society (platinum sponsor), Coldwell Banker Village Properties and Fallbrook Village Rotary (gold sponsors), Fallbrook Republican Women Federated and Fallbrook PTSA (silver sponsors), and Fallbrook Vintage Car Club and Major Market (bronze sponsors).

Callagher was the first student to be introduced and she was nominated by Fallbrook High teacher Estay Cazares, who had Callagher in her Spanish class.

"She's just a wonderful human being, such a Godly woman," said Cazares of Callagher. "She just excels at everything that she does and she seems to do it effortlessly, which I don't know if that's the case. She always came in with a smile on her face and never hesitated to participate in my class."

Cazares noted that Callagher strives to be the best not only in the classroom but also in the pool, where she competes for the Fallbrook High water polo and swim teams.

"She's very, very driven in all aspects of her life and those of you who are in education today, you know that's not necessarily the norm," said Cazares. "She's just outstanding."

Callagher was appreciative of the honor and thrilled to be sharing the spotlight with two of her friends.

"I just want to thank everyone that puts this on – this is an amazing program," said Callagher. "It's very crazy to me to be up here with Grace and Audrey. It's kind of unreal. I just want to thank everyone, my teachers and my family and my loved ones. I couldn't have done it without them and they mean the world to me."

Callagher plans to go into architecture and has applied to several schools, including Cal Poly SLO and Harvey Mudd College.

Fallbrook High ASB director Alana Milton nominated and introduced Petersen, a student she said regularly brightens her day.

"She's always got a wonderful smile," said Milton of Petersen. "She's a very kind person and she's humble. She doesn't brag about all of her achievements, like her giant GPA way above 4.0 and her accomplishments as a runner."

Petersen is a member of the cross country, track and soccer teams at Fallbrook High and is the leader of the school's chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Milton concluded her introduction of Petersen by turning to her and stating, "Audrey, you're just awesome. I really appreciate your smile and your enthusiasm. The teachers have told me about your academics and how you are committed and dedicated to doing your best in class. I appreciate your kindness and happiness on campus. You deserve this and congratulations."

Petersen thanked everyone involved in putting on the breakfast as well as the community members in attendance.

"This is a blessing being able to stand before all of you today and I want to thank our Heavenly Father, first and foremost, for what a community we have here in Fallbrook," said Petersen.

Petersen said she plans to follow in the footsteps of her father, Fallbrook-based physician Dr. Jeffrey Petersen, and is applying to UCLA, Stanford and UCSD.

"I do hope to go on and become a doctor, whether that's in the ER or a family practice doctor," said Petersen. "That is my goal and my mission to be able to help people medically and also just build a relationship with people, getting to know them and maybe pour love into their lives."

Dr. Stephanie Osowski, assistant principal at Fallbrook High, nominated Wade, a young lady she described as having quiet determination and a wonderful voice.

"Quiet determination, that's always how I've known her," said Osowski. "You know when you see those athletes with their headphones on and they're focused and they're thinking about their game, that was the look on Grace's face (when) she walked up to the microphone and started singing, and it was awesome and amazing and everybody was just in awe. And I know that just doesn't happen without hard work."

Osowski relayed that Wade takes community college classes in addition to a full slate of classes at Fallbrook High, is on the academic team and is active in community service.

"Grace isn't one to come in and say, 'hey, look at me and look at this awesome stuff I'm doing,'" said Osowski. "She's always very poised and has that quiet determination. She knows where she is going, she's got a goal, she sets it, she works for it and she achieves it. And I have been in awe just watching that. She also keeps encouraging her classmates to continue to push forward and I appreciate that."

Wade thanked her family and drew some laughs from the crowd when she noted her father, Lt. Col. William L. Wade, USMC (Ret), works on the Fallbrook High campus as the administrator of the JROTC program.

"My dad's the JROTC guy so of course he scares off all the boys from me – not that that's really a problem," said Wade. She added that her father has "always been my rock" and that her mother, Ann, "has always been there for me."

Wade hasn't decided on a profession but is applying to several liberal arts colleges, including USC.

"I'm leaning toward a creative writing or an English major because those seem to be my strengths," said Wade. "I definitely want to minor in music because I really like to sing and do music and I hope to compose someday because that's really hard, but that's what I really want to do."

Oasis High School instructor Matt Parker introduced Ahrend and described him with the following words: "unwavering, driven, dedicated, uncompromising, compassionate and understanding."

Parker announced that Ahrend will graduate from Oasis in December, having completed high school in 3 1/2 years while also taking some classes at Palomar College and performing "countless hours" of community service. Parker also noted that Ahrend had a busy summer.

"This past summer Trent, at the age of 17, left his family for three months and worked the streets of Chicago, going door to door selling pest services," said Parker, adding that Ahrend did well financially with the internship at the pest control company.

Parker said Ahrend's laser-like focus is remarkable for a young man.

"Many of our young minds can be at times misdirected and off the beaten path," said Parker. "Trent has been the consistent of consistent for the last three years. He doesn't present himself as a teen. He exemplifies and personifies what's right, being strong morally, academically, socially and last but not least, being himself."

Ahrend said as a freshman he would have laughed at anyone who told him he would one day be a student of the month.

"I would have been like, 'yeah, right, you're joking around with me, I'm never going to be there, I hate school,'" said Ahrend. "But I'm a completely different person now and that's all thanks to Mr. Parker. Oasis is called independent study but it is hardly independent. I've had a lot of help from my family and Mr. Parker especially.

"It's the expectation that Oasis and Mr. Parker put on me for my work and what he wanted," continued Ahrend. "He really wanted the best out of me, and it pushed me to not just do the bare minimum, but to excel in all the projects and really care about what I was doing in school, and it really allowed me to capture my own education and take me where I want to go."

Ahrend said his future plans include serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

"I'm hoping to go to a Latin American country," said Ahrend. "The church is what really motivates me a lot."

Ahrend plans to attend BYU following his mission and would like to pursue a dental career.


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