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Fallbrook recognizes four Students of the Month

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

One student from Ivy High School and three from Fallbrook High School were recognized Dec. 1 as Students of the Month in the Fallbrook Union High School District. The Ivy student is Sarah McFarland. The FHS selections are Esperanza Bowen, Taylor Sanchez and Emily Weber.

The monthly awards are presented by a community organization and the event is held at North Coast Church. The students selected are given scholarship awards and opportunities.

Mike Gray, principal of Ivy, the district's continuation school, said McFarland had trouble with learning during the Covid period when there was only online learning. Her grades at Fallbrook High dropped, but she was able to excel at Ivy. In fact, she will be graduating in January, a semester early.

McFarland was nominated by social science teacher Kelly Walker, who said the student was the unanimous selection of the staff. Since coming to Ivy, McFarland has received all A grades and one B-plus, the teacher added.

The student said that after graduating she plans to take a "gap year" and then enroll in a community college before transferring to a four-year college.

McFarland's mother, Angela Pallas, noted that her daughter "seems to take things in stride and that school has made her stronger and that she perseveres."

"She tells me 'I'm glad to be your kid' and I tell her, 'I'm glad to be your mom," Pallas said.

Bowen is ASB president at Fallbrook High School and also the school's representative on the district board of trustees. Lauren Jones, FHS principal, said Bowen is smart and strong, someone you can rely on, who demonstrates conviction, honesty and strength. "She's just so grounded," Jones added.

Bowen was nominated by Heather Smith, who noted the confident student is also president of the choir club. "She's doing a solo at the Christmas concert and that's the only time I think she may be nervous."

Nick Brust, ASB advisor, said "'Espy' is a role model for others."

Dihana Bowen, the student's mother, read a message written by her husband, who was unable to attend. It covered the student's character and strength, as well as her sense of humor and leadership. He wrote that the school's Warrior theme was perfect for his daughter, but that she also knows the value of peace and being a friend.

The student said she plans to attend Cal State Chico and major in psychology.

Sanchez was nominated by Debbie Berg, who coached her on the school's field hockey and lacrosse teams. "She's the whole thing," Berg said, explaining the senior was both athletic and a leader. "She's always the captain or like a captain," she added.

Berg is also the student's AP calculus instructor, a class that was a challenge based on the previous math class experience of Sanchez. "She's stepped up there, too," Berg said.

"High school sports have so much drama," the coach said, "but as captain she has been able to weed through the muck for the team."

Adam Sanchez, the honored student's dad, lauded his daughter's courage and leadership. He said he was also proud of his daughter's college preference of education having priority over sports.

Colin Kooyman, her field hockey coach, said Sanchez "lights a fire" for the team as a motivator.

Sanchez said she has not decided on what four-year college to attend, but that she would like to study kinesiology and become an athletic trainer or physical therapist. She anticipates playing lacrosse for the college she selects.

Weber was nominated by Marin Pinnell and Alana Milton. They cited the student's decision to remain active after sustaining a knee injury in the spring by being a manager and photographer for the football team. She also served as the ASB pep leader and volunteered at community organizations.

Her sports are volleyball and rugby.

"I'm super proud of her," said her mother, Nicole Weber. "Everything she does, she does whole heartedly."

The student's sister, Natalie, five years her senior, said she was proud of her sister's "heart and tenacity."

"It's hard to have a bad day when she's in the room," proclaimed her dad, Garth Weber. "It's easy to be proud of her," he added.

The senior plans to attend a four-year college and major in digital communications and minor in photography.

Each of the four students was presented with a medal, yard sign, gift bag and plenty of applause. For information about nominating a student or being a sponsor, contact Lynne Grantham at 760-214-1755.


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