The Feb. 2 Student of the Month breakfast honored four students from the Fallbrook Union High School District, Yessenia Renteria from Ivy High, and Jade Boultinghouse, Kai DeForest and Mikayla Gioia from Fallbrook High.
Words used to describe these students included humble, hard working, always smiling, determined, helpful, all of which made for a very positive morning.
The invocation was given by Spencer Osborn of North Coast Church; he told the students "you're not here by accident; it is because of the wise decisions you've made. The people around you celebrate the decisions you have been making."
Lt. Aldo Hernandez and two detectives led the Pledge of Allegiance and presented the Lamp of Knowledge medals to the students. The lieutenant said the SOM breakfast is his favorite event of the month.
FUHSD Superintendent Ilsa Garza-Gonzalez said that she had a rough day the day before but then remembered that tomorrow is the SOM breakfast and she felt better. She encouraged the students to "show love through kindness and show kindness to everyone, to make an effort to be kind to people who don't look like you, who don't sound like you," etc.
Ivy High Principal Michael Gray introduced teacher Greg Keener who nominated Renteria. Gray said that Renteria has overcome some challenges but is always smiling, kind and sweet. Keener pointed out how challenges create setbacks, especially in the formative years, but Renteria is inspirational and has a cheerful disposition.
She missed time in school when she lost her mother and lost interest in school. Renteria started at Ivy in January 2022 and, with encouragement from her aunt who she now lives with, Renteria has used her great work ethic to catch up. "She puts a smile on our faces. Thank you Yessenia for everything you've done for Ivy High School," said Keener.
Renteria thanked her aunt and her teachers for their support and help. "That school has really helped me; I am glad I went to Ivy," she said. She plans on going to community college to study psychology, "to understand myself and others, and help people."
Counselor Alydia Han nominated Jade Boultinghouse and remembered getting to know her during Covid, she was "always positive, working hard; she's super athletic every season with determination and is always smiling." Boultinghouse will be a first generation college student, has a 3.5 GPA, has competed in track and cross country all four years, plus soccer this year.
A member of the Homecoming court; she is also a dual immersion student, taking some classes in Spanish. She also works part-time. Her mother commented on how her daughter sets goals and gives 100% to accomplish them.
Boultinghouse thanked Han and said being nominated for this recognition is an honor. She applied to multiple colleges but has not decided on which one she will attend. She plans on studying criminal justice with the goal of becoming a lawyer.
DeForest was also nominated by Han who said he is a teacher's assistant in the counseling department, is really humble, sweet and very funny. He is "super versatile," she said, playing club soccer and working as a lifeguard; he also volunteers and has a 3.8 GPA. He takes Palomar classes and multiple AP courses, she said, adding that he is one of her favorite students this year.
His father said that his son has just started taking EMT classes at Palomar. DeForest said he has a grateful heart and is humbled by this recognition, "it means the world to me." He thanked Han for her belief in him and encouragement. His long term goal is to go to university to study public health and go into anesthesiology. He has not decided which college to go to but plans to "make the most of my opportunities.
Gioia was nominated by Alana Milton who hadn't known her long in AP Psychology when, one month into the class, Gioa broke her leg and had to have surgery; within 48 hours, she emailed Milton about her classwork. Milton said that Gioia's "determination is astounding, also amazing." She had to stay home for a month but kept up with her schoolwork (and earned a 4.1 GPA that semester).
Milton said that Gioia's enthusiasm is infectious, she always says hi and is willing to work with others as well as to ask for help. Gioia was also a member of the Homecoming court so is well liked by peers. Besides playing varsity and club soccer, Gioia is ASB Athletic Commissioner, involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, member of North Coast Church's youth group and has a part-time job at 127 West.
Mr. Brust, the ASB advisor, also spoke about Gioia's willingness to volunteer and how she "can be trusted to get something done." She has applied to several colleges and has been accepted at all of them.
Gioia thanked God first off as she made it through those four weeks at home by trusting in God. She is going to attend Culver-Stockton College in Missouri to play soccer and major in either kinesiology or special education.
As Keener said, "our future is in good hands."
The next Student of the Month breakfast will be on Thursday, March 2. For more information regarding the nomination of a student or sponsorship of this program, contact Lynne Grantham, 760-214-1755 or [email protected].