Special to the Village News.
North Coast Church came through for the community again to host the Fallbrook Union High School District's Students of the Month celebration on Thursday, Dec. 7. The proud recipients of this month's awards were Fallbrook High students Ėverly Arwood, Ricardo Rodas and Anthony Wilson. The Oasis student was Jasmine Uresti.
One can only wonder how these kids – many of whom started high school online – have been able to flourish the way they have. Here are a few glimpses into each of these amazing students' lives and how they've come thus far.
With a solid 3.56 GPA, Arwood manages to insert herself as a consummate leader in everything she gets involved with – ROTC, FFA, Color Guard, church, the annual Fallbrook Christmas parade and more – according to nominating FHS teacher Alana Milton.
ROTC Chief Warrant Officer Smith said, "She is the ultimate leader – signs up to lead the charge for anything and everything." She is a git 'er done kinda girl as it were.
To add to her go get 'em attitude, Milton said that "Everly started high school online like so many others, but the difference is that she dove in with Honors classes as a freshman and shined." There are not many kids who hit Zoom with as much intensity and determination to conquer it, but Arwood was definitely one of them and inspires all those around her every day.
Nominating teacher Milton said of Rodas, he has a 3.38 GPA with nothing but volunteerism at his core and a drive to succeed. He is engaged with helping fellow migrants through his activism with the Migrant Education Program.
Milton added, "I would sometimes wonder if he was paying attention because he was so quiet or would be looking down at his desk, and when I'd call on him he would have the most interesting question that proved he was in fact listening and processing the information and engaged the whole class. He's really grown and I've watched him take advantage of literally every opportunity presented to him to be on a path to success."
His father, who utilized an interpreter, said "This is a huge surprise. I always say, how can I help you if I don't speak English?" He continued his gratitude in saying, "Thank you to all the teachers and staff who have helped Ricardo where I couldn't."
All the hard work takes a toll even on these gifted kids. When Rodas asked for a skateboard to help him relax, he was met with "that's too dangerous, you could get hurt...find another way to relax." So what did he do? He signed up for football...
With a staggering 4.9 GPA, Wilson is "like the beautiful periodic table," said FHS chemistry teacher Marin Pinnell. "He, like the table, is highly organized and a celebration of all the elements." Wilson holds a special place in her heart, having been the first FHS student to get a "5" on the statewide AP Chemistry exam during Pinnell's regime, as well as being the first freshman ever to take AP Biology at FHS.
Wilson's family may be a bit bewildered by the "highly organized" part. His mom said, "He takes over the couch, the table, the countertops – anywhere he can 'organize' his study materials to work the way he likes. And he'll have some trashy TV show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer on in the background to kill some of the intensity of what he's doing."
Jasmine Uresti has a 4.09 GPA with an academic, volunteer and extracurricular list of accomplishments that Kevin Kent said makes her the busiest student he's ever taught and "one of the best students I've had the pleasure of working with in the past 35 years." Principal Lauren Gardiner said, "Jasmine stood out even on Zoom. She acted like she was present in the classroom with an ear-to-ear smile every single class."
Gardiner added, "And don't let her pretty face fool you – she's tough! She's a multi-sport athlete and even played on the football team and gave the boys a run for their money." In addition to football, she has graced the lacrosse, soccer, track and rugby fields and attacked them with the ferocity of a winner. Throw in that electric smile and humble persona, this 2022 Miss Teen Fallbrook Second Princess has the future dialed in.
To say the least, these role model students are the anchors of their peers, their families and community. "It takes a village" indeed – and these kids will keep our village going and growing, and we all thank you for that.
Members of several nonprofits were on hand to let students know that each of their philanthropic organizations offer scholarships for kids who show not only academic superiority but community involvement, passion and a drive to succeed that goes above and beyond the scale of normal.
Also thanks to Assembly Member Marie Waldron's office, which presented Certificates of Recognition from the California Legislature Assembly to acknowledge these fine students' accomplishments in both academics and community servitude.