North Coast Church hosted Fallbrook Union High School District's Students of the Month celebration on Thursday, Jan. 4 – the first SOM to ring in the new year. The hardworking recipients of this month's awards are Fallbrook High students Daryl Batac, Kiyisa Brown and CameronJoe Cruz. Ivy High School is being represented by Bethany Rodas.
Here are a few character highlights from this new year's kick-off event:
Daryl Batac (Nominated by FHS teacher Alana Milton)
Leading the pack with a stellar 4.2 GPA, Batac is an accomplished musician and highly involved with leading the FHS Marching Band under Mr. Lee's tutelage. Not only is she a classic right-brain thinker, she is also a full-fledged lefty with the lofty goal is studying neuroscience to learn "how this lump of flesh called a brain makes us do what we do."
And if anyone can do it, Batac is the girl for the job. Says her mom, "Daryl showed persistence at a very young age, making a spreadsheet of UC colleges and career paths early on in middle school. I think she'll be O.K. whatever she does."
Kiyisa Brown (Nominated by FHS teachers Alana Milton and Amy Johnson)
With a 3.3 GPA and ruler of the FHS ASB program, Brown is a perfectionist in every sense of the word and it's palpable to all those around her.
Says her mom of one example, "Kiy was sitting in Ms. Kahn's (FHS counselor) office literally having an anxiety attack because she had an A- in a class. Turns out the portal hadn't been updated that day yet so she didn't need to worry, but that speaks volumes about her work ethic and who she is."
And even though math may not be her favorite jam, she has even made quite the impact on nominating teacher Johnson who said, "Every day Kiy would come in and say, 'Ms. Johnson, I hate math – but I like you!'" Johnson said she has actually changed the way she teaches math altogether – for the better – because of Kiy.
CameronJoe Cruz (Nominated by Chief Warrant Officer (CWO3) Tom Smith)
With a solid 3.3 GPA and a host of impressive accomplishments under his young belt including over 72 hours of community service recorded to date, Cruz is "the quintessential athlete and scholar – he does absolutely everything with vigor and drive" notes Chief Smith.
Armed with not only respect and admiration for rules and structure, Cruz also loves a good debate. His mom laughed stating "He would come to me and say, 'Mom, hear me out on this.' I never knew if it was going to be something serious or a joke, but he was always thinking."
As for her son's integrity she added, "Even at about 3 years old, CameronJoe exhibited amazing self-discipline, putting himself on time-outs when he knew he'd done something wrong, then would come talk to me about it." His integrity will serve him well, as he noted he wants to be the first person in his family to serve the country as a fully-commissioned military officer.
Bethany Rodas (Nominated by Ivy Counselor David Cruz)
Rodas "comes ready to learn every day," said Ivy counselor Cruz. She is quiet but mighty, participating in progressive programs including Ivy's breathtaking mural projects that embody the school's creative and entrepreneurial spirit. In addition, she is an honor roll student, positive and kind – always one of the first to help others who need help striving for academic success like herself.
Her oldest and very proud big brother Johnny Rodas said, "Bethany never says no to anyone or anything, so I'm not surprised she would win this award." Success runs deep in the Rodas family, with Bethany being the second family member of theirs to be recognized as a Student of the Month within the last few years. Rest assured Mom and Dad, your daughter will go far and touch the lives of many, with big dreams of becoming a social worker to empower kids and help them thrive like she has.
What a way to kick off the new year – Happy New Year to all from our students and community who rally to recognize how hard these kids work to better not only our Village, but all the people's lives they touch.
As always, it bears mentioning that scholarships are plentiful in our community for hardworking students. Reach out to the Fallbrook Alumni Association, Fallbrook PTSA, Pacific Western Bank, Fallbrook Village Rotary Club, Fallbrook Vintage Car Club, Fallbrook Women's Club, Republican Women of California/Fallbrook, Bonsall Woman's Club, Fallbrook's Angel Society and American Association of University Women for more information.