Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Ending the school year strong with Students of the Month.

North Coast Church hosted Fallbrook Unified High School District's final Students of the Month celebration for the year on Thursday, May 2. Here are our stars of the day to close out a great 2023-2024 school year.

All four are from Fallbrook High School.

Bailey Petersen (Nominated by Alana Milton)

With an outstanding 4.1 GPA, Petersen isn't one to shy away from a challenge. Having picked up lacrosse on a whim her junior year (and of course becoming a stellar player) and being a gold star student, she is the kid who is the "great motivator in a group – she won't do the work for them but motivates the other kids to bring it," said Milton. She added about Petersen, "She is a quiet force to be reckoned with."

Gunnar Payne (Nominated by George Herring and Marin Pinnell)

Also a kid with great grades of course, Payne, according to Pinnell "is curious in a quirky way." She continued, "He has unexpected traits and questions that lead him to ask me things like 'Ms. Pinnell, can I pick the classroom lock?" Whether it be picking locks or testing out pen launchers, Payne pushes boundaries and perceptions. Herring said, "Gunnar is chaotic – in a good way." He comes from a family who races motorcycles and Herring told him "Gunnar, you are a motorcycle without brakes. Don't change that because it's working for you."

Joanna Mendez (Nominated by Marin Pinnell)

Pinnell opened with "Joanna is a curious soul. She investigates everything because she wants to know 'why.'" She is a brilliant bilingual student, helps with the family business, has a 4.6 GPA and is an AP scholar. Her mom said, "Every day we learn something from her, because she lives to learn." When she's not busy with family and studies and asking questions, Mendez is killing it for our community, racking up service hours with the Angel Society and being an awesome human.

Kela Kendall (Nominated by Bryan Romanelli)

Romanelli told a great story about Kendall saying, "Kela invited me to a water polo match. I really wanted to be home with my family because my kids are babies and I live in Escondido, but for whatever reason I decided to go." He continued, "She led her team in prayer and kissed a fellow teammate on the forehead and told her she loved her. At that moment I knew I should be there and didn't want to rush home – in a world gone sideways, Kela is a beacon of light." Enough said.

Cheers to all our FUHSD students and community members who do the hard work and rally to support these kids so they can thrive and positively impact our hearts and community.

In closing for a successful school year, let it be known that this program couldn't happen without our Friendly Village and all the businesses that support the growth of our youngsters. Those supporters include 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, Youngren Construction, Dr. Eric Ramos Optometry, Fallbrook's Angel Society and American Association of University Women.

Additional sponsors are Fallbrook Printing, Fallbrook Propane, Major Market and Starbucks. For scholarship information, feel free to contact Lynne Grantham at 760/214-1755 or [email protected].


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