Seven high school seniors from the Lake Elsinore Unified School District were recently honored by the Student of the Month program, under the auspices of the Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Elsinore Sizzler Restaurant. Students are individually selected by teachers and school staff for their character, love of learning, leadership, community service, and their ability to persevere through challenging circumstances.
April ‘Student of the Month’ Honorees:
Elsinore High School
Gabriel Allen besides a love of history and precalculus, Gabe is a triple-threat athlete, from soccer goalie, to football kicker, to being EHS’s number one boys tennis player. He will attend Palomar College in the fall, and plans to transfer to SDSU or CSU San Marcos in the future. His biggest lesson learned in school is to maintain self-confidence and stay in the game, despite disappointments or setbacks. According to coaches and teachers, this combination of determination and self-awareness makes Gabe a role model for others.
The day Makenna Olson reached the summit of Mt. Whitney with her older brother and mentor, any self-doubts melted away. Today, this five year AVID student is focused on becoming a Civil Engineer, graduating from San Francisco State with a minor in City Planning. School life has included being EHS’s beloved Tiger mascot, competing on the Academic Decathlon Team, which took EHS all the way to State finals this year, NHS, and serving on the City of Wildomar’s Blue Ribbon Committee. Her teachers say Makenna is distinguished by being studious, self-driven, and instantly identifiable by her laughter.
Lakeside High School
Kyle Estenger will attend UC Santa Barbara to study Mechanical Engineering. This valedictorian enjoys tutoring other students, Calculus Club, NHS, and restoring vintage motorcycles. Teachers call him a tinkerer, curious, innovative, and possessing a mature sense of communication among different age groups. His biggest lesson learned while in school is to harness his natural talents and abilities, and to work harder no matter what, which has propelled him to the top of his class.
Kimberly Jimenez is involved in Interact, Culture Club, Calculus Club, NHS, AVID, while being a varsity dance captain for four years. She will attend UC Santa Cruz this fall to studying Pediatrics or Veterinary Medicine. The biggest turning point for Kimberly in high school was gaining the self-confidence as a college bound student to overcome any fears about going to UC Santa Cruz, and being away from her family. Today, Kim’s parents share her enthusiasm and are 100% behind her decision to attend UCSC.
Temescal Canyon High School
Omar Gonzalez has been a successful basketball player, AVID class leader, and anchor of the school’s weekly TV program college minute. He plans to study Biochemistry, and will attend either San Francisco State or UC San Marcos. Omar credits his mother for teaching a most valuable school lesson: give it 110%, or all you’ve got, if you want to succeed. Teachers say Omar has a big heart and leads by example.
Taylor Johnson is not shy about her love of water, both as a resident of Canyon Lake, and as a CIF Division 5 water polo champion for two years in a row. This four year scholar athlete plans to attend Arizona State, where she will study Engineering and play water polo for the Sun Devils. Among her favorite school experiences are being VP of National Honors Society and AP Government. She cites constant hard work and dedication as keys to success, which this CIF individual champion has consistently demonstrated.
Ortega High School
Nina Munoz is a prolific writer and school publication editor with a passion for poetry. Teachers describe Nina as one who will pay it forward while pursuing the study of law, and self-publishing her own poetry collection. Nina plans to attend MSJC this fall and transfer to UCR after two years. Her career goal is to work as a paralegal, eventually taking the bar exam to become an attorney. Nina’s advice to students who face challenges in their lives is to never lower one’s expectations, but to seize each opportunity, even when getting a second chance seems beyond reach. --Lake Elsinore Unified School District