Rising Star of the Month Program for January
TR Robertson …The monthly presentation of students for the Vista Chamber of Commerce’s Rising Star of the Month Program from the 6 different high schools in Vista was recently held at Brightwood College. One student from each of the high schools is selected each month to be honored with a morning breakfast and presentation by those that have nominated the student. The mission statement from the Chamber outlines the purpose of this program, which is
“to bring the community together to honor our local high school seniors for demonstrating character, integrity, love of learning, involvement in school and community activities and/or the ability to overcome challenging life circumstances without compromising their education”.
The core of the Rising Star of the Month is the student who makes a difference in their home, school and community with sincerity and passion.” Bret Schanzenbach, President and CEO of the Vista Chamber of Commerce, began the program with introduction of Vista Mayor Judy Ritter, leading those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Tory Walker, with a prayer. The remainder of the program was the presentation of school representatives from each of the high schools, who in turn introduced the students being honored from that school, a member of the staff or faculty selected by the student and members of the student’s family or significant friends. Each student was given time to deliver a short message about their college or career goals or their greatest contribution to their school or community or significant life lessons they have learned or how they have given back to their school or community or a personal story of obstacles they have dealt with and overcome.
The following students were honored for January:
Erika Keppeler – Guajome Park Academy – Erika has a passion for biology and medicine, and wants to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She is active in school including being President of the Key Club (the student branch of the Kiwanis Club). Erika wants to become a doctor as a result of helping the family with her father, who was diagnosed with a mysterious bacterial infection and spent months in Tri-City Hospital. She has a love of learning and this is shown in her favorite quote, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t”.
Victor Chavez – North County Trade Tech High School – Victor has been a role model for other students at his school and in his home. He feels in order to be successful you cannot be lazy and you must work hard. He is a straight A student and is willing to help other students. He hopes to attend either SDSU or Cal State San Marcos or perhaps a school in the Los Angeles area. Victor has had a number of challenges in his life including taking on family responsibilities when his mother became ill and his realization that he wanted to make something with his life to honor her.
Taylor Beccera – Rancho Buena Vista High School – Taylor is an energetic, compassionate person who loves to inspire those around her to be successful. She is a member of the PLUS Program and is 1 of 13 student peer counselors at RBV. She stays busy at school with her involvement in water polo, track, ASB and tutoring students. She wants to be an Elementary School teacher to reach students at a younger age to aspire to do their best. An accident to a friend of hers, while working at The Wave, led her to realize you can never take a single moment for granted and to make the best of everything around you. Those around her feel she gives 110% all of the time to all she is involved with in showing her joy for life.
Crystal Rojas – Mission Vista High School – Crystal is a 4.0 gpa student taking AP and honors classes. She is the Vice President of Mecha and is described as having a passion for helping others. Her standout qualities include determination and selflessness. Her love of education is shown in the classroom and in lunchtime and afterschool tutoring programs she assists students with math, science and Spanish issues they may have in the classroom. Crystal’s mom summarized what she feels Crystal and all of these students have, “the power to conquer all”.
Kimberly Arenas – Major General Raymond Murray – Kimberly pointed out that she has overcome some bad decisions she made early in her young life to become the straight A student she is now and was able to graduate early from school. She helps out in the schools office as well as helping counsel students concerning staying on track for graduation. She is a member of the PLUS Program at school and at home she has helped raise her two younger brothers. Her plans for the future are to major in nursing.
Angelica Menchaca – Vista High School – Angelica is a very active member of the Panther student body, a member of ASB, cheerleading and she is the editor of the school yearbook. Along with an active school and extra-curricular program, Angelica juggles having a job, showing great time management. She was described as extremely dependable, a person that takes on challenges and doesn’t back down. Angelica said to give takes time, effort and lots of love. She said she would like to go into nursing and one possible college she is looking at is the University of Washington. Her older brother said a driving desire she has is to always become a better person.
Each student was given time to deliver a short message
Photos by Terry Woods
The Rising Star program has a number of sponsors. The Breakfast sponsors include the Chamber, Brightwood College, the Vista Education Foundation, the Sunrise Vista Kiwanis Foundation and Datron World Communications. Rising Star recipients have an opportunity to compete for scholarships administered by the Vista Chamber of Commerce. The scholarship sponsors include Tory R. Walker Engineering, Watkins Manufacturing, Cal State San Marcos, Datron World Communications, Green Team Realty and Walmart. Rising Star of the Month Gift Sponsors given to the students selected are Sizzler, Vista Entertainment Center, Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen, Cold Stone Creamery, Peppertree Frosty, Brightwood College, BMW of Vista, Rocket Fizz, Wing Stop, Big Media Print, and Boomers of Vista. Students are encouraged to write thank you cards to those people that have contributed to this event. The Thank You Card Sponsor is Buffini and Company. For more information contact the Vista Chamber of Commerce at 760-726- 1122 or go to www.VistaChamber.org.