TR Robertson — The Film Hub in Downtown Historic Vista was the home to the Vista Chamber of Commerce 8th Annual Rising Star of the Year Scholarship Honorees last Friday. Twenty graduating seniors from seven different high schools were awarded scholarships recognizing excellence both academically and inspirationally in the community and at their respective schools. The money awarded for scholarships and the number of recipients awarded is the most awarded since the Vista Chamber of Commerce has been running the Rising Star program.
The Rising Stars program began in 1992 at Temecula Valley High School, when Sally Meyers, Vice President of Marketing for BMW Management, Inc., revamped a Student of the Month program that had started in Moreno Valley in the 1980’s by Ms. Goodwin, owner of drug stores in the area. Sally would expand this program to other schools in the Temecula region, getting various organizations involved in sponsoring the Rising Star program. Sally said she wanted the program to point to the positivity of students, their generosity and selflessness in helping others as well as their influence on classmates, teachers, and the community they lived in. Rising Stars is now in a number of schools in North County like Vista, Oceanside and coming to Carlsbad. The Vista Chamber of Commerce has been honoring students monthly during the school year, 46 senior honored, and the culmination is the awarding of scholarships to students that have been selected by a scholarship committee.
The Friday program began with a welcome by Vista Chamber CEO Rachel Beld. She introduced Vista City Councilman Joe Green who led the Pledge of Allegiance and welcomed those in attendance including educators, administrators, parents, guests and the honored students. Joe pointed out the importance of the program, the success of those being honored and a hope that after these students complete whatever higher education they have planned they will return to Vista to live and work in this community.
Rachel Beld read the Mission Statement of the Rising Star program – “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 & community with sincerity and passion.”
Rachel also thanked the numerous sponsors of the Rising Star program – Tri-City Medical Center, Watkins Wellness, Bonner’s Magic Soaps, Dr. Matt Doyle, J & R Auto Body and Paint, Joe Green and Green Team Realty, Nikolas Ljubic Memorial Scholarship Fund, North County Daily Star, Sizzler, Sunrise Kiwanis Club, Tory R. Walker Engineering, Vista Elks Lodge #1968, and Vista PEO Chapter. Trudy Bonner was in attendance representing Bonner’s Magic Soaps and she was thanked for the donation of sponsoring the morning breakfast provided by Red Tail Catering. Vista Unified Superintendent Dr. Matt Doyle next spoke about the success and drive all these students had to help others and to go above and beyond to make their school and those around them something to be proud of. He also pointed out that he loves it when he can hire teachers in the district who are graduates of the Vista Unified School System.
The Rising Star monetary scholarship awards were divided into four categories. Various administrators and teachers from each of the 7 schools spoke about the students from their school receiving scholarships.
Principals and teachers in attendance for the awards:
- Kevin Humphrey – Principal Guajome Park Academy
- Dr. Narcisco Iglesias – Principal Major General Murray High School & Vista Visions Academy
- Josh Jones – Assistant Principal Mission Vista High School
- Dr. Jose Manuel Villarreal – Principal Rancho Buena Vista High School
- Daniela Ticas – Math Instructor North County Trade Tech
- David Jaffe – Principal Vista High School
- Mr. Hanlon Character Leaders and Best Buddies Advisor
The first category was Awards of Merit with each student awarded a $250 scholarship. The following students received awards:
- Isabella Melendy – Guajome Park Academy
- Malia Mitchell – Guajome Park Academy
- Uriel Medina – Major General Murry High School
- Malea Van Brocklin – Mission Vista High School
- Maesoon Rahman – Mission Vista High School
- Maxwell Davis – Trade Tech High School
Receiving Awards of Excellence – $750 scholarships – Each recipient also was allowed to give a short speech and tell what their plans were for the coming year or goal in education.
- Aaliyah Cortes – Guajome Park Academy – attending UC Berkeley
- Stevin Latimer – Mission Vista High School – wants to be a pediatrician
- Hahle Taylor – Vista High School – wants to concentrate on public health/social justice career
Special Recognition Awards – $1,000 scholarships
- Lindsey Harris – Vista High School – attending Brigham Young University – Distinguished Female Student PEO Vista Chapter ND
- Matthew Draves – Vista High School – attend UCSD – Nikolas Ljubic Memorial Scholarship
- Raul Rodarte – Trade Tech High School – Palomar College and become a firefighter in Vista – Nikolas Ljubic Memorial Scholarship
Riding Stars of the Year – $1,000 scholarships – these were the top scoring Rising Star applicants
- Esmeralda Ortiz – Vista Visions Academy – attend Mira Costa College and study radiology
- Alyssa Crevoiserat – Guajome Park Academy – attend UC Davis
- Rebekah Christoffersen – Major General Murray High School – attend Palomar Junior College
- Olivia Song – Mission Vista High School – attend UCLA in pre-med program
- Nyla Lopez – Rancho Buena Vista High School – attend Pt. Loma University in nurse practitioner program working with kids in need
- Noah Bailey – Trade Tech High School –attend Cal State University San Marcos studying psychology
- Sarina Schulthess – Vista High School – attend Cal State University San Marcos studying nursing for special needs individuals
Also in attendance for the awarding of these scholarships was Vista City Council Members Corinna Contreras and Katie Melendez, Vista Unified School District Board President Cipriano Vargas, Adrienne Cisneros-Selekman from County Supervisor Jim Desmond’s Office, Suleyma Balderas representing Assemblymember Tash Boerner-Horvath’s Office, Matt Stockton representing Assemblymember Marie Waldron’s Office, Max Wernher representing State Senator Patricia Bates Office and Jessica Ramirez representing U.S. Congressman Mike Levin’s Office.
The Rising Stars program is a tremendous program held each month with an end of school year awards program. These high school students have gone and above and beyond in assisting in a variety of organizations in their schools, volunteering in school and community programs, helping wherever they are needed while preparing themselves for incredible futures in programs of higher learning. If you are interested in helping with the Rising Stars program, contact the Vista Chamber of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For information on the Chamber of Commerce and its services and programs go to www.vistachamber.org or call 760-726-1122.