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  • October Student of the Month

    Pictured are October’s Students of the Month; Front Row: Jaleahney “Jolly” Marcelin, Liberty High School; Olivia Hicks, Perris Lake High School; Cassandra Madrigal, Paloma Valley High School; Josiah Smith, Heritage High School; and Yadira Hurtado, Perris High School. Back Row: Grant Bennett, Superintendent, Perris Union High School District; City Clerk Nancy Salazar, City of Perris; Mayor Bill Zimmerman, City of Menifee; Elizabeth Vallejo, Riverside County Office of Education/Perris Union High School District Trustee; Jerry Sepulveda, Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce; and Kirk Skorpanich, Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce

    The Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce kicked off the 2023-2024 Student of the Month program in September. The students are nominated by their teachers and staff at their respective school sites and are chosen for their character, integrity, love of learning, ability to persevere and overcome challenging circumstances, community service, and how they make a difference on their high school campus. This year, we are excited to add our first seniors from our newest campus, Liberty High School!

    October’s students and their families attended a breakfast sponsored by the Perris and Menifee Chambers of Commerce along with local businesses and organizations. Principals and teachers from each high school shared stories about the students and they each received certificates of recognition, numerous gifts, congratulations and encouragement from local, county, state and federal dignitaries.

    Liberty High School’s Student of the Month is Jaleahney “Jolly” Marcelin. Jaleahney, or “Jolly” as she is known to everyone, literally is a representation of her name. According to Liberty's Principal, Dr. Erika Tejeda, Jolly has a spirit in her that thrives attracting people to her. “Kindest young lady you have ever met; willing to help students go above and beyond,” she said. Jolly is in the Business and Entrepreneurship Pathway and is involved in a number of activities on campus and off including her church. Jolly shared that she is not just thankful for the Lord, but for family and friends for their encouragement and support. Jolly plans to attend Cal State San Marcos majoring in business management and minoring in film studies. She plans to open her own restaurant and production company.

    Perris Lake High School’s Olivia Hicks is October’s Student of the Month. Olivia is one of those students that doesn’t quietly enter a campus. Rather, she is a lively spirit that blows in and affects everyone she comes in contact with in a positive way. Olivia is an effective advocate for students at Perris Lake. According to her teacher, Ms. Martha Puente, Olivia is not only a leader, but she is an active listener. “She prepares herself by speaking out, reaching out to other students, listening to what their needs/wants are constructively and bringing them to the table,” she said. Olivia will take, and use, these attributes as she continues her education after graduation first at Mt. San Jacinto College and then transferring to UC Riverside majoring in criminology to be a criminal psychologist.

    Yadira Hurtado is Perris High School’s Student of the Month. Yadira’s parents immigrated from Mexico in order to be able to provide more opportunities for their family. One of those opportunities was their children’s education. Both of Yadira’s older sisters attended Perris High and participated in JROTC. As a result and being the youngest daughter, Yadira was inspired by her sisters and what they accomplished while in JROTC. She currently holds a staff position as an assistant manager overseeing multiple aspects within the student run program. Yadira commented that the leadership skills she has gained will help her throughout her college education and beyond. Her dream school is UC Berkeley and she plans to continue her education majoring in criminology to become a criminal analyst.

    Paloma Valley High School’s Student of the Month is Cassandra Madrigal. Cassandra is the epitome of what Paloma Valley wants their students to be. She is involved in numerous activities including NJROTC, ASL, school mascot on occasion, and ASB. Cassandra’s NJROTC instructor, Mst. Frank Puebla, shared how Cassandra is able to be an amazing leader, especially with all the activities she is involved in. He pointed out that it’s not just because of all the titles that make her who she is, it’s because of her strength of character that is her example, and he credits her parents for instilling that in her throughout her life. It is her strength of character that will see her through her future as she continues her education in aeronautics to become a commercial airline pilot.

    Josiah Smith is Heritage High School’s October Student of the Month. The foundation of Heritage is LEGACY (Leadership, Excellence, Generosity, Academics, Character, and OpportunitY). One of those foundation blocks is Josiah Smith. A member of the varsity football team, he’s taken a leadership role and chooses to mentor fellow players. His English teacher, Tatiana Coover, shared that Josiah genuinely sees humanity in others. “He possesses depth of character and also soul, as evidenced in his involvement with athletics, academics, his community, and his treatment of others no matter what position they hold,” she said. Josiah credits his grandmother and family for instilling those values in him early on. He plans to continue his education while he decides what career path he will take in engineering or fashion design.

    All of these students demonstrated a desire to work hard and have a drive to exceed others and their own expectations. The Perris Valley Chamber and the Menifee Valley Chamber wish them the best in their endeavors. If you wish to learn more about the Student of the Month Program, please contact founder, Sally Myers at (951) 506-8024.