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  • Student of the Month- March 2022

    Pictured are March’s Students of the Month; Front row - Patricia Lansang, Paloma Valley High School; Juan Vasquez, Jr., Perris High School; Ann Okafor, Heritage High School; and Chioma Amadi, California Military Institute. Back row - Councilmember Marisela Nava, City of Perris; Pete Serbantes, Riverside County Office of Education; Valerie Enciso, County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt; Councilmember Bob Karwin, City of Menifee; Grant Bennett, Superintendent, Perris Union High School District; and Alejandra Herrera, Riverside County Office of Education

    The Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce kicked off the 2021-2022 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.
    March’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.
    Perris High School’s Student of the Month is Juan Vasquez, Jr..  When Juan started high school, he didn’t know what he wanted to do or what programs he wanted to branch into.  He admitted to having social anxiety issues early on and had a desire to overcome those issues.  With a solid support system both at home and at school, he joined JROTC and has advanced from a young cadet to Battalion Commander, as well as a respected leader among his peers.  In addition, Juan is a part of the National Honor Society, and FFA.  Juan has always had a desire to encourage others and help them achieve their goals.  He has been very instrumental in this endeavor with his positions in various school organizations.  His army instructor, Sgt. Johnny Bryson said it best when shared that leadership is the influence of others to accomplish a mission and that Juan has mastered that already at his age.  Juan plans to attend UC Irvine to major in computer science and become an IT technician.
    Paloma Valley High School’s Patricia Lansang is March’s Student of the Month. Patricia currently holds a GPA of over 4.51.  She has taken numerous AP and Honors courses and has never had anything lower than an A.  Patricia shared that she has been greatly influenced by her mother who was both an immigrant and a single mother.  Her mom has taught her to appreciate the little things in life and to have grit to get through difficult times.  Patricia hopes to give back to the community in the same way her mother has given to her, and her siblings.  She would like to help other families in similar situations to find accessible and affordable housing.  Patricia shared that she has been accepted to multiple colleges and is waiting to hear back from the UC’s.  She may start her post high school education at a community college for prerequisites, then continue to a four year university to major in accounting and finance.
    Chioma Amadi is California Military Institute’s Student of the Month.  Chioma is the staff sergeant at CMI and currently holds a 4.2 GPA.  She works with other young cadets and helps them to grow into future leaders.  She is curious and has a thirst for knowledge, according to her English teacher, Karen Barrett.  “She’s the type of student who gets a 97 A+ and comes after class to ask what she can do to get a better grade, she really pushes,” she said.  Ms. Barrett also added that Chioma has an insatiable desire to learn.  She is a great example of commitment to education, as well as being a true personification of good character.  Chioma shared that one of the major lessons she has learned is that opportunities are not handed on a silver platter.  They are to be actively searched and obtained.  Chioma has applied to numerous colleges including: Johns Hopkins and Duke.  She plans to major in cognitive sciences to become a pediatric psychiatrist.
    Heritage High School’s Student of the Month is Ann Okafor.  Ann is someone who is described as having poise, grace, is smart, and she is a leader.  Being new to Heritage, Ann joined ASB as a freshman so she can meet new people and grow as a person.  Ann shared that through this experience, she has learned resilience, growth, and empathy towards other people.  ASB has also taught her to be a leader and mentor to others.  One lesson that Ann will take with her to college is to be resilient and to stay optimistic.  “It’s good to see the little things in life and be appreciative of everything you have,” she said.  “Don’t try to compare yourself to other people because your own story is different.”  Ann has been accepted to a number of colleges to include UC Santa Barbara and UC Merced.  She will continue her education majoring in biomedical sciences to enter the medical field.
    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.