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  • Perris/Menifee March SOM Article and Photos

    Pictured are March’s Students of the Month; Front Row: Titus Weston, Perris High School; Carlos Murillo-Vega, California Military Institute; Caitlyn Hocson, Paloma Valley High School; Nandi Dogani, Heritage High School; and Lila Montebon, Liberty High School. Back Row: Sally Myers, Founder; City Clerk Nancy Salazar, City of Perris; Jett Benavidez, Congressman Ken Calvert; Casey Deaver, Assemblyman Bill Essayli; Grant Bennett, Superintendent, Perris Union High School District; 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.

    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 Titus Weston. Titus has definitely left his mark at Perris High School. He is involved in numerous organizations including theater, choir, FFA, and the culinary program, to name a few. And, he really enjoys his time at school. Principal Juan Santos commented on the enthusiasm Titus displays on campus everyday. “There’s no one I’ve seen at our school who have really enjoyed their time at high school like Titus,” he stated. Titus shared that his time at Perris High has been amazing and appreciated the opportunities and experiences he has had. Beating to his own drum, Titus is excited to continue his education as he plans to attend Mt. San Jacinto College and then transfer to San Diego State University majoring in English to become a teacher.

    California Military Institute’s Carlos Murillo-Vega is March’s Student of the Month. Carlos is a recognized leader on CMI’s campus. Described as kind, courteous,respectful with high integrity and character, it’s no wonder that other cadets look up to him. In addition to everything he has going on at school, he is also the youth leader at his church. Carlos shared that since middle school, he’s felt to help others. He stated that the essence of leadership lies not in the commanding or of ordering people around, but in aiding and guiding them to realize their potential. One life lesson he has learned, and is taking with him to college, is when God has a plan for you, it never fails. Carlos plans to attend Cal State San Bernardino to pursue his education and become a detective.

    Paloma Valley High School’s Student of the Month is Caitlyn Hocson. Caitlyn and her family moved to the United States from the Philippines when she was eight years old. Caitlyn shared that she initially struggled because of the language barrier. However, always an overachiever, she challenged herself and persevered in learning English. So much so, that she has taken dual AP courses and is involved in multiple clubs at Paloma. Caitlyn’s AP Literature teacher, Lisa Brown commented on the hard work that Caitlyn puts into everything she does. “In spite of all of the extracurricular activities that she’s involved in, she stays on top of her work,” she said. Caitlyn plans to further her education, possibly at UC Berkeley, and major in biomed to become an anesthesiologist.

    Nandi Dogani is Heritage High School’s March’s Student of the Month. Nandi is described as an exceptional leader, scholar, and athlete at Heritage. But not only that, according to her Principal, Lindsay Chavez, she leads with compassion. “Her heart is always at the forefront of what she does and Heritage High School is a better school community because of Nandi,” she said. Nandi is a leader in her organizations at Heritage including CSF, Link Crew, and participates in track. Nandi is also in a unique situation in that she will be graduating high school at the young age of 16. Nandi is excited to go on to the next chapter in her education. She plans to attend UC San Diego double majoring in psychology and biology to become a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

    Lila Montebon is Liberty High School’s Student of the Month. Lila is well known at Heritage through the arts programs. She is president of the Art Club and a multi-talented, multi-faceted musician as part of the Bison Band. Her work with Liberty’s productions is beyond what others have done in the past being that not only is she a musician, but she’s stepped up as music director and orchestra conductor. That’s quite a feat for a student. Her principal, Dr. Erika Tejeda described Lila as an introvert, but that she didn’t need to talk. “A lot of her actions speak louder than words and are what she embodies and how she gets her friends and peers to move alongside her,” she said. Lila plans to continue her education at either UC Irvine or UC Santa Cruz to study biology and become a nurse.

    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.