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Junior Student of the Month winner, Songaya Gooden-Daniels

Songaya Gooden-Daniels

Junior Student of the Month winner, Songaya Gooden-Daniels

February Students of the Month

March 25, 2021

7th, 8th, 9th

7th Grade: Abeer Diab

Like most people, when Abeer Diab, who prefers to go by Mya, heard the news, she was unsure why she had won Student of the Month. She said, “I’m not sure, I didn’t even know we had a Student of the Month. I’m very confused as to why I would be nominated because I’m completely new to this.” 

She thinks, “Maybe it has something to do with grades, I have good grades. I like to participate in class, I try to participate when I can because not only does it give us points but it helps me learn. I’ve tried to make relationships with some of the teachers because the more you know the class the more you can relate to them.”  

When asked about her future she responds, “I’m not sure, college is a big thing for me. I’ve always wanted to do something with my hands; if I don’t do something medically I want to study helping people. Anything to do with the community, you can make a difference with starting small and you can get somewhere big.” 

Diab has many hobbies like interior designing and writing stories, but one of her favorite things to do is paint. “I feel like I’ve drifted out of that, like I’ll paint once in a while if I’m ever bored.” 

Diab also cooks with her family a lot, “I’d cook with my sisters because I have 3 of them, and it’s a big part of our family. We like to get out to get supplies, go to the store and just play around if we ever get bored.” 

Family is a big part of Mya’s life, she explains, “Without family you’re just alone, even if you have problems with them, just seeing them and hanging out, even just walking about them making memories. It’s always better to get to know the people around you, once you do you can look up to them or learn from their mistakes. They can help you academically or in the future.” 

Just like how Diab looks up to her family and those around her, she wants to visit them,  “I want to go to Syria at the end of the year, that’s where my parents were born, my grandparents, where they grew. They haven’t been in almost 25 years, I’ve never been my entire life. I want to see the place my parents grew up.” 

8th Grade: Edgar Olmos

Eighth grader Edgar Olmos believes he won Student of the Month because of his grades, “I mainly always keep them at A’s.”

Like Diab, Olmos has a lot of hobbies, “I play video games like Fortnite, then later I play outside with my brothers, we play baseball, football, or basketball in the garage. Basically just catch.” Just like many others, family is big in Olmos’s life, “One of the best parts about my brothers is that they always help me when I need it.” 

Olmos elaborates on his connections to family, “My family is important to me, they help me when I need it, and I wouldn’t be able to live because I don’t know how to cook.”

Olmos has aspirations of being a doctor or programmer, “I don’t know if I want to be a doctor or a programmer, a doctor is where I can save lives and a programmer because I tried a little trial and it seemed fun.” 

9th Grade: Bryan Williams

Freshman Bryan Williams was selected as Student of the Month because “he is an excellent example of a University Preparatory Student; responsible, committed to his learning, and he is ready to go the extra mile in his education,” according to Mrs. Mata.

She states that he always puts in the effort to understand topics by asking questions, whether it be during class, after class, or in tutoring. On his ability to ask and answer adequate questions, she states, “It is a beautiful quality that nowadays not many students possess.”

Once he does get the hang of it, he applies it readily to his work and helps his classmates understand it too. “He cares for others; I believe that if you care you learn.” She goes on to say that other students should emulate his honesty and responsibility. 

She elaborates, “It was refreshing to see a responsible, respectful, that also exemplified good listening skills. All these qualities are applicable to any circumstance of his present and future life.”

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10th, 11th, 12th

When asked what movie or show she would like to guest star in, sophomore Halle Spring says that she would actually love to do a cameo in a Marvel movie, as it would be exciting to be a superhero. Her favorite character is Black Panther, although for the original cast, she says that Captain America and Black Widow are tied. (Halle Spring)

10th Grade: Halle Spring

The first thing sophomore Halle Spring does when she wakes up is check on her new hamster, Mushu, who she got on March 12th. 

She states that if she could be any animal, she would be one that could fly. “I don’t know what bird, but a bird, or maybe something in the ocean, like a … killer whale, like a predator so I don’t die.” 

After washing her face and brushing her teeth, the next thing she does is check Google Classroom to see if she has any upcoming assignments. She does not like to procrastinate. 

Spring believes she was selected as Student of the Month because of her ability to adapt. Her grades have thrived during quarantine. She attributes her success to her having nothing to do. Pre-pandemic, she used to play soccer and basketball, but no longer does.

Then, she goes to class. She prefers classes like english, psychology, and sociology because the solution is usually more subjective, rather than a singular right answer.

After school, she watches Netflix. She states that if she were famous, she would want to be famous for singing, or acting on a good Netflix show, despite not being good at either. If she had to sing karaoke, she would choose something by Bruno Mars, or maybe “All I want” by Kodaline. 

On Netflix, she has recently started watching Ginny and Georgia. She already finished watching The 100 with her mom. They also love watching Survivor together. 

“Me and my mom are really close, we always do things together, and I always go to her first… to make decisions.”

She also has a close relationship with her dad. “Something interesting [about me] is that me and my dad share the same birthday, May 30th, and I’m always telling him I’m the best birthday gift he’s ever had,” Spring says.

When asked what things are most valuable to her, Spring responds, “Friends and family. I wouldn’t be the person I am without them, [they all] had a part in shaping the person that I am today.”

Spring has overcome many challenges to maintain her 4.0 GPA for the first time. She has had to deal with forgetting assignments due to pills she is taking for her iron deficiency, along with a lack of motivation and fatigue. She states that receiving the 4.0 certificate in the mail and winning Student of the Month are the most memorable events of the year for her. 

She advises people to stop comparing themselves to others and to focus on their own weak spots. They should not stress out too much, or forget to have fun. “That’s what I did and I won Student of the Month.”

Junior Songaya Gooden-Daniels misses one-on-one time with teachers at school. She says that if she could go back, she would since junior year has gone by fast at home. (Songaya Gooden-Daniels)

11th Grade: Songaya Gooden-Daniels

Junior Songaya Gooden-Daniels is no exception to always being ahead of her game when it comes to school.  When asked why she thinks she was chosen for Student of the Month, Gooden-Daniels replies, “I try to get my work done on time and I enjoy helping my peers with anything they need help on; I do like to help my friends because I mean- if they need help and I know the material I’ll always help them.”  Songaya is a witty, easy-going person who enjoys drawing and is starting to pick up embroidery as a hobby. 

“I don’t think I personally can time manage well, but I do give myself time to cool down, self care and get to doing my work.”  She does not have a specific favorite music genre but enjoys different types and believes every genre has their own charm.

 Gooden-Daniels has been active in the cross country club since her seventh grade year.  “When you’re running, you don’t really think about getting it over with, but feel like your mind is somewhere else and it could be peaceful.  My favorite race was always the races I did in Big Bear, my favorite one was the race I was in my sophomore year.  It’s so nice over there and a change of environment,” she says.  

One thing she misses most about school is one-on-one time with teachers and socializing with her classmates and peers.  “I think every teacher I have had definitely has had some sort of influence on me, but every teacher pushes me to not only do what I can, but what I think I can’t.”  She mentions that every teacher she has had was amazing and led her to pursue an interest in forensic science or psychology.  Songaya Gooden-Daniels still has not decided on a college she wants to attend, but is interested in searching for a school who caters and provides good programs for her major of interest.  

She describes herself and hardworking and strong willed, and always puts her best effort forward when it comes to classes and her academic performance.  “I think there are pros and cons to distance learning, cons being not being in class with teachers and talking to them, not getting much time to go over or learn material properly, and missing out more than academic things like social interaction‒I haven’t really gone out since the pandemic and I really did take small things for granted that made school feel normal.  If I could, I would definitely go back, school and junior year has gone by insanely fast,” she says. Being hardworking, she is pushing forward and trying to end the school year strong and research more into what schools she wants to apply for, her senior year.  

Senior Natalie Lucero will be the first of her three sisters to leave her home straight out of high school. She plans on going to Southern Utah University, which granted her a scholarship of $6900. (Natalie Lucero)

12th Grade: Natalie Lucero

Senior Natalie Lucero can be described by her peers as someone who is always unconditionally nice and helpful.  Natalie enjoys playing the ukulele in her spare time and enjoys color guard and cross country.  She enjoys the Weeknd and her favorite song right now is “Save Your Tears” by the Weeknd, and her favorite candy would be Kit Kats.  Her ideal vacation would be spending time in Laughlin with her family. 

 “She’s definitely someone who always brightens up my day when I was at practices with her,” says senior Xoshil Alas Felipe. 

When asked why she was picked for Student of the Month, she said she tries her best to get her work done and always made sure to participate in class.  “I try to engage and make my teachers feel like they’re [being paid attention to],” says Lucero.  Balancing school, family, and work, she always makes sure there is a way to manage time.

With her acceptance to Southern Utah University and granted scholarship of $6900, she will be attending there for her freshman year of college.  

“I really do miss sports and seeing all my friends at school, I love my family and spending time with them but I do miss seeing my friends too everyday,” Lucero mentions about missing school. 

She has three sisters and will be the first to live on her own right after high school, “I feel kind of excited finding my own path but I also worry and will miss my friends.”  Natalie Lucero’s favorite philosophy is to always take initiative of opportunities because they will not walk to you.  The pandemic has helped her realize that there are things and situations you have to get by, even if you do not want to do it.  Her favorite subject in school was math, “I felt like it made sense and it was fast for me, and I got excited when I could solve something before my teacher or peers could,” says Lucero. 

The teacher that inspires her the most is Mrs. Zimmerman and she found a new love for biology with the influence of her teaching, along with Mr. Salazar’s.  It has helped her with deciding what she chooses to major in for the future and change her passion.

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