May Students of the Month
June 23, 2021
7th, 8th, 9th
7th Grade: Elias Gonzalez
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It came quite a shock for 7th grader Elias Gonzalez to know that he had become May Student of the Month. “Normally I’m so busy and I don’t check my Gmail, but when I did I was surprised.” He doesn’t like to be the type of person who shows off, he likes to be himself. He thinks he might have deserved Student of the Month, because of the hard work he puts into all his classes. He hopes one day in the future he can become a robotics engineer. “I like building things, I used to be in a [robotics] club in my elementary school, and I started liking that, because you can program and build.”
In his free time, he enjoys reading, arts and crafts, and playing video games. Mostly playing games that are popular such as, ‘Minecraft’, ‘Among Us’, and others like ‘Plants vs. Zombies.’ He enjoys music, his favorite genre of music being techno and rap music. He explains how he listens to it a lot. He is currently learning piano, and hopes to get good at it, but He is also in Beginning Strings, hoping to learn as much as he is able to. He once participated in soccer, but since the start of this pandemic it has affected him greatly. “I used to play soccer but since COVID-19 happened, I haven’t been able to.” He says with a sad smile.
He believes he is a very normal person, but he explains something that makes him a little different from the rest. “Most people don’t enjoy learning, but I really do. I really enjoy learning.” He wishes to learn the most he can.
8th Grade: Emma Arreola
Emma Arreola is a humble, hard working girl who tries her best in everything she does. She believes that there are people more deserving of winning student of the month. “I feel like I know what I’m doing, but I think there are other people out there who have been working a lot harder.” She wishes to help the people around her, to make an impact wherever she can. She hopes one day she can become a NICU nurse, a nurse that works with newborns and premature infants. “I love kids and want to help make sure they are healthy. She tried her best to keep her grades high, having A’s and B’s.
Emma enjoys reading, she explains that it is a way to escape from your world, to transport yourself into the book itself. Reading is a hobby she tries to include herself into frequently, but she explains with school it can be difficult to find time. The series, ‘Daughter of the Pirate King’ by Tricia Levenseller, as well as the series, ‘Keepers of the Lost Cities’ by Shannon Messenger are some of her favorites. She describes the ‘Keepers of the Lost Cities’ with a smile. A girl twelve years of age, who is also a senior in high school, attends a field trip. She learns that she does not belong in the human world and is an elf with abilities, belonging to a group called, ‘Black Swans.’ She also enjoys listening to music and an escape, her favorite artist being Carrie Underwood. She lives with both her parents and her sister, appreciating the times she has spent with her family.
‘Minecraft’ and ‘Call of Duty’ are both games she is fond of, having played them every so often. She doesn’t play instruments, but does wish that she could learn piano or the guitar. When asked if she participates in any school activities she simply replied with, “No,” a laugh spread across her face. She has spent lots of her time at home since quarantine with her cat named Oliver and a tortoise named Leo. She describes how Leo has grown over time. “When he went into hibernation he was about this big,” She held her hands to the size of a melon. “When he woke up he was about this big.” She moved her hand wider apart to the size of a basketball. She chuckled, describing how she was surprised. Her birthday is on June twenty-first, she will be turning fourteen. When she realized how soon that would be, her expression was a mix of surprise and confusion.
Although she doesn’t participate in sports, her family does watch it on television. She watches baseball games frequently, her favorite team being the Dodgers. She doesn’t watch much football, but her father does and she sees it playing on the television. She claims that she is a ‘stuffed animal person’, liking to sleep with stuffed animals. Emma is a sweet girl who tries her best in not only school, but with everything she does.
9th Grade: Jace Thompson
Freshman Jace Thompson is a busy person and keeps herself entertained by maintaining her many hobbies like softball, volleyball, playing with her dog, listening and playing music, and many other things. She says that these things take up a lot of her time but since she enjoys these activities. Jace also is in the wind ensemble and on the softball and volleyball team which she enjoys very much. She truly has a passion for all these things and hopes to continue playing volleyball and softball. When Jace was asked why she believes she got student of the month, she says that she’s not really sure but that she thinks it’s because she stays focused and she asks questions when she needs to. Jace currently holds a 4.0 GPA which means she has straight A’s. Although Jace did not return to school she still manages to keep her grades at all As and maintains to stay in a sport. Jace advises her fellow classmates to keep on top of their work and to try to do most of the extra credit assignments when they are handed out. She also said that for those who lose motivation to set up an award system that will help you stay motivated. Overall, Jace is happy that she has been chosen to be May’s Student of the Month, and she hopes that she will continue her good habits next year. Although she stayed the whole year online, Jace managed to keep good grades, continue playing her sports, and overall stay a good focused student.
10th, 11th, 12th
10th Grade: Etta Montgomery
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Etta has many hobbies and things she’s interested in. She likes baking, writing, reading, playing instruments, listening to music, watching movies, drawing and playing video games. As of right now, Etta’s favorite games are Stardew Valley Minecraft and Hades. On top of Etta’s many hobbies, she currently owns a pet corn snake and has a growing collection of space themed calendars. She enjoys having many hobbies and thinks very highly of her pet snake. Although Etta isn’t in any clubs or sports she enjoys these hobbies, and hopes to maybe one day joining a cooking club. When Etta was asked why she believed she won Student of the Month she answered, “I’m assuming it’s either, because I have good grades or my name got pulled in a random lottery.” She was very confused on why she had gotten chosen as Student of the Month, but when she was asked about her grades they explained everything needed to know. Etta is a straight A student, and currently has all A+’s and 1 A. She said she is very proud of herself this year for getting these grades. Although Etta did not return to in person school, she still participates in class and gives the teachers the attention they deserve. Etta is surprised and happy that she got the opportunity to be Student of the Month for May. She appreciates that her teachers think so highly of her, and is happy for herself in the matter that she has won something for behaving good in school, and getting good grades. Etta hopes to continue succeeding in school and in her general life.
11th Grade: Nora Meugniot
Staying motivated has been one of the hardest things throughout this 2020-2021 school year at University Preparatory for many students. Nora Meugniot shares, “I’ve been at UP for six years now, since seventh grade, and I’ve made a ton of friends to help me through classes.” Having to spend an entire school year online has its ups and downs. “There’s certainly tough parts about this year; struggling with motivation, not feeling like doing any of the work, procrastinating a lot. The end of the year, or graduating next year, that future, certainly has helped me push through my challenges.” Meugniot adds that her senior year works as motivation for her to wrap up her junior year quickly. “My motivation, especially this year, has been dance and it’s provided an extra outlet for me to be able to just express myself, and I hope to do that through college and my careers. I’ve been looking into Calstate Fullerton because it offers a lot of programs I’m interested in, and I look forward to that.”
As much as Meugniot mentions she adores ballet and pointe, she states she doesn’t have much time for any other hobbies or interests. “I’m always busy with life and homework… I love time to relax, I mean, who doesn’t?.. My time is mostly taken up by those two things and I just haven’t been able to find a different hobby… if I had the time I would probably want to help Key Club… or help out other people like maybe tutoring?”
When asked about why she was chosen to be Student of the Month, Meugniot laughed and said she wasn’t sure. “I don’t know! I mean, I’ve done everything every other student has done… I really don’t know. I didn’t even tell my mom I got Student of the Month!” She exclaimed before adding, “I would say it’s because of my hard work and dedication throughout the school year!” Although she struggled with the lack of motivation, just as many UP students have, Nora Meugniot was able to push through in the hopes of achieving her future goals!
11th Grade: Bibianna Rodriguez
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12th Grade: Alroza Rasy
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Alroza found herself making many memories her senior year, despite being involuntarily tied to virtual learning. “Although online school was incredibly difficult at times, in terms of being motivated to continue on, I still found it memorable to sit at home on my screen with my classmates!” Many students have found it difficult to be able to focus and stay motivated this school year, though Rasy appreciated all of the memories she made. She responded with, “I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be able to continue my senior year and, with the help of faculty and staff, we were given as much as we could do.” when asked how she felt about graduating high school in the middle of a pandemic. Rasy mentioned that her biggest motivation was to help people. “… knowing that someone’s life can be impacted from my help, that’s my motivation.”
Beyond high school, Rasy has many goals she wishes to accomplish. “I want to have the best grades I can earn in college. I’m aware of the difficulty, but I strive to do the best I can push myself to do.” In regards to her hopes for this next year, she says. “As time progresses, and it’s time for me to move on, my hopes for the upcoming year is to have an adjustable first year in college and continue to push forward.” Rasy hopes to major in biology in the near future.
Outside of school, Rasy is very in touch with her culture. “I love to dance! I do cultural dancing, belly dancing…. I’m also a henna artist, whenever I get the chance, I always draw!” Rasy mentioned she didn’t know exactly why she was chosen for Student of the Month. “I’m not sure why I was chosen… however, I am extremely grateful for it!” Rasy shows that despite her final year of high school at UP being virtual, she is excited for college and is ready to move towards a new chapter in her life.
12th Grade: Denisse Arana Bonales
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Dennise Arana Bonales shares she had a difficult time balancing school with many other of her responsibilities. “Online school was difficult this year, having to manage ASB, school work, work, and my personal life. Oftentimes, it was simple because of time management, but I had little time to myself.” Bonales admits she was able to surpass this year due to her good time management, but sacrificed personal time for herself in order to do so. “My hope for the following year is to be able to go to college in person and explore who I am outside of high school.” Bonales is hoping to grow outside of her high school life and flourish into college in person rather than virtually through screens like the past year and a half of school.
Bonales has very ambitious goals for college. “My academic goal would be to finish my bachelors early, in two or two and a half years, so that I could focus on getting into medical school. I want to become a reconstructive plastic surgeon.” She tells the story as to why she chose her future career path. “I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field and work in a hospital. Growing up, I would visit some of my uncles who were cosmetic plastic surgeons and I wanted to do what they were doing. Once I reached high school and volunteered at a hospital, I realized I never wanted to open up my own clinic and have my own plastic surgery business. I wanted to work in the hospitals and work with emergency patients, in that way I wanted to help. After meeting a burn victim and the surgeon in that case, I decided that I wanted to specialize in reconstructive surgery rather than cosmetic.” She explains that through her uncles she realized her ambition for being a surgeon, and through the volunteering experience, she was able to see how exactly she wanted to be able to help others.
Graduating in a pandemic can be an odd but very rewarding experience. Bonales says, “I felt very grateful to be graduating in the midst of a pandemic. I didn’t think we were going to be able to have a ‘normal’ graduation so being able to see all my classmates actually walk the stage and see their families with them on that day made it special.” Seeing what seemed like a close-to-normal graduation during the COVID-19 pandemic was reassuring to Bonales. “I do wish that we had a normal school year. It would’ve been amazing to get to experience all of the senior activities, but I am extremely grateful that some things did end up happening for us.” Although having her final high school year online and missing out on some of the normal senior traditions and experiences, Bonales was more than grateful that many things worked out in everyone’s favor and that her graduation was amazing.