December Students of the Month
January 19, 2021
7th, 8th, 9th
7th Grade: Sneha Rajkumar
Seventh grader Sneha Rajkumar is a very goal oriented, positive person. Just like everyone right now, quarantine has been a sad time for her, but has allowed her to spend time with family and people she did not have a chance to be with before, including her dad and sister from college.
Rajkumar has spent this at-home time crafting, drawing, coloring, and going on walks. With her family, she enjoys playing board games and watching different shows or movies. She has many hobbies such as learning to play the piano, finishing puzzles, and reading Harry Potter books.
The shift from an old school to UP can be difficult. As for her first year at UP, she was very stressed at first not knowing how much homework she would get and not being able to make new friends. But after some struggle, she said, “Recently, I have been thinking more positively; like when we go back I will have more in class time to do my work so I will have less homework, and I will get to make friends.” This year she has been very passionate about participating in school events; for instance, she took part in the pumpkin carving contest, the cookie decorating contest, and spirit week in general. This is one of the reasons why she thinks she was nominated for December. She thinks her straight A’s could also be a reason.
In the future, she wishes to go to UCLA just as her sister did and after she plans to go to medical school and become a doctor. “I want to possibly become an eye doctor because when I was young my mom told me that there are not many eye doctors in the world.”
8th Grade: Katie Lujan
Coming into eighth grade for Katie Lujan during the pandemic has made her have to adjust a lot. At home, she does not really have a quiet spot for herself so school can be troubling. “After school, I have to try [hard] to find a good area to study for tests and do homework so it’s really hard to stay motivated and concentrate.” Even if it is difficult at times, she still keeps up with her work to make sure nothing piles up later.
During her time in quarantine, Lujan has had more time to study and play with her friends. She loves to talk to them and play games like Minecraft or Among Us. She also has a passion for soccer and although she could not play this year, she was on the team last year and hopes she can start again soon.
This year, she also joined the cooking club which she finds really fun. There they are able to make recipes together on camera. Even with school being set up differently this year, she loves science and her teacher Mrs. Barr. Despite not being able to do labs in class, she still enjoys it.
After high school, she dreams of becoming a nurse, possibly a trauma nurse. “I’ve always thought about it when I was little.” She also hopes to travel the world. Lujan believes that she got elected for Student of the Month because of her participation in clubs and ASB, as well as being on top of her grades.
9th Grade: Isobella Camacho
Freshman Isobella Camacho is a hard working and goal oriented student. She focuses on school and has a GPA of 4.0. She is currently enrolled in VVC to take a class on Anthropology in 2021. Her favorite class is psychology because she finds the subject interesting. Isobella is not in any clubs this year due to the circumstances but she wants to learn to play the ukulele.
With free time on her hands, Camacho likes to draw or read. “I [enjoy] drawing people from Anime or cartoon characters and flowers.” Isobella first got into drawing when she was 10 or 11. She took an art class to improve her drawing skills. “[When I’m drawing], I typically use regular pencils. [I sometimes] use references if I’m trying something accurately or a bit more realistic-looking. Besides that, I do free-hand,” she remarked. Camacho prefers doodling small art pieces because drawing bigger pieces gives her a lot of stress about trying to finish them.
When asked about her career path, she said, “I don’t exactly know yet. I’ve had trouble trying to figure that out, [but] I’m interested in English, writing, or maybe art.” Isobella wants to ensure her academic success because, “it makes me secure in a way so that I know I’ll have a chance at getting into a good college.” As of now, Isobella is currently taking Spanish III. “I don’t know if I want to be fluent, but I do want to understand it because half of my family speaks Spanish so it would be nice to communicate with them,” she stated.
Camacho was very surprised when she heard of her nomination. “I think it was probably because of my grades. I have straight A’s right now, and I’ve never done that before but I think it’s a big accomplishment,” she commented when asked about why she got picked.
10th, 11th, 12th
10th: Porter Wyche
School is very important to Wyche. He has a 4.0 GPA. “I want to perform well academically so that I can go to a good college. As of now, school is my primary concern and performing well will benefit me in the future,” he stated. He has a fascination with all things related to science and history. “I have wanted to be an epidemiologist for most of my life [because] I’ve always been interested in disease and prevention. My aspiration for the job has increased with COVID-19. The current situation facing the world inspires me to one day research the cause and spread of diseases. [For history], I’ve always found historical events and eras extremely interesting,” he commented.
Porter is currently taking two music classes at UP, one orchestra class for viola and a beginning class for cello.
Besides school, Wyche enjoys playing baseball and reading. Porter likes historical novels and historical fiction ones too. “I spend the majority of my time studying or going to the park to practice baseball. At the moment, I am reading Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Most of my days are pretty busy but I try to keep a good attitude towards life, especially when put under the extra troubles quarantine has brought.”
Wyche believes he was chosen for Student of the Month for many things. “I would say it’s because I’m a pretty consistent student. I score high on the majority of my tests and complete all [my] work before it’s due. I try my best to put in extra study time for each subject so I have a better understanding of our topics.”
11th: Tayler Avila
Junior Tayler Avila is a kind-hearted and hard working student. It is one of the very reasons she got Student of the Month. With an average 4.0 GPA, she puts her all into her school work and daily attitude, making sure she is always doing her best.
“I was so happy to find out [I got Student of the Month]. It made me feel like I was actually doing something right and getting noticed because of it,” started Avila, adding, “I was a little confused too because I don’t know what I did to get it but it’s still nice to know that I got it.”
“My plans are to go to any college that seems to be the fit for me,” Avila began. “I’m not really set on a college yet but I want to be a biology teacher so I want to major in that.”
“I just try to make the best out of my situation and I wanna make others be happy to go to class too,” said Tayler Avila.
But, what does the normal school day look like for Avila, now that there is online school? She touched on this, saying, “I wake up and go to my classes. I’ll be more awake and active by 2nd period so that’s when I start to talk and make jokes. I might make some food, who knows. I eat in class because my health is important. Then the end of the day comes around and I close my computer because I just need that time to relax and decompress and once I feel ready I’ll do my homework. If I have practice or church then I’ll do my homework after.”
Avila recognized the confusion COVID-19 brought to her learning environment, saying, “My way of learning is very hands on so just trying to learn it over the screen is so hard and I never get to see my friends anymore so I feel lonely. But over this quarantine I have become so much closer to my family and it’s made me realize how important they are to me. Also, I’ve met some amazing people that have changed my life forever and I’m so thankful for them.”
Even Avila’s friend since seventh grade has something to add about her. Junior Julien Pineda said, “Honestly she is super nice and always positive. No matter what is going on in her own life, she always puts forth the effort needed in ASB when I ask. I’m sure that carries to her other classes, as well. Even in a virtual setting she still gives off so many positive vibes.”
“She’s more than deserving of Student of the Month,” started Pineda, “I see her doing her very best in a top notch college, maybe even graduated going for another degree or already working her dream job.”
Avila advises underclassmen who are dealing with the new school environment caused by COVID to, “try to get out there and talk to people, even our teachers, because this year is going to be one of the most memorable years of our lives. Do your best and even though it’s hard, find something that will motivate you. Hopefully it will all be over soon.”
12th: Jason Bonilla Romo
Senior Jason Bonilla Romo was quite surprised he won Student of the Month. “It was a pleasant surprise, I haven’t won anything like it [at] UP before. I was congratulated before I even saw the website so it was very surprising,” he stated.
“I think that there are people more deserving, there are tons of students who are working just as hard as I am in worse conditions, although their work is harder to see,” He stated, being very humble and a bit unsure.
Bonilla Romo’s day of school is now different with Covid changing the environment of learning. He said, “I usually wake up an hour before school, line up my classes, and any other work I have to do. Do some last minute studying. I also make breakfast for myself and make some food for my little brother when he wakes up.”
“It’s easier to ignore school being in a room with a bed and entertainment, no one’s there to immediately stop you. It makes it super tempting to not do work,” he said. “I do have a lot more time to do stuff after school, though.”
“I want to get into a university, I would like to get my Doctorates in psychology and buy a small building to conduct private psychology business,” he stated.
Senior Dina Youssef has been a friend of Jason Bonilla Romo for 4 years, meeting him in middle school. “I think he got Student of the Month because he’s a hardworking student and when he puts his mind to something, he will make sure it gets done. He has a lot of determination and it’ll take him far in life.”
And to those underclassmen who are having problems right now with the confusing start to school from COVID-19, Bonilla Romo stated, “I know it’s easy to ignore and overlook school now, but the effort you put into school now will pave the way to your future. Put the effort in now so you can make life easier later.”