Each month during the school year, the Fallbrook Student of the Month organization recognizes four excellent students from the Fallbrook Union High School District. Kaylee Ahrend of Oasis High and Paula Serrano, Jennifer Vizzuett and Natalie Weber of Fallbrook High were honored as the Students of the Month for October at a celebratory breakfast Oct. 5 at the Fallbrook Community Center.
The program began with the Pledge of Allegiance being led by four Marines, and after an opening prayer, Fallbrook High School principal Larry Boone took the stage.
Boone delivered a dignified speech about the four girls nominated and related that the first Thursday of each month (the day the Student of the Month breakfast is held) is his favorite time of the month.
“Even though you’ve learned a lot – you can learn more from adversity,” said Boone. “We’re in good hands because you’re our future.”
The first student recognized was Serrano, who was nominated by teacher John Kroeger. Tears were shed and smiles spread across the room as Kroeger delivered a heartfelt speech that, in part, described Serrano as “a sweetheart who offers to help others, students and adults alike, whenever she sees a need.” Kroeger also brought to light Serrano’s dual enrollment, which meant being at school by 6:45 a.m. and waiting for the bus until 4:30 p.m.
Serrano said that when she learned she had won the award, she went to “Mr. Kroeger” and quietly thanked him, telling him, “Things like this don’t happen to people like me.” She closed her tear-filled speech with “All of us have worked hard to get where we are,” before embracing her mother.
The next student to be saluted was Vizzuett. Nominated by teacher Alana Milton, Vizzuett was recognized for her diverse schedule of classes that includes a robotics class. Milton said Vizzuett was involved in everything that she could be, including church and service for her classmates and teachers.
Milton also informed the community that Vizzuett was a good listener, friendly and dedicated to helping others. “She impresses everyone she speaks to,” said Milton of Vizzuett, who on the first day of school helped write encouraging welcome back messages in chalk around school to ease first-day school anxieties.
In accepting her Student of the Month honors, Vizzuett stated, “Without my parents, I really don’t know where I’d be.” Vizzuett plans on attending a four year school and said she is thinking about majoring in international relations.
Weber went onto the stage with her family and Connie Fellios, the teacher who nominated her. Speaking of Weber’s diligence, including being actively involved in the community, Fellios explained that Weber “couldn’t do it without the community of Fallbrook.”
Fellios said Weber is a very successful student athlete with a 4.8 GPA who has confidence and respect for both herself and her classmates.
“She definitely makes a positive difference not only in the classroom, but also on the volleyball court, softball field, among her peers and in the community at large,” said Fellios, adding that Weber helped put together a study group for AP history students and actively tutored them.
Fellios then thanked all the students being honored, stating “you inspire us not by your achievements and activities, but by your characters.”
Weber, while acknowledging that she doesn’t know what her professional future holds, said she “definitely is going to college.”
Oasis High teacher Matt Parker nominated Ahrend and explained that he has developed a great relationship with her and her family.
“She’s ready to go every Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. and hasn’t missed a beat for four years,” sad Parker of Ahrend.
Ahrend’s father spoke of his beautiful family and intelligent daughter before praising Parker as an “amazing teacher” not only for Kaylee, but also for him and his wife. The parents want Parker to be the instructor for their other kids once they get in high school.