Natalie McCaw of Oasis High School and Jonathan Espinosa, Lucia Montiano, and Emily Regotti of Fallbrook Union High School were honored as Fallbrook Community Students of the Month at a celebratory breakfast held Feb. 6 at the Fallbrook Community Center.
“These four students are outstanding examples and we are happy to honor them this morning,” said emcee Greg Coppock.
The students selected for the honor must possess certain qualities: outstanding achievements in academics, community involvement and/or volunteerism, and earning the respect of both adults and their peers.
Karl Fekete of American Legion Post 365 presented the first award to each student – a personalized Lamp of Knowledge medal.
Natalie McCaw was recommended for the Student of the Month honor by Oasis High teacher Dave Major.
“Natalie thrives in the independent study program; she is a very talented graphic artist, a gifted writer, and an articulate speaker,” said Majors. “She also assists younger art students.”
Described as “exemplary,” “diligent,” and “bright,” Majors said McCaw “will graduate this year and holds a 3.7 grade point average.”
McCaw, when asked to address the crowd, said, “Nothing that I’ve accomplished could have been done without my wonderfully incredible family and teacher, Mr. Majors.” She said her future plans are to attend Mira Costa College to secure her associate’s degree and then go on to a four-year university. “I hope to go to the California Institute of the Arts and study animation.”
Jonathan Espinosa was nominated for the Student of the Month honor by Fallbrook High teacher Kate Paragone. Fellow teacher Connie Fellios presented Espinosa and talked about his accomplishments
“Jonathan is an Advanced Placement (AP) student; incredibly respectful and thoughtful; a dedicated athlete; he is a bright spot in our AVID program,” said Fellios. “He kindly agreed to spend one or two of his lunch hours per week in the school’s Aspberger’s center in order to help the students there. They require patience and understanding and he has taken a sincere interest in them. The teachers admire him.”
Espinosa has been a starting defensive lineman for four years on the Fallbrook Warriors football team and also plays rugby. His community service work has included duties at the Avocado Festival, Christmas Parade, as an assistant coach for Pop Warner football and more. “He is a Boy Scout and always one of the first people to offer his help,” said Fellios. “He is humble and grateful.”
“You’ve heard how it takes a village to raise a kid… I know I wouldn’t be the person I am if I hadn’t grown up in Fallbrook,” said Espinosa. “I want to thank my parents for moving our family here from New York.” Espinosa explained that his father has been through two battles with cancer and he considers him to be his role model.
“My Dad has taught me how to overcome adversity,” said Espinosa. “I aspire to be a doctor and help others as people have helped me.”
Lucia Montiano was selected for the Student of the Month honor based on the recommendation of Fallbrook High band director Victor Torres.
“Lucia has a quality that draws people to her – a natural charisma,” said Torres. “In my two-and-a-half years knowing Lucia, and her twin Olivia, I am incredibly impressed. Lucia is one of those students that teachers dream about.”
Torres said Montiano serves as head drum major for the Warriors Marching Band. “She is the ultimate leader for the band this year,” he said. A multi-talented musician and vocalist, she also is in the Madrigals choir at the school.
Montiano assists younger high school age students by giving them private lessons on the flute and also provides lessons to Potter Junior High School students. She also volunteers her time to assist with duties at concerts sponsored by the Fallbrook Music Society.
In addressing attendees of the breakfast, Montiano said, “I am blown away by this honor; this is really great.” She went on to explain that she has applied to both private universities as well as some in the U.C. system. “I plan to go into nursing.”
“I’d love to thank my wonderful family because without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” said Montiano. “My twin, Olivia, has gone through everything with me; she is my inspiration and a healthy competitor. She is my best friend at home and at school. And Mr. Torres has really inspired me with music.”
Emily Regotti was honored as a Student of the Month at the recommendation of Fallbrook High teacher Connie Fellios.
“Emily is a lovely, young lady with a strong social conscience,” said Fellios. “She is an Advanced Placement (AP) student, a four year member of CSF, and on the varsity swim team. She does a tremendous amount of volunteer service; is kind and caring. She has done over 300 hours of volunteer work for philanthropic causes.”
In addition, Fellios said Regotti is a ballet dancer of 15 years and pianist of 10 years. “She is well-rounded; an inspirational role model; and someone who gains personal satisfaction from her volunteer work.”
“It has been an extreme pleasure to be Mrs. Fellios’ student,” said Regotti. “I want to thank the community and the sponsors for this event and honor. I also want to thank my family.”
Regotti said she plans on attending a four-year university on the West Coast to further her education. “I want to study epidemiology and be involved in research on vaccines.”
The four students received many certificates of recognition and gifts for their accomplishments.
The Fallbrook Student of the Month breakfast is funded by generous local businesses and organizations, including Major Market, Pedro’s Tacos, Robert P. Mohr D.D.S./M.S., Fallbrook PTSA, Law Offices of Faunce, Singer & Oatman, Fallbrook Vintage Car Club, and Sheri’s Flowers.
To nominate an FUHSD high school student for this honor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.