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Senior Awards Night
Senior Awards Night was held on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 at 6 p.m. in the MHS Auditorium. This event is held to acknowledge the achievements of many seniors like perfect attendance and scholarships. Many students received a variety of scholarships that will benefit them when paying for college. Around 100-150 people attended, including family members of seniors.
It all started with a welcome from the principal, Mrs. Meltzer and then a flag salute from the 2017-2018 ASB president, Selina Duran. Then the top ten students were called up and introduced. Right after that, six students were called up and acknowledged for three years of perfect attendance. After that the scholarship presentations started and students were being called up to receive their scholarship. After this event, the Montebello High School PTSA had lemonade and pieces of cake for the students and parents.
Monica Azul Plascencia is a very hard working and independent student who will be attending UC Riverside and majoring in film and media studies. She received the Montebello High School Oilers Scholarship, along with two boys and she said “I felt a small weight come off my shoulders”. Plascencia also commented that even though it was not a large amount of money, it was still very helpful and will make a difference. She hopes to pursue a career in public relations.
One of the boys who received the Montebello High School Oilers Scholarship along with Monica was Erik Navarro. He will be attending Cal State LA and is currently undeclared. Navarro felt appreciated and was definitely surprised when he received the award because he was expecting a different scholarship. His advice is, “Don’t procrastinate; this can make or break you.”
Another student that attended the awards night received one scholarship, and that was Sydney Valeria Garcia. She is a very dedicated student who will be attending UC Davis and hopes to be a veterinarian after she has completed her bachelor’s degree in animal science. Garcia is part of the top ten students here in MHS. She said “I was lucky to have been one of the 5 that received the Montebello High School AP Scholars (a scholarship given to students when they pass three or more AP tests) because I was told that it wasn’t given the previous years.” She also mentioned that she was definitely surprised because it was unexpected.
Walter Perez is very outgoing will be attending Cal State Fullerton this fall and majoring in Biology. Perez received the ASB Scholarship and said “I felt happy that the alumni association believed I had made a difference in the student body at Montebello High School.” He didn’t think he would receive this scholarship because he was not in ASB this current year. Perez hopes to pursue a career as an optometrist.
Sofia Aguirre will be attending Azusa Pacific University and majoring in nursing. She received two scholarships, Scholarship for Scholars and MHS Alumni Memorial Scholarship. Upon receiving these scholarships, Aguirre felt very thankful and lucky for being the one chosen for those specific awards out of all the participants. She did not know that she was going to receive both these scholarships, so it was a nice surprise for her. Aguirre said “I am very thankful for receiving these scholarships; it really means a lot to my family and I.” Aguirre hopes to have a successful life by being a nurse practitioner.
Jose Omar Miranda Cruz will be attending Cal State LA and will be getting his teaching degree for becoming a Spanish and English teacher. He received two scholarships and was nervous but at the same time it was a great feeling. Cruz gives advice to other students and says, “Work hard, because hard work pays off. Dream big, because if you work for your dreams, anything can be possible.”
Aileen Rodriguez will be attending UCLA and majoring in Biology. She plans on graduating in 3 years rather than 4 and go to medical school upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Rodriguez’s ultimate career goal is to serve as a missionary doctor, however before that she would like to serve as a military doctor. On the senior awards night she was surprised to have received 6 scholarships and 2 recognitions from the California Scholarship Federation and the National Honor Society. She mentioned “I almost cried when the Millan family presented my award of $1,000 because aside from the recognition of my high school accomplishments they motivated me to continue working hard to and using their time wisely. As they are involved in extracurricular activities and taking various AP courses, they must also focus on college applications. A personal statement is not one that you can complete a night or two before the deadline. It takes time and dedication to achieve a goal and the college where you attend is significant as it will become a home for the next four years. Just give your full best in everything you do, and you will not regret anything.”
Jerome Regala received the Norm and Theola Kirschenbaum Scholarship on this night and was surprised because he thought there were a lot of people that seemed to be good candidates for the award. Regala felt immense gratitude to the Kirschenbaum family but also to his parents, teachers, and friends who have supported and believed in him. He will be attending UC Santa Cruz this fall and major in Psychology/ Animation. Some words of advice he gives to underclassmen is, “There is more to you than you can imagine.”
All students that attended this event were there for a reason because they went through the application and essay process in order to be chosen for the scholarship they applied to. Let’s go ahead and give a huge thank you to all the donors and organizations that helped Montebello High School students!
MHS Top Scholars of '18
Katherine Acero is the Class of 2018’s valedictorian. Acero shared that being highly ranked was always an expectation of her by her parents. This could be partly due to having three older siblings who also graduated in the top ten of their classes. However, without having a sound support system and her own self-determination Acero would never have been so successful. Not only has Acero been an outstanding student, but she has also been a leader on the court for the volleyball team, on the field for the soccer team, and in the pool for the swim team. In addition to being a student athlete, Acero found time to partake in Calculus Club, Interact Club, and CSF. Although she has fond memories of her time in her school activities, Acero stated she will also never forget the potlucks in Mrs. Mendoza’s AP Lit class. Being the top-ranked student, it is no surprise Acero has been accepted to competitive schools such as UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, UCI, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. But Acero has decided on continuing the family legacy by attending UCLA, and major in civil engineering. Since Acero loves to apply the math she learns to real life situations, she looks forward to continue doing that by learning to design structures. Lastly, Acero would like to offer just one piece of advice to the underclassmen: do not allow yourself to procrastinate.
Like many others, Christopher Lopez is humbled to be graduating near the top of his class as number two. He is also excited about his class rank because he gets to sit on the graduation stage and not actually walk to the stage like everyone else. Lopez oddly says he enjoys writing essays but dislikes reading as well as free response questions in math. Lopez has enjoyed meeting and socializing with smart people as well as working together with them. He looks forward to doing more of it while majoring in mechanical engineering at Cal Poly Pomona. What has motivated Lopez to become academically successful is seeing his older brother, also an engineering major, being a successful student as well. His brother encouraged Lopez to take on multiple AP courses and challenge himself. At one time, Lopez received a D on a test, which made him frustrated. But, he worked harder and made up for it in the end. Lopez has learned it is valuable to find people to study with. Lopez has enjoyed his studies in math as well as his time in orchestra, hanging out with friends, trying new food in Culture Club and taking photographs. He has been a member of the photography club, calculus club, and orchestra while at MHS. Lopez would like to thank Mr. Escobar, Mr. Shah, and his brother for their support of him throughout the years. Lopez advises underclassmen to find the right people to influence you and find more opportunities for yourself.
Ashley Ajtun is very proud of herself for top ten recognition. Ajtun attributes her academic success to trying her best in her academics and see where it would take her. Now, Ajtun’s hard work has paid off. Not only did she get accepted to her first choice, UC Santa Barbara and study mechanical engineering, but she has also received many scholarships as well. Ajtun is grateful to have had so many people supporting her throughout her years. However, Ajtun would like to give a special thanks to her mother for her unconditional support of her and the family, and her advice motivated Ajtun to reach her goals. Ajtun admires her mother for working 12 hour days and still coming home and taking care of the family. “I have been blessed with a mother like mine and through my success, I will demonstrate to my mom that her constant talks and support were not taken for granted” stated Ajtun. Also, Ajtun would like to thank her teachers and friends for being supportive and believing in her. Ajtun advises underclassmen to find something enjoyable to them, and as a result, they will do their best. It is important to set goals and remain focused on achieving them. Lastly, “if something does not turn out the way you desired or had planned, then learn from your mistakes and continue on. If you really want something, then work hard for it because it doesn’t come that easily.”
Aileen Rodriguez is proud of her placement on the top ten of her graduating class. Rodriguez will be attending UCLA and majoring in Biology. She is a hard-worker and lots of ambition and goals she is set on achieving. Among them, Rodriguez would like to graduate from UCLA with her bachelor’s degree in three years rather than four. Then, she plans to attend medical school. Rodriguez would like to serve as a missionary doctor as well as a doctor for the military. Besides focusing her efforts on her academics, Rodriguez has been an active member of California Scholarship Federation and the National Honor Society at MHS. Rodriguez recently was awarded six scholarships, which will surely help financially support her years at UCLA. Some advice Rodriguez has for underclassmen is to not be afraid of really showing who you are and who you aspire to become in the future on your applications, especially in your essays.
Raphaella Bianca Chua Lo
Raphaella Lo expressed indifference when asked how she felt about graduating in the top ten of her class. It was never a personal goal for her, but says her success can be attributed to her determination and perseverance. Lo is just grateful to have gained so much knowledge over her four years at MHS. The most challenging thing for Lo over her high school career has been balancing her educational and personal responsibilities. Lo is thankful to have found solace in her work in school organizations such as Interact Club, CSF, NHS, CBT, MAD Club and STEM Club. Lo’s fondest memories at MHS have been centered around the clubs she was part of and also the many great conversations she had the pleasure of having with some amazing teachers on campus. Lo has been accepted to UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, and Cal State LA. She has decided to attend Cal State LA as a pre-nursing/nursing major. Lo shares she has always had a passion for science and feels nursing is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling jobs she could want. Ultimately, Lo aspires to become a nurse practitioner and one day build her own non-profit clinic that will specifically give medical assistance to undocumented families. Lo would like to encourage underclassmen to never give up. Do not let circumstances define you. She offers a quote by Barack Obama: “The cynics may be the loudest voices—but I promise you, they will accomplish the least.”
Leslie Luis is proud to be ranked in the top ten of her graduating class. Luis attributes her academic success to having great friends and teachers as a support system. Luis admits it was not easy to maintain high marks at times and had to work on her time management. While at MHS, Luis was very involved in her studies but also in her club membership with CSF, NHS and the Derrick Diary. One of the things Luis will miss about MHS are the talks of college and life during zero period with her advisor, Ms. Rios. Although Luis has been accepted to numerous CSU and UC schools, she will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall, where she will major in political science and public policy. Luis would like to dedicate her life to public service. One place she would love to work for would be the EPA. Luis encourages underclassmen to do their research on colleges early on before application time.
Jerome Regala confessed he never would have thought he would be graduating in the top ten of his class upon entering high school. Regala had not aimed to be at the top, but says the key to his success has been not stressing out about grades, but to just be aware of what his grade progress in class. Regala proudly shared “I know how to have fun while still being in school.” Many would say Regala is a well-rounded student. Regala was in Interact Club, M.A.D. Club, Calculus Club, NHS, Track and Field, Volleyball, and Cross Country. When asked the most challenging thing Regala had to face in high school, he shared actually applying to college was because it made him think about life after high school. He has been accepted to UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, CSU Long Beach, and CSU Fullerton. Regala plans to attend UC Santa Cruz to major in Psychology. What interests him about psychology is the study of the human brain, how it affects behavior, especially the nature and nurture aspect of it. Most importantly, Regala wants to help people with his own research in the future. Regala also aspires to become an animator. Regala leaves high school with some parting words to underclassmen: “Don’t forget to have fun. Don’t stress yourself out just to make yourself look good for colleges.”
Like others, Kyla Lo did not aspire to be ranked among the top or her class. To her, it is just a number, it doesn’t define her. Lo was simply motivated to do her best in school so that she can achieve her dreams later in life. Lo’s key to success include maintaining self-motivation, time management with class workloads, and also making sacrifices at times. Lo has been very active in campus clubs throughout her years at MHS, especially with CSF, NHS, and Interact Club. When asked what she will miss about MHS, Lo responded that she will miss many of the people she has had the pleasure of meeting and working with. Lo has been accepted to UC Irvine, UC San Diego, CSU Fullerton, and CSU Los Angeles, and will be attending CSU Los Angeles where she will major in engineering. Lo would like to thank all her math teachers for pushing her to do her best. She has learned that if you work hard, you can do anything. A piece of advice Lo would like to share with others is “Don’t be your worse enemy.”
Being a part of the top ten has always been a personal goal for Briana Duran since freshman year. Her goal was to always strive for straight A’s because she challenges herself to achieve the impossible. Being accepted to so many colleges is proof that all of Duran’s hard work has finally paid off. Duran has been accepted to: UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal State Long Beach and Cal State LA. The key to Duran’s success has been to not procrastinate, getting good night’s rest, and being confident. According to Duran, these tools helped make her an outstanding person inside and outside of school. Something that Duran struggled with was maintaining her confidence going into exams, especially finals. Besides maintaining her studies, Duran also found time to participate in a variety of school organizations, such as Cross Country, Track and Field, AVID, NHS, Calculus Club and CSF. Duran will miss tutoring students in Mr. Daciuk’s class and others outside of school because she loves to help others in need. In college, Duran will study physical science and math. Since she enjoys working with numbers and doing research, Duran would like to become a pharmacist, but also get involved in helping people with financing medication. If she could offer underclassmen some advice, it would be to not give up if they do not get into the college of their choice: “It does not mean they will never reach for the stars, on the contrary it will make you a stronger person to endure life’s obstacles.”
Ripsime Galstian has aspired to graduate at the top of her class since her freshman year. So, being among the top ten of her class fills her with pride and a sense of fulfillment. Galstian describes herself as determined, which helped push her to do her personal best in all her studies. Although Galstian admits it has been challenging at times to balance her studies with all her extra-curricular activities as well. Galstian has enjoyed being involved in Armenian Club, AMP as a tutor, Key Club, NHS, CSF, and tennis during her years at MHS. A highlight of Galstian’s high school career was when the tennis team qualified to play at CIF. Galstian has been accepted to UCI, UCSB, CSUN, CSUF, CSULA, and Woodbury University. She has chosen to attend Woodbury University, where she will study accounting. Galstian wishes to become a certified public accountant and work for a top accounting firm someday. She was inspired to enter this career path after shadowing an accountant at a credit union. Galstian advises underclassmen to push themselves to do the best of their abilities, always.
Sydney Garcia had never intentionally strived to reach the top ten of her graduating class, like others. However, even more surprising is that Garcia shared she had no idea that she was ranked so high or its significance until learning in her senior year that it meant she was guaranteed admission to at least one UC. Garcia says her perseverance and dedication have led her to do well academically and balance her school work with her personal life (which was not easy). She really enjoyed her involvement in her many campus clubs such as Professionals of Tomorrow, Do Something, Bible Club, Interact Club, and CSF. Garcia has always loved animals and fascinated about medicine, so she is thrilled to be able to attend UC Davis in the fall. There, she will major in animal science and intends on becoming a veterinarian someday. Garcia would also like to learn many other languages while at UCD as well. Although she chose UCD, Garcia had also been accepted to UC Berkeley, UCI, UCSB and Colorado State University. Garcia’s advice for underclassmen is see the college counselor for advice on how to further your education and “do not let others force you into choosing something you do not wat for your future.”