Murrieta Chamber Honors High School Students of Month

Students of the Month for January are (from left): Octavia Bennett (Murrieta Mesa HS); Amanda Stickelman (Calvary Murrieta Christian HS); ...

Students of the Month for January are (from left): Octavia Bennett (Murrieta Mesa HS); Amanda Stickelman (Calvary Murrieta Christian HS); Elena Dimaano (Vista Murrieta HS); Michael Jones (Oak Grove Center); Canaan Spranger (River Springs Charter School); and Vish Pillai (Murrieta Valley HS). Photo by Blinkit Photography.

Six area high school students were recently honored by the Murrieta Valley Chamber of Commerce as Students of the Month for January.

Murrieta Mesa High School senior Octavia Bennett decided to become a dancer when she was three years old. Her goal is to obtain a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Performing Arts, become a professional dancer, and someday open her own studio and teach dance. Octavia has been on Mesa's dance team for four years and she has been captain of the team for the last two years. She has applied to several colleges and auditioned for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Octavia goes out of her way to be kind and gracious and she has a gift for making other people feel special. Mesa's dance teacher Penny Chidester said Octavia has helped build the dance program at Mesa and her future is as bright as the smile on her face.

Vista Murrieta High School senior Elena Diamaano is an AVID student who will be the first in her family to go to college. She is a tri-sport varsity athlete in cross country, soccer, track and field. She is vice president of the Health and Fitness Club, and president and co-founder of the Herbivore Society and VMHS SAT Tutoring Club. She is also a member of the Interact Club and Student Venture. Elena is highly intelligent. She maintains a 4.45 GPA and is a member of California Scholarship Federation. Elena has been accepted to several colleges.She hopes to attend either UCLA, Cornell or UCR and go on to medical school and become a surgeon. Elena is determined to succeed and when she does, she plans to help her two younger sisters through college.

Murrieta Valley High School senior Vish Pillai is the Robotics Team Captain this year and his most memorable moment in high school was being on the VEX Robotics World Championship team. He maintains a 4.27 GPA, is an AP Scholar with Distinction, and he received the Presidential Gold Service Award. He is a member of ASB and with his dynamic personality, his leadership ability is second to none. During his sophomore year, he went to India and worked in an orphanage, where he taught math and science to students there. Vish loves science and math and he plans to go to pursue a career in chemical engineering.

Calvary Christian High School senior Amanda Stickelman changed school multiple times as a child, which contributed to her falling behind in school. Her strength, courage, attitude and work ethic helped her get caught up in school and her hard work has paid off. Amanda is committed to academics and she is active in church activities, piano lessons and sports. Amanda has an authentic love for others and she loves to help out whenever she can. Next year she plans to go to Bible College and possible go into the ministry.

Oak Grove Center senior Michael Jones focuses on what he can do for others. At Oak Grove he has been involved in ASB, the Chess Club, Interact and he works with younger students in the autism program. Michael has the ability to connect with students who have autism and he has shown great empathy for them. Michael co-founded his school's Anime Club and he enjoys working with computers. After graduation, Michael plans to go to community college to learn computer animation.

River Springs Charter School senior Canaan Spranger has a passion for learning and a passion to succeed. Canaan made the decision to be home schooled in middle school. Since then, he has completed high school and two years at MSJC while working at Starbucks. Canaan wants to go to Cal State San Marcos, Point Loma Nazarene University or Westmont and he will major in graphic design so he can combine his love of technology, design and photography.

If you wish to learn more about the Student of the Month Program, contact Sally A. Myers, founder, at 951-506-8024. To sponsor the Student of the Month program, contact Margaret D. Jones, chair of the Murrieta Student of the Month Program, at 951-677-4856. If you have any additional questions, contact Karen Parris, Murrieta SOM publicity coordinator, at 951-696-1600, ext. 1022.

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