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Alta Vista's 2 Students of Month: One Charted New Course; One Blossoms After Arriving From Hawaii

Kaelan Hollingsworth recognized for November, and Jessika Manley for December.

Jessika Manley, Student of the Month for Alta Vista High School, December 2013.
Jessika Manley, Student of the Month for Alta Vista High School, December 2013.

Alta Vista High School has selected Kaelan Hollingsworth and Jessika Manley as top students for the months of November and December. 

We are proud to present Kaelan Hollingsworth as our November Student of the Month!

Kaelan came to Alta Vista High School last year as a junior and got off to a slow start. Though he was clearly a very bright young man, Kaelan had difficulty engaging in the curricular and behavioral expectations of the school. Ultimately, Kaelan found himself at Terra Bella Academy where he finished out his junior year. 

We are presenting Kaelan as our Student of the Month for November because of the power that a change in mindset can have. 

Upon his return to AVHS this fall, Kaelan stepped into a unique and unusual role.

When the math department was looking for a current student to be a role model and an academic model for the freshman math class, we approached Kaelan with the opportunity to be a student aide, knowing that Kaelan is a strong math student with an excellent work ethic. 

We saw the potential for the students to learn so much by watching Kaelan function in an academic class, and Kaelan has exceeded every expectation we hoped to meet by agreeing to step into this challenging, uncharted position. 

Since the start of the school year Kaelan has been in an adult role with these younger students, sharing not just math knowledge but life experiences. 

He openly shares from his own middle and high school experiences, and honestly and humbly shares the good and the bad of his own choices throughout adolescence both in and outside of school. 

As anyone who has ever shared their own story knows, it can be difficult to tell the story to younger people and have them learn the lessons you want them to learn. But when Kaelan talks, these students listen, really listen, because he shares just the right stuff, at just the right moment, in a way that illustrates one great life lesson after another. 

Ms. Dowling wrote: “I watch him circulate throughout the class, offering students encouragement to do their best, hand holding when necessary, teaching a math skill, and engaging the students in conversations about their own lives, giving guidance and even a word of warning when warranted. 

He does such a good job explaining to students why all the behavioral and academic things we are teaching matter, explaining the potential consequences for violating those rules and encouraging these students to be their best. He gives us adults credence and validity with these young students. 

His genuine concern for the wellbeing of the students is evident. He is a trusted older brother who knows something of how this should be done, and he takes his role as a leader very seriously. He handles the young students with grace and tact. We could not ask for anything more from this arrangement and its success is directly tied to Kaelan’s maturity, work ethic, awareness of his own growth, obvious natural ability to connect to young people, and his passionate desire to be a force for good in these students’ lives.” 

It is a wise person who can learn from his or her own mistakes; it is an extraordinary person who is willing to turn around and share that learning with others solely to save others from going through the same things. 

Kaelan has proven himself to be one extraordinary young man. He will be returning to returning to MVHS for the second semester of this year and he will be sorely missed. We are proud to present Kaelan Hollingsworth as our November Student of the Month! 

We are proud to present Jessika Manley as the December Student of the Month.

 Jessika moved to Mountain View from Hawaii at the beginning of second semester last year, a tough move coming at the end of one’s senior year of high school. While the move may have been a difficult one for Jessika, it was a blessing to the staff and students of AVHS. 

Jessika found herself to be a nearly a full year behind in credit when she arrived in California, but her hard work a perseverance enabled her to push through the curriculum with an impressive 3.25 GPA, enabling her to graduate later this month. While her academic achievements are commendable, it is her non-academic qualities that she will be remembered for. 

Ms. Michalek, Jessika’s English teacher, said: “Jessica is a wonderful citizen of my class. In addition to her sitting at the back of my room and working on her independent software, she is also a wonderful friend and help to those around her. If Jessica isn’t working on her classes, it’s because she is helping another student with classwork. 

"Jessica is one of the most respectful students I have encountered who truly wants to see others succeed. Her kind heart is evident every day in class when she greets everyone with a warm smile.” 

Jessika became involved in our Faith Walk club as soon as she hit our campus. She planned on starting a Christian Club at her new school, if it did not already have one, so she was delighted to join. 

It wasn’t long before Jessika was bringing food and helping teach the lessons.

 Ms. Dowling, the club’s advisor commented, “Jessika was an eager participant in the Faith Walk club on campus. She led various student lessons and shared her faith, always preparing practical and timely lessons around issues that are important to teenagers.”

Her commitment to her faith is also apparent in her work as a Sunday school teacher at her church. Jessika had only attended one day before she approached the pastor about volunteering in the Sunday school classroom. 

Within a few months’ time, she was sharing the teaching responsibility for 80 4- and 5-year-olds!  

Back on campus, Jessika played on our softball and volleyball teams and worked with our artist in residence to hone her artistic skills. Ms. Dowling said that Jessika has excellent people skills and works closely with her mentor, giving back as much as she receives. 

Ms. Bracamontes had this to say about Jessika: “Jessika is an exceptional young woman because of her awareness of others and the way that she engages those around her. She has a genuine interest in the social and emotional health of her friends and peers and it takes very little time to observe her in a listening and reflective stance. She does this quietly and respectfully, taking care of the trust others place on her." 

"I believe she is aptly suited for her college and career goal of counseling. She has particular interest in being a military Chaplin. Miss Jessika is very close to graduating and has already registered at Foothill Community College where she will begin classes in January. Watching her plan and prepare for this next step in her education makes me proud and confident in her readiness for college.” 

We are all so proud of Jessika and are pleased to present her as our December Student of the Month!

 

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