Tuolumne County schools have announced Students of the Month for December:

Quentin Solis, fifth grade, Belleview Elementary — “Quentin is an outstanding example of excellence across all areas at school,” said teacher Carmel Portillo. “Aside from excelling in reading, writing and especially in math, Quentin is a creative and critical thinker. Among our classroom jobs, his is currently our ‘technology guru.’ He has outstanding work habits and makes meaningful contributions to our class discussions each day. He comes to school ready to learn and tackles any task with determination and eagerness. Quentin is a respectful and responsible school citizen, with his former teachers having remarked that he still continues to greet them in the hallways. He is kind and caring to his peers and encourages a positive team spirit in our classroom. He shows great sportsmanship and is a talented athlete. Currently, his dream is to become a professional basketball player, but he’s sure to achieve many great dreams in his years ahead here at Belleview and beyond. He lives by these words from his favorite player, Michael Jordan, ‘Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.’ ” Quentin is the son of Nichole Solis, of Sonora.

William Uriostegui, sixth grade, Chinese Camp Science Academy — “As the longest standing Dragon on our campus, Willy has made quite a mark on both his peers and staff members,” said teacher Sheri Betz. “Everyone, both student and staff, would agree that Willy is one of the nicest people on our planet. He is not only easy going but goes out of his way to help others with his generous spirit. Without being overbearing, Willy finds ways to come alongside those who need extra assistance. His project partners are especially grateful for his work as he is willing to put in the effort it takes to earn top scores. Besides being kind hearted, Willy is also determined to learn the curriculum. He has made great strides in all academic areas while utilizing his bilingual skills and excellent work ethic. All in all, Willy is a top notch Dragon who has made our school a better place.” William is the son of Alejandra Basabe and Benito Uriostegui, of Jamestown.

Soren Mathers, fifth grade, Columbia Elementary — Soren, the son of Douglas Mathers and Roxana Kirby, of Columbia, “ is a kind, respectful, hard-working young man,” said teacher Trinka Martin. “He has an incredible work ethic which consistently impresses me. Soren takes pride in his work and is an excellent writer. I look forward to reading his weekly writing assignments, because not only is he on point with the technical requirements, he throws in his witty humor and unique writing style, which makes my job of ‘correcting papers’ enjoyable. Soren has a beautiful way of looking on the bright side of situations with thoughtfulness and humility. He is a quiet leader in the fifth grade and leads by example and grace.”

Madeline Fowler, eighth grade, Connections Visual and Performing Arts Academy — “Madeline is a kind and thoughtful student who is adored by her teachers,” said teacher Karen Wessel. “She is conscience, focused and always respectful. When given feedback, she always takes it to heart to try to improve herself as a student. It really shows. I’ve had her in science for almost two years and she is constantly improving.” Madeline is the daughter of Travis and Chantal Fowler, of Twain Harte.

Caleb Britt, 12th grade, Connections Visual and Performing Arts Academy — Caleb, the son of Jim and Joy Britt, of Tuolumne, “has been a phenomenal student in Connections for the past six years,” said Daniel Atkins, grade-level coordinator. “His teachers appreciate his incredible work ethic, passion for music, strong character and compassion for others. He is always looking to help out and is currently helping teach one of our choir classes in addition to his involvement in Jazz @8, Zero Hibernation Jazz Band, Orange Crush Band and student government where he is always a leader. He has starred in numerous plays including ‘Cinderella’ this fall, and has maintained a 4.1 GPA all year. Caleb is planning on pursuing music after high school, and we have no doubt he will succeed. Thanks for being awesome Caleb!”

Molly Spear, third grade, Curtis Creek Elementary — “Molly is truly genuine,” said teacher Holly Azevedo. “She is compassionate, empathetic and has an enthusiastic approach to life. She has an infectious smile and has a great sense. Molly is a model student who eagerly embraces all aspects of our school culture. She loves to read, do art, and socialize. She is a great helper to the teacher. Our class is blessed to have Molly.” Molly is the daughter of Kimberly Spear, of Sonora.

Azalin Downing, 12th grade, Dario Cassina High School — “Azalin (Azzi) has been an outstanding student while attending Cassina High School,” said her teachers. “She loves to challenge herself both academically and personally. She is an avid reader and loves to sew. She is creative, helpful, courteous, respectful, and motivated. While obtaining her high school diploma, Azzi simultaneously completed courses at Columbia College. She has applied to Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Azzi will be majoring in fashion design and minoring in business management Cassina High School staff is thrilled with Azzi and her accomplishments. She will do amazing things in life.” Azalin is the daughter of Teicia Downing, of Sonora.

Gwenyth McVey, kindergarten, Foothill Leadership Academy — Gwenyth, the daughter of Ian and Emily McVey, of Sonora, “has such a big heart for her family, friends and classmates, “said her teachers Jessica Plowman and Courtney Ross-Tillman. “At recess she picks up garbage, she always follows the rules, and she encourages others to do their best. Gwen is a friend to all and a joy to have in class.”

Granite Johnson, 12th grade, Gold Rush Charter — Granite, the son of Melissa Johnson, of Twain Harte, “is a senior at Gold Rush who has demonstrated great diligence in his studies throughout this year,” said teacher Jim Miller. “Furthermore, he is a leader who is able to notice those who would typically feel left out and include them. Congratulations Granite!”

Trevor Gillette, third grade, Hickman Charter — Trevor, the son of Alden and Rebecca Gillette, of Sonora, “is thriving in the fourth-grade math curriculum and also reads well above grade level,” said school staff. “He takes great pride in all of his work and never settles for anything less then his best. He is one of those students you can always count on and a joy to have on campus. Trevor participates in all onsite classes offered at Hickman but enjoys the STEM classes most with PE a close second. He recently participated in the musical production ‘Life Cycles.’ He also participates in jujitsu classes several days a week and continues to advance. He is a very polite and courteous young man and is always willing to help anyone in need. He is also a good friend to all the other students at Hickman.”

Rigoberto “Rigo” Estrella, fourth grade, Jamestown Elementary — “Rigo is an outstanding young man and is very deserving of being named Student of the Month,” said teachers Mikki Williams and Greg Haney. “He is a thoughtful student who is always eager to participate. He is excited about learning and happy to share his knowledge with others. Rigo is a hard worker, a great friend, an excellent athlete and a model school citizen.” Rigo is the son of Rigoberto and Christine Estrella, of Jamestown.

Amy Miramontes, second grade, Lake Don Pedro Elementary — “An avid reader and expressive writer, Amy is an excellent student,” said teacher Jen Housler. “She loves playing with friends and being with people who are nice and thankful and who don’t bully. She has a really funny 3-year-old brother, Max, who wakes her up and brings flowers to her and her mom. Amy likes to visit her aunts and uncles when they come over. She likes to play with the chickens with her mom and dad. Amy’s get-to-it attitude and kindness are appreciated by kids and adults alike.” Amy is the daughter of Katrina and Javier Cristerna, of La Grange.

David Talavera-Dean, seventh grade, Mother Lode Christian — David, the son of Ali and Rachel Talavera, of Tuolumne, “is a hard working student who gives his best everyday,” said teacher Laura Brinegar. “I appreciate what a kind person he is and what a good friend his is to everyone. David gives 100 percent in all areas. Students and teachers alike enjoy being around him.”

Annika McCluskey, eighth grade, Sonora Elementary — Annika, the daughter of Andrew and Kerri McCluskey, of Sonora, “has been a student at Sonora Elementary since kindergarten,” wrote school staff. “She has played, and represented, Sonora Elementary in both volleyball and basketball, and was also a part of Mrs. McClellan’s drama club a few years back. She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average in school, enjoys making jewelry and bracelets, and swims for TSA. In the future, she would like to attend a UC, but first attend a junior college to get some of her undergraduate work done. Ultimately, she wants to major in industrial design. Her teachers describe her as outgoing, kind, a positive influence, and having a great sense of humor.”

Jacob Evans, 12th grade, Sonora High — Jacob, son of Flory and Dave Evans, “is a star at Sonora High School,” said school counselor Stacy Kroeze. “He is an incredible musician who has been a valuable member of the Golden Regiment Band, where he plays the trumpet, for the past four years. Jake is also a member of our Jazz Band as well as several community ensembles and is a talented pianist who accompanies our choir at performances. In addition to his many musical talents, Jake is brilliant in the classroom. He is an intelligent and motivated student who makes positive contributions in the classroom daily. As a result, Jake has earned an impressive 4.12 GPA. Jake has challenged himself by taking the most rigorous coursework offered and has been distinguished as an AP Scholar with Honor by earning top scores on all four of the AP exams that he took in his sophomore and junior year. As a senior, Jake has enrolled into our Middle College Program and has found success on the college campus as well. In addition to being an exemplary musician and student, Jake is also a kind and sincere person who is well-liked and respected by the students and staff at Sonora High School.”

Kaidence MathosCox, fifth grade, Soulsbyville Elementary — “Kaidence was nominated by her classmates as the most caring student in our class,” said teacher Lucille Bendix. “She helps others right away, really listens to people, and is always there to give a hug.” Kaidence is the daughter of Jessica Mathos, of Soulsbyville.

Kai Elkins, seventh grade, Summerville Elementary — Kai, the son of Kreg and Julie Elkins, of Tuolumne, “ is a kind young man and an outstanding student,” said science teacher Penny. Williamson. Teacher Noah Jenks said, “Kai is a standout student that goes above and beyond to be respectful, helpful, kind and compassionate. He takes the initiative to get things done in class or help out wherever needed. He consistently is a standout leader among his peers.” While carrying a 4.0 GPA, Kai also is an excellent athlete, participating in wrestling, basketball, track and field, and Tuolumne County football.

Matthew Hartwig, 12th grade, Summerville High — Matthew, the son of David and Kimberly Hartwig, of Twain Harte, “is involved in a variety of programs and activities,” said teacher Kellene Ditler. “An accomplished runner, Matthew participates in both cross country and track and field. Matthew’s academic schedule is rigorous and includes college-prep courses, advanced-placement courses and journalism. He is also a member of the school Site Council and served on the School Improvement Committee last year. Matthew is an exceptionally kind and positive young man. He is an amazing part of our Bear community.”

Johna Harris, fourth grade, Tenaya Elementary — “Johna Harris is a great fourth-grade role model,” said teacher Lydia Loera. “She displays amazing work ethic and shows real perseverance when problem solving. She loves to be creative with her work and is quite the artist. Johna’s kindness and sense of humor endears her to many.” Johna is the daughter of Charlie and Rachael Harris, of Coulterville.

William Ford, 11th grade, Theodore Bird High — William, the son of Neal and Carolyn Ford, of Columbia, “is an excellent choice for Student of the Month because of his strong work ethic,” said teacher Sandra Myers. “He is always on time for his appointments with all of his assigned, and often extra, work completed. In addition, William maintains a 3.5 GPA while working an average of 24 hours a week for Foust Heat and Air. He was able to complete the second year of the CTE Welding program at Sonora High while concurrently enrolled at Ted Bird High School. William will graduate in the fall of 2018, approximately seven months ahead of schedule. He then plans on enrolling in a vocational school to become a certified welder. William is a bright, respectful, motivated young man and it is truly a pleasure to have him as one of my students.”

Aileen Martinez, 12th grade, Tioga High — “Aileen is the student body president for Tioga High and is actively involved in planning all school assemblies, homecoming and prom,” said Principal Ryan Dutton. “Whether she’s studying for her ACADEC competition or dribbling on the court, she spends her time helping others and is an active member of Tioga High School’s Interact Club. Aileen works hard, does well in school and loves spending time with her family. She’s also was a member of the Tioga High School volleyball team. Her real passion lies in helping people, which is why she is so active in the Interact Club. Aileen is always positive and helpful and a joy to work with.” Aileen is the daughter of Juan and Dianira Martinez, of Groveland.

Gracelynn Kleier, sixth grade, Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office — “Gracelynn comes to school ready to learn,” said teacher Kim Flower. “She is kind and considerate with her peers. She enjoys being around others. She makes good decisions daily.” Gracelynn is the daughter of Chad and Tedi Watkins, of Sonora.

Hayden Groff, fifth grade, Twain Harte Elementary — Hayden, the son of Jason and Lynn Groff, of Twain Harte, “is an admirable individual,” said teacher Larry Gold. “Not only is he kind and a friend to all, he is a dedicated student. He always comes to school and tries his best. He is a model student and holds qualities of a honorable and trustworthy human being. When approached with challenges, he strives to do his best and always tries to encourage others to do the same.”

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