Alberto Uribe, Zachary Fore, Kyle Fleming and Ethan Harlan singled out

Senior Alberto Uribe, junior Zachary Fore, sophomore Kyle Fleming and freshman Ethan Harlan are the Taft Union High School students of the month for January. Fleming also earned the honor in February 2009 as a freshman. Students are nominated by staff and selected by Renaissance Committee students. The Renaissance program promotes academics.
    “Alberto has worked hard to be one of the top 20 students in the senior class.  In addition, he has also become involved in many community service activities and is a leader in that area. He is reliable and can be counted on to help out when needed. I know Alberto will be successful in college and beyond. He is a winner!” exclaimed his counselor Tammy Sutherland, who nominated him. Teacher Debra Popejoy agreed, "Alberto Uribe has come a long way in four years. He is one of the most self-motivated students I have in the AVID program. This school year, he has taken the initiative to apply to more than 10 universities and has completed several local and national scholarship applications. He is determined to be a success!"
AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) provides instruction such as note-taking skills, organization, collaboration and advanced reading and writing skills to give students a framework to succeed in college.
Zach Fore was nominated by librarian Kathy McLaughlin, who has watched him emerge from his shy shell. “Several months ago Zach began voluntarily helping us out in the library,” she said. “After I taught him some basics on checking out books and helping students, he picked up on this rapidly and has been helping students ever since. He is here first thing every morning, during nutrition break, and during lunch to help check out books to students. The most amazing thing has been the transformation in Zach himself. Previously, Zach was always very shy and quiet; one could rarely get him to say anything, let alone smile.  We have seen him really break out of his shell — interacting with both students and staff members in a positive way.”
    The junior also has made a positive impression on his teachers. “Zach comes to my class every day ready to get to work. He ends every day holding the door open for all the other students to exit the room. He is a pleasure to have in class,” added Mark Fitzsimmons, his graphic communications teacher.
    “Zach is an excellent student and a great person. He has a quick sense of humor that keeps our class interesting. I appreciate having him as a student and being able to watch him grow into a fine, young man,” added English teacher Machelle Arrington.
“Kyle Fleming always has a good attitude. He is a scholar-athlete. He was one of the top runners on the cross-country team and is one of the top four tennis players. The other three are all seniors. He also has been very helpful recruiting other tennis players,” said tennis coach Jim Carnal, who nominated him.   
    That was seconded by English teacher Nancy Dyer: “Kyle is a serious student who completes his work, competes in sports, is a member of the Taft Oil-Technology Academy and AVID, and is a good example for his fellow students.”
    “Kyle has really grown into a fine young man since coming to Taft High.  He's made a lot of new friends and found the sport he loves, tennis.  Kyle joined our AVID family as a sophomore and has really excelled in his studies.  His grades have improved dramatically because he uses the AVID strategies that I teach to his advantage. Kyle is always polite and respectful and I'm happy to be both his Spanish and AVID teacher and former tennis coach,” praised Mike Cowan.
    Ethan Harlan “is always polite, attentive and does all of his work, even when 
it's hard. He is a brilliant reader and very good student. He is a pleasure to have in my English class and he often adds to the class discussion. He is an asset to my class,” said nominating teacher Carol Sue Heber.
    Her son, science teacher Ryan Heber added, “Ethan is a great student who I can always catch on assignment and doing his work. He has a great attitude  and smiles a lot when I give him a hard time.”
    P.E. teacher Arley Hill summed up Ethan’s attitude succinctly, “Ethan works hard and always puts forth his best effort.”