Senior Emily Gale, junior Eric Bailey, sophomore Viviana Orozco and freshman Phuc Nguyen selected by Renaissance program

Four students at Taft Union High School have been honored as students of the month for April. The students were selected by the Renaissance program, which promotes academics.
Students of the month for April were: senior Emily Gale, junior Eric Bailey, sophomore Viviana Orozco and freshman Phuc Nguyen.
“Emily was one of those quietly excellent students who got everything turned in and always did a good job,” computer programming teacher Caroline Schoneweis said. “As she's gotten older, I've had a chance to discover her great sense of humor. I have to admit that I think it's a little strange that she has a crush on Will Ferrell, something I tease her about endlessly, but I do respect her love of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Fellowship of the Ring.’ She's very creative and has used her love of fantasy and science fiction literature to create some wonderful webpages and Flash movies for my Basic Html class. She's a standout person, super nice girl and a very disciplined, hard worker, and I'm glad people have recognized that.”
Retiring government teacher Dave Robertson agreed. “Emily is a quality student who performs at a high level in my class. She is a friendly and caring person who is well liked and respected by her peers. In her quiet way, she has contributed to help make my second period class an interesting and wonderful experience. Teaching is enjoyable and rewarding when you have students like Emily in class.”
And, journalism teacher Bill Wolfe added, “Emily has been a tremendous addition to the journalism class this year. She is a gifted writer with a strong work ethic. She is one of those rare students who can write very quickly and still produce good results. She is also very sweet and somewhat eccentric; she loves all things ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Star Wars,’ and we love to tease her about that. She is well liked by the rest of the staff. We will miss her next year.”
    His teachers described Eric Bailey as mature beyond his years.
“Eric is a great kid,” physics teacher Joy Reynolds said. “He's taking the harder courses here at TUHS and doing very well. He has a lot of background knowledge that he brings into his courses and thinks further and deeper than the words that are just right in front of him on the page of the book. He also has a filter and knows when it is appropriate to ask deeper questions and when it will just confuse his classmates. He may know where the lecture is going or why you ask a leading question of the class to get them thinking in the right direction, but he doesn't spoil it for them even though he has often already figured it out or knows the answer. Eric has a sense of humor, too!”
    His football coach Steve Sprague praised him as “a three-sport athlete with valedictorian-type grades. Eric was one of my favorite athletes.
He is a quiet leader and earns the respect of his coaches and teammates.”

    Spanish teacher Sandra Torres added, “Eric is an amazing, young man. He is so bright, he makes the most challenging work seem easy. He's kind and pleasant and is always willing to help his classmates if they're struggling. Although quiet, he has a witty sense of humor that often catches me off guard and makes me smile no matter what else is going on! I've truly enjoyed having him in my class.”
Torres also had kind words for Viviana Orozco. “I can always count on Vivi to bring cheer into the classroom. While other students might be complaining about an assignment, Vivi will still have a smile on her face and be pleasantly chatting with whoever happens to be near her! I have never seen her be even remotely negative or unkind and her remarkable attitude makes her a wonderful asset to Taft High.”
Her Oil-Technology teacher, Ted Pendergrass, expressed a similar sentiment. “She is a bright, happy student — one of Oil Tech’s best! She helped work at the West Kern Oil Museum barbecue, cleaning the kitchen. Not a very fun way to spend a Saturday, but she did it with a smile on her face the whole time.”
    “Viviana is a very kind and respectful young lady.  She cares about her grade and always gives a 100 percent on every assignment.  She's a role model for other students and a pleasure to teach,” added English teacher Lisa Borrecco.
    Like Bailey, Phuc Nguyen is a scholar-athlete. “Phuc is obviously very intelligent. Just look at his grades,” computer teacher Shawn Cummins said. “But my favorite thing about Phuc is his sense of humor. He can be quite humorous and you tell the other good kids like to be around him.”
“Phuc shows a great example of sportsmanship for other tennis players.  
He never lets missing a shot affect his game or attitude. After many  
practices, he is one of the only players who stays and picks up balls  
on the court,” JV tennis coach Doug Taylor praised.
“Phuc is an extremely hard-working student,” added AVID teacher Debra Popejoy. “He is respectful and understands the value of an education. He is a team player in tutorials and is always willing to help others.”
AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) provides instruction to give students a framework to succeed in college.