Taft High's Renaissance picks the best and brightest

Four students at Taft Union High School have been honored as students of the month for September and another four for October. The students were selected by the Renaissance program, which promotes academics.

Students of the month for September were: senior Bobbi Preskitt, junior Taylan Erro, sophomore Jen Rivera and freshman Ilse Flores-Martinez.

Students of the month for October were: senior Brian Hill, juniors Zack Fearon and Alejandro Bautista, and sophomore Savannah Gregory.

Bobbi Preskitt is the band's hard-working drum major "who is beyond dedicated," band director Amanda Posey said. Bobbi also plays trumpet in the jazz band.

"She has the amazing talent of leading students when things are going great and when things are not going well at all. Bobbi has a great poker face and can keep the band going," Posey praised. "She invests a lot of her personal time helping the students at Lincoln and the beginning band at Roosevelt. She is a great help to ALL the music students in Taft and goes above and beyond every day."

Taylan Erro "is a true scholar-athlete who plays four sports. She is an A student and a great role model as the No. 2 player on the Valley champion varsity tennis team," praised coach Jim Carnal. "I know I can always count on Taylan to be where she is supposed to be, to try her best and to do the right thing. I can't even say that about some adults." She also runs, cross-country, plays basketball and runs track.

Foods teacher Lynn Bramham added, "Taylan is a very respectful student.

She works well with others in class and during labs. Taylan is always willing to do what is asked of her, and she does it with a smile. She is a pleasure to have in class."

Jen Rivera "is a fantastic AVID sophomore!" according to teacher Mike Cowan. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) provides instruction and framework for students to succeed in college.

"She's always well prepared, happy to be at school, and ready to learn. She knows that hard work now will pay off later and she has a bright future in college and beyond. I wish more students were as focused and responsible as Jennifer," Cowan praised.

"Jen has had to work really hard in chemistry this year. She just this week got the highest grade on our latest test. So, the hard work is paying off! She is always respectful and very pleasant, and gets along so well her classmates," added Harold Heiter.

And she is just as determined in sports. "She is the kind of student you want in your class or on your team. She played No. 2 on the 12-0 JV tennis team and had a 27-4 record, varsity coach Jim Carnal said.

"Ilse (Flores-Martinez) brings enthusiasm and energy to class every day. She was the top AR reader in all of my classes the first quarter," praised Jackie Peavyhouse. "Other students turn to Ilse for language support and friendship. She makes teaching a rewarding experience."

"Ilse says it best herself; when turning in assignments, she remarks, 'I did my best!' She lives up to her personal motto every day in our class," added Reading and Writing teacher Karen Hillygus.

"Brian Hill has the kindest heart a student can have. He is our gentle giant in class. He is always joyful, and an asset for our Special Education program," praised teacher Abel Pedro. "He has taken great strides to improve his attendance this year and we are happy to have him. He recently acquired his California Identification Card that he is very proud of. He is like another teacher aide. He helps out and assists in carrying things, rolling wheelchairs, and most of all assisting his fellow students wherever we go. He also participates in basic computer class and adaptive physical education. He helps out with the girls' soccer team as an equipment manager for home games and may be a thrower for track and field this spring. Brian is like my, 'Radio.' He is good-natured and without a doubt an example student, not just in my class, but in the whole school.

Taft High School is fortunate to have such a good charismatic student."

"Zack (Fearon) goes above and beyond in every area. He is an amazing musician and plays piano in jazz band and percussion in marching band. He recently designed the new signs for the music building. He does his job perfectly and can also handle the jobs of others too! Zack is a great kid with loads of talent and a great attitude," bragged band director Amanda Posey.

Graphic communications teacher Mark Fitzsimmons added, "Zack is a very non-demanding student. He gets his work done very successfully without a lot of fanfare, and quietly waits for his turn to complete tasks. A classroom full of students like Zack Fearon would lower the stress level for any teacher."

Alejandro Bautista was nominated by history teacher Brad Van Roekel and modern life skills teacher Anthony Reed. Van Roekel said Alejandro "always tries his hardest, greets me every day when he walks in, is always smiling, is a good classmate who makes his classmates laugh, and is nice to everyone in the class."

English teacher Debra Popejoy added, "Alejandro is always willing to do his best and have a positive attitude while doing it! He is supportive of his classmates and gets along with everyone!"

"Savannah (Gregory) has been a great addition to the Taft Oil Technology Academy. Her work is of the highest quality and she always has a smile!" said teacher Ted Pendergrass.

"Savannah is one of the standouts in my sophomore Honors English class," Bill Wolfe said. "She is smart and consistently does good work. For example, today she recited an excerpt from Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' in front of the class without making a single mistake. I'm sure this will be only the first of many academic honors she will earn."

Geometry teacher Joy Reynolds added, "Savannah is an organized, intelligent, hard-working and responsible student who I enjoy having in class. When she is absent, she promptly gets her make-up work done. She comes to class on time and prepared to work. She asks meaningful questions, stays on task and helps her peers when they request help."

"Savannah is sweet, quiet, kind and very smart. She is more than happy to help other kids who are struggling. And even though she never says much, she always wears a smile!" Spanish teacher Sandra Torres concluded.