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Rotary Student Of The Month Honors Announced

A group of four Escalon High School students was tapped recently for special recognition, named the Students of the Month in a program sponsored by the Escalon Sunrise Rotary Club.

The students included Alayna Azevedo, Emma Ballard, Brianna Cerceda and Alexis Gaffney. All were nominated for their efforts in school and the community.

Alayna Azevedo, a junior, was nominated by teacher Gypsy Stark.

“Alayna is currently serving as our FFA chapter secretary. She has quickly proven to be one of the most motivated, responsible students in the Agriculture department and has been a pleasure to work with,” said Stark. “She is honest and hard working. Alayna works hard to develop activities for the FFA membership that are fun and engaging.”

The junior is also an active participant on the community service committee and recently worked to gather donations for the Thanksgiving Meal drive.

Outside of the Escalon FFA Chapter, Stark said Alayna is currently serving as the Delta-Cal sectional secretary and hopes to further her leadership contributions to the FFA program by running for additional FFA offices in the future.

“Alayna recently returned from the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana where she had the opportunity to build lasting relationships with other FFA members from throughout the United States,” Stark noted. “Alayna has a bright future in the FFA program, and we feel lucky to have her as a member.”

Her student achievements include: FFA Member Awards Received - Star Farmer, Proficiency in Goat Production, and Star Leader; she represents FFA as an Officer, is the Delta Calaveras Section Secretary. She also participates in Church events through a Portuguese Association and dance group and played soccer for two years, as a freshman and sophomore.

“I would like to thank my parents for pushing me to take advantage of all my opportunities I’m given,” said Alayna. “Also, Mrs. Stark, Ms. Leventini and Mr. Saephan for believing in me and opening my eyes to see my options.”

Junior Emma Ballard received her nomination from teacher Lauren Guzman.

“She is an exceptional student with a kind and respectful personality. She comes into class with a smile and eager to get started with the day’s lesson,” Guzman said. “She has managed to balance her extracurricular activity participating in dance while earning nearly straight As. Emma has a positive attitude and is dedicated in anything she sets her mind on and is an inspiration and role model to her peers.”

Student Achievements include: Drama Club; dancing four hours a week and doing competitive dance; teaches a class at the dance studio for young children. She attends Shelter Cove Church in Modesto. Emma has received Honor Roll recognition, an academic award and has perfect attendance this year.

“I would like to thank my parents for always pushing me to do better and all my teachers for furthering my education day by day,” said Emma.

The duo of seniors Brianna Cerceda and Alexis Gaffney was nominated by the Escalon High School counseling staff.

“We are proud to nominate these two hard working young ladies. While many High School TA’s do tasks that are asked of them, our third period team has demonstrated a cohesive ability to go above and beyond the norm,” the counseling staff noted in the nomination. “For example, when asked to do a daily or special task the ladies, together, always figure out the most efficient system to get the job completed. They take initiative when welcoming students, parents, and staff entering the Counseling Center. Whether they are reminding our students to sign in, helping to translate, or answering the phone when the receptionist has stepped out, these ladies always do so with a warm greeting and a smile.”

Besides being exceptional TA’s, Alexis and Brianna both have worked hard during their high school years toward their goal of attending a four-year university.

“Both these ladies are a pleasure to have in class, and we can’t wait to see what great things the future holds for them.”

Brianna is planning on majoring in Sociology. She has been a four-year soccer player and two-year cross country runner, and belongs to the Spanish, Key and Interact clubs. She has received a Scholar-Athlete award each year and has also been on the Honor Roll and earned Academic awards.

“I would like to thank my mom, friends and coaches and especially the Counseling staff,” Brianna noted.

Alexis is planning on majoring in Nursing and has been a four-year cheerleader at EHS. She also coaches the Outlaw cheerleaders, fosters animals, and volunteers with the Sports Booster Dinners along with the Breast Cancer walk and the Park Fete run.

Her student achievement awards include Honor Roll and Attendance honors.

“I would like to thank my parents, sisters, friends and staff in the Counseling Center,” said Alexis. “Also, my cheer coaches, Katie San Julian and Chrissy Zerr.”

The honored students are recognized with award plaques at a breakfast meeting of the Rotary Club.