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Seven Seniors Recognized as Part of the Annual Superintendent Character Trait Awards

(NMUSD) recognizes seven high school seniors for their exceptional character leadership traits. Since 2012, the Superintendent Character Trait Awards Program recognizes one graduating senior from each high school who exemplifies a pillar of character: caring, citizenship, courage, fairness, respect, responsibility, and trustworthiness. Each high school is asked to submit the name of the senior they believe exemplifies the designated pillar. In April, each student received a surprise visit at their school (or virtually) from Superintendent Russell Lee-Sung and was presented a letter of recognition and an invitation to be recognized by the Board of Education at the May 18, 2021 meeting. As part of the awards program, each student also has a banner with their name, photo, school, and character trait displayed in the District office the following school year, as a reminder to all who enter to have good character. “There are many remarkable students throughout our schools and I love this program for recognizing students for exemplifying good character, especially during this unique school year,” said Superintendent Russell Lee-Sung. Below are the 2021 Character Trait Award Winners: Caring: Maddiline McNamer, Back Bay/Monte Vista High School Maddiline McNamer’s caring and passionate demeanor for others is evident in all that she does; she is a role model to other students. She fosters care and attentiveness in everything she sets out to do and is the first to volunteer to help her classmates, taking the time to guide them on web-based programs and academic tutoring. She is intentional about her inclusive efforts in welcoming new students and supporting her peers’ well-being. Maddiline also serves on the Superintendent Student Advisory Committee and is the Associated Student Body (ASB) president. Her attention to detail is evident in her school work, presentations, and school-wide event planning. “Maddy has a daily positive attitude that is seen in her interactions with teachers and her classmates,” said Back Bay/Monte Vista High School Principal Mike Wagner. “Her caring nature serves as a model to others on our campus,” he said. Maddiline intends to pursue a career in criminal justice. Citizenship: Hanna Mofid, Corona del Mar High School Hanna Mofid represents citizenship in all aspects of her life. Hanna was the founder of CodeHERS at Corona del Mar High School. As founder and leader of CodeHERS, she coordinates activities on campus that promote computer science and engineering. She has a genuine passion for inspiring others and realizing that careers and education in science are for everyone. She also organized a Women in Engineering Panel that was available to all students by taking the initiative to network with the Stanford Graduate Society of Women Engineers. With a dedication to supporting all students and helping find solutions, Hanna joined the Social and Technological Action research group at the University of California, Irvine that is focused on researching ways to utilize human-computer interactions to build accessible technologies for those with disabilities. She also is a volunteer tutor on campus and has received the “SeaKing Pride Award” which recognizes excellence in academics and high standards of honesty, integrity, community service, and citizenship. “Hanna approaches challenging situations with confidence and trust, and her tenacity and determination will help her overcome any obstacle,” said Corona del Mar High School Principal Josh Hill. Hanna plans to pursue a career in Engineering, she has not yet determined which university she will attend in the fall. Courage: Chris Lopez De Los Angeles, Costa Mesa High School Chris Lopez’s courage and spirit are evident in whatever challenges are presented to him. This is truly evident when it comes to his education, playing soccer, and his relationships with friends and family. Chris endured unimaginable hardships throughout the pandemic, including the loss of both his parents. He has been courageous through these painful circumstances and has continued to show up every day and work hard to succeed in all aspects of his life. Chris works full-time to support himself, has nearly perfect attendance, and plays on the varsity soccer team. “Chris’s journey is truly inspiring of how you can be positive, responsible and achieve your goals, regardless of what life presents you with,” said Costa Mesa High School Principal Dr. Jake Haley. Chris has a disposition that demonstrates the ability to express care for other’s well-being by expressing gratitude for school staff and classmates for their efforts in making high school a supportive and positive experience. Chris intends to continue his education at Orange Coast College in the fall. Fairness: Valeria Zecua, Estancia High School Valeria Zecua has committed herself to ensure Estancia High School is a fair and welcoming environment for everyone. As the co-president of the Acts of Random Kindness Club, she works tirelessly to make sure all voices are represented. Valeria invites students to participate and leads activities that promote kindness and inclusion on campus, such as Kindness Week, Be Likeable on Social Media Day – aimed at ensuring social media is a more positive environment by spreading positivity, I Love Myself Challenge, Unity Day, and more. As a Leader, a campus club that welcomes freshmen students by supporting and guiding their transition into high school, Valeria fosters acceptance, respect, and unbiasedness. She is open-minded and willing to listen to other’s perspectives and ideas to guarantee an equitable outcome for everyone. Valeria is known for her benevolence and kind nature and she prioritizes time to help her peers who need extra support as well as speak up and champion for what she believes in. “Valeria goes above and beyond to ensure everyone on campus feels welcomed,” said Estancia High School Principal Mike Halt. “Her commitment to promoting kindness and inclusivity is to be celebrated.” Valeria plans on attending a four-year university to study linguistics. Respect: Ruby Hammond, Newport Harbor High School Ruby Hammond is integral to the positive school climate at Newport Harbor High School and has made great strides in shifting the student government program to be more representative of the student body. As an executive board member of the Associated Student Body (ASB), she has focused her efforts on improving equity and inclusivity on campus. Her kind and respectful response when presented with difficult situations, allows for genuine and powerful conversations to take place. Her strong command of ethics empowers her to be a strong active voice for ensuring that students be respectful on and off-campus. She is an excellent example for her younger peers and mentors freshmen throughout their transition to high school. “Ruby is an incredibly gracious leader,” said Newport-Harbor High School Principal Dr. Sean Boulton. “She is an active voice for her student body and strives to ensure that all students respect one another and their community,” he said. Ruby also exemplifies respect for her education as a dedicated student, athlete, and candidate. She promotes sportsmanship as a varsity tennis player and is committed to motivating those around her to also respect their education and extracurricular activities. Ruby plans to pursue a career in biology with a focus on pre-med at a four-year university. Responsibility: Elisabeth Leiby, Cloud Campus Elisabeth Leiby is a key leader in developing Cloud Campus’s High School Associated Student Body (ASB). As ASB vice president she is responsible for ensuring student announcements are delivered in a timely and effective manner and managing community-building schoolwide events. One example of the activities she spearheads is the school-wide Mental Health Awareness Week where she organizes virtual yoga, cooking classes, mindfulness training, movie night, and painting classes. “Elisabeth’s resilience and positivity have been instrumental in building a school community and an inclusive environment at our school,” said Cloud Campus Principal Dr. Mike Sciacca. “Her work ethic and responsibility are truly motivating,” he said. Elisabeth is also a student board member representative, responsible for examining district-wide issues from multiple perspectives and listening to all viewpoints before making important decisions. She prioritizes the needs of others and works hard to ensure others are taken care of. She is known for being attentive to the needs of her peers and offers encouragement and support to those who need it. Elisabeth plans to attend a junior college to complete her general education before transferring to a four-year university. Trustworthiness: Bridget Pineda, Early College High School Bridget Pineda is exceptionally trustworthy and reliable. Bridget is a mentor to her fellow students assisting them with assignments and tutoring. Students appreciate her caring and honest nature and know that Bridget is someone they can always depend on for support. “Briget’s trustworthiness and empathetic nature have allowed for her to connect with her peers on a deeper level to support them,” said Early College High School Principal Dr. Dave Martinez. “Even throughout the pandemic she has continued to advocate for herself and the student body to ensure that the best outcomes are achieved,” he said. Her communication and listening skills are instrumental in her leadership roles and are continuously selected to represent the student body for community and school events. Bridget plans to attend California State University, Chico, and major in nursing. Congratulations to the 2021 Character Trait Award winners!
Source: CDM High School New

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