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Woodburn Kiwanis Club honors three students from Valor Middle School this month

Stephanie Salazar

COURTESY PHOTO - Stephanie SalazarStephanie Salazar, 12, daughter of Jose and Rachel Salazar, and sister to Cynthia, Natalie and Jose, is in the sixth grade.

Her favorite class is social studies because, she said, "I really like how the teacher is and how she teaches. Ms. Cogburn is a fun teacher and the topic of social studies is very interesting to me."

Spanish language arts is her second favorite subject because everybody helps out: "It is a very positive class and I really like being there. It is fun to have classes in both Spanish and English because I can learn in both languages and I am able to communicate with all people."

Other school activities include Breakfast Club, when she gets extra time for homework, and track in the spring.

Outside of school, Stephanie loves to read and to be on her phone.

Her future goals include becoming a dentist and attending a college in New York.

"I read on the internet that this school would be a really good college for me because they have a good dental program and because it would be very fun to live in New York," she said.

Mrs. Huddleston said, "Stephanie seems to have a quiet, sincere, self-disciplined disposition in the classroom. One would never know that Stephanie is an outstanding student because attention or recognition from the teacher or others is not what Stephanie seeks. She is humble — humble, polite, courageous to give work challenges her best shot. There are many other positive sides to Stephanie, but one would have to take the time to listen and observe in order to acknowledge them all."

Marimia Kornilkin

COURTESY PHOTO - Marimia KornilkinMarimia Kornilkin, 12, daughter of Julie and Nick Kornilkin and sister to Vasilisk, Leonida and Zosima, is in the seventh grade.

Her favorite class is math because, she said, "it is challenging and I understand math pretty well. I actually think it's fun to go through the problems too." She also enjoys art class, but she's not sure if she will continue taking it next year because she is also interested in taking Spanish. She said, "I love knowing languages and I am curious about them."

Marimia is active on the girls basketball team, and she hopes to join the track team this spring and the soccer team next year.

When she's not at school, her favorite thing to do is read books. "I really enjoy reading because it gives me an imagination and I love thinking about what is happening in the stories while I am doing other things," she said.

After graduating high school, she dreams of having her own business and working with natural oils and plants like her mom. "My mom is like a doctor to me and others, and always knows what to do to help me feel better, which has really inspired me."

Her teacher wrote, "Marimia is an outstanding student that continually goes above and beyond in the classroom and throughout her day. She demonstrates diligence, hard work, thoughtfulness and compassion in everything she does. She is a joy to have in the class because she is a wonderful role model for others and is always happy to help the teacher or other students. She enjoys taking risks and trying new things, even when they are challenging. I am very excited for what the future holds for this young person!"

Luis Santiago Martinez

COURTESY PHOTO - Luis Santiago Martinez Luis Santiago Martinez, 13, son of Lucia Martinez and brother to Manuel, Bryan, Alder and Yares, is in the eighth grade.

His favorite class is Spanish language arts with Mrs. Salm. "I like this because the teacher is very nice and she helps me understand the work," he said. "It is a very good class for me because I can practice both Spanish and English." He also really loves his ESOL (English speakers of other languages) class with Mrs. LaForce, because it has helped him learn and practice English. "When I started in seventh grade last year, I just knew a little bit of English. But I have been working hard, and now I can speak and understand my classes and teachers in English."

Luis' favorite activities include going to church on Saturday with his family, where he volunteers to help with the little kids, and spending time with his family, especially playing with his brothers and helping them with their homework.

His goal after high school is to go to college and become a doctor. "I would like to become a doctor because I want to help others and to make my family proud," he said.

Mrs. LaForce wrote: "I am nominating Luis Santiago for student of the month for his tremendous improvement in attitude and his ability to embrace a growth mindset. Luis has been a pleasure to have in class this year. He comes to class on time and ready to learn, and is continually engaged in classroom activities. In addition to his transformation of attitude, Luis has taken on a leadership role and is demonstrating to his peers the essence of what a good student needs to do to succeed. I'm proud of the changes that Luis has made, and anticipates that his shift in behavior will set him on a trajectory for success in both school and life."

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