Jasmine Vega Garcia was separated from troubled parents — regular abusers of substances — by Child Protective Services.

She lived for a couple of years in a temporary foster situation until she could move in with her grandmother, “who has helped me through everything.”

Like other students from the Pass area’s public schools who were nominated as Students of the Month, Garcia was selected for the recognition by demonstrating success in school despite overcoming significant life challenges.

Those selected as Students of the Month are eligible to be considered for the coveted Student of the Year scholarship.

Joe Schilreff, Banning’s coordinator of the Career Technical Education Academy of Business, complimented Garcia’s efforts.

“If you were to see her on a day-to-day basis,” it would be impossible to realize the background from which she has come, he said during the Student of the Month recognition program last February, for which Garcia was nominated to represent Banning High School. “She is the most determined and dedicated student I think I’ve ever had … she leads by example; she never complains about anything; she helps others, she’s a selfless person. Everything she does is to help others. I have no idea how she’s able to maintain this day after day.”

He explains that Garcia took college courses and took care of her family, plays sports and excels in school “and exceeded my expectations.”

Despite life’s obstacles, Garcia has earned a spot at California Baptist University.

“I’m extremely proud of her,” Schilreff said.

Krista Calderon, a Banning Independent Studies student, had to overcome depression, led in part by losing her brother to cancer, and was a victim of sexual assault that left her with a constant feeling of insecurity.

“I did not want to work, I did not want to go to school and I had no motivation,” and wanted to drop out, she said during the October Student of the Month recognition ceremony.

Overcoming her struggles has inspired her to want to become a motivational speaker.

“I want to move people and let them know they can live, and that it’s not pointless,” she said. “It’s been wonderful working with everyone at Banning Independent Study school, because there has been massive help to guide me to a brighter future.”

Towards the end of the school year, the Banning and Beaumont school districts honored their Students of the Year, selected from the four honorees recognized monthly during breakfasts at Sizzler restaurant in Banning.

By month, student honorees were: (September) Brian Villalobos, Banning High School; Mackenzie Troutman, Beaumont High School; Kaliya Andrews, Glen View High School; and Jayson Graves, New Horizons High School; (October) Trouser Tommy Yang, Banning High School; Krista Calderon, Banning Independent Study; Alexis Michelle Espinoza Duncan, Beaumont High School; Elizabeth Juhasz, 21st Century Learning Institute; (November) Joe Nungaray, Banning High School; Kayla Sasser, Beaumont High School; Brian Barragan, Glen View High School; Sara Moua, New Horizons High School; (December) Feliciano Villegas Jr., Banning High School; Diengo Antonio Garcia, Banning Independent Study; Aster Delgado, Beaumont High School; Osbaldo Alvarado, 21st Century Learning Institute; (January) Brandon Ceja, Banning High School; Amanda Schemel, Beaumont High School; Luis Pitta, Glen View High School; Itzel Gonzales, New Horizons High School; (February) Jasmine Vega Garcia, Banning High School; Daniel Banuelos, Banning Independent Study; Mia Sumner, Beaumont High School; Narayan Almanza, 21st Century Learning Institute; (March) Alejandro Cruz Jr., Banning High School; Jesse Odhiambo, Beaumont High School; Brittney Corral, Glen View High School; Monica Torres, New Horizons High School.

Those who were selected for the 2020 Student of the Year scholarships are Krista Calderon, Banning Independent Study; Brittny Corral, Glen View High School; Kayla Sasser, Beaumont High School; and Jasmine Vega, Banning High School.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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