Forged from challenging times, only to rise stronger.

~ Modesto Teachers Association

Alyssa Turn is a graduating senior from Gregori High School and plans to attend California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in the fall to study Civil Engineering. While maintaining a 4.66 GPA, Alyssa takes rigorous AP courses, participates in leadership, is current Senior class president, helps run the school's ASB Instagram, and enjoys participating in Dance Production. Outside of school, she dances for Central West Ballet as an apprentice dancer. She hopes to use her creative abilities to further her problem-solving skills in college, with plans to minor in Graphic Communications.

Shelly Taylor, Alyssa's AP Calculus teacher who has had her for both Calculus AB and BC, and whom she is a peer tutor for, says, “It is clear that Alyssa is extremely intelligent, gifted, motivated, and diligent. She is set apart from her peers in her mathematics knowledge, has the ability to make connections to the real world, and relates new knowledge to previous concepts to gain a full perspective of the mathematics content we learn in class.“

Alyssa's mother, Lara Wong, is a fourth grade teacher at Neil Hafley Elementary School

America Lopez is a senior from Gregori High School and will be attending California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo in the fall to major in Public Health. America has been a part of her leadership class all four years of high school, currently being Senior Class Vice President, has been an active member of Teens Run Modesto and her school's swim team, and has been a volunteer at Doctors Medical Center which has influenced her decision in pursuing a career in the medical field. America easily adapts to new environments while also keeping a positive attitude as she loves meeting new people and helping others in several ways. America's mother, Nancy Gonzalez, is a TK/Kindergarten teacher at Mildred Perkins Elementary School.

Lori Gaines, a math teacher at Gregori and department chair who has been America's teacher for two years now says, "Her academics are excellent, her work ethic is above reproach, and her level of discipline and dedication to putting forth her best work is remarkable. America is also a humble leader in everything she does, whether it is asking questions in class, assisting others with a problem when they get stuck, or helping make the campus a better place through her position in Gregori Leadership."

Ashley Bartlett will be graduating from Joseph A. Gregori High School and will be attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall. Ashley will be majoring in child development with a minor in history. Her goal is to be a history teacher, and is also considering pursuing her Master's Degree in Speech and Language Pathology so she can work as an educational speech therapist. Matt Taylor, Gregori High School history teacher, said about Ashley, "I just want to learn.' That was Ashley Bartlett's first sentence to me in an email exchange we had in last spring when discussing distance learning. I chuckled to myself when I read that because I thought to myself, never has such a simple sentence encapsulated a person so perfectly." Ashley is honored to represent Modesto Teachers Association.

Brendan Westcott is a Modesto High School graduate who plans to attend Modesto Junior College and then transfer to a California State University to continue his education. At school he will major in history, which he became passionate about in junior high school. His goal is to graduate college and immediately get to work teaching. He plans on teaching, not only to educate the next generation, but to inspire them to have the same love for history that he does. Michael Smith, a history teacher from Modesto High School, said this of Brendan, "He seemed to always be searching and listening and soaking up information until he was able to make sense and then would weigh in. After hearing of his interest in becoming a history teacher his character and hard work makes sense."

Emma Garber will be attending the University of the Pacific next year. She will be studying psychology where she will pursue a career as a college professor. Emma hopes to earn a PhD in the future. Her father, Brian Garber, is the psychology teacher at Enochs High School and her mother, Lori Garber, is a high school MVA teacher. Ed Faria was Emma's AP European history teacher and he says that "Emma is more than an academically gifted student. She is one of the students I could count on the most to be prepared to offer her insightful opinion. Emma's analytical skills and enthusiastic participation in class discussions reveal maturity well beyond her peers." Emma has had a great four years at Enochs where she took Advanced Placement classes and participated in Speech and Debate, Leadership, Mock Trial, and Model U.

Jake Ollar will be moving to San Diego to attend Mesa Junior College in July. He will transfer to San Diego State after he completes his first two years of college. Jake aspires to follow in his family's footsteps to become an educator, majoring in computer science. He plans on working full-time while taking a full schedule of classes and living with his three close friends in Mesa. Gina Poggi from Beard Elementary School writes, "Jake started out as a shy student and unaware that his choice of friends, hobbies, and work habits were about to propel him to being the leader that he has become. He has a love of graphic design, science, and math that not all students possess. This love of learning will carry him through his academic years." Jake is excited about his new journey ahead!

Maurice Gonzalez is the son of Yscel Gonzalez, a teacher at John Muir Preschool. He is a recipient of the 2021 Modesto Teachers' Association's Cecil Curfman Memorial Scholarship. Maurice plans to attend UC Riverside after graduating from Joseph A. Gregori High School, where he has become a lifetime CSF member and ranked in the top 20% of his class. After graduating from UC Riverside, he plans to attend a flight school where he will earn the licenses and credentials necessary to become an airline pilot. Maurice's future goal is to work for a major airline, where he will be able to express his passion for aviation. According to Daniel Moreno, Maurice's U.S. Government and Economics teacher, "Maurice is an exceptional student who can make academic connections across many areas of study".

Melanie Wolf will attend Modesto Junior College for two years but has not yet decided which university she will transfer to. Melanie plans to teach agricultural science at the high school level. She intends on earning her Bachelor of Science Degree as well as her teaching credential and looks forward to being an FFA advisor. According to Susan Beatty, a floral teacher at Beyer High School, "Melanie is a very mature young lady who will do wonderful in college. I cannot wait to see what a wonderful impact she will have on the agriculture education community". Melanie will be able to use what she has learned from her ag teachers and apply it to her students as she helps them find their place in the big world of agriculture. In the words of E.M. Tiffany, "I believe in the future of agriculture..." and ag students are the future.

Paige Martins will be attending CSU, Sacramento to major in Child/Adolescent Development to become a high school special education teacher, teaching the four core subjects of English, Math, Social Studies, and Science. Paige is a strong believer in the idea that teachers can change lives, and she wants to do just that. She wants to make a positive difference in her students' lives and show them all of the opportunities they have for success in the world. Paige takes an elective class at Enochs High School where she tutors special needs students. Every day her heart is filled with love and joy getting to dedicate herself to her passion. Paige's junior year math teacher, Karolin Dodds, writes, "Paige possesses a very strong sense of self and determination which ensures success for this intelligent, mature, and caring young lady... her passion for education would never come into question."

Roy Guptill plans on attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for the fall 2021 term and will be majoring in Mechanical Engineering. His mother, Elizabeth Guptill, teaches at John Muir Elementary School. His father, Chris Guptill, teaches at Grace Davis High School. Trina Massa, an English teacher at Davis High School, notes that "Roy is the perfect role model; he is a good student who is involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities, while maintaining a 4.18 G.P.A." Roy hopes to work for a company that develops technology for cleaner forms of energy use. Roy enjoys being around his friends and plans on participating in many different clubs and activities during his time in college.