Fifth-grader Valeria Rivas has been named Student of the Year by Sassarini Elementary School. In announcing their selection, school staff members said that some years they struggle to identify and choose between worthy recipients of this award, – but this year their mandate was very clear. Valeria’s academic prowess is evident in her above-grade-level reading and math performance, and she is a self-described “science girl.” She is also a prolific writer, writing at least one piece a day, elaborating on drafts and taking to heart every Writer’s Workshop tip and strategy to improve her work. She recently wrote a persuasive essay about how hard a worker her mother is, holding down two jobs to help support the family. It is obvious that a strong work ethic runs in her family. Staff at Sassarini say that Valeria’s family has instilled in her the importance of education and of being a well-rounded, compassionate citizen as well. Valeria is always willing to lend a hand to support her peers and consistently seeks additional work both in class and to take home. She knows how to persevere to solve problems both academically and socially.

Ask any adult on the Sassarini Campus what they think of Student of the Year Noah Zamora – and watch a wide smile spread across their face, says Principal Andrew Ryan. He says it is impossible to know Noah and not be impressed by his personality.

In fifth grade, Noah excels in every subject. His teachers say that he enjoys learning and pushes himself to new limits. He’s considered trustworthy, reliable, amiable and he possesses a wonderful sense of humor. His rock-steady personality makes him a natural leader. He encourages his classmates and lifts up everyone around him. He enjoys reading and he is currently making his way through “The Chronicles of Narnia” series and inspiring others to follow in his footsteps. He’s adept at math and science and approaches problem solving with curiosity and confidence. Additionally, Noah is learning to master the trumpet.

This article is one of a series that features the Students of the Year named on each campus of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District.