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Altimira Middle School names its Students of the Year

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Altimira Middle School has named Andrea Zavala Beiza and Jimena Echeverria as its Students of the Year.

Andrea attended Dunbar Elementary School and since arriving at Altimira has maintained a 3.79 cumulative GPA in her classes. This year, her academic load includes algebra, advanced language arts and accelerated science. She has also been a member of Altimira’s Leadership Class for the last three years.

Andrea says she likes U.S. History, taught by Justin Hollander, the best because, “Mr. Hollander integrates his passion for history into his curriculum.”

Bridget Paul, Andrea’s English teacher said that Andrea “is always positive, can take constructive criticism with a smile on her face, and she is kind.”

“Maggie, my therapy dog who comes to school with me, is always excited when Andrea is near because she sees straight into her heart,” said Paul.

When asked about what she will miss about Altimira Middle School, Andrea says, “The safety that I feel on campus. I remember when I came to Altimira as a 6th grader, I was really nervous but as soon as I arrived, I was met by welcoming and accepting students.”

Andrea is excited about moving on to Sonoma Valley High School, especially with the variety of classes that SVHS offers. After high school, Andrea plans to go to college and study medicine. Her goal is to become a neo-natologist.

“I know this much is true – whatever Andrea puts her mind to, she will be incredibly successful at it,” said Principal Will Deeths. “Altimira is lucky to have a student like Andrea Zavala Beiza and we are very proud to have her represent the school.”

Jimena Echeverria has also been named Student of the Year for Altimira.

Jimena is a graduate of El Verano Elementary School, and since arriving at Altimira has maintained a 3.9 GPA in all of her classes. This year, her academic load includes advanced language arts and she has been a part of the AVID elective.

As Jimena looks back at her career at Altimira, she says she will remember her teachers more than anything else.

“They created a welcoming atmosphere that allowed all of us to grow and prosper,” she said.

Her AVID teacher Tim Davidson said, “Jimena is more than a strong student, she is an all-around exceptional human being. She is dedicated to helping people and animals in need. AVID students recently made speeches about what they are passionate about. Most said things like soccer or baking; Jimena’s passion is equality. She ended her speech with an emphatic call to action: ‘When you walk out that door I ask you stand up for those in need. Whether it is attending a march or not letting it slide when someone makes a hateful comment.’ Jimena is truly an inspiration.”

As Jimena gets ready to move on from Altimira and become an SVHS Dragon, she said that she is looking forward to all that the high school has to offer. She is especially excited to take all the math courses available. After high school, Jimena dreams of attending UCLA. At this point, she is trying to decide between studying for a career in interior design or veterinary medicine.

“Jimena is an exceptional young lady who has made Altimira Middle School a better place,” said Principal Deeths. “We are lucky to have a student like Jimena Echeverria and we are very proud to have her represent the school as one of our Students of the Year.”

This article in the sixth in a series that honors the Students of the Year for 2017-2018 at each Sonoma Valley Unified School District campus.