Karina Chavez is the kind of student that teachers gush about, according to the staff at El Verano Elementary School. She is the student that teachers cross their fingers about before seeing their new class rosters for the year. For this reason, Karina is one of this year’s Student of the Year recipients for El Verano Elementary School.

Karina’s work ethic makes school appear effortless, say her teachers. She is described as a tenacious student who always puts her best effort forward and keeps her goals in mind.

“I think about my day at school and with soccer,” she said. “Then I think about the steps that I need to take in order to go to Cal Berkeley.”

Karina constantly seeks out new challenges and solutions.

Principal Maite Iturri says that Karina’s attitude toward learning exemplifies El Verano‘s school motto: “Imagine, Inquire and Inspire.”

Karina exudes a compassion and empathy for others. From helping classmates with a particularly challenging math problem, to working with younger students on the playground or in the classroom, Karina is described as the embodiment of patience and kindheartedness.

Outside of school, Karina is an avid competitive soccer player and she participates in El Verano’s after-school leadership classes.

If you spend time in the classroom with Victoria Macias, it doesn’t take long to realize that she is an exceptional student. Her work ethic, her attention to detail, and the joy she takes in learning and challenging herself to do her best at everything makes her shine in the classroom, and will no doubt carry her far in life, say school staff. In addition to being a dedicated student, she is also regarded by the school community as an exemplary citizen, classmate and person.

Victoria’s service-mindedness and generosity are understated, say her teachers. She does not seek praise for her acts of kindness — a helping hand to a struggling classmate, a kind word to a friend having a tough day, or translating difficult language and concepts for a new arrival. She doesn’t call attention to her actions because she is simply being who she is.

Victoria’s academic prowess and selfless nature have earned her campus-wide respect. She is a leader among her peers and her hard work and tenacity are infectious, and she seems to raise the level of work from those around her. She is the embodiment of what it means to be a dedicated citizen of El Verano’s learning community. For all these reasons and more, Victoria has been named one of El Verano’s Students of the Year.