January 2020-21 Student and Educator of the Month
Nominate someone now for student or educator in 2020-21.
The Lakers are proud to announce the January 2021 Student and Educator of the Month winners, presented by Fifth Third Bank! This month’s student honorees are Yasiru Jayathilake, Adam Weilert and Heaven Ruiz. This month’s educator winners are Hilaleh Hamad, Dean Gray, and Monica Muñoz Keough. Each winner demonstrates an outstanding commitment to academia and the community.
Adam Weilert, is a kind and hard-working 8th grade student at Alice C. Stelle Middle School. Thanks to his critical thinking and positive work-ethic, he has maintained a high GPA with straight A’s in all his current classes, and qualified for the Honor Society. Adam participates in the leadership group Connecting with Teens and is a travel and recreational basketball player.
Dean Gray, is a passionate teacher and coach at Norwalk High School. Dean runs Charity for Charities, helping students raise thousands of dollars each year to give back to causes across the country. He is also the Head Football Coach, spending countless hours to help the student athletes reach their goals in the classroom and on the field. Dean runs several fundraisers to support his student athletes and has played a vital role in shaping the youth of Norwalk High School into better citizens in the community.
Heaven Ruiz, is an exceptional 12th grade student at La Mirada High School. She is a multi-sport athlete, participating on both the Varsity Water Polo and Varsity Swim Teams. Heaven is also concurrently enrolled at Cerritos College, and maintains a high cumulative GPA. Heaven goes above and beyond what is necessary with stellar effort and attitude.
Hilaleh Hamad, is a dedicated 5th grade teacher at ISANA Nascent Academy. Hilaleh has risen her students’ academic scores by up to 80%, even helping nurture students’ reading growth by an average of two grade levels. She is also the Student Council advisor, an Instructional Coach, and continues her own education as she studies for an Administrative Credential. Hilaleh was the 2018-2019 ISANA Nascent Teacher of the Year for her dedication to giving students a voice and supporting student success.
Monica Muñoz Keough, is an outstanding Principal at Wright Elementary School. She helped transform the school into a 2020 California Distinguished School through motivating her faculty and creating systems where every student and parent feels supported. Monica also played a vital role in creating before school and after school programs, and started the Motto "The Viking Way," inspiring students and staff create campaigns such as Kindness Week and Volunteering Week to help bring the school community together.
Yasiru Jayathilake, is an outstanding 5th grade student at Pantera Elementary School. He has received the highest marks on both his report card and the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, as well as placed 3rd in the school Spelling Bee. Yasiru is also an avid reader, a travel basketball player, and volunteers in community events through his place of worship.
Each Student and Educator of the Month winner was honored on @LakersCommunity social media and received a special Lakers gift. The nominations for the January Student and Educator of the Month were submitted by administrators, principals and teachers of each school based on exemplary teaching efforts, academic achievement, or extracurricular activities.
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