Leah See, 5th Grade
Annie R. Mitchell
Elementary School, Visalia
Within minutes of meeting Leah See, she points to a poster on her classroom wall with inspiring words, including “Mindset, Positive, Goals, Team, Believe, Results, Mistakes, Attitude, and Character.” These are descriptors of a growth mindset from the current research of Stanford University Professor of Psychology Carol S. Dweck.
Leah attributes her positive character to the growth mindset strategies she is learning from her teacher, Mrs. Madsen. Mrs. Madsen says, “Leah is a student that always portrays trustworthiness. I can count on her to be honest and keep her promise when she says she will do something. She is loyal to her friends and family. Leah is her true, authentic self and doesn’t change her character to make others happy. Leah has a consistent and positive behavior that other Golden Eagles can count on!”
Classmates were quick to provide examples of Leah’s attributes as a friend, classmate, and role model. “She is always happy to help and never complains about giving of her own time to edit a classmate’s essay, even when no other student will. She is kind and doesn’t let negative influences change her behavior or attitude toward others.”
Leah appreciates everyone’s support, saying, “It makes me feel happy that my friends think of me as a respectful and responsible friend, but I have to thank my parents for what I do. My mom is nice and respectful and I want to be like her. My Dad supports my goals to be a better soccer player and teammate. He shows me what to correct and wants me to do my best.”
Since Leah was six years old, soccer has been her passion. Her good character and development of a growth mindset for her future are giving her tools to stay focused on her goal of becoming a member of the UCLA Women’s Soccer team.
For the next seven years, Leah will continue to remember those words on her fifth-grade classroom wall and will use them as cues to set small goals to gain incremental progress, listen to adults who know how to praise her efforts to keep her motivated, learn from her mistakes, and understand the importance of teamwork to achieve success. We look forward to reading Leah’s name on the 2025 UCLA Women’s Soccer roster!
Jeannine Ocampo, 8th Grade
Live Oak Middle School, Tulare
The adolescent years are often characterized by separating from family-centered relationships and embracing peer relationships, which may include self-centered attitudes and the challenge of rules and boundaries. Jeannine Ocampo is defying these stereotypes.
Jeannine’s little sister follows her every move, sometimes literally. “She follows me all of the time and does everything I do. So, I try to show her how important it is to be respectful and have manners—like opening the door for others, greeting people with a handshake, and helping them. I feel very proud that Jen admires what I do.”
The oldest of three children, Jeannine takes pride in helping her mom with English language translation and chores around the house. She credits her Mom for taking the time to teach her about helping others and always being respectful.
As an eighth-grade student at Live Oak Middle School, Jeannine continues her kind and helpful manner in the WEB program (Where Everybody Belongs). Jeannine may be humble and shy, but when it comes to leading in the WEB program, she has the reputation as a caring student leader who will look for bullying behaviors and help stop them. WEB gives older students the permission to be aware of and report any negative behavior to help create a safer school for everybody.
Jeannine’s teacher, Bev Yoshida, says, “Jeannine is willing to step up to the plate to help and speak up for her peers. She goes above and beyond the call of duty whenever her help is needed. She handles any negativity with grace and calm. It is my secret hope that she goes into the field of education as an adult.”
Jeannine’s friends, Yesenia and Mariana, agree with Mrs. Yoshida. “If Jeannine sees us struggling, she will be the first to cheer us up with a joke or be the friend who is always there for us. She is someone we can trust.”
Both teachers and friends concur, “We never see Jeannine mad or upset. She doesn’t seem to have bad days—ever!”
The calm, cool, and collected young lady—who chooses to focus on others rather than herself, values her family time, and has a reputation of respect beyond measure—will graduate from Live Oak Middle School this month. And we are certain her character will continue to shine throughout high school.