Students of the Month share lives and dreams

By: 
CAROLYN DRYER, Peoria Times Editor

Three high school seniors from Ironwood, Peoria and Centennial high schools shared their personal histories and plans for the future during a Peoria Rotary Club breakfast meeting Nov. 2. Derek Talbot, Rachel Martinez and Murphy Kaphing were honored as their high schools’ November 2018 Students of the Month by Peoria Rotary.
Derek is enrolled in Ironwood’s International Baccalaureate program. After graduation, he plans to enroll at Arizona State University West campus and major in biotechnology.
Chris Kuczka, Derek’s teacher at Ironwood, said he has a “learner’s profile.”
“When I think of Derek, I think of very modest, extremely intelligent, second in his class. He fits the ‘learner’s profile’ so perfectly. He’s there to help people.”
Derek played baseball his first two years of high school. He’s treasurer of the Art Club and every other Friday, he and others have a Bob Ross paint-along. He’s a member of the Culture Club and was selected as a delegate to Arizona Boys State this past summer.
Does he paint?
Derek replied, “I’m very good in colored pencil.”
Rachel said she enjoys trying to help others, motivating them. She started tutoring students in her class, then began helping others five days a week.
“Helping students grow,” is how she described her tutoring sessions.
Her community service activities include helping find bikes for about 100 youngsters.
Rachel plans to attend Northern Arizona University and earn a degree in nursing, with a focus on neonatal care.
“I want to help babies when they are young and sick,” Rachel said.
She attended Peoria Elementary School from first through eighth grade, has played soccer for 11 years and recently started playing golf.
Barb Parrish, Murphy’s teacher at Centennial, described Murphy by saying, “There are a few students who crawl into your heart and camp there. She’s one of the brightest minds out there, very humble, a natural leader. As Occupational Students of America president, she’s every adviser’s dream.”
Murphy is a member of National Honor Society and Math Society, who hopes to start her first semester of college next year at Boston University. She devoted several minutes to explaining what OSA does.
“It’s student run,” she said, by students who wish to become quality, compassionate health professionals.
One  of the service projects performed by OSA students is the Innocence Project. They gather donated shoes, puzzles, socks and toothpaste, wrap them up and gift wrap them, then take them to senior residents at Amethyst Gardens at 91st Avenue and Union Hills Drive.
Another project is coordinating a blood drive.
Murphy’s goal is to become a pediatric physician. She volunteers in the medical tech department at Banner Boswell. She talked about what he has learned through community service and volunteering.
“People are not powerless,” she said.
She has also observed “how giving some people are” and the importance of “sharing oneself.”
“We need to have a drive and passion to help others — find true compassion and empathy for others; see the world through a larger lens than ourselves,” she said.

 

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Peoria Times

Peoria Times
7122 N. 59th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013

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