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Manteca board honors shining STAR students
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More than three-dozen students from Manteca Unified elementary and high school campuses were honored Tuesday night for posting perfect scores in the STAR Testing given during the 2011-12 school year.

And that’s just half of the story.

The rest of the 91 students who are also going to receive their Certificate of Recognition from the district will have their chance to stand in the spotlight at the Nov. 13 Board of Trustees meeting.

Many of the students who were honored Tuesday night received multiple certificates for their perfect scores in more than just one subject. Among them was Si Jie Tang, a freshman at Manteca High School who received two certificates – one in Math, and the other in Science subjects. This was her third year to post perfect scores, too.

“I just studied hard,” was Tang’s explanation as to how she succeeded in achieving perfect scores.

The annual awards presentation events are packed every year with students’ camera-toting proud parents and other family members attending the standing-room only program. It is also the parents’, and in some cases, the grandparents’ time to shine as they proudly watch their children and grandchildren receive their awards from Cheryl Meeker who is Manteca Unified’s senior director of elementary education. Among the three-generation families who were all smiles during the awards presentation held before the trustees’ meeting were Jorge and Rosa Gutierrez who were joined by Rosa’s mother, Maria Santillan. The Gutierrezes’ son, Jorge Jr. was one of the perfect-store achievers. But he’s not the only sibling who has achieved that honor. His sister, Carolina, who was East Union High’s Homecoming Princess last year also received the award at the same time. Another sibling, Victoria, also lent her star power at the awards ceremony, attending the event with her colorful East Union colors as this year’s Homecoming Queen for the Lancers.

“We’re very proud of you,” Meeker said to the student awardees before the members of the Board of Trustees. “You make us (MUSD) shine when you do well.”

Many of the 48 perfect scorers honored on Tuesday were “multiple year” perfect scorers, with some making that achievement in multiple tests. “Very impressive,” Meeker said.

The rest of the nearly 100 students in the district who earned perfect scores in the STAR Testing will have their own time to shine and be recognized during the November meeting of the school board.

Normally, the students would shake hands with Superintendent Jason Messer, other district officials, and the members of the board. Unfortunately, two of the board members “are not feeling well” so they had to forgo that part of the tradition, explained Trustee Don Scholl, the board’s vice president who took over as meeting presider for the absent Evelyn Moore, the board president.

In place of the handshakes, the district officials and board members gave the high-achieving students a standing ovation.