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AVHS Student of the Month: Anthony Alvarez

Once a quiet, 'lone wolf,' this young man has grown into a confident, respectful team player who has found strength in his love for math.

Congratulations to Alta Vista High School's December 2012 Student of the Month, Anthony Alvarez. The Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District designates a student each month and provides the text of this honor to Patch.

When Anthony Alvarez arrived at Alta Vista High last year, he was a quiet, withdrawn, almost sullen young man. He rarely engaged with teachers or other students.

When asked how his teachers could best help him, his written response was "I don’t believe in help."

Despite this, Alvarez was never a problem in class. Always quiet, always seeming to be working, but never really producing much work or earning many points. All of his teachers knew he was bright and capable of much more, but last year they never saw him come out of his shell or work the way they believed he could.

This year has been different. Alvarez has been on an academic tear! Whereas last year he sat quietly and looked like he was working, but not turning work in; this year he quietly works and produces a ton of excellent work. Whereas before he rarely engaged with students, this student who did not believe in help, now actively helps those around him with their own work. All of Anthony’s teachers have something to say about his turnaround this year.

Todd Pearson, his math teacher, recognized several qualities in Alvarez that he appreciates and respects. He says that Alvarez "has a strong desire to learn and enjoys being challenged academically."

Alvarez stays many hours after school in the math room to earn elective credit—he is actually doing more math than he’s required to. And while in there, he spends time and energy helping other students with their math. Pearson recognizes great social growth and believes Alvarez is a huge asset to Alta Vista’s math program.

Jenny Ren, a teacher’s aide in the math classroom, appreciates Alvarez’s respectful attitude. She said

"He sets a chair for me to sit in before we discuss the math problems," she said. "He makes notes of every detail of his learning. If we are busy with other students he waits patiently by trying the problems he needs help with in different ways. When he leaves the classroom he pushes all the chairs back where they belong."

Wendy Dowling, along with many of Alvarez’s teachers, said she carefully considers where to seat him in class, knowing that he will diligently do his own work and help others with their own. He sets a great example for Alta Vista’s other students.

"Anthony is still Anthony," said English instructor Jackson Perdue. "He is pretty quiet and reserved. He is, without fail, polite and respectful. He is incredibly bright and thoughtful. He is a bit of a loner. But now Anthony sees a different purpose to his status as a lone wolf."

In November he stood in front of Perdue’s English class and delivered a presentation in which he spoke to everybody about himself, and explored the question of why he is the way he is: quiet, preferring to be alone. He concluded with: "Maybe the world needs to see a man stand alone, to serve as an example."

We are incredibly proud to have Anthony as a student. The growth he has gone through during his time at Alta Vista is something we would like to take all the credit for, but will settle for some of the credit. He is a terrific example of what we hope to be at Alta Vista: a place for students to flourish when the traditional sites don’t work out for them. A student who came to us behind in credits, but who now "gets it" and is excelling and catching up. 

While it is sure to go against Anthony’s grain, and make the lone wolf uncomfortable, we wanted to publicly recognize him for the work he is doing and for what he adds to the Alta Vista family. 

Do you know Anthony? Congratulate him in the comments section below!

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