Four Paloma Valley Students Receive Reagan Leader Awards

From left: RJ Benz, Brent Boehm, Jared Mickley, Chase Roland. Four Paloma Valley High School s...

From left: RJ Benz, Brent Boehm, Jared Mickley, Chase Roland.
Four Paloma Valley High School seniors who excel in both academics and extracurricular activities were recently named recipients of the Ronald Reagan Student Leader Award.

The students were nominated and selected by their teachers for the award, which recognizes positive examples of leadership inside and outside the classroom. The award program is coordinated by the Walter & Leonore Annenberg Presidential Learning Center in conjunction with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

Chase Roland is a leader with the campus Interact Club, which participates in many community service organizations in town. They have helped feed the homeless, participated in the Mayor's Ball, and have played many important roles in Menifee.

Roland, who carries a 4.1 GPA, plans to study linguistics in college. She has applied to UC Riverside, UC Irvine and UC San Diego.

Brent Boehm has started at quarterback for the Wildcats football team the last three seasons. He plans to continue his football career at the University of La Verne, where his primary emphasis will be academics.

Boehm, who said he plans to study communications or journalism, admitted it is sometimes difficult to balance athletics and academics.

"I try to focus on my studies and do the best I can," he said. "It's hard to balance, but the reason you're here is for education. My family's motto always is education first and sports second."

Another student-athlete honored is RJ Benz, who started at wide receiver and linebacker for the football team last fall. He plans to study kinesiology in college.

"I want to train kids in sports," he said. I like working with high school students and little kids."

The fourth honoree is Jared Mickley, who is a master sergeant in Paloma Valley's Navy JROTC program -- the second largest among high schools in Southern California.

Mickley, who has a 4.2 GPA, hopes to attend UC San Diego on a Marine Corps ROTC scholarship before enlisting in the military.

"JROTC isn't close to what I expected," he said. "It's not just about military stuff; it's about leadership."

Paloma Valley principal Don Williamson said the success of these students in both academics and their extracurricular activities is worthy of recognition.

"These kids not only have to be a leader on the field or wherever their activity is, but in the classroom as well," he said. "For the teachers to choose these four says a lot about them."