Josiah Hernandez is a student leader at La Mesa Community School with some of the highest grades in his class.
It wasn't always that way, though. When the 17-year-old started at the school a couple of years ago, he made bad decisions that landed him in serious trouble.
Josiah said his teacher Aimee Trevino helped him when he was going through tough times to realize the importance of family and academic success.
"She was not only there for me, but also for my family," he said. "That was very important to me. I never had a teacher that put so much effort into me as a person, and that's why I changed my ways."
Josiah was recognized last month by the County Board of Education as this quarter's Winners' Circle award recipient. The award honors Juvenile Court and Community Schools students who have made outstanding progress and achievement.
"I've never been awarded anything in my life," he told the board at the Jan. 10 meeting. "It's an honor seeing people proud of me."
After he graduates this year, Josiah plans to join the military before heading to a university to study business.
His advice to other students is to take advantage of the supports available to them.
"The teachers are here to help and actually care," he said.