This month's student representative on the San Diego County Board of Education is Jennifer, a senior at San Pasqual Academy.
In addition to her school work, Jennifer keeps busy by volunteering at UrbanSurf4Kids, Malala Fund, Big Animals for Little Kids, and helping feed people experiencing homelessness. She's also a member of the school's Key Club, a former Associated Student Body president, and an athlete in volleyball and softball.
Each month, the County Board of Education recognizes a student from the San Diego County Office of Education's (SDCOE) Juvenile Court and Community Schools program at its regular meeting.
"In addition to giving the board a chance to honor a student, participation in the meeting also gives students valuable experience in leadership," said Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County Superintendent of Schools.
After she graduates next year, Jennifer plans to go to college and major in sociology.
School counselor Juan Orozco helped to push her to succeed academically and reach her potential, she said.
Jennifer encourages other students to no let other people's expectations affect whether they reach their goals.
"Nobody is going to achieve your goals for you," she said. "You have to do it yourself. Don't let people tell you that you can't achieve your goals. You can do anything you set your mind to."
San Pasqual Academy is a residential campus in Escondido that serves about 50 foster teens. It opened in 2001 and was the first school in the country to specifically serve this population.
SDCOE's Juvenile Court and Community Schools program educates nearly 5,000 students each year who are either wards of the court or have been referred by social services, Probation, or one of the county's 42 school districts. Services are provided at more than 20 sites across the county to students who are incarcerated, pregnant or parenting, in foster care, expelled, chronically truant, in drug treatment centers and group homes for neglected or abused children, and experiencing homelessness.