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 Student Spotlight: Luis Avina of Breaking Cycles

board member Mark Powell with student representative Luis AvinaLuis Avina is a model student in and out of the classroom at Breaking Cycles School in San Marcos.

“Luis is driven and motivated to succeed,” said Joel Spengler, principal of Juvenile Court and Community Schools’ (JCCS) North County sites. “He is well-respected by his peers and leads by example.”

Luis was honored by the San Diego County Board of Education on March 21 for his exceptional work when he was given the opportunity to sit in as the student board representative.

Luis, a junior, also is known for his good manners and exceptional behavior. His teachers call him a welcome asset in the classroom.

“Luis asserts himself in all subject disciplines and often assist other students who may struggle or don’t understand an assignment,” Spengler said. “He supports the teachers’ classroom management by ensuring that others students are on task and engaged.”

At school, Luis is an Ambassador, serving as a leader among classmates, and a member of the Seekers Club, actively involved in Saturday school and taking advantage of extra learning opportunities.

Luis’ advice to fellow teens who may be struggling is focused firmly on education.

“All the problems you have now can go away if you focus on school and do the right things,” Luis said. “You may have big things in your way at home or at school, but if you focus on yourself and your goals you can get through anything.”

Luis has overcome several hurdles in his life and is a testament to the power of positive thinking, Spengler said, adding that “he has a passion for learning and now finds school to be a fun learning environment.”

Luis now has his sights set on joining the armed forces, graduating college, and launching a career as an electrical engineer. And this busy 17-year-old isn’t just working hard at school and at home; he’s also a member of the Dance Team Fuego in Vista, and has performed the traditional Mexican dance at events across county.

Luis, who lives in Vista with his mother and two younger brothers, credits his mother for his progress, saying that she never gave up on him, “even when he was really messing up. She always knew I could do better.”

Each month, the County Board of Education recognizes a student from SDCOE's Juvenile Court and Community Schools at its regular meeting. In addition to giving the board a chance to honor a student, participation in the meeting also gives students like Luis a valuable experience in leadership, said Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County Superintendent of Schools.