WEST BOUNTIFUL - One student took top honors in a marketing competition and organized a warm clothing drive.
Another overcame struggles to receive teacher accolades for being an example of “studiousness” to other students.
Two Mountain High School students who have turned their lives around were honored by the Bountiful Breakfast Exchange Club last week for their accomplishments.
Jose Valdez and Joseph Tirko were honored by the club as students of the month for November and December. They received plaques that will be hung at the school along with previous honorees.
Valdez is vice president of the school's DECA club and recently won top honors in his category at the Syracuse High Invitational DECA Competition, according to a nomination presented by Mountain High School Career and Technology Education Coordinator Kristi Yamada.
DECA is an international association of high school and college students and teachers of marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality and marketing sales and service.
Valdez organized a warm clothing drive for St. Anne's homeless shelter in Ogden.
“When he took all the clothing to be delivered, he noticed kids at the shelter and asked what more could be done,” the nomination said. “This led to our DECA club organizing a toy drive for the kids at the shelter for Christmas.”
The nomination went on to say Valdez “is quick to apply the concepts he learns and asks deep, meaningful questions."
He told club members he wants to continue his education in music and become a producer.
Tirko plans to become a diesel mechanic and has enrolled in classes at the Davis Applied Technology College.
The honoree “faces every challenge with determination and a smile," according to the nomination mad by one of Tirko's teachers.
The young man struggled at the first of the year, “…but something clicked and he has consistently met his goal of earning two or more credits per grading period,” the nomination said.
“I decided I didn't really want to sit at home the rest of my life and I wanted to make money,” he told club members.
In her nomination, Tirko's teacher described him as a good role model for his studiousness.
“He helps other students by being kind and willing to help,” the nomination said. “I think Joe is a remarkable young man who exemplifies what Mountain High is all about "that our pasts don't dictate our futures, our work and choices in the present do.”