Academic All-Stars

First grade: Arthur Kandarian, Marshall Elementary School

Arthur Kandarian is a 7-year-old whose learning passions “ignited a little fire” in the classroom.
Arthur Kandarian is a 7-year-old whose learning passions “ignited a little fire” in the classroom.

After about 21 years of teaching, Lisa Gionfriddo said she has never had such a standout student as Arthur Kandarian.

In her class of 25 students at Marshall Elementary School in Fowler, Gionfriddo said the 7-year-old boy seems to have “ignited a little fire” of excitement for learning.

“You can tell that he really likes to be a team player,” Gionfriddo said.

By the looks of it, Arthur started his own book club in class, Gionfriddo said. A group of boys in her class stack books on their desks and read them throughout the day. The books are chapter-sized, too.

Gionfriddo said the class recently started reading Magic Treehouse books. They have become a favorite for Arthur, who asks his mom to pack him books before a road trip and often begs her to buy him books.

Arthur’s competitive edge is not only shown in the classroom, but on sports fields, too. He plays several sports for several teams, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA in school.

Mother Michelle Kandarian said Arthur has made it onto all-star teams for the sports he enjoys. He currently plays in the traveling Fowler Rebels soccer team, and also plays baseball on the Cal Ripken team and goes batting with his dad and sister. He is also a swimmer on the Fowler Sea Dragons team.

Arthur’s busy schedule can be challenging. But his mom said his “self-starter” attitude helps him give his 110 percent energy and focus to everything he does.

“If something doesn’t go right, he’s not going to come home and pout about it,” Michelle Kandarian said. Instead, Arthur finds different ways to resolve his issues, whether they are at home or at school.


Age: 7

School: Marshall Elementary School, Fowler

Home: Fowler

Parents: Michelle and Kevin Kandarian

Achievements: 4.0 GPA, reads above his grade level and will receive the Fresno County Service Award as well as the Silver Presidential Service Award for his community service hours.

Honorable mention


School: Marshall Elementary School, Fowler

Parents: Susan and Kimberley Stewart

Achievements: A 4.0 GPA student, Kansas is considered an insightful student who contributes to classroom discussions. Her perfect attendance is matched by her eagerness to learn, her teacher Shauna Haller said. Kansas is committed to helping others. She has earned the Service Learning medal.


School: Marshall Elementary School, Fowler

Parents: Jesse and Kristen Michel

Achievements: Jesse is considered by his teacher Shauna Haller to have exceptional characteristics like responsibility, courage and honesty. His attitude is believed to be a positive influence to those around him. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA in school.