Academic All-Stars

Seventh grade: Emily Garza, Ahwahnee Middle School

Emily Garza is taking steps to go “above and beyond” to help others, said her world history teacher.
Emily Garza is taking steps to go “above and beyond” to help others, said her world history teacher.

Seventh-grader Emily Garza is taking steps to go “above and beyond” to help others, said Stephen Ruiz, her world history teacher.

Ruiz said Garza, who attends Ahwahnee Middle School, wants to get an A+, but she also wants to help other students if they need assistance with their work.

“In the classroom, she’s helping students that are struggling or is trying to include other students,” Ruiz said. “She’s assisting students academically, but also socially.”

When Garza saw a girl by herself at school, she went up to her. Today, Ruiz said, the two are best friends.

“She demonstrates what it means to be a hard worker, somebody that goes above and beyond but not just for herself, but (for) others,” Ruiz said.

Garza recently made an anti-bullying video with her drama class, participated in Coats for Kids, assisted in making 200 care packages for Terry’s House, and has been a Girl Scout for five years and is now a Cadette.

Christi Keiffer said her daughter “cares about other people more than she cares about herself. She puts other people before herself all the time.”

Keiffer said Garza hopes to become her school’s eighth grade president and will be aiding seventh graders during orientation and the first week of school in the fall.

“I’m really proud of her,” Keiffer said. “She’s always trying to make the world a better place.”


Age: 13

School: Ahwahnee Middle, Fresno

Home: Clovis

Parents: Christi Keiffer and Leonard Garza

Achievements: 4.0 GPA, won first place during Pentathlon for her final essay and fifth place for overall history content, is a Girl Scout, participates in Coats for Kids, and assisted in 200 care packages for Terry’s House.

Honorable mention

GARRETT FOX, 12, Clovis

School: Alta Sierra Intermediate, Clovis

Parents: Randy and Leanne Fox

Achievements: Garrett is a 4.0 GPA, straight A student who participates in music, leadership, sports and volunteering. He won second place at the 2017 Fresno County Science Fair, was his school’s student body president during the spring semester and is in both math and science honor classes.

NADIA NURSE, 13, Fresno

School: Ahwahnee Middle, Fresno

Parent: Patrica Shaw

Achievements: Teacher Debra Todd said Nurse has Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a bone marrow failure disorder that results in insufficient production of red blood cells, forcing Nurse to receive a blood transfusion every three weeks. Todd teaches Nurse at her home five hours per week and said Nurse reads above the 11th grade level and is an honor roll student.