Academic All-Stars

First grade, Vincent Manganaan, Marshall Elementary

Vincent Manganaan


Marshall Elementary (Fowler Unified)

Age: 7

Home: Fowler

Parents: Carmen and Curt Manganaan

Achievements: All E's or a GPA of 4.0, student of the month for a Character Pillar, a Star Reader and a Cub Scout.

Vincent Manganaan is not the first young scholar in his family to be an Academic All-Star nominee, but he holds the trump card over his older brother nominated last year.

Carmen Manganaan, the mother of the two budding academic rivals, said the nomination was recognition enough for her first-grader at Marshall Elementary School in Fowler, but winning was a proud moment.

"When we heard he won, it was like winning an Olympic medal," Manganaan said. "For the first week after whenever I thought about it, I cried. I was just so proud of him."

That pride is shared by Lynn Porter, the teacher who nominated Vincent.

"There isn't anything he can't do," Porter said. "He might be an author or an illustrator or both. He writes his own stories and then he will edit them."

Reading and writing are favorite activities for Vincent in school. A Star Reader in his class, he already knows what he likes.

"You get to know new things when you read stories," Vincent said. "I like the stories that are funny and have a lot of detail."

A clue about what Vincent's future profession will be is the dinosaur toys in his home.

"I want to dig up dinosaurs," Vincent said. "I like dinosaurs because they're big and they have sharp claws and sharp teeth."

An avid Cub Scout with belt loops, Vincent also has badges ranging from geology -- appropriate for a future paleontologist -- to archery.

Honorable mention

Samuel Badilla, 7, Reedley

School: Alta Elementary (Kings Canyon Unified)

Parents: Joe and Sandra Badilla

Described as a humble overachiever by his teacher, Benti Dueck, Samuel's maturity allows him to guide his peers through difficult tasks. "He's very good at coaching other students in reading and with computers," Dueck said. "He can troubleshoot a computer like a teenager." Dueck added that Samuel has a thirst for knowledge. Evidence of that is his third-grade reading level, perfect writing and math scores on tests and his comfort with computers. Samuel's academic record shows he's advanced in all areas and he is a math All-Star. Not to be dismissed from Samuel's list of achievements, Dueck said he can do an impressive rendition of the "Gangnam Style" dance routine.

Xeema Singha, 7, Fowler

School: Marshall Elementary (Fowler Unified)

Parents: Debajyoti and Gitashree Singha

A young author, Xeema was the first student in the first grade to have her book in the student author section of the school's library. Her stories are set in the real world and involve the school and its students. "She takes the character on adventures," said her teacher Lisa Gionfriddo. "When she has free time at her desk, she's writing stories and illustrating them. Then she reads them to students." Gionfriddo said that Xeema's "bubbly" and "authentic" personality helped her to become a "Group Captain" in the class. "The whole class is her friend," Gionfriddo said. She added that if students need anything, Xeema will bring extra material for them to use. Her academic record is the equivalent of a 4.0 GPA.

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