Academic All-Stars

Fourth grade, Jacob David Lucero, Riverview Elementary

Jacob David Lucero


Riverview Elementary School (Clovis Unified)

Age: 9

Home: Fresno

Parents: Delfina and Antonio Lucero

Achievements: 4.0 GPA, world champion martial arts, cross country, choir, wrestling, drama, robotics.

Those who know 9-year-old Jacob Lucero say he's a jack of all trades.

The fourth-grader at Riverview Elementary was named World Eskrima-Kali-Arnis Federation world champion in 2012 when he traveled to the Philippines and won gold, silver and bronze medals in Filipino stick-fighting martial arts.

Even though martial arts have been in his life as long as he can remember, Jacob's interest vary.

While maintaining a 4.0 GPA, he has participated in many clubs including cross country, track and field, wrestling, choir, drama and his new favorite -- robotics, where he builds a robot, invents an obstacle course and creates the computer programming for it.

"I like creating anything I want, it makes me feel good," he said.

Jacob, who spends his free time drawing and painting, was a winner of the National Garden Clubs Smokey Bear poster contest. His accolades include the Principal's Honor Roll Award, perfect attendance, commitment to character award and President Volunteer Service award. He's participated in a long list of community service events including Kids Day and the March for Babies, has assisted competitors at the Disney Martial Arts Festival and helps at the Marjaree Mason Center.

Kim Sisk, his teacher, describes Jacob as a "diligent, hardworking and honest student."

Last year, Jacob's determination to reach his goals was put to the test after he was run over by a truck during a bike ride with his family. He was taken to Children's Hospital Central California with injuries that were not life-threatening.

He insisted on going to school, even if it meant having to use a wheelchair for three weeks.

"My head didn't get hurt, just my legs," Jacob told a doctor who had suggested time off from school.

Honorable mention

Cassara Armstrong, 10, Fowler

School: Fremont Elementary School, Fowler Unified

Parents: Cassandra and Chris Armstrong

Achievements: Diagnosed with leukemia when she was 7, Cassara has succeeded in the classroom and inspired change in her community. Even after undergoing chemotherapy and beating cancer, she carries a 4.0 GPA. Cassara used her experience to educate others and inspired school service projects including Pennies for Patients and the "Sticker it to Cancer" sticker drive, in which Cassara asked classmates to help collect new packages of stickers for the oncology department at Children's Hospital. She is the recipient of the "courage" character award and participates in many organizations, including the Science Olympiad team and Girl Scouts. Cassara and her mother are avid fundraisers and participants in the Light the Night Walk, Relay for Life walks and St. Baldrick's Foundation. "I have learned a great deal from Cassara and admire her strength and courage," teacher Jennifer Ayon said.

Robynn Huber, 10, Kerman

School: Sun Empire Elementary School, Kerman Unified

Parents: Tim and Elisa Huber

Achievements: Along with being a peer mediator mentoring first and second-graders, Robynn is a member of the community service club and participates in the "Super Reader After School Book Club." Robynn stays on top of her academics, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She has been named student of the month for gratitude and received the Principal's Award. She volunteers at the library once a week and often asks teachers if they need any help. Robynn also has a passion for sports, including gymnastics, dancing and playing softball on the All Stars team. Last year, Robynn participated in the 3-mile walk for the American Cancer Society. "She is a gifted writer and student," teacher Kary Garcia said.

Malka Nijjer, 9, Kerman

School: Liberty Elementary School, Kerman Unified

Parents: Gurtirth Nijjer and Navjot Gill

Achievements: When she's not helping at the local ASPCA, chances are Malka is at school or volunteering in her community. Malka participates in her school's journalism club, chess club, bully busters club, and the community service club. She's involved with gymnastics and loves horseback riding. With her love for animals, she one day hopes to become a veterinarian. Despite her hectic schedule, she manages to keep a 4.0 GPA and strives for excellence. Her accolades include the Principal's Award, honorable mention for 2012 Young Author's Faire and student of the month. "Malka is a perfect role model and leader for her peers," her teacher Melanie Hawkins said.

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