Lucy Freeman’s teacher says in her 31 years of teaching, she has never seen a more caring or loving student than Lucy.
“When we celebrate a student’s birthday, Lucy always makes a card and brings a wrapped gift,” teacher Jill Nakamura says. “Now, other students are doing the same thing for others in our classroom.”
An avid cello player, Lucy has been playing since she was 5, practicing 25 to 30 minutes each day, her mother says. She plays in the orchestra at Manchester GATE and has been in the Fresno-Madera Music Educators Association Honor Orchestra for the past two years.
She also takes private lessons in the Suzuki method. “She spends a lot of time dedicated to the instrument everyday,” her mom, Stephanie Freeman, says. “Sometimes she can’t go out and play with the neighbors. It’s a big commitment.”
The fourth child of five girls, Lucy is a role model to her peers and sweet to her siblings. “She is thoughtful, kind, and very focused on her academics,” Nakamura says.
Lucy attends the Rock and Insect Club at Manchester GATE and participates in school performances. She attends Mini Melodies – a chorus group – twice a week and she was a finalist in the Peach Blossom Festival.
Lucy also plays soccer, and at home she loves playing catch with her dad. Lucy says she wants to be a teacher when she grows up, but her mom says that could always change, because Lucy is so curious about the world around her. “Compared to my other children, she likes to explore,” she says. “Lucy is crafty.”
School: Manchester GATE
Parents: Jordan and Stephanie Freeman
Achievements: Honor and Intermediate Orchestra, Peach Blossom Finalist, Rock and Insect Club, plays soccer.
Samuel Troxell, 8, Fresno
School: Manchester GATE
Parents: Jon and Cathy Troxell
Achievements: Classmates love the positive energy and sense of humor Samuel brings to the classroom, teacher Jill Nakamura says. Samuel created fliers and formed a Rock and Insect Club that meets every Monday at recess. “It was supposed to only go until December, but it became so popular, that he decided to continue it to the end of the year,” Nakamura says. Samuel, who attended Sunset Elementary’s dual immersion program, is bilingual in Spanish. He was also a finalist in the Peach Blossom Festival, and participates in orchestra, the Young Authors Faire, crochet, and the talent show. He also won second place in Manchester’s chess tournament. Outside of school, Samuel plays for the Sunnyside Lonestar Baseball League and attends Sunday School.
Sophia Cabrera-Ornelas, 8, Fresno
School: Malaga Elementary
Parents: Brenda Ornelas and Juan Cabrera
Achievements: A natural born leader who is not afraid to stand out in the crowd, “Sophia is a passionate learner who comes to school each and every day with a twinkle in her eye and a burning fire in her heart,” teacher Elaine Yanez says. Sophia has perfect attendance, has exceeded her accelerated reading goal all year, and was the first in her class to receive a student of the month award. She also earned the FLY Citizen award and the highest honor at the Peach Blossom Festival. Sophia also shows a passion for reading that she shares with others. “I will never forget her loving and kind nature as she spent her recess reading to a student who so desperately wanted to read a page out of ‘Because of Winn Dixie,’” Yanez said. “Her work ethic is incredible, as she never does the bare minimum, but strives to always read, write, and help more.”