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Hart honors outstanding occupational students

Valencia High senior Robert Santilli named Outstanding Student of the Year

Posted: April 9, 2008 2:05 a.m.
Updated: June 10, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Robert Santilli, center, has been named Regional Occupational Program Student of the Year. With him are gold medalists, clockwise from left, Adriana Farrell, Darren Young, Kevin Chang, Katie Jurado and Carinne Urrutia.

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Robert Santilli, a senior at Valencia High School, has been named Outstanding Student of the Year by the William S. Hart Union High School District's Regional Occupational Program.

Santilli's award came at the climax of a pirate-themed ROP Advisory Committee annual meeting and awards dinner held April 1, which drew hundreds of students and parents as well as business and community leaders who serve on the ROP Advisory Committee.

Santilli was nominated for the award by John Moskal, his teacher in the ROP Hotel Operations class.
"It is so refreshing to find a student who hungers for knowledge,"  Moskal said in his nomination. "Robert is always challenging me with thought-provoking questions in order to understand fully the responsibilities of the hospitality industry."

ROP classes are designed to provide academic studies and hands-on training in entry-level job skills.
Santilli was among 18 students singled out to receive gold, silver and bronze medals at the awards dinner; 84 students were nominated by their ROP teachers for the honor. The medals were awarded in six career clusters, and the gold medalists will represent the Hart district ROP in Olympic Chapter competition later this spring.

Gold medalists, and the classes for which they were nominated, include: Adriana Farrell, fashion merchandising; Katie Jurado, child care; Kevin Chang, pharmacy assistant; Carinne Urrutia, entertainment/performance occupations; Darren Young, graphic arts/offset lithography; and Santilli.

Silver medalists include Jessica Rubio, Ava Bardsley, Hayley Huggs, Jennifer Kerrigan, Theodore Kredo and Mark Robinson. Bronze medals went to Matt Allman, Megan-Marie Mills, Stephanie Aguilar, Gaylord Brown, Tiffany Futrell and Gabriel Jenkins.

Medal winners were selected on the basis of essays they wrote on what ROP has meant to them and on personal interviews before a panel of business and community leaders. Gold medalists went through a second set of interviews to select the ROP Student of the Year.

The ROP Entertainment class provided those gathered with a lively choreographed number, complete with sword fights and a treasure chest full of ROP classes. Student emcees Kristen Reshes from Saugus High School and Nico Bernal from Valencia High School kept the program moving along and introduced ROP graduates Cindy Bordelon and Deputy Michael Deschamps, guest speakers who recounted the impact that ROP classes had on their current success.

A number of ROP classes played a role in producing the program, from floral arrangements and decorations to food service, photography and uniformed students from the law academy and fire fighting technology classes who led the flag salute.

The program also saluted Cody Pratt, a senior from Saugus High School, who designed the winning poster used to promote the dinner.

Cody created his award-winning design in his ROP desktop publishing class.

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