Miguel Becerra and Kyla Jackman, both seniors, are Grand County High School’s October student-of-the-month recipients.

School personnel say that Miguel Becerra, son of Angel Becerra and Irma Ortega, is “a respectful and focused young man” who navigates challenges with grace and grit.

“He speaks up in class and volunteers vibrant connections that create a climate of positive curiosity and engagement. He is an innovative thinker,” said one staff member.

Miguel says that his favorite classes are automotive, English and P.E., since he “enjoys the environment” of auto and English classes while physical education gives him an outlet because he “likes to be active.”

As an underclassman, Miguel was involved in extracurricular activities from marching band to track to tennis. Now as an upperclassman, he works a lot during the tourist season at Miguel’s Baja Grill as a busser and a host.

Miguel says that he has learned in school “a lot about how different passions are achieved. A lot of work is put in just so we can live our ideal lives, and sometimes we never even think twice about it. “

Donny McCandless, his auto shop teacher, has much to add.

“Miguel embodies excellence in a lot of different ways. He is a friend to most and seems to always be thinking about the people around him. He knows what direction he is heading in life and what it's going to take to accomplish it,” said McCandless. “I think what I enjoy most about Miguel is that he has this almost satiric, laid-back humor that leaves a person intrigued and sometimes questioning their own thoughts and actions. Miguel is a shop manager in fifth- and sixth-hour auto classes and for good reason. You can always rely on Miguel to be the first to step up when you need help. I am very proud of him.”

Miguel plans to pursue an associate’s degree in auto technology and, after his training, plans to work in a performance shop.

Miguel says that he has learned “just because something isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean you can’t find a world of beauty within it.”

On a different note, he says that he has learned that “life is hard and disappointing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.”

Kyla Ariana Jackman

Kyla Ariana Jackman, daughter of Christina and Ryan Jackman, does everything to the best of her ability with a smile and a positive attitude. She is a ‘lean in’ person who listens to others with every fiber of her being and who takes learning at its best, according to school personnel.

Kyla’s favorite courses at GCHS have been in oil painting and advanced drawing, and she was selected as the school’s 2020 Visual Arts Sterling Scholar due to her talents, skills and efforts.

Kyla is very busy with both artistic and athletic extracurriculars, including Broadway Junior and art club and tennis and swimming. She has been co-captain of the tennis team and captain of the swim team. She volunteers regularly for events like the Moab Arts Festival Kids Tent, the Moab Arts Festival Planning Committee, creating digital art tutorials for students at Helen M. Knight Elementary School and being a Broadway Junior leader. Kyla has worked at the local pool for three years as a lifeguard.

“Kyla is a bright, fun, free-spirited girl. Her mind is open to life, and she genuinely listens to others’ thoughts and opinions,” Catherine Moore, one of her art teachers, said. “Although she is excellent at focusing on her art projects, Kyla also is an active participant in school life and family activities. She cheers on her school at athletic events and is her little brother's biggest fan at mountain biking races. Kyla is loved by her classmates and was voted in for Homecoming court this school year.”

“With art, I don't need to articulate a well-thought-out explanation to express what's in my head,” said Kyla. “I can have a vision that makes the experience meaningful to me, and then if that vision is met I can admire and understand it as the creator. The beautiful part is, if the viewers don't feel the same feelings I meant for my art to inspire, that doesn't make me a failure as the creator or them as the viewer!”

Kyla said that she would advise other students not to “let other people’s opinions (or I guess your fear of what their opinions might be) dictate what you choose to do with your high school experience.”

She says that school has taught her how to love, connect and interact with a lot of different types of people. She plans to go to college to pursue her passion for art and music.

Congratulations to Miguel and Kyla from the GCHS faculty, staff and administration! Cheers to your excellence.