Having shown determination to succeed in the midst of dealing with their own serious health challenges, two Chino High seniors were each awarded a $1,000 college scholarship from the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 12.   

Country Springs Principal Tom Mackessy, representing CHAMP, the district’s management employee group, introduced Valeria Montes and Alexis Buss and their families at a school board meeting this spring.   

Valeria Montes suffered brain trauma from a bicycle accident that occurred while she was a freshman honors student at Chino High.  

Despite making progress through extensive rehabilitation, some effects of the accident, including vertigo, have remained with her to this day.  

Valeria had attended the district’s Alternative Education Center and Buena Vista Continuation High, where she received help to able to catch up on her credits. 

This school year she was able to return to Chino High to graduate with her class. 

Valeria credits the extra support she received from her teachers and counselors and said she is prepared to attend college.   

Alexis Buss, the daughter of Howard Cattle Elementary principal Steve Buss and Liberty Elementary teacher Tracy Buss, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was a young child. 

After having chemotherapy, she had to work harder to maintain high academics, her mother said.  

Alexis has been active in various school activities, including sports and Odyssey of the Mind creative challenge teams.

Additionally, she has raised more than $40,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and has also represented the organization in several fundraising efforts.    

Alexis said that cancer had given her a better understanding of the importance of family, has taught her about human kindness and has given her perseverance, which she added has helped to prepare her for college. 

She will attend San Jose State University to study forensic science.  

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