Rotary Students Of The December – 2023

Photo Provided By Deer Park Rotary Club
The high school students pictured from left to right are Jacob Fausti of Deer Park High School, Blake Koesel of Riverside High School, and Teko Cates of Mary Walker High School.

The Deer Park Rotary Club members picked three students for December’s Student of the Month.

Deer Park School District
Jacob Fausti is a fantastic student, active in the Welding Program and Future Farmers of America(FFA) program at Deer Park High School. Jacob began by thanking Deer Park Rotary Club for having him as Student of the Month and Miss Whitmore for nominating him as well as Principal Feist. 

Engaged in the Welding after school program for three yearsl, Jacob attributes his knowledge to his best friend, Brady, who mentored him in welding. Last year, Brady dominated all the competitions even though Jacob beat him at Riverside and Newport at the beginning of the year. They ended up being the top two guys competing the whole year. Brady’s success in regionals, securing the first position in the state, and placing 26th in Nationals served as inspiration for Jacob, who aspires to achieve similar accomplishments this year.

Practically living in the shop, Jacob is a regular presence every morning, teaching fellow students or working on fabrication projects. Recently venturing into a generator welder application business, he aims to generate additional funds for college. He was accepted at the University of Idaho and will work as much as possible in the summer. 

As an active FFA member, Jacob holds the role of State Delegate for Deer Park. He represented Deer Park at the State Convention and the National Convention. Jacob had a lot of fun in FFA and said it’s a lot more than just for farmers. There are hundreds of skills you can learn.

Beyond his academic pursuits, Jacob enjoys supporting his school by attending football and basketball games with friends. His hobbies include playing the guitar, engaging in leatherworking, carpentry, fixing things, and independently exploring various trades.

Riverside School District
Riverside’s Student of the Month, Blake Koesel, is literally top-notch. Of the things around school, he’s either involved in them, supports them, or has a hand in them. Blake started by thanking the Rotary Club for what they do to improve this community and serve others. 

Serving as both the Senior Class President and the FFA President, Blake recently participated in the Agriscience Fair in Nashville. Alongside his partner, he achieved fifth place in Animal Science at the Nationals. A week and a half later, he got to go to Louisville, Kentucky, to judge Livestock in the National Competition, where friends of his from Riverside and Newport 32nd against people from all across the country.

In addition to his academic achievements, Blake actively participates in football, basketball, and golf. He lives and works on a farm. This summer, he got involved in the North County Pantry work and intends on doing it again this winter. Maintaining an impressive 4.0 GPA, Blake finds leisure in golfing, fishing and is in the process of learning to play the guitar.

One of the things he really appreciates is the culture at Riverside. Students are proud of Riverside, and he thanks the administration. His future plan is to go to an Agri-based college and get his undergraduate and then go to Veterinary School, become a veterinarian, and hopefully come back to this area.

Mary Walker School District
Teko Cates, Mary Walker’s Student of the Month, is an athlete known for how well he treats others. Hailing from a family with a rich farming legacy, including dairy, hay, and alpaca farming, Teko’s late grandmother was a dairy farmer overseeing approximately 800 acres.

Passionate about mathematics, Teko is currently in precalculus and aspires to pursue a college education with a physics major, specifically astrophysics. His involvement in track began in the sixth grade, inspired by his mother’s state-level competitions. He is the Triple Jump State Champion. Last year he scored 40 points at the track meet at high jump, long jump, triple jump, and the 200, which put his team in first place. They took home the trophy. 

While Teko is also involved in football and basketball, a shoulder injury prevented his participation this year. His biggest accomplishment was in the Junior Olympics, where he placed second. He gives credit to his coach in Olympia, who gave him a chance to prove he’s an athlete. With an impressive 3.9 GPA, Teko holds the position of salutatorian, while his sister, a previous Student of the Month, is the valedictorian with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

His future plan is to go to a four-year college. He has applied at the University of Oregon and has been accepted to Arizona State. Engaged in community service activities such as participating in School Trash Day and fundraising for a trip to Japan, Teko has been a part of Upward Bound since his freshman year, an experience that has broadened his perspective on college opportunities. When asked, he said his high jump is 6.9, and he is expecting an offer from the University of Oregon, where he’d like to go.

What is the Deer Park Rotary Club?

The Rotary Club of Deer Park is about serving others, building relationships, and developing the next generation of leaders. Its annual fundraising events provide scholarships and educational activities for local students. In addition, every month they select and honor outstanding high school students within our community. Their programs are for more than just club members. For more information or how to make a difference in your community through Rotary, visit:

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