As many of you may have heard, Ronnie Pallares, an Alta Loma graduate from the class of 2008, died in combat last weekend when insurgents attacked his unit stationed in Afghanistan.
Ronnie Pallares was a student in my English class during his senior year. During the first week of school, when everyone did their introductions, he stated without any hesitation that his post-high school plan was to join the Army. That was the motivation he had to graduate and the moment he started having trouble in the class, he immediately re-doubled his efforts to make sure that his goal could be realized. Besides that dedication, I remember his laugh and smile most. He never said an unkind word during his tenure in my class.
When an army recruiter came to speak that year, he and Ronnie were already familiar with one another. The recruiter took the time to single Ronnie out because he had already made the commitment to join, dependent on his graduating that June. I had no qualms telling him that he had nothing to worry about when it came to Ronnie.
I'm proud to say that I knew Ronnie and sad that it took his passing to dedicate my thoughts his way. He did what I know I couldn't, and he'll always have my respect and gratitude for that.