Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Rising Star of the Month

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something….True


Bret Schanzenbach
CEO at Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce
Last summer my oldest daughter got married, and the Old English rhyme, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” popped up. When you research the origins of this cute little tradition it really is just a fun poem to wish good luck to the bride and groom (the original version also mentioned “a sixpence in your shoe”). So, in the same vain of serendipity, I have rewritten the rhyme for a new program here at the chamber called Rising Star of the Month. Our rhyme is, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something true”.

Rising Star of the Month:

I started a Rising Star of the Month program over five years ago at the Vista Chamber of Commerce (something old), that we are very excited to bring to Carlsbad this fall. While there are many diverse “student of the month” programs, this program is laser focused on a very specific mission statement and target. First of all, this program is a breakfast that honors one high school senior from each of our area high schools each month. The mission statement is as follows:

To bring the community together to honor our local high school seniors for demonstrating character, integrity, love of learning, involvement in school and community activities and/or the ability to overcome challenging life circumstances without compromising their education. The core of the Rising Star of the Month is the student who makes a difference in their home, school and community with sincerity and passion.

My favorite part of this program is how it targets those students who have overcome challenging life circumstances without compromising their education. I have nothing against those students with the super high GPA’s. I was one myself (Valedictorian of Vista High in 1986…if you adjusted my graduating GPA back then for inflation, it would be like 19.67 today!). Needless to say, I have the utmost respect for those high performing students since I know from experience how much it takes to achieve at that level. But this program is focused on those kids who have “overcome”.

Overcoming Obstacles:

In my 5 years of coordinating the Rising Star Program, we heard from students who had cancer, heart conditions, seizures and more; students who lost parents, loved ones and caregivers; students who fled their countries of origin due to economic crisis, political unrest amongst other reasons; and students who were homeless, had been virtual drop-outs and/or had made poor life decisions (something true). The common thread with all the stories we heard was that they all made a decision at some point to put their education as a priority.


I would be sincerely remiss if I did not acknowledge my mentor for this program, Sally Meyer, the owner of the Sizzler Restaurant in Oceanside (78 Freeway at the Plaza exit). She has been running a program just like this in five school districts in Riverside County for over 20 years (something borrowed). I am grateful for her passion for students and her willingness to share.

Rising Star of the Year:

One facet of the Rising Star of the Month program is scholarships. Our goal is to give at least one scholarship/participating high school at the end of the school year. In Vista we gave away over $50,000 in scholarships over 5 years. I share this to ask for support from our local community. Breakfasts and scholarships don’t happen without support. If this sounds like the kind of program that your company can support, please contact us and together, let’s make something new!

Carlsbad Business Journal