Yosemite High School's 17 valedictorians for 2013 -- seniors who will graduate June 7 with 4.0 cumulative grade point averages or higher -- were honored May 2 during the 27th Annual Paul & Martha Pitman Awards Banquet at Sierra Meadows Country Club in Ahwahnee.
The event is held in remembrance of Dr. Paul and Martha Pitman, educators who retired and moved to Oakhurst, soon becoming a driving force behind the formation of Yosemite High.
Superintendent James Sargent welcomed the 75 students, family members and Yosemite High staff who attended the event.
"What was most impressive about the students who were honored is not just that they excelled academically but that they were able to excel in so many other areas and activities throughout their years at Yosemite High," Sargent said after the banquet. "They are outstanding representatives of the school and the community and I only wish that all of our elementary and middle school students and their parents could have been there to see and hear about their accomplishments. They would have been inspired."
Sargent said Yosemite High School is truly blessed to be supported by a community that cares so much about their youth.
The 17 valedictorians of the 2013 YHS graduating class are:
Margaret Brewer: President of the Drama Club and Academic Decathlon team, and vice president of the Mock Trial team, Brewer also participated in Key Club/Interact and peer mediation. She was chosen as Yosemite's Girls State delegate, was named the the outstanding defense attorney in this year's Madera County Mock Trial competition and won silver medals for speech, interview and math at the county Academic Decathlon. She was also a member of the Badger golf team.
Cayla Brosi: Member of Key Club/Interact and captain of the pep team, Brosi has been on the school's honor roll all four years and is a member of the Badger softball team.
Carson Burton: Member of the California Scholastic Federation, Burton also participated in soccer, golf and cross country.
Matthew Davenport: Member of the California Scholastic Federation, Davenport was a member of Key Club/Interact, is an Eagle Scout and played basketball for Yosemite.
Daman Gill: Life member of California Scholastic Federation and member of Key Club/Interact, mock trial and academic decathlon teams.
Chris Grant: President of Interact Club and member of California Scholastic Federation, Grant was also captain of the soccer team and ran cross country and was on the league champion golf team. Grant won first place at the Central California Science, Math, and Engineering Fair, and is a recipient of Fresno State President's Award.
Kylie Johnson: Life member of California Scholastic Federation, Johnson placed second at the Regional Science Fair and was this year's cheer captain. She's involved with ASB, the State Science Fair and a member of Key Club/Interact and Library Club. She's been named scholar athlete six times and was the recipient of the "Studley Badger" award in swimming.
Christopher Kanaley: Member of Key Club/Interact, jazz band, wind ensemble and mock trial team. Kanaley, a Badger football team captain, was second team all-league lineman and was also named to the all-league academic team.
Jordan Keyser: Served as California Scholastic Federation publicist, Key Club/Interact publicist, Science Club secretary and co-president of the Library Club. Keyser was also a member of the Academic Decathlon team and was a Girls State nominee. The only girl in the history of the school to be named North Sequoia League Most Valuable Player in golf four consecutive years and qualified three times for the CIF Southern Section Championship Tournament. She is also a member of the swim team and was a CIF Central Section Scholar Athlete of the Year nominee.
Michael Leath: President of Mock Trial and Key Club; director of creativity for California Scholarship Federation, and a member of the Science Club, Academic Decathlon and Key Club/Interact. Leath played travel soccer and his honors include "Outstanding Prosecution Attorney" for Mock Trial; "Outstanding Defense Witness MVP," and Rotary Student of the Month.
Emma Madsen: Co-president of the Library Club; vice president of the Key Club; secretary of the Science Club; treasurer of California Scholarship Federation; and historian of Mock Trial. Madsen was also a member of Advanced Drama, Academic Decathlon, and Key Club/Interact.
She was on the water polo and swim teams. She received the Coaches Award and Best Offensive Player for water polo, and Most Valuable Swimmer honor on the swim team.
Robin Meister: Vice president of the California Scholarship Federation; secretary of the Interact Club; senior leader/captain of varsity girls tennis; and a "Quiet" Focus group leader. Meister was also a member of Key Club/Interact, the Science Club, and Mock Trial team. She was also an IB Psychology Regional Science Fair competitor. She was a scholar athlete and received the "Most Improved Player" award in varsity girls tennis.
She won third place at the California State and Central Valley Regional Science Fairs in the Behavioral and Social Sciences category.
David Nobles: President of the California Scholarship Federation, vice president of the Associated Student Body and vice president of Chamber Singers. Nobles was also a member of the Ski and Snowboard Club, water polo, baseball, track and field, and cross country teams.
He was the high school's Boys' State delegate, a Rotary Student of the Month, and attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Camp.
Daphne Norman: FFA chapter president, Greenhand president, and freshman class representative to student government. She was also a member of the Drama Club and Snowboard Club, along with soccer and pep squads. Norman is a scholar athlete who received her varsity letter in soccer and pep. In soccer, she made first team All League, and has been Star Chapter Farmer and Star Diversified Livestock recipient.
Shane Smith: Secretary of Key Club, treasurer of California Scholarship Federation and president water polo team. Smith was also on the swim team. Honors include being a scholar athlete and "Best Offensive Player" recipient on the JV girls water polo team.
Samuel Tackabery: Tackabery enjoys snowboarding, downhill mountain biking, football and basketball.
Zachary Voltmier: Soccer captain and a member of the California Scholarship Federation. Along with soccer, Voltmier also was a member of the cross country and track teams. He was named to the NSL All-League second team in soccer, and he was an alternate for Boy's State.
After the event, school board member John Reynolds called the valedictorians absolutely incredible.
"This dedication to their education is beyond outstanding," said Reynolds. "They truly represent the quality of the programs and staff here at Yosemite High School."
The event included dinner catered by Yosemite Catering (formerly Crab Cakes Catering) and a variety of raffle items for students, courtesy of nearly 30 Mountain Area businesses and community members.
Dr. Angelo Pizelo gave the invocation and Tim Madden served as emcee.
The banquet is sponsored by Sierra Telephone and Oakhurst Sierra Sunrise Rotary.
Sierra Telephone retiree Sherry Colgate was acknowledged for coordinating the event for 25 years before turning that honor over to Sierra Telephone's Rima Runtzel two years ago.
"We appreciate what Sierra Telephone does in honoring the legacy of the Pitman family," said Ed Van Hoose, Yosemite High School principal. "It's wonderful Sierra Telephone and other sponsors do this to acknowledge our exemplary students."
Sargent gave thanks to Sierra Tel for their leadership and commitment of resources and all of the community individuals and businesses who contributed their support.
"This is a great community," Sargent said.