The lively students from freshmen to juniors entered the Yosemite High gym on Tuesday to rockin' music. Once they were seated by class status in the bleachers, the seniors entered, walking the ceremonial red carpet. Some were carried on shoulders, others danced their way, and some ran over to give huge high five's and hugs. It was the end-of-the-school-year rally and the enthusiasm was in high-gear.
Principal Randy Seals began the celebration by congratulating the freshmen class for surviving their first year, and the sophomores for adding just one activity to their already busy academic schedules. He recognized the juniors, who he said in a few mere moments would begin their senior year, and saved the best for last thanking the senior class for giving him a year to remember, calling them a "great group of leaders."
One of those leaders, senior Jacob Caldwell, was named Senior of the Year. While staff describe Caldwell as having a positive attitude and strong work ethic, he has different words to describe himself: Theater and Science.
"I found out that not only do I enjoy learning those subjects," Caldwell said, "but I'm successful in both."
"If karma were money, Jacob would be a billionaire," YHS Fine Arts Chair Lars Thorson added. "He has the most positive spirit of any student I have ever had in more than 20 years of teaching."
Caldwell is not only a 2014 valedictorian and a full International Baccalaureate candidate, but has been involved in Advanced Theater for two years. Last year he played the lead role in Holes, and more recently played LeFou in Beauty and the Beast. He was awarded the Theater Arts Student of the year for 2013, which was the first time a junior has ever won this award, was named Student of the Month by Sunrise Rotary this year, and his senior project donated more than $1,000 to charity.
Even though it has been a busy, memory-making four years for Caldwell, one of his fondest centers around his first day as a freshman.
"My friends, Devin and Cameron, had walked over to my dad's house so that we could walk to school together on our first day of school," Caldwell said. "As we stood outside the house, we felt like we needed some theme music for our walk, so I put my iPod on shuffle. As I hit the button for speaker mode, the song, "It's a Long Way to the Top" from Jack Black's School of Rock started. We all looked at each other and busted up with laughter. We then continued our walk to school singing at the top of our lungs."
Caldwell not only appreciates all life's little moments, but the friendships he has made along the way.
"Devin has taught me an important life lesson," Caldwell continued. "We come from different backgrounds and lifestyles, but we motivate and support each other to reach our goals. Life is a gift not to be taken for granted."
Caldwell plans on attending UC Santa Cruz, where he will double major in Marine Biology and Theater Arts.
One of the more poignant moments came when Student Activities Director Tammy Thacker and Special Ed Teacher Lori Blate called Special Ed student Robbie Drosche up, handing him a large box. Inside was a letterman jacket with his name on the front and the words "Rally Host" on the back. Once the jacket was on, Drosche jumped into action befitting a "host," leading the school in thunderous "YHS go" cheers.
Drosche, who turns 22 in July, plans on attending Social Vocational Services in Oakhurst.
For the finale, seniors Nick Adelizi and Brett Stanfield then previewed their 2014 school year video, which was their senior project.
Badger Achievement Awards presented
Badger Achievement Awards were presented to seniors who stood out, honoring exemplary students from each department.
Agriculture: Kiersten Riggs
Athletic Training: Mia Summers
Automotive: Cody Boyd
Criminology: Issac Soliz
Digital Media: Christian Bonilla
Family & Consumer Studies: Cassandra Salisbury
Welding: Michael VanZant
Wood: David Ibarra
Art: Sara Wood and Katelyn St.Laurent
Band: Tyrus Ramos
Choir: Benjamin Hartesveldt
Theater Arts: Kailyn Hammerling
French: Jared Wood
Spanish: Sharon Warmerdam and Kenny Jeffries