Glacier High School Charter presented its 2015 graduating class with diplomas at a ceremony at Mountain Christian Center last Friday, May 29. This was the 13th graduating class for Glacier and was made up of 25 students from the Oakhurst and Kingsburg campuses.
Graduates and guests were welcomed to the ceremony by Michael Cox, director of Western Sierra Charter Schools which is the umbrella organization for Mountain Home School and Glacier High School Charter.
Andy Souza was the guest speaker for the ceremony. Souza, current CEO of Community Food Bank in Fresno and former Fresno City Manager, is also the husband of Marcia Souza, one of Glacier’s charter teachers. Souza encouraged the graduates to reflect on the role that friendships, courage, and self-discipline played in their success at Glacier and how this can continue in their future endeavors.
Mackenzie Collins presented the student address to his classmates and attendees. Collins actually completed his high school classes last December with a 4.27 GPA, including 80 credits for coursework completed at the Oakhurst Center of the State Center Community College District, and wanted to participate in the ceremony along with his friends. Collins will begin attending William Jessup University in Rocklin in May with plans to major in Computer Science.
One of this year’s Glacier grads, Jacqueline McCourt, provided the special music for the evening. McCourt attended Mountain Home School for second through eighth grade and actually wrote and performed a song for the promotion ceremony for her class of eighth grade students. McCourt says that earlier this year, as she began to think about her graduation from high school, she decided to revise her song and sing it at the graduation ceremony.
“I realized that some of the same students and families that were at the ceremony 4 years ago would be at this ceremony,” McCourt said. “The original lyrics were about getting ready to move on from our school but not being at that point yet. Now we really are at that point so I changed the lyrics to reflect that.”
McCourt plans to double major in Creative Arts and History at William Jessup University.
Glacier High School charter teachers work closely with students, their parents, and a variety of community partners to create individualized educational plans for each student. At Friday’s ceremony, charter teachers introduced each student and highlighted their individual accomplishments and plans for the future while pictures of the student were projected for all to enjoy.
Michael Cox presented students with their diplomas. Each student was then given a few minutes to thank teachers, family, and friends for their support.
Awards for Academic Excellence were given to Mackenzie Collins and Jacquie McCourt who both excelled in classes at Glacier and the community college.
The Glacier High School Principal’s Leadership Award was given to Jonathan Gramajo-Enzensperger.
The Glacier High School Principal’s Award for Achievement was given to David Peters and Ashlyn Kelley.
Last year was the first year for Glacier’s Community Awards program and $3,750 was awarded to students. Because of the continued efforts of Glacier parents and staff and the generosity of businesses and organizations in the Oakhurst area and other parts of Madera County, over $12,000 was awarded to 2015 Glacier graduates.
Monika Moulin attended the ceremony on behalf of the Madera County School Board Association and awarded $200 to Jessalyn Talley.
49 Ears group—Bill Atwood awarded $500 to Jacquie McCourt.
Association of California School Administrators—Art Davis presented $500 to Sara Vind who plans on continuing classes at the community college before transferring to a university to study criminal law or forensic science.
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts High School Passion Award—$1,000 to Ashlyn Kelley who will be attending the school in the fall.
Camarena Health Center—Patty Thompson awarded their $2,000 scholarship to Jessalyn Talley who will continue her studies at the community college for another semester or two and then transfer to a university to complete her
BSN with the intent of becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
The Dr. Adrian Buca, DDS Academic Achievement Award—$750 presented by Dr. Buca to Jessalyn Talley.
Daughters of the American Revolution Award—Nancy Garcia presented $50 to Max Talamantez.
El Capitan Foundation—Fern Facchino presented $500 each to Jessalyn Talley and Sara Vind.
Oakhurst Sierra Noon Rotary—Fern Facchino presented $1,000 to Jacquie McCourt.
Glacier High School Charter Service Award—$500 presented by Bruce Boe to Mackenzie Collins.
Golden Chain Theatre Award—Sarah Persson presented $250 to Jessalyn Talley.
Sierra Ambulance Award—Bill Hartley awarded $500 to Jessalyn Talley.
Sierra Lions Club of Oakhurst—Eric Hagen presented $500 to Jessalyn Talley.
Sierra Oakhurst Kiwanis Club—Vicki Burkhalter and Jim Rice presented $1,000 each to Ashlyn Kelley, Sara Vind, and Jessalyn Talley.
Vision Academy of the Arts—Sue Moore presented $750 to Jacquie McCourt.
Western Sierra Charter Schools has recently announced that it will be adding a site in Fresno this fall where it will be providing its kindergarten through 12th grade program.
Names of all graduates are: Naomi Rose Baker, Mackenzie Collins, Natasha Jazelle Contreras, Amanda DeSalles,Jillian Faye Garcia, Jonathan Noe Gramajo-Enzensperger, Ashlyn Naomi Lee Kelley, Samuel B. Knowles, Kevin Lamar Leonard, Doralynn Jenny Lopez, Jacqueline McCourt, Mario Isaiah Melendrez, Evan Noonkester, David Andrew Peters, Katelyn Artaya Plazola, Annabel Aguilar Ramos, Cynthia Anne-Marie Redding, Brandon Tyler Stump, Andrew Kenneth Swisher, Max Talamantez, Jessalyn Loraine Talley, David Kenneth Trujillo, Sara Aleece Vind, Adrianna Nicole Vizcarra, Brianna Jacquline Ybarra.