Yosemite High School’s 21 valedictorians were honored May 7 during the 29th 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 in the early 70s, soon becoming a driving force behind the establishment of Yosemite High School.
The Yosemite class of 2015 valedictorians all achieved a 4.0 or higher cumulative grade point average all four years.
During the ceremonies, Yosemite High School Principal Randy Seals praised the school for its tradition of excellence.
“One of the hallmarks that enticed me to come to Yosemite High was the school’s tradition of excellence,” Seals said. “You’ll see 21 examples of this excellence here tonight.”
Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler presented each of the students with a certificate of recognition for exemplary scholastic achievement from the board of supervisors. Wheeler personally provided $25 to each of the students as did Bass Lake Realtor Steve Welch. In addition, more than 30 Mountain Area businesses and community members provided items for gift bags that all the students received from master of ceremonies Tim Madden.
In addition to Seals, Superintendent James Sargent, board of trustees member John Reynolds, Vice Principal Diane Adney, and guidance counselors Stephanie Samuels and Greg Hill attended the event. Dr. Angelo Pizelo gave the invocation.
The banquet was sponsored by Sierra Telephone, Yosemite High School, and the Oakhurst Sierra Sunrise Rotary Club.
The 21 valedictorians honored at the banquet are:
Aaron Bausch: ASB class president, Leos and Key/Interact club member, student site council member, varsity basketball and tennis. Honors include DAR Good Citizenship Scholarship, Grocery Outlet Athlete of the Month, and Rotary District Student of the Month. Basketball and NSL championship tennis team. He plans to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara, to earn a degree in microbiology, and then will transfer to UC San Francisco dental school.
Joceyln Boe: YHS Choral Department student president, California Scholastic Federation member (seven semesters), Key/Interact club member, mock trial team, and advanced drama, and varsity Tennis. Honors include International Baccalaureate, Girls State representative, People to People Ambassador, California Music Education Association State Level Vocalist, and Poetry Out Loud state level competitor.
Jewel Crosson: Varsity Pep captain, treasurer of Key Club treasurer, copy editor for yearbook, athletic scholar (three years), and second place in Mock Trial County Journalist Competition. She will study nursing at Fresno State.
Oliver Curley: President of Interact, vice president Yosemite California Scholarship Federation, Key Club/Interact and Leos Club, water polo, cross country, soccer, swim and tennis teams. Honors include first team All North Sequoia League for varsity soccer (team captain and most inspirational). He will study forestry and natural resources at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Samuel DeVito: Snowboard/ski club president, Key Club/Interact, and varsity tennis. He plans on majoring in business management at San Diego State University, working towards a masters in business administration.
Ryan Emerick: Captain of the NSL championship golf team, participant and volunteer for The First Tee of Fresno, Key and Science clubs. He will study environmental science at Sonoma State University.
Kyle Kingsland: Treasurer of California Scholarship Foundation and the Research Club, Key Club/Interact, Leos, Science and YHS Research clubs. Played basketball and ran cross country. Winner in the Central California Regional Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Fair. He will study aerospace engineering at Clovis Community College.
Helen Ko: senior class vice president, president of CSF, vice president of Interact and Science clubs, full IB diploma candidate, YHS science researchers, highest scorer in the Art category at this year’s academic decathlon, undergraduate Stanford Psychology Conference, CSF life member. She will move on to USP (School of Pharmacy).
Chase Lassos: ASB vice president, school site council vice chairman, Leos and Key clubs, varsity tennis (four years), varsity basketball (two years), and varsity cross country (four years), tennis team and basketball team captain, academic all-league in all three sports. He plans on attending the University of Southern California to major in accounting, followed by getting his master’s.
Taylor Levee: Student leader for Sierra Pines Church, Science Club secretary, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Pep and Science clubs, Mock Trial, CSF, Upward Bound, varsity cheer, varsity baseball scorekeeper, Mock Trial MVP, and athletic scholar. She will study molecular biology at UC Irvine.
Julia McConville: Science club vice president, varsity girls swim captain, seminary president, young women’s president, CSF and Key/Interact clubs,water polo, tennis, and four swimming records holder. Four North Sequoia Academic All League awards, girls most valuable swimmer plaque, six first-place, two second place, and two third-place medals from NSL swim championships, six medals from CIF D-II, Young Womanhood recognition certificate. She will study marine biology at BYU Hawaii.
Maya Mendonca: Girls track team captain, soccer, cross country, swim, volleyball, and softball. President of YHS Science Research team, advanced theater, Key/Interact clubs, and Full IB Diploma Candidate. She plans on attending UC Santa Barbara.
Veronica Miller: Junior class president, Interact treasurer, ASB, CSF, varsity basketball (four years), homecoming queen, first team all league basketball 2014 and 2015. She will attend UC Santa Cruz.
Sophia Grace O’Meara: Vice president Mock Trial, vice president YHS Research team, advanced theatre, CSF, Key Club/Interact, full IB diploma candidate, CSF life member, and member of the National Society of High School Scholars. She will major in human biology at UC Santa Cruz.
Olivia Pearson: CSF secretary, Key Club vice president, secretary Science Club, president Advanced Theatre club, publicist Science Researcher’s Club, Mock Trial historian, water polo, MVP Mock Trial Award (2015), and first place Overall at Mock Trial County competition (2015). She plans on attending USC, majoring in environmental engineering and theater.
Kelsi Stieler: Senior class president, vice president of CSF, Key Club secretary, senior project golf tournament, team captain for soccer, and CIF D-II Central Section Championship golf teams, qualified for the Individual Southern Sectional Championship in Golf, first place in Central California Ski and Snowboard series, academic decathlon silver medalist in math, full IB diploma candidate, and CSF lifetime member. Recipient of a Smittcamp Scholarship, she will attend Fresno State for liberal studies.
Katelyn Suderman: Mock Trial secretary, high school representative for Vision Academy of the Arts, CSF, Key/Interact and Leos clubs, advanced theater, cross country, girls soccer, softball and basketball statistician, and People to People World Leadership Forum. She will study forestry and natural resources at Humboldt State University, with the goal of becoming a professional licensed forester.
Sarah Swan: CSF president, Interact secretary, Mock Trial president, swim team, Outstanding Defense and Pre-Trial Prosecuting Attorney (Mock Trial). She plans on majoring in business administration through the Kellogg Honors College at Cal Poly Pomona.
Rebekah Urbano: Team captain for academic decathlon, president of Spanish and Science clubs, Library Club treasurer, gold medal in math and social science at Madera County Academic Decathlon, silver medal in art, bronze medal in essay, and CSF life member. She will attend CSU Long Beach to study bio chemistry.
Jonathan Wharton: Spanish Club president, academic decathlon, Key Club (4 years), Drama Club (4 years), eight medals during 2014-15 academic decathlon, highest scoring senior and overall academic decathlon. He will study electrical engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Samuel Williams: Leos Club, tennis, cross country, basketball, full IB candidate, and North Sequoia League Academic All-League in all Sports. He will major in microbiology at University of California, San Diego.