Rivas named Yosemite High Student of the Year

Gabby Rivas was named Student of the Year for the class of 2017 at Yosemite High School.
Gabby Rivas was named Student of the Year for the class of 2017 at Yosemite High School. Sierra Star

Gabriela ‘Gabby’ Rivas, a 17-year-old senior at Yosemite High School, has been named the Student of the Year for the class of 2017.

The announcement was made during the end of school rally June 1, which caused a thunderous applause and yelling from the 690 students at the rally, as Rivas walked to get her award in tears.

The announcement was made by YHS Principal Randy Seals, who will become superintendent of Bass Lake Joint Union School District next year.

“All I wanted to do was go hug Mrs. (Tammy) Thacker,” Rivas said. “She was my Associated Student Body adviser and has been a huge help to me this past year. I’m involved with a lot of activities on campus and at times that can be very stressful, and always went to her, usually crying.”

“Gabby is an amazing student that dedicated numerous hours school wide,” Thacker said. “She has a great sense of humor, and is fun to be around. She will be missed here at YHS next year.”

Rivas is president of Key Club, and received the Outstanding Officer award from the 12-school Division 5 North region. ROP culinary arts, and was in charge of catering events on campus during the school year. Also a member of Interact and when she is not busy at school, she teaches kindergarten catechism classes at Out Lady of the Sierra Catholic Church.

In addition to the clubs, Rivas has been the student representative on the District Advisory Community, attending the group’s monthly meeting to discuss a variety of proposals in the district like new classes and programs that will be introduce to the district.

On May 8, Rivas received four community awards, totaling $2,100, from Sierra Oakhurst Kiwanis Club, Our Lady of the Sierra Women’s Guild, Bass Lake Lions Club and Coarsegold Elementary School.

“I got a little surprise after the community awards presentation,” Rivas said. “Even though I don’t turn 18 till June 21, when I will get my driver’s license, two past presidents of the club gave me a $150 gas card. Earlier in the year, another Kiwanis Club member paid $300 for me so I could attend the Key Leader Leadership Camp at Camp Oakhurst. The Kiwanis Club has been very generous to me and has provided me opportunities that I would not have had if it was not for them.”

For the past three years, she has volunteered more than 300 hours of community service primarily through Key Club.

The daughter of Boni Rivas, she has been a resident of Indian Lakes in Coarsegold since she moved with her family from Fresno at the age of 5.

“I’m looking forward to graduation, where of course I will be crying,” Rivas said with a big smile.

She will be attending Columbia Community College in Sonora, majoring in culinary arts in the fall. After two years, she hopes to transfer to Cal Poly, Pomona, to continue her studies in culinary arts.

Her big goal is to be able to obtain her teaching credential and return to YHS as a culinary arts teacher.

“Yosemite High provided a great learning experience for me,” Rivas said. “The teachers are really there for the students and they are always making sure we are doing our best. I’m so grateful for the great experiences I have had at Yosemite and having teachers like Tammi Thacker, Ellen Peterson and Kellie Solomon, who we all call Mrs. Solo-‘mom.’”

Rivas received an Amazon $500 gift card which was provided by the Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Club and the Sunrise Rotary Club.

Other Yosemite High School seniors who received special recognition in the subject they excelled at during the awards rally (assembly) include the following:


Katie Thompson, AP Studio Art

Jericolouis Garcellano, IB Visual Art


Courtney Sumaya-Herrera

Athletic Trainer

Emilie Jones

Auto Mechanics

Michael Ballesteros


Jamie Hellwig


Georgina Royse

Cadet Corps

Candler Clarke

Choral Department

Delaney Potter

Criminal Investigation

Sam Dedekian

Avery Dickmeyer


Thomas Lazar

Family & Consumer Studies

Carly Baldwin

Foreign Language

Lauren Peterson

Nancy Preciado


Brandon Healey

Physical Sciences and Robotics

Brandon Healey


Trevor Peter

Social Science

Victoria Bodine


Chandler Clarke


Joe Campbell

Theater Arts

Elise Keeler,

Alex Williams


Audrey Kenison


Nathaniel Griffin

Senior Male Scholar Athlete

Trevor Peter

Senior Female Scholar Athlete

Riley Ashton

Senior Male Athlete

Peter McLean

Senior Female Athlete

Kailey Neal

Best Overall Senior Project

Morgan Ferguson

Senior of the Year

Gabriela Rivas Moreno