MHS Class of 2021 perseveres through most difficult school year

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MENDOTA – In a school year filled with uncertainty from day-to-day, 110 Mendota High School seniors persevered and made it to the end – graduation day. Those seniors were rewarded when they walked up the ramp and across the makeshift stage to accept their diplomas during the commencement ceremony on a coolish sun-splashed May 29 day at the MHS sports stadium.

Once the seniors were seated following the processional, principal Denise Aughenbaugh delivered the welcome address. Aughenbaugh said:

“The Class of 2021 has achieved great success, and they have especially worked hard to persevere through the last 15 months of a global pandemic. Thankfully, our district was already a 1:1 district with Chromebooks for all students. However, none of us were prepared for remote learning. We had to learn how a student who is at home for an extended period of time can still be a functioning part of the classroom. We had to learn how to deepen relationships with students in new ways as students took greater responsibility for their learning. Students were also asked to be stronger community members as they were expected to learn with COVID stipulations like masks and dividers to protect themselves and others. Students were given opportunities to be leaders in school and at home. They were responsible for greater outside obligations by providing for the health and welfare of family members, contributing to additional financial obligations, and caring for younger siblings. Class of 2021 – you did all of this with hard work and perseverance. Class of 2021 – you did all of this and achieved a 90% graduation rate.

“These efforts have only been possible because of parent and community support and involvement. From their first day of preschool through their last day in high school and graduation, you have been the foundation of their learning and nurtured them to develop into the great people they are today. We would like to thank all of the parents and family members here for your continued support and dedication.”

Following a speech by Student Council president Perris Stachlewitz, scholarships and awards were presented to members of the Class of 2021. Recipients were:

James Dankenbring Scholarship – Ella Massey; First State Bank Scholarship – Jack Beetz and Sabrina Belmonte; American Legion Award – Jack Beetz and Perris Stachlewitz; Aaron Olsen Scholarship – Derek Nanez; Ben Bokus Memorial Scholarship – Jenna O’Donnell; Clara Cypreansen & Alfred O. Jacob Scholarship – Javier Perez; Jason Kent Johnson Memorial Scholarship – Jenna O’Donnell; Morris Morgan Scholarship – Amanda Barrett; Oden Jordal/Kiwanis Club Scholarship – Javier Perez; Scott Rider Scholarship – Samuel Lawrence;

State Seal/Commendation of Biliteracy Award – Daisy Arteaga, Keina Arteaga, Amanda Barrett, Sabrina Belmonte, Amellia Bromenschenkel, Janice Gonzalez, Janeth Hermosillo, Leilani Landeros, Samuel Lawrence, Twila Martinson, Madison Mikolasek, Derek Nanez, Izabella Nanez, Natalie Orozco, Madison Pappas, Javier Perez, Rosevelia Rocha, Ramiro Salinas; High Honor Academic Graduates – Amanda Barrett, Amellia Bromenschenkel, Daisy Contreras, Mary DeFore, Samuel Lawrence, Grace Leifheit, Lily Linden, Twila Martinson, Ella Massey, Madison Mikolasek, Jenna O’Donnell, Madison Pappas, Rosevelia Rocha.

Next, Madison Pappas addressed her classmates as High Honor speaker. Superintendent Jeff Prusator followed with the presentation of the Class of 2021, and then the granting of diplomas was done by Megan Faber, District 280 Board member, as Aughenbaugh read the graduates’ names.

Senior class president Leilani Landeros concluded the ceremony with a speech to her classmates, who then were official graduates of MHS, having fulfilled their obligation as high school students. The MHS Band played the recessional as the new alums exited the stadium.

Students receiving their diplomas were:

Alexis Arteaga, Daisy Arteaga, Felicia Arteaga, Keina Arteaga, Piper Artman, Eli Avila, Jesus Bakr, Alayah Bass, Amanda Barrett, Kody Becket, Jack Beetz, Lauren Beetz, Sabrina Belmonte, Marlie Boelk, Amellia Bromenschenkel, Hope Brown, Joshua Buchanan, Ashley Calamaco, Isabella Caruso, Andres Castaneda;

Brian Castaneda, Ty Connelly, Daisy Contreras, Abigayle Daugaard, Dylan Davidson, Christian Dean, Mary DeFore, Lilianna Delgado, Dylan Denault, Ashton Dewey, Taylor Diaz, Shea Doughty, Olivia Eddy, Mateo Escatel, Andrew Fittanto, Jaelyn Fitzgerald, Rheanna Fitzgerald, Brandon Franklin, Kelle Frey, Samantha Furar;

Dugann Gatlin, Julian Godina, Morgan Gonda, Janice Gonzalez, Salma Gonzalez, Matthew Grenter, Abel Guerra, Bonnie Hall, Lindsay Harper, Janeth Hermosillo, Rigoberto Hermosillo, Selina Hernandez-Diaz, Zeke Hessenberger, Cody Jenner, Camille Jones, Kennedy Kaiser, Charles Kaufman, Matthew Kurdenok, Gaige Lampson, Leilani Landeros;

Samuel Lawrence, Noah Lee, Grace Leifheit, Lily Linden, Alexis Majka, Kelsie Martin, Michael Martin, Crystal Martinez, Twila Martinson, Ella Massey, Jasmine Matheson, Eve McDowell, Madison Mikolasek, Angel Montalvo, William Munson, Derek Nanez, Izabella Nanez, Kasen Novak, Jenna O’Donnell, Amaya Olivas;

Natalie Orozco, Madison Pappas, Javier Perez Jr., Kylie Plock, Malik Preston, Lizbeth Quintana, Silver Quiroga, Emilio Raya, Sara Reasor, Tara Reasor, Rosevelia Rocha, Angel Roman Jr., Nicolas Rosales, Tanya Rosas, Alexander Rummery, Helena Rupp, Ramiro Salinas, Faith Schafer, Joshua Schmidt, Jocelyn Serrano;

Hunter Siebert, Madison Smith, Perris Stachlewitz, Trent Stamberger, Julissa Terrazas, Delaney Tooley, Joseph Turner, Mariela Valdez, Kaysee Villegas, Cole Zimmerman.