Three Escalon High School seniors were honored recently as the Students of the Month in the Escalon Sunrise Rotary recognition program. Those selected included Yajaira Salinas, Zachary Gardner and Cydney Keener. Salinas and Keener were nominated by Rick Heflin, while Gardner was nominated by Brant Rose.
“Yajaira does so much at this school but it does go unnoticed by most. She is an accomplished athlete, officer in the ASB, Key Club president, inspiring leader and a top student as well,” Heflin said. “This year alone her service hours to the community and school would support most individuals if she received minimum wage for it. She gets no material compensation but she is excited to pay back the support she feels that has been given to her in Escalon. She is always supportive of everyone and has always been the friend and champion for the less fortunate or underdog.”
Her student achievements include Key Club and ASB member, Track and Field and Cross Country for four years, Academic Block E for three years, Scholar Athlete, Third place in Kiwanis writing contest, won the Barnes and Noble local contest for ‘My Favorite Teacher,’ where she wrote about Mr. Heflin and all the things he does for students.
“I would like to thank my parents for instilling the importance of education in me; Mr. Heflin for always believing in me,” said Salinas.
Zachary Gardner, said Rose, “is a pleasure to see on campus each day” and has excelled in multiple areas.
“He enters class with a vibrant, enthusiastic, and friendly demeanor each and every day. Zach’s daily attitude and energy is one that other people just want to be around – it’s simply infectious,” noted Rose. “During class, he is engaged, cooperative with his peers, and helpful beyond his normal academic duties. Zach maintains his responsibilities efficiently while taking on the role of a student-athlete. This is a student that sets a great example of character, behavior, and conduct for other students and staff to see. Zach is a tremendous member of the EHS student body.”
His list of student achievements and community involvement is varied.
At Escalon Covenant Church, he has been on the worship team for four years and has helped with many activities and volunteers when needed. He was chosen to participate in the Rotary Youth Leadership camp and received an award.
On campus, he has been involved in basketball, golf and cross country, as well as being active in the Art, Photography, FCA, PIT and Key clubs.
He serves as Art and Photography Club treasurer, was the Varsity Cross Country and Golf Captain, Superior Court Recorder for CA Boys State City, has received MVP Golf and most dedicated player, most improved and TVL All League; MVP Cross Country, most inspirational player and All League; Scholar Athlete for Cross Country, Basketball and Golf, and was chosen to attend the TVL Scholar luncheon.
Gardner is also a nominee of the National Society of High School Scholars, has received National Academy of Future Science and Technologist awards, the Academic Block E, Rotary Youth Leadership award and the Academic Excellence in Geometry award.
He volunteers at Escalon Golf Course, Escalon Covenant Church, Cub Basketball, Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Love Escalon, Tourette’s Awareness Walk, San Francisco City Impact, Sober Grad Dinner and Kiwanis Crab Feed.
“I would like to thank my parents and siblings for being such a good influence,” Gardner said, “and coaches for pushing me to be my best and showing me what my limits are.”
“Cydney does so much for FFA and the Key Club,” Heflin said of the senior’s involvement in the school and community. “She is the vice president of Key Club. She has put in so many hours supporting our community and school. She is a very positive force on our campus and deserves to be recognized for her countless hours of service and dedication.”
Among her student achievements are being involved in Key Club, FFA, PIT Class, Friends Helping Friends, Livestock Judging Team, Community Service Committee leader, and FFA competitive speaking competition.
She also has served as a tutor for students in sixth through 12th grade, participated in both volleyball and track and field, honored as a Scholar Athlete for three years, placed in the Job Interview Competition at the Sectional level for FFA, received the coaches award in track and field, was MVP for volleyball her freshman and sophomore years and has been a three-year Academic Block E recipient.
Her leadership roles on campus include being vice president of the Key Club, secretary for the FFA and three-year leader in PIT, the Peer Interaction Team.
“I would like to thank my parents for encouraging me to get involved,” Keener noted. “Also thanks to Mr. Heflin for being such a great person that has guided me to my passion for helping others.”
The trio of seniors was presented with plaques and recognized at a recent breakfast meeting of the local Rotary Club.