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Scholar Athlete Gouzenne On Crystal Creamery Carton
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Recent Escalon High School graduate Soleil Gouzenne was among the Sac-Joaquin Section scholar-athletes feted on the new Crystal Creamery milk cartons. Photo Contributed

As graduation ceremonies continue throughout the region, it is likely some local parties are including a celebratory toast of milk. The Sac-Joaquin Section recently honored 53 graduating seniors with Dale Lacky and Clarke Coover scholarships as the top student athletes in their respective conferences. This week, Crystal Creamery, a long-time sponsor of the Sac-Joaquin Section, is delivering special commemorative milk cartons celebrating these super seniors to local grocery and convenience stores.

Among the students honored on the cartons is Soleil Gouzenne, a recent graduate of Escalon High School.

From Bakersfield to the Oregon border and all points in between, the limited-edition cartons will this year call attention to 99 outstanding student athletes from the Sac-Joaquin, Central and North Coast Sections who excelled in the classroom as well as on the field. Crystal Creamery’s commemorative milk cartons have now recognized more than 600 high school Section winning teams and scholar athletes since the cartons were first introduced in 2012.

“While we are always proud to honor the Section Championship teams throughout the year, we have been really pleased to witness the increased focus on academic success by each of the Sections and call attention to these outstanding scholarship winners,” said Brian Carden, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Crystal Creamery. “We produce these cartons because we want our customers to learn about and be proud of the young men and women who are succeeding in the classroom, on campus and in the community throughout their time in high school.”

Each year, every high school athletic league in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section nominates their top male and female candidates to the Dale Lacky and Clarke Coover Scholarship Committee for consideration. The first Dale Lacky Scholarship was awarded in 1993 to honor the long-time principal of Woodland High School, who also served as the Sac-Joaquin Section President from 1966-1978 and as the California Interscholastic Federation State President from 1978-1980.

Though the scholarship was originally awarded to one male and one female athlete, over the years, the Sac-Joaquin Section has been able to expand the scholarship program through funds generated from its “Foundation Games” where Section schools play designated basketball and volleyball games with 50 percent of the ticket revenue dedicated to the scholarship program, thereby expanding the scholarship funding from two scholarships to 51 scholarships for graduating seniors. In addition, two $1,500 scholarships are awarded in honor of former Section President Clarke Coover who was the Section’s second Commissioner and served from 1968-1993.

“The Sac-Joaquin Section’s Dale Lacky and Clarke Coover Scholarships are unique because they were among the first scholarships ever awarded in the California Interscholastic Federation. We greatly appreciate Crystal Creamery choosing to recognize these recipients along with 46 other scholarship winners from the Central and North Coast Sections as it is a great way to further salute these student-athletes for their success,” said Michael Garrison, Commissioner of the Sac-Joaquin Section. “The winners of these scholarships are some of our region’s best and brightest young leaders and great representatives of their schools and communities.”

Crystal Creamery has been a sponsor of the Sac-Joaquin Section since 2012. The company became involved to support high school sports because it is a proponent of high-school athletics. The company believes high school sports provides student athletes with unique experiences and an understanding of the importance of teamwork, dedication and commitment which can last them a lifetime.

Milk is a nutrient-rich way to fuel athletic performance and to repair, rehydrate and replenish muscles and bodies. The commemorative cartons celebrating the local scholar athletes are now available at local grocery and convenience stores including Target, O’Brien’s Market, Cost Less, Mar Val and Holiday Markets.