by Gretchen Orr
WALSENBURG- In what may be a record setter, the John Mall High School class of 2012 boasted three valedictorians and one salutatorian. Zachary Harriman, Danita Ordaz and Jacob Wiggins were co-valedictorians, and Lindsey Bustos was salutatorian.
In Harriman’s address to the packed gymnasium, he commented on how their class has been known to go against the grain at times. Ordaz exhorted her classmates to go out and make a difference in the world. Wiggins’ wish was for the class of 2012 to be successful in whatever endeavor each chooses.
Bustos touched upon the topic of the class’s controversial choice of silver and black robes, saying “while some might say we were rebellious, there was never a dull moment with the class of 2012.”
Paul Trujillo, student body and senior class president, introduced the commencement speaker. He said, “We pray that she is always in good health. Please welcome God’s gift to us, Maria de la Cruz.”
De la Cruz, the JMHS counselor, took the podium and spoke movingly of the class of 2012. De la Cruz’s son and members of their tribal council drummed and sang a traditional tribal song for the class, “Live your life in recognition of the seven generations past and seven generations to come” … “make your ancestors proud, and for those generations to come, may you be a shining example to them.”
Scholarship awards were next up with Paulette Stewart presenting the $1,000 John Mall Scholarship to Danita Ordaz.
Bill and Lori Cordova announced two winners this year for the Derek Cordova Spirit Scholarship, $1000 to Zach Harriman and $500 to Lindsey Bustos.
Jason Wiggins introduced the new John Wiggins Scholarship, awarded to a student who has excelled in the face of adversity. Fittingly, Jacob Wiggins was the recipient of the $750 scholarship, for his perseverance after the loss of his brother, John.
The Spanish Peaks Healthcare Foundation presented two $1,000 scholarships to Lindsey Bustos and Danita Ordaz, both of whom are pursuing careers in health care.
The Huerfano Basin Stockgrowers Association noted that although none of their applicants planned a career in agriculture, they decided to award their scholarship to a “young man who we hope will feature beef on the menu when he opens his restaurant,” Jacob Wiggins.
Ten $1,000 Cuchara Chapel scholarships were awarded to JMHS seniors this year, to Angela Breitweiser, Lindsey Bustos, Evan Crockett, Kayna Frye, Leah Frye, Zach Harriman, Danita Ordaz, Alexandra Tenorio, Paul Trujillo, and Jacob Wiggins.
Sher Clouse presented two $1,000 Candy Cocco Memorial Scholarships to Sarah Pineda and Paul Trujillo. She also awarded the $500 Twin Peak Rodders Scholarship to Jacob Wiggins.
Zach Harriman and Jacob Wiggins each recieved a $1,000 San Isabel scholarship. $250 Red Carpet Scholarships to TSJC were awarded to Nate Perrico, Solana Pino, Robbie Sims, Ian Stevenson, Veronica Ayala, Brianna Cupps and Brandon Atencio Quintana. Angela Breitweiser won a Chancellors Scholarship from UCCS, and Brianna Buckwalter won the Judith Richardson Art Scholarship to ASU and the Cuchara Hermosa Art scholarship. Alfred Owens Memorial Scholarships were presented to Jacob Wiggins and Lindsey Bustos.
Alexandra Tenorio is going to NWCC on a full ride athletic scholarship, Natalie Neece will attend and run track for ASU, and Justin Eccher will golf for ASU.
Eleven Alliance scholarships to CSU Fort Collins were awarded this year. The four year renewable, $2,500 to full ride awards went to: Lindsey Bustos, Evan Crockett, Kayna Frye (plus First Generation scholarship) , Leah Frye, Zach Harriman, Michael Maldonado, Danita Ordaz (also a TSJC Princess Scholarship), Sarah Pineda, Mallory Purnell, Paul Trujillo (plus First Generation scholarship), and Jacob Wiggins (plus First Generation scholarship).