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Student Spotlight

04/30/2010 05:00PM ● Published by Style

Photos by Dante Fontana

Another year has past and some important milestones reached! Three more senior classes will take the stage, nab their diplomas and awards, and set their post-high-school plans in action. Style scoped out eight stellar students with a myriad of talents and a ton of ambition. Check out the thoughts, reflections, and advice of these chart-topping seniors.

 

Geena Heaton

Graduating Senior
El Dorado High School

Tell us about yourself.
I have lived in El Dorado County for about 18 years. I have many different interests in my school but the biggest interest has to be the Safe School Ambassador program. It is a great way to become a leader in the community. My hobbies are snowboarding, golfing, longboarding, ATV riding, playing the violin and camping. Some special awards I have earned are perfect attendance from elementary through middle school, Most Improved Varsity Snowboarder, 2-year team captain for varsity golf, senior captain for snowboard team, and the Brooke Colvin Award.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
A local charity that is close to my heart is the El Dorado Humane Society. When I was introduced to this program in middle school, I spent an endless amount of time helping with cats. I loved it and it was a great way to let go of all my stresses and help the animals at the same time.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
Never give up. High school is just another set of building blocks; it's not pointless and all of your hard work pays off when you receive an acceptance letter to the college of your dreams!

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?
The most memorable event of my senior year has to be when the golf team and myself qualified for the Division IV tournament after winning our last 18-hole tournament at Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course! It was such a great way to end my senior year on the golf team! Thank you girls!

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to attend Chico State in the fall and major in nursing.

Who is your role model?
I have two role models in life; first is my mom. She is a great leader and I look up to her for everything. And then Lauren Briggs – she reminds me of my mom. They can both read people really well, and they have set me on the right path.
Describe your career aspirations.

I’m hoping to have a career in nursing. I volunteered at Marshall Hospital a lot and enjoyed it! So I would really like to take up that, and maybe become an emergency room nurse, or a flight nurse.


Michael McClelland

Graduating Senior
El Dorado High School

Tell us about yourself.
I am well versed in many aspects of the high school experience. I have participated in two varsity sports teams, soccer and volleyball. However, the thing I have enjoyed the most is performing in the productions at Studio 81 including Crazy For You, Les Miserables, Pippin and Bye Bye Birdie. Also, being the lead singer in the local band “Noisy Canvas” has been a complete joy for the past year. Through all these busy years I have maintained a 4.0 GPA.

How has living in the community shaped you as a person, and how do you feel it will affect the way you contribute to the world in the future?
Living in a smaller community has cultivated a down-to-earth mentality within me that I will keep with me through all of my future endeavors. Because of how the community has shaped me into a friendly person, I will always find it easy to maintain good relationships with everyone I know and carry that on to my future career.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
Avoid all the high school drama you can and get involved in as many different programs as possible. By participating in various teams, programs and events at the school, you will get the full and wonderful experience that high school can offer.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?
Well...I will never forget performing the “Single Ladies” dance by Beyoncé in front of the entire school during the Homecoming rally. It was all the more interesting as it was also Senior Toga Day. Moving one’s hips like Beyonce in a toga is harder than it sounds.

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to attend Azusa Pacific University to pursue biochemistry or biological sciences.

Who is your role model?
That is an easy question, and the answer is my father. There will never be someone that I look up to more. He has been everything I have wanted to be since the day I was born. The lessons he has taught me are priceless, and if I am half the father to my kids as he is to me, I will be an amazing dad.

Describe your career aspirations.
I hope to become a pediatrician and travel to foreign countries to offer medical treatment to kids in desperate situations.


 

Casidhe McClone

Graduating Senior
Ponderosa High School

Tell us about yourself.
I’m a water polo player. I’ve received varsity All-League honors since freshman year, but this year I was the team captain. During the season, I was awarded League MVP, First Team-All Section, and All-American. I also play mandolin and banjo in Noisy Canvas, a folk rock band that I co-founded with a friend. Yes, that’s right, not the violin – the mandolin.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
I spend a lot of time volunteering as a coach for a local junior high water polo club team.

How has living in the community shaped you as a person, and how do you feel it will affect the way you contribute to the world in the future?
I like to think that I’ve learned to appreciate the individuality in people.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?
I’m a pineapple fanatic.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
Never forget your keys.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?
Probably being homecoming king. The band had a show the same night!

What are your plans after graduation?
Learn the bagpipes.

Who is your role model?
Bill McClone.

Describe your career aspirations.
My dream job is to design Lego models. However, I have a more basic goal to not be unemployed.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
New Zealand.


Nataly Llamas

Graduating Senior
Ponderosa High School

Tell us about yourself.
My favorite subject in school has always been science. I find it so intriguing because things are constantly changing and growing. My hobbies are playing indoor soccer, dancing, volunteering, reading and drama. I have been in drama for four years and always loved stepping into the character’s shoes. One of my favorite pastimes is meeting new people. Believe it or not that’s a task in itself.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
Charities or causes that I most definitely feel in my heart are any cancer-related causes. My grandma, who was a great woman, passed a few years ago from cancer, as did my sweet grandpa. An organization locally that I believe in is Rotary Club. They do so many projects and help so many people locally and around the world.

How has living in the community shaped you as a person, and how do you feel it will affect the way you contribute to the world in the future?
Living in a small community has definitely contributed to me as a person. Being able to live and know the people around me, and feeling safe has helped me understand that there are a lot of nice people willing to help you out. I love the quiet and peace around me, making those sunny spring and summer days most enjoyable.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
Don’t be afraid to be yourself or try new things. And no matter what, be open to meeting new people.

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan on attending Folsom Lake College and train to become a CNA, working my way to become a Pediatrician.

Who is your role model?
My role models, because I can’t just chose one, are all those around me. I look up to those around me because they are trying to be the best that they can be and influence me in a positive way.

Describe your career aspirations.
My career aspirations are to become involved in the medical field. I hope to learn and be involved with the innovation of medical treatments, and have the ability and knowledge to improve someone’s life.


Yuliya Chekmareva

Graduating Senior
Ponderosa High School

Tell us about yourself.
I am a Russian immigrant to the U.S. and have been living here for about 12 years. My hobbies include photography, running, and reading. I like to challenge myself academically and have enjoyed some of the most rigorous classes at Ponderosa. Some of my favorite classes include AP US History, AP Statistics, Advanced Algebra Two, and AP Calculus. Outside of school I work part time as a waitress at Eskaton. Some of my achievements include being selected for the Hugh O’Brian Leadership Conference, participating in the American Mathematics Competition, being on honor roll for all four years, and serving as the president of Key Club.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
The Pink Ribbon Foundation, a local cause that aids women battling breast cancer, is very close to my heart because my mom recently battled cancer. Many are affected by the disease, and this foundation helps to increase breast cancer awareness. Recently, I participated in “Mr. Ponderosa,” a high school fundraiser for the Pink Ribbon Foundation. Even though I had a small part to play in this big fundraiser, I felt like I was helping women like my mom battle cancer.

How has living in the community shaped you as a person and how do you feel it will affect the way you contribute to the world in the future?
Since moving to Cameron Park from Sacramento in 2006, I have come to love this close-knit community. The community is actively involved in athletic programs offered at the schools, willing to contribute to academics, and supports the betterment of the community. Living and taking part in this community has helped me become a leader who strives to give back to the community. Living in El Dorado County has affected the way I will contribute to the world in the future. I will be actively involved in any community I live in.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?
Most people don’t know that I am a violinist in an orchestra. I’ve been playing the violin since I was 13 and love it.

Describe your career aspirations.
Once graduating with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, I plan to work within a corporation. My eventual career goal is to successfully manage a company that strives to meet its customers demand and be a top competitor who produces products with superior quality.


Kayla Hartl

Graduating Senior
Shenandoah High School

Tell us about yourself.
My interest and hobbies include health, nutrition, psychology, music, photography, and being with the people I love!

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
I’ve grown to love community service through my experience the last four years in high school at Shenandoah, and I loved helping other students with their projects and events.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?
I love creating art, it’s a great way to relax and show self expression.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
To always do your best work, never give up, and motivate yourself and your peers to keep moving forward to your goals. Also, do not procrastinate and do more than what is expected of you.

Who is your role model?
My role model is definitely my mom; she has always shown me support through everything.

Describe your career aspirations.
I would love to do something with my two favorite interests: health and psychology. I strongly believe that exercise equals a healthy mind and spirit – so I’d love to help others reach a healthy lifestyle!

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I would love to travel the world, but the one place I would love most to visit is Italy – it’s where my family is from.


Pablo Mayfield

Graduating Senior
Shenandoah High School

Tell us about yourself.
I have enjoyed my internships at SHS the most. They have given me the opportunity to find out what I'd like to pursue after high school. My hobbies include: motorcycling, fishing, gardening/horticulture and learning new things on Discovery channel.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
As part of my Senior Thesis Project I have become very involved in the Hope Community Garden. My project allows me to grow and share fresh vegetables with community members who may not have the money to afford to eat healthy garden foods. I have come to understand the importance of eating healthy and how expensive it is to buy fresh, organic vegetables from the grocery store. I feel like it’s almost a luxury for many people to eat the foods that can help them have healthier and happier lives. It makes me feel really good when I can deliver my garden foods to local food distribution centers and know that what I grew from scratch will help sustain lives.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
Take every opportunity you can to find out what you are interested in so that you can start making plans for your future after high school.

What has been the most memorable event of your senior year?
My most memorable event was probably my most enjoyable event. I invited all the seniors (we have a small graduating class – around 22) to my house for a “Burrito & Bonfire” night. It was cool to have everyone just kicking back and sharing a good time just hanging out.

What are your plans after graduation?
I’ll be attending Folsom Lake College and then transferring over to UC Davis where I can pursue my degree in horticulture.

Who is your role model?
I have several role models but my primary role model is my mother, Susana. I’ve watched how hard she works and she has a great work ethic. She also is very helpful not just to me, but to anyone who needs her. She stays optimistic under almost any situation. She’s a little woman but she’s probably the strongest person I know.

Describe your career aspirations.
I look forward to one day becoming a plant biologist and/or partnering with my brother who is studying architecture – I would be the landscape architect for the homes that he designs.


Jordyn Kathleen Phillips

Graduating Senior
Union Mine High School

Tell us about yourself.
I am the ASB President, Mother Lode 49ers 4-H Club President, El Dorado County Council 4-H President, UMHS Varsity Soccer Captain. I have played soccer all four years of high school and I enjoy cooking and baking. I have been working with a planning committee at Union Mine for two years encouraging students to be slur-free and personally aware of the things they say to others and how it affects people. I raise two steers for 4-H; this is my ninth and final year in the club. Last summer I went to Girls State as the Union Mine High School representative.

What local charities/causes are close to your heart and why?
One particular cause that I hold close to my heart is the Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF). This organization is dedicated to keeping the Rubicon Trail open to 4-wheel driving enthusiasts. For as long as I can remember, my family has been camping in the Sierra Nevadas and in Rubicon Springs. My Mom learned how to drive a “stick shift” while jeeping and so did I. My hope is that my children will get to enjoy the same beautiful area. It may not be a charity but 4-H is definitely something that I whole-heartedly support. It helps teach kids to be more responsible and helpful when working with others and when taking care of animals. It teaches youth about animals, their community and more.

How has living in the community shaped you as a person, and how do you feel it will affect the way you contribute to the world in the future?
My parents definitely love the fact that I can’t go anywhere in the area without knowing or being related to someone. I like it because I feel safer and more aware of things going on in the community since my family is involved in a lot of service organizations and community foundations in El Dorado County. I think it will affect me later in life because I will feel the need to become involved in my community no matter where I choose to live.

What advice would you give to incoming high school students?
I would tell them to appreciate the time you have in high school because it really flies by. Enjoy your first couple years when your parents take you everywhere and you don’t have to pay for gas! Work really hard in the beginning so when it comes time to apply to college they won’t have a reason to say no. Join as many clubs and teams as you can; they make for the best memories.

What are your plans after graduation?
Next year I’m planning to attend Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina to become a chef. I want to major in culinary arts and restaurant management.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I would love to go to Italy. Someday...

Congrats Seniors! We wish you every success!

 

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