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 Members of South's administration and the Superintendent stand with the Lamp of KnowledgeThe upper echelon of the District’s academic corps was, for the 14th year, honored for outstanding and sustained achievement in the classroom and for exemplifying the values of Academic Achievement, Leadership, Character, and Service.
The Academic Excellence Awards Ceremony, poignantly staged Wednesday in the Southwest Motors Events Center, saw more than 200 high-achieving scholars from the District’s five high schools saluted for their academic and civic accomplishments.
For the first time, the District honored its highest achieving students utilizing the Latin Laude Honor System, which acknowledges ongoing success in a chosen academic program and course sequence.
Students with a designation of Summa Cum Laude will leave high school with a GPA of 3.8 or above, while those with the Magna Cum Laude designation boast a GPA of 3.60 to 3.79. The Cum Laude designation signifies a GPA of 3.4 to 3.59.
Honors Designation is awarded in addition to the Laude level based upon the number of advanced and rigorous courses students have completed earning Laude points.
The coveted Lamp of Knowledge once again served as the centerpiece of the ceremony. It was awarded to South High School based on collective academic performance and other merits.
As the four Pillars upon which the Lamp is supported represent the values of a holistic education grounded in Service, Character, Leadership, and Scholarship, individual awards were presented to those scholars who best represent these values.Jordan Rittgers holds his character award
The Service Award was presented to Central’s Kaitlyn Jesik, who was acknowledged as a “well-rounded individual who participates in many organizations dedicated to giving back to the Pueblo and school community.”
As acting commissioner of Central’s CAT Crew, she organized events for incoming freshmen, helping them with the transition into high school, and also served as a mentor to elementary and high school students. Kaitlyn’s continued devotion to service is seen through her involvement in numerous school clubs and organizations that lift up senior citizens as well as students.
As a future veterinarian, she is a proud volunteer at a local animal shelter.
Jordan Rittgers, also from Central received the Character Award.
An athlete and scholar who cares deeply about his community, Jordan is actively involved in Student Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society, CAT Crew, Key Club, DECA, Knowledge Bowl, tennis and volleyball.
He has volunteered in community organizations such as Pueblo Poverty Foundation, Tom and Louie’s Cupboard and the Pueblo Community Soup Kitchen, and also serves as a recreational aid, teaching youngsters the game of tennis.
Friends describe Jordan as someone “who cares deeply for the community, has a tremendous work ethic, and strives to do his best in everything he sets out to do. He embodies an example of superb character and will no doubt continue to make a positive impact on the community he serves.”
This year’s Leadership Award winner, East’s Evan Smith, served as the co-president of DECA and held the title of District 9 State Officer. He recently concluded the two-year International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.
Captain of East’s golf team, Evan served as a Park Teen at Parkview Medical Center and helped to host fundraising events. His credo is, “It would not be possible to be a leader without working as a team member.”
Part of the Sources of Strength student organization, Evan is an advocate for additional mental health resources for students. He encourages students to involve themselves in clubs, sports and activities to make them feel like an involved member of the school community.
He is known as an honest, intelligent, and self-motivated young man who values the contributions of others and makes every effort to empathize with and respect the views of his peers.
Students light the Lamp of Knowledge as Principal Kovac watches onThe Academic Scholarship award, calculated by combining the Latin Laude and Honors Designation, SAT score, and GPA, was presented to Centennial’s Andrew Zhang, this year’s highest-achieving scholar.
Andrew is a National Qualifier in Speech and Debate, FBLA and DECA. He has participated in a host of clubs and organizations including, Inspirit AI, Young Leaders Summit, Sources of Strength, Science Bowl, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society.
Having earned a host of prestigious scholarships, Andrew has accepted the Gates Foundation Scholarship, which will allow him to attend Stanford University to study Computer Science.
For concurrently earning an Associate degree from PCC, Aidan Martinez (Centennial), Elizabeth Eborn (South), and Isaiah Marquez (Central) were singled out for recognition.
County Commission Chair Garrison Oritz, the evening’s keynote speaker, expressed his admiration for the scholars.
“It is a privilege to recognize our Latin Laude Honors students from the four comprehensive high schools and our Alternative Education Campus. I extend my most enthusiastic congratulations to you for attaining the highest level of academic achievement possible. Your hard work, dedication, and perseverance is an inspiration to your parents, teachers, and the entire city. What you have achieved is truly remarkable.
“Each of you sitting before us have all demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and dispositions throughout your four years in high school to be able to lead a life of purpose and impact. It is apparent that all of you are prepared and ready to make a difference in the communities you join. We are so very proud of you and your accomplishments and are happy to celebrate your successes this evening. Congratulations to you and your families for this wonderful milestone you have reached.”A student points at his Academic Excellence folder shortly after receiving it on stage
John Michael Carrington Amidon, Magna Cum Laude
Dina Arias, Cum Laude
Zachary Jamieson Arnold, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Kai Rose Marie Arriaga, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Kevin Alexander Arroyave Gomez, Summa Cum Laude
Savannah Lynn Autobee, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Delaney Brooklyn Tresa Baca, Magna Cum Laude Honors
Jonathan Jay Barnard, Magna Cum Laude Merit
Savannah Lynn Autobee, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Delaney Brooklynn Tresa Baca, Magna Cum Laude Honors
Jonathan Jay Barnard, Magna Cum Laude Merit
Jack Thomas Beltran, Magna Cum Laude Distinction
Kyle Jerome Bigley, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Brenden Robert Chriesman, Cum Laude
Luis Nicolas Contreras, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
David Burton Coulter IV, Cum Laude Merit
Jayda Alexis De'Anda, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Dayna Ashley DeYoung, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Brian John Domina Magna, Cum Laude Merit
Trent Michael Donley, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Gabrielle Marie Dunich, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Caitlyn Marie Ferry, Magna Cum Laude
Sydney Jordan Gallegos, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Unique Imanni Jay Garcia, Magna Cum Laude
Aubrey Rae Gonzalez-Santos, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Natalie Josephine Griego, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Kaitlyn Amber Jesik, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
John Michael Koehn, Cum Laude Honors
Casey Allan Krupka, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Addy Jay Lopez, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Isaiah Ray Marquez, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Ayden Patrick Martinez, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Brooklynn Nicole Martinez, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Mitchell Robert Mauro, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Nicole Elma Mendoza, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Andrew David Mynhier, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Christian Michael Nazario, Magna Cum Laude Merit
Jordyn Leigh Nunez, Magna Cum Laude Honors
Jacob Ryen Olguin, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Jeremiah James Padilla, Magna Cum Laude
Cristal Pena Jaramillo, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Isabella Marie Polito, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Clayton Knox Pollock, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Xavier Caleb Quintana, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Alexandrya Victoria Ramos, Cum Laude Distinction
Emma Gayle Reeves, Cum Laude
Jordan Kyle Rittgers, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Maranatha Xitlali Rodriguez, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Kiersten Stephanie Romero, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Trinity Sage Saenz, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Madilynn Mae Schloss, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Julianna Tome Serena, Cum Laude Distinction
Raylynn Marie Smith, Cum Laude Honors
Nadia Caterine Tapia, Magna Cum Laude Honors
Armando D'Angelo Trujillo, Cum Laude
Reese David Volk Summa, Cum Laude
Lynden Jagger Wallace, Magna Cum Laude
Syris Jaraun Williams, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Noah William Wood, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Alexander Taylor Yepez, Summa Cum Laude
Leo Anthony Alarid, Cum Laude
Marissa Janae Aragon, Summa Cum Laude
Miana Nicki Aragon, Cum Laude
Alicia Shantel Arkland, Magna Cum Laude
Korey Joe Bowen, Cum Laude Distinction
Abby Marie Briggs, Magna Cum Laude Distinction
Austin Michael Chase, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Manuel Alejandro Delosreyes Mendoza, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Nathan Daniel Estrada, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Marisela Flores, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Paige Briann Flores, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Roxonna Grace Green, Cum Laude
Breeanna Marie Greer, Magna Cum Laude
Gabriel Vincent Hirsch, Summa Cum Laude
My Duyen Huynh, Cum Laude
Nadia Marie Jackson, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Sofia Kamal Summa, Cum Laude Distinction
Kailey Sarah Kinney, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Jenna Karr Lewis, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Aidan Nichols Martinez, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Jason Anthony Martinez, Cum Laude
Olivia Rae Masset, Cum Laude
Devyn Loren McClure, Magna Cum Laude Merit
James Edward Mobley, Cum Laude
Araceli Montanez Flores, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Talia Cecilia-Francesca Montera, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Mireya Anita Munoz, Cum Laude
Kimberly Ann Murillo, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Shanna Irene Violet Noller, Cum Laude Merit
Jordan Sophia Pacheco, Magna Cum Laude Honors
Elise Laurant Pasquin, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Asher James Pelz Summa, Cum Laude, Merit
Victoria Felicia Pfingston, Summa Cum Laude
Kaylee Lorene Portillos, Cum Laude
Santana Jayde Reyes, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Vianet Reyna, Summa Cum Laude
Ibrahimy Rojas Alfaro, Summa Cum Laude
Larissa Nicole Romero, Magna Cum Laude Merit
Meena Madison Ropp, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Alysia Ryuka Ross, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Audriana Marie Sauceda, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Alisha Rasine Serena, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Emily Ann Shafer, Magna Cum Laude Merit
Arrianna Nicole Shaw, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Shelbi Thomas Silva, Cum Laude
Gianna Macel-Catherine Taylor, Magna Cum Laude
Teah Irene Valdez, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Victoria Evelyn Ann Velasquez, Cum Laude Honors
Gabriella Ann Vigil, Cum Laude
Andrew Xiang Zhang, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Alicia Michaela Aragon, Cum Laude
Xelzin Alondra Becerril-Hernandez, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Carlee Lanae Chaney Brooks, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Adam Jimmy Chavez, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Guadalupe Badillo Claro, Cum Laude
Azriah Italy Cortez, Magna Cum Laude
Anidia Yamilet Cruz, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Hunter Zane Egley, Magna Cum Laude
Jocelyn Estrada, Cum Laude Merit
Xavier Phoenix Freeman, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Alyssa Jeannine Gallegos-Garcia, Cum Laude Merit
Bethany Ann Garcia, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Alejandro Garcia Hernandez, Summa Cum Laude
Evan Michael Gigliotti, Magna Cum Laude
Rebekah Elisabeth Griffeth, Cum Laude
Precious Isabella Guerra, Cum Laude Merit
Seung Won Han Summa, Cum Laude Distinction
Rebecca Ann Heine, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Alexander Adam Hernandez, Cum Laude Distinction
Mayra Guadalupe Hernandez Gomez, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Ian Zachary Imes Summa, Cum Laude Distinction
Laila Catalina Jimenez Diaz, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Xexala Leah Lopez, Summa Cum Laude
Christopher Lawrance Lucero Jr., Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Keon Tristain Martinez, Magna Cum Laude
Leyah Christine Garcia Martinez, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Gabriella Faith McClelland, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Cameron Dean McCoy, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Rosa Maria Mendez Garcia, Cum Laude
Cyrista Breonka Minter Summa, Cum Laude
Imanol Molina Ventura, Cum Laude
Steven Tyler Musso, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Blake James Nazario, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Amerette Janae Ornelas, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Gabriel Lucas Pacheco, Cum Laude Honors
Soren Clifford Paulson, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Abigail Rene Pedroza, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Evelyne Kriztine Quezada Terrazas, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Everett Grant Rees, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Diana Paola Rodriguez Mota, Magna Cum Laude
Adam Carlos Romero Magna, Cum Laude Honors
Destiny Rae Romero, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Morgan Riley Root, Cum Laude
Kelsey Barbara Ruzich, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Cesar Elias Sanchez Acosta, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Kaydence Elyzabeth Sandoval, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Samwise Welch Sharp, Cum Laude Honors
Evan Briggs Smith, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Rylie Jean Trujillo, Magna Cum Laude Honors
Divina Marie Walter, Summa Cum Laude
Kristen Mercedes Williams, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Lorenzo Andres Alfonso, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Tarrance David Austin, Summa Cum Laude
Ashleigh Noelle Avalos, Magna Cum Laude
Jace Irving Bellah, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Alexandra Paige Belton, Magna Cum Laude Honors
Brandon Luis Cordova, Magna Cum Laude
Nicholas Lewis DeAngelo, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Elizabeth Anne Eborn, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Allie Kaitlyn Ella Garner, Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Lauryn Anne Gollihugh, Magna Cum Laude Merit
Hayden Beckwith Pacheco, Hall Summa Cum Laude Distinction
Niccole Diane Jena Herrera, Cum Laude Merit
Mailee Alexis Holley, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Ashley Nicole Hughes, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Destiny Rose Jones, Cum Laude
Luke Russell Kaiser, Magna Cum Laude Merit
Chloe Layne Keck, Cum Laude Merit
Lana Leah Kitchen, Summa Cum Laude
Jeg Preston Lucero, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Brian Jesse Maes, Magna Cum Laude
Cierra Katherine Martinez, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Elise Marie Mestas, Magna Cum Laude Merit
Yesly Parra, Summa Cum Laude
Jailan Portenier, Cum Laude Distinction
Madison Faye Reardon, Summa Cum Laude, Merit
Julianna Rose Rendon, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Aspen Faith Rhodes, Magna Cum Laude Honors
Alleson Rae Schlosky, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Zachary Gage Smailer, Cum Laude
Samantha Rain Townsend, Summa Cum Laude
Holly Minh Vy Tran, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Jaedyn Tyler Valencia, Summa Cum Laude
Trystan James Waggoner, Magna Cum Laude
Ella Lousie Ware, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Emma Kathryn Wright, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Kyla Blue Zamora, Cum Laude Merit
Kevin Elias Lozano, Cum Laude Honors
Lexus Mia Lucero, Cum Laude
Dominic Anthony Madrid, Magna Cum Laude
Karlee Frances Martinez, Cum Laude
Kyle William Meyer, Summa Cum Laude
Martin Rafael Ortiz Payan, Cum Laude
Aria Milan Pasquin, Summa Cum Laude Honors
Alexia Giovanna Peinado Cangialosi, Magna Cum Laude
Sebastian Rivera, Magna Cum Laude
The Academic Excellence Award winners collectively earned $5 million in scholarships, including endowments from the Kane Family, Gates Foundation and Hurliman Foundation, as well as National Merit, University and College Presidential Scholarships.
This class of scholars includes members of FBLA, DECA, Girls’ Cabinet, Key Club, JROTC, Speech and Debate, Student Council, and National Honor Society.
There are 49 Track and Cross Country athletes, 32 volleyball players, 25 football players, 27 basketball players, 29 baseball and softball players, 34 soccer players, 30 swimmers, 23 tennis players, 14 golfers, 4 wrestlers, 3 bowlers, 22 cheerleaders and competitive dancers and 17 band and/or choir members