For the first time, students from Oakdale Junior High School are joining nominees from Oakdale High School to be recognized for Junior Achievement from the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce.
Oakdale Chamber CEO Mary Guardiola said that the Junior Achievement award has just been high school nominees in the past, but it’s always been open to “youth” in general.
“It’s a lot about community service,” Guardiola said of the award, adding that the more that young people can get involved in the community, the better. She noted that community service also looks good on scholarship applications.
All of the Chamber’s Junior Achievement nominees will receive a certificate and the award recipient or recipients will receive a plaque. The Chamber of Commerce awards dinner will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20 at the Gene Bianchi Community Center.
The nomination bios for the nine high school and junior high school students are shown as they were written below.
Amy Bolme is an outstanding senior at Oakdale High School. She currently holds the highly impressive class academic rank of 25th in a class of 365 students, within the top seven percent of her class. Additionally, due to her outstanding grades, Amy has earned her lifetime California Scholarship Federation membership. Additionally, she has challenged herself by being a member of two outstanding, and multiple-award-winning, academic-based extracurricular activities: Oakdale High School’s Science Olympiad Team and 11-consecutive-time Stanislaus County Champion Academic Decathlon Team. Amy is also a section leader of the multiple-award-winning Marching, section leader for the Jazz bands and music programs. Amy is also Band Club vice president. She is an accomplished musician and is dedicated to the promotion of the many music-related activities and the success of the music programs at OHS. She has earned a chair for the trombone, in the highly prestigious Stanislaus County Honor Band. Amy is respectful, organized, and she speaks well as a noteworthy spiritual advisor, and gives details about music events and program accomplishments at OJUSD board meetings during public comment. This highly versatile young woman is also a beautiful singer. She has also on numerous occasions been asked to sing the National Anthem for Oakdale High School games and played at the park during the National Christmas Tree display. She participated in the Distinguished Young Women, a Soroptimist Scholarship Program, and took fifth place. Amy does a lot of community activities through her Girl Scout Troop. They recently were at the Care Center singing Christmas carols and providing Christmas ornaments to the residents. Amy also volunteers for the Sierra Vista Christmas dinner that serves over 300. Amy with her troop also participated in a coat drive for Family Support Network. Amy has a work ethic, a highly impressive academic prowess including outstanding writing and speaking skills, impeccable moral character, and a wonderful personality – a combination of traits that has resulted in a truly exceptional student who has unlimited potential for future great successes. She is an amazing young lady.
Taylor Davis is proactive and involved in many different things. She belongs to the California Scholastic Association (CSA) for her great grades. With her good grades she volunteered this year to tutor students in Math. Taylor does more than just get wonderful grades. She participated on a team for the Relay For Life. Taylor is involved in Varsity Tennis, Marching and Concert Band. She attends church with her mom or dad on occasion. The strongest aspect of Taylor is standing up and representing Oakdale High School’s Gay-Straight-Alliance (GSA) as vice president. She and a small group of students have now written grants to help fund the Rainbow Prom, the sole purpose of which is to allow youths who are uncomfortable, afraid to attend their own prom, or in some cases denied the right to attend due to a same-sex date. The event last year pulled in kids from all over the area, some even coming from other counties and was judged by all to be a great success. This is the second year they will be hosting an Anti-Slur campaign to fight disrespect and bullying in the school. Taylor and the GSA president have also been organizing a series of staff development lectures concerning gay/lesbian issues in education, including information on recent legislation. She demonstrates maturity and dedication in all that she applies herself.
Kaitlyn Gruidl is a caring person that would do anything to help Oakdale. Kaitlyn is currently in the seventh grade and actively participates in community service. She is a member of the Girl Scouts and an active member and leader at her church. Kaitlyn and her Girl Scout troop continue to do crafts and help seniors at the senior center. Through her church, Kaitlyn helped clean the rodeo grounds after the first day to prepare for the guests the following day. She also assisted at the gate, representing her church, at the Oakdale Chamber’s annual Chocolate Festival to stamp patrons as they entered. Kaitlyn has also earned $150 for the American Cancer Society. Kaitlyn works unselfishly giving her time and efforts to promote the better welfare of the Oakdale community.
Jessica Gorman is helpful, kind, friendly, and outgoing. She is a straight A student, very involved with school, and the community. Her school involvement includes Oakdale Junior High School leadership and ambassador. Her outside activities include participating in youth group through her church and Girl Scouts. Through her church she helps to feed the homeless every Sunday and is a Girl Scout Helper for Little Sisters. She has also helped at a crab feed set-up, serve, and clean-up. With Jessica being so helpful, she helped her next door neighbor with their gardening. She is currently a Stampede Cheerleader and plays softball for the Oak Valley Youth Softball Association. As a cheerleader she assists in selling tickets, participating in the round up and rallies. She enjoys making the Oakdale community a better place. Jessica is an eighth grader that is proud and glad to be a part of such a great community.
Justina Rose Keith
Justina Rose Keith, a senior at OHS, has drive and determination to do everything she attempts to the best of her ability. She is one that sets a standard for herself and works hard to maintain that standard to reach her goals. Justina has participated in volleyball at Oakdale High School as well as competing with her travel volleyball team. She had a major setback recently with a serious back injury. However, with her positive attitude, determination, and work ethic, she was able to recover much quicker than expected and is back playing. Her school club involvements include: Advance Placement classes, Link Crew that introduces freshmen to OHS through the buddy system, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) that she holds the secretary position and helped with a luncheon/meeting with guest speakers who speak on involvement in school and sports. She is the co-founder of Amped, a school health and fitness club, and part of the leadership committee for SALT, a volleyball and track captain. Her community involvement consists of being a volunteer with the “Club of Hearts Scholarship Organization,” a local organization that provides two scholarships a year to less fortunate girls. She assists in setting up for functions, serving, clean-up, etc. and also does tutoring for those who need it. Justina also helps with Jacob’s Heart, an organization that raises money for children fighting cancer. She participates with her mother’s Relay For Life team to raise money. She has participated as a substitute server in a local shelter. Justina has already dedicated herself to life in the world of service. Her future educational plans are to study medicine, with the aspiration of becoming either a nurse or a medical doctor. With her outlook on life and her abilities, her accomplishments will be endless.
Stevie Rae Cordoza
Stevie Cordoza is an outstanding Oakdale High School student. She is a person who is totally dedicated to the service of others and the betterment of her school and community. Stevie is a veteran of the campus Service Club. Stevie is also a founding member and currently serves as the treasurer of the campus Get Amped Club, an organization that works hard to promote proper diet, exercise and healthy life styles. Stevie, this year, serves as a rally commissioner within the Associated Student Body leadership team. Moreover, Stevie is the consummate scholar-athlete and has been highly successful as a member of the school’s interscholastic swimming team during each of her four years at Oakdale High School. Off campus, Stevie is an almost lifelong veteran of the community award-winning Relay For Life, an altruistic event that benefits the American Cancer Society. She is very dedicated and passionate about this activity as Stevie is about fighting the scourge of cancer through the Relay For Life. She has, each year, aspired to and successfully completed more difficult challenges within the Relay For Life, culminating with this year’s event when she was the chairperson for the Survivor Committee – the group at the Relay For Life that cares for our heroes, the cancer survivors – during the 24-hour event. That position is a very responsible one and required Stevie to perform hours of intensive planning, coordination and just plain legwork. During the event itself, Stevie served the survivors throughout the course of the day and night and did so in a compassionate and very efficient manner. While doing all of the aforementioned work, Stevie also participated in the 2012 Oakdale Distinguished Young Woman (formerly Junior Miss) program and finished third overall, also winning the award for community service. Additionally, this indefatigable young woman also performed with an off campus aquatics team, served as an aquatics coach, and gave private swimming lessons. Continuing with her focus on service, Stevie served as an ambassador for CATALYST: the California Taking Action Through Leadership and Youth Service Teams, attended the Gallo Early Start Leadership Camp, she also holds a leadership role in SCOE, a club that focuses on keeping kids in school, and has been very active in her church as an altar server and a member of the youth group. During this past year through her church she went on a mission to Madrid. Recently, Stevie was accepted to Cal Poly where she will continue her education.
Madison Lane is a quiet and unassuming young woman. Her leadership with the Gay-Straight-Alliance at Oakdale High School has taken on more responsibility than it ever has before. She’s been active in the GSA for the last three years, but took on the mantle of leadership when the need arose. She and a small group of students have twice now written grants to help fund the Rainbow Prom, the sole purpose of which is to allow youths who are uncomfortable, afraid to attend their own prom, or in some cases denied the right to attend due to the same-sex date. The event last year was very successful and pulled in kids even from outside the area. For the second time they will be hosting an anti-slur campaign to fight disrespect and bullying in the school. She and her officers have also been organizing a series of staff development lectures concerning gay/lesbian issues in education, including information on recent legislation. She is dedicated to educating our community and ensuring that everyone, however different, feels safe and included. Madison is also an active participant in the Interact Club and S-Club, participating in events such as Trees for Troops, Caroling for Cans, and the Community Sharing Center’s canned food drive. Academically, Madison is a straight-A student, a member of CSF, and participating for a third year on Oakdale High’s Tennis, Science Olympiad, and Academic Decathlon teams. This year, Madison is on the Academic Decathlon competing team, which consists of nine of Oakdale’s top students that will compete at the countywide competition in early February. Madison is certainly one of Oakdale’s shining stars.
Paul Perrone is a standout Oakdale High School senior who appreciates the opportunities within his school district and his community. He has been dedicated to solid academic success, athletics and the diversity of clubs and organizations available to him. He has even helped to start a couple of campus clubs and has worked as a volunteer tutor while teaming up with his classmates to collect many awards at Model United Nations, Science Olympiad and Academic Decathlon local and state competitions. His additional volunteer and community service includes leadership in the California Scholarship Federation and Interact as president of both clubs. He has also benefited from attendance at the Rotary Youth Leadership Camp. He was selected to serve on the California 4-H International Exchange support advisory committee, working with the program team to prepare hosts and delegates for the exchange experience. A tremendous opportunity, unique to the OJUSD, is to serve as the student representative and a voting member of the Board of Trustees. Paul was appointed for the 2011-2012 school year. He was voted Homecoming King by his peers. Paul has also had a lot of fun with the “Cupcake Assassin” team during the local American Cancer Society Relay For Life. His positive attitude spreads to all people and events he is a part of and you want to work hard to equal his efforts. He is a great leader now and will be in the future.
Katie Schultz is an incredibly well rounded young lady, an honors student with a GPA of 4.0 both years at Oakdale Junior High (OJHS). In 2011, Katie was OJHS vice president and facilitates the president and other young leaders that have made OJHS campus a better place. She commits herself to 10 or more hours of community service each school quarter, dedicating her time locally to the Oakdale Library, feeding the elderly at the senior center, participating in Oakdale’s Relay For Life, and is a youth advisor commissioner with the Youth Advisory Board which plans local events for teens in Oakdale. She is also the current captain of the award winning Oakdale color guard team. She directs students at rehearsals and at competitions, is consistently reinforcing positive behavior, and is an exemplary example for those on her team. Students and team members alike both respect and admire her for her contributions to the guard and the school as she was elected “Most Likely to Succeed” in the 2010-2011 yearbook. Katie is an amazing student and young lady. She is thoughtful, determined, and holds herself to a high moral standard. She truly is an extraordinary, one of a kind student and leader and will represent the community proudly.
Oakdale Leader reporter Dawn M. Henley contributed to this report.