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Standout Youths Tapped For Junior Achievement Nominations
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The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce will be presenting its Junior Achievement Award as part of the annual awards dinner and ceremony on Friday, Jan. 18 at the Oakdale Community Center. Following are those local teens singled out for recognition by the Chamber for their accomplishments in school, sports, the community and club activities, with the nominees listed in alphabetical order.


Caleb Bairos

Caleb Bairos is the type of young man that shows you the type of person he will be at a very early age. His number one priority is school but running a very close second are his responsibilities to his animals. He knows that there must be a balance between the two areas. He comes from a farming family that is active in the community so it is a natural pathway for Caleb to follow.

Caleb has stepped forward to represent our community as a reporter for the OHS Chapter, FFA section Secretary – Stanislaus Tuolumne Section, he volunteers in the River Clean-Up Project, helps with the Food Drive, participated in the Elementary Ag days, SAE Swine Production 30 hogs and Beef production of two steers, he is a member of the OHS School Site Council and was an Intern for Jeff Denham.

Caleb was recognized for his awareness in the community in the FFA. He has been a representative for the school at the Section Level, was on the California State Trap Team and in 2016 Caleb went to the World Finals in Trap representing California. He has earned his Green Hand Degree, Chapter and State degrees in FFA. Caleb is a Star Farmer for FFA and a member of the 2016 State Championship Junior Trap Team.

Caleb is a junior at Oakdale High School. He has a GPA of 3.3 and is an active member of the FFA. Caleb is taking a Small Business class, as well as, an A.P. US History class.

Caleb has always led by example.


Tavin Barry

Tavin Barry’s day to day responsibility is to be a senior who stays focused. She joined Oakdale High School’s strong FFA organization as a freshman. She currently serves on the officer team as Chapter Photographer. Through the organization she worked on the Clean River Project, Ag Days at the elementary school, and Eighth Grade Recruitment Days. This year she was one of the members of the Number 1 State Livestock Judging Team that went to compete at the national level. Her team took second place in the nation. Due to the excellence of Tavin and the other three members of the team, they brought a great deal of pride to the high school and also the community of Oakdale.

The following are just a few of Tavin’s recognitions: FFA Green Hand Degree, FFA Chapter Degree, FFA State Degree, Block “O” in tennis, Most improved – Tennis, Member of the First Place California Judging Team and Reserve National Champion Livestock Judging Team.

Tavin is a senior at Oakdale High School. She has an overall GPA of 3.63. Tavin is also a two-year member of the Varsity Tennis Team. Tavin is the older of two daughters. The Barry family resides in Oakdale and the family business is also located in Oakdale.


Kaeli Sweet

Kaeli Sweet became involved in “Operation Christmas Child” two years ago. Over the past two years she has raised over $4,000 towards the cause. She gives her time to events that happen in her hometown of Knights Ferry. When asked about her passion for helping others, she states, “It is just something I do.”

Kaeli’s logging of her community service hours started when she was a freshman in high school and now as a graduating senior she has a total accumulation of 988 hours that she has given to the community. When Kaeli is not helping others, she works at Knights Ferry Creamery and Sweets. Her time is filled with activities around the community and at school. “Operation Christmas Child” keeps her busy for part of the year. When asked what her biggest recognition has been, she responds, “The town of Knights Ferry knows me and who I am.”

Kaeli is a senior at OHS who maintains a GPA of 3.65. She was an active member for two years of the OHS FFA.

Kaeli is a second generation of the Sweet family to be graduating from Oakdale High School. Her parents are alumni of OHS. She is the oldest child in her family.


Grace Verdegaal

Grace Verdegaal is student who has already started to make a difference in her community and school. She has contributed by being on the Oakdale High School National winning level Judging team, she is the Vice President of the OHS FFA Chapter, organized the Ag Elementary School Days, participated in the River Clean Up project, organized and participated in the Junior High Recruitment Days, worked the Cowboy Museum dinner and helped lead the Varsity Volleyball Girls to two league Championships.

Each day Grace makes school a top priority and maintains a 4.0 GPA while she prepares and organizes FFA Chapter events and meetings. She also feeds and maintains her livestock and Grace helps and works around her family’s ranch. During Volleyball season one can add practicing with her school’s team or her club’s team to her already busy schedule.

Grace is an awesome student. She has been awarded Lifetime member of the CSF, 2018 Supreme Champion Hog at Cal Poly’s Jackpot Show. She was Homecoming Princess and Best Offensive Volleyball Player two years in a row. She’s played in the County All Star Game, was a member of the first place Judging Team for the State of California, took third as an individual for the State Judging Team, took ninth in the Nation’s Judging as an individual. Received Master Showmanship in swine, raised and trained a “supreme goat” and her sophomore year she was a Chapter Star Farmer.

Grace is the youngest of the Verdegaal children. She has grown up in Oakdale. Her family ranch is just outside the city. Grace’s three older siblings graduated from OHS. She is following in the footsteps of her brother by participating in the FFA all four years as an officer and showing swine and goats. Grace is a senior at Oakdale High School and is planning on attending Cal Poly or Texas A&M next year.