Yuma Sun Scholars: Language arts
The Yuma Sun Scholars program recognizes students in Yuma County who excel in one of seven academic categories. Winners from each category will be profiled in editions of the Yuma Sun.
Twelve high school seniors have been nominated by their school counselors or teachers to be recognized by the Yuma Sun Scholars program for outstanding achievements in the field of language arts. They are among nearly 50 students chosen to be honored this year. Every area high school can nominate one student for each category: technical studies, arts, foreign language, social sciences, science, language arts and math.
Samantha Foster, a student at Aztec High School, was nominated by teachers Cristine Vassar and Alexis Urtuzuastegui: “She is attentive to her teachers and peers and always goes the extra mile. She is not only a great student but an engaging and mature person. She makes coming to work each day a joy.”
Foster likes poetry. “I like when we learn about poetry because when writing poetry, you can express how you feel.”
The daughter of Becky Foster, she was student of the month and volunteers at the Yuma Elks Lodge. She plans to become a successful person in society by working hard and possibly becoming a U.S. Marine.
Dakota Dillard, a student at Antelope Union High School, was nominated by teacher Paula Cannon: “He is totally committed to learning and evaluating works of literature and authors of English. He approaches all assignments with enthusiasm and enjoyment. He thinks like a winner, prepares himself like a winner and performs in the classroom like a winner.”
Dakota feels that English is a good way to express yourself. “I love creative writing and being able to express my ideas to others. English lets you turn your ideas into unique stories and poems.”
The son of Ronnie and Melba Dunn, he is on the straight “A” honor roll and member of National Honor Society. He is involved with FFA, gifted and NHS. He plans to attend Arizona Western College and transfer to a university where he can study graphic design and branch out into animation or multimedia art.
Allison Holiman, a student at Calvary Baptist School, was nominated by teacher Laila Meyers: “She has shown a passion for reading and writing. Her creativity in writing assignments is reflected in her work. She demonstrates above average performance by achieving excellent scores on her tests. She is respected by her peers and willingly helps other students.”
Holiman likes reading. “I'm an avid reader but I also enjoy writing. I hope to be given further opportunity to pursue this.”
The daughter of Heather and Jarrod Holiman, she is on the honor roll, a Go Getter, and won first place in a vocal award. She enjoys photography, computer technology, student council and choir. She plans to earn an associate's degree in English at Arizona Western College, then transfer to Northern Arizona University.
Arielle Padilla, a student at Carpe Diem Collegiate High School, was nominated by English teacher Rachel Harcrow: “She is skilled in areas of reading and writing. She will also assist other students in this area without being asked or without reward. Her functional and creative writing pieces are both engaging and flawless. Arielle is one of the most talented and well-rounded students I have had the pleasure of working with.”
Padilla loves writing. “I love figurative language. I love the impact of words and their connotations. I love to make people feel with my writing. I love making words come alive. I love using language to express a deeper meaning.”
The daughter of Mark and Leighann Padilla, she is on the honor roll, National Honor Society, editor of the Lion's Roar student newspaper and does volunteer work at Desert Rose Retirement Community. She plans to go to college and major in psychology.
Cara Kneeland, a student at Gila Ridge High School, was nominated by English teacher Jennie Galindo: “She is very dedicated to her work and is constantly asking questions about the English language and the art of writing. Cara is a student of integrity and the proof is in her writing assignments.”
Kneeland likes that there are infinite ways to write the same thing. “There is no ultimate right or wrong way. It's all a matter of how you want to be read.”
The daughter of Gene Kneeland, Julie and Donald Schenck, she received an “A” team award and letter. She plans to pursue a career in English or psychology at Pacific Lutheran University, a private university in Tacoma, Wash.
Joshua Greiner, a student at Harvest Preparatory Academy, was nominated by language arts teacher Michael Manherz: “Josh has been in the forefront of writing within my class. He has an intense writing style that digs deep into a topic. His details are in-depth and his analysis on any given subject is on par with college level writing. His arguments are professional, fluid and logical.”
Greiner loves writing the most. “I can express myself much more on paper than through words spoken. I love writing because I enjoy making my imagination come to life whether it be an argument, persuasion or creative writing.”
The son of Daniel and Elisabeth Greiner, he won first place in a speech contest at Arizona Western College San Luis campus, won second place for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice for Democracy and third place at a school writing competition. He was involved in drama club, debate club and weight training after school. He plans to get a college degree in computer science then serve in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Savannah Malenowsky, a student at Kofa High School, was nominated by teacher Tammy Foley: “She has a fun, playful nature and is fun to have in class. She loves to read. She works diligently to improve her skills and is a cheerleader for her fellow classmates as they work together in groups.”
Malenowsky likes that English is never repetitive or boring. “Reading is one of my favorite things to do because I love how an author can convey a meaningful message through characters and words. Reading books are easy, but the connecting and understanding of the story is what makes it worthwhile.”
The daughter of Nancy Dolezal, she received a merit scholarship from Northern Arizona University. She is on the swim team, volunteers at Yuma Community Food Bank and Relay for Life. She plans to attend Arizona Western College, transfer to University of Arizona to become a physical therapist or photographer.
Noemi Inzunza, a student at PPEP Tec High School, was nominated by language arts teacher Michelle Iniguez: “As she has matured, she has found a best friend in literature and now enjoys reading. Naturally, this has also sharpened her writing skills to a very impressive level. More than once, teachers have expressed their admiration for Noemi. She has never failed to make her family or teachers proud.”
Inzunza enjoys reading. “I developed a passionate love for nonfiction in the form of true event stories.”
The daughter of Alisandra Inzunza, she is on the honor roll, received a LULAC award and volunteers at Head Start. She plans to study nursing or education at Arizona Western College.
Genesis M. Grijalva
Genesis M. Grijalva, a student at San Luis High School, was nominated by English teacher D. Jasmine: “She demonstrated a superior work ethic and continually surpassed all class requirements and expectations, producing work that displayed a keenly analytical, creative and original mind. She has a gift for deep analysis of fiction and non-fiction text, the ability to synthesize her ideas and express them with confidence, both verbally and in writing.”
Grijalva is confident in herself and her opinions. “Language arts has been crucial in my path in becoming a better me. With better rhetoric and writing skills, I've become more confident in myself and my opinions. Because of language arts, I have become the woman I need to be successful in life.”
The daughter of Efren and Maribel Grijalva, she received the principal's honor roll and AP scholar awards. She is involved in varsity volleyball, Mexican-American Association club and art club. She plans to minor in Spanish and French and major in English, with plans to enter law school.
Tomas Jefferson, a student at San Pasqual Valley High School, was nominated by English teacher Christine Cloud: “He is able to discern credibility from the rhetorical arguments of others and, equally important, analyze literature in depth as well. He delivers such a rigorous response to questions and writing prompts, he continually receives extra points for his in-depth analysis.”
Jefferson likes that language arts' importance is present every day. “With interests in more literary involved hobbies, language is vital. It's also great in that the literary works reflect the social and political environment of a period of time.”
The son of Peggy and John Jefferson, he plans to work full time.
Jennifer Alspach, a student at Yuma Catholic High School, was nominated by English teacher Cheri Meade: “Her course work demonstrates a high level of academic achievement and eagerness to participate in a higher level of critical thinking, as well as time-management skills. Jennifer continues to demonstrate her commitment to her educational achievement and her academic integrity.”
Alspach likes analyzing various works of writing. “I enjoy English because I like analyzing various works of writing and learning how to get a message across through writing.”
The daughter of Irma and David Alspach, she is on the high honor roll, involved in Yuma community justice board, the National Honor Society and Interact club. She plans to study environmental science at Duke University.
Daniel Ohn, a student at Yuma High School, was nominated by instructional leader Valerie Bondora: “His ability to communicate and collaborate with a diverse population is also admirable in one so young. I have seen him work comfortably and confidently with complex tasks, focused on attaining his goal, while coaching his classmates along. I am confident that he will use every opportunity he has to grow academically and personally in order to make a difference in his life and community.”
Ohn likes AP language composition because of his teacher. “She allowed me to see the world in a more realistic way and taught me how to think for myself.”
The son of Carlos Ohn Jr., he has been in the Newspaper Club and received the Sun Scholar award. He plans to major in computer science at Northern Arizona University.