By Elizabeth Gillingham
Top 10 for the Class of 2020
PHHS typically honors the top 1% of the senior class at Sea World in the District’s Annual Salute to Excellence event. Every high school in the district is represented and students are honored by their principals through a special recognition program. We were unable to do that this year, but I wanted to note the top students of the Class of 2020 so I decided to add five more and present to you the top 2% of the graduating class at PHHS!
Ranked No. 1: Jacob Graven 4.82 going to UCSD computer science
Ranked No. 1: Chloe Morris 4.82 going to UCLA as an International Development Studies or Political Science major
Ranked No. 3: Issac Roberts 4.79 going to UCSD to major in Computer Science
Ranked No. 4: Jade Mitchel 4.77 going to UCLA to major in Art History
Ranked No. 4: Kieran Himer 4.77 going to SDSU majoring in mathematics
Ranked No. 6: Theodore Schenck 4.71 going to Oberlin College in history
Ranked No. 7: Alexander “Ably” Penney 4.68 going to Carnegie-Mellon to study Electrical & Computer Engineering
Ranked No. 8: Sydney Cooper 4.65 going to USC to major in English
Ranked No. 9: Heather Nelson 4.63 going to UC Berkeley and is considering majoring in Environmental Science
Ranked No. 9: Truc Thanh Nguyen 4.63 going to University of Pennsylvania
Henry’s first-ever virtual
Senior Awards Night
Everything about the recent pandemic has challenged PHHS to come up with new ways to honor our students. Our 51st annual Senior Awards Night went on without a hitch using our Broadcast Teacher’s skills (thank you Mr. Mark Abbott) and the assistance of our department chairs at Henry.
On May 13, the departmetn chairs, PHHS administrative team, and PHHS counselors met in PHAME, sitting several rows apart in the 500-seat theater to honor the top seniors from Henry. The event had to be scaled back from previous years, where community members would also be invited to present scholarships earned across the county. We focused the evening event (it was planned to be aired on the evening of May 30, the senior’s prom date) on making it more personal and kept it to only school awards.
Principal Listy Gillingham, began the evening with a welcome and a slideshow was aired throughout the presentation made by Head Counselor Vivian Vaccarino which included pictures of every senior who had won an award. Here is a run-down of our winners:
AVID Award presented by Ms. Monica Nix: Vivian Mendoza
Computer Graphic Design Award presented by Mr. Karl Bolton: Mara Lynn Preciado
Screen Printing Award by Mr. Karl Bolton: Audrey Waters
Drama Award presented by Ms. Chris Carr: Alyssa Lozano
Engineering Design Award presented by Mrs. Adria Van Loan: Timber Carey
Architecture Award presented by Mrs. Adria Van Loan: Trevor Burich
Computer Science Award presented by Mrs. Adria Van Loan : Elise Boyd
English Award presented by Mr. Mark Frerichs: Kathryn Zix
Link Crew Awards presented by Ms. Elise Morgan: Jael Mercado, Fabian Cuevas and Elise Angelina Margaux Boyd
Mathematics Award presented by Mr. Ron Reese: Clare Hermanson
California Mathematics Council Award presented by Mr. Reese: Truc Thanh Nguyen
NJROTC Awards presented by Mr. Ron Flaherty: Tram Bui and Van Mai
PE Award presented by Mr. Sheldon Watkins: Erik Radder
Psychology Awards presented by Ms. Amy Evans: Tyra Luangviseth
Science Awards presented by Mr. Jim Davis: Isaac Roberts and Matthew Thomas
Social Studies Award presented by Ms. Taunya Robinson: Ainsleigh Beard
Student Govt. Awards presented by Ms. Autumn Flores: Samantha Linden and Sergio Rynard
Teaching Academy Award presented by Ms. Haley Culver: Savana Pendergraft
Broadcast Journalism Award presented by Mr. Mark Abbott: Alex Sandoval
Band Award presented by Mr. Matt Kalal: John Carlos Lagunas
Orchestra Award presented by Mr. Matt Kalal: Saghi Ajami
Music/Vocalist Award presented by Mr. Weatherly: John Yokoyama
Art Award presented by Mr. Abe Shklar: Mara Preciado
Photography Award presented by Mr. Thom Hunt: Maxwell Skantz
Ceramics Award presented by Mr. John Weatherly: Emma Abbe
World Language Award presented by Mr. Edward Stanko: Vanessa Zavala
Yearbook Award presented by Ms. Jennifer Pacofsky: Madison Burke
Peer Mediation Awards presented by Ms. Amy Evans: Hailey Veeder and Daniel Karimu
Perseverance & Achievement Awards presented by Ms. Brenda Morales: Alberto Castaneda and Robert Moonery
PHHS Foundation Counselor Scholarships: Jayden Brown, Makaila Williams, Jesus Flores Sandoval, Daniel Karimu, Daniela Nowicki
President’s Academic Excellence Awards; these certificates are given to the top 2% of the Class of 2020. The students all receive a certificate of recognition signed by President Donald Trump: Jacob Michael Graven, Chloe Lilienne Morris, Isaac Roberts, Jade Marie Mitchel, Kieran Hilmer, Theodore Merin Schenck, Alexander Blount Penney, Sidney M. Cooper, Heather Anne Nelson, Truc Thanh Nguyen
Patriots of the Year Awards
Patriot of the Year Awards are given to students who have demonstrated a high degree of achievement in several areas during their entire time at PHHS. Students apply and ten are typically honored after a thorough review of their resume and letters of recommendations showing outstanding academics, citizenship, extracurricular organizations memberships, athletics, community service, and outside employment. The following ten students were selected this year: Samantha Elyse Linden, Kellen Shane Foster, Victoria Tolley, Naman Govind Bhai Pandadiya, Jennifer Elizabeth Russell, Ariana Jaleen Bermudez, Adrienne Schneider Hooker, Makaila Elise Williams, Zyah Cephus, Alyssa Rose Lozano
Senior of the Year
The Senior of the Year was selected from the Patriots of the Year. Ariana Bermudez was named PHHS’s Senior of the Year due to her passion to inspire others to succeed.
Ariana stated in her application that being a true Patriot for her is defined around the number three, but not because she has three siblings, was in three clubs, or even had three dogs, but because she expresses the three pillars each and every day at Henry by being welcoming, doing no harm and using choice words with others.
Ariana has 4.11 GPA and she will be receiving a plaque and a check for $500 to help support her continued success in whatever pathway she decides to pursue.
PHHS Scholar Athletes of the Year
Congratulations to our Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Adam Monroe and Daniella Nowicki were selected this year to represent the best and brightest athletes at Henry!
Daniella was selected due to her Cumulative GPA of 4.29 and her work on both our Field Hockey and Lacrosse teams. Danielle was noted for earning the following recognition in both sports:
Served as the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Captains
Won the LAX Corrine Rodney 7 C’s Award (2018)
Won the LAX CIF Sportsmanship Award in 2018 during the CIF Championship game (first in our school’s history)
Earned all-league and SD Union Tribune All-Academic Team honors for both her junior and senior year
Danielle will be going to the American University where she plans to major in International Service.
Adam Monroe was selected due to his Cumulative GPA of 4.24 and his work on both our Men’s Water Polo and Men’s Swim team. Adam was noted for earning other distinctions which included:
Served as a 2-year captain on the Men’s Water Polo team leanding us to the first CIF Championship in the school history in 2019
Earned the CIF Sportsmanship award during the CIF game
Earned all-league and SD Union Tribune All-Academic Team honors for both her junior and senior year
Adam will be going to the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he will study Civil Engineering and looks forward to continuing his water polo career on the University’s Club Water Polo team.
Maria Theodore Memorial Scholarship
This award is a tradition in its 18th year. It was created in the memory of former PHHS principal, Maria Theodore. This $500 scholarship is given to students who have overcome obstacles in his/her life or school career and who are focused on completing a post-secondary education, which would have made Maria immensely proud.
Ziah Cephus was selected for this award as she can easily be described as a true mover and a shaker and was noted for doing great work at Henry using her incredible gift of kindness. Rachel Samuelsz said it best in her quote by stating, “I have had the privilege of teaching this student for three years and she is the life and spiritT of our choir. This student exudes pure life. She is always ready with an encouraging word for anybody, whether she’s addressing one person or the entire class. She is always ready to lend a helping hand and will do just about anything that is asked of her. In fact, I can’t think of a single thing I’ve asked that she hasn’t done and she’s usually the one to offer. She is beautiful, smart and talented! She has had many solos these past 3 years in concerts and I am always left in awe of the magnitude of her vocal abilities.”
Donald W. Giddings Scholarship
This is also an annual award given to one senior who is chosen for his or her outstanding leadership qualities and dedication to the school and community on behalf of PHHS’s first principal Donald W. Giddings. Naman Pandadiya was selected due to his high academic achievement (4.09 GPA) and his community service both at Henry and in his community. His math teacher, Karen Aguilar stated, “I’ve had the pleasure of being his teacher for two years. He is great about finishing his work and is always a kind and helpful presence to his classmates. Two things stand out about him: He likes to share funny jokes which has been a source of laughter. Also he is an ambassador for his community and culture, going out of his way to share information to include others.”
Isaac Roberts earned a 4.79 GPA and was presented with a plaque and a medallion inscribed with Academic Distinction, which would have been worn during our PHHS graduation ceremony.
Isaac is best described by PE teacher Matt Reese: “I have had Isaac Roberts in strength and conditioning this year (and in 9th as well). Isaac is an outstanding student with a strong work ethic. He is a leader and looked up to by his peers. Isaac is respectful and kind to all, and is a true friend to one of our students with disabilities in class. He has had a real positive impact on our Henry community.”
Jacob Michael Graven and Chloe Lilienne Morris each have a weighted cumulative GPA of 4.82, which is the highest GPA for the Class of 2020. According to math teacher Bill Hockmuth, “Chloe Morris is an all-around great student. The thing that stands out the most is her ability to ask really thoughtful questions. The types of questions that really promotes deeper understanding of the concepts and ideas.”
While Mr. Hockmuth also reported that “Jake Graven is an outstanding student as well. Very bright, consistently hardworking, and just sets a great example in the classroom. I’ve taught Jake for two different courses and he’s been a pleasure to have in class!”
Both Chloe and Jake were presented with a plaque and a medallion inscribed with Academic Distinction which could have been worn during our PHHS graduation ceremony in recognition of her accomplishments.
The Weissenberg’s family started a tradition to honor the valedictorian of the first PHHS graduating class by awarding the senior a watch from his local jewelry store. Gary’s grandfather began the tradition and after giving the watch, Donald Giddings, the principal at the time, asked him if he would continue offering the gift to other valedictorians, and the tradition began. Upon the death of Gary’s grandfather and the jewelry store closing, Gary’s grandmother decided to keep the tradition going and continued to give the gift each year.
Now that she has passed, Gary is graciously continuing to honor their legacy by continuing this tradition and supplying a watch to this year’s graduates. It was an honor to have him present two watches this year to Chloe Morris and Jake Graven.
Classified Employee of the Year
Rosa Lee Hernandez was selected last year to join PHHS staff as the Night Crew Leader. Her responsibilities typically begin in the late afternoon, just as all of the after school events start to rev up, which makes her super important to the school.
If it’s a basketball game, she’s there to help with the sound system, if it’s a game played in the stadium, she’s on board to get it lit up and ready to go. Everyone who knows her appreciates her “can do” and her more than willing to help out attitude. It’s no wonder why the staff emphatically selected Rosa Lee as the PHHS Classified Employee of the Year for 2020!
Rosa began her career with the SDUSD after being laid off from Alvarado Hospital in a clerical position that she enjoyed for many years, but due to a budget freeze and cuts in the medical fields, she lost her position.
In 2011, Rosa applied for a substitute custodial position with the SDUSD but was quickly noted for her hard work and was quickly picked up by Morse High School as a permanent custodian. While at Morse, she had the opportunity to cover as an interim Crew Leader and took the supervisor tests for future opportunities.
Last year, we interviewed Rosa and she was clearly the best candidate for the job. Rosa stated in an interview with the principal after learning she won the award from Henry, “I enjoy my job and the people I work with and I love working at Patrick Henry. In my spare time I enjoy time with my family, watching movies, walking, bike riding, and hiking. I consider myself an outdoor person. That’s me in a nutshell.”
— Elizabeth Gillingham is principal of Patrick Henry High School.