San Manuel seniors earn nearly $800K in scholarships; all grads honored in late ceremony

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San Manuel High School Class of 2020.

  This year, 2020, has been  a year that no one expected. Traditional ways of life were put on hold and we scrambled to find new ways of getting things done, of coping and moving forward.  This is true for everyone, young and old. Without knowing how long it would last or how intense protocols for protecting ourselves and each other could get, it was hard to plan ahead and think about what to do to, to honor the traditions that had been and should be, while maintaining the isolation and distancing guidelines that were in place. 

  Due to COVID-19 and the distancing guidelines that are in place, the Mammoth- San Manuel PK-12 School could not meet to honor the graduating students of the Class of 2020 in the traditional manner. Instead, on Friday, June 26, at 7 p.m. a live-stream graduation ceremony, held at the football field, was shared over Facebook. 

  For those who missed seeing the graduation or who wish to see it again, a video entitled SMHS Graduation 2020 may be viewed by visiting the Mammoth-San Manuel PK-12 School Facebook page, then clicking on the Video link on the left hand side of the page. There is also an 8th Grade Promotion 2020 video. Search @MSMPK12 to find the page easily. The high school graduation can also be viewed on the San Manuel Miner’s Facebook Page (search @copperarea_.

   The San Manuel High School (SMHS) Graduating Class of 2020 shines as an example to us all of how to not only adapt and overcome to survive, but, to thrive in these strange days. While we do not have the full information on all scholarships and grants earned by each of these fine students, we have gathered what is available from the website and through information was sent to us, and, we present to you, here,  a list of students and accomplishments to celebrate, to the tune of near $800K. 

Araceli Curry gives her valedictory address.

  SMHS Class of 2020 Valedictorian Araceli Curry, daughter of Francisco and Ramona Curry, has contributed to the growth of San Manuel High School through her involvement in extracurricular activities. She participated in Cross Country, Basketball, Track, Cheer, National Honor Society, AP Club, Student Council, Rotary Club, Interact Club, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. After high school, Araceli plans to attend University of Arizona and to pursue a degree in Nursing. She received scholarships from the Knights of Columbus ($750), San Pedro Valley Lions, NAU Lumberjack ($10,650 per year, up to four years), SaddleBrooke Rotary ($2,000), U of A Wildcat Tuition ($3,000 -$15,000 per year for four years), CAC Promise for the Future ($2,016 per year, up to two years), Central Arizona Top 10 % (up to $2,520 per year, up to four years), Elks Lodge #2007 ($500), Renee Acosta Sr. Family Scholarship ($1,000) and the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach ($12,000), for a total of $139,432.00 awarded. 

BaiLee Hill gives her salutatory address.

 SMHS Class of 2020 Salutatorian  BaiLee Hill, daughter of Bill and Franky Hill, has contributed to the growth of SMHS student life through her extracurricular activities. She participated in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Interact Club, Student Council, National Honor Society, AP Club, Choir and Swim. After high school, BaiLee intends to attend the University of Arizona and pursue a degree in Elementary Education and American Sign Language. She received scholarships from Arizona Elks Association ($1,600), NAU Presidential Scholarship ($8,000 per year, up to four years), Central Arizona Top 10% (up to $2,520 per year, up to four years), U of A Wildcat Tuition ($3,000 – $15,000 per year for four years), CAC Promise for the Future ($2,016 per year, up to two years) and SaddleBrooke Community Outreach ($12,000) for a total of $114, 672.00 awarded.

  Zara Allmendinger, daughter of Robert and Alicia Allmendinger, devoted multiple hours as Class President and was known as an advocate for change during her entire high school career. Besides Student Council, she participated in Swim, JTED, Drama w/AZVA and Writing w/AZVA. After high school, she plans to sleep.   

  Tamara Nataly Cano, daughter of Juan and Ana Cano, contributed to the growth of SMHS as a spokeswoman for her peers through the Student Council, National Honor Society, Interact Club and AP Club. After high school, she intends to attend the University of Arizona and pursue a degree in Education. She received scholarships from NAU Lumberjack ($10,650 per year, up to four years), San Manuel Rotary ($500), U of A Wildcat Tuition ($3,000 -$15,000 per year, up to four years), CAC Promise for the Future ($2,016 per year, up to two years), Central Arizona Top 10% (up to $2,520 per year, up to four years) and SaddleBrooke Community Outreach ($12,000) for a total of $124,172.00 awarded.

  Osbaldo Tizoq Castro received scholarships from CAC Promise for the Future ($2,016 per year, up to two years) for a total of $4,032 awarded.
 Vanessa Ysenia Francesca Cazares, daughter of Gilbert and Sabrina Cazares,  participated in many honorary organizations since she first walked on to campus. She served her peers and her entire community by devoting hundreds of hours to community service. She participated in the AP Club, Student Council, Interact Club and National Honor Society. After high school, Vanessa plans to become a dentist. She received scholarships from USCW Local 99 ($1,500), Knights of Columbus ($750) and San Pedro Valley Lions for a total of $64,382 awarded.

 Gabriella Michelle Estrada, daughter of Joe and Diane Estrada, served her team as Captain and her school as Ambassador. She participated in Softball and Cheer. After high school, Gabriella plans to pursue a career in the medical field or law enforcement. 

 Chance Fry, son of Herman and Veronica Fry, loves to get involved. He put in many hours in Homecoming and Hoopcoming events and community service. He was a Softball Manager, and participated in the Spanish Club and National Honor Society. After high school, Chance intends to sleep and get a job.

  Beatrice Adriana Gomez , daughter of Rodolfo and Maria Gomez, has been actively involved in Early Childhood Club, 1st Team and a Softball Player, with Honors. After high school, she plans on attending Grand Canyon University online and pursuing a degree in social work. 

 Cesar Sanchez Guerrero received scholarships from ASARCO ($2,000 per year, up to 4 years).

  Benjamin Laguna, son of Manny and Gracie Laguna, devoted four years to the High School Athletics Department, his team and peers as a Tri-Athlete and an ambassador. He participated in Football, Basketball, Baseball, Letterman’s Club and Ambassador’s Club. After high school, he plans to attend Barber College. No current information is available on scholarships awarded.

  Celeste Danielle Large, daughter of Rocky and Christina Large, has had extensive involvement in both clubs and athletics in her four years of high school and served her peers with pride in all the roles she was given. She has also served her community, giving hundreds of hours in service. She was a Cheerleader, served on the Student Council, as well as participated in the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Rotary Interact Club, Athletic Ambassadors Club, Advanced Placement Club and Letterman’s Club. After high school, she plans to attend Central Arizona College and to pursue an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. She received scholarships from SaddleBrooke Rotary ($2,000), Pinal County Federal Credit Union ($500) and the Outstanding Senior Award for a total of $14,572 awarded.

  Albert Arnulfo Lizarraga III, son of Albert and Mary Lizarraga, has dedicated many hours to the Athletics Department ,, specifically Football and Basketball. His plans after high school are to attend Pima Community College. 

 Gilberto Tellez Pinedo received scholarships from NAU Lumberjack ($10,650 per year, up to four years) for a total of $42,600 awarded.

  Savanna Arlenne Roan, daughter of Carl and Enriqueta Roan,  got involved in clubs, sports and community service  organizations from the beginning of her freshman year. She participated in all Honorary organizations while balancing a full athletic schedule. She was the Cheer Captain and participated in Volleyball, Softball, the Interact Club, National Honors Society, Student Council and AP Club. Savanna intends to attend Northern Arizona University to pursue a degree in Dental Hygiene. She received scholarships from NAU Lumberjack ($10,650 per year, up to four years), SaddleBrooke Rotary ($2,000) and ASARCO ($2,000 per year) for a total of $134, 272 awarded.

  Lindsy Leann Schupman, daughter of John and Victoria Schupman,  is known for her volunteer work to Mammoth-San Manuel PK-12 and being actively involved in many clubs at the high school level. After high school she plans to attend the University of Arizona and pursue a degree in Art.  She has received scholarships from NAU Lumberjack ($10,650 per year, up to four years), U of A Wildcat Tuition ($3,000 – $15,000 per year, up to four years), CAC Promise for the Future ($2,106 per year, up to two years) and the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.

  Pacey Ian Smith-Garcia, son of Bill Garcia and Aimee Smith-Garcia, served on the Student Council, worked tirelessly for the National Honor Society, Interact Club, SkillsUSA and participating in both Cross Country and Track. After high school, he plans to go to college to become a journalist. He received scholarships from NAU Presidential Scholarship ($8,000 per year, up to 4 years), CAC Promise for the Future ($2,016 per year, up to two years), U of A Wildcat Tuition ($3,000 – $15,000 per year, up to four years), for a total of $96,032 awarded.

 Samantha Waddell, daughter of Kevin and Terri Waddell, contributed to San Manuel Athletics by playing on multiple teams at Varsity level and has given hundreds of hours in community service. She participated in Football and Basketball Cheer, Volleyball, Softball, Letterman’s Club, Interact Club and AP Club. After high school, she plans to attend a trade school to learn Massage Therapy.

  CAC Promise for the Future awards of $2,016 per year, up to two years for a total of $4,032.00 awarded for each student were also given to: Dine Analysia Miller, Savanna Laree Clayton, Selena Monique Cruz, Mya Isabel Reyes, Caleb Quintero, Jesus Manuel Diaz, Abel Ronquillo-Aguirre, Elvis Julian Mejia Varela, Javier R. Tamayo, Tiana Renay Mendez and Alize Yanissa Valesquez.

  Savanna Clayton, daughter of Bernard Cuevas and Jodie Clayton, has gone above and beyond in her academic career as one of the few students who moved forward in her American Sign Language studies. She completed Third Year -Sign Language and was Volleyball Manager. After high school, Savanna plans to attend Pima Medical Institute and pursue Dental Assistant Certification.

  Selena Cruz,  daughter of Andy Cruz and Jaime Gorham, has been honored with leadership recognition and multiple awards during her four years of contributing to Varsity teams. She participated in Softball and Volleyball. After high school, she plans to attend college to pursue a career in the medical field while continuing to work.

  Mya Isabel Reyes, daughter of Rose Chavez and Manuel Reyes, has been a continuous volunteer, participating in the Early Childhood Education program and has been a Volleyball Manager. After high school she intends to go to college while continuing working.

  Caleb Quintero, son of Rick and Naomi Quintero,  devoted four years to the SMHS Athletics Department and his peers. His skills have put him at the Varsity level for the majority of his high school career. He also represents the program as an Ambassador. He participated in Football, Basketball and in the Ambassadors Club. After high school, Caleb plans to attend Pima Community College. 

  Jesus Manuel Diaz, son of Jesus and Alma Diaz, achieved honors and recognitions as being one of the few Tri-Athlete scholars in his class. He participated in Cross Country, Track, Basketball and AP Club. After high school, Jesus intends to attend college and pursue a career in Radiology.

  Alize Yanissa Velasquez, daughter of David and Cynthia Velasquez, has been a huge contribution to San Manuel Athletics by participating in Volleyball and managing in Basketball. After high school, she plans to become an Esthetician.

  This year three graduates signed contracts for the United States Military:

  Omar Daniel Rodriguez, son of Victor and Claudia Rodriguez, has the distinction of being one of the few Tri-Athlete scholars of his class. He participated in Cross Country, Track and Basketball. After high school, Omar plans to join the Air Force.

  Elijah K. Davis,  son of Russel and Marche-Howell and Brian and Anne-Marie Davis, through his involvement in sports, has made a generous contribution to his team and school as a whole. He participated in Football . After high school, he plans to serve in the U.S. Air Force. 

 Jose L. Moreno III, son of Jose Moreno and Beatriz German, contributed to San Manuel High School Athletics. In his four years at SMHS he participated in Football and Basketball consecutively while averaging one of the highest GPAs in his class. After high school, he plans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps.

   There are graduates for which there is no current information available to us regarding family, activities or scholarships awarded. These are: Vincent Elijah Butler, Juadiel A. Duarte, Santiago C. Salazar Jr., Angel Noelle Salas, Jayden Alexander Smith, Isaiah Gabriel Sanchez and Alexandro Daniel Velasquez.

   We are proud of all our graduates and expect great things!

Editor’s Note: Individual photos of the graduates with their diplomas are available for families to download. Click here for more information.

Staff (5486 Posts)

There are news or informational items frequently written by staff or submitted to the Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner, Superior Sun, Pinal Nugget or Oracle Towne Crier for inclusion in our print or digital products. These items are not credited with an author.


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