Lopez, Gonzalez named Hayden Class of 2020 academic scholars

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Javier Lopez is the Hayden High School 2020 Valedictorian.

  Javier Lopez and Clarissa Gonzalez earned the designation as the Hayden High School Valedictorian and Salutatorian, respectively, for the Lobos’ Class of 2020. 

  Around the world, the Senior Class of 2020 will forever be connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unprecedented circumstances surrounding its graduation ceremonies – virtual and otherwise. 

Clarissa Gonzalez is the Hayden High School Class of 2020 Salutatorian.

  Both Lopez and Gonzalez addressed the pandemic in recent email interviews with Copper Basin News, giving their perspectives on how their graduating class can make an impact in changing the world.

  “I believe that the class of 2020 will help the world better prepare for a pandemic of this scale and help ensure that history will not repeat itself,” Lopez wrote in his response. 

  Responded Gonzalez: “My class could embrace the change and show other students to stand together in every situation. I believe that this has made us stronger people (who) can adapt to change, solve problems, and overcome any obstacles.

  Lopez, the child of Ronald and Rosie Lopez, the grandchild of Richard and Lucy Lopez, and Christine Hise, is also the great grandchild of Margarita Ruiz. He has six siblings – AJ, Derek, Marissa, Alyssa, Jennica, and Brandi. 

  In addition to four years as a member of the Lobos’ basketball team, Lopez was a member of the National Honor Society, the Junior Chamber, Student Council, and his school’s Athletic Club. After graduation, Lopez will attend Northern Arizona University, where he will major in chemistry before pursuing his doctorate in radiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

  “Changing my name from Mr. to Dr.,” Lopez said is what he is most looking forward to in the next phase of his life.

  Sports and his teachers are what Lopez will miss most about high school, but he “will not miss taking Mrs. Lopez’s difficult English class in the mornings.” 

  What will Lopez be doing in 10 years?

  “I envision myself raising my kids and working in the medical field,” he answered. “Also, helping out the community that helped shape me into who I am today.”

  Lopez said he’d like “to see more people move back to Hayden. That is what would bring me back.”

  Gonzalez, the child of Ramon and Pamela Gonzalez, the grandchild of Joe and Vivian Baltierra, and Ramon B. Gonzalez, has a pair of younger brothers – Javier and Lucas.

  A three-sport athlete – volleyball, basketball and softball – for four years, Gonzalez also added cheer as a senior to her lengthy list of extra-curricular activities, which also included serving as a member of the National Honors Society, Student Council, Athletic club, and Junior Chamber all four years of high school. Additionally, she was the Student Body President during her senior year.   

  After graduation, Gonzalez will continue her education at Northern Arizona University, where she will study nutrition, Health and Human Services. Afterwards, she plans to apply to further her education to become a physical therapist. Her future plans include opening a clinic of her own and helping rural communities.

  What will Gonzalez miss most about high school?

  “I’m going to miss my teachers, coaches, and friends a lot. I’m going to miss (attending) sports games and cheering on my team,” she answered. She will not, however, miss “waking up early” and is looking forward to a class schedule that does not start before 9 a.m.

  She is ready for college life, including living on campus and growing into her own person. “I look forward to meeting new people and experiencing new things.”

  What will Gonzalez be doing in 10 years?

“I see myself working as a physical therapist, having a home of my own, and maybe a family,” she responded. 

  Gonzalez acknowledges she will miss the Hayden community, which will never be far from her heart.

  “I want my community to be stronger and make any changes we need to improve,” she wrote in an email. “I want to come back home to give back to all the people who helped me throughout my years and who have always been supportive of me. I will never forget Hayden High School and the Hayden community; I will never forget where I came from.”

  Hayden will forever remember Javier Lopez and Clarissa Gonzalez.

Andy Luberda (1142 Posts)

Andrew Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working 15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for 11 high schools. His stories are published in Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun, in addition to the San Tan Valley Daily PRSS and CopperArea websites. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College before graduating with a BS in Communication from Arizona State University in 2014. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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