The Gila County Gem and Mineral Society is a non-profit organization located in Miami, Az. We have been around over 60 years. We educate the public through different events such as the Gila County Gem and Mineral show held annually in January at the Gila County Fair Grounds to the rock hounding trips that the “club” goes on to learn more about geology and where to find different kinds of rocks. Teaching the public about how minerals are used in science is always an attraction at our booth when we set up at the STEMFest. Giving back to the community is part of our mission.
Another way that we are giving back is through our scholarship program. This year, we offered $500 to just one graduating student from Globe, Miami, San Carlos, Young, Superior, Kearny or Ray High School that is going into any STEM related field of study. The choice was very difficult this year because there were many worthy applicants. After careful consideration, the Gila County Gem and Mineral Society would like to announce this year’s recipient of the Gila Gem and Mineral Scholarship. We chose Shelby Yocum from Kearny, AZ. She was chosen because of her outstanding achievement in school and involvement in her community through volunteer services.
Shelby is very goal oriented. She wants to major in Health Sciences and then go on to become a physician assistant. Looking at her grades and the classes she chose in high school, it’s as if she had this goal from the beginning of her high school career. In her own words, “Throughout high school, I have worked extremely hard to get good grades so that I would be able to attend a good university once I graduated.” This kind of determination shows through in her grades. She is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average making her Kearny’s Class of 2020 Valedictorian. She was part of the National Honor Society as a sophomore, junior and senior during which she served as NHS Vice-President as a senior. She also served as class treasurer as a sophomore, junior and senior.
As far as sports, she is a natural athlete. She was varsity in every sport she played. She was varsity in track as a freshman. She was a varsity volleyball player as a freshman until she was a senior and captain of the team as a sophomore, junior and senior. She was a varsity basketball player as a freshman until she was a junior and captain of the team as a freshman, sophomore and junior. She was the Class 1A East Region Player of the Year from 2016–2019, Class 1A East Region 1st team from 2016–2019, Class 1A All-Conference Team from 2016-2019. These were all presented to her by AIA for Class 1A Girl’s Basketball recognitions. She played varsity softball her sophomore and junior year in which she was part of the 2019 Class 1A State Softball Championship team. She was selected AZ Central Sports Awards Girl’s Athlete of the Week March 15, 2019. She also made 1st Team All-Academic Softball Team in 2019. If they were able to have played this year, we’re sure that they would have taken state again with a player like Shelby on the team.
Giving back to the community is something that seems to be in her nature. On her application, the only organization she stated that she belonged to was the Junior Chamber of Commerce. A reference letter went into more detail about this very humble person. She not only worked on the town’s electric light parade, but also the Great Pumpkin, the Octoberfest, the Angel Tree program and Pioneer days. She volunteered for the Town of Kearny doing highway cleanups, umpired for the Kearny Little League and volunteered at the Hand Me-Up Thrift Store. She volunteered at the Asarco Family Day as well as the Feed My Starving Children organization. The end of this letter exemplifies what the Gem and Mineral Society was looking for in our choice. “She has not only worked to make her own life better, but has sacrificed hours of her time to help others as well.”
The Gila Gem and Mineral Society is very honored to present our scholarship to someone as deserving as Shelby Yocum. We wish her luck at ASU and hope that her career is as successful as it has been thus far. Go Devils!!!
For more information about the Gila County Gem and Mineral Society, go to our website at gilagem.org.
Article written and submitted by Timothy Gonzales.