Meet the 22nd class of Fresno Bee Academic All-Stars, students who get the most out of school and community – and usually are the ones giving the most back, too.
They’re active in difficult classes, of course. But they also play sports, from soccer to basketball to baseball and beyond. They donate their time in activities ranging far and wide including running a lemonade stand for Catholic Charities and being a volunteer in the “Be the Match” bone marrow campaign. And they’re active in band, 4-H and Scouts.
Nearly 500 central San Joaquin Valley students were nominated.
“Awesome students!” said Lisa Birrell, communications and public relations officer for the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools who served as a judge and helped assemble a blue-ribbon panel of fellow judges.
Awesome like Jerome “JD” Davis, the 12th-grade Academic All-Star from Buchanan High. A former teacher, Kendia Herrington, nominated Davis and said, “JD is an Academic All-Star because he loves to learn and shows everyone what you can do with your life.”
Or seventh-grade winner Emily Garza from Ahwahnee Middle School. History teacher Stephen Ruiz said Emily “not only raises the bar for herself and other students but she inspires me to be a better person and a teacher.”
First grade: Arthur Kandarian, Marshall Elementary, Fowler
Second grade: Angelika Magaña, Temperance-Kutner Elementary, Fresno
Third grade: Jake Reeves, Saroyan Elementary, Fresno
Fourth grade: Marlee Rutowicz, Dailey Elementary, Fresno
Fifth grade: Garrett Chan, Sun Empire Elementary, Kerman
Sixth grade: Michael Peter Bedrosian, Quail Lake Charter, Sanger
Seventh grade: Emily Garza, Ahwahnee Middle, Fresno
Eighth grade: Lucas Gutierrez, Sutter Middle, Fowler
Ninth grade: Makenzie Suzanne Thomas, Clovis West High
10th grade: Mark Thomas Topoozian, Bullard High
11th grade: Ryan Golden, San Joaquin Memorial High
12th grade: Jerome Davis, Buchanan High
- Lisa Birrell, Office of Fresno County Superintendent of Schools
- Krista Cantrell, Clovis Unified
- Michele Copher, Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools
- Janine DeLaCerda, Fresno Unified
- Francine Farber, retired educator and past president of the League of Women Voters of Fresno
- Murray Farber, retired co-managing editor of the New Haven Register in New Haven, Conn.
- Jennifer Freeman, Office of Fresno County Superintendent of Schools
- Jason Horsman, Central Unified
- Lisa Houston, Fresno Unified
- Janet Wile, Central Unified
- Ellen Wilson, Fresno Unified
Again this year, grade winners received a family four-pack for a visit to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, courtesy of the zoo.