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Seniors receive recognition despite cancelled on-campus graduation ceremony

Marin Sue

Students, such as senior Marin Sue, retain the ability to receive more than one award if they qualify.

At the end of every year, FCS presents certain students with awards, commemorating achievements of either academic or extracurricular origin. While the graduating class of 2020 are unable to receive the awards in person due to the shelter-in-place mandate, the school continues to present the senior awards via the internet.

The senior awards consist of the Honors Plaque, the Outstanding Student Award, Citizenship Award, President’s Award for Educational Excellence and the FCS Lifer Award.

The Honors Plaque requires students to maintain a cumulative high school GPA of 4.0. In the graduating class of 2020, 17 seniors received this award. These seniors consist of Braden Bell, Blake Burdan, Blake Deffenbacher, Hannah Garcia, Charles Gong, Wesley Hinton, Shauna Howard, Deborah Ingerson, Megan LeBlanc, Nathan Martin, Brittney McCann, Natalie Nichols, Janae Shew, Marin Sue, Toryn Triplitt, Lindsay Weimer and Nicole Wagoner.

FCS Principal Amy Deffenbacher understands the importance of awards that commemorate student achievement at the end of the year. She addresses the inability to award everyone for their deeds.

“Awards are an expected element of each school year,” Deffenbacher said. “Parents, students and staff all look forward to the opportunity to recognize student accomplishments. The most difficult part of awards is that we have many amazing students doing great things and it is not possible to highlight everyone.”

For extra-curricular activities, teachers select one student for the Outstanding Student award. These students (usually seniors), the teachers select based on who stood out in their class.

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

This year’s graduates lack the at-school chapel usually used to honor them.

Senior selected for this award were Serena Zhao (Publications), Avery Jones (Photojournalism), Zeke Fuller (Video Productions), Macy Little (Yearbook), Brittney McCann (Art), Janae Shew (Instrumental Music), Kayla Vanderlinden (Choral Music), Blake Deffenbacher (Choral Music), Logan Lewis (Worship Team), Lindsay Weimer (Student Leadership) and Colton Allen (Drama).

Every year, a male and a female from each class receive the Citizenship Award. Characteristics the teachers look for include good citizenship, aiding other students, showing kindness and a positive attitude. The seniors that received these awards were Marin Sue and Wesley Hinton.

Sue values the Citizenship Award as recognition of the positive attitude and willingness to serve demonstrated by select students. She discusses how these awards benefit the student body.

“I am really grateful for being chosen as one of the recipients of this award,” Sue said. “I think I was given this award because I try to be a good citizen and be there for people who need someone. These awards are beneficial because they allow students to get recognition for their hard work.”

The President’s Award for Excellence commemorates students who maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher throughout their high school career. Students must also score 85 percent on their MAP testing either in Math or English. Sixteen seniors in the class of 2020 were given this award. These seniors consist of Blake Burdan, Blake Deffenbacher, Danielle Foster, Wesley Hinton, Shauna Howard, Kenneth Hu, Megan LeBlanc, Logan Lewis, Nathan Martin, Natalie Nichols, Angel Ruelas, Janae Shew, Marin Sue, Nicole Wagoner, Lindsay Weimer and Serena Zhao.

Blake Burdan, ’20, received both an Honors Award and President’s Award for Educational Excellence. Burdan appreciates being rewarded for his hard work.

“It feels great to get these awards and it is awesome to know that my effort is rewarded,” Burdan said. “The work I put in has paid off. It is important to reward people for their efforts and to show respect and appreciation for them.”

Avery Jones | The Feather Online

The Class of 2020 missed out on many senior year activities including walking the stage to collect their diploma, attending a senior trip and playing spring sports, due to COVID-19.

Students who attend Fresno Christian since kindergarten receive the FCS “Lifer” Award. Nine seniors in the class of 2020 received “Lifer” awards. These seniors were Charles Gong, Wesley Hinton, Shauna Howard, Megan Leblanc, Cassandra Ledet, Annabelle Messer, Max Munoz, Sydney Saville and Nicole Wagoner.

Senior Megan LeBlanc received an award due to her status as a “lifer” at FCS. LeBlanc believes that all her years on campus give her a different appreciation for the school.

“I think being a ‘lifer’ gives me more of an appreciation for the school,” LeBlanc said. “I have never known my life without Fresno Christian and I believe it helped me become the person I am today. It is special to see the students that have been classmates for 13 years straight, but I also think it is important for others to know that Fresno Christian has played a huge role in their personalities and beliefs since they didn’t attend another school.”

The 2020 graduating class received an unexpected twist to the end of their year due to COVID-19, causing the inability to walk the stage for graduation, attend a senior trip and play spring sports. However, thanks to the teachers and faculty at FCS, the class of 2020 still received their awards and were recognized for their achievements. A full list of student awards was sent to high school parents on May 18, 2020.

For more articles, read Civilians around world share COVID-19 experiences, struggles, pt. 1 and Senior Reflection: Serena Zhao.

Brayden Iest can be reached via Twitter and email.

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