OAKHURST – This year marked the 29th Annual Pitman Awards and banquet to honor 21 Yosemite High Valedictorians, with more than 80 people in attendance at Sierra Meadows Country Club on Thursday, May 7. The Banquet is for graduating students who have maintained a cumulative 4 year GPA of 4.0 or better.
Attendees at the festive event included award recipients, their families, YHS faculty and staff, and community dignitaries. Dinner was catered by Yosemite Catering/Roman Zabicki, and each student received a personalized cupcake from Sweet Dreams Cakery.
Emcee and Sierra Sunrise Rotary president Tim Madden expressed the pride of the community at the success of the students, says Sierra Tel’s Laura Norman, adding that Madden offered much appreciation to the parents and guardians of the gifted students.
“Angelo Pizello blessed the meal, event and honorees,” Norman says. “After a plentiful dinner and dessert of sheet cake, the presentations began.”
YHS Principal Randy Seals called every student up individually by stating a couple of excellent qualities unique to each.
Superintendent Jim Sargent shook hands and presented every honoree with a personalized padfolio containing gift certificates donated by local businesses, along with the gold cord and Valedictorian medal each will wear during the commencement ceremony. Next, each student was presented with a certificate and a hand-shake from District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler.
“After all the presentations, says Norman, emcee Madden carried on with the fun tradition that punctuates this annual event.
“Twenty-one bright gold bags were sitting on the table, containing a mixture of cash, gift certificates and gifts. Businesses from Bass Lake, Coarsegold and Oakhurst donated $1800 in cash, plus oil changes, retail and restaurant gift certificates, and many nice items.”
Madden drew the students’ names at random so they could come up one at a time to select any bag and have the contents read to the audience. There was lots of ‘oohing and aahing’ heard for the generosity of the community, given away in the bags.”
Once all the goods were distributed, Madden wrapped it up and the event was over, but the group wasn’t ready to disperse. More than other years, Norman notes, there were pictures taken, additional hugging, and general mingling.
“The evening was a nice end to a festive celebration for these accomplished YHS students.”
Martha and Paul M. Pitman were local educators considered a driving force behind the formation of Yosemite High School, with Dr. Pitman acting as superintendant for YHS until 1974. The Banquet is produced by Sierra Tel’s Business Development Department in coordination with Yosemite High School.
The Valedictorians for Yosemite High School Class of 2015 are:
Sophia Grace O’Meara