NEWMAN - Three students stand at the head of the graduating Class of 2019 at Orestimba High School.
Orestimba will graduate its Class of 2019 in commencement ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, May 31 in Warrior Stadium.
Timothy Junkin is valedictorian of the graduating class. Dawsen Hernandez and Maya Olesen are salutatorians.
The trio of leading students share a number of common bonds.
Each is a motivated student with parents who encouraged them to excel academically.
And each has attended Newman-Crows Landing schools from their kindergarten year.
“My parents always had high expectations of me. I wanted to live up to them, and that became a mindset,” said Junkin, who is the son of Daniel and Michelle Junkin.
Junkin said he took as many AP classes as possible to gain college credits....and always strived to earn the highest possible grade.
“I enjoy learning when I am really interested in the subject....when there is something that is unknown, it is really fun to learn,” he added.
Spanish was the most challenging course, Junkin reflected, and he continues to work on learning the language. But learning a second language, he added, will be well worth the effort.
Art was a favorite class because of its creative aspects, the valedictorian noted.
He was active in tennis, cross country, basketball and track at Orestimba.
Experiences with friends will be his fondest memories of his high school years, Junkin told Mattos Newspapers.
He plans to attend UCLA, and plans to become a psychiatrist. A career exploration exercise during his freshman year helped Junkin identify that goal.
Olesen, the daughter of Graciela and Alan Olesen, will attend UC Santa Barbara and plans to become an attorney practicing criminal law.
She credits a competitive streak with helping her shine academically.
“It was trying to compete with my classmates. I have probably been competing with Timothy since elementary school,” Olesen told Mattos Newspapers.
She has always enjoyed learning.
“Some of the things I have learned are so fascinating,” Olesen shared.
Ceramics was her favorite class at Orestimba, Olesen related, and she greatly enjoyed the close-knit campus atmosphere.
She was involved in volleyball, basketball, softball, Interact Club and Gaming Club at Orestimba.
Hernandez, the son of David and Lisa Hernadez, credits a strong work ethic for his academic success.
“To get through school and get straight A’s you have to work hard. There is no way around it,” Hernandez reflected. “I just wanted to see how (well) I could do. I wanted to push myself as much as I could.”
His experience at Orestimba taught him the value of time, Hernandez said.
“Overall, high school was a great experience. I had some amazing teachers and amazing friends,” said Hernandez, adding that English was his favorite class. “You learn a lot more than academics. You learn about yourself.”
Hernandez was active in wrestling, track and field and float-building at Orestimba.
He plans to attend California State University Stanislaus and then transfer to a UC school after four years. He will study experimental psychology.
“I realized that I can help people,” explained Hernandez. “It is something I am passionate about.”
The Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District alternative education program will host its graduation program this morning (Thursday) at 10 a.m. at the McConnell Adult Education Center adjacent to Von Renner Elementary School.
Yolo Middle School
Yolo Middle School will host its eighth-grade promotion ceremony tonight (Thursday) at 6 p.m. in Warrior Stadium.