GRANDVIEW — Fred E. Hayes Post 57 of The American Legion in Grandview presented multiple awards to students, groups and schools as the 2021-22 school year came to a close.

Thompson Elementary School was presented with a plaque honoring their status as the Top School Donor in the Penny-a-Day campaign earlier this spring. The award was accepted by Principal Julie Wysong during the 5th grade awards assembly.

A certificate of appreciation was presented to the ASB Leadership Team at Grandview High School the donation of over $1,500 in food stuffs for the Yakima County Veterans Pantry. Grandview High School has been a major contributor of food to the pantry, which serves homeless and very low-income veterans in the county.

Kim Casey, departing Principal at Grandview High School was presented with a framed certificate of appreciation for her unselfish service to youth and assistance with the youth programs of The American Legion. Casey has been selected to serve as the superintendent for Soap Lake schools.

Scholar medals were awarded to the top three athlete scholars for the academic year. They were Aulani Benitez, bronze, Kiana Sanchez, silver, and Anthony Rodriguez, gold.

Scholar medals were also presented to the top three vocational scholars. Accepting the medals, named after Robert ‘Doug” Hilmoe who campaign for this award, were Cole Judkins, bronze, Laysha Araiza, silver, and Natalie Copeland, gold.

The major award presented by the Post is The American Legion School Award. This is a National Award that is presented by local Posts to a graduating boy and girl in 5th, 8th and 12th grades. The award requires a nomination addressing six specific criteria: courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, service and scholarship. The award is recognized by colleges and employers nation-wide. It is made even more special locally because Grandview is one of a mere handful of communities where the award is offered and presented. “We are not aware of any other Post in most of Eastern Washington that conducts this program,” said Robert Gates, commander for the local Post. The Post offers the program for seniors in Mabton, Prosser, and Bickleton but received no nominations from those schools this year.

Recipients of the medallion award at Grandview High School were Anthony Rodriguez and Jazmin Corona. Honorable mention certificates went to Auilani Benitez and Sashalee Oseguera. The selection committee had a very difficult time making the choice for the girl recipient.

Grandview Middle School medallion recipients were Westin Layman and Aby Vaquera. Honorable mention certificates were presented to Jakob Gonzalez, Oscar Espinoza, Jaylee Dill and Coral Macias Perez.

Thompson School recipients were Andrew Benavidez and Elizabeth Perez. Addison Bruinekool and Arianni Fajardo received honorable mention certificates.

McClure School nominated Erick Mendoza and Dalia Tovar for the medallion award. There were no other students nominated by the staff.

“Smith School took the program very seriously this year with nine nominations received,” said John Myers, one the members of the selection committee. “We had an extremely difficult time choosing the award winners. They were all very good.” The medallion recipients were Francisco Chairez and Kendra Walker. Honorable mention certificates were presented to Kayleen Maldonado, Itzel Vargas, Sofie Lyall, Ariel Ferrer, Ray Jeffrey and Jesus “JC” Cruz-Marquez.

“We appreciate all the staff that took the time to make nominations,’ said Gates. “Our process is not just submitting a name, but taking the time to thoughtfully address each of the criteria that must be completed to make the nomination. We know it is a burden, but good kids deserve a chance at this prestigious award,’ he added.

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