Kevin McCarthy announces local recipients of 23rd Congressional District merit awards


WASHINGTON D.C. (KGET) — Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy announced the Kern County students and teachers who are this year’s recipients of the 23rd Congressional District of California Merit and Inspirational High School Educator awards.

McCarthy released the following statement:

“In a year when many students and teachers have taken on the challenging task of remote learning, this year’s awards really stand out,” he said. “Our students have displayed tenacity and discipline – staying on task with assignments while fostering relationships with their classmates virtually. Teachers have shown innovation and heart – creating new ways to engage with their students to ensure they are receiving the best educational experience possible under unprecedented circumstances. All, however, have been a shining example of what it means to persevere in the face of adversity, and I congratulate them on this impressive achievement today.”

Here are the winners:

2021 Merit Award Recipients for Kern County

Miss Lauren Buetow – Bakersfield Christian High School
Miss Elyse Wong – Bakersfield High School
Miss Daniella Park – Centennial High School
Mr. Mariano Santillano – East Bakersfield High School
Miss Abigail Freeman – Foothill High School
Miss Kaleigh Ray – Frontier High School
Miss Carissa Sales – Garces Memorial High School
Miss Victoria Huley – Highland High School
Miss Aubrey Olsen – Independence High School
Miss Aislynne Chappell – Kern Valley High School
Miss Lexington Russell – Liberty High School
Miss Harris Darcie Shugart – North High School
Mr. Kevin Esparza – Ridgeview High School
Miss Shanon Lee – Stockdale High School
Miss Judith Lopez Figueroa – Taft Union High School
Miss Makenna Kephart – Tehachapi High School
Mr. Zackary Jones – West High School

2021 Inspirational High School Educator Award Recipients for Kern County

Mr. Steven Chai – Bakersfield Christian High School
Mr. Don Wilmot – Bakersfield High School
Mr. Joseph Biron – Centennial High School
Mr. Salvador Diaz – East Bakersfield High School
Mr. Vernon Clark – Foothill High School
Mr. Christopher Larson – Frontier High School
Mrs. Jennifer Kloock – Garces Memorial High School
Ms. Kristin Savage – Highland High School
Mr. Robert Polski – Independence High School
Mr. Brian Christianson – Kern Valley High School
Mrs. Brooke Slayton – Liberty High School
Ms. Natalie Ryan – North High School
Mr. Marc Donez – Ridgeview High School
Mrs. Lea MacLean – Stockdale High School
Ms. April Conners – Taft Union High School
Mr. Ned Maino – Tehachapi High School
Mrs. Meagan Holmes – West High School

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