Dunsmuir High School sends nine Tigers into the world

Shareen Strauss
Dunsmuir High School’s graduating class of 2021 (from left): Emily-Ann Marie Sisson, Sarah Amber Davis, Laura Rose Bonderer, Hailey Jade Erickson, Victor Giovanni Cornejo, Johnathan Louis Helweg, Noah Eric Mathwig, Jerome Michael Saverimuttu, and Valedictorian Zakkary Vance Powell.

All nine seniors from the  2021 graduating class of Dunsmuir High School were able to have their ceremony and receive their diplomas together in front of their families outside on the school campus. 

Valedictorian Zakkary Vance Powell spoke to classmates and their families, teachers, school board members, and school staff under sunny skies on Friday, June 4 saying, “Despite the rough edges this school year has had, our class smoothed it out and pushed ahead.” 

Powell, a life-long Dunsmuir resident with a grade point average of 3.6, is planning on continuing his education in psychology for the next two years at Shasta College and then at Southern Oregon University. Wanting to be a family therapist, he says, “I have always had the driving question, 'Why do people think the way they think?' I'm thankful for my family and especially my father Jim Powell because he was always there for me and gave me the tools to be successful.”

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Powell's favorite class is drama because he says that he can express himself. His favorite teacher is Alisha Garcia “because I always felt I had a serious connection with her and she was always there for me. She is the reason I am going to go to SOU because of my interest in drama and she went there.”

His hobbies include reading and graphic designing. He says he will miss the good times with all his friends at high school but will hold those memories forever close to his heart. 

Salutatorian Sarah Davis received many scholarships during graduation. She is graduating with a GPA of 3.4 and she says that she loves her 9 years in Dunsmuir and will miss the supportive staff, the funny daily things that went on during school, and the routine. She feels like family graduating with her fellow students that she has known since the third grade when she moved up here from Southern California. 

Davis is planning on continuing her studies at COS in psychology before going to Sonoma State. “I want to help people with addictions after seeing so much of it growing up in this close-knit small town and with people close to me.” 

She quotes Janis Joplin and says “Don't compromise yourself because it's all you got.”

Her favorite class was art with Kurt Champe. She loves reading, hiking, and especially being creative with her passion for art.  She also enjoys taking care of her nephews and working at the Pizza Factory.   

After the graduation ceremony, Zakkary Powell, Sarah Davis, Laura Bonderer, Victor Giovanni Cornejo, Hailey Erickson, Johnathan Helweg, Noah Mathwig, Jerome Michael Saverimuttu, and Emily-Ann Marie Sisson, jumped into their decorated vehicles and, led by the Sheriff's Department, Dunsmuir and Soda Springs Fire Department, paraded through Dunsmuir. Each graduate had their names on banners that lined the street on Dunsmuir Boulevard.