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Senior recognition banquet honors CSF lifetime members

For their final event of the school year, the California Scholarship Federation (CSF) hosted the annual senior recognition banquet, May 23.

The dinner, which acknowledged academic achievements for lifetime members of CSF — students who have maintained an active membership in the club for four semesters during high school — featured a three course meal and allowed the seniors in attendance to receive their stoles for graduation, CSF awards and congratulations from parents and CSF advisor Molly Sargent.

Sargent introduced the idea of a recognition dinner five years ago when she noticed an absence of events that acclaimed graduating seniors for academic success. Although it initially began as a quaint luncheon, Sargent says she has witnessed the reception progress throughout the years.

“In sports, they all have banquets at the end of their season where they give out awards to players and we just didn’t do anything like that for academics, which is supposed to be our main business, so I felt like it was an area that had been neglected to be tended to,” Sargent said. “It started out as a lunch because we didn’t want it to be a big deal … but every year it just got a little bit bigger and a little bit better; it became more and more purposeful as each year went by. Last night’s was, I think, the best one we’ve ever had.”

Although the banquet was held for seniors, a committee comprised of juniors led by Julianne King organized, decorated and served for the dinner. The committee planned for two months in order to acquire all of the decorations and refreshments required for the proposed theme: Ivy League.

“In preparation for the senior recognition dinner, I talked to the committee we formed which is how we came up with the idea with Ivy League. We then further discussed it in order to get the decorations right,” King said. “Planning ahead made everything pretty easy and the committee and I were prepared for everything at the dinner. I thought everything went really well. It seemed like the seniors had as much fun they could have had due to the service they were given and the general atmosphere.”

As a senior in attendance, Madison Dooley, who was presented a membership certificate along with her stole, thought that the Ivy League motif, which consisted tables adorned with covered books, candles and ivy, added a feeling of sophistication to the function.

“The whole atmosphere this year was really classy because there was music playing and really pretty table settings. It really looked like they [the committee] put a lot of effort into the banquet,” Dooley said. “I preferred the elegant setting to other years because I felt honored to be there and receive an award [for CSF]. It made the whole night even more special. It was very sentimental; I teared up I’ll admit.”

In addition to seniors, parents were also invited to the dinner in order to celebrate their childrens’ accomplishments and view for themselves the recognitions they would receive. Jeanette Lopez, mother of co-valedictorian Richard Lopez, was proud to be able to assemble with others and applaud the seniors’ success.

“It was a special occasion because it honors the students who work really hard in their studies and participate in a group that contributes to our society,” Lopez said. “As a parent, I am proud that my son is a part of this group. I felt proud to honor him because he has worked so hard these past four years.”

In addition to the CSF reception, Sargent oversees events like the senior trip and graduation which help to herald seniors out of a high school mentality. Even though this this can often be an emotional time, Sargent stresses the fact that these occasions mark a significant point in a persons life.

“To send off the seniors this way, I hope, is a recognition of their abilities and all the struggle and effort they’ve put into it,” Sargent said. “The end of the year is strange for me because I teach seniors every year and doing this event and reading the names at graduation and the senior trip and other things like that are all goodbyes in a sense … They need to go on, they should go on, it’s great they’re going on. It’s kind of sad … but at the same time it’s mixed with feelings of excitement and pride that they’re going to go on and, I know, be successful.”

For more information on the end of the year, read the May 18 article, Seniors approach final high school activities.

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