Two exceptional seniors from Minuteman High School, in Lexington, have been chosen for recognition for their scholastic achievements.
Maria Cid-Pacheco of Arlington, who is studying biotechnology, is Minuteman’s 2015 nominee for the Walter J. Markham Award sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) and the Massachusetts Vocational Association (MVA).
Emma Clemente of Medford, an environmental science and technology student at Minuteman, is the school’s MAVA/MVA Outstanding Vocational-Technical Student of 2015.
She, with other distinguished student honorees from technical high schools and programs across the Commonwealth, will be honored at the 29th annual Outstanding Vocational Student Award Dinner at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on April 15.
Both of these remarkable young women have benefited greatly from their Minuteman High School experience. In fact, Minuteman provides all its students with a superb academic and technical education that readies them for professional success and gives them the ability to become contributing members of the community, which Emma and Maria certainly are already.
The Markham Award, which is named for a visionary leader in the field of vocational technical education in Massachusetts, is bestowed on a senior who has demonstrated “leadership, good school attendance, excellence in technical studies and excellence in academic achievement,” according to the guidelines established by MAVA and the MVA.
Cid-Pacheco, Minuteman’s Markham nominee, has shown leadership, initiative and dedication, both in and beyond the classroom, a Feb. 16 news release from the school says. She has already received numerous prestigious awards, such as the Rensselaer Medal from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.; the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award from the University of Rochester and the Future Farmers of America Agriscience Fair gold medal for Environmental Systems.
“My most significant educational accomplishment,” Cid-Pacheco explained, “was winning the gold medal for Environmental Systems at the Future Farmers of America Agriscience Fair. This is my greatest accomplishment because my partner and I worked on this project for months and we were very invested in it. It was one of the most interesting projects I have done so far.”
Cid-Pacheco also expressed her gratitude to her Biotechnology teachers. “My biotechnology instructors, Mr. Patrick Rafter and Mrs. Crystal Auger, have influenced my technical school accomplishments. They pushed me to think independently, create my own experiments/projects, and to always ask in depth questions when learning something new. Most importantly, they taught me that failure is never an option. They challenged me to see failure as an opportunity to learn and improve. This is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
The criteria for the Outstanding Vocational-Technical Student Award that is going to Clemente include, among other items, “a minimum of a cumulative 3.50 grade-point average, leadership qualities, technical competence, excellent attendance and community involvement.”
Clemente has clearly earned the respect of her environmental science and technology teachers at Minuteman, Patrick Rafter and Anthony Wilbur, who believe she is the “most academically gifted student among the senior class, and among the most reliable and conscientious students in the school.”
Ranked among the top 5 percent of the students in the class of 2015 at Minuteman, Clemente earned her American Red Cross First Aid & CPR Certification, Massachusetts Grade 2 Municipal Wastewater Operator’s License, Massachusetts Grade 1 Drinking-Water Treatment Plant Operator’s License, OSHA HAZWOPER Certification, OSHA 10Hour General Industry Safety Certification, and a Confined-Space Entry Certification through the Environmental Science and Technology program.
Clemente’s extracurricular activities have included Minuteman’s Drama Club, SkillsUSA, Track, Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), and the Geek Culture Club. Her high scores on the MCAS qualified her to be a John and Abigail Adams Scholar. She hopes to attend college to pursue a degree in Aquatic & Fisheries Science or Environmental Science.
“I am very grateful that I have been chosen as the 2015 Outstanding Voc-Tech Student from Minuteman, and it means a lot to me that my teachers would nominate me for it,” noted Clemente. “My years at Minuteman have meant a great deal to me and I couldn’t be more thankful for all the opportunities I have been given at Minuteman. My time at this school has changed my outlook on what my education means (for the better) in relation to the ‘real world’ and what I can do out there, and if I could go back to eighth grade I would make the same decision I made then in coming to Minuteman.”