June 2, 2021 By Marion Vendituoli
2021 PUHS Valedictorian
Chesed Chap, valedictorian for the Patagonia Union High School class of 2021, plans to pursue a career in the theater, a passion she has developed through her participation in the Tin Shed Theater at the Patagonia Creative Arts Center (PCAC). Most notably, in 2020, she wrote, directed, and starred in an original adaptation of “The Catcher in the Rye.”
PCAC Director Cassina Farley worked with Chesed over the past several years. “Chesed was always receptive to all of the ideas and concepts we threw at her,” she said. “She was the ideal kid to teach- always happy and grateful for the opportunities presented to her. The teaching artists at the art center can hardly take credit for Chesed’s success, instead we were blessed to have had her blossom in our presence. She is the pride of The Art Center and we can hardly wait to see what she accomplishes in the future.”
Chesed, the daughter of Peter Chap and Elia Manjarre, has a 4.4 GPA.She has been involved in soccer and tennis, served as editor-in-chief of the Patagonia Yearbook during her junior year, and has played in the school’s steel band.
Outside of school, she is a member of the Arizona Youth Arts Council, an organization that focuses on arts education. She is proud to have worked to get the Patagonia Arts Center a $1500 grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts to help fund the summer art camp and ‘Kids Rock’, an after-school music program.
Chesed has interned at the Borderlands Earth Care Youth Institute (BECY) this past summer and is returning as a youth leader this year. “I’m returning because I’m excited to grow with the crew as a youth leader this year; I love what BECY does and the way it teaches teens how to care for their environment,” she said.
“I’m going to miss my teachers a lot,” she said when asked what she would miss the most about Patagonia next year, when she goes away to college. “I’m just going to miss walking around and knowing everyone I see.”
Chesed will be attending Yale University in the fall, majoring in theater arts on a full scholarship. She looks forward to this new adventure and is confident that she will thrive in this new environment. “I’m pretty adaptive, I think,” she said. “I’ll be all right.”
2021 PUHS Salutatorian
Brianna Young’s focus on agriculture and her animals, and her pursuit of excellence in her studies have driven her to academic success at PUHS. The 2021 PUHS salutatorian, who graduates with a 4.1 GPA, will attend the U of A next fall to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian. Brianna, the daughter of Michael and Tammy Young, has been an active member of 4-H, showing lambs and participating in the livestock skillathon competition at the national level.
She has also been active in the FFA program at PUHS, serving as chapter president. In FFA she has won seven state titles and has two national rankings. She has worked part time for the Vera Earl Ranch in Sonoita and for Bloomquist Club Lambs.
Brianna is an avid barrel racer and plans to participate in college rodeo next year. She has eight horses and actively competes with three of them, whom she will be taking to Tucson with her.
Brianna is looking forward to moving on to college. “I’m super excited to get out and see the world and make new connections,” she said. “My biggest challenge will be living alone, because my parents really help me with everything.”
Brianna’s favorite classes at PUHS have been history, because “Mr. Hayes and Mr. Porter are really fun and really good teachers,” she said. In addition to her parents, she credits former FFA teacher Amanda Zamudio for her success. “She got me started in 4-H nine years ago,” she said.
Zamudio, in turn, is proud of
Brianna. “Brianna is an impeccable young lady and has matured into a very responsible young adult,” she wrote. “Her desire to achieve and her perseverance to accomplish any task at hand is impressive. She is passionate about agriculture and is the first to step up to help our younger generation develop a deeper understanding. Her grit and dedication to responsibility will help her succeed in any endeavor she embarks on. She is an inspiration to me and others around her.”