Tuesday, May 13, 2008 • Local students honored at dinner with governor

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday, May 13, 2008, edition of the Lassen County Times.

Lassen High School student Kelsey Kanavel, left, Westwood High School student Jennifer Worthington, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, State Secretary of Education David Long and Lassen County Superintendent of Schools Bob Owens pose for a photo at the first annual Academic Recognition Dinner in Sacramento, California.

Two Lassen County students were recognized recently for their outstanding academic achievements at a dinner hosted by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Kelsey Kanavel, a senior at Lassen High School, and Jennifer Worthington, a senior at Westwood High School, attended the recognition dinner with their parents and County Superintendent of Schools Bob Owens on Tuesday, March 11, in Sacramento.

The First Annual Governor’s Academic Recognition Dinner honored the top academic students in California high schools, with approximately 144 students representing 58 counties. Schwarzenegger commented that this ceremony was to “honor the minds,” and was a “testimony to excellence.”

Kanavel’s academic achievements include being ranked number one in her senior class at Lassen High School, a selection as the Association of California School Administrators Student of the Year in 2004, and the opportunity to conduct chemical engineering research at Oregon State University as part of the Summer Experience in Science and Engineering for Youths Program.

Kanavel has also been actively involved with the Susanville Symphony as a violinist, as well as serving as concertmaster of the Susanville Youth Symphony.  In addition, she started the french club at LHS, was awarded the 2007 Violet Richardson Soroptimist Award for Community Service, the 2007 Kodak Young Leaders’ Award, and the 2007 American Field Service Merit Award.

Upon graduation, Kanavel plans to major in either cognitive or neuro-science and pursue a career in brain research. Kanavel is the daughter of Rich and Jonelle Kanavel of Janesville.

Her parents attended the event, along with Kanvel’s sister Suzanne.

Worthington is also ranked number one in her class at Westwood High School, and she has been actively involved in numerous academic and extracurricular activities.

Worthington serves as FFA secretary, and has earned both Greenhand and Chapter degrees.  She was a National Youth Leadership Forum Participant in 2006, and was selected as the Girls’ State Representative in 2007.

Worthington has also been actively involved in athletics, playing both volleyball and softball, and has also served as assistant volleyball coach and as a volleyball official. Worthington has also assisted with tutoring other students, and has been a four-year Principal’s Honor Roll recipient. Worthington’s plans following high school graduation include the completion of college and law school while pursuing a career as an attorney.

Worthington is the daughter of Mark and Caroline Worthington of Westwood.  Both attended the event, along with WHS counselor Peg Fulder.

“It was a pleasure to travel to Sacramento to see these young ladies honored for their academic achievement,” Owens said.  “With over 45,000 seniors in California, it was a great honor for Kelsey and Jennifer to be part of only 144 recognized.  They are truly outstanding students, and Lassen County should be quite proud of their accomplishments. We expect great futures for both of them and hope that other students will follow their lead.”