Each year, the Golden Dragon Awards stand out among the top honors at Delta Charter High School’s Senior Awards Assembly.
On Tuesday, those awards included recognition of two seniors, one male, one female, who exemplified school leadership and spirit and represented their school in interscholastic competition.
Preston Newell has been a student at New Jerusalem School and Delta Charter High since he was in kindergarten. With just over 300 students at the high school, he valued the opportunity to compete on behalf of Delta Charter High and emerge as one of the Mountain Valley League’s top competitors.
Newell considers his four years as a varsity basketball player as one of the highlights of his education. He also has competed in track and field, representing the Dragons as a sprinter.
“I just feel like I’m blessed to come here,” Newell said. “After school I’m always ready for practice and that’s the best part of my day.”
He said that basketball is a big confidence-builder, and he encourages the younger players on his team to keep that in mind when they compete.
“I’ll tell them to keep playing basketball. Just train every day,” he said. “Go out with your head held high and you can accomplish things.”
He heads to Modesto Junior College in the fall, where he will study mechanics and try out for the men’s basketball team.
Ashley Tunquist transferred to Delta Charter High for her senior year after establishing herself as a competitor in her three years on Kimball High’s cross-country team. It gave her the background to be one of Delta Charter’s leading student-athletes, representing the Dragons on the cross-country team in the fall and on the track and field team as a distance runner —800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters — in the spring.
The Golden Dragon was just one of the awards she collected Wednesday night.
“It makes me proud of all of the hard work I put in. I put in four years of dedication and I feel like it paid off,” she said.
She added that her experience as a student-athlete had prepared her for her next step in life: joining the U.S. Army next month, with plans to pursue a career in military intelligence.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people and I’ve met a lot of families through sports here. I’ve made so many friends,” she said. “A lot of the freshmen and sophomores, I tell them, keep doing it because it pays off.”