Cambridge Seniors honored

Mindy Carls
Cambridge High School seniors received scholarships and awards on Wednesday, May 4, in the gymnasium. In front from left are Carson Nodine, Christian Buss, Lukas Maness, Mollie Bennett, Hailey Casteel, Grace Hanson, MacKenzie Olson, Madison Casteel, Kassidy Cooper, Courtney Swemline and Justine Boelens and in back, Rodney Beam, Emily Johnson, Cameron Pace, Paige Leander, Lucas Kessinger, Keagan Hixson, Carson Palmer, Matthew VanHyfte, Zoey Larson and Meric Veloz

Cambridge High School seniors were received awards and scholarships on Wednesday, May 4, in the gymnasium.


Determination Award — Meric Veloz, recognized by the Cambridge Academic Foundation as the student with the most improved grade point average while at Cambridge High School.

Honor students — Paige Leander, Zoey Larson and Lukas Maness, for ranking in the top 10 percent of the class.

Illinois State Scholar — Paige Leander, for class rank, grade point average and SAT test scores.

National Honor Society — Mollie Bennett, Emily Johnson, Zoey Larson, Lukas Maness, Courtney Swemline, Meric Veloz, Grace Hanson, Lucas Kessinger, Paige Leander, Cameron Pace and Matthew VanHyfte for academic achievement, service, leadership and character.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society — Mollie Bennett, Grace Hanson, Paige Leander, Courtney Swemline, Meric Veloz, for completing at least 12 hours of dual credit with a college grade point average of 3.5.

Presidential Scholarships — Paige Leander, Zoey Larson, Lukas Maness and Cameron Pace, for ranking in the top 10 percent of the class. The scholarships are for full tuition for Black Hawk College for two years.

Academic Excellence Scholarship — Paige Leander and Zoey Larson, for their dedication to academics. They challenged themselves to learn and grow throughout high school.

Agriculture and FFA

Henry County Beef Association Scholarship — MacKenzie Olson, a member of the association who has served as a beef ambassador while raising, showing and judging cattle.

DeKalb Award — Cameron Pace, for excellence in leadership and agricultural work. He was a state proficiency award winner in wildlife production and management. Pace was the Cambridge FFA chapter president and Section 3 vice president.

State FFA Degrees — Rodney Beam, Madison Casteel, MacKenzie Olson, Cameron Pace, Carson Palmer and Meric Veloz will receive the awards at the state convention in June.

Wilbert & Carol Keppy Foundation FFA Alumni Scholarships — Rodney Beam, Madison Casteel, Grace Hanson, Paige Leander, Cameron Pace, Courtney Swemline, Christian Buss, Kassidy Cooper, Zoey Larson, MacKenzie Olson, Carson Palmer, Meric Veloz, who have been active Cambridge FFA members.

Henry County Pork Producers and Illinois Pork Producers Scholarships — Rodney Beam and Carson Palmer, who have raised, marketed and shown hogs and promoted pork.

Subject matter

Career and Technical Excellence Award — Meric Veloz, for excelling in career and technical education while preparing for a career in technical education.

Family and Consumer Science Department Award — Paige Leander, for years of service and dedication to FCCLA and for participation in family and consumer science classes. She has shown respect for herself and others, dependability and a willingness to work and to go above and beyond class requirements.

Outstanding Industrial Arts Student Award — Zoey Larson, for showing enthusiasm for projects, searching for ways to make creative and unique work, for using her skills and knowledge to help others with their projects, and for seeking knowledge outside the curriculum.

Karen Wielert Memorial Award for English — Justine Boelens, who excels in writing and literature. The award is named for a 1965 graduate who died in a car accident two weeks after graduation.

Michael Anderson Memorial Award for Science — Paige Leander, for taking advanced science classes and achieving a high grade point average while showing laboratory and problem-solving skills.

Raymond Johnson Memorial Award for Math — Paige Leander, for taking four years of math, including calculus, and showing exceptional skills in the subject.

Spanish Achievement Award — Emily Johnson, for her strong work ethic and genuine love for learning languages.

Outstanding Achievement in Social Studies — Kyle Nimrick, who showed interest, desire and motivation to learn about history and current events in social studies classes.

Athletics, sports and fitness

Athletic Commitment Award — Lukas Kessinger and Matt VanHyfte, three-sport athletes on IHSA-recognized teams during all four years of high school.

Athletic Recruitment Recognition — Mollie Bennett, continuing her career in cross country and track at University of Wisconsin, Whitewater; Lucas Kessinger, going on in football at Monmouth College, and Keagan Hixson, playing baseball at St. Ambrose University.

Roger Fike Outstanding Athlete Award — Lucas Kessinger, in memory of an outstanding three-sport athlete who died while serving with the U.S. military during the Vietnam war.

Doug Miller Award Outstanding Female Athlete Award — Paige Leander, in memory of a former teacher and boys basketball coach at CHS.

IHSA Scholastic Recognition — Paige Leander, Lukas Maness, Lucas Kessinger, Mollie Bennett, Grace Hanson, Courtney Swemline, Zoey Larson, Cameron Pace, Matthew VanHyfte, Emily Johnson and Meric Veloz for maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher while participating in IHSA athletics and activities.

Character, leadership

Roger Fike Memorial Scholarship — Lucas Kessinger, for athletics, academics, school and community contributions, leadership and character.

Cambridge Parents Club Scholarship —Cameron Pace, who has shown leadership and academic achievement and plans a career in education.

DAR Award — Paige Leander, for dependability, service, leadership and patriotism.

Gene Hernandez Community Service Award — Paige Leander, for serving as a positive role model while involved in a variety of activities. Hernandez founded the Good Shepherd Foundation and encouraged teens to abstain from alcohol.

Illinois Sheriff’s Association Scholarship — Madison Casteel, for demonstrating outstanding scholastic, extra-curricular and character qualifications. The winner must have plans to attend an Illinois institutional of higher learning.

Lilah Peterson Service Above Self Award — Zoey Larson for community service and for impact on the school, community and beyond. Peterson was a junior high English teacher.

Tom and Barb Montgomery Foundation Scholarship — MacKenzie Olson, in honor of the family’s desire to create a lasting legacy for causes they care about.

Illinois Principals Association Leadership Award — Paige Leander and Lucas Kessinger, for showing leadership in the school and community.

Ride4Ryder Scholarships — Hailey Casteel, Reagan Hixson, Lucas Kessinger and Paige Leander, for being dependable, outgoing, vivacious and energetic. Ryder Schnowske was a member of the Class of 2022 before his death in 2019.

SAR Outstanding Citizenship Award — Lucas Kessinger, for dependability, honesty, courtesy, respect, leadership and patriotism.

Barbara “Swanie” Swanson Scholarship — Mollie Bennett, for plans to pursue a career in education. Swanson taught P.E. and English at CHS.

Township Officials Scholarship — Lucas Kessinger, for an essay on townships, a history of extracurricular activities, a commitment to civic responsibility, social consciousness and a willingness to lead and serve the community.

Village of Cambridge Internship Scholarship — Mollie Bennett and Lucas Kessinger, for working at the village office during their senior years.

Claire and Ruth Wiley Scholarship — Matthew VanHyfte, for exemplifying the values of Dean Wiley’s parents, including self-confidence, right and wrong, and care for individuals.

Fine arts

Outstanding Achievement Art — Hailey Casteel, for showing creativity, originality, ambition, positive attitude, complete effort, self-discipline and acceptance of advice and ideas.

Drama Award — Justine Boelens, for participating in plays and musicals throughout their years in Cambridge.

Adelle Bayless Scholarship — Grace Hanson, who has been active in the music department throughout high school. Bayless was a choir teacher at CHS.

Jazz Award — Lucas Kessinger and Lukas Maness, outstanding members of Jazz Band.

John Philip Sousa Award — Zoey Larson, for a band student showing superior musicianship, dependability, loyalty and cooperation.

Most Improved Band — Grace Hanson, for becoming a positive leader in the band and showing improvement in skills during the year.


Enlistment Air National Guard — Carson Nodine, who has enlisted with the Iowa Air National Guard.

U.S. Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Award — Keagan Hixson and Matt VanHyfte, for demonstrating the best effort to excel in all areas of physical fitness and athletic competition.

U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award — Paige Leander, for academic achievement while becoming an exemplary citizen, leader and role model for other students.

U.S. Marine Corps Semper Fi Award — Mollie Bennett, an outstanding musician who is developing their talent and showing the teamwork required in a band.