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Girls rule the top of the CHS class of 2011
In 2010, boys dominated the top academic tier of seniors at Ceres High School - but this year, girls rule the top of the class.

Krista Doornenbal is the 2011 class valedictorian and Christina Diezdeleon takes the salutatorian honor.

Daejone Jones and Venus Lopez also finished with grade point averages of above a 4.0.

Both Doornenbal and Diezdeleon will take turns delivering addresses to the senior class tomorrow night at Bulldog Stadium. The graduation gets underway at 7:30 p.m.

Doornenbal, 17, will be studying in the nursing program at California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock. She plans to pursue her master's degree at a grad school.

"I think I want to be a nursing professor," said Doornenbal, who also wants to explore a career as a labor and delivery nurse.

Krista said helping her to excel academically were supportive parents in Mark and Janelle Doornenbal.

"My mom and Dad always just instilled working hard and getting good grades in order to be successful and they've been incredibly supportive to me. Like I couldn't have done it without their support. They always do what it takes to help me out."

Krista, who attended Hughson Christian School and Summit Charter Academy before CHS, was involved in marching band, drama, Math Bowl and was president of the Hope Club, a Christian club on campus.

Christina Diezdeleon is off to University of California, Davis, where she wants to major in biology in her pursuit to become a pediatrician.

"I absolutely love working with children," said Christina. "For about five years now I've been working in the children's ministry of my church (Calvary Temple). I teach the kindergartners and first-graders."

It's not surprising that both seniors even held jobs working with children. Krista held down five seasons of summer job working at the Christian Berets Camp above Sonora working with disabled children. Christina enjoyed babysitting children.

Christina found a great deal of support from her parents, George and Louisa Diezdeleon of Ceres. Because of the family's experience as Mexican immigrants, they prodded their daughter to get a good education and be the first in the family to attend college.

"Neither of them were able to attend college and the life that they had to endure, they didn't want me to go through that so they always pushed education a lot. And that's a lot why I am the way I am. And they instilled really good values, a good work ethic."

Christina attended Virginia Parks Elementary School and Mae Hensley Junior High School while growing up in Ceres.

Both girls say they will have a tough time breaking free from their high school experience and be missing the close friendships. Both say they will most miss favorite teacher Benjamin Middleton.

"He is just such a kind person and really cares about the students and he's a great teacher," said Krista of Mr. Middleton.

"He has such an ecstatic personality," added Christina. "I personally hate English but I looked forward to his class every day just because of him and he made English fun."

Krista said she also enjoyed learning a lot from drama teacher Stephen Dias. "He also really cares about the students, like he takes time out of his schedule to talk to us and cares about hat we're going through and creates an atmosphere of acceptance."

English teacher Aaron Ellenbarger is also a favorite of Krista's.

"He has taught me so much about writing and to be open minded," said Krista. "He's really a respectful person."

Christina recalls "loving every moment" of being in Rebecca Rodriguez's economics class. She also liked former CHS band teacher Ric Campero.

"He was very supportive. When I joined music I didn't know how to read music and he was very tolerant and helped me through it. So he was very helpful. I played the trumpet."

Diezdeleon was involved with band for four years, including winter percussion, marching and jazz band, and wind ensemble. She also was on the water polo and soccer teams and was in drama. Christina was also involved in the Hope Club.

Doornenbal, who took seven AP (Advanced Placement) courses, said her teachers did a great job of preparing her for college.

"I'm going to go there and see what happens," said Krista.

Christina expects a smooth transition, too.

"I think as far as ... the school and homework and new teachers, that'll be fine," said Diezdeleon. "The teachers really do prepare you well here. They have great staff here. I think my most difficult thing will be leaving my family. I love my parents so much and I've never been away from them. And the hardest part will be my sister (Isabel). She's at that age right now where we can connect ... and now I'm going to leave her."

Krista feels that as she looks back on her high school experience, drama will stand out as something she was most miss.

"It's really been fun. Just being in those plays has enriched my life so much. I've had so much fun with the people in there. I'm really going to miss that."

Diezdeleon will miss being in band the most. And seeing her friends.

"And the fact that every day you'd come to school and you see these kids that you've been going to school with since you were five years old and the fact that I'm not going to see that any more, that's hard for me. It's tough because you're raised with these kids."