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Juggling school, sports & church

Gauden earns nod as Ripon salutatorian

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Juggling school, sports & church

Mackenzie Gauden is salutatorian for the Ripon High Class of 2014.


POSTED May 27, 2014 1:15 a.m.

Most of her friends are fans of the San Francisco Giants.

For Mackenzie Gauden, her Major League Baseball allegiances are to the arch rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

“That’s because a lot of my family is from Southern California,” said the Ripon High Class of 2014 salutatorian.

She earned that honor by posting an overall 4.28 grade point average.

Mackenzie, 18, is the daughter of David and Anita Gauden. With graduation right around the corner – RHS graduation is 7 p.m. Thursday, May 29, at Stouffer Field – she reflected on the past four years as being somewhat of a blur.

Gauden has become accustomed to juggling a busy schedule. Included are four years of varsity softball, three years of volleyball, and her travel softball squads.

She pitches, plays first base and has memories to cherish of the recent RHS softball season.

The Indians made it to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V softball playoffs for the second straight year. They won their opener over Argonaut behind Gauden’s pitching – Ripon’s first postseason victory since 1996 – but were soon eliminated after losing back-to-back games to Calaveras and eventual champions Hughson, respectively.

She is involved in the California Scholarship Federation as secretary and treasurer, the Renaissance program and her church (Heartland Community) youth group Citizenship: Feed My Starving Children.

Gauden is the family volunteer coordinator for the latter. She is also a Sunday school teacher, Vacation Bible school counselor, and church nursery volunteer.

When it came to her choice of college, Gauden quickly became comfortable with prestigious Washington University in St. Louis. She’s looking forward to playing softball with the NCAA Division III program.

As for her major, Gauden is planning on Economics & Strategy or Political Economy.

But before that, she’s looking forward to just hanging out with her friends for the summer.

Gauden will again play travel softball with the Ripon Rampage – the team will play a tournament in Las Vegas in June – and catch an MLB game.

In particular, she’s looking forward to visiting Dodgers Stadium for the first time.

Gauden and her RHS softball teammates recently caught a Dodgers-Giants game at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

“That was a lot of fun. There are three of us on the team who are Dodger fans – most of them are for the Giants,” she said.

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