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Sierras Lobo Gold Rally celebrates academic excellence
Sierra High’s Courtney Whitlock cheers after receiving her Lobo Gold medal. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Jennifer Spellman recently learned to dance Bhangra.

The Sierra High librarian was taught the form of music and dance that originated in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan from several students of the culture.

“She picked it up real fast,” said senior Amanpreet Kaur.

Spellman, who spent a couple of weeks after school learning the steps of Bhangra from the threesome of Amanpreet, Gurleen, and Ravneet Kaur, had a chance to display her new dance moves to 1,061 students honored at Friday’s Lobo Gold Rally as part of the skit, America’s Best Dance Moves.

“She was a natural,” Amanpreet Kaur said.

The top academic students were honored at the 14th annual event made possible by Toni and Bob Raymus’ Building Dreams Foundation – they received an “award of gratitude” plaque for their efforts from Assistant Principal Steve Clark – along with the added support of parents, staff, and the Manteca Unified school board.

Trustees Wendy King and Rex Holiday were on hand to present medals to the 125 students earning gold recognition (4.0 grade point average or better).

“These are students who are the epitome of academic excellence,” Principal Susan Pearson said.

In addition, 433 students earned silver (3.25 GPA or better) while 503 achieved blue (2.25 GPA or better).

Athletic director Greg Leland gave recognition to 47 varsity students who made the Valley Oak League academic list (3.7 GPA or better).

Counselor Steve Howe announced those students earning the Academic Block S awards.

As for skits and entertainment, Craig Casity and Nico Valencia played the role of couch potatoes procrastinating about studying in lieu of watching MTV programming.

The lineup of entertainment included performances from the Black Student Union, MEChA, and, of course, the Bhangra dancers.

The Lobo Gold Rally also included students receiving an assortment of gift and drawing prizes made possible by the generosity of local businesses and community members.