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Tazelaar is Ripon Christian valedictorian
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From left, Ripon Christian High valedictorian Tina Tazelaar and her mother, Nies, look forward to graduation tentatively scheduled for June 19.

Tina Tazelaar has kept life in perspective amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What used to be important isn’t so much so in the grand scheme,” said the Ripon Christian High senior.

That includes her upcoming graduation ceremony tentatively planned for June 19.  Tazelaar credits her strong religious faith for her positive outlook.

“This (home quarantine) has been very humbling,” she said.

The Oakdale native is valedictorian for the Class of 2020. She earned the top academic honor thanks to her rounded 4.3 grade point average.

The daughter of Nies and Kevin Tazelaar will be attending Biola University in southern California (La Mirada), majoring in Business Administration.

Tina Tazelaar was active during her years at RC. She was originally home schooled before attending Great Valley Academy in Modesto, from second through fifth grade.

She came to RC in the sixth grade. Her mother, Nies, is a product of Ripon Christian schools.

“It was very welcoming atmosphere,” said Tina Tazelaar, recalling her earlier years at the school.

She enjoyed taking part in the Drama productions.

In eighth grade, Tazelaar played one of the von Trapp children in ‘The Sound of Music.’

She was Priscilla in ‘The Miracle Worker,’ Beth in ‘Little Women,’ Ouiser in ‘Steel Magnolia,’ Ginger in ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ a chorus dancer in ‘Annie Get Your Guns,’ and was the lead (Kathy Selden) in ‘Singing in the Rain.’

Prior to the stay-at-home orders, Tazelaar was in the spring production of ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ in the role of Ida.

She played on the RC tennis team during her final two years and was active in various clubs and organizations.

Tazelaar chose Biola, a nationally ranked evangelical Christian university, for its integration of the Bible into some of the studies. She’s looking at going into finance or becoming an entrepreneur.

In addition, she led a group of girls of 30 or so at RC in lunchtime Bible studies prior to the school shutdown. She then turned to Google Meet, linking up with manageable number of girls during the regular online session.

Technology had not been one of her strong points in pre-coronavirus days.

Tazelaar, who is active at the Escalon Christian Reformed Church – she’s part of the youth group and the Praise team – has also been spending her free time sewing, doing crafts and gardening.

The latter consisted of vegetables, with her family farm consisting of walnuts, almond and olive orchards.

Despite not being sure of her graduation ceremony plans, Tina Tazelaar is still looking forward to this milestone.

“Even though my senior year didn’t go as planned, it’s not a huge disappointment,” she said, reflecting on the past few months.

Tina Tazelaar is focused on the bigger picture.