Vigneault receives merit award

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Vigneault  receives  merit awardBurroughs High School senior Grant Vigneault, and his chosen teacher Damien Jacotin, joined a select group of near-graduates in Lancaster last week to receive a Congressional Merit Award from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

“I am impressed every year with the bright, young minds in our community,” said McCarthy. “This award recognizes the hard work these students have put in over their academic careers and the dedication of our educators to enrich and prepare these young minds for boundless opportunities.

“It is inspiring, and instills great optimism to meet such exceptional students and their instructors to congratulate them on jobs well done.”

“Grant is perhaps one of the most accomplished, honest and sincere young men I have ever had the privilege to work with,” said his student counselor, Pauline Starnes.

She noted that in addition to maintaining a perfect grade-point average and carrying a rigorous courseload, he has completed an internship at China Lake and excelled at football and baseball.

Grant also performs in the band, writes for the school newspaper and has been selected for numerous other distinctions.

Principal Bryan Auld said Burroughs is fortunate to have many students who met the criteria for the award. “It makes selecting very difficult,” he said. “That said, we are very pleased to choose Grant Vigneault.”

Auld said that in addition to excelling in academic, athletic, extracurricular and community-service pursuits, Vigneault has earned an appointment to the Naval Academy.

“He believes so much in service that he is committing his life’s work to serving in the U.S. Navy,” said Auld.

“Grant is an honest, genuine, respectful young man who is known by all for his tremendous kindness.”

“We are incredibly proud of Grant,” said David, Grant’s father. Both he and his wife, Kyla, believe the award is a testament to how hard Grant has worked.

“We are very fortunate and blessed that Grant has turned into a fine young man. None of this would be possible if it were not for all of his teachers, coaches, friends, co-workers on base and in town and many others who have influenced Grant in one way or another,” said David.

“Grant’s accomplishments are a direct result of all the positive and highly supportive people in his life. His family support is simply a small piece of that bigger puzzle.”

He added that the family “will miss Grant dearly, but are excited for the next phase of his life.”

“I was very surprised to find out that I had been selected for this honor,” said Grant. “There are many deserving students here at Burroughs, and I feel very lucky to have been the one who represents our graduating class.”

In addition to his aforementioned achievements, Grant is the president of BHS’s California Scholarship Federation, co-captain of the varsity baseball team and an active member of the local Catholic church community.

He will be heading to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in the fall.

“This award is a tremendous honor,” he said, adding his thanks to BHS, the district, McCarthy and everyone else who contributed to the award. “This award could not be presented to students like myself if it wasn’t for them putting in countless hours to make the daily learning environment successful.”

Grant singled out Damien Jacotin to share the award with him. “Mr. Jacotin is more than an instructor on campus — he is someone who cares more about the students than he does about himself.

“Not only does he develop these fantastic relationships with students, but he also changes the learning dynamic in such a positive way that most all students grasp. He is an incredible teacher, and an even better friend.”

Jacotin was surprised by being nominated by Grant for the award. “To tell you the truth, I did not know that there existed such an award.”

He taught Grant in multiple subjects during his time at BHS. “As a student and a person, Grant is the kind of person teachers like to have in their classes,” said Jacotin. “He is inquisitive, and he seeks knowledge and scholarship as a way to acquire knowledge instead of just a grade.

“I really do not know what this recognition means, but if it allows BHS to receive some of the spotlight, all the better.”

“Damien — or Mr. J., as the students refer to him — is a critical member of our STEM department,” said Auld. “I say that because he does not teach one subject. He teachers physics, calculus, digital electronics, trigonometry and statistics and principles of engineering,”

Jacotin also recently returned from a trip to the Vex National Championship with Burroughs’ award-winning Robotics Club. Auld praised him as providing “an excellent education for our advanced students and those interested in STEM courses.”

Pictured: Kevin McCarthy, Grant Vigneault and Damien Jacotin

Story First Published: 2018-05-11