Armendariz, Burgess celebrated

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Armendariz, Burgess celebratedSchool communities of the winners of the Congressional Merit Awards are praising this year’s honorees for the same reason — dedication, leadership and investment in those around them.

Each year House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recognizes outstanding students from high schools within his district. Burroughs High School Senior Enyssa Armendariz was selected this year, and invited to share the award with a teacher who inspired her. She chose English-newswriting teacher Susie Burgess to share the honor with her.

“Enyssa is a student who inspires exclamation points!” said Burgess. “She is one of the kindest, most positive and most contagiously enthusiastic students I’ve known.”

Burgess noted that the honor is meant to recognize someone who makes the school a better place. “We believe that Enyssa truly does that. She knows that leadership is more than making posters or speeches — it’s inspiring those around her to be the best leaders they themselves can be.”

Armendariz manages to juggle numerous extracurricular activities while maintaining a 4.5 grade-point average — making her one of the top academic performers in her class.

She is captain of the varsity cheerleading squad, a volunteer with IWV Youth Cheerleading and a member of California Scholastic Federation Key Club International, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Pep Club.

She is in the Associated Student Body leadership class and serves this year as Senior Class president.

“Enyssa is exceptional — one of the most well-rounded students I have observed in some time,” said BHS Principal Bryan Auld.

He noted that she was among a small number of cheerleaders invited to join the “All-American” squad on a trip to Europe this year. She is also a student leader for those beyond her own campus, he said, adding that she is northern director of the California Association of Student Leaders.

“Maybe most importantly, Enyssa is one of the kindest and most humble students I have known. Clearly, her peers feel the same way, as they chose her as the Homecoming Queen this year.”

Burgess is the first teacher at BHS to be nominated twice, though she is quick to dismiss that distinction as an advantage of teaching some of the highest-achieving students.

“I was so humbled and surprised,” said Burgess. “I actually wish all her teachers could attend and share their impressions of her. She deserves to hear how much we all value her commitment to her education and school community.”

“I nominated Ms. Burgess to share this award with me because I have learned many valuable skills simply by being her student. Not only has she helped me improve in my studies, but her passion and dedication to all that she does truly inspire me.

“She is just as involved in the community and school as I am — if not more. And her hard work, humility and selflessness have inspired me to be a better leader and a better person,’ said Enyssa. “She truly cares about each one of her students, both in and outside of the classroom. I am so honored to have been her student.”

“If Enyssa is a well-rounded student, Susie Burgess is her professional counterpart,” said Auld. “Ms. Burgess is a talented educator with tremendous skill and expertise.

“However, it is her compassion and commitment to student success that sets her apart.”

Armendariz plans to attend San Diego State University next fall to major in business administration. She said she ultimately wants to pursue a career in human resources.

“With her positivity and drive, Enyssa is going to make the most out of all the opportunities that come her way, and then she’s going to make more and more opportunities happen for herself and others,” said Burgess.

“I know she wants to work in human resources, and that’s a terrific fit. She’s great at building capacity among her peers already.”

Armendariz and Burgess attended a reception in Lancaster on Monday evening to accept their awards.

“Each year I am awed by the bright young minds in our community,” said McCarthy.

“This award honors students who have gone above and beyond in the classroom, and the teachers and educators who have provided the groundwork for them to excel academically.”

Pictured: Enyssa Armendariz and Susie Burgess (center) are flanked by Rep. Kevin McCarthy and the Armendariz family at Monday’s awards ceremony — Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2019-04-26