Cocalico High School
Senior Victoria Stief is the daughter of Donovan and Kristi Stief and the younger sister of Elizabeth Stief. Victoria has a charitable heart—she is generous, kind, thoughtful, and caring. She has been in Girl Scouts ever since kindergarten and is part of Relay for Life with her mom, where they both help raise money and give back to fight against cancer. This cause is important to Victoria because of her mom who once had cancer. Since cancer has affected her family so much, it has inspired her to continue to support the cause. In eighth grade, she helped create a cupcake “business” to help raise money for childhood cancer research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Victoria looks up to her mom, who beat cancer and continually pushes through with strength and persistence every day.
Moreover, Victoria loves learning new things and embarking on challenges every day. Thus, she has committed to pursuing elementary education at Millersville University. Her passion for teaching is due to her love for seeing children learn. Furthermore, she hopes that college life will be an exciting chapter of her life.
Life as a senior has been the same as any other year for Victoria. She is glad to still see friends amid the pandemic. A lesson high school has taught her is that not everything in life is easy. Oftentimes, it requires hard work and persistence to not give up no matter how hard it may be. The thing she will miss most from high school is her teachers, classes, and classmates whom she spent time with. Something Victoria wants to accomplish before she dies is to create a family of her own and hopefully become a successful teacher. May Victoria accomplish all her dreams!
Written by: Melody Pha
A devoted gymnast, ambitious student, and initiative leader all describe senior Zaccheus Carrasco of Cocalico High School’s class of 2021. He is the son of Romao and Melissa Carrasco and is the brother of Katie Carrasco. Zac immerses himself in many extracurriculars at Cocalico High School which include the National Honor Society and student government. In his spare time, he enjoys reading awe-inspiring books.
If he had to choose one activity where he puts the most time and effort in, it would be gymnastics. In fact, he is a level ten optional gymnast at Liberty Bell Athletics, the highest level for men’s gymnastics, and has been doing gymnastics since the fifth grade! Zac believes that participating in a demanding sport such as gymnastics has given him little time for much else. However, as shown above, he is still able to participate in many other clubs which just shows his excellence and well-roundedness as an individual, although he would not admit that. Even more so, it is quite inspiring of Zac to be highly committed to such a sport that requires balance, strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and endurance. Not many people can accomplish the level he’s attained let alone remain dedicated! Nonetheless, he believes it to be a rewarding sport and has had the opportunity to travel to the JO National Championships in Reno, Nevada. Most of all, he enjoys traveling and competing with his team.
Other than that, life as a senior for Zac has been difficult because most of the things he planned on doing for the year got cancelled due to the pandemic. Regardless, he is learning to enjoy and appreciate his last moments as a senior before he goes off to college. As of right now, Zac plans on going to college, joining the ROTC, and then afterwards commission as an officer and make a career out of the military. He has applied to USAFA, Purdue, Temple, and Penn State University. He hopes to major in aerospace engineering and minor in psychology. May Zac continually prosper in all that he does!
Written by: Melody Pha
Benjamin Toomey—clever, artistic, and amicable. You can find him immersed in the sciences, nature, and the fascinating innovation of the weather. He loves the mystery and wonder of the dynamic conditions, temperature, and climate that determine what each day will consist of. He remarked, “Anything science related I just feel so fascinated into it, and each day is different when it comes to science.” This passion is what fuels Toomey to become a meteorologist one day. He aspires to further advance technology and help victims of natural disasters. Being admitted into the meteorology department in Millersville University is just the beginning of Toomey’s long-term dream, which includes working with The Weather Channel or the NOAA someday.
Drawn to the outdoors, geocaching, traveling, hiking, and spending time with friends, Ben believes that it is more important to live in the moment and focus on staying positive. As a senior during the pandemic, he is able to stay positive and keep himself busy by reminding himself of what he still has: friends and family. Before he dies, he would like to travel around all fifty states and is almost halfway there, already traveling to twenty states. One lesson high school has taught Ben is “to be the best person you can.” This drive is greatly influenced by his father: “My dad helps me know the meaning of hard work and always pushes me to be better.” May Ben accomplish all his dreams and goals and become his best version in life no matter what it may throw at him!
Written by: Melody Pha
The first words that come to mind when you think of this person are comical, godly, and outspoken. For Josh Garman, a senior of Cocalico High School’s class of 2020-2021, senior year has not been the best, as it has not for most seniors during the widespread pandemic. Garman expresses that whenever he tries to adjust to the world, things are always changing, and oftentimes without the consent of others. This is why Josh finds it important to voice his own opinions and to be heard because of the effect it has to initiate change. One lesson high school has taught Josh is to not be afraid of what others will think. He says, “We like to hide our opinions and beliefs because we think others will laugh at us. It’s true, people will laugh at you for the things you believe, but that isn’t a reason to hide them. The people that laugh aren’t who you should care about; you should care about those that talk to you. Those people are the ones that actually care about your beliefs.” More importantly, if Josh could change anything in the world, he would expose the truth because he believes the truth often gets hidden, especially under politics.
After Josh graduates, he plans to take a gap year and work as an electrician. Garman is not sure what he wants to major in, so he hopes that working will help him save money and give him more time to think about his future. Aside from school, he loves to travel and explore new places. He is also active in his church, Metzler Mennonite, and is a student leader in his youth group. Some of his hobbies include longboarding, hiking, and having fun with his friends by doing silly things. For instance, wandering around Walmart and rolling around in a mud pit. Aside from his lively personality, Josh aspires to be a godly man. He believes the world needs men who do the right thing, stand firm for truth, and respect women.
“I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I really don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, but I’m not afraid to go with the flow and see where I end up.”
Written by: Melody Pha
Representing one of Cocalico High School’s compassionate, caring, and empathetic students is senior Katlyn Rivera. The oldest daughter of Lori and Anthony Rivera, Katlyn has been playing for the girls’ soccer team since her freshman year and is part of the Reading Olympics. Drawn to relaxing and reading stories, walking her dog, skateboarding, and hiking, she is closely connected to nature. Although she does not admit it, Katlyn is a hardworking person who strives to achieve her goals. In the vigorous course of Honors Precalculus and Trigonometry, when the pandemic hit, Katlyn had to shift her learning ability to an online format but with perseverance, she was able to make it through the remainder of the course. It is no surprise that her hard work ethic and distinct character has earned her a student shout-out.
Outside school walls, Katlyn is actively involved in Metzler Mennonite Church with her youth group. She has been doing community work, cleaning up yards, and volunteering with relief sales. She also went on a mission trip with her youth group to St. Croix and worked on the Youth With A Mission base to help with a kid’s camp. If Katlyn could change anything in the world, it would be to help Muslims who are being kept in camps and forced to go against what they believe. Katlyn is salient in her service and passion for justice. Indeed, this quality of compassion gives Katlyn leverage to impact the world in her unique way.
After she graduates, Katlyn plans to attend Penn State Berks to major in mechanical engineering for four years. She hopes that college will be a supporting experience for her classes and career goals. Outside the career lens, Katlyn hopes to see the world, explore new cultures, and meet new and interesting people.
Overall, one lesson high school has taught Katlyn is to adapt to the uncertainty of the future, which shows her tranquility. From this, she hopes to be like her mom, who inspires her to be strong.
Written by: Melody Pha
Caitlin Ranck, a senior at Cocalico High School, is the daughter of Grace and Ryan Ranck. The moment you see her, kindness, intelligence, and humbleness radiate. It is these traits that drive her to be a successful person in every way. For instance, a lesson high school has taught her is that hard work pays off. It is no surprise then that she’s on the 4.0 honor roll and is one of the top 10 students in her class. Additionally, her work ethic has gotten her into the National Honor Society, onto the girls varsity tennis team, and onto the quiz bowl team. Caitlin is a well-rounded person who strives to be proficient in everything that she does. She excels not just academically, but personally. For example, Caitlin hopes to be a compassionate and helpful person, and this is prevalent in all of her friendships. A friend of hers says, “Caitlin shows that she cares about you and is a good listener. She would try her best to help you in any way and make you laugh.” Likewise, one thing Caitlin will miss most about high school is the time spent with friends.
When Caitlin graduates, she plans to major in civil engineering at Lehigh, Penn State, Lafayette, or the University of Delaware. During her college years, she hopes to have a fun experience where she can meet new, interesting people and never get bored. She hopes to do many fun activities and learn a lot. Above the career element of college, Caitlin hopes to make a positive difference in others’ lives. She wants to make life a bit easier for those around her because she understands how life can be overwhelming. So, Caitlin believes it is vital for everyone to have a support system.
Additionally, one thing Caitlin would like to do is travel to Israel and explore the biblical sights referenced in the Bible. She would also like to visit Greece one day to satisfy her interest in ancient architecture. Cocalico wishes Caitlin all the best in her future at college and beyond.
Written by: Melody Pha
Faith Steffy, a senior at Cocalico Senior High School, is the daughter of Becky and Troy Steffy. There are four distinct ways to describe her: thrill-seeking, artistic, music-loving, and humble. Faith is always up for something new, especially when it involves having fun and being innovative. It explains her involvement in various activities that include dancing, baking, hiking, biking, swimming, and performing. Likewise, she has been taking lyrical and contemporary dance classes for four years and plays both the ukulele and guitar. She is heavily involved in her church at The Reamstown Church of God and is active in her youth group. Also, she helps in the children’s ministry with Sunday school classes, events, and vacation bible school. On top of this, she’s a part of her drama team, where she performs skits, pantomimes, and human videos. Just recently, she started working at Griddle and Grind Cafe as a barista, where she has the pleasure of making drinks and meeting new people. Fun fact: Faith dreams of opening her cafe one day where she can do exactly this.
Faith has been able to slowly adjust to the hybrid schedule amidst the pandemic, with going to school for only two days of the week. As a senior, she looked forward to football games, dances, and senior trips. Although these events may not be possible this year, it has made her less disappointed to know that everyone is going through the same thing. Despite all of these drawbacks, these experiences have led Faith to be appreciative of the time she’s been able to spend with family and friends. It has allowed her to reflect on her own life and grow more mature as she realizes how privileged she is to have the things she has. Once she graduates, Faith will most miss the time spent with friends because, after high school, everyone goes their separate ways. Similarly, she can’t wait to graduate and become an adult but will surely miss her youth. A valuable life lesson Faith learned throughout high school is to join something new and go for your dreams because you may only have this chance once in a lifetime.
Furthermore, Faith hopes that college will be exciting as she will meet new people, but also a valuable learning experience to be exposed to different perspectives and learn more of herself. She plans to apply to a small, private Christian school such as Waynesburg University and major in psychology. In regards to her personal goals, Faith hopes to form a family, something she’s been dreaming of as a child. She also dreams of buying her dream car, a Volkswagen Beetle convertible.
Overall, Faith wants to be someone who thinks about others before herself, like her great grandmother, who had a rough life but was always there for her family and friends.
Written by: Melody Pha