[Photo: Brooke Meador]

The staff and faculty at Grand County High School would like to share their GCHS December students-of-the-moth: Kaci McKinney and Diego Winn. Kaci and Diego both exhibit excellence as both students and citizens of Grand County.

Kaci McKinney, a senior at GCHS, is the daughter of Jill McKinney and Cody McKinney. Kaci is very involved in her school work while additionally engaging in school sports and activities.

She said that a handful of courses she has taken in high school have, in particular, caused her to grow as a student. With Kent Dalton’s woodshop class, she said that she “learned more about how to become a better person in that class.” Kent Dalton taught at GCHS for decades and retired in 2020.

Kaci also expressed appreciation for the learning environments Mrs. Black, Mr. Cameron, and Mrs. Simmons-Cameron provided her.

“I remember Kaci as an ambitious student,” said Mr. Cameron, Kaci’s junior year AP Language teacher. “She would ask me on occasion if her writing and critical thought were good enough because she always had an eye towards improvement. Fast forward a year and a half: she has grown into a sure-footed young woman who displays the inward courage and quiet confidence that is the hallmark of a true role model. Go Kaci!”

Kaci was drawn to softball and cheer throughout high school, and she continues to pursue volleyball along with participation in the National Honor Society. She has also coached and supported younger athletes through the city’s rec programs.

She says her participation in volleyball is “by far one of my favorite memories!” Kaci’s optimism and team spirit has led her to grow as a person and, as she put it, to “learn to be thankful for the lows as well as the highs.”

Kaci’s engagement with others continues outside of Grand County High School. She works for a local business, Crystal’s Cakes and Cones, and plans to get her elementary education degree at Southern Utah University. Maybe she’ll even return to the Grand County School District to teach!

Diego Winn

Diego Winn, also a senior at GCHS, is the son of Zaida Agreda and Jack Layne Winn. He enjoys learning, especially history and humanities courses, some of which he is taking through concurrent enrollment to earn college credit.

“Learning how we got where we are today is a great way to see where we are going tomorrow,” said Diego, explaining his love of history. Teachers and students alike notice his kind, organized and intelligent qualities.

Diego does his part as a member of the community as well, volunteering with the Amigos to Amiguitos Club. He’s worked with the program, which pairs an elementary student with an older mentor, for over five years. Diego also worked for a few local businesses including the Archway Inn and the Atomic Grill and Lounge.

“Diego has been an outstanding student, peer mentor, and DECA member,” said Cayden Black, GCHS business and marketing teacher. “Diego is always willing to assist other students in class and is a positive influence on other students. His membership in DECA has been immensely impactful.”

DECA is a business and marketing club and competition for American high school seniors.

“Diego and just a few other students can be credited with starting and pushing the program,” said Black. “He is a founder of a program that started with three students and currently has over twelve members.”

Diego demonstrates a great amount of leadership and uses this to see the good in situations or people. He plans to study engineering at the University of Utah.

His advice to those still in school is: “Don’t be afraid to ask people what you want and have the courage and self-discipline to work for it!