The two Golden Dragon Award winners at Delta Charter High shared some of their thoughts this week on the contribution of athletics to their high school years and how the culture at the Delta Charter campus enhanced their education.
Sebastian Chavez tried out a range of sports at Delta Charter High — football, soccer, volleyball, cross-country, cheer — and each taught him different things.
“For cross-country, what motivates me is the passion that everyone has for it,” he said. “It’s a little bit different from other sports. It’s individual. When you run, from the start toward the end, you look back and you see the hard work you put in toward reaching the goal.”
It also provided some of his favorite memories, particularly having qualified to compete at the Sac-Joaquin Section championship meet in both his junior and senior years.
His other key memories are about friends helping each other reach their goals.
“For volleyball, it was the teamwork. The passion we all had toward trying to make it to first place,” he said.
While the team finished in second place in his junior year and missed the season because of COVID-19 in his senior year, the Dragons proved to be competitive in the Mountain Valley League.
Chavez also played on the Dragons’ inaugural football team in 2017 as a sophomore wide receiver, returning as a senior, and he was a defender on the boys soccer team.
His commitment to his teams earned him the 2020 Golden Dragon Award for Athletics, making him one of the school’s two athletes of the year.
His dedication and hard work reflect the confidence that others had in his potential.
“It doesn’t take just yourself. I had help along the way with my family, my teachers, my friends. They all help me out a lot to keep everything in balance,” he said.
Chavez added that Delta Charter was always supportive of student athletes in pursuit of their goals.
“When I first arrived there, it was a little bit hard for me because I didn’t know anyone, but as soon as I got comfortable and got used to it, it felt like my second family there. I always enjoyed it. I always loved going to school. I always felt like learning there,” he said, noting that the experience also taught him to be a leader.
“Taking on the role as a captain, it opened my mind toward helping others a lot, and helping others reach their goals as well.
He expects to continue his education at Las Positas College in Livermore, where he can complete general education requirements and consider pursuing an education in business or agriculture.
Delta Charter High graduate Carolyn Dulkevich has spent all her school years at the New Jerusalem campus, and over the past four years, she has been one of the dedicated athletes for the Dragons in nearly every season of sports.
In the fall, she was a Dragon volleyball player, moving to soccer in the winter, and she was set to be a third-year softball player before the spring 2020 season was canceled because of COVID-19.
In four years of varsity soccer, she played just about every position on the field, but mostly defense. She was also a team captain for the past two years. Her efforts gained her the 2020 Golden Dragon Award, one of two athlete of the year awards presented at Delta Charter High.
“I was really excited. I was honored to get that award. I have put a lot of time and hours into all of this,” she said. “It made my high school experience really nice. The team camaraderie was great.”
She also learned to be versatile as a volleyball player, taking on most positions on the court, and was the center fielder for the Dragons softball team.
“I’ve learned how to be a team player, and also, with being captain, I learned many leadership skills and how to encourage others,” she said.
She added that taking on leadership roles was part of her contribution to the culture at Delta Charter High.
“I got a great education there. The teachers there are amazing. It’s a smaller school, so I felt like I had a lot of one-on-one help and all of the teachers were there to help me succeed and get me on a good path,” she said. “I have a lot of close friendships with everybody there, including my teachers and all of the staff. They’re like a family.”
Her next stop is Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. She plans to keep playing soccer on the campus club team while pursuing a degree in nursing.