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Angela Hernandez earns recognition and Hy-Vee surprise gift basket

Andrew Brown - Reporter

It’s no secret now that the COVID-19 pandemic took a lot away from individuals, especially high school seniors across the state of Iowa.

On Tuesday, June 16, the Perry Hy-Vee and DMACC came together to give back a little with their surprise gift basket to a Perry High School graduating senior. After community members nominated several graduates, one was drawn and in the end, it was Angela Hernandez to get the recognition and the surprise gift basket.

“When we started thinking of who we wanted to nominate, she was the perfect candidate,” said Perry DMACC VanKirk Career Academy Director Eddie Diaz. “She’s an accomplished student and we saw the path she’s on and we want to recognize the things that she’s done plus encourage her to keep going down that path.”

Hernandez is the oldest of four siblings and is currently a member of the 2020 Squad through DMACC. Hernandez was also one of six Dallas County graduates to earn the Governor’s Scholars honor. Hernandez plans on pursuing a major in business while attending DMACC.

“At first I was quite surprised but I’m also very happy about it,” said Hernandez about being selected to receive the gift basket. “I’ve come a long way and I’d say I’m happy about this.”

The overall process involved the community to nominate grads regardless of if they worked through the Perry Hy-Vee or not.

“We gave the public the chance to nominate those grads and engaged the community as a whole,” said Larry Vodenik of Perry Hy-Vee. “In a time where there aren’t as many events going on, it was important to do something for these students.”

The simple act of the surprise gift basket was something that the Hy-Vee as a whole jumped at and now every Hy-Vee store across the country is giving away a surprise gift basket to a graduating senior. It was an overall grand gesture but also something that aligned with Hy-Vee’s normal passion for the community.

“We’re always about promoting young individuals especially ones who are pursuing their dreams,” said Brian Osmanski, now entering his fifth month as the Hy-Vee store manager in Perry. “We’re always trying to push them, lead them in the right direction, and help them in any way we can.”

Alongside her many activities, she is involved with, Hernandez is also interning at the Perry DMACC VanKirk Career Academy over the summer.