Recent Garces Memorial graduate Zach Buckey walked into the gymnasium Thursday morning without a clue of what he was walking into.
In a surprise ceremony with Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh on hand, Buckey was celebrated in a small ceremony as he was awarded the 2021 Mayor’s Trophy winner.
“I’m in a little bit of a shock,” Buckey said. “But I am very grateful for this.”
The surprise was done perfectly with big help from his girlfriend, Alexsia Drulias, a 2020 Garces graduate and last year’s recipient of the Mayor’s Trophy.
“I made the comment (to Drulias) that we were going to see your Mayor’s Trophy,” Buckey said. “And we did. We did. But she’s been great. She’s been motivating. We are competitive and we want to beat each other. She’s still got a leg up on me.”
This is now the second consecutive year a Garces student has won the prestigious award honoring the top student-athlete in Bakersfield and the third in the last four year when Molly Soper won the award in 2018.
“It tells you when they have so many leaders come from here and win great awards,” Buckey said. “This school really does help take kids to that next level to be better … and more prominent in the community.”
The Buckey family now has two names on the trophy and becomes the first father-son duo to be honored after his father, Jeff, won the award his senior year at Bakersfield High in 1992.
“My dad has been great,” Buckey said. “He’s always said that I don’t need to win awards, but he wants me to do my best. He’s never put that pressure on me. He’s made me the man I am today. Being my father’s son has helped me so much in life.”
Buckey is heading to Stanford this weekend to begin football conditioning as he will be on scholarship for the Cardinal this fall.
Buckey graduated Garces with a 4.6 GPA in his four years on campus and also was awarded the Jim Burke Ford Leadership Award and the Garces Award at graduation last month.
“It means that it’s a great recognition of what I’ve been able to achieve here,” Buckey said. “With the help of my friends and family and everyone at Garces. It’s a testament to this great school and how they help everyone.”