The votes have been counted and the results are in.
The Payson Roundup's Young Man and Young Woman of the Year are Aspen Gorry and Cari Fischer, two 18-year-old Payson High School seniors who are over-achievers and proud of their jam-packed schedules.
Their awards, clubs, and committees, their service to the community and their list of achievements are (as their peers would say) awesome.
Cari was on the Principal's List and the Honor Roll through four years of high school, while she got Varsity Letters in choir, track and as a wrestlerette.
She received awards from the National Forensic League and the United States Achievement Academy and won the United States National Leadership Merit Award.
The list goes on and includes being selected as Homecoming Queen in her senior year at PHS, being Student Body President and listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students.
She is vice president of Students Against Destructive Decisions, a member of the National Honor Society, Choir, Key Club, Math Club, Hike and Ski Club.
She has served on numerous committees, the prom, Days of Respect and Homecoming while being active in the community tutoring others and providing peer counseling ... all this while maintaining a 4.095 cumulative grade-point average and ranking in the top 3 percent of her class.
Cari admits that she's "quite busy."
"I work after school at the Parks and Recreation Department -- they're completely awesome to me," she said. She's a recreation leader for the town, and helps run youth activities for parks and recreation.
She said she is presently preparing people for summer recreation programs and is having a lot of fun doing it.
Cari's success seems to come in her enjoyment in serving others.
When asked what she does for fun, Cari replied that she enjoys being with her friends and family.
She said she was completely surprised and extremely honored to be selected by her teachers, school administrators and peers as The Payson Roundup's Young Woman of the Year.
"My high school years have been very hectic and crazy," she said. "I'm involved in a lot of stuff, but I really enjoy it. It's been everything I'd hoped it would be."
Cari will be going to school at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff where she'll room with her sister, Tami, who's already enrolled there. She plans to be an electrical engineer and eventually work for a utility company, following in the footsteps of her father, David Fischer, a former APS employee who now works for SRP in the Valley. Cari's mother, Rose Ellen Fischer, is a secretary at Gila County Sanitary District.
Aspen and Cari both went from first grade through 12th grade in the Payson Unified School District. Cari came to Payson when she was 5 years old and Aspen was born and raised here.
His mother, Jacque, now lives in Chandler and he sees her and his friends in the Valley on weekends. Aspen's father, Wayne, and his step-mother, Gail, are both teachers with the district and Aspen's younger brother, Cypress, 6, attends Frontier Elementary School, where both Gail and Wayne Gorry are teachers.
Growing up in a family of teachers seems to have had a positive influence on Aspen. He tops the list of 199 students in his graduating class this year and had a 4.222 grade point average at the end of his junior year.
His list of activities, like Cari's, is seemingly endless. He has been president of the Speech and Debate Team at the high school since 1998, a member of the Key Club, Math Club president, a member of SADD and the Chess Club.
Aspen also has an impressive list of awards that includes winning 17 debate tournaments, being selected as Outstanding Citizen at Arizona Boys State in 1999, and being on the Principal's Honor Roll from 1996 to the present. Like Cari, Aspen is listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students. He is a qualifier to the National Debate Tournament both this year and last.
His service to the community includes organizing the Payson Mayor and Town Council Candidate Forum in 1998, organizing the PHS Tutoring Program and being involved with his church youth group. Aspen is also a founding member of the Mayors Youth Advisory Council and participated in Youth Town Hall in 1997 and 1998.
He said he has enjoyed his many activities and looked at his service in so many areas as a commitment.
"I think it's a big commitment to make those your objectives," he said, "but it's also very fulfilling to help others and be involved."
Aspen plans to attend Arizona State University in Tempe where he will major in math and economics and minor in philosophy.
Aspen said he has been involved with economic policies through the Speech and Debate Team.
"It's somewhere where you can make a large difference," he said.
Aspen said that being selected Young Man of the Year is an honor and one of the most meaningful awards of the many he's received.