For 10 years, The Olympian and Together - a community group that supports young people - have honored outstanding students in Thurston County in these Awards of Excellence. The students on these pages were nominated by their schools for their accomplishments.
Arts and Sciences
AVANTI HIGH SCHOOL
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Parent/Guardian(s): Sharon and Evert Verschuyl
Achievements in Category: Nominated as a Washington Scholar; student of the month, 2009-10; scholarship recipient from the University of San Francisco.
Future Plans: Pursue a liberal arts degree at the University of San Francisco.
Parent /Guardian(s): Lasha and Edward Steinweg
Achievements in Category: Won ESD art show (districts); will compete at state art show. Photography is exceptional and has taken advanced photography, math and science classes. Committed environmentalist.
Other Achievements: Student of the Month, 2009-10.
Future Plans: Pursue environmental education at Fairhaven College at Western Washington University.
BLACK HILLS HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Jonathan and Jan Wahl
Achievements in Category: Has taken the highest-level science courses the school offers for past 4 years; ranked academically in top 10 at Black Hills High School; received State Farm scholarship for science, Washington State University science scholarship, and WSU achievement award.
Other Achievements: Has performed more than 50 hours of community outreach.
Future Plans: Attend Washington State University and become a veterinary doctor.
Parent /Guardian(s): Bart and Candice Rydalch
Achievements in Category: Strong mathematical skills and a love for physics; has taken highest level of physics the school offers.
Other Achievements: More than 100 hours of community service; varsity goal-keeper and football player; acting company, 4 years; lead tenor in jazz band; boys state.
Future Plans: Attend the University of Utah in the ROTC; major in business administration and management and minor in aeronautics.
CAPITAL HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Kalyani Padmapriya and Abeysinghe Padmapriya
Achievements in Category: National Merit Commended Scholar; International Baccalaureate diploma candidate; 4.0 cumulative GPA; Academic All-American, 2 years.
Other Achievements: Tennis, 3 years; volunteers at assisted living facility, elementary school and public library; PEACE Club.
Future Plans: Study bioengineering at the University of Washington.
Parent /Guardian(s): Vasile and Dorca Borota
Achievements in Category: 4.0 GPA. International Baccalaureate diploma candidate; will have taken 15 IB classes by the end of the year. Certificate of Achievement Top 10 Academic, Class of 2010; Academic All-American. Researched purple martin birds through state Department of Fish and Wildlife; intern at DFW; presented purple martin research study at the Puget Sound Georgia Basin Ecosystem Conference. Research also acknowledged in several publications. Business internship with NorthStar Homes LLC.
Other Achievements: President of Key Club; treasurer of Key Club, junior year. ASB class senator, junior year. Played soccer and rowed, sophomore and junior years. First place, Green Lake Rowing Tournament. Volunteer at Capital Medical Center since freshman year.
Future Plans: Will attend Johns Hopkins University in the fall and study public health and continue to do research. Hopes to pursue a career in medicine.
CENTRALIA HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Rama Puri and late Anupam K. Puri
Achievements in Category: Annual Biotech Day coordinator, 2010; Biotech Day mentor, 2009. Participated in Solo & Ensemble contest this year, performing in a violin quartet. Orchestra Club vice president, 2009-10. Took AP calculus this year; has taken advanced mathematics courses since 8th grade. Has taken Honors/advanced science classes since freshman year, this year advanced molecular genetics and advanced marine biology.
Other Achievements: DAR scholarship nomination for Centralia High School; Washington Scholars nominee; third in Class of 2010; Key Club vice president, 2009-10, member since 2006.
Future Plans: To attend the University of Washington and major in biology, go on to medical school, and work toward becoming a pediatrician.
Parent /Guardian(s): Steve and Amy White
Achievements in Category: Business achievements: FBLA president 2008-10; FBLA competition awards in computer, management and business issues, including 6 first-place, 2 second-place and 2 fourth-place regional awards, 2009-10; third-, fourth- and fifth-place state rankings, 2009-10, in computer, management and business issues. Washington Award for Vocational Excellence nominee, 2010; Vocational Department award, 2008, business math; CEO, Business Week, 2009; intern/coordinator, Business Week, 2010.
Other Achievements: Valedictorian of Class of 2010. Editor-in-chief, Centralia High School Columns, 2008-10; senior class president, 2009-10; captain and team member in Knowledge Bowl, 2005-10; National History Day regional/state competitor, 2005-10; president of Social Studies Club, 2006-10; orchestra member, viola, 2001-10; Washington Scholars nominee, 20th District, 2010; tutor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, 2008-10, Math Communities, 2009-10, and Lewis County Literacy Council, 2008-09. Blood drive coordinator, Puget Sound Blood Bank, 2009-10; Cispus camp counselor, 2009-10; volunteer with Citizens for Centralia Schools, 2009-10.
Future Plans: Major in business administration at the University of Washington as a freshman direct admit. Would ultimately like to obtain a master’s in business administration, studying entrepreneurship, and open his own business.
NORTH THURSTON HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Rebecca Halbert and Bill Halbert
Achievements in Category: Perfect SAT score of 2400; National Honor Society; AP Scholar with Honors; National Merit Scholar commendation; 4.0 cumulative GPA; outstanding calculus student; concert master of North Thurston High School Orchestra; violinist in Student Orchestra of Greater Olympia; scored Excellent and Superior for four solos and ten chamber groups; Tri-M Music Honor Society.
Other Achievements: American Association of University Women High School Scholars.
Future Plans: Study physics at the University of Chicago.
Parent /Guardian(s): Son mi Craig
Achievements in Category: AP Scholar with Honor award; science department Honors; AP calculus Top Student medal; Outstanding Math Student award; letters in music (10th through 12th grades); scored Superior ratings at solo and ensemble in quartets.
Other Achievements: Honor Society president (12th grade) and treasurer (11th grade); co-president of orchestra (11th grade); Link Crew; chess mentoring charter member in two elementary schools; Providence St. Peter Hospital volunteer; varsity tennis; student government vice president; 4.0 GPA.
Future Plans: Attend Yale University next school year and start on a pre-med track.
OLYMPIA HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Bradley and Roseanne Hoza
Achievements in Category: Significant projects completed include: ionocraft (flying device with no moving parts), flyback transformer (converts 12 volts DC to 25,000 volts AC), sailbike (wind-powered bicycle) and tetravex (puzzle game programmed in Java). Test completed: AP calculus, physics/mechanics, biology; math SAT I and math, chemistry and biology SAT II.
Awards received: Siemen’s Award for advanced placement, Bausch & Lomb Science Award.
Other Achievements: National Merit finalist award, Presidential Scholar semifinalist.
Future Plans: Attend MIT and major in physics or some form of engineering.
Parent /Guardian(s): Glenn Blackmon and Susan Kavanaugh
Achievements in Category: Acted in more than 25 plays; had roles in 11 plays at Olympia High School. Wrote a play that was performed as a part of ACT Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival. Won first in State Thespian monologue competition. Nominated for a 5th Ave High School Musical Theatre award. Directed a play at Olympia High School.
Other Achievements: National Merit finalist; runner-up for both Homecoming and Sadies king.
Future Plans: Attend Boston University in the fall.
RAINIER HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Karen Chow and Kee Chow
Achievements in Category: Award of excellence in AP calculus; award of high honor roll all four years of high school; award of excellence in geography; four years of advanced science class; “Excellence” in concert band; participant in 3 drama performances.
Other Achievements: Award of academic excellence in English; award of excellence in health and fitness; award of Most Improved in Rainier girls basketball; National Honor Society.
Future Plans: Get a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering at Digipen Institute of Technology
Parent /Guardian(s): Joan deCoux and Richard Johnson
Achievements in Category: Performed in the Washington state FFA Band twice. Performed in the National FFA Band in Indianapolis. Plays in high school concert and pep bands and has received awards of excellence. A member of a 4-H Club and Rainier High School’s FFA chapter. In 2008, named the supreme dairy goat showman in Washington FFA.
Other Achievements: Member of National Honor Society at Rainier High School. Treasurer of FFA. Was junior class vice president. Has been president of 4-H Club for 3 years.
Future Plans: Plans to attend Washington State University and pursue a career in entomology.
RIVER RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Craig Francom and Melanie Francom
Achievements in Category: Active member of orchestra since 6th grade. First chair viola, which includes being leader of her section. Has performed with the orchestra at two community service events this year, including the Historically Black Colleges and Universities dinner, and performing at a school board meeting. Leads by example with an outstanding work ethic and having her music well prepared for concerts. Public relations officer of Creative Writing Club.
Other Achievements: Has taken 4 honors classes and 7 AP tests. 3.794 GPA. Received award as an AP Scholar with Honors.
Future Plans: Plans to attend Brigham Young University and major in English. She hopes to be a publishing editor after obtaining her degree.
Parent /Guardian(s): Byron Williams and Kathy Williams
Achievements in Category: String orchestra, freshman year; advanced orchestra, sophomore through senior years; plays violin. Sings bass in symphonic choir, senior year. Most Inspirational Award in Orchestra, 2007; award for receiving “Excellent” in symphonic choir, 2010. Has done freelance work designing numerous shirt logo designs for school-related athletics and activities. Microsoft Certified Application Specialist Award for Word 2007 program, 2009. 3.9 GPA. Excels in advanced orchestra, symphonic choir, photography, web design, pottery and microcomputer applications classes. Received award for participating in 2011 WAVE Scholarshop promotion art competition, 2010.
Other Achievements: Cross country, sophomore through senior year. Varsity Athletic Award, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Evergreen Conference All-Academic Award in cross country, 2009. Voted Most Inspirational by cross country teammates, 2009. Nominated to participate in Washington Cross Country All-State Team, 2009. Received certificate for efforts with Ecology Youth Corps, 2008.
Future Plans: Major in graphic design at Clover Park Technical College and earn an associate degree, then transfer to a four-year university, preferably Central Washington University, to obtain a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. He hopes to work part time during college, then after graduation, either work for a big-name company or run his own business.
ROCHESTER HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Brian and Shannon Fitting
Achievements in Category: Entry in 2009 Lucerne Safeway Cow Contest (painting). Three speed paintings. Has drawn numerous tattoos, 3 of which people have gotten. Sells portraits of people to them. Has taken watercolor classes at Centralia College. Has taken numerous art classes. Has gone to four classic car shows, taken photos of vehicles and sent them to the owners. Has been hired by a client to photograph the client’s wolf.
Other Achievements: Has traveled throughout Oregon and Washington to take photos and get prints to sell, as well as to paint.
Future Plans: Become a concept artist, freelance photographer and tattoo artist.
Parent /Guardian(s): Debbie Jarbo
Achievements in Category: Began high school with a significant learning disability. During his 4 years in choir, has become an independent musician, receiving superior ratings at contests and leading others to stronger performances. Also an actor, with an ability to play in the ensemble with real character and crowd-pleasing ability.
Other Achievements: Spent his senior year mentoring a younger student with disabilities.
Future Plans: Attend Centralia College.
SHELTON HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Mike and Cheryl Woods
Achievements in Category: Washington State Music Teachers Association, Mason County Piano Playoffs: Honorable Mention (2009, 2007, 2006); Student pianist/accompanist for school’s Illusions Jazz Choir (2008-present); Masterworks Choral Ensemble Youth Music Talent Contest competitor (2008, 2009); SHS Night of Musical Theater participant (fall 2009, fall 2008, winter 2008); represented Mason County at the WSMTA District Recital (2008) and performed at the WSMTA State Conference (2008); piano teacher (fall 2009-present)
Other Achievements: National Honor Society; legislative page, Washington State House of Representatives (2008); President’s List, South Puget Sound Community College (Spring Quarter, 2009); Skookum Rotary top 10 percent of junior class (2009)
Future Plans: Pursue a degree in music and business/accounting. WESLEY PATTERSON
Parent /Guardian(s): Machelle and Larry Patterson
Achievements in Category: Assisted with 6th grade science camp on the Oregon coast; Honor Society; Skookum Rotary Club of Shelton Academic Excellence Award; Western Cascade Conference All-Academic Award; Narrows League Scholar-Athlete finalist (2009-10); Honors biology; top 10 percent of class.
Other Achievements: Big Buddies; basketball (2000-10); baseball (1997-2010); band (2002-06); tennis (2009) Coaches Award, tennis (2009); March of Dimes; basketball co-captain (2009-10); selected as the Junior Escort by the 2009 senior class.
Future Plans: Attend The Evergreen State College to pursue a possible career in forestry.
SOUTH SOUND HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Stephen and Mary Dilley
Achievements in Category: “Showtime at the Apollo” finalist, The Paramount in Seattle. Performed on New York TV show “Showtime at the Apollo,” featured as an upcoming star. Masterworks Choral Contest winner; solo with Masterworks Choir. Solo ensemble, All-State choir, 2 years. Soloist for Greg Mortenson event (“Three Cups of Tea”), 2010; Rotary lunch, Capitol rally and evening event.
Other Achievements: Sports: Track, swim and dive, tennis, and basketball.
Future Plans: Become an opera singer.
Parent /Guardian(s): Julia Silva and Daniel Silva
Achievements in Category: Formal piano lessons, age 7 to age 13; has continued playing to become a professional. Plays piano for youth group worship band. Has recently performed at Shelton High School and South Sound High School. Working on becoming more involved in the music business.
Other Achievements: Baseball and soccer throughout high school. Multi-time All-Star in baseball. MVP honors in soccer. Very involved in church. Loves performing music.
Future Plans: Enter the music business as a singer/songwriter.
TENINO HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Deena and Jeff Smith
Achievements in Category: Physics, calculus and advanced drama student. Played 3 characters in school production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Other Achievements: Vice president of National Honor Society. Co- captain of varsity volleyball; captain of varsity tennis. Spanish Club. One of the top 10 students.
Future Plans: Attend The Evergreen State College to study international business.
Parent /Guardian(s): Jim Schouviller and Kim Schouviller
Achievements in Category: Band participant, 8 years; jazz band participant, 2 years. First chair alto saxophone and band president, past 2 years. Participated in solo and ensemble contests and received excellences on performances.
Other Achievements: On elite honor roll since freshman year. Active member of National Honor Society and many other clubs, including Spanish Club, Knowledge Bowl and FBLA. Valedictorian of Class of 2010. Student of the Month. Received all As. Has taken biology, chemistry, physics and calculus. Passed all 4 sections of the WASL.
Future Plans: Attend Saint Martin’s University in the fall.
TIMBERLINE HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Michael Adams and Susan Adams
Achievements in Category: Maintains a challenging scholastic curriculum and a summa cum laude GPA. Has taken all AP courses available at her school with the exception of AP art, which was taken at SPSCC. Her advancement in mathematics resulted in a new class at Timberline, AP Calculus BC. National Merit Finalist. In addition to achievements in the sciences, played a cast role in the spring 2008 production of “Godspell.”
Other Achievements: Honors Society member; Blazer Citizen; Key Club member – president for two years and vice president before that. Varsity Cheerleader of the Year, 2007-08; varsity gymnastics 2008-09 state qualifier.
Future Plans: Obtain a degree from Washington State University, attend pharmacy school and become a doctor of pharmacy.
Parent /Guardian(s): Tim and Colleen Welch
Achievements in Category: Concertmaster, 2010 All-State Symphony Orchestra; assistant principal second violin, 2009 All-Northwest Symphony Orchestra; assistant concertmaster, 2007 All-State Symphony Orchestra; first alternate, Solo and Ensemble, solo violin division, 2009; concertmaster, Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia, Conservatory Orchestra, 2006-10; soloist with SOGO’s Conservatory Orchestra, March 2010; recipient of Olympia Symphony Guild Scholarship; distinction of performing with Seattle Symphony, 2007, 2009; soloist, Timberline Gold Orchestra, May 2010.
Other Achievements: 4.0 GPA student; Eagle Scout; scores of 5 on AP English language and composition, AP United States History, 2009.
Future Plans: Obtain a bachelor of music in violin performance at the University of Texas at Austin.
TUMWATER HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Steven and Loralee Fine
Achievements in Category: Four-year choir member: Bonne Chanteuse - Advanced Women’s Choir, 4 years; THS Noteables - Show Choir, 3 years; Concert Choir – Mixed Choir. Four-year spring musical participant – Blue Bird Girl in “Seussical,” Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors,” Purity in “Anything Goes” and Erzulie in “Once on This Island.” Accepted into six honor choirs – Regional Honor Choir, 2008; All-State Choir, 2008 and 2010; All-Northwest Choir, 2009 and 2010 (soloist); and National Honor Choir in Oklahoma City, 2009.
Other Achievements: Senior Homecoming Queen; ASB treasurer; 4-year THS Dance Team member; Link Crew Leader for 2 years; RSVP representative for 2 years; THS TV Show news anchor; Student of the Month in business; earned Young Womanhood Recognition Award.
Future Plans: Attend a four-year university in Hawaii to study music education and become a high school choir director.
Parent /Guardian(s): Frank Pisciotti, Karen Birbari, Josh Birbari
Achievements in Category: Dance Team, 7th in nation and state champs, two years; Noteables (Show Choir); major role in the spring musical; self-produced music on the internet.
Other Achievements: 3.7 cumulative GPA, with AP classes; golf team, three years; Homecoming Court.
Future Plans: Attend the University of Washington and major in business. Immersion in Music Culture.
W.F. WEST HIGH SCHOOL
WINONA VAN ALSTYNE
Parent /Guardian(s): Suzan and Gregory van Alstyne
Achievements in Category: Plays oboe and sings soprano. Regional Solo and Ensemble Contest - winning categories: Oboe Solo, 2007-10; Small Woodwind Ensemble; 2008-10; Soprano Solo, 2010; Women’s Small Ensemble, 2007-10. State Solo and Ensemble Contest - placements: Oboe Solo, 2nd, 2007, 2009, 2010; Small Woodwind/Oboe Duet, 1st, 2008; Women’s Small Ensemble, 1st place, 2007-10; Women’s Small Ensemble, 2nd, 2009. Northwest Wind Symphony, 2007-10; featured soloist, 2009; Pacific Honors Ensemble Program Griffith University, Queensland Conservatorium, Brisbane, Australia, 2008; All-Northwest Wind Ensemble, 2007-09; All-State Wind Ensemble, 2008; All-State Chamber Orchestra, 2010.
Other Achievements: Outstanding English Student of the Year, 2009. Nominated for Music, History and Vocal Student of the Year. School’s Best Student-Led Conference, 2009; choir teacher’s choice, 2008; National School Choral Award, 2009. Band vice president, 2008-09; president 2009-10. Honor Roll each semester, 2007-10; NHS vice president, 2008-10; Girls State delegate, 2009; cross country co-captain, 2009; Most Inspirational, 2009; varsity letter, 2006-09.
Future Plans: Attend Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin, and study oboe performance with Professor Rebecca Henderson, then plans to play with a symphony orchestra.
Parent /Guardian(s): Kelley Bremgartner and Joseph Bremgartner
Achievements in Category: Involved in Molecular Genetics program, sophomore year; this led to completion and presentation of molecular genetics research project, junior year; awarded finalist at WJSHS and first place at NW BioExpo competition for this project. Assistant director of NW Biotech Day for past two years. Mentor for all students in Molecular Genetics program.
Other Achievements: Teacher of Molecular Genetics class on multiple occasions when teacher was not able to be at school. Have spent many outside-of-class-time hours helping with lab work and mentoring. Served as math tutor for students up through calculus.
Future Plans: Attending WSU next fall. Has been accepted into STARS Ph.D. program at WSU School of Molecular Biosciences. Plans to pursue a career in molecular biology.
YELM HIGH SCHOOL
Parent /Guardian(s): Jennifer Kalista and Jonathan Levien
Achievements in Category: School valedictorian. 3.99 GPA. Has taken six AP courses. Accomplished and polished writer.
Other Achievements: Has participated in national FFA competition twice, receiving 1st place in landscape design.