2011 Awards of Excellence


Alanna Matteson

Parent/Guardian(s): Ross and Genevieve Matteson

Achievements in Category: Art, 4 years; submitted paintings to Arts Walk in Olympia; classical pianist; one of the leaders of the Avanti folk band as an accordion player; science, 4 years, including biology, chemistry and physics; math, 5 years, including pre-calculus, trigonometry and AP calculus AB.

Other Achievements: National Merit Scholar; Comcast Leaders & Achievers award; 3.97 GPA; Emma Goldman Youth & Homeless Outreach Program participant; volunteer for Thurston County Teen Council; National Honor Society; AP Scholar award; Academic Student of the Month; Presidential Spirit award; Washington State Governor’s award.

Future Plans: Attend Haverford University in Philadelphia, Pa., with a 4-year, full-tuition scholarship.

Jay R.P. Collins

Parent/Guardian(s): Kathy Pruitt

Achievements in Category: Art, 4 years; submitted abstract paintings to Arts Walk in Olympia; science, 4 years, including biology, chemistry and physics; taking AP physics B and AP microeconomics exams in 2011; math, 5 years, including pre-calculus and trigonometry; score of 4 on AP calculus B exam; scored 1500 on SAT; 3.9 GPA; attended South Puget Sound Community College, completing courses in physics, economics and Japanese; has been a computer game programmer since middle school, developing his own game as well as digital art.

Other Achievements: Camp Cispus counselor, 2010; Youth Exchange Program participant, 2010, Nagasaki, Japan.

Future Plans: Attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., with a 4-year tuition scholarship and major in physics.


Alisah Hilt

Parent/Guardian(s): Jeff and Becky Hilt

Achievements in Category: Awarded a theater letter for involvement in 11 high school theater productions, both as an actor and sound director; currently enrolled in AP calculus, capping 4 years of the most rigorous math studies offered; currently enrolled in physics to complete 4 years of a challenging science curriculum.

Other Achievements: Received AP Scholar Award by earning top scores on three AP exams; varsity letter in golf; numerous hours of community service at local churches, at a retirement home and through National Honor Society.

Future Plans: Obtain a bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University.

Patrick Ayemere

Parent/Guardian(s): Pearl Gipson-Collier and Ralph Collier

Achievements in Category: NW-MENC All-Northwest Orchestra; Western International Band Clinic; Northwest Jazz Band Festival Outstanding Musician; band section leader; received more than a dozen certificates of achievements and band awards; lettered in band, 4 years.

Other Achievements: National Society of High School Scholars; 3.6 GPA; member of Black Hills High School Student Court.

Future Plans: Major in music education at the University of Kentucky, then hopes to pursue a career as a college-level music teacher.


Josephine Rose Coury

Parent /Guardian(s): Verena and Bassam Coury

Achievements in Category: Providence St. Peter Youth Council member; accepted to highly selective pre-medical program; 8th grade Math Olympics (Reasoning) champion; recipient of Intel scholarship; 1st chair cellist in the Capital High School orchestra; senior soloist for a concert; Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia Conservatory Orchestra, 6 years.

Other Achievements: Received 6s and 7s on IB portfolios, tests and oral exams; maintained 4.0 GPA throughout full IB classes; 7 Academic All-Americans; 1st place at state debate competition in Oratory; 3rd place in state debate competition in Public Forum; Debate Club vice president; 52nd Capital Lakefair queen; state swim qualifier; Capital High School swim team captain.

Future Plans: Major in pre-medicine with minors in music and biochemical engineering at Duke University.

Vamsi Chunduru

Parent/Guardian(s): Suresh Chunduru and Vani Chunduru

Achievements in Category: Science: First place at regional and/or state science fair, 9 years; numerous special Armed Forces awards; Yale Science Excellence Award; two-time Discovery Young Scientist Competition semifinalist; representing Capital High School this year at the International Science & Engineering Fair. Arts: Two-time debate national competitor; third place in Erik Helppie Debate Student of the Year; has played percussion for 9 years.

Other Achievements: Student representative for Olympia School District Board of Directors; ASB, 4 years; Director of Technology, 3 years; Debate Team president, 2 years; United Nations Youth Pilgrimage; Providence St. Peter Youth Medical Council member; two-time speaker in front of Washington Legislative Education Committee.

Future Plans: Attend Johns Hopkins University in the fall, pursuing a double major in computer engineering and biomedical engineering; start his own research and development company.


Sarah Broom

Parent/Guardian(s): Rick and Julie Broom

Achievements in Category: 2nd in class in AP and honors classes; played the violin since 4th grade; attended Central Washington University’s Orchestra Festival with her orchestra class, 3 times; taken all honors or advanced science classes, including honors biology, advanced biology and molecular genetics; has done research projects on dog genetics and water testing; 4 years of high school-level math; GPA of 3.993 in math classes.

Other Achievements: Dog 4-H, 11 years; 2 awards of merit for public presentations at state fair AKC dog shows; Best Junior Handler at the Basset Hound Club of America National Specialty, 3 years; No.1 Basset Hound Junior, 3 years; attended Westminster Kennel Club show twice; invited to AKC National Championship, 3 times; varsity letter on Rifle Team, 4 years.

Future Plans: Attend Washington State University’s Vancouver campus and major in biology; attend WSU’s veterinary school; become a small-animal reproduction specialist and have a practice in Western Washington.

Ryan LeDuc

Parent/Guardian(s): Matt LeDuc and Sherry LeDuc

Achievements in Category: Took a variety of math and science classes throughout high school; currently in AP calculus and physics; took all honors science and math courses available at school; received straight As.

Other Achievements: Class of 2011 valedictorian; team captain in football, 2 years; ASB vice president, past school year.

Future Plans: Study pre-medicine and Spanish next year at the University of Washington; hopes to become an orthopedic surgeon or an anesthesiologist.


Ashley Burgess

Parent/Guardian(s): Amy and Dave Burgess

Achievements in Category: A average in Professional Medical Careers. Produced top-quality comprehensive results in her coursework, research and clinical competencies; Microsoft products computer management skills; produced classy documents and publications, such as pinning ceremony invitations and programs, student certificates, and awards for other events; led the annual blood drive, a huge undertaking in which she partnered with the Puget Sound Blood Center.

Other Achievements: Excellent attendance; positive attitude; helped instructors or other students in need; respected other students’ privacy; addressed concerns with peace; mature critical thinking skills.

Future Plans: Attend South Puget Sound Community College, then pursue a career as a registered nurse.

Jordan Herrera

Parent /Guardian(s): Ray Herrera and Karolyn Herrera

Achievements in Category: Very technically advanced; video production and web design assignments among the best in the class; pushed his knowledge to a post-secondary level by learning the most industry-relevant uses of technology and art.

Other Achievements: Competed in SkillsUSA on the regional and state level in video production, 2 years; placed second in state, 2 years; using his third year of DigiPen Media Communication to do worksite learning at a local production company.

Future Plans: Start his own media production company in the Olympia/Tumwater area.


Chloe McIntyre

Paren /Guardian(s): Beth and Ed McIntyre

Achievements in Category: Math Excellence Award, 2010; Breaking the Barriers AAUW for Math, 2010; North Thurston High School band Best Drum Major Award, Auburn, 2010; Tri-M vice president, 2009-10; “Superior” rating in state solo and ensemble with woodwind quintet, 2010; “Excellent” rating for flute solo in solo and ensemble, 2010 and 2011.

Other Achievements: AP Scholar; math award, 2010; Academic Excellence, 2007

Future Plans: Become a climatologist or a civil/environmental engineer.

Tim Vannerson

Parent/Guardian(s): Stu and Carol Vannerson

Achievements in Category: Got a 4 on AP calculus AB exam and a 5 on AP calculus BC exam; 3 years of calculus in high school; 4.0 GPA in math/science classes; Rensselaer medalist; College Board AP Scholar with Distinction.

Other Achievements: Has been training in and teaching martial arts for 81/2 years, with 4 kickboxing fights and a black belt in karate; 3.97 GPA; Honor Society member and vice president; Link Crew, a leadership role in helping freshmen at orientation and throughout the year.

Future Plans: Attend the University of Portland in the fall to study mechanical engineering.


Brooke Bredeson

Parent/Guardian(s): Christopher and Darla Bredeson

Achievements in Category: Excelled in science, specifically biology, chemistry and research lab courses; received concurrent credit from Northwest Nazarene University in chemistry.

Other Achievements: High-honors GPA; class salutatorian; National Honor Society publication director; senior class secretary; Interact Club president.

Future Plans: Attend Whitworth University and major in international studies.

Tyson Heo

Parent/Guardian(s): Stanley and Hyun Ja Heo

Achievements in Category: Excelled in science, especially chemistry, biology and research lab courses; received concurrent credit from Northwest Nazarene University in chemistry.

Other Achievements: High honors GPA; sophomore class treasurer; Student of the Month award; National Honor Society member; contributed to track and cross-country state championships.

Future Plans: Attend the University of Washington; obtain a master’s degree in electrical engineering.


Amy Jin

Parent /Guardian(s): Hui Jin and Jing Ma

Achievements in Category: Selected for mathematics honor and recognized by the American Association of University Women at Olympia High School, 2011; Mathematics Student of the Month, January 2008; first chair trumpet in jazz band and full orchestra, and in wind ensemble, 2009-11; Most Talented Player at wind ensemble, 2009-10; played with Olympia Symphony Orchestra, 2011; Certificate of Merit Award from Society of Women Engineers.

Other Achievements: Junior class president; Thurston County Food Bank canned food drive coordinator for band (2 years), raising more than $8,000; cross-country captain, 2010; went to state in cross-country and placed highest in 9 years, 2009; volunteer for state Rep. Chris Reykdal’s campaign, 2010.

Future Plans: Attend Swarthmore College after graduation.

Andrew Moreland

Parent/Guardian(s): Bruce Moreland and Cheryl Donaldson

Achievements in Category: Described as “genius” by a teacher; scored a 2360 on the SAT; scored a 5 on all AP exams in calculus, AB/BC, language arts & composition, computer science, U.S. history and world history; taking a multivariable differential calculus online course from Stanford University’s Education Program for Gifted Youth.

Other Achievements: National Merit finalist; 4A state championship; Knowledge Bowl; Presidential Scholar semifinalist; Principal Scholar finalist; registered mentor with RailsBridge; Ruby, Rails and JavaScript computer languages expert; works with Native American tribes on technology; National Honor Society.

Future Plans: Attend Stanford University.


Chelsea Owens

Parent/Guardian(s): Robin and Rick Owens

Achievements in Category: Science, 4 years; AP graphic design; created curriculum for Independent Environmental Science; in charge of Community Garden Project.

Other Achievements: Varsity letter in basketball, 4 years; basketball team captain, 2 years; 1st Team All-League, 2 years; 2nd Team All-League, 1 year; played in All-State basketball game; played fastpitch and participated in track; Honor Roll; homecoming princess.

Future Plans: Major in environmental science at Central Washington University.

John Sparks

Parent/Guardian(s): Howard Sparks

Achievements in Category: Jazz band; concert band; pep band; played tuba in All-State Band; WIBC Honor Band; plays multiple instruments.

Other Achievements: Volunteers with park cleanup; Honor Roll.

Future Plans: Become a military mechanic.


Katherine Hovde

Parent/Guardian(s): Richard and Maria Hovde

Achievements in Category: Talented violinist; selected twice for WMEA All-State Orchestra, where she was selected assistant principal, 2nd violin, in 2010; received superior ratings at Chinook Solo & Ensemble Contest, 4 years; concert mistress of Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia Conservatory Orchestra and River Ridge High School Advanced Orchestra; teaches young students to play the violin.

Other Achievements: Varsity soccer, 3 years; Most Valuable Player in soccer, 2 years.

Future Plans: Double major in music and marketing at Central Washington University.

Zachary Eberl

Parent/Guardian(s): Steven and Mary Eberl

Achievements in Category: Talented alto/soprano saxophone player; River Ridge High School jazz band and advanced wind ensemble, 4 years; one of very few who successfully auditioned for advanced wind ensemble as a freshman; works hard to learn his parts to perfection; an anchor of his section; teacher relies on him to lead other music students.

Other Achievements: Eagle Scout; varsity soccer, 3 years; soccer referee in his free time.

Future Plans: Attend the U.S. Air Force Academy and major in engineering.

No photo available.


Kathryn Myers

Parent/Guardian(s): Steve and Mary Kay Myers

Achievements in Category: GPA of 4.0; Skookum Rotary Top 10 Percent academic excellence award; Shelton High School concert and marching bands, 4 years; piano student, 10 years; American Association of University Women Science and Mathematics scholar.

Other Achievements: Four-year letter in girls swimming; 2010 Narrows League 4A Fall Sports Female Scholar Athlete; 2010 swim team captain; Honor Society Executive Board member; Big Buddy to an elementary school student; Climber Crew leader; Shelton United Methodist Church Sunday school teacher; perfect attendance, 2009-10.

Future Plans: Attending Washington State University in the fall and plans to pursue a career in physical therapy.

Travis Hanes

Parent/Guardian(s): Elaine Hanes and Thomas Hanes

Achievements in Category: Performed as these characters: El Gallo, lead role in “The Fantasticks” musical; Dr. Chumley, villain in “Harvey”; Tevye, lead role in “Fiddler on the Roof” musical; Lord Fancourt Babberly in “Charley’s Aunt”; Vincent Di Ruzzio in “Lucky Stiff” musical. Worked as a stagehand for Shelton High School Performing Arts Center; worked as a video operator for Olympic Technology; part of SHS Chamber Singers, Illusions (jazz group) and Shades barbershop octet.

Other Achievements: ASB president; junior class president; sophomore class president; SHS Leadership; SHS Renaissance (school pride initiative); 4-H Youth Forestry Leadership; Mason County youth programs; Honor Society.

Future Plans: Join an apprenticeship with either the naval shipyard in Bremerton or the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee in Seattle, or attend South Puget Sound Community College and obtain an associate degree.


Jake Roderick

Parent/Guardian(s): Charlene Roderick

Achievements in Category: Thought math and science would be hard, but was able to overcome this and excel with a lot of effort and determination; peers come to him for help; nominated by teacher as a Math Star during Math Awareness Month in April.

Other Achievements: Honored as a leader throughout school; attended and led Student Summit; Honor Roll, each term; 3.49 GPA; role model for his peers.

Future Plans: Would like to attend the University of Washington and pursue a career as a physician’s assistant.


Marisa Kendo

Parent/Guardian(s): Patricia and John Hammer

Achievements in Category: Student of the Year in AP calculus AB, AP physics, pre-calculus and advanced algebra II/trigonometry; Student of the Month in Comm. Tech II, AP statistics and calculus; BC Servant Leadership Award through Washington Business Week; member of Timberline Symphonic Choir.

Other Achievements: Student of the Year in Freshman Fitness; Student of the Month in Spanish II and AP U.S. history; Distinguished Scholar (honor roll for 3 years); Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen; Lacey Mid-Day Lions Student of the Month.

Future Plans: Major in biology at Gonzaga University while following a pre-med track to work toward goal of becoming a pediatrician.

Emerson Hardebeck

Parent/Guardian(s): Dan and Lisa Hardebeck

Achievements in Category: Worked on school’s student newsmagazine The Blazer for 3 years, becoming editor-in-chief last year and leading the staff to a fifth-place win in Best in Show at the national convention; columnist on the Board of Contributors of The Olympian newspaper, 1 year; active in Timberline’s performing arts programs, both as a member of the audition-only Symphonic Choir and with a small role in a winter play.

Other Achievements: National Merit Finalist; first place in Thurston County Law Day Speech Contest, 2010; received scholarship to study abroad in Peru for six weeks, summer 2010; 3.9 GPA.

Future Plans: Double major in political science and Chinese language at Arizona State University. Travel the world and serve the best interests of people everywhere.


Carli Kross

Parent/Guardian(s): Jim and Krista Kross

Achievements in Category: Participated in All-Northwest Honor Choirs for past 3 years; sang in All-State Honor Choir last year; toured Europe with the Sound of America Honor Band and Chorus last summer; sang in ACDA National Honor Choir in Chicago in March.

Other Achievements: Traveled to Australia in summer 2009 with People to People Student Ambassador Program.

Future Plans: Attend Pacific Lutheran University and major in music education.

Will Wertjes

Parent/Guardian(s): Alan and Catherine Wertjes

Achievements in Category: All-National Concert Band, Washington, D.C., 2011; All-Northwest Concert Band, 2011; All-State Wind Ensemble, 2010; participated in many regional and statewide competitions on piano and trumpet, 4 years; won regional piano concerto festival in 2009; represented region at state competition on trumpet and piano, 2 years; led trumpet sections in high school bands and Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia, 4 years; performed in over 45 SOGO concerts and was featured trumpet soloist in last concert; featured piano soloist with the Olympia Chamber Orchestra in 2010; performed in orchestra pit for 5 musicals.

Other Achievements: Tutored several young trumpet players and math students; SOGO board member; took every AP class offered; maintained 4.0 GPA; Washington Scholar (alternate).

Future Plans: Attend St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., then attend medical school.


Emily Hurd

Parent/Guardian(s):Dane and Lisa Hurd

Achievements in Category: Four-time Southwest Washington Regional Clarinet Solo & Large Woodwind Ensemble champion; state solo & ensemble participant; All-State/All-Northwest member and Western International Band Clinic member; 2-time PLU Honor Band member; 3-time Lionel Hampton contestant (and 2010 champion); Northwest Wind Symphony member; Swing Dance Club co-founder and vice president; Biotech Day head mentor; Washington State Science and Engineering Fair participant; Business Week participant.

Other Achievements: Evergreen Girls’ state delegate Washington Scholars Award recipient.

Future Plans: Double major in music education and clarinet performance at Central Washington University, then pursue a teaching career in Italy.

Peter Gregory

Parent/Guardian(s): Brad and Meg Gregory

Achievements in Category: “DNA Origami” project; finalist in Washington’s Junior Science and Humanities Symposium; second place in the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair for autonomous car project; created the mystery movie for Biotech Day 2011; completed several other short films inside and outside of school.

Other Achievements: 2007 Mexico Missions Trip; 2009 Washington HOBY Conference; 2009 People-to-People International Diplomacy Summit; 2010 Evergreen Boys’ State.

Future Plans: Study film at George Fox University in Newburg, Ore.


Samantha Susee

Parent/Guardian(s): Wendy Connolly

Achievements in Category: In band since 5th grade; band officer, senior year; has taken science classes every year since 7th grade and always achieved good grades.

Other Achievements: AP classes, 2 years; accepted into New York University.

Future Plans: Go to college for biochemistry and then chemical engineering.

Lance Longshore

Parent/Guardian(s): Gary and Kayt Longshore

Achievements in Category: Math, algebra-pre-calculus, 4 years; 3.891 GPA; top 10 of high school senior class; top 10 of middle school 9th grade class; Presidential Education Award; Outstanding Academic Excellence Award; Yelm Community Superintendent’s Award.

Other Achievements: Boy Scouts of America: Eagle Scout award; varsity letter in football, 2009-11; Yelm Good Citizenship Award.

Future Plans: Two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then a career in the U.S. Air Force as a flight surgeon.



Amanda Baker

Parent/Guardian(s): Debbie and Mike Baker

Achievements in Category: Demonstrated a high level of independent learning and leadership qualities as a freshman; host of Community Café since freshman year; tutors at South Puget Sound Community College; coaches through YMCA; participates in various activities within her church.

Other Achievements: Self-starter; expanded skills in LEAD, a youth leadership training program; shared rowing expertise by teaching OAR, a rowing program for NOVA School students; will simultaneously earn her associate of arts degree with her high school diploma.

Future Plans: Attend Saint Martin’s University on a governor’s scholarship she has received, and pursue a teaching career.

Michael Bergerson

Parent/Guardian(s): Lois Bergerson and Sue Bergerson

Achievements in Category: Met graduation requirement of 75 hours of service learning at the Thurston County Food Bank, then volunteered an additional 80 hours; recognized asset to the Food Bank; stands as an example of the personal fulfillment one can receive from giving, and how one person can make a difference in the lives of many.

Other Achievements: Played a large role over the years in Avanti High School students’ sponsorship of Daniel Zenebe, an AIDS orphan living in Ethiopia; Michael’s contributions have helped to provide education, housing, food and hope for Daniel.

Future Plans: Attend Gage Academy of Art in Seattle.


Tanner Atchinson

Parent/Guardian(s): Julie and Chuck Hendricksen and Lisa and Jeremy Atchinson

Achievements in Category: Completed over 400 hours of community service for Uganda and Central Africa; vice president of the School 4 Schools club, 3 years; has put on multiple concerts and several dances, worked concession stands, and organized school assemblies. Creates and sells jewelry and hair accessories and donates 100% of the money received to School 4 Schools; this money helps support a sister school, Anaka Secondary, in Uganda.

Other Achievements: Several art awards, both in the senior class and schoolwide; awarded a trip to San Diego this summer for raising over $6,000 with her club, through the Invisible Children organization.

Future Plans: Continue cosmetology school; would like to work with the Invisible Children organization.

Nicholas Cypert

Parent/Guardian(s): Mindy Gudaz and Kelly Johnson; Kevin Cypert

Achievements in Category: Spent a summer working with children at the Tumwater Parks and Recreation Day Camp; returned for 2 more summers as a counselor-in-training; tried other outlets of community service but none compared to those summers.

Other Achievements: Participated in cross-country, track and field, and drama; member of National Honor Society and B.H.G.A.M.E.R.S.; took an academically rigorous course load, including AP biology with a score of 5.

Future Plans: Attend Washington State University for pre-veterinary studies with an emphasis on zoology, then have a career as a veterinarian specializing in exotics.


Grace Macuk

Parent/Guardian(s): Steve Macuk and Binda Douglas

Achievements in Category: Tutors younger members of her 4-H Club and built sets for theatre department, but her favorite volunteer activity has been raising 2 International Therapy Dogs, one of which is currently a service dog in training that goes to school with her. Also has been a part of fundraisers for cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, the Second Chance Ranch, Animal Services and the Thurston County Food Bank.

Other Achievements: Will be attending the International Thespian Festival this year, representing Washington state in the monologue competition; has been involved with 4-H for 9 years, working with both dogs and horses.

Future Plans: Attend Colorado State University next year to study veterinary medicine and equine sciences, while riding on its equestrian team; may defer for a year in order to participate in a 6- to 9-month volunteer abroad program.

Jackson Burgess

Parent/Guardian(s): Matthew and Jill Wellock, Jefferson Burgess

Achievements in Category: Participated in numerous service projects as a Boy Scout, including cleaning campgrounds, nature trails and church buildings; delivering firewood; doing yard work; singing at a nursing home; and performing flag-raising ceremonies. Helped organize a YMCA basketball team with friends; provided child care; cleaned houses and provided sanitation supplies in Centralia and Chehalis after massive flooding.

Other Achievements: Maintained a 4.0 GPA while taking all IB classes, junior and senior years; National Merit Finalist; 7 Academic All-American awards; at state speech and debate tournaments, won 3rd place in Impromptu and 8th place in Public Forum.

Future Plans: Study creative writing in the University of Southern California’s honors program; someday become a college professor and published poet/author; never take himself too seriously.


Ashalynn Bilton-Smith

Parent/Guardian(s): Kimberly Metz

Achievements in Category: Girl Scouts of America, 12 years: supervised recreational and campfire activities, specializing in teaching jewelry weaving; organized weekly meetings; participated in caroling and service unit activities; gathered donations for food bank. Orchestra, 9 years: bassist/violinist in Centralia School District Orchestra and in Pacific Northwest Community Orchestra and plays concerts free of charge in the community; offers bassist skills to younger orchestras. National FFA, 3 years: educates public about agricultural education through Grange and school board presentations; organizes banquets for FFA families; helps other livestock raisers prepare for summer show.

Other Achievements: Livestock/equine evaluation team, 3 years; Gay Straight Alliance, 3 years; school greenhouse manager, 1 year; school barn manager, 1 year; Food Science Team, 1 year; Diversified Livestock Project, 3 years, including SWWF Grand Champion Sheep Showman, 2009 and 2010, and SWWF Reserve Champion Swine Showman, 2010.

Future Plans: Major in animal sciences at Washington State University. Will pursue a spot in veterinary school to become a large-livestock veterinarian.

Landon Macy

Parent/Guardian(s): Keith and Nancy Macy

Achievements in Category: ASB president, senior year; many class offices; FFA chapter president and district officer; had a lot of impact through schoolwide activities; gave time through ASB activities in assemblies, senate meetings and other events; flood relief cleanup; national tractor safety video; hay production; youth coaching.

Other Achievements: School PRIDE award; Rob Fuller Scholarship recipient; FFA Star Greenhand and Chapter Farmer, 2009 and 2010; FFA chapter Presidents Award; 6th in state Prepared Public Speaking; Most Improved in football, 2009; Most Improved in basketball, 2011.

Future Plans: Study animal science at Washington State University, then obtain a degree in veterinary medicine.


Nina Shaw

Parent/Guardian(s): Fr. Athanasius and Anna Shaw

Achievements in Category: Invested a lot of time and energy in New Market Skills Center; elected ASB official, 2 years; class treasurer, 2009-10; class president, 2010-11; student representative on the New Market Advisory Leadership Council; volunteers as a campus tour guide, a member of the senior coordination team, and as a speaker at the Recognition Ceremonies; active volunteer at her church; volunteered her time working on various youth community service projects, such as collecting and filling backpacks of food for the homeless.

Other Achievements: Student of the Month in Academy of Finance; Student of the Month in Professional Office Careers; Student of the Month in Advanced Automotive Technology; Student of the Month in the Applied Learning Lab; Miss Confident Award from SkillsUSA leadership training; New Market In-House Scholarship recipient; Olympia Lodge scholarship recipient.

Future Plans: Obtain an associate’s degree at South Puget Sound Community College, then transfer to a 4-year university to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Michael-Jon “MJ” Eliason

Parent/Guardian(s): Mark Eliason and Virginia Odell-Eliason

Achievements in Category: Makes himself useful to those around him every day; worked on a variety of construction projects through his church, including helping to build the church itself, repairing and repainting the Care Net center in Shelton, and roofing an elder’s home; Sergeant at Arms in New Market Skills Center’s Criminal Justice class; Medical Team leader in the Community Emergency Response Training (and is certified); volunteered with YMCA Mock Trials, 2 years; worked traffic control at various New Market events; volunteers with Criminal Justice when p.m. students use New Market’s Challenge Course.

Other Achievements: Most Employable Student of the Month at New Market, 5 times in two years; Most Employable Student of the Year in Criminal Justice: Protective Services, 2010; Running Start student, earning 37 college credits; New Market In-House Scholarship recipient.

Future Plans: Finish associate of arts degree and transfer to Pacific Lutheran University; join Army ROTC and be prepared to serve active duty as a second lieutenant.


Adrienne Compton

Parent/Guardian(s): Dan and Laurie Compton

Achievements in Category: Raised 10,455 items with AP government classmates in school food drive; volunteer at veterinary clinic, 2 summers; youth camp counselor at church-sponsored girls camp, 2 years; assisted with Special Olympics at Fort Lewis; National Honor Society member and officer, planning and attending events such as adopt-a-family at Christmas, Martin Luther King Jr. Day for K-6 students at Madison Elementary School, teacher appreciation dinners and more.

Other Achievements: Participant in pit orchestra of school production of “Oklahoma!”; Young Women’s Medallion, a church award that takes over 70 hours to complete; attends early morning seminary; AP student; concertmaster of North Thurston Symphonic Orchestra; Spanish, 3 years; will graduate with honors; works part-time as a food server at The Firs Retirement Community.

Future Plans: Attend Brigham Young University to study elementary education, or maybe explore the “world of opportunity out there.”

Kosta Psaltis

Parent/Guardian(s): Greg and Mary Ellen Psaltis

Achievements in Category: Food drive volunteer (with history class; raised 4,300 items in junior year and 10,000 in senior year); ASB officer, senior year; saved 5 acres of rainforest through charitable donations; member of KUOW (National Public Radio station), Radio Lab and other public radio programming.

Other Achievements: Honor Society; orchestra officer, 2 years; 4.0 GPA; bike nationals for road and cyclo-cross, 4 times; started his own business, Kosta Koast bicycle repair; lettered in orchestra, 4 years, and “superior” ratings in competition for solos and ensembles; homecoming court; “Most Likely to Participate in the Olympics.”

Future Plans: Attend Claremont McKenna College to lay foundations to conduct international relations.


Sarah Thibodeau

Parent/Guardian(s): Mark and Gail Thibodeau

Achievements in Category: Volunteered for 21/2 years at Providence St. Peter Hospital at the hospitality desk.

Other Achievements: In gymnastics, state uneven bars champion; National Honor Society president; received Presidential Scholarship for Northwest Nazarene University; high honors GPA; Student of the Month.

Future Plans: Attend Northwest Nazarene University to study biology and pre-medicine.

Joey Corry

Parent/Guardian(s): Davidson Corry

Achievements in Category: Volunteered at the Thurston County Food Bank; organized a coat drive through Stand up for Kids.

Other Achievements: National Honor Society; Finer Things Club co-leader; Knowledge Bowl, 2 years; perfect score on Trig Star.

Future Plans: Double major in computer science and theology at Whitworth University.


Kirstin Wagner

Parent/Guardian(s): Mark and Kathy Wagner

Achievements in Category: Award from Thurston County Diversity Youth Council, 2011; co-president of Rotary Interact Club; volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul clothing bank and helps as Spanish translator; volunteered at YWCA last summer; tutors at Lincoln Elementary School and Washington Middle School.

Other Achievements: National Honor Society; Rotary exchange student in Machala, Ecuador, 2009-10; National Science Merit Award winner, 2009; lettered in cross-country and track.

Future Plans: Attend Stanford University.

Cole Graham

Parent/Guardian(s): Andrew Graham and Bonnie Graham

Achievements in Category: Four years of service with Olympia High School Earth Corps as an outdoor leader; Earth Corps earned for the school the Terry Husseman Sustainable School Award in 2009 and 2010; with Earth Corps, started school composting program, sorted recycling and restored habitat at Meyer’s Point.

Other Achievements: 4A State Champions member; Knowledge Bowl; National Merit Scholar; Individual State Winner of Math League, 2011; Presidential Scholar nominee; Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award recipient.

Future Plans: Attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Charlene Fico

Parent/Guardian(s): Angie and Mike Karnes

Achievements in Category: More than 400 hours of volunteer time in the past 4 years through FFA by participating in events such as decorating nursing homes, town cleanup, Trick or Eat, Bit Checking, roadside cleanup, Petting Farm, Equestrian Center volunteering and Ag Frenzy.

Other Achievements: FFA chapter officer, 4 years; District III FFA officer, 2 years; National ADGA 2009 Showmanship champion; Cattle and Goat Showing champion; Honor Roll.

Future Plans: Attend Bible College.

Nicholas Duerr-Nedrow

Parent/Guardian(s): Tim and Denise Vermillion

Achievements in Category: Volunteers at the local food bank on a regular basis, at Equestrian Events for the Northwest Equestrian Center, and at the local fire station for families that are less fortunate. Offers help to anyone that needs it.

Other Achievements: Varsity letter in basketball; played basketball in Australia with People to People; High Honor Roll, 4 years.

Future Plans: Attend the University of Idaho and major in business.


Jessica Sears

Parent/Guardian(s): Grant and Cheryl Sears

Achievements in Category: Actively serves her community through church and school activities; provides food and hygiene kits to the homeless; helps elderly people with house and yard work in work parties; serves meals with The Salvation Army; helps with the school blood drive; is training her dog to pass the Canine Good Citizen test so they can go together to visit nursing and retirement homes.

Other Achievements: Excellent student, musician and athlete; 3.988 GPA; actively involved in school swim team; performs with school orchestra; takes classes in the pre-vet-tech program at New Market Skills Center.

Future Plans: Attend Washington State University and pursue a career in veterinary medicine.

Wyat Taylor

Parent/Guardian(s): Brad and Michelle Moody

Achievements in Category: For his Eagle Scout project, gave back to his elementary school (Seven Oaks) by repainting portables, building picnic tables and improving the landscape, which took 2 years and 425 hours; volunteers with Thurston County Crop Walk and Thurston County Food Bank; regularly donates professional photography skills to the River Ridge High School community; donated services as an official photographer to the 25th anniversary of The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

Other Achievements: Selected as a featured artist for the 25th anniversary of The Washington Center; won grand prize in Canon’s Photography in the Parks contest, teen division; Eagle Scout; participated in varsity golf and swimming at school.

Future Plans: Attend Washington State University, then pursue a career in photojournalism or architecture.


Jessica Foster

Parent/Guardian(s): Don and Lynn Foster

Achievements in Category: High school goal was to serve her community. Involved with Key Club; as Key Club president, planned, led and participated in projects ranging from blood drives and fundraisers to campus cleanups and book drives; Sunday school teacher; organized, led and participated in a kids camp at her church; planned a fundraiser to lower costs for a youth event.

Other Achievements: Two years of Running Start will give her an associate degree in biology in June 2011; National Honor Society, 2 years; Skookum Rotary Top 10% of class honor, junior year.

Future Plans: Attend Washington State University in the fall and study pre-veterinary medicine, then study veterinary medicine also at WSU.

David Mullins

Parent/Guardian(s): Duane Mullins and Christy Mullins

Achievements in Category: Key Club, 2009-11; Key Clubber of the Year Award, 2010-11; Oysterfest volunteer, 2 years; March of Dimes participant, 2010; Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast volunteer, 2010; Adopt-A-Pet volunteer; Hood Canal Kiwanis Spring Fling volunteer, 2011; Spell-E-Bration for Mason County Literacy participant, 2010; Christmas caroling at Alpine Way, 2010; voluntarily decorated for 2010 Tolo Dance.

Other Achievements: Nice Bike Award, 2 years; varsity baseball team; power lifting competitor who qualified for the state championship this year; ASB Sergeant at Arms, 2010-11; Climber Crew, 2010-11; Polar Bear Plunge participant, 2011.

Future Plans: Attend Whatcom Community College for 2 years, then attend Western Washington University to obtain a master’s degree in chemistry.


Justine Miranda

Parent/Guardian(s): Ruby Fierroz and Marco Zacapa

Achievements in Category: Gave out water to South Sound runners; walked a 6-mile Crop Walk for hunger; raised money for hunger; donated blood to save 3 lives; will be attending school’s garage sale.

Other Achievements: Student Summit Leadership, 2011; Honor Roll (GPA of 3.5-3.99); has been involved in 2 district office meetings.

Future Plans: After graduation, attend South Puget Sound Community College, then transfer to a university to become an elementary school teacher.

Michael Villamil

Parent/Guardian(s): Richard Villamil and Raylene Villamil

Achievements in Category: Helped at Habitat for Humanity unloading trucks, building cabinets, and cleaning/organizing its store; helped to clean the North Thurston Public Schools administrative office; cleaned around South Sound High School.

Other Achievements: Got back into school after being out for more than a year, and got a 4.0 GPA the first term of attendance; looking at graduating in June because he got sober and gave himself a chance.

Future Plans: Start college for drafting in the fall; get a tattooing apprenticeship.


Lynna Nguyen

Parent/Guardian(s): Keith and Tam Nguyen

Achievements in Category: Thurston County Food Bank holiday season volunteer; volunteer at Mixx96 with Wrapping Up the Holidays and Little Red Schoolhouse; Operation Christmas Child; packed supplies for Mubende, Uganda, students; Governor’s Cup volunteer; sold “Timberline v Capital” T-shirts for SafePlace; collected donations for Japan; Giving Tree participant; Munch Madness (donated and took school donations to Food Bank); signed students up for 2011 blood drive; many more service activities.

Other Achievements: DECA secretary, 1 year, and president, 1 year; Area 8 DECA development conference awards, 4th place in Buying and Merchandising in 2010 and 3rd place in Marketing Communications in 2011; National Youth Leadership Conference nominee; National Society of High School Scholars member; National Honor Society member; class secretary; 3.96 GPA; Distinguished Scholar; top senior; 15 Honors/AP classes; AP Scholar with Honor; outstanding recognition in various classes.

Future Plans: Graduate from the University of Washington in 2015, then obtain a Ph.D. in toxicology. Become a successful toxicologist in both Eastern and Western medicine, working for a corporation such as Pfizer.

Philip Schmidt

Parent/Guardian(s): Bruce Schmidt and Brenda Schmidt

Achievements in Category: With Key Club in 9th grade, volunteered for 50 hours through the Angel Food Drive, The Salvation Army thrift store and school-related activities; Trick or Treat for UNICEF participant with Key Club, junior year; National Honor Society, senior year; volunteered for 6 hours at Thurston County Food Bank at Thanksgiving.

Other Achievements: A-B Honor Roll, 4 years; basketball team captain, 9th grade.

Future Plans: Attend South Puget Sound Community College, then transfer to Bellevue College and enter the 18-month nuclear medicine technology program.


Mackenzie Ochsner

Parent/Guardian(s): Dave and Lisa Ochsner

Achievements in Category: Completed over 350 hours of community service; completed a major project titled “What Will Inspire You?” that showed 6 well-known icons with quotes, which was displayed in the school cafeteria in order to inspire students to achieve their dreams.

Other Achievements: Will graduate at the top of her class; being true to herself.

Future Plans: Youth with a Mission (missions program) in Tijuana, Mexico; pursue her passion of becoming a missionary and helping others.

Bryce Knutzen

Parent/Guardian(s): Kris and Lindsey Knutzen

Achievements in Category: Organized and constructed a community garden at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, with all proceeds going to the Thurston County Food Bank; assisted in the completion of 6 Eagle Scout community service projects; built walls for a new church in Puriscal, Costa Rica; volunteers at Thurston County Food Bank and The Salvation Army; peer mentor at Tumwater High School; small group leader at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.

Other Achievements: GPA of 4.0; track and cross-country captain; journalism newspaper editor; Eagle Scout; AP Scholar; WIAA cross-country team academic state champions; Student of the Month.

Future Plans: Attend Duke University to study economics and public policy.



Danika Macomber

Parent/Guardian(s): Andy and Shelly Macomber

Achievements in Category: Red Cross Blood Drive chair, 2009-11; Puget Sound Blood Drive chair, 2009-11; Oakville Grange Senior Citizen Dance, 2009; local Christmas caroling, 2000-10; valentines to senior citizens, 2000-11; Napavine Funtime Egg Hunt, 2006-11; Big Brothers Big Sisters, 2009-11; Napavine Funtime Halloween Party, 2006-11; bell ringing for The Salvation Army, 2009-11; Cascade Elementary School Field Day games, 2009; WASC Cancer Walk for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, 2010; FFA work for Newaukum Grange.

Other Achievements: Principal’s recognition for rewriting the middle school constitution; 1st place, Overall Best Company in Business Week, 2010; Chehalis FFA Outstanding Green Hand Award; 2010 Girls’ State delegate; delegate to Washington Association of Student Councils, 2009-10; National Honor Society, 2008-11; DUI Mock Car Crash chair, 2011; ASB presidential advisor, 2009-11.

Future Plans: Attend Washington State University in the Honors College and pursue a degree in veterinary medicine.

Austin Hamilton

Parent/Guardian(s): Shawn and Andie Hamilton

Achievements in Category: Bearcat Breakfast co-founder and leader of a group of positive, encouraging teens making a difference in their high school; mentors a 4th- and a 6th-grader in culture, math and golf.

Other Achievements: Lead bid spotter for Tiger Woods Foundation in Las Vegas, Nev.; second in javelin at state track and field, 2010; golf Top 40 at state tournament, 2010; senior Homecoming Court; formed “Positively Courageous” chalkboard wall.

Future Plans: Obtain a degree in materials science engineering at Boise State University while throwing javelin for the track-and-field team.


Carissa Corrigan

Parent/Guardian(s): Tod and Linda Corrigan

Achievements in Category: FFA: Blue Team vice president; Blue Team president; Gold Team chapter president; head of Student Development Chapter Development and Community Development committees; Puyallup Science Fair winner and National Agri-Science presenter; Project Tornado student leader and leader; Star Greenhand degree; Star Chapter degree; National FFA presenter/winner: Models of Innovation; Adopt-a-Family leader; Progressive Agriculture Safety Day leader; National Service Learning Conference presenter/workshop leader.

Other Achievements: Natural Resource Science Student of the Year; choir secretary and president; Excellence in Choir award; select choir; jazz choir; Nazarene Youth International high school chair; mission trip to Sun Valley, Ariz.; Yelm’s Good Citizen of the Year.

Future Plans: Be a state FFA officer; teach history or government at a DoDDS school in Germany; establish or add to the agriculture education program.

Alexander Wilson-Heid

Parent/Guardian(s): Eric Heid and Wendy Wilson-Heid

Achievements in Category: “Project Tornado: Destroying Bad Driving Habits”: activity chair and member; purpose is to educate about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving in the community and school; 2008-11. “Hearts and Hands across the Cascades”: vice president; nonprofit that collected sports equipment for children in need in Yakima; 2008. Prairie Elementary School volunteer, helping with various PTO events, 2007-11.

Other Achievements: Class valedictorian; Student Spotlight article in The Olympian newspaper, 2011; Yelm Community Good Citizenship Award, 2010; Yelm FFA vice president, 2010-11; Yelm National Honor Society president, 2010-11; state 3A wrestling, 103 pounds, Academic State Champion, 2010.

Future Plans: Attend St. Petersburg College.


Jordyn Maultsby

Parent/Guardian(s): Catrina Christoffer and Glen Maultsby

Achievements in Category: Jordyn had a difficult time with learning in her early years, especially with understanding concepts. But with support from those around her, she was able to communicate her needs and get help to improve and succeed.

Other Achievements: The 2010-11 yearbook editor; involved with DECA; the DECA photographer; helps out in the community trying to meet as many needs as possible; has her own photography business, taking family portraits and doing sports and wedding photography; varsity cheerleading, 2 years; participated in student court; received American Association of University Women Scholar Program Award for Technology.

Future Plans: Attend Whatcom Community College and obtain an AA degree, then transfer to The Art Institute of Seattle and obtain a BA in photography.


Noah Mattson

Parent/Guardian(s): Martha Hankins and Tim Mattson

Achievements in Category: Noah faced and overcame obstacles that made going to school a challenge. He was diagnosed in second grade with Tourette syndrome, and it took 6 years of effort for him to feel he had control of his body, though he still must avoid stressful, chaotic or unfamiliar situations. “I couldn’t focus on what the teacher was saying. I spent a lot of time hiding,” he said. In 6th grade, he transferred to the SOS program at Marshall Middle School, which let him relax and figure out one thing at a time. He was able to join the Marshall Alternative Program after 1 year. In high school, he joined Capital High School’s SOS program, where he learned organization and social skills. “I was so busy dealing with what my body was doing that the support really made a huge difference,” he said. His message to anyone faced with adversity: Believe in yourself and “get a support structure. Find people who believe in you.”

Other Achievements: Addressed Olympia School District Board in support of special education and PATs programs; participated in student interview panel for new principal; interested in Shakespeare, history, chemistry and biology.

Future Plans: Attend Western Washington University next year.

No photo available.


Heaven Butler

Parent/Guardian(s): Melissa Mead

Achievements in Category: Heaven is a remarkable young woman who has overcome significant obstacles throughout her life. She has faced family issues, homelessness and health issues. While she continues to work through difficult challenges, she consistently demonstrates a dedicated work ethic toward her education. She has developed strong self-awareness and self-advocacy skills, which she applies to both her personal life, and to her construction trades and academic programs. Although circumstances sometimes force her to leave school, she has kept returning and is now finishing.

Other Achievements: Nominated for Most Employable Student of the Month in Applied Learning Lab.

Future Plans: Further her education after high school and pursue a career in early childhood education.


Josepha Burke

Parent/Guardian(s): Stephen and Barbara Burke

Achievements in Category: When you meet Josepha, you think first of her accomplishments, not of the adversity she’s overcome, and that’s because that’s what Josepha thinks of first. She has severe congenital joint contractures, which entails reduced muscle mass and movement. She has difficulty writing, opening doors and maintaining balance. She cannot carry a backpack, and has cramping in her hands and arms. Having this disability has formed her frame of mind toward others with disabilities and one of her mottos is “live and let live”; she is accepting of all others. She is thankful to have her mind and intelligence because they compensate for not being able to play sports. She also believes it’s easier for her to adapt to equipment than to have equipment adapted to her. For example, she has just learned to drive a car, and she does it without adaptive devices. Her biggest challenge is not physical; it’s being stared at and patronized, she says. The intense physical and occupational therapy she has always undergone have taught her how to “be” in the world, and she thinks being a teenager with a disability has strengthened her as a human being.

Other Achievements: Capital Lakefair princess; editor-in-chief of school newspaper, the Rampage; active in Kids in Koncert in its Premier Youth Choir of the Northwest; FBLA; lector at her church; peer tutor in math; works at Holy Family Elementary School as an after-school tutor; has taken many AP classes; maintains B-plus average.

Future Plans: Attend Western Washington University, working toward majors in English and psychology and minors in French and Spanish; may become an educator or translator.


Andreas J. “AJ” Karrer

Parent/Guardian(s): Andreas and Michelle Karrer

Achievements in Category: Andreas incurred a life-threatening head injury during sophomore year and was out of school for 31/2 months, recovering, and attending speech and physical therapy. He had slurred speech and a left leg weakness. But his body has gotten stronger, and in his senior year, he was even able to play football. His family is grateful to the staff and teachers of Northwest Christian High School, who helped him get back on track with his schoolwork and grades. The teachers planned a curriculum for him that would allow him to finish his sophomore year. The prayers he and his family received during this time have led AJ to believe that prayer and Jesus will help him through any rough time.

Future Plans: Obtain a degree in horticulture and landscape design.


Katy Dawson

Parent/Guardian(s): Jana and Chris Holterman

Achievements in Category: Katy has been independent for the past 2 years. Her living situation made attending school difficult, yet she has maintained a 3.1 GPA and competed in cross-country, wrestling and track. She is an active member of FFA and serves her community through many service projects.

Other Achievements: Honor Roll; competed at state cross-country meet.

Future Plans: Attend South Puget Sound Community College and become a firefighter.


Harold “P.Wee” Sanders Jr.

Parent/Guardian(s): Karen and Roy Witt

Achievements in Category: P.Wee grew up in East St. Louis, Ill., becoming involved with a gang at 14. He came to Lacey to visit his father and, early in his freshman year, his father was arrested, leaving P.Wee little choice but to return to East St. Louis. However, a River Ridge High School family invited P.Wee into their home. He has been there throughout high school with his mother’s blessing.

Other Achievements: Football, 4 years; participated in varsity track, power lifting and varsity wrestling; member of RRHS Leadership, participating in community service, fundraising and planning student activities.

Future Plans: Attend College of the Siskiyous to play football and major in welding, then transfer to Washington State University.


Sanar Matti

Parent/Guardian(s): Futna Taylor and James Taylor

Achievements in Category: Sanar’s mother was an interpreter for the U.S. Army in Iraq, which made the family targets of Saddam Hussein’s forces. An attack on their family home badly injured Sanar’s older brother; the family escaped to Syria. From Syria, they were able to come to the U.S. None of the horrible things Sanar has seen in his life seems to have damaged him and he remains good-humored. Sanar learned English quickly and has been very successful here.

Future Plans: Enlist in the U.S. Army after high school graduation, where he is highly in demand because of his Arabic and English language skills.


Catherine Henderson

Parent/Guardian(s): Laura and Daniel Henderson (emancipated)

Achievements in Category: At a young age, she lost her father to a drug overdose and lost a true chance at childhood because of her parents’ addictions. In high school, she had a deep “teen love” that turned into a pregnancy, which she went through without her son’s father. She joined the Army National Guard, hoping to make her family proud, but it only raised her stress. Her home life isn’t always easy, but she has found school to be her gateway to a better future.

Other Achievements: Despite challenges, she obtained her GED, finished high school early and is now enrolled at Everest College.

Future Plans: Continue her education to obtain a Registered Nurse license.


Emily Harris

Parent/Guardian(s): Mark Harris, Alisia Miller and Kay Harris

Achievements in Category: At the beginning of her senior year, she had only 12 credits. Now she has 16: 4 credits earned in one semester. She had better grades now than she ever has before: 4 As and 2 Bs. Her attendance is a lot better now that school is one of her top priorities. She has improved and succeeded in many ways and is amazed she’s making it out like this.

Other Achievements: Nominated for this award; received 100 percent on 2 consecutive chemistry tests this month, when science used to be her worst subject.

Future Plan