Valedictorians, salutatorians have carved out their own unique paths to graduation
As diverse as the Newberg High School Class of 2014s eight valedictorians and four salutatorians are, if theres something they all have in common, it appears to be their dedication to carving out their own unique paths to graduate and life beyond.
Those personal routes will begin to diverge even further following commencement, which will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Loren Douglas Field.
I think its really fun to be a part of when so many people are so good at so many different things, Silver School valedictorian Monica Kelly said. Its not like were all doing the same thing together, but were all doing something so cool all the time.
Many of this years best and brightest say finding their own way just wouldnt have been possible if not for the variety of options they were offered during their careers at NHS.
I jumped at the chance to go and take college courses this year, said Savannah Stanton, one of two valedictorians from Green School. I took online writing and online poetry for my English credits this year and its one of the best choices Ive ever made. It provided me room to grow and get into that college mode.
The group will also spread out to seven different colleges and universities, with Stanton planning on dual enrollment at Portland Community College and Oregon State University, with Blue School salutatorian Marjorie Halstead set to attend Oregon State University. She will study dietetics, while Stanton is undecided as to her preferred area of study.
Halstead she also appreciated the chance to take courses for college credit, but also praised the staff at NHS for creating an optimal atmosphere for personal growth, saying they all genuinely care about students.
When I open up to teachers and share my story, theyre always receptive and always want to help you grow, Halstead said. If it werent for the teachers that Ive had, specifically Mr. Ramey, Mr. Baumholtz its ironic because they are both P.E. teachers and Mr. Anderson and Mr. Sinkbeil, I wouldnt have grown as a human and an adult if it wasnt for them.
Many in the group, including Silver School valedictorian Trevor Danielson, have taken advantage of both the academic and athletic opportunities at NHS. Danielson could have earned an athletic scholarship to throw the javelin at a number of schools, but will attend and compete for Stanford on a substantial academic scholarship.
Fellow track standout Jonathan Bos will also continue to compete at the college level next fall as a business major at Corban University. Bos attended NHS for only his senior year after attending Veritas since kindergarten and found the social aspects of the school both fun and enlightening.
Coming from Veritas, I was jolted at first by the huge amount of people, but that was partially why I came, to experience a larger school before college, Bos said. I think between athletics, which I knew people from, Newberg was really a good step for me to branch out.
Along with Yellow school salutatorian Cassiday Helikson, Monica Kelly will attend California Lutheran and plans to study criminal justice.
Because she plans to study music composition, Helikson pulled off the rare feat of graduating high school in just three years.
Yellow school salutatorian Kahlia Knox and Blue school valedictorian Melissa Swanson both will stay in Newberg and attend George Fox University. Swanson plans to study engineering and Knox intends to major in graphic design.
I was able to take a lot of different courses and challenge myself in different areas, Swanson said. I think that will probably help in going to college.
Green School valedictorian Katie Reohr will head south to attend school at Santa Clara, while valedictorians Maranda Hamilton (Yellow) and Marthadina Russell (Silver) have elected to stay in the Pacific Northwest, opting for the University of Portland and Seattle University, respectively. While Reohr is undecided, Russell will major in linguistics and Hamilton physics and music.
Many of the 4.0 grade-point-average students valedictorians doing so while taking honors classes said they appreciated the diversity of classmates, in terms of small schools, they experienced in advanced classes but also bonded as they worked together on the toughest subject matters. Bruce Sinkbeils calculus class this year was just the latest example.
Whats really helped me get as far as Ive gone is these people, because Ive been with them in block classes since sophomore year, Halstead said. So within our tier of learning, where we wanted to be and pushed ourselves to be, we kind of all made a family.