Cedarcrest Celebrates The Class of 2020 Valedictorians and Salutatorians...
In Their Own Words
Members of this year's Valedictorians and Salutatorians share a speech during Senior Awards Night.
Top (L-R): Valedictorians Olivia DiAcetis, Curt Nelson, Salutatorian Meg Takezawa
Middle (L-R): Salutatorian McKenna Cato, Valedictorian Madison Dunn
Bottom (L-R): Valedictorians Abbie Collinwood, Cedric Nagata, and Katelyn Wells
"(I) feel like the whole community is supporting me as I go to college.” - Curt Nelson.
"I felt proud of myself for continuing to push through, even in the midst of struggles and harder times." - Haylee Bostron.
"People won't remember that you got good grades, or that you were a Valedictorian, they will largely remember how you treated them." - McKenna Cato
"Be persistent. Choose any activity you love, embrace it, and let it grow." - Meg Takezawa
These quotes, combined with so many more below, offer a glimpse into the minds of this year's Cedarcrest High School Valedictorians and Salutatorians. In reviewing their stories, some commonalities emerged. All students are continuing their education. Among the 8 "Vals" and 3 "Sals," five will be attending the University of Washington, with two more attending Brigham Young University - one in Provo and one in Idaho. While many of this year's Vals and Sals started in Riverview as kindergarteners, three students joined the district as high school freshmen.
Collectively, they were engaged and active - leaders in the places they traveled. Learning was at the heart of every experience they pursued, whether those pursuits took place in the classroom, on stage, or on a competitive field of play. Band and performance was an experience several students share, as was membership in National Honor Society, TSA, DECA, Random Acts of Kindness, and many other common clubs, sports, and activities.
Not lost on anyone is the fact that these students are part of a graduating class whose rite of passage is clouded by a global pandemic. COVID-19 has changed every aspect of how we live our lives, not just within these last few months but certainly going forward into the future of a new normal. A conventional graduation ceremony is not possible due to health and safety concerns. When these students began their Senior year, social distancing, Coronavirus, and the concept of a car processional ceremony was something none of them, and really none of us, could have ever imagined.
In our community, these Seniors have also endured more than any class that has come before it. Riverview's Class of 2020 has experienced the confusion, anguish, and struggles in facing the sudden loss of a fellow student, not just once but multiple times. They have learned resilience, began developing sources of strength, and have needed to turn for support from beyond their families and friends. They have asked tough questions, sought difficult answers, and stand before us now as young men and women who have learned great resolve and determination. Again and again, our community has been so impressed with how strong the Class of 2020 has been, indicative by the way families from all over our community have rallied around them with support the likes of which we have never quite seen before.
Recently, this year's "Vals and Sals" answered questions prepared by our Communications Coordinator, Mike Ward, and the responses they sent back provided tremendous insight into their experiences throughout high school.
Some were succinct, others had more to say. Through coordination with Cedarcrest principal Ray LaBate, we are proud to share with you the words and thoughts and reflections of the Class of 2020 Valedictorians and Salutatorians.
CONNOR AKSAMA - VALEDICTORIAN
Connor has attended Riverview since kindergarten. He will be attending The University of Washington this fall. He will be majoring in Computer Science.
ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: “I learned I was Valedictorian by being added to a group chat to discuss plans for preparing a graduation speech. Learning the news I was relieved and assured."
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: “I would say one major sacrifice I made was putting off finding a part-time job prior to leaving for college.”
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: ”During my years at Cedarcrest, I was involved in TSA (Technology Student Association), Marching Band, and participated in several different community volunteer projects, including land projects and volunteering with local food banks."
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: “Going through the college process has been fairly smooth, with minimal problems - save having to wait for decisions.”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “Teachers who made an impact on me would include Mr. LaBrie (Matt LaBrie, Social Studies at Tolt Middle School) and Mr. McFarland (Erik McFarland, Computer Science at Tolt Middle School), as well as Mr. Miyoshi (Michael Miyoshi, Career & Technical Education - Cedarcrest) and Mr. Hughes (Breland Hughes, Band/Marching Band - Cedarcrest).”
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “Don't feel scared to sacrifice time doing things that you enjoy.”
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “Graduation has been easier to get ready for, not having been in school for so long. I feel comfortable leaving for school in the hopes of meeting a new community with new opportunities.”
HAYLEE BOSTRON - VALEDICTORIAN
Haylee has attended Riverview School District for all thirteen years. She will be attending Brigham Young University (Idaho) in the fall. She plans on majoring in graphic design.
ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: “I've always tried my hardest to do my best in all my classes. So after receiving straight A's for all four years, Mr. LaBate confirmed the news to me. I felt proud of myself for continuing to push through, even in the midst of struggles and harder times.”
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: “I have had many long nights and early mornings, where I have spent countless hours putting in extra work to finalize details for projects, studying for tests, and practicing for presentations.”
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: “I played soccer at Cedarcrest my freshman and sophomore years. I worked at Pickle Time (a local Duvall restaurant) and during my senior year I have been working at Kohl's (regional department store).”
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: “Since my freshman year, I have had my eyes set on attending BYU-Idaho. I have wanted to live in Idaho for a good portion of my life so it wasn't too difficult for me to make a choice on where my future was headed.”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “Along the way, I have been helped by Mr. Schenk (Tony Schenk, Language Arts), Mr. Goldsberry (Scott Goldsberry, Social Studies), Mrs. Descheemaeker (Andrea Descheemaeker, Art), Mrs. Simoni (Bobbi Simoni, Mathematics), and Mr. Briggs (Loren Briggs, Social Studies). I am thankful for the genuine connections I have made with my teachers and for all that they have taught me.”
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “Remember that everything that happens is only a small moment in the larger scheme of things. Take advantage of the time that you have and seek out and focus on all the positive and uplifting things that are in your life.”
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “High school ended so abruptly thaty it feels like there was no actual closure and I feel like if I do that closure, it will happen at graduation. There is an abundance of love and support in this community which has been shown to me that means so much. Although I am very excited to go off to college, I will miss how tight-knit and family-oriented our community is.”
McKENNA CATO - SALUTATORIAN
McKenna has been in the Riverview School District since kindergarten and will be attending Washington State University in the fall. McKenna plans on majoring in marketing and is still deciding whether a double major or double minor, and what that might be, is in her future.
ON CONFIRMATION OF SALUTATORIAN STATUS: “I have been keeping track of my grades throughout all of high school, but I got the official confirmation from Mr. LaBate at a senior class meeting. I was very happy that I had earned the distinction of Salutatorian and it felt like all four years of hard work had paid off.”
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: “I had to spend lots of hours outside of school talking with teachers and getting help in order to maintain my grades.”
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: “Over the past four years, I have been involved in lots of activities. This includes RAK (Random Acts of Kindness), DECA, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), Link Crew, NHS (National Honor Society), Game Club, and I started the Ping Pong Club! I also played high school volleyball and outside of school, I tutored, did babysitting, was a student leader for YoungLife, helped lead worship at my church and pursued other music activities.”
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: “The college process has been long for me. I applied to four schools and ultimately it came down to Washington State and the University of Washington. I had been accepted into the Foster School of Business at University of Washington, but received a scholarship from Washington State and gotten into their honors college. I had to weigh what was most important to me in each of the schools, and when it came down to Washington State - they had the community, scholarships, and atmosphere that made me most excited. Their communication through the whole process was great and I am excited to be a Coug :)”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “All of my teachers have made an impact on me throughout the years at Cedarcrest. The ones who have stood out the most, however, would be Mr. Hillestad (Marc Hillestad, Career & Technical Education), Mr. McLaughlin (David McLaughlin, Mathematics), Mr. Armstrong (Dan Armstrong, Social Studies), Mr. Guyer (Justin Guyer, Science).”
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “All the academic aspects of school are important, but in the grand scheme of things, spending time with the people around you and building healthy relationships are more important. People won't remember that you got good grades, or that you were a Valedictorian, they will largely remember how you treated them.”
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “Quarantine has definitely made the graduation experience different, but I don't think it really will all sink in until I see everyone for the last time before leaving for college. I have loved growing up in Duvall and felt very connected and supported by different people in the community. I am excited to move on to college and to experience a new place, but I am glad to say that Duvall is my hometown.”
HOGAN CHASE - SALUTATORIAN
Hogan has attended Riverview schools since kindergarten and will be attending the University of Washington in the fall. He will be studying business administration and finance.
ON CONFIRMATION OF SALUTATORIAN STATUS: “I was told by Mr. LaBate during our final senior class meeting and I was excited and honored to be recognized among my peers.”
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: “I have always been rather good at time management, which helped minimize my sacrifice. However, I always put school first which led to missing out on social activities.”
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: “I have played basketball and soccer at the varsity level at Cedarcrest. I was also a member of DECA, NHS, and the Ping Pong Club.”
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: “I was fortunate to be accepted into many of the colleges I applied to. I am super excited to be attending my dream school in the fall.”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “Mr. Guyer and Mr. Fassler (Daniel Fassler, Language Arts) both inspired me to improve myself and taught me how to succeed.”
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “Always work hard and not to be afraid to ask for help. The next four years will be chaotic and crazy at times, but there's always something bright waiting for you the next day. Keep your head up and stay positive.”
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “This has definitely been a very fast four years. The idea of living in my own is freeing and scary at the same time. I am excited for the future and cannot wait to see what it holds. I have always felt like I knew everyone in my class relatively well. The community has always been supportive and it will be sad to leave that behind.”
ABBIE COLLINWOOD - VALEDICTORIAN
Abbie has attended Riverview for the last four years and will be attending Brigham Young University - Provo (BYU) this fall. While she has not committed to a major yet, Abbie enjoys education, math, and science, so she is open to exploring those areas of study.
ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: “I needed to know my class rank for some paperwork I was completing and I received a little sticky-note back from my counselor, Mr. Clifford (Aaron Clifford), that said "#1, Congrats!" with a smiley face. Honestly, I had forgotten that Valedictorians were a thing, so when Mr. LaBate called us all together the last day of "real school" and referred to us as "Vals and Sals," I was kind of surprised, especially since that really wasn't at the forefront of my mind. I was excited about it and it was nice to hear that we could still be acknowledged for the work we had put in, even with COVID-19 canceling school.”
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: “I have sacrificed a lot of time and energy, and most of all, sleep. I have lost time with friends and family to put in the long hours of homework and studying. I still managed to cram in a lot of time with friends as well! Yeah the biggest loser in this situation was my sleep schedule.”
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: “I have been able to participate in volleyball, soccer, track and field, my church, National Honor Society, and theater during my time at Cedarcrest. I have especially enjoyed being a part of theater and track and field, because even if you have no idea what you are doing, you automatically join a family - a loud hilarious family.”
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: “It has been really confusing and chaotic so far. I am happy to say we got through it! My parents have been super helpful and I am excited for BYU.”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “Mr. Briggs was always there for me. He would listen to random thoughts I had and encourage and support me when I tried new things, and celebrate with me when I achieved something. He would also cry with me when I was hurting and make sure I got help when I needed it. The empathy that he shows his kids is why everyone loves and respects him. Mr. Briggs is one of those stellar human beings you meet and will always look up to, no matter where you are in life. I also love my math teachers, Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. McDowell (Bruce McDowell, Mathematics), for helping me not to take myself too seriously and never being afraid to laugh. They are fantastic people!”
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “1) Stick to the right side of the hallway, avoid getting too close to the walls or you might get smacked into them; 2) Spend time and energy on the friends who spend their time and energy on you; 3) Doall the classic high school things and get super into them! You only get to go to high school once!; 4) Be unapologetically you, you will be happier for it; and 5) Have fun!”
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “With everything that has been happening, I don't think I am going to experience the same feeling of finality that most graduates do, until I leave the valley in the fall. I am going to really miss seeing people I know everywhere I go! I love the sense of community we have here and I love how the whole community gathers for events. Living here is like living in a big, extended family.”
OLIVIA DiACETIS - VALEDICTORIAN
Olivia has attended Riverview for 12 years and will be attending the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in the fall. Though Olivia remains undecided about her major, she will be looking to explore all options, citing mathematics or data science as subjects of interest.
ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: “I think it first registered that I was a Valedictorian when I went to ask for my class rank for the filling out of some college applications. I have always been conscious of my GPA throughout school so it was not a shock when Mr. LaBate told us. Unfortunately, it also happened on the same day we learned from Dr. Smith (Dr. Anthony Smith, Superintendent) that we were closing school.”
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: “I love learning, so putting school first hasn't ever felt like much of a sacrifice. I seem to have an adverse relationship with free time and enjoy having something to do. There have definitely been some stressful times and long nights, but I think that those have been good experiences for me. I hold myself to a high standard and by doing so, I have learned how to manage time and how to study.”
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: "I have been a drum major of the marching band for the past two years and am involved in several ensembles both in and outside school. This includes WMEA All-State ensembles, WIBC Honor Bands, jazz band, wind ensemble, and pit band for the spring musical. I was the secretary of the environmental club for three years and a member of Science Olympiad and Literature Club. This past year I was president of Tri-M Music Honor Society and I am a member of NHS. Also, I am involved with Girl Scouts.”
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: “The college process has shown me how many opportunities are out there. Since the beginning of the year, I have grown more in touch with what my own goals are and feel more comfortable making decisions about my future. I applied to 11 different schools to keep my options open. This openmindedness lead me to apply to the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program after receiving a letter in the mail. (Yes, I opened every college letter!). I am excited to be continuing my education at UTD as a 2020 McDermott Scholar in the fall and to explore the opportunities available to me.”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “So many of the teachers at Riverview has made me who I am now. Mr. Guyer’s chemistry and AP physics classes pushed me to expand my horizons and to ask lots of questions. Working with Mr. Hughes has taught me to be a better leader and to be confident. AP Calculus with Mr. McDowell helped me really identify my love of math and problem solving. In middle school, Mrs. Switaj (Katie Switaj, Tolt Middle School - now retired) gave me opportunities to be creative and express myself.”
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “Join activities that interest you, even if you don’t know anyone who is participating. High school is a great time to start finding what makes you happy and meet people with similar passions. You are going to enjoy the experience if you get involved.”
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “The idea that I’m going to college feels real, but the idea that I won’t sit through another advisory or block period at Cedarcrest hasn’t set in yet. I feel pretty connected to my communities, especially the ones surrounding band and Girl Scouts. It is a nice feeling to know people who you see at the grocery store and to know there are people supporting you. I don’t really feel like I’m going to be leaving these communities when I go to school since I know they will always be there for me. College is another opportunity to build new communities, but it doesn’t mean I have to lose the ones I have here.”
MADISON DUNN - VALEDICTORIAN
Madison has attended Riverview schools for the last four years and will be attending Cascadia Community College, then transferring to Central Washington University. She plans on majoring in elementary education.
ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: “I learned I was Valedictorian by an email I received. I felt really proud of myself and remembered all the hard work I put into my classes to achieve this.”
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: “I had a couple super stressful classes that had me in tears sometimes. I also did Running Start mysenior year, so I am proud that I was able to achieve this while taking full-time college classes”
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: “I was involved with FCA, NHS, RAK, played basketball and had a job working at a preschool.”
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: "I am aiming to complete my AA next year before attending Central Washington University. I think the most stressful part has been making sure I am getting enough credits and what classes I should take.”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “The teachers who made the most impact on me would be Mr. McLaughlin, Mrs. Blooming (Amy Blooming, Language Arts), Mrs. Adams (Tiffany Adams, Science), and Mr. Henry (Scott Henry, Social Studies).”
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “Grades don't define who you are. Just try your best and that's all that matters.”
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “It's starting to really sink in. While it is hard knowing I won't be walking, graduation will still be a cool experience, I guess. Although I did Running Start and felt slightly disconnected because of it, this community is close-knit and I still feel part of Cedarcrest.”
CEDRIC NAGATA - VALEDICTORIAN
Cedric has attended Riverview schools for the last four years and will be attending the University of Washington (UW) in the fall. He plans on studying engineering with a focus on either aerospace or computer engineering..
ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: “I was told by Mr. LaBate with the rest of the Valedictorians and Salutatorians the last day before schools were closed because of COVID-19. I felt very excited and relieved."
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: “A sacrifice I made along the way was spending less time going out with friends during the last few weeks of a semester so I could study and prepare for any final exams.”
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: “I was the Student Representative to the Riverview School Board during my junior and senior years, and have been an ASB officer since sophomore year. I have been an officer in the CHS FIRST Robotics Club all four years of high school, played basketball for Cedarcrest during my freshman and sophomore years, was the Treasurer for the National Honor Society chapter this past year and I have been in the club since sophomore year. I also was a mentee in the UW Foster School of Business Young Executives of Color program during my junior and senior years, and I have competed in DECA since sophomore year.”
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: “The college process has gone well for me because I originally didn’t know where I wanted to go to school at the end of junior year. As I applied and got acceptances and rejections back, I waited until I had all my options laid out and then I made my decision. I have had a good relationship with UW and the students and faculty there, so I am excited to continue my education in Seattle, a place I am very familiar with but have never truly lived in.”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “I definitely think Mr. Miyoshi is not only a teacher I have loved in high school, but also a mentor who I can look to for not only class advice but also career and life advice as well. Mr. Guyer was my basketball coach on C-team, my freshman year, and also my physics teacher my sophomore year. I was his TA for his class my senior year and every time I am around him I always end up learning something new, while also laughing and having a good time and feeling good about myself. Mr. McDowell and Mr. McLaughlin are two of the best math teachers I have ever had and they accepted me and helped me learn, even when I was the youngest in their classes. It is definitely clear though that all my teachers had an amazing impact on me and shaped who I am in some way.”
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “On the surface, high school is all about popularity, accomplishments, etc. And while it doesn’t hurt to have some of that, everyone is the same in that they enter nervously and graduate proudly. Don’t waste time trying to impress other people - use it to try and impress yourself. Everyone has no idea what they are doing on day one, and sure - some learn faster than others - but that’s not up to you, Focus on what you can control, which is you. Join a club, play a sport, meet new friends, run for ASB, study for classes, make memories, and try and find things that interest you. And most importantly, don’t worry about the little things. Every time you make a mistake, just look at it as a way to learn and don’t be afraid to feel good about yourself when you succeed.”
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “I think the 'graduation stuff' has sunk in for me. Even if we don’t get a traditional ceremony this year, that doesn’t take away from anything I have done during my time in high school. At the end of the day I will still have all the friends, experiences, accomplishments, and knowledge that I have gained over four years, and that’s all that matters to me. Just the fact that everyone is putting in this much effort and passion to celebrate the Class of 2020 during the stay-at-home order is enough to show me how much my community and school cares about me. I feel very connected to my community, since I have grown up in Duvall, and I don’t know a home anywhere else. I am definitely nervous to leave for college, but I know that I’ll always be able to come back here for support and anytime I want to get back to my roots, I know I’ll always feel welcomed.”
CURT NELSON - VALEDICTORIAN
Curt has attended Riverview School District since kindergarten, and will be attending the University of Washington. He will be attending the Foster School of Business at the school in the fall.
ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: “I had assumed I had accomplished this because I had a 4.0 GPA. When it was officially confirmed through an email from Mr. LaBate, it felt amazing and I was super proud.”
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: “Primarily staying home to work on school instead of being out with friends is what comes to mind. For the most part, I balanced a pretty good schedule of school, working, sports, and friends so I did not feel like I had to make all that many sacrifices."
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: "At Cedarcrest, I played baseball, was involved in wrestling and football, served as a DECA officer, LINK crew officer, and was a member of NHS."
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: “I have to say it went very well, as I got into my dream school and major.”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “The teachers who made the greatest impact on me would be Mr. Fassler, Mr. Schenk, Mrs. Robison (Denise Robison, Science), Mr. Ward (Mark Ward, Physical Education), Mr. Hillstead, Mr. Guyer, Mr. Grayson (Stuart Grayson, Social Studies), and Mr. McDowell."
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: "Work your hardest in what you believe in."
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “Sometimes I realize that I am done with high school, but most of the time it doesn't really feel that way. I feel I am very connected with the Duvall community and feel like the whole community is supporting me as I go to college.”
MEG TAKEZAWA - SALUTATORIAN
Meg has attended Riverview for 13 years and will be attending the University of Washington this coming fall. She plans on majoring in Biochemistry.
ON CONFIRMATION OF SALUTATORIAN STATUS: “I first learned about it on the day before quarantine began when we had the Senior meeting. Mr. LaBate called all the Vals and Sals to inform us about potential graduation speeches. I was very proud to earn the title of Salutatorian. I felt like my past work has been paid off, and it gave me confidence for my future. I was also hoping that my last semester of high school would end peacefully amid the quarantine period and the global pandemic."
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: “I wanted to focus on my extracurricular activities, but I didn't have a car. After being accepted to Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra and applying for Bellevue Youth Link, I have had to beg my parents to take me to and from Bellevue every week. When no transportation was accessible, I walked for 40 minutes everyday to my volunteering destination to contribute in community service projects. Also, when my workload was not severe, I spent a lot of time after school practicing flute.”
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: "I have participated in ensembles: Cedarcrest Wind Ensemble/Marching Band and Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra. I took private lessons and mentored a few beginning flute students over the summer. I was also involved in many community service groups outside of school. I joined Bellevue Youth Link to discuss community service projects in the Bellevue School District with other students. I also joined Mimibunko Puppet Show to present famous folktales in Japanese. We have performed at many Japanese festivals in Bellevue. In school, I have been in Science Olympiad, Environmental Club, Literature Club, Riverview Youth Council, Tri-M Music Honors Society, and National Honors Society.”
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: “I toured many in-state schools and chose which schools seemed welcoming to me. I researched about out-of-state schools in California and Ohio that had great academic programs for my intended major. I had several teachers and friends look through my essays, so they were not as stressful as I anticipated. I also had some interviews and music auditions with college alumni.”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “Science and technology had the greatest impacts on me. I realized I loved cellular and microscopic biology when I took AP Biology with Mrs. Robison. Although chemistry is not my strongest subject, I want to take advantage of my upcoming college life to improve chemistry and dive deeper into my favorite science field. I also loved taking programming classes with Mr. Miyoshi. I've taken his class for 3.5 years and learned a lot about the difficulties of adapting video games and programs. It was a great opportunity for me to experience software development and how crucial informatics is in our life.”
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: "Be persistent. Choose any activity you love, embrace it, and let it grow. There are numerous opportunities within and beyond high school that help nurture your activity. Developing personal strengths lead to confidence and pride. Once you've made accomplishments or achieved goals, they become the most cherished, enriching experiences after high school.”
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “Honestly, I might need a few more years to be ready for graduation! I felt mostly connected to my high school, but not as much with the rest of the community. Since most of my extracurricular activities involved time spent on campus, I did not invest much time in other areas of Duvall and Carnation. I am very excited to leave my current home and live on a brand new campus. I feel confident to engage in new communities beyond my town.”
KATELYN WELLS - VALEDICTORIAN
Katelyn began attending Riverview schools since the end of her fifth grade year. She will be attending the University of Oregon this fall and while currently interested in Environmental Studies for a major, she looks forward to taking a wide variety of classes to better determine what she really wants to do.
ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: “Once I was able to get all A's the first semester of senior year I knew I would probably be Valedictorian, but I officially found out on my last day of high school ever on March 12 during our senior meeting. I was very happy and proud of myself."
THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: "There were many nights of not getting enough sleep and many stressful days where I had tons of assignments, studying for tests, sports, and other club activities all going on at the same time. I also couldn't always joke around with my friends during class because I had to actually use my class time for assignments, otherwise I wouldn't be able to get it all done with everything else I normally had after school.”
ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: “I have been part of the Cross-Country team all four years and was involved in Track my freshman and sophomore years. I have also been in Camerata since my freshman year and the spring musicals for the past two years. I joined Thespian Society this year and was in the dinner theater production this winter. I have also been in NHS since sophomore year. Through Camerata and NHS, I have volunteered a lot of different places, whether it be for singing or just for helping out during the past four years. I was also super involved with my church worship team my freshman through junior year.”
THE COLLEGE PROCESS: "I had been stressing out about college since the beginning of sophomore year. I began to get excited when I actually started touring schools at the end of junior year and last summer, but I still didn't really know what I wanted to do and the whole process of applying for college still really stressed me out. I didn't write any of my essays until two weeks before my first application opened because I was just dreading it. It's also hard when you're starting senior year and the first thing anyone asks you is, "Have you figured out college?" while you're constantly being overwhelmed with all the information about applications, the FAFSA, and scholarships. However, once I finished my essays and applied to my first college, the process became much easier and wasn't as stressful anymore.”
TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “The first teacher I had at Cedarcrest that truly had an impact on me was Mr. Fassler. I thought I knew how to write, but oh no was I wrong. Mr. Fassler taught me how to write great essays and made me become a critical thinker not just about stories, but life in general. To this day, I still can hear Fassler's voice explaining lead-ins and elaboration while I write my essays. The second teacher I had that had a lasting impact on me was Mr. Briggs during APUSH (AP United States History). Mr. Briggs changed the way I viewed the world and taught me how to have civil debates over politics. I also learned the importance of knowing all sides to an argument in that class. Two other teachers that helped make my time at Cedarcrest much more enjoyable were Mr. McDowell and Mr. Guyer. Mr. McDowell was my coach for four years and my teacher for two, so I'd say we got to know each other pretty well. His room was always the "hangout room" in the morning or during break and also after school when we would procrastinate doing our off-season training. Mr. Guyer was also my teacher for two years and I feel like he saw me grow up from a young sophomore to a junior who was thinking about college. Even though I hate the subject of AP Physics with a fiery passion, I still loved that class, especially at the end after we had taken the AP exam. Some of my favorite high school memories were in Mr. Guyer's classes.”
IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “Focus on building good relationships and figuring out who you are as a person by trying new and different things. High school isn't just about getting the grades to go to college. This is when we grow up from kids to adults and form our own opinions on the world. You may already feel old and like you have everything figured out but, a year from now, you will wonder to yourself, "Who on earth was that person a year ago?" Also, try not to get wrapped up in unnecessary drama. The most grown up thing you can do is realize where the other person is coming from and having a normal conversation about what's bothering you. That's what grows relationships and makes them stronger, not yelling or being passive-aggressive to each other. You will go through a lot of ups and downs in high school and having strong relationships will be important to get you through. Everything will all work out and you don't have to have your whole life planned out. As a graduating senior, my life is loosely planned out through the beginning of October. After that, literally anything could happen. So don't freak out. You will survive and you can do this.”
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: “With schools being closed, I feel like I am on some weird summer vacation where I have to do a lot of summer homework. Except it's not a fun summer vacation. Even when I put on my cap and gown, I feel like I'm dressing up in a costume. I don't know if it will ever really feel real. It feels like I just kind of stopped going to school one day and instead of finishing high school, I'm just going off to college. I especially feel connected to all the students at Cedarcrest and the community that is established there. I'm excited to go off to college, but also scared to have to establish a new community somewhere else. I will miss all my friends here, but I will always be back to visit.”