Category: Music, art and drama
Education: Gig Harbor High School
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Parents: Christy and Jared Jones
Activities/Achievements: flute and piano performer; GHHS band varsity letters (4); Tacoma Youth Symphony principal flute; numerous performances including solo concerto with TYS; WMEA superior ratings; All–State honor band; Music Olympics 2nd place; National Honors Society president; Interact Club president; Ambassadors Club vice president; varsity golf; Rotary Student of the Month; volunteer for Little Toasters, Etta, Mama’s Hands and others; Chinese
Brooklynn Jones has been described as an outstanding musician who has dedicated herself not only to learning her artistry but also leading others. After starting to learn the flute at age 8 and piano at 10, she has developed her talents and has won numerous recognitions.
Music is a family tradition. Jones says it was an expectation for her to learn the piano because her grandmother was a piano teacher.
“I ended up loving it,” she says.
Jones considers the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association her best music experience. She has attended master classes, participated in chamber groups and performed in many concerts.
“It has helped me find my passion in music,” she says.
Recently, she was selected for the coveted honor of being the solo concerto performer, which she considers her highest musical achievement.
“She has developed into a dedicated musician who has demonstrated excellent leadership skills serving as principal flute of the Tacoma Youth Symphony, the most advanced of the six orchestras in the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association,” says Paul-Elliott Cobbs, music director and conductor for TYSA.
The best part of music for Jones is the ability to play with her friends and “make music together.”
“I like the exhilaration of performing,” she says. “The nervousness pushes you to work hard and when you get there, you can revel in the spotlight.”
Jones is just as passionate about Chinese, which she has been studying for four years. She plans to go to China this summer — her second trip to the country.
Academics have been a priority for Jones, who has a near-perfect GPA. Another big focus has been her faith and church, and she’s involved in youth group and leadership. When she turns 19, she plans to go on an 18-month mission trip with the church, which could mean being sent anywhere around the world.
She feels strongly that everyone has the responsibility, as a citizen, to give back to the community. Jones has walked the talk by being involved with various volunteer projects, both at school and in the community.
“Even the little things can go a long way, and we always need someone to jump in and help out,” she says.
Although she’s undecided about her major, Jones plans to attend Brigham Young University and incorporate Chinese into her future career. She’s considering the paths of chemical engineering or professional music.
Favorite teacher: Heidi Steele, Chinese, because “she creates a very good learning environment and is truly passionate about helping us learn Chinese.”
Best thing about high school: The people. “I’ve made so many great friends, had great teachers and have been involved in so much at this high school.”
Category: Community Service
Education: Gig Harbor High School
Parents: Tim and Amy Gates
Activities/Achievements: Key Club president, vice president, editor, secretary; YMCA Kids Night Out leader, coordinator; YMCA volunteer; National Honor Society, tutor, 500+ Hour Award; Outreach 360 in Nicaragua; YMCS Youth Leadership Development Club; 3 United Way varsity letters for community service (gold level); 2016 YMCA Youth of the Year for Pierce/Kitsap; Washington Business Week company CEO, first-place team; Youth and Government Outstanding Reporter award; 7 AP/Honors classes
Isabel Gates says that community service has been a way for her to find her “place” in the community. She has devoted hundreds of hours volunteering for projects and activities ranging from tutoring peers and teaching English to Nicaraguan kids to coordinating YMCA kids’ events.
Last year, the YMCA for Pierce and Kitsap Counties selected Gates as the Youth of the Year — an honor she considers the highest achievement of her high school years.
As part of that honor, Gates especially enjoyed speaking to a very large gathering of Y donors at the banquet. She’s come a long way since her freshman year — when she was nervous to speak in front of any group.
“What makes Izzy stand out among her peers is her willingness to be a servant leader and to seek opportunities that challenge her to use her natural abilities,” says Steve Triller, executive director of Tom Taylor Family YMCA.
The YMCA is where Gates interest in community service began. After her mother signed her up for a Y camp in second grade, young Izzy came home so excited, her mother enrolled her for the rest of the summer.
Gates continued to attend the camp every year and at age 12, became a counselor.
“I jumped at the opportunity to become a volunteer and give back to the Y because it had given me a safe space that allowed me to grow,” she says.
She continued to be involved with the Y, becoming a leader with the YMCA Kids Night Out event in 2013, then the coordinator in 2015. Gates was also selected to the Governor’s Cabinet at the Washington State YMCA Youth and Government convention.
Her other community involvement includes Key Club, a GHHS service club under the Kiwanis; and National Honor Society. She is currently the Key Club president, and is doing “an incredible job,” according to Roger Mayfield, Kiwanis adviser to Key Club.
“She has great enthusiasm and determination,” Mayfield says.
Gates has maintained a near-perfect GPA, and credits the support of her parents and teachers, along with her own determination.
“I have a drive to perform well and learn not to just get a good score, but to better myself as a person,” she says.
She plans to attend University of Washington and major in design. Her goal is work with nonprofit organizations and offer graphic design for publications.
Favorite teacher: Dave Whitesell because ”his sense of humor and passion for the subject made World History Honors and AP art history engaging and challenging.”
Best thing about high school: “Gig Harbor High School provides students with many academic and extracurricular resources and encourages students to get involved with clubs.”
Education: Peninsula High School
Parents: Laurie and Michael Crown
Activities/Achievements: Ranked No. 1; National Honor Society; Phi Theta Kappa (Tacoma Community College), Outstanding Student Award, Oral Communications Department Award, secretary; Running Start; Band Council; band Most Inspirational, Most Responsible, Director’s Award for Eruption drums and bugle corps, percussion section leader; volunteer for band camp, Basket Brigade, Peninsula Pediatric Therapy and others; 3 AP/Honors classes
Kassidy Crown will graduate from high school with an associate’s degree after taking classes at Tacoma Community College through the Running Start program. She’s maintained a perfect GPA while taking college classes as well as being involved with band and volunteer activities.
Her TCC English professor, Mary Chen-Johnson, says she was surprised to learn at the end of the quarter that Crown was a Running Start student.
“(It was) something I did not guess since her maturity and discipline exceed her years,” Chen-Johnson says.
Looking at Crown’s resume, one wouldn’t know Crown has succeeded despite having limited vision due to cerebral palsy. She’s even received a perfect score on her AP world history class without any accommodations.
“The idea that Kassidy Crown could be told there was anything she couldn’t do makes me smile, as this young lady has never allowed the word ‘can’t’ to enter her vocabulary,” says her AP world history teacher, Kathryn Crabtree.
Ranked No. 1 academically, Crown says she’s had to work around her physical limitations.
“I learned how to be more responsible for getting things done and advocating for myself,” she says. “Cerebral palsy can slow me down but I try to not let it slow me down too much.”
Band has been at the top of her priorities throughout high school, even while taking college classes off campus. She’s been involved with marching band, percussion and drum core as well as touring regionally with an open class drum corps called Eruption.
At Tacoma Community College, Crown has been an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society. She considers that the highlight of her high school years.
“It’s taught me a lot about discipline and learning, and I’ve made a lot of friends through it,” she says.
She’s also learned discipline and leadership skills while working as a tutor at TCC, which required her to earn various certifications as well as to work with students from different cultures.
During the summer, Crown volunteered at Peninsula Pediatric Therapy, her former physical therapy clinic. Working there with autistic children has inspired one potential career choice — becoming a psychologist and serving autistic kids.
“What my therapist has done has changed lives. I want to continue doing that kind of work,” she says.
While she’s not set on her major yet, Crown plans to attend Seattle Pacific University.
Favorite teacher: Kathryn Crabtree, AP world history. “Her passion is evident in her class, as well as her personality and understanding. She created a balance between challenging her students and helping them become better students.”
Best thing about high school: The atmosphere and student camaraderie. “I have felt accepted at Peninsula, no matter my physical ability. This is something that I truly feel is unique to Peninsula, and has helped me shape not only as a student but as a person and has helped me make lifelong friends.”
Education: Peninsula High School
Parents: Michael and Suzanne Lewis
Activities/Achievements: varsity lacrosse captain (3 years), 1st Team All Conference, MPV (2), Most Inspirational, Billy Nighy Award, U.S. Box national champion; varsity football Athlete of the Week, Hammer Award, Senior Award, honorary caption; 11 AP/Honors classes; AP Scholar; Scholar Athlete; West Coast Starz lacrosse, Seattle Starz, South Sound Starz; freshman mentor; afterschool tutor; youth lacrosse volunteer coach; volunteer for various events; National Honor Society president
Cameron Lewis is a leader in the classroom, on the sports field and in his community. A scholar athlete with a near-perfect GPA, he has served as captain of the lacrosse team three times and is currently the president of National Honor Society.
“He is a well-rounded student who has it all — a strong work ethic, a positive growth mindset, integrity, leadership and humbleness,” says PHS Assistant Principal Melissa McNeish.
Lewis is a role model both to younger youth and to his peers. Based on his academic success, strong leadership and character, school administrators recommended him as a peer mentor for a freshman class for students at-risk of failing classes.
“He is an inspiring mentor,” McNeish says. “Students connect with him and look up to him.”
Lewis has played several sports since elementary school. He started lacrosse as a fifth grader as a replacement for baseball and a way to stay fit during the off-season for football.
“After a while, I fell in love with lacrosse,” he says. “I like the fluidity. Football is a lot of banging and smashing into each other. In lacrosse, you have a lot of room to create your own opportunities.”
The highest moment of his lacrosse career was as a sophomore, when the seniors on the team chose him for the Senior Award — typically given to a junior.
“It was a really big honor for me. It was nice to see that upperclassmen saw me as a leader,” he says.
In addition to the high school varsity team, Lewis has played with club teams, including a team that won the national title in box lacrosse. His highest honor in the sport was being selected as a midfielder for the All-Conference team.
Currently, he is sharing his talents for lacrosse with seventh- and eighth-grade students as a volunteer coach for the youth lacrosse team at Peninsula. At the end of the two-hour practice with his own team after school, he spends the next two hours coaching.
Lewis says he wanted to help the team’s coaches, who are mostly fathers without experience in the sport.
“I took it as an opportunity to share my knowledge I’ve learned through the years with the younger kids in the community,” he says. “It’s a very rewarding experience to see them succeed.”
He plans to attend either University of Washington or California Berkeley and major in business or finance while playing lacrosse. His goal is to become a financial adviser.
Favorite teacher: Danielle O’Leary, English. “Her loving demeanor brightens everyone’s day.”
Best thing about high school: Friendliness. “Whenever you walk through the halls of PHS it feel kike everyone is willing to be your friend.”