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The magnificent seven

All the homework, research, testing and extracurricular activities are nearly done.

All that's left is putting on the robes, grabbing that diploma and turning the tassels ... oh, and that seven-part graduation speech.

Sequim High School's class of 2010 has seven valedictorians, each achieving a 4.0 grade-point average.

We caught up with the group and asked them for a few memories and about their plans for the future:

Kyla Hall

Sequim Gazette: What are some of your favorite memories at Sequim High?

Kyla Hall: My favorite memories at Sequim High involve spirit days where my friends and I decked out in crazy outfits. I will never live down the day that I dressed up as a ridiculous parrot for Animal Day in a costume that should have only fit a child. Also, calculus with Mr. Hill. I truly felt comfortable to be myself and had a blast on the few days we got off to decorate the class or host a party for a holiday or birthday.

SG: What are things that helped you achieve strong grades in school?

KH: One word: agenda. Without my agenda and lists, I never would have been organized enough to do all the things I did in high school. Being able to write everything down enabled me to budget my time. Although I can function without my agenda, I can accomplish so much more if I have a checklist of things to do.

SG: What are some of the things you'll miss about high school?

KH: I'm truly going to miss the sense of community I feel on campus. I love how the teachers and staff know me. Not to mention I will miss the unique student to teacher relationship we have at SHS. The teachers really care about the students and their education; that's not always the case at all public schools.

SG: What things are you are happy to leave behind?

KH: I'm excited to leave behind the six-period a day schedule. I am really looking forward to doing homework and school on my own time.

SG: What are your future plans: schooling, career, etc.?

KH: I am attending Western Washington University. I plan to major in business with a concentration in sustainability/environmental marketing, and minor or double major in graphic design. My goal is to be the marketing manager at a company that is cutting edge in the new "green market" of eco-friendly products and sustainable business practices.


Sequim High School’s valedictorians — (from left) Caitlin Pallai, Chase O’Neil, Nicole Masangkay, Turi Anderson, Kyla Hall, Jason Kowitz and Meredith Roberts — accept scholarships at the school’s scholarship awards night on June 2.

Meredith Roberts


SG: What are some of your favorite memories at Sequim High?

Meredith Roberts: There are so many, but some that come to mind are decorating Mr. Hill's classroom for holidays and this year's Winter Wishes assembly.

SG: What are things that helped you achieve strong grades in school?

MR: A support group of friends and amazing teachers. My friends and I would have homework circles to work together through things we didn't get. Also, dedication of our teachers who stay after school, beyond their required hours, to help students who have questions. Sequim High has some amazing teachers that really care about the kids.

SG: What are some of the things you'll miss about high school?

MR: The people mostly. Whether it's best friends, teachers or even just acquaintances, they have helped shape me into who I am today. I'll miss leadership and the dances, assemblies and random events we planned, and I'll miss the feeling of home.

SG: What things are you are happy to leave behind?

MR: I'm not necessarily happy to leave things behind but more so just excited to move forward with my life. High school has been an adventure, but I'm ready for my new adventure.

SG: What are your future plans?

MR: Next September I will be attending Washington and Lee University in Virginia, where I plan on majoring in psychology and minoring in poverty studies. After I graduate from all of my schooling, I want to become a psychologist in school districts in cities that need help.

Nicole Masangkay

SG: What are some of your favorite memories at Sequim High?

Nicole Masangkay: I remember the birth of "Musical Monday" when Anna LaBeaume and I sang "Who Loves You" from Jersey Boys to people as they walked through the hallway. Every FBLA trip was fun, especially the trip to Denver. Really, there are countless memories and I treasure them all.

SG: What are things that helped you achieve strong grades in school?

NM: The weird thing about being a geek is that even if it's already 2 a.m. and you're exhausted from an afterschool FBLA meeting, hours of dance rehearsal and maybe an hour of perusing Facebook, something still tells you to get the work done. I'd say the determination to always demonstrate my personal best has always been able to get me through anything.

SG: What are some of the things you'll miss about high school?

NM: I'll definitely miss the teacher-student interaction. The great thing about SHS is that kids can easily develop a sort of educational camaraderie with the teachers and staff. When I get to the University of Washington, it will be more difficult for that to work out because it's so densely populated. And of course, I'll miss all of the friends that I've made!

SG: What things are you are happy to leave behind?

NM: There's a weird, underlying pressure to impress your peers sometimes for the sake of conformity. It's ridiculous how cruel people will get just to be "funny" or how people will change themselves just to belong. College is different in that it's very independence-oriented. You're accomplishing your own goals for your own dreams.

SG: What are your future plans?

NM: I plan on double-majoring in molecular biology and communications at the University of Washington. I would love a career in the medical field! I love urban areas, so I can see myself living in a city (10 years from now). I also hope to still be in touch with close friends.

Jason Kowitz

SG: What are some of your favorite memories at Sequim High?

Jason Kowitz: Quite a few of my fondest high school memories are from my escapades with the SHS band. Percussion class is the highlight of any school day, and trips to Disneyland, eight-hour bus rides and sleeping on the floor in random gymnasiums are the kinds of experiences you don't easily forget.

SG: What are things that helped you achieve strong grades in school?

JK: My grades stemmed mostly from old-fashioned hard work and resolve. There was never really any option in my mind: I knew I was capable of A's, and I just did whatever I needed to do in order to realize that potential. I have two very keen parents, whose habits I have picked up through osmosis ... but I attribute at least 90 percent of my success to the values of hard work.

SG: What are some of the things you'll miss about high school?

JK: Obviously I'll miss my friends and the super friendly staff at SHS, who are all very accommodating and helpful. I'll miss living with my family and all the conveniences of home and I'll miss the small town atmosphere of Sequim.

SG: What things are you are happy to leave behind?

JK: I'll be happy to be rid of the relatively cliquey atmosphere that seems to envelop the high school. Though as people have matured it seems to have dissipated somewhat, people are still not really focused on just interacting with others for what they are - people.

SG: What are your future plans?

JK: Next year I'll be attending the University of Washington, where I'll be studying something to do with the physical sciences. I plan to take a course load that will prepare me for medical school, as well as take part in things like internships and community service that will help get me set for med school as well. Ultimately my goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Turi Anderson

SG: What are some of your favorite memories at Sequim High?

Turi Anderson: One, going to Disneyland with the band in 2009 and having a blast with all of my band friends. Being in band is almost like being in a whole separate school and I've made lifelong friends. The second is from my last high school soccer season. Although it was a tough year, our team was very close and after our last game, the underclassmen surprised us with water balloons and we had a huge fight in the middle of the field.

SG: What are things that helped you achieve strong grades in school?

TA: My parents wanted to see me do well and I somehow have the drive and set high expectations for myself. They encouraged me to do my best but didn't put pressure on me to get certain grades: they only wanted to see me push myself academically to achieve and learn the most during my education. Meeting and befriending the students in the honors and AP classes really helped me keep up and strive to do my best simply by being around people with the same work ethic.

SG: What are some of the things you'll miss about high school?

TA: I will miss the teachers, students, ASB and sports (to name a few). All of the teachers at SHS are willing to help and further your knowledge and I will miss that. My Spanish teacher of three years, Mrs. Miller, is one of the teachers I will miss the most simply because of her interest in the futures of her students and their lives.

SG: What things are you are happy to leave behind?

TA: I am happy to leave behind the daily classes and bell schedule. Although structure can be nice, freedom and getting away from the annoying school bell is better. And having longer than 30 minutes for lunch will be a dream!

SG: What are your future plans?

TA: I will be attending Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. I plan to double major in elementary education and art, but that could definitely change. I also want to continue my Spanish studies and travel abroad. I see myself either in an elementary school classroom teaching kids about the color wheel or being an artist with a job totally outside my field.

Caitlin Pallai

SG: What are some of your favorite memories at Sequim High?

Caitlin Pallai: I'd have to say my many memories that I have collected from being in the band. (Going to Disneyland, Victoria, etc.) And all of the times we got to decorate the classroom for different holidays in calculus class (bringing in and decorating a Christmas tree was one of my favorites) and celebrate everyone's birthday.

SG: What are things that helped you achieve strong grades in school?

CP: Strong study habits and being able to combat the urge to procrastinate the majority of the time. Also, paying attention in class and just doing my work and telling myself, it'll be over with soon enough.

SG: What are some of the things you'll miss about high school?

CP: I'm going to miss band, calculus class, Mr. Younger's pithy remarks, Mr. O'Hara's quarter jokes, Musical Mondays, dances, football and basketball games. Basically everything except for CBAs and the WASL (standardized tests).

SG: What things are you are happy to leave behind?

CP: In regards tohigh school, I'm happy to leave behind (and never have to do again) the WASL, CBAs and CBPAs.

SG: What are your future plans?

CP: Next year I shall be attending Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where I plan to major in international relations and minor in a foreign language, potentially Italian. I hope to have a career in either diplomacy or with an international business and be traveling around the world.

Chase O'Neil

SG: What are some of your favorite memories at Sequim High?

Chase O'Neil: Some of my favorite high school memories have been playing in the band. Going to Disneyland and Victoria with 100 classmates is a pretty unforgettable experience, especially when you get to scream with your good friends on Tower of Terror or blast Michael Jackson's "Thriller" from your clarinet.

SG: What are things that helped you achieve strong grades in school?

CO: The primary things (or people) that have helped me get strong grades were my parents and my teachers. Without their support, I don't know what I would have done.

SG: What are some of the things you'll miss about high school?

CO: I will miss nothing about high school! HAHAHA! Just kidding. I think I'm going to miss that small-town feeling because the U.W. is a little bigger. And my baby sister, who will be a junior next year.

SG: What things are you are happy to leave behind?

CO: I don't really want to offend anyone but I'm just excited to be leaving. I think by senior year, every person wants to get out of here and move on. There's nothing in particular for me, just the idea of something new is exciting.

SG: What are your future plans?

CO: Next year I'll be at University of Washington and from there I'm thinking the Peace Corps or graduate school depending on when I figure out what I want to do. I'm keeping an open mind about my future. My only goal is to be happy with myself.







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