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City of Spokane Valley, WA
2016 Spokane Scholars Foundation Grant Recipients’ Biographies

04/22/2016

By MIKE HUFFMAN
Managing Editor

 

The Spokane Scholars Foundation awarded 24 grants Monday night at the Spokane Convention Center. Scholarships ranged from $1,000 to $4,000.

English
$4,000 Grant Recipient – Collin Cremers, St. George’s School
Collin Cremers has earned a perfect score of 800 on the SAT verbal exam, has a 4.0 GPA, and is a National Merit Commended Scholar. This Renaissance scholar has also earned perfect scores of 800 on the SAT math and chemistry exams, and is the only person in the school’s history to have maintained a perfect GPA while participating in three varsity sports.
Last summer, Cremers enrolled in a month-long course in economics at Duke University on game theory. He also enthusiastically takes on the rigors of the IB diploma program, and plans to submit an extended essay to be published in The National High School Journal of Science.
A school’s administrator reports that Cremers “is by far the best student (he) has encountered in over 30 years of educating secondary students.” The English teacher states that Cremer’s “ambition, work habits, and appreciation for the worth of the subject also set standards for fellow students – and teachers.”

$3,000 Grant Recipient – Kathryn Grossmann, Mt. Spokane High School
Kathryn Grossmann has a 4.0 GPA despite being enrolled in four AP classes this year. Grossmann was the school’s inaugural Poetry Out Loud champion and was a WIAA academic state champion last year. She is also the president of the school’s National Honor Society and the captain of the varsity cheer team.
One of her teacher says that Grossmann “stands out as the most gifted and capable student I have had the pleasure to teach during [my ] career” and that the “well-developed communication skills combined with [this student’s] compassionate attitude will allow [this scholar] to be a success in any setting.” Grossmann says that her name anagrams to “thanks all merry mornings” and that she plans to garden all summer until she leaves for college.
$2,000 Grant Recipient –Maggie Young, Central Valley High School
Maggie Young is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, a National Merit Finalist, and a Questbridge Prep Scholar who recorded perfect scores of 36 on the ACT English and reading exams and a perfect score of 5 on the AP Language and Composition exam. Young also has a 4.0 GPA and has been the captain of the school’s Knowledge Bowl team for two years.
One of her teachers states that this student’s “quest for knowledge has never wavered.  Maggie reads Hugo, Bronte, and Shakespeare for fun, and writes poetry and short stories. “Maggie Young would like to be a published author of literature and poetry, and wants to pursue a career in English, engineering, or architecture.

$1,000 Grant Recipient – Naomi McQuary, Gonzaga Preparatory School
Naomi McQuary is an A.P. scholar who has earned a 4.0 GPA in the school’s most rigorous curriculum and has scored a perfect score of 5 on the AP English exam. Naomi is an active volunteer at the Institute for Extended Learning’s English as a Second Language program – and her love of language is deeply rooted. Naomi says that as a child, “I grew up with ink on my fingers” and that “books were both a comfort and a thrill.” The A.P. English teacher states that “reading Naomi’s writing is an invitation into a potent intellect.”
Fine Arts
$4,000 Grant Recipient – Kyle Thiessen, Lewis and Clark High School
Kyle Thiessen received gold and silver medals at regional music competitions in both piano and viola, as well as a full ride scholarship to the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan where students spend 6 weeks with world class musicians as their teachers. Not content with music awards, he is also a National Merit semifinalist.
Thiessen is a leader in the music department at school running sectional practices, helping choose repertoire and coaching other students. In order to more fully understand  the economy of music  this student works at Amend Music Center and interns at KPBX.
According to Thiessen, “Music has taught me how to prepare, how to express myself, how to connect with people I’ve never met who may not even speak my language.  I would not be who I am without music.”

$3,000 Grant Recipient – Malinda Wagstaff, St. George’s School
Malinda Wagstaff has placed first in numerous regional music competitions ranging from performance to composition. Scoring an impressive 2160 on the SAT and maintaining a 4.0 GPA Malinda is constantly challenged by taking high level courses across the curriculum. Her reputation around campus is one of a musician, a scientist, a leader and a compassionate person.
Musically, Wagstaff has mastered voice and piano and has carried major roles in the school’s musical productions. Not satisfied, though this student started taking flute lessons last fall to broaden skills. Wagstaff has studied metallurgy and keeps bees so it is not surprising that a dual major in biology and music is in the plans.

$2,000 Grant Recipient – Isabel Morales, East Valley High School
Morales has been honored many times in both regional and national competitions the highlight being chosen to attend the National Association for Music Education All National Music conference in Nashville. One of only six attendees from Washington, she performed with the All United States NAFME Choir Ensemble at the Grand Ol’ Opry.  Isabel is the only high school student chosen to join the Spokane Symphony Chorale.  
While performing at a consistently high level, Isabel Morales also pursues a rigorous academic program taking many AP classes and holds a GPA of 3.9. As one teacher notes, “Success is not optional for Isabel, who has and will continue to do what it takes to achieve her goals.”

$1,000 Grant Recipient – Emily McFarland, Gonzaga Preparatory School
Emily McFarland has been selling art works since the eighth grade and has had work published in an art book.  Her talents also include writing and acting.  Not satisfied with high achievement in the arts Emily is also a National Honor Society Member and has achieved 4’s in several A.P. tests with more to come. 
According to the school counselor Emily has also “tackled a demanding curriculum and has done well” with A.P. Physics, A.P. U.S. Government and Politics, Honors Pre-Calculus among other courses.
McFarland writes” When people ask me how my skill developed, I don’t default to the suspected answer of natural talent. . . I’ve succeeded at art because I’ve worked at it; it’s my natural love for it that makes me willing to do so.”
McFarland plans to study marine biology and minor in studio art.

Mathematics
$4,000 Grant Recipient – Jeremy Ryan, Medical Lake High School
Jeremey Ryan has perfect scores in A.P. Calculus AB and BC courses, as well as perfect scores on the ACT, SAT, SAT II subject tests. However, Ryan’s teacher said these are not reflective of his greatest strength -- character. This teacher said Ryan “is an inspiration, a leader and a role model…who will succeed in any path [the scholar] follows.”
The Robotics Club advisor states the this student “has easily mastered the mathematics associated with thermodynamics, ballistics, mechanics and statics…going beyond established projects and curriculum by finding unique ways to solve problems.”
Maintaining a 4.0 GPA in all of the courses including A.P. English, World History, U.S. History, European History, Stats, Calculus and Biology, he found the time to submit a musical video audition to “America’s Got Talent!” Finding the beauty and “wizardry of mathematics” in fourth grade, Jeremy has pursued mathematics and robotics avidly throughout his school years.

$3,000 Grant Recipient – Collin Dunn, Central Valley High School
Collin Dunn has impressive numbers earning a perfect 800 in the SAT math and SAT Math I and II subject tests. He has earned a 5 on A.P. Calculus AB ad BC tests. This year, Dunn is taking the Multivariable Calculus course from Johns Hopkins University as well as A.P. Statistics.
Fulfilling a lifelong dream to be in an engineering club, Collin founded the Imaginative Design and Engineering Club at Central Valley High School, running the club efficiently and setting clear goals while finding an advisor from outside the school to support and teach the group.
Collin’s Calculus teacher is grateful that when he needs to be out of the classroom because Collin can teach lessons that lead the students forward in their understanding of a tough subject. 

$2,000 Grant Recipient – Xianoman “Jerry” Chu, St. George’s School
Xianoman “Jerry” Chu earned an 800 on the SAT in math test, as well as perfect scores on both SAT Math Subject tests. He has completed every math class the school offered, earning a 5 on the A.P. Calculus AB and BC tests and has completed work in A.P. Statistics and the IB Furthers program. Chu has twice led the high school team to the Elite Division of the “Math is Cool” competition and was enrolled at the Ross Math Program at Ohio State University between junior and senior year. A popular source of help with peers, “Jerry leads peers toward a way of thinking and leaves them with a better understanding of the underlying concepts.”

$1,000 Grant Recipient - Shogo Starr, Cheney High School
Shogo Starr has followed rigorous high school studies maintaining a 4.0 GPA.  He added to a perfect 800 on the SAT in Mathematics and a 5 on both the A.P. Calculus AB and Computer A test by completing Calculus II, III, and IV as well as Linear Algebra at a local university. Shogo is currently enrolled in Multivariable Calculus. He aspires to be an engineer and says, “I hope my innovations will further the work of mankind someday.”

Science
$4,000 Grant Recipient – Joshua Jenkins, Central Valley High School
Joshua Jenkins is sole class valedictorian, an A.P. scholar with honor, a Commended National Merit Scholar, a member of the National Honor Society, and is both a Pacific Lutheran University Presidential Scholar and a Purdue University Presidential Scholar.
Jenkins’ passion for excellence is demonstrated by, after earning 2370 out of 2400 on the SAT because of a missed math question, taking the more difficult Math II subject test, scoring a perfect 800, and for good measure took the Physics test for another perfect 800.
As one of the school’s Science Olympiad team and varsity Knowledge Bowl teams, the science teacher says “As BMW claims to have ‘the ultimate driving machine’, I lay claim to having the ‘ultimate thinking machine’ in my class.” With a desire to be an engineer and two university scholarships to choose from already, Joshua Jenkins is well on his way to his chosen career.

$3,000 Grant Recipient – Hailey Lister, Lewis and Clark High School
Hailey Lister has a perfect 4.0 in all courses taken, including both Honors and AP classes in biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus, and is on track to receive an AP Capstone Diploma. An AP Scholar with Honor in a four-year Biomedical Sciences program, this young scientist is researching the effects of acetaminophen on bacterial spindle growth. The Biology teacher describes Lister as “in the top 0.5 percent of all students, college or otherwise, that I have worked with in the last 17 years.”
Another science teacher said, “You would be hard pressed to find a teenager with a better combination of maturity, diligence, congeniality and an understanding of the complete scientific process.” 
Lister is a volunteer at the Mobius Science Center, plans on attending medical school after college, and has already received the top academic scholarship from Carroll College.

$2,000 Grant Recipient – Abigail Colestock, North Central High School
Abigail Colesock has a perfect 4.0 in all courses taken including A.P. classes in biology, chemistry, physics and calculus. Actively involved in genomic research projects both at school and in the field, and having presented research results at the WSU STEM Symposium this year, Colesock’s passion for science is best described by the teacher’s comment that she is “in the lab early, middle, and late and many days I have to kick her out of the laboratory to get to her other classes or to go home.”
Colesock’s college future seems secure with a $27,500 per year scholarship to Illinois Institute of Technology or $25,000 per year in scholarships to Knox College.

$1,000 Grant Recipient –Jackson Cooper, Gonzaga Preparatory School
Jackson Cooper has straight A’s in all science courses taken, including Honors and A.P. classes in biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus; and scored 760 on the Molecular Biology Subject Test. He is an A.P. scholar with honors, a member of the National Honor Society and recipient of the President’s Award for Academic Excellence for the last three years, and Summa Cum Laude for all four years of high school.
The science teachers write that Jackson “understands the most challenging material and is ready to take it to the next level.” Jackson comments that “what I enjoy most about A.P. Chemistry and A.P. Physics is they aren’t easy.”

Social Studies
$4,000 Grant Recipient – Blythe Irwin, Lewis and Clark High School
Blythe Irwin’s counselor states, "I have yet to meet a more talented, holistic, and drive student in my counseling career" and that she will "change the world with her intelligence, attitude and work-ethic."
Irwin is currently ranked first in her class of 436 students and has earned all A's in high school while maintaining a rigorous course load of Advanced Placement classes.
Irwin has received a National Merit Scholarship Program letter of recommendation and has earned an A.P. Scholar with Honor award and an A.P. Scholar with Distinction Award. She has taken 10 Advanced Placement tests and is recognized as a National A.P. Scholar, an extremely rare and prestigious distinction that is awarded to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least four on all A.P. exams taken and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
One of Irwin’s A.P. History teachers states that this scholar "represents the true social scientist in constant pursuit of a well-rounded and academically focused 'Renaissance' style education."

$3,000 Grant Recipient – Benjamin Magruder, University High School
Benjamin Magruder is characterized by his placement history teachers as "one of those rare students in a career who combines intellectual acumen, innate curiosity, passionate ideology, and emotional depth wrapped in a personality that warms any room." 
Benjamin is an A.P. Scholar with distinction and a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, who has earned a 4.0 grade point average, scored a 34 composite score on the ACT, received scores of 5 on five different Advanced Placement exams, and earned straight A's in six different AP courses. Another A.P. history teacher notes that Benjamin is, "extremely bright, takes nothing at face value, and strives to truly understand the 'whys' of the world."

$2,000 Grant Recipient – Bryce Pointer, East Valley High School
Bryce Pointer is described by a teacher, coach, and advisor as "an absolutely extraordinary student; the single most knowledgeable student of history I have ever had the pleasure of teaching."  Bryce has received A's in every class in high school, while taking a rigorous course load that included over six Advanced Placement classes.  In addition, the grant recipient has an ACT composite score of 34, scored a 770 on the U.S. History portion of the SAT, is a 2015 National Merit Commended Scholar and a 2015 AP Scholar with Distinction. An assistant principal notes that in addition to academic excellence, Bryce has provided great leadership, stating, "There are many students who achieve the highest marks in class and on test day, but it is exceedingly rare for such a student to also have contributed so much to perpetuating scholarship beyond the scope of grade point average and exceedingly high college readiness scores."

$1,000 Grant Recipient –Samantha Sentenn, Gonzaga Preparatory School
Samantha Senteen has been described by one of her teachers as "performed beyond all classmates during high school and stands out as one of the best students I have taught in my twenty years of teaching."
Senteen has taken over 10 A.P. courses, earning straight A's in all classes, including six different history courses. She is an A.P. Scholar with Honor and a National Merit Commended student, who has taken four Advanced Placement exams, scoring all 4s and 5s.An A.P. history teacher states that Samantha "is a classroom leader highly respected by peer and past teachers" and that "with an infusion of humor, laced with critical prose to the status quo, Samantha's writing challenges the reader to think critically."

World Languages
$4,000 Grant Recipient – Nicholas Lin, Lewis and Clark High School
Nicholas Lin is an A.P. scholar with distinction, a 4.0 student and earned a near perfect score of 790 on the Verbal section of the SAT. He has completed 16 A.P. classes and skipped from the third year Spanish courses to the fifth year courses due to an already strong foundation in both English and German. 
Lin has earned several certificates from the Goethe Institute for German. His Spanish teacher writes, “I make an effort every day to teach students to become bilingual but it is very rare in my profession to come across such a talented trilingual and tri-literate student.”

$3,000 Grant Recipient – Juyun Phang, Gonzaga Preparatory School
Juyun Phang is a National Merit Finalist, an A.P. Scholar with 11 A.P. courses, and scored a near perfect 2,340 on the SAT.  
Phang spends time tutoring, volunteering, and mentoring children.  Juyun has studied the full offering of Latin in high school, but also is very fluent in Korean and for the last several years has offered Korean to English translations for online content such as blogs, articles, cartoons, and novellas.

$2,000 Grant Recipient – Abby Horton, Central Valley High School
Abby Horton is also a 4.0 student who scored a 35 out of 36 on the English component of their ACT test and a 2,040 on their SAT. She is an A.P. scholar with honors and received an Award of Excellence from the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. 
Horton’s Spanish teacher writes, “the nominee has an insatiable desire to learn about the world and languages.  It is not only the Spanish language taught in class, but also the self-taught French language the nominee speaks”. 
Horton plans to study Biology and Spanish in college and also hopes to study abroad.

$1,000 Grant Recipient –Catherine Cable, The Oaks Christian Academy
Catherine Cable is a well-rounded student who has studied Latin for eight years, Ballet for seven years, and is also an accomplished pianist. A 4.0 student, Cable was awarded the school’s Faculty Award for exemplary character and academic achievement.
Cable earned a SAT Literature Subject score of 750. Her counselor wrote, “the nominee grew up fascinated with Greek mythology, which was the reason for wanting to study Latin”. 
The nominee’s Latin teacher writes, “in 19 years of teaching Spanish, Latin, and French at both the high school and college level, I have rarely had the opportunity to teach a student as gifted, hardworking, and devoted to the learning of languages.”

 

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