Year of the Fox: Fifteen valedictorians for the Class of 2015

June 2015 Posted in People, School
Silverton High School 2015 valedictorians and salutatorians.

Silverton High School 2015 valedictorians and salutatorians.

By Kristine Thomas

It’s been a year like no other year. From athletic teams to music programs, theater to FFA and debate, the Silverton High School Class of 2015 has made its mark.

There are 15 valedictorians and three salutatorians for the Silverton Foxes – each contributing in their own way to a banner year at the high school. Each honor student was asked to describe how the Class of 2015 left its “paw print.”

Cole Ballinger is optimistic about the future because of his class’ potential. “Our senior class is packed with people who will be successful in life and will go out and create a positive impact on the world around them,” Cole said. “I look forward to witnessing their achievements.”

Cassia Catterall said her classmates always encouraged one another. “If we had not been so supportive of one another, there would have been no way our various activities would have done so well,” Cassia said. “The encouragement that was shared by our class was unmatched and I hope following classes will have the same experience.”

Samantha Cross applaudes her fellow thespians for creating some amazing moments on stage. “The people who inhabit the theater are some of my favorite people in the whole school,” Samantha said. “Not only are they caring, understanding, hard-working, hilarious and intelligent, they are incredibly brave. Not a lot of people would stand up on stage in front of hundreds of people and open up their soul to them.”

Aaron Elliott is proud of how SHS has dominated in extracurricular events. “Our football team finished second in state, and our basketball team won the state championship,” he said. “We’ve got people in track, baseball, speech, band, choir and a bunch of other events that placed at state or are going to state. Our class has so much diversity and talent and I’ve been proud to be a part of that.”

Katherine Fennimore describes her classmates as the “dream class. I feel like I am a part of an extremely intelligent group of hard-working people who could be an example for the senior classes to come.” She encourages students to explore their creativity by taking art classes. “I think being creative will help students in a lot of aspects of school and learning.”

Elizabeth Fleshman left her mark by being the only playing senior on the girls soccer team. Along with co-captains juniors Baylie Cameron and Lizzy Roth, she led her team to state playoffs for the second year in a row. She’s excited for where the team is head next season. “We learned from mistakes and helped each other through tough losses. I hope my leadership will be remembered as a motivational and uplifting impact.”

Valedictorians
Cole Ballinger plans to attend
California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo.

Cassia Catterall plans to attend Gillette College.

Samantha Cross plans to attend the University of Oregon.

Aaron Elliott plans to attend George Fox University.

Katherine Fennimore plans to attend the University of Portland.

Elizabeth Fleshman plans to attend the University of Portland.

Ashley Geiger plans to attend Chemeketa Community College,
then transfer to a university.

Kaitlin Kuenzi plans to attend Chemeketa Community College.

Robert Le Parc plans to attend the University of Oregon.

Cayla Smith plans to attend George Fox University.

Shawna Steele plans to attend Chemeketa
then transfer to OHSU for nursing.

Luke Teubel plans to attend Chemeketa Community
College then transfer to Oregon State University.

Kaitlyn Towery plans to attend Chemeketa,
then transfer to Western Oregon University.

Valeria Vazquez-Trejo plans to attend
Portland State University.

William Ward plans to attend California
Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo.

Salutatorians
Annie Appleton plans to attend Seton Hall University.

McKenna Chandler plans to attend Pacific Lutheran University.

Kiersten Stadeli plans to attend Chemeketa Chemeketa Community College.

Ashley Geiger said the band has come a long way since she was a freshman. This year, the wind ensemble placed first in district and the band took fourth in state. The marching band was restarted. “I would like to leave behind a legacy of work ethic and respectfulness, especially with my percussion section.”

Kaitlin Kuenzi  is a member of the Silverton Concert Choir, that performed in New York City and competed in state. From her sophomore to senior year, she has seen how much the choir has continued to strive for excellence. Placing seventh in state, Kaitlin said the “only way this happened was through hard work, courage and perseverance.”

Robert LeParc said there was a stark difference between the quiet, almost boring groups of students that attended games in the past and the crazy, rambunctious crowds that filled the student section this year. “Whether it was making announcements, organizing theme nights for our student section during basketball season, or running a flag up and down the sideline of football games, I felt honored to in a way be a part of the major success Silverton athletics saw this year.”

Cayla Smith describes her class as dedicated. From the state FFA convention at SHS to the concert choir in NYC to the theather’s plays and the band taking fourth in state, Smith said the seniors in each activity worked hard to make their area excel. “We are leaving this school with one of the best years they have had,” Cayla said. “We raised the bar through our dedication.”

Shawna Steele said the Class of 2015 set an example for other classes by its work ethic. “I used every spare second to do my homework,” Shawna said. “I think this influenced my peers because it motivated others to get their work done too.”

Luke Teubel quoted Aristotle, saying, ‘Excellence is not an act, but a habit.  “Our class demonstrated this by never letting up in any area, whether it was athletics, academics, agriculture and mechanical technology, music, the arts, spirit, or service to our community.”

Kaitlyn Towery said the Class of 2015 values education. “John Quincy Adams once said, ‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.’ “Throughout high school in the FFA, I have inspired others to become apart of this great organization, and have opened the doors for members to develop their own leadership skills as well as created opportunities for success.”

Valeria Vazquez-Trejo said her class is dedicated to making its community better. “We strive to be the best and to strengthen our weaknesses. That, in my opinion, is the best quality about Silverton, we are so supportive of charitable causes and we make a difference.”

William Ward said the Class of 2015 was influential in the restart of the high school’s Robotics Club. “Last year, the rookie team placed first at districts and participated in the state competition at Benson Polytechnic High School. This year, the team decided to make a leap to the highest level of robotics competition at the high school level: The First Robotics Competition.”

Annie Appleton said her classmates dedicated themselves to their school and community. As captain of the cheer team the last two years, Annie learned being a good leader and team member involves leading by example. “When the leaders on the team set a good example, the entire team is elevated to that standard and push themselves to achieve it.”

McKenna Chandler said she is proud of how her class set an exampe that it is “cool” to be passionate. “Whether it’s in the classroom, on the court, stage, field or community, I have seen this class devote themselves to their commitments and I think that speaks wonders to the character of our class.”

Kiersten Stadeli said there are many hard working, talented individuals in her class who strive to be the best they can be and have succeeded greatly at it. “Not only did we help the community on Senior Work Day, but our class has made an impact by volunteer work and community service hours. Every student, in some way, has contributed time to helping others.”

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