High school graduation is an important milestone in one’s life. For most students, it’s an event that carries a range of emotions from giddy excitement to bittersweet feelings for a soon-to-be bygone youth.
This year’s crop of Northshore School District seniors, like those before them, is eagerly looking forward to the future with great anticipation and optimism.
Matthew Scheid, for example, is heading to UW in the fall where he plans to double major in theater performance and business marketing. The WHS teen, who was actively involved in his school’s drama department, hopes to continue pursuing his passion for the stage, while also gaining a purposeful and useful education.
"I love the theater and I hopefully want to pursue a career as a professional actor or a director," says Scheid, "but I’m passionate about learning and I think having a business background would be a great asset no matter what I do."
The recent grad received an acting and academic scholarship to attend the University of Northern Colorado, but opted to attend UW because of his connections with the local theater community.
He explains: "Seattle is such a great place for theater and the U has an incredible theater department, plus it’s also got a great business school. I felt it was the best situation for me, plus they also gave me a business scholarship, too."
Though the teen is excited about taking the next step in his life, he knows he will miss the close relationships he has had over the years with his teachers and friends.
He adds, "I’ve had such great relationships with the faculty at Woodinville and I know that these types of relationships are harder to achieve at a larger university."
Scheid feels he is well prepared for college, as he challenged himself academically by taking rigorous honors level classes in high school. He explains that he has always been self-motivated and intuitive about what he needs to be successful both in and out of the classroom.
"My academic experience at Woodinville was excellent and I worked hard to get everything I could out of my classes," he says. "I think you get out what you put in when it comes to a class or for that matter any activity or experience."
The teen encourages those entering high school to set high goals for themselves, look for opportunities to get involved in clubs and activities and be an active participant in class.
He adds, "Come in eager and wanting and make the most out of school."
Katherine Charters, a recent BHS grad, echoes Scheid’s advice and urges students to take AP and honors classes for the academic challenge and the in depth content. She notes, "The teachers I had for these classes were wonderful. They really inspired me to learn because they were passionate about their subject areas." The teen will be attending Gonzaga University in the fall and is considering English as her major.
"I’m really looking forward to new experiences and to being independent," she says. "I also want to travel and Gonzaga has a study abroad program in Florence that I hope to do."
It’s hard for Charters to believe that high school is over, as she claims it "all flew by so quickly."
She enjoyed her time at BHS and comments on the close- knit community of the school, adding, "Bothell students are fun-loving, diverse and open to differences. They’re very accepting. I will really miss being a part of this community."
Jessie Zou, a recent grad of Inglemoor High, expresses similar emotions about her school. She emphasizes its sense of community and the close relationships she formed over the years with teachers and students.
"My teachers were incredible," she comments. "They took the time to get to know you and they were always available to help or offer advice. Inglemoor has such a strong academic and social community."
Zou, who was in the International Baccalaureate Program, is confident about her academic preparation and is looking forward to studying health sciences at UW in the fall. She received a Mary Gates Scholarship and will be participating in the honors program, with the intent to pursue a career in dentistry.
The teen’s advice to incoming high school students is simple: "Get involved as much as you can because it will make you feel a part of your school," she offers. "Keep a positive attitude and don’t be afraid to try new things, meet new people and step out of your comfort zone. I had an active role in ASB and it really helped me to branch out and I was able to grow in character and personality."
Zou urges students to take advantage of their high school years because they will be gone all too soon.
She urges kids to make each minute count, adding, "Value this time in your life. It’s important and you’ll never get these years back."
Emily Neal, a recent graduate of Northshore’s Secondary Academy for Success, encourages students to work hard and set objectives that lead to a goal beyond high school.
"I think you need to look beyond high school while you’re in high school so you have something to reach for," she explains. "Some kids make their focus high school graduation, but then after that, they’re lost because they just haven’t thought beyond that point."
Neal has only glowing reviews of SAS’s programs and staff, noting that she feels absolutely prepared to take on the next challenge in her life — college.
"I loved SAS," she says. "It all clicked for me when I went there. The teachers were great and I felt completely comfortable with everyone. I learned a lot and I especially valued the community service projects we did as a group."
Neal was the class speaker at her recent graduation, where she spoke highly of her experiences at SAS, while stressing the message of achieving success through hard work.
The teen is heading to Moorhead State University in Kentucky this summer, where she will study early childhood education.
"I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life," she says. "I’m excited to take on new responsibilities and meet new people. And I plan to continue to be involved in community service through the opportunities that exist through the school. Helping others is very important to me and allows me to put my skills to use."
Hats off to all 2011 Northshore graduates and good luck to them in their future endeavors!