Cedarcrest class leaders thank families, teachers

  • Written by Leanne Christensen, RSD
Cedarcrest salutatorian Haley Knox, valedictorian Erica Debrecht and salutatorian Cara Strodel. Photo by Leanne Christensen, RSD
Three young women are the top scholars of this year’s Cedarcrest graduating class – valedictorian Erica Debrecht and salutatorians Haley Knox and Cara Strodel.

 Besides earning top grades, all have involved themselves in challenging educational, volunteer and athletic activities, earning numerous awards along the way.

During her years at CHS, valedictorian Erica Debrecht has taken advantage of the many academic and extracurricular activities available to her and has also been the recipient of countless awards.

Erica has been a National Honor Society member and on the Honor Roll since 2007, captain of CHS Color Guard, captain of Girls Soccer, a member of DECA, Random Acts of Kindness, was the recipient of the Wellesley College Book Award, the Masonic Remarkable Student Award and was chosen for the Rotary Youth Exchange to Germany in 2010. Amazingly, she has been able to accomplish all of this, not to mention challenging courses such as AP calculus and AP English; all the while achieving a GPA of 4.0.

Erica’s future plans include traveling to Europe next year where she will continue her studies in the area of international relations. She would like to thank her family for their many years of encouragement. She says, "I want to thank my parents for all they have done for me. I would never have survived elementary school, let alone high school, without their constant love and support."

Haley Knox is one of two salutatorians at CHS this year. Haley sought an active and challenging path during her years at Cedarcrest; participating in many clubs and honors classes and receiving numerous awards.

While taking honors classes such as physical science, English, biology, pre-calculus, calculus, and chemistry, Haley has also been president of the National Honor Society, TSA vice president and a member of the CHS Cheer Squad; she also made the time to volunteer as a camp counselor at Bridge of Promise, a Peer Model for the special needs cheer squad, and was an assistant dance instructor at TJ Dance, and Cherry Valley Elementary.

Haley would like to thank her parents for all of their love and support the last 18 years, her teacher Mr. Armstrong for keeping her laughing and learning at the same time, and teacher Mrs. Carlson for teaching her to enjoy English and focusing on loving to learn… over and above "the grade" achieved. Her favorite quote is, "Always put your best foot forward, if you don’t the other one doesn’t get to follow."

– Kelly Coutrone

Haley will continue her studies in the area of design at the University of Washington next year.

Haley’s fellow salutatorian Cara Strodel’s high school résumé is an impressive one – her academic achievements and awards are numerous, as are her athletic accomplishments.

Cara has been a front runner on the CHS cross country team and track and field from her freshman year through her senior year. She is also a member of DECA and a four year National Honor Society student. Her honors and awards include: The Davis Law Group, Scholar Athlete of the Week, Wendy’s High School Heisman Winner, an Honors and AP Scholar; she has a four year academic and athletic letter, and she was a nominee in the 45th District Washington Scholars Program.

Cara would like to thank her family, friends and coaches for helping her to become the person she is today. She says, "I will cherish the memories I have made throughout my high school experience, and I am so proud to be graduating with the class of 2011," … "don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened."

Cara will continue her studies at college next year in the area of kinesiology and exercise science.

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