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Cedarcrest's 2023 Valedictorians and Salutatorians Reflect on Graduation, Growing Up and What's Next

Cedarcrest High School Class of 2023 Valedictorians: (Front row): Kaitee Nelson, Solai Overman, Jared Linerud, Gabriel Arroyo, Isabel Jones, Maya Bhavsar, Annika Schenk (Back row): Braden Altmyer, Timothy Ojeda-Silva, Leah Cammarano, Tejasvini Vijay, Kayla Hampton (Not pictured): Elyn Franson

  • "Knowing I am leaving is like knowing I am starting a whole new life. Yet it won't be too strange, for everything I have learned and loved will be taken with me to the new world I will exist in." - Avery Zlateff

  • "Ms. Isler was my fourth and fifth grade teacher, and I will never forget how much I looked up to her and how she truly inspired me." - Maya Bhavsar

  • "Make new friends, get involved in school-related activities, and challenge yourself. Navigating these four years can be tough at times, but always remind yourself that you're not alone." - Maddie Knowles

  • "I love our connections and friendships that were made in elementary, middle and high school. It is hard to know that everyone is going to split their separate ways. But it is so exciting to see what my peers are aiming for, and I can't wait to see what they accomplish." - Kaitee Nelson


For high school graduates, the walk across the graduation stage signifies the closing of a major chapter in a student's life. The steps the graduate takes after hearing their name, and being handed a diploma, not only confirms a certain achievement of graduating from high school, but each step taken afterwards feels profound. No longer will these be merely "high school kids." They are graduates, prepared to take new steps along a path they have never quite taken before.

The Cedarcrest Class of 2023 is impressive - among the more than 200 graduates this year, 20 achieved the academic success of a Valedictorian or Salutatorian. Among them: a champion powerlifter, a barista, a soccer official, a teacher of guitar lessons, a dancer, a School Board student representative. They are volunteers. Athletes. Advocates. Friends. Brothers. Sisters.

And in looking for themes which emerged among the 15 participants in this year's article featuring the Cedarcrest Valedictorians and Salutatorians, we find a common connection among all of them: They are proud. Proud of themselves and their fellow "Vals and Sals." And also, they are proud of their school, their community and their classmates; each sharing candid thoughts on the teachers, experiences, and moments which made an impact on them.

Below, we turn it over to them. In their own words, here are 15 of this year's Valedictorians and Salutatorians ("Vals and Sals") sharing feelings around graduation, the new chapters they are preparing to write for themselves, and their individual experiences which collectively brought them to the graduation stage.

Cedarcrest High School Class of 2023 Salutatorians: (L-R): Reya Coats, Sydney Cato, Ellie Croshaw, Logan Dice, Avery Zlateff (Not pictured: Madison Knowles, Kiley Mercer)

Through coordination with Cedarcrest principal Ray Labate, we are proud to share with you the words of the following Class of 2023 Valedictorians and Salutatorians.



Gabe has attended Riverview for 11 years and will be attending the University of Washington this fall, hoping to major in accounting.

ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS:I felt very proud of myself when Mr. Labate confirmed the news."

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: "One sacrifice I had to make along the way was with my transfer into the Running Start program. In Running Start, I was able to take difficult classes while being able to have my schedule fit the demands of powerlifting at a high level.

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:I was on the varsity wrestling team my Freshman year, but during the pandemic I began powerlifting, which I have been doing since, earning two national titles and many records in the process."

THE COLLEGE PROCESS: “The college process was a little stressful, but it seems like I've gotten almost everything sorted out now."

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:Looking back, the teachers I'd say had the biggest impact on me were Mr. Nordmark (David Nordmark, Tolt Middle School English Language Arts), Mr. Kennedy (Tim Kennedy, Cedarcrest Media Arts), and Mr. Fassler (Daniel Fassler, Cedarcrest English Language Arts).

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY: I've felt more connected to my community in the past (before I transferred to Running Start), but I have been making an effort to be more involved lately. It doesn't upset me too much knowing that I'm getting ready to leave for school because a lot of my friends will also be going to college in-state, so I can see them on breaks.


I would tell them to start thinking about college earlier than they would believe; their future self will thank them."



Maya has attended Riverview School District for all thirteen years of being in school and plans on attending New York University, majoring in dance.

ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: "I felt proud of myself when I got the news from Mr. Labate in an email.”

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:I feel like I stayed pretty balanced with school work, extra-curriculars, and hanging out with friends and family. However, I think the biggest thing was being on top of school work even when I didn't want to or when I was pretty busy.

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: “I have been involved in a Competitive Dance Team (outside of school), National Honors Society, and with the school yearbook.

THE COLLEGE PROCESS:For the first half of the year, I was very busy filling out applications during the week and busy with auditions for dance programs during the weekend. Things were pretty stressful, and there was a lot to organize and manage. After hearing the decisions, it was also a difficult process weighing the different options and figuring out exactly what I wanted. I'm very grateful for the help I got from my family with the application and decision process.

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:I have had so many incredible teachers throughout grade school who have impacted my life in numerous ways. Some teachers that have stood out and made a big difference in my life: Ms. Isler (Christie Isler, Carnation Elementary) was my fourth and fifth grade teacher, and I will never forget how much I looked up to her and how she truly inspired me. She embraced everyone's individuality and creativity, making learning such an open, collaborative, and constructive environment. I had Mr. Fassler during sophomore year, and his class was completely online. Although I did not get to spend much time in his physical classroom, he was so supportive and encouraging, making his class a safe environment that I looked forward to every day. Mr. Briggs (Loren Briggs, Cedarcrest Social Studies) inspired me so much, and I learned so much from his class. He allowed for discussion and encouraged us to think critically about important issues. I have had Ms. Schneider (Carly Schneider, Cedarcrest Fine Arts) multiple times over my years at Cedarcrest, and she has been one of my favorite teachers. She has always allowed for open discussion and a safe classroom to learn about art while also being in a stress-free environment. Mr. Schenk (Tony Schenk, Cedarcrest English Language Arts) has also been one of my favorite teachers; I have learned so much about writing and I have been encouraged to read more in his class. His class is very constructive and supportive, and I look forward to his class every time I have it.

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:I feel pretty connected with my group of friends, especially since I have known them since elementary school. I am definitely going to miss them as we go our separate ways. I will also miss many of my teachers who have been very supportive and encouraging throughout my years in grade school.

IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...:Make sure to balance different aspects of your life in high school. Allow time to make memories with your friends and family.



Leah has been in Riverview School District for all 13 years and will be attending the University of Pittsburgh, intending to pursue data science as a major because of a passion for sports analytics and learning about the possibilities computer science can provide.

ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS:I recently learned that I would be a valedictorian. It had always been my long term goal to keep a 4.0 my entire school career so it was incredibly rewarding when Mr. Labate confirmed the news to me."

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:I sacrificed a lot of outside time putting in extra effort for my classes. I always raised a high standard for myself to study as hard as I could or turn in the best version of a homework assignment. It was definitely difficult at times because I wasn't always motivated to do this, but the habit of being disciplined helped push me everyday.

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:I was always serious about club soccer which took up most of my early years of high school. I worked a lot at Red Pepper (Red Pepper Pizza, a local restaurant) or officiating soccer games. In school, I played high school basketball for one year and soccer all four years. I participated in NHS and DECA.

THE COLLEGE PROCESS:I have been excited and getting hopeful for the future and starting to imagine what life will look like in the next couple of years. Nonetheless, it had been stressful balancing schoolwork with completing applications or scholarships questions.

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:Mr. Hillestad (Marc Hillestad, Cedarcrest Career & Technical Education) and Mr. Miyoshi (Michael Miyoshi, Cedarcrest Career & Technical Education) deserve credit for their ability to personalize with their students and sacrifice time to truly help people reach their goals and interests. For me, both of them have contributed in many ways to discuss my passions and give me advice on the career path I hope to take.

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:I feel incredibly connected to my community. Sports had always been a huge part of this, but being involved in other things at school always caused me to feel a sense of belonging and purpose here. Growing up, I learned to value living in a smaller town and I feel it has prepared me extremely well to leave for a college across the country. I am excited to take on new opportunities and become independent.

IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: "Do not wait or be scared to try something different, even if it seems difficult or uncomfortable. Whether you succeed or fail, embracing change is what will make you better understand yourself and grow as a person.



Reya has attended Riverview for 12 years and will be attending Oregon State University, studying biology and hopefully translating the degree into one day working as an ornithologist.

ON CONFIRMATION OF SALUTATORIAN STATUS:I learned that I was a Salutatorian via an email from Mr. Labate. I was excited to find out about this because I work quite hard in school, but I am fortunate enough to be a naturally good student with ample access to resources.

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:There have been many afternoons where I would stay in to work, and even more nights where I go to bed late because I am studying or doing homework.

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:I have been involved in Science Club/Science Olympiad, theater, choir, NHS, SAGE (Sexuality and Gender Equality), SOAR (Students Organized Against Racism), and Tri-M (Music Honors Society).

THE COLLEGE PROCESS:Applying for college was certainly a stressful experience and it was even harder to select a school. However, the hardest part for me has been staying on top of everything I need to do in order to attend my selected college. Despite this, I am excited to continue my education in a new environment and explore new opportunities.

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:I have been fortunate enough to have some especially lovely teachers, and some that I did not get along with as well. I am thankful for each teacher because each provided me with academic and social learning experiences.

The first person I would have to mention is Mr. Snavely (Dr. Dean Snavely, Cedarcrest Band and Choir). Even though he has only been at Cedarcrest a few years, he has been so encouraging of me, and has pushed me to do things I never thought I could achieve. Because of him, I have recognized my leadership abilities, which he fosters daily in class. Mrs. Simoni (Bobbie Simoni, Cedarcrest Mathematics) has also helped me to see my natural abilities to teach and lead. She gave me confidence in math, my toughest subject, and taught me how to teach others.

As my teachers know, I have a 504 plan for my speech impediment. Each teacher that has supported me with accommodations has truly made an impact on my school experience. I am now more willing to speak out in class, even if I stutter. Most teachers I had were willing to help me participate while still making sure I feel comfortable. Mr. Goldsberry (Scott Goldsberry, Cedarcrest Social Studies) has been understanding with my Civics presentations, and Mr. Schenk is constantly encouraging my participation but makes sure I know that I don't have to push myself too far. I know my limits, and open communication with my teachers ensures that we are both satisfied with my work and participation.

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:I feel highly connected to certain aspects of this community, the theater and music program at CHS are two specific examples. Within these groups, I feel a sense of belonging that is difficult to find elsewhere. I will admit that I am afraid to leave behind everything and everyone I know, but I feel mostly prepared for this next step in my life.


If they are passionate about something, they should pursue it. I hear a lot of people tell me that they wish they would have begun choir or theater earlier. I would also tell them that it is, in fact, possible to be in the music program all four years and still fulfill their graduation requirements. It is difficult, but it is worth it.



Ellie has attended Riverview schools for eight years, and will be attending St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York, playing Division II soccer and planning on a double major in biology and physical therapy.

ON CONFIRMATION OF SALUTATORIAN STATUS:I was very excited when I found out all my hard work through high school had paid off and that I was going to be recognized for it.”

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: "Often I had to say no to hanging out with friends to study for tests and classes in general."

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:I played Cedarcrest Girls soccer and was a member of the Sports Med Club (WCTSMA - Washington Career and Technical Sports Medicine Association).

THE COLLEGE PROCESS: "It has gone well, I was recruited to play Division II soccer so I was fortunate to not really have to worry about getting into school or anything like that."

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: "Mr. Kracht (Chris Kracht, Cedarcrest Career & Technical Education) and (Mr.) LaBrie (Matt LaBrie, Tolt Social Studies) have had the biggest impact on me throughout my education in the Riverview School District. They have pushed me to be my best self and have never failed to be there when I have needed them."

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:I feel very connected to the community. I feel whenever I need it, someone is there with a helping hand and a smile. I am excited to leave for college and start a new adventure, but am also sad to leave this community behind.

IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: Be kind. Kindness to others is the key to happiness. Love yourself, its okay to be different then others.



Logan has been attending Riverview schools for 13 years and will be attending University of Washington in the fall, with plans on majoring in applied mathematics, and possibly minoring in statistics or chemistry.

ON CONFIRMATION OF SALUTATORIAN STATUS:I knew with my GPA that I'd be recognized as a Salutatorian but it was nice to see Mr. Labate's confirmation.

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT: There have been certain activities I never got to try such as playing new sports or joining more clubs because I felt that I wouldn't have had the time for such a big commitment.

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: "I've been in National Honor Society for three years and have been the Treasurer for the last two. I played basketball and participated in DECA all four years of high school. I have done other extracurriculars outside of school such as providing guitar lessons, working at Starbucks, tutoring math, and other volunteer activities.

THE COLLEGE PROCESS: My college process has gone fairly smoothly. I spent a lot of time planning and completing my applications during the end of my junior year and during the summer. Having completed my application work, before my senior year started, definitely lowered my stress levels and allowed me to go into school without having any other worries.

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:It is honestly hard to choose individual teachers that have impacted me throughout my entire time in high school because I feel that every single one I've had has taught me something important outside of the subject they teach.

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:I feel very connected to the community and enjoy participating within it. Though there will be many things I will miss when I leave, I'm excited to go out and try something new.

IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “Get involved with the high school. There's a lot of fun clubs that are always looking for new members to participate. Take classes even if they sound hard. CTE and art classes can sometimes have difficult-sounding names such as Economics, Ceramics, or Marketing, though getting a good grade isn't too hard if you pay attention and participate in the class. I would also recommend going to the sports games, theater productions, and other events through the school; they're really fun.



Kayla has attended Riverview School District for 12 years and will be attending the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California, majoring in architecture.

ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: I have always kept up on my grades so I knew that I had the grades to become a 'Val.' It felt like something had finally been accomplished and the work had paid off."

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:There were many late nights and social events I had to miss out on to work on school work and keep my grades up.

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:I am in NHS and DECA. I also ran track freshman year, played basketball junior year, and played soccer every year through high school.

THE COLLEGE PROCESS:The college process has gone very well for me, I focused on finding a school that had the major I wanted - then worked to play soccer at those schools and I found one that worked out in both.

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT: “(Ms.) Schneider and Mr. Thomas (Seth Thomas, Cedarcrest Career & Technical Education) had a huge impact on me throughout my years here. Schneider had listened to rants and given me a realistic outlook on the school and events. Thomas gives a lot of information and insight for the post high school years about getting a job and just living in the real world.

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:I feel very connected to this community, with the service I have done over the years I have made connections in this community, Though it will definitely be a huge change to leave, I am very excited about what will come with getting away.


Don’t give up; it seems never ending but you will get through it and you might even miss some of it. Live in the moment and enjoy it while it lasts.



Isabel has attended Riverview School District for 13 years, and will next attend the University of Washington, planning to study biology for now, but leaving options open with interests in a lot of different sciences.

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: "I have been a member of the band and marching band for school, while outside of school I am involved in figure skating."

THE COLLEGE PROCESS:Making decisions about your future is really hard, especially when you’re not 100% sure what you want and there are so many options. I did my best to make an informed decision that would be the best option for me, and we’ll see where it leads.

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:Mr. McLaughlin (David McLaughlin, Cedarcrest Mathematics). I had him twice, for precalc (pre-calculus) online and statistics. He has been incredibly supportive throughout my whole time as his student, always willing to explain anything, help with anything, and truly just creates the best, stress-free, learning environment. I especially loved statistics with him, never in my life I think have I gone so quickly and completely from knowing nothing about something to being completely enthralled by it. He awakened some kind of passion for statistics deep in my lizard brain and changed my life."



Maddie has attending Riverview School District for all 13 years of being in school. She will attend Iowa State University, playing softball, with plans to major in either business analytics or marketing, though she indicates those plans are subject to change.

ON CONFIRMATION OF SALUTATORIAN STATUS: I entered high school with the plan of being a Valedictorian. I have always maintained high grades and strive for near perfection in all my classes. When I earned an A- my sophomore year during online school, I was devastated; however, I knew that I could still earn the Salutatorian honor and I adjusted my goal. It was a bittersweet moment when Mr. LaBate confirmed the news, because while I am extremely grateful for this incredible honor, I know that I came up just short of my original goal.

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:Being a student-athlete is not an easy task. While I have always tried to maintain balance with my academics and athletics, I know that school always comes first. I have had to miss out on not only practices and other softball-related activities, but also time to hang out with my friends and family.

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:I play softball for Cedarcrest and the ai Bandits Breer (Fastpitch Softball team). I was a PACK Leader this year (PACK is a freshman orientation program) and an NHS member last year.

THE COLLEGE PROCESS: "My college process was slightly different than most because I will be pursuing my athletic career. I was focused on the recruiting process and finding a school that I could play softball at, so I only applied to a few safety schools in case my plan didn't work out. Fortunately, I committed to play softball at Iowa State University in March, and the application process was extremely simple from there.

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:Many teachers have left lasting impacts on me in my time in the Riverview School District. A few teachers I would like to acknowledge for their efforts are Mrs. Parish (Michelle Parish, Cedarcrest English Language Arts), Mr. Goldsberry, and Mr. Nordmark. I have never learned more in a single course than I did with Mrs. Parish in her AP Language and Composition class last year. I have taken three different classes with Mr. Goldsberry, and this is not by accident, as he teaches the most engaging courses I have ever taken. I took two years of Honors English with Mr. Nordmark in middle school, and I received more individualized feedback on assignments than I did in all my other years of education combined. Thank you to all of these teachers and many more for your time and effort, it does not go unnoticed.

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:Carnation and Duvall surely represent a close-knit community, especially after all of the hardships we have endured together. Being a part of the Riverview School District and countless teams and clubs throughout the years has connected me to so many people whom I will be very sad to leave. With this being said, however, I am extremely excited for what's to come in the next few years and beyond.

IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “Make the most of your high school experience. Time flies, and I know that sounds cliché, but it will be over before you know it. Make new friends, get involved in school-related activities, and challenge yourself. Navigating these four years can be tough at times, but always remind yourself that you're not alone.”



Kiley has attended Riverview School District for all 13 years of schooling, and plans to attend Washington State University in the fall, studying marketing.

ON CONFIRMATION OF SALUTATORIAN STATUS: “I already knew that I would be a 'Sal' from my grades, it was exciting but also not extremely gratifying as we don’t have weighted GPAs, so our rankings aren’t exactly spot on.”

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:In taking classes with more rigor I missed out a lot on the social aspects of school days as I didn’t have classes with/see my friends during the day.

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:I have been involved with club basketball, Cedarcrest Basketball and Track, National Honor Society, DECA, and ASB

THE COLLEGE PROCESS: "The college process was very stressful due to choosing the right college in terms of cost/location/major/reviews, but it all ended up okay.

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:Marc Hillestad and Thomas Ames (Tolt Mathematics)



Kaitee has attended Riverview School District for all thirteen years and will be attending the Washington State University Global Campus, studying humanities for the time being.

ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS:I have been working on this goal throughout my whole high school experience, and I was so excited and relieved when Mr. LaBate confirmed that I got Valedictorian. I have been looking forward to it for four years, so I was hoping it all worked out!

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:Throughout high school, I have had many ups and downs. During COVID, it was so complicated to decipher grades, and I was hoping that it would all pan out how I wanted it to. I had to transfer to online classes for the second half of junior year, which caused some challenges. Online classes are often challenging in different ways, and I had to exercise a ton of patience and sacrifice my free-time to communicate with my teacher and figure out how to get the correct credits!

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:In freshman year I played Cedarcrest Soccer, and club soccer.

THE COLLEGE PROCESS: "I had a hard time looking for an online program that fit what I was looking for, because I have a unique situation. Once I got accepted into WSU's online program, I knew that is what I wanted to do!

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:At Tolt, my favorite class was Mr. Minaker (Tony Minaker, English Language Arts). We always were doing fun projects, making movie trailers, and learning all about different book genres. It was the most fun group of students, and we all had a great relationship and comradery with each other and with Mr. Minaker. In high school, Mr. Briggs made a huge impact on my experience. I had him for APUSH (AP United States History) for the first half of junior year, and for Civics first semester of senior year. He cares deeply about each one of his students, and jokes around with us constantly. His consistent weekly schedule, his lack of personal life details, and his music choices always lifted our day. He always understood when I needed a day off, or an alternate assignment. I appreciate him so much, and I hope he knows that.

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:I am so thankful to live in a small town where everybody knows each other. Many schools that are graduating around us won't know all of the names called at graduation. I love our connections and friendships that were made in elementary, middle and high school. It is hard to know that everyone is going to split their separate ways. But it is so exciting to see what my peers are aiming for, and I can't wait to see what they accomplish.

IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “Be kind to everybody, because you never know what they are going through. Don't stop in the middle of the hallway during rush time, and that many things are not that serious! Tripping in the middle of the hallway, not that serious. Someone rejecting your romantic advance, not that serious! You got this, it will be okay.



Solai has been in Riverview School District for her entire school-going life and will be attending Texas Christian University, majoring in fashion merchandising.

ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS:It was very exciting to get that email!! I knew my grades but it was so relieving to have it confirmed, I felt like all my hard work finally paid off and I accomplished one of my main goals!

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:Maintaining a 4.0 was a big task and tough goal. I had to put in all my effort to classes and work harder then I thought I would have to. It wasn’t an option for me to not try my best and I’m glad I held myself to those standards! I would come in early to school to get help or stay late, and learning how to achieve a good work ethic is something I’ll take with me to college and beyond!

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:I’ve been involved in both in school and out of school activities! I’ve done competitive dance my whole life and my senior year decided to add in CHS cheer and track! I also involved myself in NHS, and held officer positions for both DECA and PACK!

THE COLLEGE PROCESS: "Figuring out my plan for college wasn’t easy but went smooth! I decided I wanted to study fashion, and the Fashion Merchandising program at TCU popped out to me! After applying to many colleges and getting decisions and scholarships, TCU was an easy choice and I’m very excited to start this August!

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:There have been so many staff members who have impacted me and my journey from K-12 at Riverview. I’d have to say my 4th and 5th grade teacher, Ms. Isler was very impactful in shaping me to be the person I am today. At Tolt, Mr. Ames was someone who helped me find my love for math. My teachers this year have also been amazing in making me feel comfortable and ready to move on to this next step. Mr. Hillestad has given me so many opportunities through DECA and getting to have him as a coach in track this year was very special. Other teachers that have made a big impact on me are McDowell (Bruce McDowell, Cedarcrest Mathematics), Guyer (Justin Guyer, Cedarcrest Science), Goldsberry, Byars (Ryan Byars, Cedarcrest Physical Education and Health), and Simoni! I’ve learned so much from all of my teachers, it’s hard to not list them all here!

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:I live outside of the main towns of our district, and it was hard at first to fully feel apart of the community. However, once I got more involved in school, I stared to feel the care the town has for everyone. I’m very grateful to have grown up at a school where the roots are built on supporting each other. Cedarcrest has become such a safe place for me through staff, coaches, teachers, and peers. I’m very grateful to have been able to be a part of our valley! Leaving for college is intimidating coming from such a small area, but I feel like the new experiences are exciting and I feel I’m prepared!

IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: “Get involved! It truly does make a difference when you find clubs you enjoy and sports you like. As someone who joined school sports senior year, I can definitely recommend starting them sooner! I had always wanted to do these things and had so much fun this year with them, that I can’t recommend enough that you should just try the things you’ve always wanted to do - you may fall in love with them! Also, a piece of advice is stay true to yourself and be nice! It can be easy to get round up in things that aren’t serving you, so make sure you always take a step back and like the progress you’re making! Kindness is key and can go a long way! Also, have fun!! High school will fly by and I hope you make good memories you can look back on and take advantage of the special community CHS provides!



Annika has been in Riverview School District for three years and will be attending University of Washington - Bothell. While a major is still to be determined for Annika, she has interest in business or political science.

ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: “I found out in the email that Mr. LaBate sent out. At first I did not know what it meant, as I moved to the U.S. three years ago and had never heard of a Valedictorian before. Therefore, I just felt normal as I was not aiming for it but just trying to get good grades for myself.”

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:School was always my main focus, as I grew up in a place where good grades were very important. So, I simply put my focus on school.

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:I have been involved with NHS. Outside of school, I have been volunteering with a local German Shepherd breeder for the last one-and-a-half years and recently started working for them.

THE COLLEGE PROCESS: "Figuring out which school I wanted to attend, and if I wanted to go to college at all, was stressful as there were so many options and it feels like the decision you make now will dictate the rest of your life.

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:All of my teachers impacted me in one way or another but Ms. Simoni probably had the biggest impact on me. My first year at Cedarcrest was the 2020/21 school year and we were all online. She was my advisor and math teacher and helped me out a lot during that time and also when we came back to in-person learning.

IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: Find something that makes you happy so that when school gets to be too much, you have an escape.”



Tejasvini has been in Riverview School District for 12 years and will be attending the University of Washington Interdisciplinary Honors Program. She plans on studying public health and something environmental health-related.

ON CONFIRMATION OF VALEDICTORIAN STATUS: I first learned about my distinction when I went to my college and career session with Mrs. Scott (Wendy Scott) where she informed me that I was ranked #1 in our class. Although this ranking was along with 12 others, it still felt so rewarding! When Mr. Labate confirmed the news through email in April, I learned that many of my friends had earned the distinction along with me. I was so proud of all of us. Through so many challenges in our education, we persisted together.

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:I have been very lucky throughout my high school career in that I have a supportive family. This has allowed me to have a flexible schedule and follow my passions.

I think one of the bigger sacrifices I remember making is reducing the amount of hours I was putting in at my job. I work at the eye doctor in downtown Duvall and I truly enjoy my job so much. However, last year, school work had gotten way too stressful and plentiful - especially with AP classes. I had to be open with my manager and reduce my hours while still having enough time to get my tasks at work done. This was definitely a hard decision to make because it was reducing my pay check and hours of an activity I enjoyed, but it was the right decision for my physical and mental health.

Additionally, there have been many times where I have had to make sacrifices in my social life and social activities. I do a lot of climate justice organizing outside of school and during the pandemic and with limited school hours, I was able to put many hours into organizing. However, when school resumed with full days, it was hard to put in the same work I had been putting in during the lockdown. I had to be honest with myself and my teammates and prioritize school. This same honesty has been present in cancelling hanging out with my friends or limiting my activities like my Carnatic singing classes.

However, I feel like I still have had an enjoyable high school experience while prioritizing school. Although I made small sacrifices here and there, I made sure school wasn't getting in the way of everything. It has just taken a lot of honesty with myself and others as mentioned before.”

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL: “I have been a Riverview School District School Board Representative for two years. I have also been working at Duvall Advanced Family Eyecare and involved with Technology Student Association, SOAR, NHS, CHStv (a monthly Media Arts program for students), RYC (Riverview Youth Council), Empower Youth Network volunteering, as well as working with Climate Justice Organizations (Washington Youth for Climate Justice, The Tomorrow Project) and Carnatic singing.

THE COLLEGE PROCESS: "The college process has been very stressful! Applying for college took up a lot of time and was such a confusing journey. However, I feel like I quite enjoyed some of the essay topics - they really encouraged me to learn more about myself. The hardest part of it all was the waiting game - 3+ months to hear back from schools. Although I was disappointed in some outcomes, the journey was definitely rewarding!

Deciding was also a lot harder than expected. Choosing whether I wanted to stay in-state or move across the country, analyzing the program offerings, visiting the campuses. Going into the application process, I thought I'd know exactly where I wanted to go when I received decisions, but this really wasn't the case. I spent hours on the phone with alumni and college representatives to try to find the best school for me. At the end of the day, I think there were multiple options that would have been perfect for me- but I am glad I made the decision I did!

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:Wow. This is a really tough question. I could talk about 10+ teachers that have had an incredible impact on my life in the Riverview School District, but I am going to try to keep it at 5. Ms. Isler (Carnation, PAT), Mrs. Santamaria (Jennifer Santamaria, formerly of Tolt's Multiage program), Mr. Fassler, Mr. Briggs, and Mr. Schenk. While there are so many more teachers I could talk about, I chose these specific teachers because they have all gotten to know me on a personal level. These five teachers would always check in on me while I was in their classes and have continued to check in on me after leaving their classes. They would remember everything I told them, event amidst having almost 100 students, and would constantly encourage me to prioritize my mental health. Their classrooms were not only a place that cultivated my passions, but a safe and comfortable space for me to share my thoughts and feelings. All of them have brought such unique approaches to teaching that helped me soak up so much valuable information while enjoying my learning. These teachers have gone above and beyond what is expected from a teacher and it is something I will cherish forever.

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:I have lived in Duvall and in the same house my entire life. There is such a comfortability and sense of stability that I have gained in this community. There's traditions and activities that I have participated in since I was a tiny toddler, and continue to participate in today. There's places I'll drive by every day that remind me of wonderful experiences from my childhood - driving down Big Rock will always give me a sense of warmth and serenity. I feel very connected to our community and this is present in seeing someone I know every time I go to Safeway or a restaurant downtown. It's really true that everyone knows everyone here.

I have had the same friend group since third grade and they have become my family - we're inseparable. The beauty of the valley is that you constantly reconnect with people as well. In the past couple months, I've reconnected with people from elementary school that I haven't talked to in ages! But even with the years without communication, our conversations are endless.

Getting ready to leave for school is bittersweet. I am ready for something new, but I will miss the support that I have received in this community. I am eager to gain new experiences and awareness while being excited to reconnect with Riverview staff and friends.

IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: Prioritize communication. Communicating is the one thing that has helped me in every part of my life. If you miss an assignment or are not able to get something done, it's never the end of the world. Be honest with your teachers and find a solution- all the teachers I have had are always willing to help. But more than communicating with others, communicating with yourself is incredibly important. Know your limits and boundaries and stick to them. Always take care of your own health and communicate with others if you feel your health is at risk.



Avery has been in Riverview School District for 13 years and will be attending Whitworth University, studying and majoring in nursing.

ON CONFIRMATION OF SALUTATORIAN STATUS: I learned about this once I got an email about being a Salutatorian. I was surprised to learn this, I knew I had good grades but had no idea I had good enough grades to be a 'Sal' after my one class, Civics, brought down my GPA.

THE SACRIFICES MADE TO GET TO THIS POINT:I have sacrificed my time most of all. Late nights, weekends, work in the car or during meets, in between activities and events, lots of time I have put aside for my school work, studying, and quest for deeper understanding.”

ACTIVITIES IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL:During high school I participated in Cross-Country and Track and Field. Clubs I have been a part of include Riverview Youth Council, Random Acts of Kindness, Aquaponics, Art Club, FFA, and National Honors Society.

THE COLLEGE PROCESS: "I have been all over the board in my college decision process. From big to small, near and far, I have explored so many options. It was a long process to narrow the choices down. I learned lots about myself in trying to find the school that best fits me. At first it was stressful to decide because I wanted so much for my college experience, but in the end it was simple. I found the three things that mattered most to me: close community, easy access to guidance for classes, and running on a team. Whitworth at first was not even at the top of my list, I wanted adventure far away. But I found everything I need is right here in Washington. Even a small school is an adventure, you are living away from home and alone for the first time, meeting all new people, having new experiences, and finding new goals and passions. Now that the process is finished, I am joyous and excited about my future at Whitworth and beyond.

TEACHERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT:Mr. Fassler gave me inspiration and determination. Dr. Henrikson (Dr. Davin Henrikson, Cedarcrest Science) showed me that effort put into school pays off. Mr. McLaughlin taught me the power of speaking up and asking questions. Mrs. Filer (Peggy Filer, Cedarcrest Health) showed me kindness and support and taught me a smile is all one needs to make a difference. Mrs. Blooming (Amy Blooming, Cedarcrest English Language Arts) built me up and helped give me confidence. Mr. Sánchez (Cesar Sánchez, Cedarcrest Science) taught me patience, introduced me to my love of science, and made learning fun! Mr. Guyer is spirited and encouraged my success. Mr. McDowell pushed my limits, saw my potential, and helped me find my gut and drive to be better in athletics. Mrs. Desch (Andie Descheemaeker, Cedarcrest Fine Arts) taught me mistakes were apart of the journey and beautiful things can come from what seems gnarly or broken. I learned from her art class that even when uncertain just go for it and see what happens, it's more fun and unique that way. I feel very blessed for all the wisdom I have gained from my teachers and their classes.

THOUGHTS ON MOVING ON FROM YOUR COMMUNITY:Living in the area all my life I don't know any other place that feels like home. This place has become home from more than just living here. This is home because of the towns, the people, the roads I memorize to run, the sounds of friendly conversation and birds chirping, and the way every one comes together to support a cause. Everyone participates in events like Summerstage, supporting businesses and friends with gigs downtown, fun runs, spring cleanings, donation events, working booths at baseball openers or parades and clubs welcoming the freshmen touring the school. These events bring us together. I grew up with these people with this community, and in Riverview School District. I have known the people, the schools, the town forever. Knowing I am leaving is like knowing I am starting a whole new life. Yet it won't be too strange, for everything I have learned and loved will be taken with me to the new world I will exist in. My life here is the base to all I will do and achieve in the future.

IF AN INCOMING FRESHMAN ASKED YOU FOR ADVICE, YOU WOULD SAY...: I would tell an incoming freshman that it is up to them to chose the path you want to pave but you will have many people to support and help you along the way. Do not be afraid to try new things and put yourself out their, this is how you grow and discover yourself. Always be kind to others even on your worse day. Hugs go a long way. Surround yourself not by a crowd that call themselves your friends but by two or three people who have your back for every twist and turn during your time at Highschool, love you for who you are, and stay loyal. You do not just find your place here, you see where you want to be and work make your place there. Always continue to work on yourself. Find your passions and let it light a spark within you. Keep going, don't give up on yourself. Do not fear the hardship, challenges, and mistakes that come your way, you are stronger than you know, and capable of so much.


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