Volume XII, Issue 40: June 7, 2013

We Congratulate Arcata High School Graduates
and Honor 2013’s Academic Top Ten Percent

Kahuna Kavinta (aka President George) read a Quote of the Day from Theodore Roosevelt: “The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” Fa Sillapajarn, our Exchange Student from Thailand, used that as her defining quote in the Arcata High School Yearbook (which is where the Kahuna saw it).

Kyle Visser announced that his wife Natalie gave birth on May 31st. I believe the boy’s name is Nathan, and he weighed in at just over 18 inches, and 6 pounds, 4 ounces. Congratulations!!

A couple of weeks earlier, Jeff and Courtney Munther also welcomed a new Rotary Kid. Grayson Robert Munther was born on May 17th. Congratulations again!!

President George thanked Ron Sharp and Barbara Browning for hosting the previous week’s “Tequila 101” fellowship event. The attendees learned about tequila, and about Project Amigo, from Visiting Rotarians Susan Hill and Ted Rose.

President-Elect Jessica “Woo-Hoo” McKnight reminded us that she would like each of us to sign up for at least two committees for the new Rotary Year. Jessica also encouraged us to consider making at least one of those committees one that you have never served on before. So shrug off your comfort zone (or at least part of it), and sign up!

Arcata High School Principal Dave Navarre said that we Sunrisers are like his wife. She gets up each morning at 4:30 and drinks three cups of coffee. About an hour later, Dave gets up, and “she starts hitting me with questions and the morning news. I just stare at her for about 20 minutes.” 

Dave said that the top ten percent from AHS are “a wonderful group of kids” that have GPAs ranging from “an impressive 4.052 to a staggering 4.616”. They include two National Merit Scholarship semifinalists and one finalist. He said that all of the top tenners are dedicated to their educations and it shows.

Dave introduced each of the soon-to-be graduates, and told a little about them, including the school each will be attending in the fall. President George congratulated each of them in turn.

Below is a photo of the top ten percent:

Jason White chairs our Club’s Scholarship Committee, and he presented the recipients for this year. Jason reminded us that the Arcata Sunrise Memorial Scholarships are presented in memory of late Sunrisers David Myers, James Hamby, Marilyn Fletcher, and Hal Fitzpatrick.

He said that the candidates this year were extremely bright, and that most of the 20 applicants would have been likely to win in previous years. 

Abigail Peterson received a $1,000 scholarship. She will attend Humboldt State University in the fall, and her long-term goal is to go to medical school to become an anesthesiologist. She did some research into the medical field by volunteering at Mad River Hospital.

Also receiving a $1,000 scholarship was Kelsey Sloane. She plans to attend UC Davis, and she also plans to go into medicine. The Committee was impressed by Kelsey’s visit to a POW camp, and how that taught her not to take anything for granted.

The last of the $1,000 recipients was Geena Damian. Geena will study nursing at Mills College in the Bay Area. Geena volunteered with the Special Olympics, something that brings her a lot of pleasure.

Dustin Wallace is the winner of our four-year scholarship. He will receive $1,000 each of the next four years. He plans to study forestry and rangeland resources at Humboldt State University. Dustin has been in Future Farmers of America and he has been an outstanding football player at Arcata High. One thing that impressed the committee was when Dustin said that one of his “tools for success” is knowing how to save money. Also, on the day he was interviewed, he went straight from the committee to work on a school fundraiser.

From left to right: Abigail Peterson, Kelsey Sloane, Geena Damian, President George, Jason White, and Dustin Wallace

We expect our four-year scholarship winners to come back each year to let us know how they are faring at school. Alesha Beller and Gregory Arena were on hand last Friday to talk about their experiences so far. Alesha is majoring in Early Childhood Development at College of the Redwoods, and Gregory initially attended College of the Redwoods, but he is now at UC Berkeley, majoring in Biology. Cal Poly was still in session, so our 2010 recipient, Tom Salmunovich, was not able to join us.

Jason and Kahuna Kavinta with Alesha Beller

Jason and George with Gregory Arena

Dave Navarre introduced the Superintendent of the Northern Humboldt Union High School District, Dr. Chris Hartley. Chris has been in his position for six months, following his tenure as Principal of Six Rivers Charter High School. His association with AHS dates back 17 years, when he was hired as the school’s Dean of Students, and “it’s been a fantastic journey”.

He gave his thanks to the AHS administrative staff, led by Dave Navarre. He said that they “are truly out to serve the students”. He said that they work very hard to promote excellence at the school.

When Chris asked for a show of hands from the students in the room who had taken five or more Advanced Placement classes, there were a lot of hands in the air. Then he asked who had taken six or more. A few hands dropped. This went on, and there were still hands in the air when he asked who had taken ten or more. 

Chris told the students to think back about the teachers who had helped them along the way, pointing out Linda Yeoman, the Principal at Sunny Brae Middle School, as an example. He noted that those who started here in Arcata, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, have received an excellent education. But he also said, “Please understand that your community supports you just as much, and sometimes more.”  He expressed his amazement at the level of support provided by Rotary in Arcata. “[You] volunteer time, resources, financial contributions, and here again this morning, honoring the students and their achievement … for the students, I think the takeaway here this morning is as you go out and continue your education … enjoy the ride, but when you’re done, please remember how you got [there], and please remember to give back.”