Our high schools are full of heroes. In addition to the five graduating seniors promoted in Sunday’s Columbian, we asked staff at every local high school to nominate a senior hero, using the broadest sense of the word. All the responses we received are listed below, and have been edited for brevity and clarity. We congratulate the entire Class of 2019, and feel confident that many will go on to be heroes in their own daily lives. Find a complete list of graduation ceremonies and baccalaureates on columbian.com. — Craig Brown, editor
Battle Ground High School
Battle Ground High School senior Soraya Schleichert plays volleyball and was in the Unity, Toughness, Class Leadership group for the last two years. As part of the class, she built awareness of resources to help students, including advocating use of Becca’s Closet, which supplies free prom dresses, and the school food pantry. In the spring, Schleichert helped launch the Just One Thing campaign, which advocated that everyone in the community should do one thing to help end homelessness. She emceed the Just One Thing assembly and spoke at a community town hall meeting about homelessness.
CAM Academy senior Anatolii Kalinin exemplifies the very definition of superhero. Kalinin enrolled in CAM Academy this year as a senior from Russia. Even though he had never attended a U.S. school, Kalinin worked hard to improve his English speaking, writing and listening skills. He is motivated to learn and be successful. He participated in the Russian-speaking Youth Leadership Conference in Portland. Kalinin is frequently observed tutoring other students after school. In March, he helped coach a math team at the Southwest Washington Math Challenge at Chief Umtuch Middle School.
Camas High School
Laura Johnson balances a lot of responsibilities. Not only is she in zero period (before the regular school day) vocal ensemble, but she also attends an earlier seminary class every day. She has a job working on the Portland Spirit, is part of the school’s equestrian team, and is involved in theatrical productions in and outside of Camas High School. She is has been in the International Academic Alliance program for four years. Earlier this year, Johnson was kicked in the face by her horse during a Civil War re-enactment. She still attended school despite serious bruising and swelling.
Cascadia Technical Academy
Allyssa Heilbrun, a senior at Camas High School, is a second-year student in Cascadia Technical Academy’s culinary, baking and pastry arts program, in which she also is the sous chef. Her completion of the first year competencies allowed her to enroll in the American Culinary Federation National Secondary Education Certification Program. Heilbrun has volunteered for many extracurricular events and assists students who struggle. Each year the school hosts fundraising dinners, in which Heilbrun consistently participates. She was accepted into the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., and hopes to be an executive chef in a fine dining establishment.
Columbia Adventist Academy
Mitchell Powers is musical, has extraordinary public speaking skills, and uses his creativity to find new ways to help people. He has demonstrated leadership in his local community by doing weekly visits to a local park and feeding the homeless and in his school and church by preparing blankets and hygiene packs with help from his classmates. For the past two years he led a fundraising event for the Family Community Resource Center, raising almost $20,000. Battle Ground Mayor Mike Dalesandro recently honored him as a student community coordinator.
Evergreen High School
Jacob Leckie is always willing to assist those who cannot help themselves. This trait has been clearly demonstrated on both the athletic fields and within the walls of Evergreen High School. His strong desire to serve has resulted in his future plans to join the armed forces and serve his nation wherever it sends him.
Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies
Lindsey Luis helps the underserved students at Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies find their voices in the community and in their lives. She has gone through training and helps students file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid and their Washington Application for State Financial Aid. Luis was chosen to be a representative of her high school in front of the Washington State Board of Education and answered questions about how to make public education better.
Hayes Freedom High School
Darian Holmes volunteered as a Big Buddy for two years and this year is volunteering two days a week at Dorothy Fox Elementary and two days a week at Woodburn Elementary. This grew from her research on how a school’s culture impacts learning.
Hudson’s Bay High School
Dylan Henderson dealt with his mom being very ill and then dying in December of his junior year. He moved in with his older sister and has helped her pay rent and utilities, as well as paid for his food and clothing. Throughout this, he has kept a positive attitude and worked toward graduation.
La Center High School
Sarah Hoppe has a 3.9 GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society and is involved with drama productions. She also is an outstanding soccer player and four-year track participant. She enjoys working with community groups such as La Center United, which helps students of all ages to learn about and be aware of the dangers of substance abuse. For the last two years, Hoppe has helped as a counselor with Cispus, an outdoor learning environment for students. She plans to attend Washington State University in Pullman to study computer science, and minor in architectural studies and graphic design.
Prairie High School
Mallorie Mendoza is active in Prairie High School’s drama and choir programs. She is a section leader in choir and serves as the Drama Club secretary. Mendoza has also participated in 10 productions at Prairie High School, and is currently nominated as Best Female Lead by The 5th Avenue Theatre Awards in Seattle. She has also been offered the President’s Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, N.Y. Mendoza currently serves as Prairie’s National Honor Society president. She also has given presentations for Prairie’s Youth Suicide Prevention education.
River HomeLink High School
Hannah Reuther has been a theater student River HomeLink for four years. She has mentored her peers, serves her teachers, and interacts with adults who are regularly on campus. She is an extremely talented singer and actress, truly the kind of performer that gives you chills when listening to her, but she has never let her gifts get in the way of helping students of all ages reach their potential. Students regularly go to Reuther outside of class and ask for help with singing, acting, and being the voice of reason when they are struggling.
Seton Catholic College Preparatory High School
Maritza Chavez-Anguiano came to America early in elementary school. She and her family didn’t speak much English, and she worked her way through St. Rose Elementary and Middle School in Longview. She signed up for AP English literature and composition her senior year because it had always been a goal for her to master English in a way that she could be successful in an AP English Literature course. Her father died two years ago, and she has been able to manage her grief, the language barrier, her socioeconomic status, and still be a positive influence in school. She has found her passion in painting. She recently put on an art show to benefit the community and bring attention to the positive ways art can help people with trauma.
Summit View High School
Reagan Smith is already working as a certified nursing assistant at a local senior care center. She summons her superhero abilities on a regular basis, as she manages both school and work all the while answering the “call for help” from family members. She gives full assistance to her grandpa, along with maintaining stability for daily activities with additional family members whenever it becomes necessary. After graduation, she will attend nursing school to further her life of caring for others.
Vancouver School of Arts and Academics
Despite significant medical challenges, Joe Henry McQuary has excelled as a musician and student. He always has a smile on his face, a positive attitude, and a joy and kindness that is infectious. This summer McQuary will be touring with his band The Departures and then will study at Clark College in the fall. He is pursuing his private pilot’s license.
Washington State School for the Blind
Jorden Raze volunteers at the local FISH food bank every week. He is always looking out for other students and brings a positive attitude to every situation. He is kind, compassionate, and has shown great growth in leading other students by always providing encouraging words to his peers, staff, and anyone he comes in contact with.
Washington School for the Deaf
Etasha Angelica Rose Stone blossomed academically in high school. She has set her standards high and was admitted to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. She is very passionate about photography and often volunteers to attend school events to take pictures. In addition to photography, she learned more about graphic design and how to incorporate photography into the design. Stone broke through many barriers: language, stable home life, math, and self-confidence. To confirm her passion for art, she became a teacher’s aide for an elementary school art class. Stone’s dream is to be an elementary school art teacher.
Woodland High School
Evelyn Roehn is the president of Woodland High School’s LBGTQ club, the Gay/Straight Alliance. She participates in jazz choir, performs volunteer work for the Love Street Playhouse and participates in drama club. She takes challenging courses and is a wonderful all-around student.
— Compiled by Lyndsey Hewitt of The Columbian