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Top 5 lead Class of 2001 to graduation

"The top five scholastic graduates of South Whidbey High School's class of 2001: Sean Edwards, co-valedictorian, Kevin Brink, salutatorian, Jennifer Hendrix, Lucas Tarr and Sarah DeGraaf, co-valedictorian. They will be joining their 162 classmates for graduation ceremonies Saturday, June 9 at 2 p.m.Gayle Saran, staff photoSeniors graduate SaturdayThe South Whidbey High School Class of 2001 will graduate Saturday, June 9 at 2 p.m. at Waterman Field, weather permitting. In case of rain ceremonies will be held in the gymnasium. Commencement speakers are Co-Valedictorians Sarah DeGraaf and Sean Edwards; Faculty Choice, Amanda Burr; Class Choice, Patrick Seeley, and Senior Class President, Megan Bartlett.Ticket holders have preference until 1:45 p.m., outdoors; due to limited seating only ticket holders will be allowed to attend in the gymnasium.They are the cream of the crop from South Whidbey High School's graduating Class of 2001. The five top graduates have achieved academic success, graduating with honors, have inspired others with their leadership qualities and have compiled a list of achievements that go well beyond the classroom.They are not afraid of taking risks, seeking opportunities that would challenge them, whether in academics, sports, the arts or community activities.Some words that come to mind to describe these five students are intelligent, articulate and disciplined. Whether they were born or made with those traits, they all give a lot credit to their parents for being supportive and involved in their many endeavors throughout their school careers.They are products of South Whidbey schools and have lived here most of their lives.Sarah DeGraafSarah DeGraaf is co-valedictorian with a 4.0 grade point average.DeGraaf offers this advice to fellow students. It is important to be yourself, and be proud of who you are. Be involved in what you really like to do whether or not it's the most cool thing, because ultimately if you enjoy it, you will do well and earn the respect of others.DeGraaf was co-president of the Associated Student Body at SWHS this year, a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club, cross country and track teams. She participated in the Science Olympiad and was editor of the school literary publication. Her community involvement includes volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Hearts and Hammers and 4-H. Her hobbies include oil painting.She attributes her success to hard work and dedication.It's very important not to lose sight of your goals, DeGraaf said. I'm proud of the fact that I made it to this point with straight A's. There were times when it was tempting to let go and slip a little. I'm proud that I kept at it.DeGraaf will attend Amherst College in Amherst, Mass. next year. Sean EdwardsSean Edwards is co-valedictorian with a 4.0 grade point average. he has lived on South Whidbey for 14 years.Edwards says his success was largely due to developing a good work ethic and taking advantage of opportunities offered him through the schools and community.I really try to look to the future, to set up opportunities for myself so that I have as many options as possible. Plus, it feels very good to be successful, Edwards said.Edwards, the son of Michelle Dill and Richard Edwards, plays co-lead trumpet in the jazz band and wind ensemble, further developing his musical abilities with private lessons. He was a member of the tennis team for three years and soccer for four years, varsity for two of them. As senior class public relations officers he was the spokesman for his class. He and Randy Thompson developed the senior slide show.In between sports seasons, Edwards volunteered at Good Cheer and as a teaching assistant at Langley Middle School and a math tutor for LMS's homework club. He will attend the University of Portland, where his career goals include engineering and business.I have always had a knack for math and physics, he said.Kevin BrinkKevin Brink is the Salutatorian for the 2001 graduating class with a 3.99 grade point average. His philosophy and key to his successful high school career has been balancing academics and extracurricular activities.I believe it is important to have balance in life with a variety of activities that go beyond academics, Brink said. Brink is passionate about soccer. He played for SWHS, where he was team captain for three years, and he also plays Premier I soccer which requires travel off-island for practices as well as games. He was named to all conference teams in 1999, 2000 and 2001.He has developed an interest in photography, but his main interests are math, science and engineering. The son of Rose and Phil Brink, he will be attending the University of San Diego, playing soccer with a local club team there and later trying out for the university team. Jennifer HendrixJennifer Hendrix, the daughter of Josette and Thomas Hendrix, loves to learn. In her short career she has achieved a number of scholastic awards: She is a member of the Honor Society and Key Club, is a National Merit Scholar finalist and was a Kiwanis Girl of the Month. She has received the American Association of University Women Achievement in Science award and a Principal's Scholarship award. She is graduating with a 3.98 grade point average.Learning is very important to me, Hendrix said. I have always enjoyed it and believe that has helped me. As long as a person enjoys something, I think they will do well. She has lived on South Whidbey since she was six years old, attending the Waldorf School until fourth grade. She was home schooled during eighth grade. Her extracurricular activities include volunteering as a big sister for the Big Brother/Big sister program. Hendrix plays flute and piccolo in the high school Wind Ensemble, is a writer of poetry and a ceramic artist who has exhibited her work in various local galleries.Hendrix appreciates the support of SWHS art teacher, Richard Conover.He was very inspirational and encouraged my interest in ceramics, Hendrix said.She is taking next year off and will travel to Japan to learn more about ceramics and Japanese culture.Lucas TarrLucas Tarr, who is graduating with a 3.97 grade point average, will be receiving an AA degree from Skagit Valley College as well as his high school diploma from SWHS. Tarr, son of Steve and Dee Tarr, grew up on South Whidbey, attending the Running Start program at SWHS and SVC for the last three years. He attributes his success to always making the most of his time. I try to be efficient and use my time wisely, he said. It's easy to procrastinate, but I try not to.Tarr is a member of the SWHS Wind Ensemble, playing the tuba and trumpet in the jazz band as co-lead chair. His proudest moments at SWHS have been during band concerts.To me nothing compares with playing concerts with the band. It is something I enjoy immensely, it's a group effort and very satisfying, Tarr said. His spare time is spent in jam sessions with fellow musicians. He credits his parents, particularly his musician father, for his development as a musician. My dad plays the trombone, so he introduced me to music and ensured that I was given private lessons.Tarr's other passion is physics. I was turned on to physics by Roger Sheridan, a retired physics professor who taught classes on South Whidbey, he said.His career goal is a doctorate in physics. He will attend Reed College in Oregon next year. "

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