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Valedictorian Michela Mattens

Michela Mattens is one of South Whidbey High School
Michela Mattens is one of South Whidbey High School's six valedictorians in the Class of 2009.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / The Record

Michela Mattens

In each of these student’s lives, there has been a turning point. For Michela Mattens, that came two years ago after being named principal dancer for Whidbey Island Dance Theater’s “The Nutcracker.”

“I turned it down so I could experience the full range of life as a high school student,” she explained. “I took up cross country and joined the tennis team, and I’ve never looked back.”

She concedes how important it was to be a ballerina.

“Dance had a huge impact on me by teaching discipline and confidence,” she said. “Dancing ignited a spark of joy in my heart.”

And that same acquired confidence allowed her to run the trails behind the school and wield a tennis racquet with authority, sports she can pursue for a lifetime.

Mattens will study environmental science this September at the University of Washington. She’s made a serious head start by developing a compost demonstration site at the Good Cheer Garden in Bayview.

“We were able to show the benefits of vegetables for a healthy diet,” she said. “And when the veggies are harvested, they’ll go to people who can really take advantage.”

History teacher Tom Kramer said that Mattens’ signature sense of fun and laughter tends to obscure a first-class mind that can get down to business very quickly.

“No doubt about it, she’ll go far with her intelligence and winning personality,” he said.

Mattens said there will be a lot of tears today during the ceremony.

“Above all, I’ll miss the smiles in the hallway I’ve seen since kindergarten,” she said.

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