Oak Harbor High School’s top graduates share post-graduation plans

On top of the finals and midterms and all the other stress seniors face during their last year of school, this year’s class had to deal with schools closing, online classes and a global health pandemic.

Despite the extra stress, students still graduated, and they still had memorable experiences.

The following 10 seniors have maintained the highest grade point averages out of Oak Harbor High School’s graduating class of 2020.

Emily Evans, 4.0

A student of The Ballet Slipper and thespian, Emily Evans performed and choreographed shows at The Whidbey Playhouse. She advises underclassmen to not let uncertainty hold them back from the things they want to do.

“I never thought I was good enough to audition for musicals, but once I finally got involved with theater as an upperclassman, I wished I would have just gone for it when I first started high school,” Evans said. “The four years go by in a flash, so if you’re passionate about something, go for it!”

Her favorite memory from school was when she made tie-dye shirts at the end of her AP Chemistry class.

“It was an incredibly fun way to wrap up the challenging yet rewarding class,” Evans said.

She will attend Central Washington University in the fall and will double major in mathematics and Dance. Her career goal is to become a data scientist.

Gabrielle Sanchez, 3.988

Gabrielle Sanchez was a member of many clubs and organizations, the National Honor Society, Legacy Dance Club, Random Acts of Kindness Club, but her favorite high school memory comes from a Seattle district convention for Key Club.

“The elevators at our hotel were always occupied because there were around 2,000 Key Club members there,” Sanchez said. “To our mistake, we decided to climb up a grueling, 30-flight stairway instead.”

She was planning to visit her dad in Texas during the summer, but if she is unable she would like to learn a new language.

After summer she plans on attending the University of Washington in Seattle.

Evans said she wants to study to become a nurse practitioner who specializes in pediatrics or aesthetics and, as a result, will major in pre-nursing.

Halle Lemme, 3.988

Halle Lemme was a member of varsity track and field, choir and the National Honor Society.

Over the summer she will be working at a daycare in Eastern Washington and hanging out with her family.

In the fall, she will attend Brigham Young University to major in experience design and management and minor in music.

Her favorite memory was the choir’s trip to Disneyland, where she one day hopes to work as an event planner.

Her advice for incoming freshman is simple: “Gold Medal Ribbon ice cream makes any day better.”

Isaac Miller, 4.0

Isaac Miller hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Seattle. From there he’d like to work for a large manufacturing company as a either a chemical or process engineer.

While he was in school, he played in the school band, was a member of the robotics club and the National Honor Society, and worked at the Boys and Girls club.

He enjoyed playing macho volleyball with his friends during his senior year.

“We got dead last but still had a blast,” Miller said.

He advises younger students that high school is what they’ll make of it.

“High school is easy only if you think it’s easy,” Miller said. “Use these four years to figure out what you would like to do with your life rather than stress over assignments that honestly won’t matter much in the long run.”

Lawrence Javelo, 3.994

Lawrence Javelo was the freshman class president, the junior class vice president, the senior class president, and the vice president of the National Honor Society. He was also a varsity tennis player for two years.

His favorite memory from school was participating in the macho volleyball tournament with his friends.

“It was an activity I never thought I would do,” Javelo said. “But we decided that since it was going to be our last year in high school, we had to do it.”

He plans to hang out with his friends as much as possible before everyone leaves for college. Javelo will attend the University of California in Los Angeles, where he plans to get his Ph.D in astrophysics. From there he plans on becoming an astrophysicist at NASA, but he also would like to teach physics and calculus.

He encourages younger students to find and pursue their passions early.

“Don’t get discouraged from taking classes that are notoriously difficult,” Javelo said. “But instead take advantage of the classes and the amazing teachers that are at the school to help guide you.”

Leielle Salinger, 4.0

Leielle Salinger was on the varsity track and field, and volleyball teams all four years of high school. She was the volleyball team captain, National Honor Society member, Link Crew leader, sophomore class president, DECA club secretary, Wildcats for Life club treasurer and a member of the ASB.

She recalls many memories from her four-year tenure at Oak Harbor High School, but her favorite is when her junior-year volleyball team beat Everett 3 to 1 to go to the state tournament.

“I don’t think I stopped smiling for the next week!” Salinger said.

She plans to continue working as a lifeguard and enjoy every moment with her family before she leaves for college in early August.

She will attend the Colorado Christian University where she will major in health sciences. She plans on becoming a physician assistant and hopes to attend a PA school after her undergraduate at CCU.

She advises underclassment to cherish every moment.

“As cliché as it sounds, I think it is so important that you take in all of the memories that you will make even if they don’t seem as exciting in the moment,” Salinger said. “As I’ve learned this year, time flies!”

Natasha Decker, 4.0

Natasha Decker was the senior class vice president, public relations officer for the National Honor Society, member of Link Crew, girls golf, Evergreen Girls State, and participated in the Miss Teen Oak Harbor pageant.

She has many favorite memories from van rides to away matches for golf, homecoming powder tosses, to just hanging out with her best friends.

She plans to spend as much time as possible with her friends and family before she attends Gonzaga University, where she will study criminology and psychology. She hopes to become a criminal psychologist or criminal profiler, but will go to college with an open mind and pursue whatever may interest her.

“Try out as many clubs, sports, and classes as possible and just put yourself out there,” She advises younger students. “You never know, you may surprise yourself and discover new passions and stumble upon lifelong friendships in the process.”

Olivia Waite, 3.994

Olivia Waite designed the new Wildcat logo, and she will continue to pursue graphic design through an online degree from Liberty University. Her dream is to either work for Disney or design for a magazine.

She was a member of the National Honor Society, Link Crew, varsity girls basketball and Wildcats for Life Club.

Over the summer, she plans on working a lot and hopes to soak up some sun before moving to South Carolina.

Her advice to incoming students is to not try and do everything. “Find what you love to do and put your energy into that, whether it be a club or an activity,” Waite said. “Also, take AP classes!”

Renee Soliman, 3.989

Renee Soliman was a member of Key Club and the National Honor Society. During her freshman year, she was involved with Oak Harbor High School’s winter competitive cheer, and in her senior year she was elected as the vice president for the random Acts of Kindness club.

Her favorite memory from school was going to the district convection for Key Club which took place in Seattle.

“Not only did I lose my voice within the first couple of hours screaming Key Club chants and meeting new people,” Soliman said. “But it truly strengthened the bond between Key Club members. Although the two days we spent at the convention were met with little sleep and lots of walking, it was a once in a lifetime experience.”

She plans to spend time with her family before going to college. She has a newborn niece that she is excited to watch over and is looking forward to talking with her friends now that she has more free time.

She was admitted as a freshman direct student to the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. She will pursue a business administration degree and specialize in human resources management. After interning at companies while at UW, she plans to be a human resources manager and specialize in staffing.

She advises underclassmen to learn time management. “Not only is it a skill that’ll be helpful to you regarding schoolwork, but you’ll need it once you enter the real world,” Soliman said “If you know any assignment or project deadlines, test dates, extracurricular times, work schedules, and other non school related activities, it helps to write it all down on a calendar so you can see where you’ll be the most and least busy. You can then front-load on any homework when you have time and also prepare ahead for hectic final weeks.”

Tiara Hylton, 4.0

Tiara Hylton was a member of the Key Club, National Honor Society, Link Crew, Drama Club, Liberty Club, Legacy Dance Club and was the student representative for the school board her junior year. She also played tennis for years and participated in the school’s production of Mamma Mia.

Her favorite memory is when she went to Portland, Oregon for the first time for her sophomore year’s Key Club district convention.

“I’ve met a lot of new people and made a lot of memories there,” Hylton said.

She plans to have fun during the summer before she goes to the University of Washington to study nursing. She hopes to become a nurse practitioner in pediatrics.

She advises her underclassmen to get more involved in their school.

“Join clubs and do some sports,” Hylton said. “It makes your high school experience more memorable that way.”

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