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Coupeville High School senior earns not only diploma, but two degrees | Senior Spotlight

June 8, 2013 · Updated 3:01 PM

Tommy Lile / --

Thomas Lile will graduate from Coupeville High School on June 7 as co-valedictorian of the Class of 2013, and will accept diplomas for two associate’s degrees from Skagit Valley College on June 21.

A Running Start student for the past two years, Lile has studied biology and physics engineering at SVC while also maintaining a 4.0 grade point average at Coupeville High School.

Next year, when he starts school at the University of Washington, he’ll enter with junior status.

Lile is the son of Grace and Thomas Lile of Greenbank. The family moved here 13 years ago and chose Coupeville schools for their sons “because my parents heard the schools here were good, “ he said.

Lile said he opted to do Running Start because, “I wanted to get ahead, and it saved two years of college tuition.”

Lile’s older brother David will also be a junior at UW next year. Lile earned a $3,000 from the UW, and recently he learned he’d won a McIntyre Scholarship as well.

“It’s a full-ride scholarship for next year,” he said proudly.

Lile hopes to become a bio-engineer, with an emphasis on doing stem-cell research. His long-term goal is to help find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer.

“My family has had personal experience with those three conditions and if I can help find cures, I want to try,” he said.

Lile is considering applying for the UW’s BS/MS program to complete his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.

Of his time at Skagit Valley College, Lile said, “I missed interacting with my friends at high school, but the atmosphere at college helped me grow as a person and I’m glad I did it.”

In his first two years at CHS, Lile participated in student government as class president, represented the school at the Science Olympiad and went to state as a sophomore for the Poetry Out Loud contest.

He’s participated with the National Honor Society in community projects all four years of high school.

Another accomplishment he’s proud of is starting a math tutoring group to help fellow students.

“Some kids were struggling with Algebra II, and there was no tutoring service here, so Heni Barnes and I started Math Wizards, which met on Wednesdays,” said Lile.

Other good memories include learning jazz guitar from band teacher Jamar Jenkins.

Lile is already planning his valedictorian speech to his fellow graduates.

“I didn’t expect to be valedictorian, and I don’t see myself as a public speaker, but I’m excited about it,” he said. “I hope to leave a memorable impression.”

“The main thing I want to say to my fellow students is that if you work hard and truly believe in what you’re striving for, it can be accomplished,” said Lile.


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