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Coupeville's top ten graduating seniors show passion in education and community

Coupeville
Coupeville's top ten seniors are, from left, Briess Potter, Ben Etzell, Sean Donley, Ben Haight, Breeanna Messner, Heni Barnes, Megan Oakes, Jared Dickson, Brandon Kelly and Brett Arnold.
— image credit: Megan Hansen photo

Coupeville High School’s top ten students in its 2014 graduating class encompass students who are passionate about education and their community.

While maintaining high marks throughout high school, these students do so while also participating in school groups, sports and various community activities. Many of the students are actively involved in church and other community programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Club. These students serve in roles of leadership in their school, even forming new groups.

Many have gone to state and national competitions with groups they are involved with, whether academic or sports related. Coupeville’s top ten is the cream of the crop.

They will join the rest of the graduating class in receiving their diplomas 6 p.m. Friday, June 6 in the Coupeville High School gymnasium.

HENI BARNES — VALEDICTORIAN

Time lived in Coupeville: 14 years

GPA: 4.0

Accomplishments:

  • Class president for five years
  • Took first place in the nation for History Day
  • Part of a first place protein modeling team that won at an invitational and regional competition for Science Olympiad
  • Participated in the Washington Aerospace Scholars
  • Attended the Alaska Summer Research Academy in the summer to study archaeology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Served on the school board as the student representative
  • Participated as an officer for National Honor Society for two years

Involvement/Awards:

 

  • Gay-Straight Alliance
  • National History Day
  • Class Student Body President
  • National Honor Society
  • Math ‘A’ Magicians
  • Jazz Band
  • Science Olympiad
  • Executive Board Student Body Sophomore Representative
  • Poetry Out Loud
  • School Board Student Representative

 

Sports/Awards:

  • Two years in varsity track, made it to the district competition

Community participation:

  • Various community participation in community events and programs including: Farm Tour, Lion’s Auction, Lion’s Garage Sale, Whidbey Island Sustainable Coalition, Jingle Trail Run, Arts and Crafts Festival, Water Festival, Muscles in the Kettles, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters and more.

What are your plans after high school? Why?

“I plan to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks for two years and then to transfer to the University of Wisconsin. I will earn a dual major in geology and geophysics and then hope to go on and earn a masters in planetary geology. I’ve have always had a passion for outer space and a strong interest in rock formations and geology in general, so combining the two seems like a perfect match for me! My ultimate goal is to work for NASA as a planetary geologist and astronaut mission specialist.”

JARED DICKSON —  VALEDICTORIAN

Time lived in Coupeville: 15 years

GPA: 4.0

Accomplishments:

 

  • Achieved a 4.0 GPA
  • Received a 4.0 on University of Washington Portfolio in Ms. Ballard’s English class
  • Accepted to Brigham Young University

 

Involvement/Awards:

 

  • School ASB
  • National Honor Society
  • Science Olympiad - MVP Sophomore year

 

Sports/Awards:

  • Lettered two years in soccer and named Most Improved Player junior year
  • Lettered three years in football and recognized as hardest working

Community involvement:

 

  • Active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while serving as second assistant in the Priest Quorum
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Earned rank of Eagle Scout with Boy Scouts of America

 

What are your plans after high school? Why?

“After high school, I will be serving a two-year mission for my church in Lima, Peru. Following my mission, I will then be attending Brigham Young University and working to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. After BYU, I then hope to be accepted into dental school and receive my doctorate in dental surgery.”

BRETT ARNOLD — SALUTATORIAN

Time lived in Coupeville: 18 years

GPA: 3.99

Accomplishments:

 

  • Lamp of Knowledge for Academic Excellence
  • Service Recognition for Excellent Leadership
  • Academic Excellence in geometry, English 10, algebra II , precalculus
  • Outstanding Student in wood shop, weight training, guitar

 

Involvement/Awards:

 

  • Honor Society
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Executive Board (Position: President)

 

Sports/Awards:

  • Football (4 years Varsity, Captain 11th - 12th grade)
  • Soccer: 1 year JV, 3 years Varsity, Captain 12th grade, Most Valuable Player 9th grade

Community involvement:

  • Active at Living Hope Foursquare church, serving as a middle school youth leader and a member of the worship team

What are your plans after high school? Why?

“I plan to attend Azusa Pacific University, a four-year private christian university. Here I will pursue a bachelor of the fine arts in the cinematic arts.”

BEN HAIGHT —  SALUTATORIAN

Time lived in Coupeville: 6 years

GPA: 3.99

Accomplishments:

  • Received 13 student achievement/student of the year awards in geometry, science 9, fitness, English 9, algebra II, world history, Spanish II, wood shop, chemistry, English 11 cp, U.S. history cp, precalculus and weight training

Involvement/Awards:

  • Member of the National Honors Society
  • Member of the Science Olympiad, receiving two medals for first place in the invitational “Write-it, Do-it” competition and second place in the same competition at regionals

Sports/Awards:

  • Football: Received varsity letters sophomore through senior year, as well as the coaches award the past two years

Community involvement:

  • Volunteer through National Honors Society

What are your plans after high school? Why?

“I have been accepted to the University of Washington, with direct admission to the School of Engineering (specifically civil engineering). I plan to become a civil engineer, as this is a career interest I have had since the beginning of high school.”

SEAN DONLEY

Time lived in Coupeville: 10 years

GPA: 3.95

Accomplishments:

 

  • Maintained a 3.95 GPA throughout high school, while working two jobs and attending seminary at 6 a.m.
  • Received academic awards in English, math, weight training and history
  • During senior year, took UW 131 English and scored a 3.8. Throughout high school, have taken the most challenging classes the school has to offer, including all the CP classes, UW English and AP statistics

 

Involvement/Awards:

  • Honor Society

Sports/Awards:

  • Soccer: received the “Rookie of the Year” award freshman year after lettering in varsity. Senior year, was named MVP of the soccer team along with being the captain

Community involvement:

  • Attends church every Sunday, and seminary, weekdays at 6 a.m. My church is often involved in service activities, which I frequently attend
  • Is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America

What are your plans after high school? Why?

“I will attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah ,in the winter term of 2015. I will gain a bachelor’s of science, then transfer to the University of Washington to enter their medical school program. I plan to graduate med school with a degree in general medicine.”

BENJAMIN ETZELL

Time lived in Coupeville: 15 years

GPA: 3.94

Accomplishments:

  • Named Spanish 1 Student of the Year and Geometry Student of the Year

Involvement/Awards:

  • Member of class ASB for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years as a representative and then a treasurer and currently serving as central treasurer on the school-wide ASB Executive Board
  • Member of the National Honor Society and currently one of eight co-president group leaders

Sports/Awards:

 

  • Participated in Baseball, Basketball and Tennis
  • Lettered in basketball and tennis for two years
  • Named WIAA Athlete of the Week in January of junior year for a performance of 24 points that earned the team’s first victory in over a year
  • Won the district title and have advanced to the state tournament for tennis
  • Played and lettered in baseball all four years
  • As a junior, was named First-Team All Cascade Conference Pitcher

 

Community involvement:

 

  • Member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland since 2000, helping with Sunday School rooms, as an usher and helping with various programs
  • Volunteer with various community groups including Gifts from the Heart Food Bank, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Lion’s Club Swim program, Rubatano Marimba and my brother’s Special Olympics basketball team as an assistant coach
  • Went on a mission trip to Mexico with a group from Living Hope Four Square church in Coupeville in the summer of 201

 

What are your plans after high school? Why?

“I have committed to go to Saint John’s University in Minnesota next year and am undecided on a major but will minor in exercise science and sport studies. I will also be playing baseball. Eventually, I plan on becoming a physical therapist or athletic trainer. My dad went to Saint John’s, so that certainly had an influence on my decision, but ultimately I chose it because of the great financial package they provided me with and the experience I had when I visited.”

BRANDON KELLY

Time lived in Coupeville: 6 years

GPA: 3.9

Accomplishments:

  • Participated in various extracurriculars while continuing to achieve high marks. These include tennis, track, science olympiad and band-related performances

Involvement/Awards:

  • Took third in an event involving circuit analysis while the year before took first for a thermodynamic event for Science Olympiad

Sports/Awards:

 

  • Have received many ribbons for track events including hurdles, relays and open sprints
  • Varsity lettered all four years in tennis
  • Achieved rank of second doubles team in tennis

 

Community involvement:

  • Participates in worship band at Living Hope Foursquare church
  • Volunteers at community events such as the Penn Cove Water Festival

What are your plans after high school? Why?

“I plan to attend California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. I am attending this school in the major of computer engineering because I’d like to design software in my career.”

BREEANNA MESSNER

Time lived in Coupeville: 17 years

GPA: 3.9

Accomplishments:

 

  • Honor roll all four years of high school.
  • Received the Excellence in Chemistry award, as well as the Excellence in Science 9 award
  • Coupeville Student of the Quarter

 

Involvement/Awards:

 

  • Co-president of National Honor Society
  • ASB class secretary I am also the secretary
  • ASB representative for three years

 

Sports/Awards:

 

  • Played basketball, volleyball and softball for four years and was a cheerleader for three years
  • Received the Wolf Award and the Coaches’ Award in volleyball
  • Received the Wolf Pride Award and the Wolf Award in basketball
  • Received honorable mention in both basketball and volleyball
  • Team captain in volleyball, softball and basketball

 

Community involvement:

 

  • Leo Club, which is the Lions Club for high schoolers, volunteering at events and also doing projects that will help make the community a better place
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Coached with the Boys and Girls Club basketball program for younger kids

 

What are your plans after high school? Why?

“After high school, I will be attending San Diego State University to pursue a degree in either organic chemistry or medical sciences. My favorite subjects are anything science based, and so by choosing either of these majors, I will prepare myself for my future. I plan to pursue a career in Medicine, and I believe that these majors will give me at better chance at succeeding in medical school.”

MEGAN OAKES

Time lived in Coupeville: 13 years

GPA: 3.8

Accomplishments:

  • Coupeville High School Student of the Quarter
  • Academic Achievement Awards in English, math, Spanish and art

Involvement:

 

  • Senior Class ASB Rep.)
  • Honor Society (Co-President)
  • Drama (Lettered Twice)

 

Sports/Awards:

  • Lettered twice in volleyball and served as co-captain one year
  • Lettered twice in track

Community involvement:

  • Volunteered throughout the community through National Honor Society

What are your plans after high school? Why?

“I will be attending the University of Washington next year, with tentative career goals in journalism. Over the summer, I could possibly be going to Spain to participate in UW’s 21st Century learning program and earn credits through a student-led project. I also intend to take advantage of UW’s prolific study-abroad programs. I love travel, and hope to do so extensively after college.”

BRIESS POTTER

Time lived in Coupeville: 18 years

GPA:  3.75

Accomplishments:

 

  • Founded the Coupeville Constitutionalist Club
  • Spanish Student of the Year — Year I, II and III.
  • English Student of the Year

 

Involvement/Awards:

 

  • Science Olympiad, placed 4th at Regional Competition in remote sensing
  • Vice president of CHS Executive Board
  • President of Coupeville Constitutionalist Club
  • Co-president of National Honors Society
  • Serves as ASB secretary and vice president

 

Sports/Awards

  • Varsity cheerleading
  • Varsity track and field

Community involvement:

 

  • Youth liaison for IDIPIC, working to bring safe driving panels and information to the schools on Whidbey Island
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters tutor at the Coupeville Elementary School
  • North Cascades Harley Owners Group Motorcycle Chapter Secretary

 

What are your plans after high school? Why?

“I will be attending the University of Utah, majoring in engineering and minoring in political science. I’ve been accepted into the Honors College and the College of Engineering. I plan to apply to the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the U, and join a sorority. I love the engineering sciences and plan to focus my studies in either nuclear or nanotechnology engineering. It is my goal that after I have worked in the engineering field I will pursue a career serving in the U.S. government or diplomatic corps.”

 

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