Coupeville High School senior Katelyn Wynn, 18, loves history and performing.
On Saturday, March 9, she took first place at the Regional History Day competition at Western Washington University with her dramatic presentation “Service Alternatives and Deinstitutionalization.”
Her project depicted the history of care for mentally disabled persons in our state starting in the 1950s when the Service Alternatives idea was born right here on Whidbey Island. The motivation for the new approach was to train those with mental disabilities instead of locking them up in institutions.
Service Alternatives is a multi-faceted human services agency that supports individuals and families, providing a spectrum of services that include employment, residential, foster care and school-based services, independent living support, consultation and training.
In her 10-minute presentation, Wynn played the part of an institutional nurse, a mother with a disabled child, a Service Alternatives trainer and a person with a mental disability.
Her first place win entitles her to go to the state History Day competition in May at the University of Washington.
History Day advisor Wilbur Purdue helped spark her interest in History Day when she was a freshman.
“History has always been my favorite subject,” said Wynn. “Mr. Purdue explained that I could combine my love of history with theater, my two favorite things.”
“It was a lot more work than I expected,” she said with a smile.
In her sophomore year her project earned her a third place finish and a trip to the National History Day competition in Washington DC.
Wynn attended Oak Harbor Schools in elementary and middle school; then she moved to Coupeville with her mother Robin Myers to begin high school.
Her father, Alan Wynn is a real estate appraiser in Oak Harbor where she still spends part of her time.
“I’ve got a big family,” said Wynn, noting that both her parents have remarried and added stepsiblings to the mix.
Mom Robin Myers runs the contracting business portion of the Camp Casey facility, and Katelyn has a part-time job working in the mess hall there. She’s visited Seattle Pacific University, which owns Camp Casey and will be her college next year, many times.
Both her parents attended SPU, and in fact Katelyn lived there with them in married student housing when she was a baby.
“It’s kind of our family school,” said Wynn.
She has already been awarded the president’s and alumni scholarship to SPU for next year. Wynn hopes to study journalism and political science with a goal of entering the broadcasting field.
“I’ve always been a news hound,” said Wynn. “My grandfather Al Wynn owns KODL radio station in The Dalles, Oregon, and I’ve taken a lot of field trips there and maybe I’ll get an internship at the station this summer.”
Through her participation on the CHS ASB Executive Board, Wynn gained video making experience, creating one for Martin Luther King Day this year. Now she’s at work on a promotional video for Bayleaf owner and family friend Beth Kuchynka.
While at Coupeville High School, Wynn has acted in several plays, and currently has the role of Hippolyta in the CHS production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Other CHS activities include National Honor Society, of which she is co-president, and serving as a student representative on the Coupeville School Board.
“I learned a lot from the school board experience about politics and policy, especially keeping a budget and spending money wisely for schools ” said Wynn. “I had to give regular reports on student activities and that helped me learn what it takes to be a leader.”
Wynn appreciates the leadership and learning opportunities she’s had at CHS and is looking forward to new challenges next year at SPU.
“But Whidbey Island is definitely my home, and I’ll always come back,” she said.