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Arenth rises to the top of the class

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SNOQUALMIE _ For Mount Si High senior Malia Arenth

being named valedictorian was not on her Things to do While in High School

list. In reality, Arenth's focus steadily remained on her need to excel in

the activities she was involved in and the successful report cards were just

part of the package.

"It's not that big of a deal _ I wasn't trying to be the best or get the

good grades," she said. "It is an honor,

but I'm a perfectionist by nature so getting good grades kind of goes

with that."

"I'm happy for her, it's a recognition saying that this girl has

excelled," said Arenth's father Rob. "This is

a payoff for her work."

Arenth's achievements stretched far beyond just making the grade.

She received about a dozen awards and scholarships at the recent

senior awards ceremony. But Arenth said the accomplishment that she treasures

the most is the Meadowbrook Way Literary Award, which recognized her

contributions to the school's literary magazine.

"I love writing; it's my thing," she said, recalling that poetry has been

her passion since she was a little girl. Arenth said she composed her

first poem at the age of 4 based on a time when she couldn't find her

mother. That was the first of many poems that she would write throughout her

school years.

"Since elementary she'd come home and walk through the house

and she'd say, `No, don't talk to me' and she'd go upstairs and start typing

it out," recalled mother Debbie Arenth of her daughter's love for writing.

Arenth plans to continue using her creative talents as she pursues a

degree in English at Colorado College. However, the college-bound

student realizes that she probably can't keep up her hectic lifestyle. During

high school, Arenth was involved with the school newspaper, Amnesty

International, the Key Club, Days of Respect, the Honor Society, she was an

ASB representative and she dedicated many hours to her dance team.

"I don't want to give up writing, I want to dance and I want to play

soccer; but I need to narrow my focus," she admitted. "I will force myself

to give something up."

"I'm a pack rat with stuff and activities," Arenth added.

Even though she is anxiously waiting to begin her new life in

Colorado and all that college has to offer, Arenth said she is sad that her best

friend Emily Verbon won't be in Colorado to share her new experience.

"Until a week ago I was ready to get out of high school; I had

senioritis for four years," she said. "But it

hit me last week that after graduation that's it for this part of my life."

"And Emily won't be there during my first day at college. She had

been at my `firsts' for a long time _ the first day of school, the first death _ it's

a little scary."

And as Mount Si seniors prepare to share their last hurrah

together, Arenth will share a part of her soul and express her wishes for her

classmates through a poem titled "Rain"

at the graduation on Friday.

"I always thought I wouldn't be upset at graduation, but I think I

will cry," she said.

But despite the Class of 2000's tears of happiness and sorrow,

they know the best is yet to come.

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