MSHS graduates 415 seniors

The school’s 75th graduation ceremony was held Friday, June 7, at the Kent ShoWare Arena.

This year, 415 seniors in the Class of 2019 earned Mount Si High School diplomas. The school’s 75th graduation ceremony was held Friday, June 7, at the Kent ShoWare Arena.

Highlights from the Class of 2019:

  • 226 graduates (55% of the class!) earned special stoles or cords to wear at graduation for their academic excellence. Gold stoles signified those who earned a 3.8+ grade point average (GPA) (16% of the class); gold cords represented a 3.5 GPA or above; and silver cords achieved at least a 3.2 GPA.
  • 6 valedictorians — Andrew Helfrich, Grace Luccio, Chloe Moreland, Seva Schlau, Allison Winder, Emi Yoshikawa — earned 4.0 GPAs. Salutatorian Maiya Weinmaster had the next highest GPA of 3.995.
  • 10 seniors from the Class of 2019 earned National Merit Achievement Scholar awards. Commended Scholars included: Ezra Bacon-Gerschman, Wyatt Holcombe, Ryan Horn, Sophia Hulet, Lilly Renner and Erik Thurston. They placed among the top 3% of the 1.6 million seniors who took the PSAT their junior year. Antonio Gil, Stephan Rubalcaba, Sophia Ojeda and Christian Palomo are National Hispanic Scholars; they are four of only 5,000 Hispanic students (top 2.5% in the nation) recognized this year.
  • $11.5 million in scholarships were awarded this year—$61,000 of which came from local scholarships. (Thank you!)
  • 500 students took at least one AP exam, and a total of 829 exams were taken this year. Of those students, 135 were seniors or roughly 33% of the Class of 2019 accepted the challenge of rigorous college-level coursework in high school.
  • 48 seniors earned national AP Scholar recognition from the College Board for demonstrating exemplary college-level achievement through Advance Placement courses and exams! 24 of those were named AP Scholars for completing 3 or more college-level exams with a score of 3 or more, out of 5 possible. 12 seniors earned AP Scholar with Honors awards for completing 4 or more AP exams with an average score of 3.25 per exam. And, 12 students were AP Scholars with Distinction for completing 5 or more exams before their senior year with an average score of 3.5.
  • 7 seniors have enlisted in U.S. military service: 4 Navy, 1 Army, 1 Marine Corps, and 1 in the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Washington (where she was accepted in the College of Engineering).
  • 73 senior members in National Honors Society logged an impressive total of 21,690 hours of community service during their membership, while maintaining academic excellence. 34 seniors volunteered over 200 hours each, and 6 students served over 400 hours each.
  • 7 seniors earned scouting’s highest rank of Eagle Scout, each contributing a service project to the community.
  • Seniors Chirag Vedullapalli and Cody Frederick received the Wildcat Senior-of the-Year awards from Mount Si staff for modeling integrity, pride, leadership, sportsmanship, school spirit and service to the school.
  • Among 415 Mount Si graduates, students self-reported that 63% of the class plans to attend a four-year institution; 20% will attend a two-year community or technical college; 9 are going into the military; 4 are participating in apprenticeship programs; 24 students are taking a gap year or mission trip before resuming their education; and 7% are entering the world of work.
  • 9 graduates were among the first class to successfully complete the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college-readiness program, which this district implemented three years ago.
  • 54 seniors earned their Associate of Arts degrees through the Running Start program at Bellevue College while also earning high school diplomas.
  • In sports, 875 Mount Si students participate in 20 sports on 44 teams. 53 senior athletes earned a 3.75 GPA or higher.
  • Team recognition was given to Boys Basketball (2nd in state!); Boys Golf (4th in state); Girls Golf (8th in state); Football (10-2 season and state quarterfinals); and Boys Soccer (17-3 season and made state finals for the first time). Mount Si Varsity Cheer placed 1st in state and 1st in the nation in their division at the NCA Cheerleading Championship in Orlando. Dance Team had their best year, placing 2nd in state and 3rd at nationals.
  • Individual senior athletes who were recognized included Joe Waskom (cross country – 2x state champ in 3200 m, breaking state records, named Gatorade WA Athlete of the Year); Johnny Barrett and Cale Millen (football – 4A KingCo Offensive Co-MVPs); Drew Harris and Reed Paradissis (soccer – 4A KingCo Offensive MVP and Defensive MVP, respectively); Spencer Marenco (wrestling – 7th in state); and in track, Karlie Stewart (javelin – 8th in state), Jenae Usselman (high jump school record), and Abbi Triuo (for shotput/discus).
  • Mount Si’s Jazz I Band was one of the top 15 high school jazz bands in the nation selected to play at the prestigious Essentially Ellington Festival in New York, for a 5th time, and Sage Eisenhour, James Kolke, and Jackson Beymer won solo awards. Eisenhour also won 1st place in the Seattle-Kobe Female Vocal audition, winning an all-expense paid trip to Kobe, Japan to compete in the Jazz Vocal Queen event. Christian Palomo finished 2nd in state with his saxophone quartet.
  • Camerata and Bella Voce choirs had 27 seniors this year and were invited to perform in the Heritage Festival of Gold in San Francisco. Sophia Ojeda also won an award as an outstanding soloist at the DeMeiro Jazz Festival.
  • Speech and Debate Team has grown steadily at MSHS, qualifying more students for nationals than ever, plus 7 MSHS students rank among the top 10 debaters in Washington State. Abbas Jaffery was the 3rd ranked Public Forum debater in Washington State this year (just behind two Mount Si juniors who placed first and second).
  • 8 graduating Life Skills students were celebrated, along with recognition of 43 peer mentors who play a key role in creating an inclusive, supportive learning environment for all students.
  • Andrew Brown had perfect attendance since the 3rd grade!
  • And, Principal Belcher acknowledged students who had to overcome significant adversity, loss or family challenges this year, without naming names. The audience paid respect to the courage, determination and perseverance that these students demonstrated to graduate.