Senior Spotlight - Class of 2021
Senior Spotlight - Class of 2021
Posted on 06/07/2021
CK Schools Class of 2021 Senior Spotlight

The Class of 2021 will be a historic one.

As students prepare to receive their diplomas, we are sharing insights, future plans and memories from a dozen stellar seniors.

This year, we asked how the pandemic impacted them. And while no one would have wished for it, they all learned lessons about how connected we all are, how to adapt, and how to appreciate what we have.

Stay tuned throughout the week to hear their stories!

πŸŽ“ Ebony Colbert, Olympic

Ebony Colbert performing at a February 2020 assembly

Ebony Colbert has been active in Olympic High School’s choir and BSU. She’s known for her leadership and support of schoolmates.

What are your post high school plans?

I want to study American Sign Language. I took ASL in middle school and have friends who are hard of hearing. It’s such a passionate way to communicate.

What is your favorite memory from CK Schools?

My first BSU performance. It was during an assembly (in February 2020). I’d never performed before, and it was a nervous and exciting time. I got to share a different type of show and culture with our step. Movements were about Harriet Tubman, with a Beyoncé song from the “Harriet” movie … Students and teachers said it was very moving, a very powerful performance. 

Who was your greatest support for school success?

Shanna Coleman. She was my teacher freshmen through sophomore years. She helped me get my work done, stay focused, stay on track. She helped me get to where I’m at right now. I was struggling with the COVID closure. I’m not even in her class now, and she reached out to me to see how I was doing and if I needed any help. She was more than just a teacher to me. 

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

My freshman year and sophomore year, I didn’t take school seriously. When COVID hit, I was struggling online. I was missing classes, missing work. COVID taught me not to take anything for granted, especially being in school and getting help from teachers.

πŸŽ“ Landon Lee, Central Kitsap

Landon Lee playing tennis

Central Kitsap High School’s Landon Lee is active in extracurricular activities. He serves in ASB as treasurer, Key Club and Honor Society. He has played soccer for four years and was captain this year, plays tennis and started a school ping pong club with a friend. 

What are your post-high school plans?

I plan to go to the University of San Diego. I’m planning to study business administration. I’m interested in finance and economics. I’ve been running my own reselling business for four or five years. [He buys new, sought-after shoes and resells them. He once bought a pair for $130 and flipped it for $550].

What is your favorite memory from your time in CK schools?

When I was a sophomore at CKHS, we had to do a homecoming skit for an assembly. My class had no ideas of what to do. [He offered to put on a dress, walk onto the floor by himself and started dancing to  “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys.] It was hit. 

Who was your greatest support for school success?

Definitely my parents. I would not be anywhere without my parents. Ever since I started school, they’ve invested so much time in me to help me do my homework or encourage me, keep me focused on school, and instill the values of hard work and how important it is for school success. I can’t thank them enough. 

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

It’s been crazy. The biggest lesson that it’s taught me is to never take anything for granted. Before COVID ever happened, everyone would always say they hate school. After a few months, people would say I wish I could go back to school. Appreciate what you have.

πŸŽ“ Cheyenne Amar, Klahowya

Cheyenne Amar cheers at a Klahowya basketball game

Cheyenne Amar started attending Klahowya Secondary School in seventh grade and became involved in a wide variety of classes and activities. She is senior class ASB president, varsity cheer captain, Sports Medicine Club vice president and a Leo with Lions Clubs International. She takes college classes through Running Start and is in Klahowya’s advanced sports medicine class.

What are your post-high school plans?

I committed to UCLA. My major is physiological science, and after graduating, I hope to apply to med school and become an orthopedic surgeon.

Cheyenne Amar in a Klahowya hallwayWhat is your favorite memory from your time in CK schools?

I really loved cheering last year. Cheering at my first football game, I had so much adrenaline … and I absolutely fell in love with cheer.

Who was your greatest support for school success?

I have an awesome support system. My mom is a teacher at Woodlands. She has always been my Number 1 supporter and my biggest fan. She has always helped me accomplish so much. My grandma was the head of an international school in Thailand, and my grandpa is a doctor. They would drive me everywhere. When I was overwhelmed, they were there to calm me down.

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

When I was a sophomore, I ran for a local preliminary for Miss America. I was Miss West Sound Outstanding Teen in 2019. Our motto was, ‘You have to be flexible and gracious.’ That has never applied more than this year. I learned to adapt and make do with what we have. I learned about being grateful for the little things. It’s crazy how much I took for granted with in-person school. I really need to be more grateful for all of the opportunities I have and be able to adapt to whatever comes my way.

πŸŽ“ Deja Jackson, Barker Creek

Deja Jackson looks up at trees along a wooded trail

Deja Jackson’s passion for environmental policy got a start in her environmental science and botany classes at Barker Creek Community School. She loved the atmosphere of the school, which she attended her freshman, sophomore and senior years. She even wrote a ukulele ode to Barker Creek. She attended Olympic College her junior year.

What are your post-high school plans?

I want to go back to OC to finish my AA in environmental policy. After that, I’m torn between pursuing a higher degree or starting my own business.

What is your favorite memory from your time in CK schools?

Barker Creek hooked me up with an internship at the (CK Schools) Teaching and Learning Center. I worked there while I attended OC. I started working with the Curriculum department and then started working with Department of Information Systems (DIS). I helped prepare Chromebooks over the summer, doing basic repairs.

Who was your greatest support for school success?

If it weren’t for my Dad, I wouldn’t have found out about Barker Creek. I was having a hard time with conventional high school. He went to my counselor and they told him about Barker Creek. Once I went there, I met Ms. Kara Cleveland. She takes the time out of her day to call me and check on me. She saw the potential I had and helped me apply myself.

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

When the pandemic happened, everything that I had going on stopped. It’s taught me that even though it may be hard to adapt, it can be doable. Things that seem odd become our new normal. Before the pandemic, I had always tried my hardest to avoid online school. I definitely did struggle for a few months, but then it became the new normal.

πŸŽ“ Jayana Estacio, Olympic

Jayana Estacio sings in an Olympic High studio

Jayana Estacio of Olympic High School is an active member of Olympic’s ASB and president of the Asian American & Pacific Islander club. She’s in chamber choir, jazz choir, and more!

What are your post high school plans?

I plan on attending UW-Tacoma for computer science and transferring after two years. The technology field right now is growing and it’s going to be in high demand.

What is your favorite memory from CK Schools?

My favorite memory has to be singing for Tom McVicker [at Fairview and later at Olympic]. It’s not just about performing music, it’s about learning to express. It’s a form of expression and sharing your passion with the audience you’re singing for. He’s not just a teacher to me, he’s had an impact on my character growth and how I am now.

Who was your greatest support for school success?

It is hard to focus on one person. My school success had a lot to do with my family and the staff members at Olympic. [She talked especially about her mother’s and brother’s support during her father’s deployment]. Staff are not just there to teach you what’s in the textbook. It’s more about building connections and relationships with them … it is the most welcoming staff I’ve met.

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

As a society, we were so used to a consistent routine. The pandemic has taught me how to act in the moment and how to appreciate in the moment. … The future isn’t always so predictable. It’s taught us to be able to live in the moment and focus on what we have and not what we don’t have.

πŸŽ“ Eric Skipo, Barker Creek

Eric Skipo plays ukulele

Eric Skipo has a long history with the staff of Barker Creek Community School. His family became involved in the homeschool Parent Partnership program in his early years, and he began attending the classroom-based program his freshman year. He found joy in music, including a ukulele class. He also hosted a weekly after-school game night.

What are your post-high school plans?

After graduation, I’m going to take a little time off, then go to a local college for a degree in music. I want to learn more of the production aspect of music.

What is your favorite memory from your time in CK schools?

We’d do school-wide game nights after school. All the teachers would be there, all the kids would be there. We’d have games and snacks. That was a nice time to relax and hang out.

Who was your greatest support for school success?

I genuinely could not pick just one. The entire staff down there are all very supportive. And of course my family has been supportive.

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

It changed me a lot. I went through a lot of very personal revelations, and it changed who I am. I think we took our everyday lives for granted. We could easily be set back like this again.

For example, I originally thought [after graduation] I would go into child education. I was really enjoying that, but while I do still think it’s a great opportunity, I found music again. The pandemic helped me get back in balance with who I am and what I want to focus on.

#CKSDSeniorSpotlight #Classof2021 #ckschools

πŸŽ“ Ella Slater, Klahowya

Ella Slater plays the flute in front of Klahowya

Klahowya Secondary School Senior Ella Slater is passionate about music. She plays the flute and participated in wind ensemble, pep band, marching band and played in area parades. In addition to musical activities, she has also been on the bowling team. 

What are your post-high school plans?

I’m going to Olympic College into the nursing program starting June 29. I want to start out as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) and move my way upward.

What is your favorite memory from your time in CK schools?

There are so many. I have been bowling these past few months. I love working as a team, working together, making jokes and just being us girls. 

Who was your greatest support for school success?

Two people in the school. Ms. Meehan and Ms. Leigh. They have been making sure that I have been on top of my work and checking in on me every week, making sure I have good grades. And if I need extra help, they tell me where I need to go. 

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

I feel like I’ve gotten more social, talking with more people. I was able to stay in touch in friends. Klahowya had a social hour every Wednesday where we would do virtual groups and activities online in Google Meets. 

πŸŽ“ Ciara King, Barker Creek

Ciara King in a Navy sweatshirt holding flags next to Barker Creek

Ciara King began attending Barker Creek Community School in 2020 and felt right away that the school was a fit. She connected with staff and students alike. History and writing classes piqued her interests and challenged her to succeed. She will speak during the school’s graduation ceremony on June 9.

What are your post-high school plans?

I joined the U.S. Navy. I ship out Sept. 7. My job will be an Aviation Boatswain's Mates, Aircraft Handling (ABH) guiding planes onto aircraft carriers from the flight deck.

What is your favorite memory from your time in CK schools?

Waiting for school to start at Barker Creek. My friends and I would gather in my SUV before school started, or we’d sit in the lounge area and hang out with each other, with teachers and security guards.

Who was your greatest support for school success, and why/how?

There is not just one. Multiple people helped. My parents have been supportive since day one. They always helped me out. They sat down with me and brainstormed ideas about how I could get better grades, speak with teachers, transition from high schools and middle schools, and adapt to new places [she moved from California to Washington]. 

From the beginning, Deputy Mark McVey [a school resource officer Ciara met at Olympic High School] helped me out in a lot of ways. It was hard to stay engaged and stay in class. He would always be around the corner and say, “Hey what’s going on, let’s talk for a minute.” He would push me to move forward. He came to my sports games. Even after I moved to Barker, he was still a phone call away. He was always there. 

And the staff at Barker. They really take the time out of their day to connect with students. They have always been so supportive and loving to me. It’s brought me to where I am.  

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

You really can’t take things for granted. No matter how hard it can be, you can get through it and it can even put you on top and beyond. It shows you that you can do it. Being online most of the year has been difficult. But the school was just so supportive, they said, ‘you can do it.’ It showed people the maturity that they have to get on that Zoom call on time, open the laptop and do the work.

[During her graduation speech on June 9, she also said:

“Although we went through these hard times, we are here stronger than ever and that’s something to be pretty dang proud of. It shows that no matter what we go through, no matter what we face we can come through stronger and wiser than ever.”]

πŸŽ“ Benjamin Yost, Olympic

Benjamin Yost in wrestling shirt at Olympic

Olympic High School’s Benjamin Yost is a multi-sport athlete who has also stretched academically with Advanced Placement courses. He played football for four years, wrestled for four years (which included a trip to state), and ran track his freshman and sophomore year. He’s also an ASB Executive Board Member, the Sergeant at Arms for the Key Club, and for three years he has been a Link Crew Leader, helping freshman get acquainted with Oly.

What are your post-high school plans?

I am going to a 4-year-school seeking a Commissioning into the United States Marine Corps. [His father, grandfather, and all three uncles served in the Marines.] I think it’s a really cool legacy. I think there’s nothing better to do than serve other people.

What is your favorite memory from your time in CK schools?

My first day at high school. Everyone was really welcoming, and it was light. They tried to make sure we understood what was happening. In Link, it was really cool to make those relationships with the seniors and the juniors.

Who was your greatest support for school success?

My parents. I would not have made it anywhere near as far without them. From the many emails they’ve helped me write [for scholarships, to teachers or family members], to odd questions. Sometimes even silly stuff.

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

It has definitely taught me the importance of making yourself a schedule and sticking to it. You have to be organized. And communication. You have to communicate with your teachers in online school. You’ve got to email them or set up a meeting with them; you can’t just raise your hand.

πŸŽ“ Hanna Inoue, Central Kitsap

Hanna Inoue outside Central Kitsap High

Hanna Inoue moved to the area her freshman year, and began attending Central Kitsap High School. In 2020, she cofounded Building Female Leaders Northwest, connecting about 50 women mentors from this area and around the country with female students.

What are your post-high school plans?

I’m going to attend the University of Washington. I’d like to double major in political science and international studies. 

What is your favorite memory from your time in CK schools?

I enjoyed my classes. I enjoyed Mrs. Fisher’s classes the best. She’s also the [Building Female Leaders Northwest] club advisor. I also have another teacher, Mrs. Yee, my French teacher. French class was my absolute favorite. I love learning different languages. Mrs. Fisher taught World History and Comparative Government. It’s learning about the globe, connecting and understanding how things work together. It really pushed me to pursue political science and international studies. 

Who was your greatest support for school success?

My piano teacher, Dr. Irene Bowling, offers insightful comments beyond the piano. She showed me opportunities to volunteer in the community. That has helped me not only in school, but helped me in this new environment.

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

In the beginning, I didn’t expect something that would affect me this much. It has affected every sphere of my life. It taught me how connected everything is, how small this world is. I started a club, and it’s reached people around the U.S. You just need to ask for help, and people will help you. It’s good to be reassured of that.

πŸŽ“ Hayden Yackeren, Klahowya

Hayden Yackeren playing tennis

Klahowya senior Hayden Yackeren is a people person. He’s been involved in a variety of school activities, including ASB, track and tennis.

What are your post-high school plans?

I am attending University of California San Diego with an NROTC scholarship. Right now, I plan to study biochemistry. 

What is your favorite memory from your time in CK schools?

My freshman year, one of my buddies convinced me to try lacrosse. I decided it was worth a shot and I'm so happy I did. My first goal was in an insignificant JV game, but it might as well of been the championships. I was absolutely elated and kept replaying the moment in my head the whole night. It was definitely one of my most memorable moments of my time at Klahowya. 

Who was your greatest support for school success?

My mom. She is just so beyond amazing in everything she does. She's been a stay at home mom until a few years ago when she started working as a para in special needs classrooms and then recently began a career in real estate; all while giving me unconditional love and support. She is truly such an awesome human being with so much love in her heart. My father's an officer in the Navy, so his high standards and her unwavering care pair perfectly.

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

I’m a very extroverted person, so the online teaching stuff was not for me. That was really hard for me, but it also gave me tools I’ll need to use in college where I'm going to be 1 in 300 kids in a class. I’m learning how to be more independent.

πŸŽ“ Mollie McKee, Central Kitsap

Mollie McKee on the track at CKHS

Central Kitsap High’s Mollie McKee is involved in a wide variety of school activities, including track and cross country, choir, band, Honor Society and Key Club. She also co-founded Building Female Leaders Northwest , a club that virtually connects female students with women mentors.

What are your post-high school plans?

I am going to attend Virginia Tech in the fall. I plan on studying industrial and systems engineering. It’s about improving processes. I like the idea of taking an abstract concept like an assembly line, a process and making everything flow faster. I’ll also be part of the Air Force ROTC Corps of Cadets.

What is your favorite memory from your time in CK schools?

The first thing that comes to mind is Field Day [at Emerald Heights]. But I really enjoyed this last track season. School sports have been a big highlight, as are the musical programs in the district. 

Who was your greatest support for school success?

My parents really helped keep me on track and support me. My counselor made a lot of things happen for me in high school that wouldn’t have been possible for me before. A slew of teachers kept the undercurrent of what school should be there, whether that be thinking creatively, or having fun but also learning.

What did the pandemic teach you, or how did it change you?

It helped me realize that although I’m self-motivated, I get a lot of motivation from doing things with people and seeing people. It just helps carry the flow better.