Showcase honorees exemplify Panther Pride

Every year prior to graduation, Bonney Lake High School faculty nominate students who demonstrate "excellence of mind (and) strength of character."In 2013, those students were Jessica Bahr, Amanda Body, Chelsea Crawford, Sierra Espinal, Taylor Friend, Michael Furnstahl, Zach Jones, Josh Kersey, Madisen Liddle and Karissa Olsen.

Jessica Bahr

Bonney Lake High School honored 10 soon-to-graduate students in its annual Senior Showcase May 8.

Every year prior to graduation, Bonney Lake High School faculty nominate students who demonstrate “excellence of mind (and) strength of character.”In 2013, those students were Jessica Bahr, Amanda Body, Chelsea Crawford, Sierra Espinal, Taylor Friend, Michael Furnstahl, Zach Jones, Josh Kersey, Madisen Liddle and Karissa Olsen.

Espinal and Friend emceed the Wednesday night ceremony, announcing their fellow honorees to a procession of friends, family and faculty.

Body is a founding member and co-president of the Panthers’ Robotics Club and recently earned a $20,000 engineering scholarship to the University of Idaho, where she said she planned to study mechanical engineering. Nominating teacher Jason Vander Hoek noted that Body often works with other student and looks out for those left out of groups.

“She is just a fantastic person,” Vander Hoek said in a video about the honorees played at the ceremony.

“She’s just one of those students who, when something’s due, she has it done and she has it done well,” English teacher Jennifer Fruehauf said.Crawford represents Washington as the state secretary for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, a family and consumer sciences club. She joined the Bonney Lake chapter of the organization in her junior year, the same year the club advanced to state competition. She is an honor society member, ASB officer, and Panther fastpitch player.

Career and Technical Education teacher Tricia Littlefield noted Crawford as a consistently poised, professional student with strong public speaking skills.

Bahr was noted as an unsung scholar and gifted programmer by nominating teachers Shannon Thissen and Ellen Berwick. Berwick expressed no doubt that she could take the engineering world by storm with her preternatural ability and focus. Bahr was a heavily involved member of the robotics club and school band all four years of high school, and she plans to attend the University of Washington to pursue a degree in computer science or engineering.”I guess I don’t know what parts of the criteria don’t define her,” Thissen said.

Kersey, who commutes from Tacoma to the Bonney Lake campus, is a student who overcame incredible odds and found his place in the school’s choir, according to choir director Amy Fuller. In her recommendation bio, she described how, during his freshman year, he displayed incredible skill singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” the first time she had heard his voice. The next year, he qualified for the advanced chamber choir, and a desire to continue participating motivated him to focus on his academic work.

“He’s shown such an amazing change from his freshman year until now,” Fuller said, noting that he would work well into the night to complete whatever task he set his mind to.

Olson was honored for being an outstanding academic performer, active member of ASB, Panther News Network associate and athlete.

“Karissa is a dedicated team member who makes the sacrifices necessary to ensure ‘the show will go on,'” teacher Shannon Carr-Cohen wrote. “She is by far the best leader I have taught.”

Liddle was recognized for her rigorous AP course load, dedication to philanthropic organizations such as Key Club and Leo Club, and management of the Panther wrestling team. She has earned a United Way varsity letter two years in a row. Wrestling coach Anthony Clarke and school psychologist Denise Bowers, Liddle’s nominators, noted that she never complains about her demanding schedule, and shows “maturity beyond her years.”

In his high school career, Furnstahl could be seen regularly as emcee at pep assemblies, Benefit Night and An Evening of Song and Desserts. His adventures on stage include the school choir, for which he is ASB president, and school musicals. Outside the spotlight, he is a founding member of Scream Team — a student cheering section at Panther sporting events — and assisted in the Autism Walk.

“Michael  is an inspiration to others for his positive attitude and acceptance of every individual in the school,” Fuller said. “He is easy to talk to and has a smile on his face every day.”

Espinal is a student and athlete who lives for others, according to nominating teacher Brandon Wentzel. She could be seen every morning holding the door open for her fellow students, handing out high-fives and positive reinforcement. Co-nominator Amanda Ross noted she frequently hands out “pride grams” to her peers to show how much she cares.

“Sierra is not self-seeking or quick to wonder what is in it for her,” Wentzel said. “Instead she leads with a vision that asks the question, ‘How can I help?'”

Taylor Friend was Bonney Lake High School’s 2013 Daffodil Princess, an AP student, vice president of the Leo Club and president of the International Club. A frequent volunteer at the food bank, senior homes and her church, she was selected as her school’s homecoming queen for the 2012-2013 school year. She plans to attend Brigham Young University Provo and work to become a doctor specializing in neonatal care.

“(Taylor) is friendly, as her name would suggest, and always has a smile for you,” school office manager AnnMarie Casner said.

Zach Jones, who played in the sub-district soccer tournament Wednesday and received his award in absentia, was recognized as a kind and dedicated student athlete. Principal Linda Masteller said Jones stood out as a person who balances maturity with a great sense of humor. Co-nominator Jay Paulson noted Jones as the best calculus student in the class of 2013, and as a person who consistently does what needs to be done.

The Sumner High School Senior Showcase will take place May 29, in the Sumner Performing Arts Center.

 

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