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Class Of ‘95 Is Loaded Up With Overachievers

Watch out world. Here comes the Spokane Valley’s class of 1995.

Boasting one of the highest numbers of valedictorians in years and a host of community-minded do-gooders, this class is being touted as an overachieving bunch.

“There’s an abnormal amount of gifted students,” said Ken Stacy, a counselor at East Valley High School, where the number of valedictorians jumped from five last year to eight this year.

Sixty-three EVHS seniors, as opposed to 35 last year, are eligible for golden cords, signifying a grade point average of 3.4 or above, said Joaun Clark, an adviser at East Valley.

And at University High School, there are 15 valedictorians, up from three last year, and four salutatorians.

“You’re probably going to see a lot of important people come out of our class,” said senior Jennifer Scales. “I just look at them in awe.”

That’s coming from a student with a 3.94 grade point average, who dropped down to a “B” grade in just three classes during high school. “So many (students) are in advanced placement classes this year and doing well,” Scales said.

Terry Irwin, a counselor at Central Valley High School, said some of this year’s seniors are winning scholarships that he hasn’t seen a CVHS student get in years.

At West Valley High School, said counselor Helen Liberg, it seems to be the girls that are really excelling. The school’s three valedictorians and one salutatorian are all girls.

And many girls are interested in nontraditional areas, such as engineering, math and science, Liberg said. “We have some very, very smart students,” she said.

But the overachieving doesn’t fall just in the grades department. Many students have given numerous hours to the community, spending time with the elderly at nursing homes, teaching other students AIDS awareness or collecting toys for low-income children at Christmas time.

“There’s a need there,” said U-Hi counselor Darrell Driggs. “Students are more aware of the need. For a lot of years, nursing homes were just forgotten.”

Community service pays off financially, too, because scholarship committees look for it on student applications, Driggs said.

Swaniee Mastros, a graduating senior at West Valley, has been volunteering at Valley Hospital and Medical Center for five years and has racked up almost 1,500 hours of service. She plans to study pharmacy at Eastern Washington University.

EVHS senior Jaci Skewis has planted flowers at a retirement center, served dinner at a battered women’s shelter and decorated a hall for a senior citizens’ dance.

“It makes me feel good that I can do stuff for people who can’t do things for themselves,” she said.

“They just seem to have all sorts of energy,” said Liberg, a counselor at West Valley, where students have done food, blood and baby food drives and volunteered at hospitals. “They kids feel good about doing things for other people.”

, DataTimes MEMO: (Story from Graduation special section in Valley Voice)

(Story from Graduation special section in Valley Voice)