May 26, 2011 in Washington Voices

Colvin is humble about what he brought to Spokane Valley High

Steve Christilaw
J. Bart Rayniak photoBuy this photo

Stephen Colvin’s humor, adaptability and kind spirit have contributed to creating the family atmosphere that Spokane Valley High School boasts. His positive impact, leadership and academic creativity made him worthy of accolades as the 2011 outstanding student.
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Stephen Colvin found a home and a family at Spokane Valley High School. And in the process, he learned how to shine.

“In this age of bullies, school drama, disconnectedness and gangs, we need Stephen Colvin replicated because he advocates and supports students in becoming the best that they can be,” guidance counselor Suzanne Ruth-Scott wrote. “He is worthy of accolades from students and staff for his personal integrity … he’s an amazing young man and I wanted to honor him.”

Colvin arrived at Spokane Valley High School for his junior year.

“I had attended Lewis and Clark and it just wasn’t working out for me,” he said. “I transferred to Spokane Valley and I never looked back. The teachers have been excellent and I’ve enjoyed participating in the school. It’s a small school – we only have about 120 kids here – but we have a wide variety of people. I have really enjoyed getting to know everyone and learning from everyone.”

While struggling academically at one of the area’s largest high schools, Colvin said he heard stories from family members about Spokane Valley and liked what he heard.

“I got here and my grades just shot up,” he said. “I think the fact that you work so closely with your teachers here and you are part of the process, it makes a big difference.”

Within the tight-knit school community, Colvin’s natural humor and respect for his peers took center stage.

“I think I’ve always tried to make things funny and I’ve used my sense of humor,” he said. “I’ve never tried to just be funny, but it’s become part of my social enjoyment here.”

But it’s been more than just a sense of humor that sets Colvin apart.

Ruth-Scott points to his well-developed sense of moral and ethical rightness as well as a passion for social justice in the world.

“It appears that he has incorporated … concepts of being open-minded, creative, respectful, when to listen, when to talk and honoring personal space into his persona,” she wrote.

“I think because we have such a wide variety of people here that there is a sense of cultural awareness and ethics,” he said. “I think that’s been a real breath of fresh air for me.”

Academically, Colvin has discovered a passion for molecular biology that he wants to pursue further in college.

“I haven’t always been the healthiest person – I haven’t ever been chronically sick or anything, but I have seen my share of doctors,” he said. “I’ve learned to talk to my doctor and we’ve discussed quite a bit about my health. When I’m sick, we discuss the different antibiotics, for example. She explains what effect they will have on my body and I find that fascinating.”

Natural leadership abilities allowed Colvin to represent the school in different venues.

“I have represented the school at West Valley School District meetings,” he said. “They asked me and two of my fellow students about what could be done to help make the school better. I talked to them about the need to keep defibrillators at the school and about school safety.”

Still, he said, he’s not entirely comfortable being singled out.

“I like to think that I’m a modest person and I’m always afraid that people will think that I’m bragging when I’m not,” he admitted. “But at the same time, I like the idea of paying it forward. If I can help communicate what this school is all about and it helps people understand what we do here and how important it is, I’m happy to help.”

Like many graduating seniors, Colvin is excited about the future and the next phase of his life.

Of his future goals, Colvin’s list covers a lot of territory, from learning to overcome a fear of flying to living in Berlin and composing a symphony.

More specifically, he wants to study and become an anesthesiologist.

“Typical of Stephen,” Ruth-Scott wrote. “He is hooked on life and intends to live it to the fullest.”

“I’m making decisions right now about what to do next,” he said. “I’m kind of torn between going to community college here because it’s close to home, or going to Evergreen State and moving to the other side of the state.

“On the one hand, I like being close to friends and family. On the other, I really like the idea of going to Evergreen State because it feels like the next logical step for me.”

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