In the Mt. Spokane senior class of 335 students, Zoya Hartman ranks academically at a solid 54. What makes this placement amazing is that she’s managed to excel in rigorous classes despite attending four different high schools in four years.
Hartman left her mom and friends in Hawaii at the age of 16 to live with her sister in Tacoma. Just one year later she left Tacoma to move in with another sister in Spokane.
“My mom needed to return to her land in the Federated States of Micronesia, so I moved to Tacoma to live with my sister. She was in the army and got deployed to Afghanistan, so I moved to Spokane Valley to live with another sister,” she said. “I went to West Valley for a little while, but then my sister moved to north Spokane.”
However, Hartman took the transitions in stride and continued to thrive both academically and socially.
Mt. Spokane counselor Rob Renner said Hartman’s attitude helped her succeed.
“It’s difficult for a kid – coming in late and trying to find her place in the school. But Zoya has fit in really well. She’s very approachable and has a friendly smile. She also takes interest in others.”
Hartman said she’s learned that in whatever school setting she found herself, people were basically the same.
“It was hard finding that lunch table,” she admitted. “But everywhere you go there are nice people and there are mean people. I just try to stay positive.”
Music has been a great help in smoothing those transitions and making new friends. Hartman has played percussion since middle school. “But we didn’t have marching band in Hawaii,” she said. “I love it! I love the competition and I’ve made a lot of friends.”
She’s also part of the school’s culture club and a member of National Honor Society. “I would have liked to join more things,” Hartman said, “but transportation has been difficult.”
Throughout her high school career, she has taken rigorous classes such as AP calculus, AP government and politics, AP European history and physics.
“Many students back off during their senior year, but not her,” Renner said. “She’s humble, but driven and ambitious. She doesn’t flaunt her intelligence – she’d rather be the smart girl in the corner.”
Hartman’s resiliency and responsibility has paid off. She’s been accepted to the University of Washington where she plans to study either architecture or engineering.
The secret to her success is simple. “There’s a lot of days where you just want to go to sleep or play video games,” she said, “but I prefer to get the work out of the way.”
That focus and determination is why Renner said, “I see a limitless future for Zoya.”
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