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Wednesday, June 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Valley Christian School senior Iavis Kopets is ahead of his time

UPDATED: Thu., June 6, 2019, 2:44 p.m.

Iavis Kopets is graduating valedictorian from Valley Christian School. (COURTESY OF VALLEY CHRISTIAN / COURTESY OF VALLEY CHRISTIAN)
Iavis Kopets is graduating valedictorian from Valley Christian School. (COURTESY OF VALLEY CHRISTIAN / COURTESY OF VALLEY CHRISTIAN)
By Melina Benjamin For The Spokesman-Review

With his mature outlook on life and ability to get things done, many may think Iavis Kopets, graduating senior of Valley Christian School, is years ahead of his time and he, himself, would not deny that.

“I’m the little kid who instead of going to play with the cousins, I’m sitting at the table listening to grandparents or parents’ friends talk about politics,” Kopets said. He always has to be doing something and hardly finds peace of mind in staying still.

“Iavis has taught me that a young person is not too young to make a big difference in the world around him,” said his mother, Svetlana Kopets.

Being drawn to community organizing, event planning and leadership, Iavis Kopets has made it a priority to make an impact on Spokane, especially on his peers and friends. In his junior year, he came up with the vision to host, organize and plan a youth rally, sponsored by his school.

“The youth rally is a time for kids in the greater Spokane area to come together, listen to inspiring speakers and be encouraged. The rally has definitely been a challenge and something I’m really proud of,” Kopets said. The tradition continued this year with the second rally May 10.

A lot of his hard work went into the event, choosing speakers who exemplify service for others, forming crews, setup and tear down. Unlike last year, he had a friend assisting him for the rally this year, who was in charge of marketing. This way, Kopets had room to delegate and to invite more people into the purpose of the event, he said.

Kopets’ familial roots have much to do with the person he is becoming. He said his parents have been one of his biggest inspirations in life. Many of his goals have to do with helping his community, something he has learned to value because of his culture.

Kopets was born in Spokane to parents who immigrated from the former Soviet Union in 1989, his mother from Moldova and his father from Belarus.

“I’ve seen Iavis’ passion grow for creating better communities and making a positive difference in the world. He genuinely cares about people and uses any opportunity that he gets to help others,” Svetlana Kopets said.

Iavis Kopets said the Slavic community in Spokane is very close because they immigrated together. Everyone seems like family, building up each other’s hopes in a new country. “Their whole story of how they came to the United States, seeking religious freedom, coming out of a communist society. I see that dedication and strive to be the best people they can be and doing all they can to send me to a private school so I can succeed,” said Kopets about his parents.

Kopets has two younger siblings, a sister and brother, whom he cares about very much. He and his brother go to the same high school so he especially liked seeing him in the halls and playing basketball together, he said.

Kopets has used the skills he has learned during his high school career in other areas that interest him. At Victory Faith Church, he runs sound for the youth group and is a student leader, growing in fellowship with others.

Additionally, starting in his junior year, he helped campaign for the Congressional Leadership Fund, door knocking and talking to people about the importance of voting.

“He is one of the most exceptional students I have ever worked with in regards to his striving for excellence in academics while being devoted to leading his peers,” said Wendy Staudenraus, the counselor at Valley Christian School. “Iavis gives to those around him by leading our school as the ASB president and creating events and communication that help our school maintain a close-knit and caring school climate.”

Kopets took a pause and reflected on his goals moving into college. “I want to grow and develop who I am holistically. Not just in one sphere but be a really well-rounded person,” he said.

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