The pursuit of academic excellence has seldom been this difficult, yet many local students managed to rise above the pandemic and all the obstacles it presented.
On Monday night, the Spokane Scholars Foundation honored 156 of them, including 24 seniors who received $60,000 in monetary awards in each of six content areas: English, Fine Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and World Languages.
Top winners in each category took home $4,000, with $3,000 awarded for second place, $2,000 for third and $1,000 for fourth.
Fourteen institutions of higher education in the region will make a one-time match to the monetary awards of $1,000 to $4,000 for award recipients who choose to attend their institution.
For the second straight year, the event was held online instead of its traditional banquet setting.
The top scholars’ achievements were remarkable.
Alexander Wirthlin, one of two $4,000 winners from Central Valley High School, was cited not only for his 4.0 grade-point average and passing scores on 7 Advanced Placement exams, but his intellectual maturity.
“Conversations with this student were like talking with like-minded colleagues, discussing mathematical implications and deep mathematical concepts like he had been studying them most of his life,” one of Wirthlin’s teachers said.
Another CV student, Avery Auth, won the top prize in social studies, also managed a 4.0 GPA along with a top score on 6 AP tests.
One of her teachers said that while some students have lost their way during the COVID-19 pandemic, Auth “doesn’t need accountability” and “has the internal drive to do what top students do.”
Lewis and Clark also took home two of the $4,000 awards.
Jadyn Malone won top honors in English partly for a perfect GPA but also for 3 perfect scores in AP tests.
One of Malone’s teachers was impressed by her “desire to speak out with a voice that can help others.”
LC senior Rosalie Juvilier, the top honoree in Fine Arts, has won theater awards at the local, state and national level while holding down a 4.0 GPA and taking a long list of AP classes.
Juvilier, a National Commended Merit Scholar and AP scholar with Distinction, “is a unique blend of talent, intelligence, diligence, kindness and perseverance,” a teacher said.
Jillian Holbrook, a senior from Mead, the top award winner in science, has received multiple national and international awards for work in neuroscience.
However, Holbrook also found time to tutor AP students while carrying a perfect GPA.
An AP Scholar with Distinction, she was described by a teacher as “self-directed, hardworking, highly intelligent, compassionate and with a great sense of humor … and not a better science candidate in 39 years of teaching.”
The $4,000 winner in world languages, Rosie Zhou of Ferris, had top scores in 3 AP tests and held down a perfect GPA.
Zhou grew up speaking Mandarin Chinese, but has also gained fluency in Spanish.
“I believe that learning languages not only expands my own worldview, knowledge, and cultural awareness, it is also a wonderful way to help others in my community,” Zhou said.
List of winners
$4,000 – Jadyn Malone, Lewis and Clark High School
$3,000 – Rebekah Ross, Central Valley High School
$2,000 – Chaitanya Nalluri, St. George’s School
$1,000 – Emma Owen, Ferris High School
$4,000 – Rosalie Juvilier, Lewis and Clark High School
$3,000 – Kendra Lund, Ferris High School
$2,000 – Regan Ivy, St. George’s School
$1,000 – Isaac Woolley, University High School
$4,000 – Alexander Wirthlin, Central Valley High School
$3,000 – Alexander Cong, Mt. Spokane High School
$2,000 – Andrew Nordhagen, Gonzaga Preparatory School
$1,000 – Jiahui (Henry) Xu, St. George’s School
$4,000 – Jillian Holbrook, Mead High School
$3,000 – Briella Bell, West Valley High School
$2,000 – Shobhin Logani, Gonzaga Preparatory School
$1,000 – Tessa Pierce, Newport High School
$4,000 – Avery Auth, Central Valley High School
$3,000 – Joshua Demant, Mead High School
$2,000 – Jay McGregor, Ferris High School
$1,000 – Joseph Ellingson, Gonzaga Preparatory School
$4,000 – Rosie Zhou, Ferris High School
$3,000 – Suhyeon Kwon, Oaks Classic Christian Academy
$2,000 – Garrett Packebush, Central Valley High School
$1,000 – Taylor Swanson, Northwest Christian School
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