Academic excellence didn’t go into hibernation during the pandemic. Rather, it wasn’t properly recognized.
That changed Monday night, as the Spokane Scholars banquet returned to the Spokane Convention Center for the first time since 2019.
Clearly the event was missed, because 900 people filled the room to honor the work of 158 exceptional students from Spokane County.
All of them received the Spokane Scholars Foundation Medal of Academic Achievement, with 24 earning cash awards of up to $4,000 each for excellence in English, social studies, mathematics, science, world languages and fine arts.
Marie Loroz of Gonzaga Prep won the top prize in English after earning a 4.0 GPA, standardized test scores in the 99th percentile and glowing praise from one of her nominating teachers.
“I’m really grateful for all of my English teachers,” said Loroz, who will attend Villanova University this fall. “I just love how complex it is and how you can put your own perspective into it.”
Loroz also is an AP Scholar with Honor and is a National Merit Commended Student.
Karenna Holland was the first of four top-award winners from Lewis & Clark, earning the $4,000 prize in fine arts.
The money will come in handy, said Holland, who will attend New York University this fall.
“I’m just so happy, and because my parents have worked so hard to help me, so it’s nice to have some skin in the game,” Holland said.
Holland will graduate this spring summa cum laude with a weighted grade-point average of 4.4. She also scored in the 95th percentile on the SAT, and is an AP Scholar with Honor.
“I’ve always had such a good connection with the arts – it makes me feel good about myself,” said Holland, who credited her teachers for inspiring her.
Holland also has modeled strong leadership as a Washington State Thespian Officer and a member of the International Thespian Student Leadership Council, advocating for the value of theatre in schools.
The top winner in mathematics is Lewis & Clark senior John Quigley, who managed to play violin in the school orchestra and take four years of Chinese even while he takes classes at Gonzaga University.
Quigley is already a college standout at Gonzaga, doing weekly research work with two professors.
Quigley is a National Merit Finalist with a weighted GPA of 4.445, scored a perfect 800 on the SAT Math and Math Level 2, a perfect 40 on ACT Math, a 5 on the AP Calculus BC test, has completed Multivariate Calculus, Linear Algebra and Microeconomics at Gonzaga.
Quigley also scored in the top 10% nationally on the American Mathematics Competition test.
Ansel LaPier of Central Valley took the top prize in science, thanks partly to his perfect score on the AP Biology exam, his overall GPA of 4.0 and completion of 10 AP courses. LaPier earned an A in all 10.
LaPier was awarded a prestigious U.S. Department of Energy internship at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researching renewable energy. He also is currently enrolled in three college-level courses.
LaPier has authored five research manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals and has presented original research both nationally and internationally on matters related to cardiology and physical therapy.
The top social studies scholar, Siena Roberts of Lewis & Clark, earned a weighted GPA of 4.508 even while tackling the most demanding curriculum offered at the school.
Roberts is an AP Scholar with distinction, taking more than 15 AP classes and scoring 4s and 5s on 10 of the exams taken thus far.
She’s also on the school’s speech and debate team captain, and has garnered state and national accolades in multiple forensics categories.
Another LC senior, Uma Mitchell, claimed the top award in World Languages after earning a weighted GPA of 4.38, scoring 5s on the AP Spanish, English and psychology tests.
A true student of languages, Mitchell studied Spanish for six years, French for four, and is currently focused on Chinese and Arabic. She also finds time to volunteer at Feast World Kitchen, a local nonprofit restaurant featuring immigrant and refugee chefs.
Mitchell plans to incorporate their passion for world languages by pursuing a college degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering with a focus on virology, going on to work with Doctors Without Borders.
Before the awards, attendees heard comments from three former Spokane Scholars: Christopher Douthitt, a 2002 graduate of Lewis & Clark High School and a member of the music faculty at Washington University in St. Louis; Spokane City Council member Zack Zappone, a 2009 North Central graduate who teaches there; and Holland Pratt, a 2018 graduate of Central Valley who went to become the First Captain of the Corps of Cadets at West Point and earned a Rhodes Scholarship.
Since its founding in 1992, the foundation has awarded more than $1.35 million to more than 550 students.
2022 Spokane Scholars Foundation Award Recipients
$4,000 – Marie Loroz, Gonzaga Prep
$3,000 – Martin Liu, University
$2,000 – Tryston Schmitt, Lakeside
$1,000 – Katherine Stenfors, Central Valley
$4,000 – Karenna Holland, Lewis & Clark
$3,000 – Camille Richardson, Ferris
$2,000 – Annie Mack, Central Valley
$1,000 – Andrew Steinart, North Central
$4,000 – John Quigley, Lewis & Clark
$3,000 – James Choo, Shadle Park
$2,000 – Garrett Casey, Mead
$1,000 – Jace Anderson, University
$4,000 – Ansel LaPier, Central Valley
$3,000 – Alan Zeng, Lewis & Clark
$2,000 – Jacob Gannon, North Central
$1,000 – Hunter Danielson, University
$4,000 – Siena Roberts, Lewis & Clark
$3,000 – Max Molgard, Mt. Spokane
$2,000 – Tariq Ravasia, Saint George’s
$1,000 – Sierra Valdez, Gonzaga Prep
$4,000 – Uma Mitchell, Lewis & Clark
$3,000 – Stella Brown, Saint George’s
$2,000 – Rebecca McDaniel, Lakeside
$1,000 – Madeleine Saint James, Gonzaga Prep
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