Navigating high school is seldom a walk in the park – especially when it comes to learning the social ins and outs – but Ashlynn Huttenmaier is a prime example of someon who pushes fear aside and finds inspiration in everything.
“Going into high school I was super shy, I’m normally that way going into new settings, but as the years went by and being surrounded by friends, I became a lot more outgoing,” Huttenmaier said.
In just four short years, Huttenmaier has gone from a timid freshman to vice president of the National Honor Society, receiving a course completion in EMT training and having set her sights on pursuing elementary education at Eastern Washington University.
STEM Academy at Spokane Valley Tech is a small school, with a maximum of 200 students at a time, and prides itself on focusing students on STEM programs that use project-based learning and set them on a path to success.
Many students choose a path in their second year of schooling and proceed to work toward that specific career field and come out of high school with the training for a job.
Christina Schultz, a language arts and history teacher at STEM Academy, says that Huttenmaier’s hard-working and reliable nature is likely the reason behind her success at STEM Academy.
“Some students you just see grow leaps and bounds, and she’s one of them,” said Schultz. “She is such a mature young woman. You know she came in as a ninth grader super scared and shy, but today she’s just this confident young woman who could go out and tackle the world.”
Huttenmaier said that coming out of her shell was not easy and that it took a significant amount of time for her to get involved in the extracurriculars that pushed her out of her comfort zone, especially with COVID-19 shutdowns .
Schultz also supervises the leadership and yearbook extracurriculars, which is where she got to know Huttenmaier and saw the most dedication to serving the community.
“She stays after school for about an hour and a half every single day to help with yearbook or whatever project we have going on – I have two students that I know I can rely on for everything and she’s one of them – she’s never dropped the ball on anything,” said Schultz.
Huttenmaier, as vice president of her school’s National Honor Society, was also a deciding voice in many of the fundraising and community outreach programs that chapters often pride themselves on.
And after being exposed to many different career paths, Huttenmaier has moved away from STEM programming and decided to pursue teaching. She attributes this switch to the teachers she has learned from, her love of children and her passion for helping the community grow from its roots.
“Sometimes we go to college and learn later ‘Oh, that’s not what I wanted to do,’ so I think it’s really great that she’s been able to work her way through that after all the courses she’s taken here and I know she’ll be a really great teacher,” Schultz said.