Sixteen honored at Highline scholarship banquet
By Tim Clinton
Literally everyone was a winner out of the 16 student athletes honored at the Highline Public Schools 8th Annual Scholar-Athlete, Coach and Community Recognition Banquet held Tuesday at Mount Rainier High School.
Each senior received at least a $1,000 scholarship to the college of their choice, ranging on up to the $2,800 received by Mount Rainier cross country and track and field athlete Nathalie Paradise and the $2,700 award to Tyee volleyball, basketball and track and field competitor Karen Rios Vela.
“I’m very excited,” said Paradise after the event. “There’s a lot of great athletes here, so I was pretty surprised.”
Paradise carries a 4.0 grade point average on to the University of Washington, where she plans on majoring in Spanish and Linguistics, while Vela brings a 3.59 GPA to the same school and plans to major in English.
“It was real nice,” said Paradise of the banquet. “It was very fancy. It was fancier than I thought it would be.”
Those present feasted on meals provided by Classic Eats, and King 5 sports anchor Paul Silvi served as the master of ceremonies.
Highline School District Director of Athletics Dr. Philip Willbenbrock led the way in putting the event together along with the district’s building athletic directors.
The event was started by former district Director of Athletics Terri McMahon.
“Phil and the ADs have done a good job of keeping it going,” said McMahon, who attended Tuesday and planned on going to the Edmonds event the next day that she started 18 years ago. “It’s great to come back. It’s been a galvanizing event.”
McMahon has been retired for two years.
“I do whatever I want when I want,” she said.
“It’s great to see Terri back,” said Willenbrock. “She started this when I was the AD at Evergreen.”
The third biggest award went to Evergreen cross country, wrestling and track and field athlete Nouci Ha. She earned a $2,500 award she is taking to Washington State University along with her 3.80 GPA to study sports science.
Scholarships of $2,000 went to Highline’s Jessica Bedolla-Mendoza, Evergreen’s Kaillas Thao, Mount Rainier’s Siarra Mamon, Highline’s Nikola Roso and Tyee’s Elan Nelson.
Bedolla-Mendoza is a cross country, drill and track and field competitor who has a 3.55 GPA and plans on going to Seattle Pacific University to major in education, while Thao competed in tennis, wrestling and track and field and has a 3.63 GPA he is taking to the University of Washington to study accounting and information systems.
Mamon is a gymnast and track and field competitor who has a 3.65 GPA and is going to the University of Washington to study psychology and pre-health sciences.
Roso played tennis, basketball and baseball while posting a 3.82 GPA and is going to the UW to major in engineering, and Nelson plays volleyball and basketball with a 3.31 GPA and is going to Saint Martin’s University to study Neuroscience.
Awards of $1,500 went to Mount Rainier’s Mitchell Henry, Tyee’s Veronica Lucatero-Ochoa, Evergreen’s Gary Tran and Highline’s Ethan Weets and Samantha Box.
Henry competed in cross country, basketball and track and field while posting a 3.49 GPA and is going to George Fox University to study business management.
Lucatero-Ochoa is a cross country, wrestling and track and field athlete who has a 3.36 GPA and is going to South Seattle to study space engineering.
Tran is a football, basketball and track and field athlete with a 3.75 GPA who is going to the UW to study engineering and Weets played football, basketball and baseball, has a 3.36 GPA and is going to Western Washington University to major in sports psychology.
Box, the daughter of Highline athletic director Lori Box, competed in swimming, basketball, tennis and drill with a 3.22 GPA. She is going to Washington State University to study apparel merchandising.
Awards of $1,000 were received by Evergreen’s Michelle Mojarro Salcedo, Mount Rainier’s Joshua Crotty and Tyee’s Sonny Wong.
Salcedo was in soccer, wrestling and softball and posted a 3.66 GPA. She is going to Seattle Pacific University to study nursing.
Crotty competed in football and track and field with a 3.84 GPA and is going to Washington State University for hospitality management.
Wong was a tennis and track and field athlete with a 3.27 GPA who is going to South Seattle to study culinary arts.
One coach was honored from each district high school and middle school.
Head drill coach Casey Vineyard was honored from Mount Rainier, boys soccer coach Eduardo Millan from Highline, softball coach Courtney McCurry from Tyee and football coach Zach Hermsen from Evergreen.
Middle school recipients were Sylvester head wrestling and assistant softball coach Myke Folger, head wrestling and assistant track and field coach Christian Tautua from Cascade, head girls soccer, head girls basketball and assistant boys soccer coach Halayne Iverson from Pacific and head softball, boys basketball and girls basketball coach Don Lewis from Chinook.
Community contributor awards went to Deb Strayer for Mount Rainier, Chelle Herbruger for Highline, Gary Longely for Evergreen and Leslie Whitcher-Steele for Tyee.
Special recognition went to transportation supervisor Maria Juarez and to Evergreen 2012 graduate Michelle Chen.
“For Michelle Chen, it’s the first time we’ve recognized a former award winner,” said Willenbrock. “She’s a successful professional in Seattle. It’s important to see it’s a sustainable effort when you are a part of a banquet like this.”