Students in the Spotlight
By Colin Anderson | Photo By Christy Ash
Jaiden Leach, Senior Peninsula High School
Growing up around Gig Harbor, Jaiden Leach has a special appreciation for the natural beauty around him. From a young age he’s been fascinated with the natural environment and has taken that interest into his studies at Peninsula High School and beyond. The senior is a member of the National Honor Society and is enrolled in the Tacoma Community College Running Start program. He’s also participated in music and is a three-time varsity scholar athlete in both track and cross country. Jaiden also does plenty outside of the classroom, much of which he’s very proud of. “One of my biggest accomplishments was in 2016 when I was recognized for my commitment to living sustainably and won a grant for a peace and leadership camp in Arizona. I was so fortunate for the opportunity, and I got to speak at Key Arena in front of 16,000 people about my experience,” he recalled.
The experience helped set Jaiden off on his interest in sustainable building. He took Mrs. Balera’s AP environmental science class his sophomore year and credits her for much of his inspiration. “Mrs. Balera and her class inspired me to pursue my higher education and career in environmental science,” he said.
Jaiden plans on attending a four-year university to pursue a major in environmental architecture and a minor in business. His long-term goal is to get a master’s degree, and design and build with sustainable materials and practices. “Wanting to study environmental sciences comes from me ultimately wanting to make the world a better place. I hope to achieve this by teaching and helping others reduce their carbon footprint,” said Jaiden.
His favorite classes remain to be science classes, as he enjoys being hands-on with the work. “One of the main reasons I like science classes is because with labs I can see more of the cause and effect with certain things in our world.”
Outside of school Jaiden is also a strong believer in serving others. He’s organized his own community food drives for the local FISH Food Bank and also partnered with community members as well as Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to collect, sort and deliver items to people experiencing homelessness. “Most recently, I volunteered for the City of Gig Harbor to apply storm water drain decals to support and protect our clean waterways.”
Whether it’s helping others with basic needs or becoming more sustainable, Jaiden strives to leave an impact wherever he can.