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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Students of the Month

By Colin Anderson

Hope Flanigan, Senior

Peninsula High School

Not one to take the easy route, Peninsula High School senior Hope Flanigan continues to challenge herself in 2021 with eyes on the not-so-distant future. Hope carries a 4.0 GPA and has so since the early days of middle school. This includes As in honors courses and college-level Advanced Placement classes. “I have always been passionate about math and science because I enjoy the complexity of it. I love the feeling of solving a problem or making a breakthrough during a lab,” she said.

Hope’s rigorous class schedule is just the beginning of her very full plate. She’s heavily involved in student government, having been a senator for three years. This school year she serves as senate commissioner. Hope is involved in both the Honor Society and the Interact Club as well. She’s lettered multiple times with the school’s swim and dive team and was named captain her senior season. Hope has made it to districts three times and is a two-time state competitor in diving and placed seventh at the most recent state competition. She enjoys community service and staying involved in other projects outside of school as well. “I participate in Girl Scouts, where I have earned my bronze and silver awards, and I also coach gymnastics at NASA Gymnastics,” she said.

With all the commitments, Hope is continually learning how to properly balance all of her assignments and obligations. She believes the experience is something she can learn from and carry with her after graduation. “With in-person learning, we have dedicated time to work on assignments, but at home, it is up to you to make your own schedules and keep yourself on track, so that is something new that has been a challenge to overcome. This new way of learning is helping me grow as a student and better preparing me for a college environment,” she said.

Hope is currently applying to several schools along the West Coast and Canada, and is considering a career in the medical field so she can be of help and service to others. “I am interested in becoming either a pediatrician or a physician’s assistant. I want to use these careers to travel the world, learning from medical professionals in different countries and assisting with providing care to a variety of people through an organization like Doctors Without Borders,” she said.

Alexa Donion, Junior

Gig Harbor High School

Some students put extra hours in the weight room or with a personal trainer. Others choose to work with an outside choral or music instructor. When you develop a passion for something, bringing out the best of your ability is something many want but only few have the discipline and determination for. Alexa Donion is one of those people. On top of being a busy junior at Gig Harbor High School, Alexa devotes much of her available time to one of her life’s great passions. “I have been a competitive Irish dancer for 11 years and am currently competing at the regional and national level. I train three to four hours per day in hopes of qualifying for the World Championships,” she explained.

While her goal of competing against the best Irish dancers in the world is a personal one, Alexa is also a firm believer in making her surroundings and community a better place. She gives credit to Goodman Middle School teacher Mrs. Kaiser for helping inspire her to spread goodwill and positivity. “She taught our class the value of empathy, kindness and caring for others and used her class to create unity, connections and friendship,” explained Alexa. “She helped challenge me to reach new heights and take on projects I would never have had the courage to pursue alone.”

Alexa has a goal of completing one or two community projects each year. For the past five years she has handmade anywhere from 60 to 100 Christmas cards that she delivers to the Children’s Hospital so she might brighten the holidays for those who might be suffering. “Mrs. Kaiser will continue to be an inspiration for me as I continue to search for ways to benefit those around me.”

Another way Alexa hopes to help others is by following her parents and older brother to the University of Washington and eventually its medical school. “My current occupational interest is becoming a pediatrician. I have always loved working with kids and helping those around me. This job would provide an opportunity for both and would also incorporate my interest in science and biology,” she said. Alexa says she loves science because she finds it intriguing to learn the specifics of how organisms and life work, specifically DNA, cells and human biology. Alexa holds a 4.0 GPA and wants to continue to be involved in leadership classes and projects at her school while working to improve the social and academic environment at Gig Harbor High.

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