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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Students of the Month

By Colin Anderson

Richard Roppolo, Freshman

Gig Harbor High School

Gig Harbor High School freshman Richard Roppolo admits he is one to procrastinate. It’s something he’s working on, and the distance learning environment is helping him redouble his efforts. “In order to combat this, I’ve set multiple alarms on my phone reminding me, I’ve placed all my homework and school work in the same place where it is very visible from every corner of my room, and I’ve gotten my mom to nag me about it from time to time,” Richard said. It seems to be working as he continues to keep his goal of maintaining all As and Bs.

Though only in his freshman year, Richard had some experience at the high school before his ninth-grade year. He enjoys theater production and has been involved with the high school program for several years now. “I’ve been the head of sound for the three productions: the 2019 One Acts Festival, the 2019 fall play The Man Who Came to Dinner, and the 2020 spring musical Les Misérables,” he explained.

Richard very much enjoys the challenges of the theater and is thankful that he was given the opportunity to participate at a young age. “Ms. Zetterstrom is the teacher that has had the largest impact on my life by far. Despite me being a middle schooler, she welcomed me into her theater with open arms. She gave me a place where I could belong and an opportunity to learn new and valuable skills. I doubt there’s any teacher out there who could ever do as much for me as she.”

When he’s not perfecting sound in the theater, Richard enjoys STEM courses, especially math. “I enjoy finding different approaches to problems and learning new skills to tackle equations I would’ve never known how to solve otherwise. I also enjoy the logical reasoning aspect of it,” he explained.

Richard hopes to return to in-person learning, to see friends and teachers again, and for a small sense of normalcy. While he can envision himself landing a career in a STEM field, he still has plenty of time and many experiences that will help shape his adult life.

Audrey Krishnadasan, Senior

Peninsula High School

As Peninsula High School senior Audrey Krishnadasan is preparing for her final few months of high school, she, like many, is still hopeful for at least a few things that would otherwise seem normal. “I hope we get to come back to PHS before the year is out,” she said. “I want to have Fishbowl and wear my PHS colors with pride for a fifth-year victory. I want a PHS softball season, to speak in front of our class at an assembly, have prom with all my friends and, of course, graduate together as a class in spring.”

Audrey has made the absolute most of her high school experience, even as her senior year is done remotely. She’s competed in varsity softball, and her traveling team, the Sundodgers, has traveled the country year-round for tournaments. While she waits to see if there will be a senior season, she continues to prep in hopes of playing softball at the college level.

The 17-year-old is also very active in student government, which she first started participating in back in middle school. Audrey served as a class senator in ninth and 10th grade, and now serves as the secretary this year. She is also president of the National Honor Society chapter at Peninsula. While these keep her quite busy, she still dedicates a great deal of her time to improving her community. She’s volunteered more than 400 hours and for the past two years lead the school’s annual food drive, which has delivered more than 6,000 pounds of food to the local food banks.

Audrey has always been interested in math and computer science, which she plans to continue to study in the future. “Technology will continue to impact every area of our lives, and I would like to be a part of developing that technology to hopefully make a meaningful contribution to others,” she said.

Her favorite teacher is her computer science teacher Ms. Nichols, whom she calls inspiring, challenging Audrey to never settle. “Ms. Nichols, who I often refer to as ’Nics,’ sincerely cares about all her students and wants them to enjoy the work that they are doing. I always look forward to attending computer science class because I know Nics will be there to cheer me up.”

In a senior year that would be described as anything but normal, Audrey and others like her continue to make the most of the situation. For the bulk of the school year she and three of her closest friends have been getting together, at an appropriate distance, to do online courses together. “While we are not roaming the halls with all our classmates, being with these three every day has made a very special year for me so far,” she said.

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