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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Students of the Month

By Colin Anderson

Chloe Yerex, Senior

Gig Harbor High School

Photo by Claire Stubbs

Gig Harbor High School senior Chloe Yerex has spent 16 of her 17 years living in Gig Harbor. This fall, she’ll experience something quite different.

Competitive sports have been a big part of Chloe’s life, and those will continue for her as she has verbally committed to play Division I college volleyball at Texas A&M in Corpus Christi, Texas. While her commitment and dedication to the sport helped her earn this prestigious honor, many would say she’s equally as passionate when it comes to working with her peers and making Gig Harbor an even better place. Chloe is part of the National Honors Society and also vice president of the school’s Make a Difference Club. “I tutor my peers, provide service to the community and help lead others in making a positive difference throughout Gig Harbor,” she said. Chloe is part of Young Life and a youth group leader in her church for middle school students as well.

In the classroom, Chloe has challenged herself by taking Advanced Placement college-level courses. “Mrs. Hupper, who taught my AP Seminar and AP Research courses, has helped me grow the most over these past couple of years by never failing to push me to new levels and constantly reminding me to focus on what really matters in life,” she said thankfully.

Chloe describes herself as having a very analytical brain. Math and science have always been her favorite subjects because she loves being challenged and applying knowledge to problem solving. At Texas A&M she plans on majoring in kinesiology and potentially entering the medical field. “I am looking at naturopathic or chiropractic medicine because I am passionate about helping others, but I am more interested in preventative rather than reactive medicine.”

Chloe continues to work hard each day leading up to graduation. While she’ll be far from home for the first time in her life, she credits many positive figures in her life for helping guide her toward this new and exciting time. “I have been blessed with amazing teachers, parents, coaches and role models all throughout my life who have helped me get to the point where I am today. I always appreciate the honesty, support and dedication of these people in my life,” she said.

Micah Hester, Senior

Peninsula High School

Last spring, it was probably fair to say that most kids in the class of 2021 thought they would have seen a fairly normal senior year of high school, with the pandemic over and in the rearview mirror. As it became apparent that life would be quite different for the foreseeable future, those seniors came to the realization that their final year of high school would be anything but normal.

“It has been a challenge to not be in school with all my friends, and I miss them so much,” said Peninsula High School senior Micah Hester. “I also don’t really like Zoom because it is very hard for me, but I am getting used to it.”

More than a year after the pandemic began, Micah is finally able to enjoy some face-to-face time with his friends with school now in a hybrid learning model. He attends in-person class twice a week while continuing to learn remotely three days each week. Though he doesn’t get to see everyone and smiles are hidden behind masks, just having a few weeks of roaming the halls before graduating is something Micah and many of his peers are grateful for.

One of the teachers Micah is excited to have in person again is Wendy Christiansen. She’s been a teacher for 41 years and currently runs the Employment, Training and Transition 2 (ET&T) Special Education Program at Peninsula High School.

Micah has always enjoyed science classes. “I love to learn new things about how things work,” he said. While he’s not sure yet about his plans after graduation, he could see himself pursuing a career in one his favorite arenas: video games. “I want to work at some sort of video gaming company to test games going out on the market,” he said.

While graduation ceremonies have not yet been announced, Micah and his peers in the class of 2021 are hoping they’ll be able, in some way, to celebrate all they’ve accomplished before moving on in the next chapter of their lives.

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