"CKHS valedictorians focus on science, Navy"
June 11, 2008 · Updated 10:57 AM
"For the Central Kitsap High class of 2000 valedictorians, the sea beckons. Zachery Ocampo and Kathleen McCoy, CK seniors who will graduate this week with perfect 4.0 grade point averages, both plan to attend colleges on Navy ROTC scholarships.But before they put on their Navy uniforms, they will get their feet wet at prestigious science universities. Ocampo will head south to attend the University of California at Berkeley and McCoy will go to the other end of the nation to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Despite the rigorous academic reputations of their future universities, both are psyched for the experience ahead.I'm looking forward to the change, Ocampo said. I'm excited about the extra-curricular things as well.Ocampo plans to be hot. Real hot, as in controlled nuclear fusion. The closest one can get to nuclear fusion now is to go to the sun, but Ocampo plans to give it a go. I know it's a long shot, but I'm excited to try it, Ocampo said.Ocampo also plans to study the Super String Theory, which says matter is made up of long strings as opposed to tiny atoms. Ocampo wants to be at the front of the pack in the Navy, just like he was in high school.I want to have some kind leadership position, Ocampo said. I would like to be in charge of some kind of unit.Realizing the Navy doesn't put just anyone in charge and that Berkeley doesn't allow just anyone through the doors, Ocampo has prepared rigorously. He was a member of the Knowledge Bowl and Key Club, played football and was the senior class representative to the ASB. The rigors of academic life, however well-prepared one might be, are still intimidating. Ocampo and McCoy know their work is cut out for them.I'm worried about what I am going to do if I can't cut it and getting stuck without direction, Ocampo said. I'm also worried about who my roommate is going to be.Both aspiring scientists mentioned physics teacher Dave Pevovar as an inspiration. Asked how Pevovar influenced them, they struggled to find the words. But when Pevovar ducked his head in the door to say hello, they loosed up.I would never have applied to MIT if it wasn't for him, McCoy said.When she moved to Washington two years ago, McCoy was certain only that she wanted to get back to her family on the East Coast. As a military daughter, she is accustomed to moving, but she counts ending up at CKHS as a blessing.I realize now how good of a school this is, McCoy said. McCoy cites physicist Stephen Hawking as her hero and longs to build planes and ships that go faster and farther than anything today has seen. I want to go to Mars, McCoy said. I've been interested in space since the ninth grade. I have to do something with space.When the valedictorians are not pushing the limits of science, they enjoy what every other teenager does: spending time with friends, listening to music, watching television. McCoy enjoys the occasional cruise on her family's boat and Ocampo likes to spend time with his pets.Now that Ocampo and McCoy have high school in their rearview mirror, they can reflect on what made high school a success for them and what advice they would give to incoming 10th graders. I would tell anyone to just go for it. McCoy said. Don't be afraid."