KSS valedictorian an academic and athletic champion
June 11, 2008 · Updated 10:57 AM
"Catharine Hoffman of Klahowya Secondary School is alone.Alone at the top. Central Kitsap and Olympic high schools both have multiple valedictorians, but Hoffman is the alone at the top of Klahowya's class of 2000.If you work hard, it pays off, said Hoffman, a Seabeck resident. The view from the top looks all the way to Ithaca, N.Y., where Hoffman will study biology at Cornell University this fall. Hoffman hopes to eventually be the head scientist for a team of researchers.I want to avoid getting stuck in a rut, Hoffman said. I want to do something that has a real impact.She does not want to spend all of her time in the lab, though. In high school, she ran the extra-curricular gauntlet of soccer games, track meets, honor societies and junior Rotary club functions. She might end up having more free time in college than in high school.Not that it was wasted time. Hoffman was the goalkeeper for the KSS girls soccer team that won the class 2A state championship last fall and has made trips to the state track meets in previous years. That (soccer) was one of the best parts of high school, Hoffman said. You can take a picture of me by the trophy in the case.If she does slow down, Hoffman would like to read and write more. If science doesn't work out, she would like to be a freelance writer.I want to have the freedom to do what I want, Hoffman said. I don't want to be stuck somewhere five days a week.Although she wishes she would have had a bit more fun in school, Hoffman has a short list of regrets. She will never forget the friendships she made in Washington, where she has lived ever since she was born, but is looking forward to life beyond Kitsap County.I have known most of these people since elementary school, so I know it will be a little hard, Hoffman said. But it will be nice to meet new people. New places and new things exemplify Hoffman's plans for the future. The choice to go all the way to Cornell wasn't made lightly, especially since she has yet to set foot on the campus. But the chance to experience something new and exciting was too tempting for the young graduate to pass up.Every young person wants to see the world, Hoffman said. I want to go anywhere where everyone else hasn't been.Although she hopes to travel far and wide, Hoffman's heros are found at home. She cited classmate and Klahowya salutatorian Melani Deno as one. For a senior class project, Deno raised money to send a disabled child to Hawaii. Hoffman also recognizes her parents for laying the groundwork on which she could build her success. The most important thing my parents taught me was the basics, Hoffman said. If you work hard, you'll be OK.With high school behind her, Hoffman reflected on the things she would tell incoming Klahowya students and injected a bit of the there is always something better ahead philosophy of her life. The biggest myth is that this is the best time of your life, Hoffman said. It's not. College will be."