CKHS valedictorians are home-grown scholars
June 11, 2008 · Updated 11:31 AM
"Jillian Andvik and Elizabeth Gray are the kind of students who give the Central Kitsap School District a good reputation. Both have attended school here from the beginning, and both are quick to praise CK teachers for cultivating their hunger for learning.The two young women are Central Kitsap High School class of 2001 valedictorians, but they did not get there by themselves. Both point to individuals who turned them on to education and helped them realize their talents.My parents have been really supportive - they probably had the most impact, Gray said. But Eric Samson, a Science Olympiad teacher (from Central Kitsap Junior High), got me interested in science.She said her love of learning has been her primary academic motivation, not grades.I personally didn't spend four years saying 'I want to do this to be valedictorian' - I just like learning. I didn't do it for the A, Gray said.Samson, a physical science teacher, also was formative in Andvik's scholarly interests, but she added CKJH English teacher Robert Barrett and CKHS advanced placement government teacher Sarah Fisher to her list of those who made a difference.Andvik, who attended Emerald Heights and Jackson Park among other schools, will move on to the University of Washington this fall.I have no idea what I want to study, she said. I'm just going to take classes and try to figure out.She said she's looking forward to having more freedom, but she worried she might sacrifice personal contact with teachers because of the large class sizes at UW.(At CKHS) we have small classes and I've had the same teachers for some of my classes. Being five (teaching assistants) removed from your professor and having 400 students in a class will be hard, Andvik said.Gray is more certain of her course of study - she, too, will attend UW, where she plans to pursue an electrical or biomedical engineering degree. A NASA Space Grant will cover her tuition and the National Alliance for Scholastic Achievement has granted her another $10,000 for her studies. I'm looking forward to being able to concentrate on the classes I really enjoy, Gray said.Gray will work this summer as an engineering aid at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. "