Two Cougars sharing Washington Scholars honors

Two Central Kitsap High School seniors are sharing the Washington Scholars recognition for the 35th Legislative District. Each will have a full, four-year scholarship to any in-state public university or the equivalent stipend if they stay at a private school in Washington.

It is not rare for two students from the same school to be named Washington Scholars. What is a bit unusual is that Brett Dahlberg and Kris Nyquist have been sharing a passion for academics since they were in second grade.

With accumulated grades of a few hundredths below 4.0 perfection, numerous Advanced Placement classes and extracurricular activities, Dahlberg and Nyquist have been sharing the achievement limelight throughout high school.

An excerpt from Nyquist’s resumé reads like this: Student representative on Central Kitsap Community Council, Honor Society, cross country varsity letter, piano recitals, Washington State Senate page, etc.

He adds skiing and hiking as free time hobbies before he even gets to the middle of his volunteer positions.

“Kris is a personable young man who enjoys living and loving each moment carefully and methodically with zest regardless of the topic at hand,” said Raenette Wood, guidance counselor who has known Nyquist for the duration of his high school career.

A sample from Dahlberg’s list of achievements: Knowledge Bowl captain, taking CKHS’ team to state this year, Mock Trial lead attorney, Honor Society president, band percussion section leader, etc.

“The amazing thing about Brett is that he has been able to juggle so many different activities and do them all at a very high level,” said guidance counselor Randy Templeton, adding his admiration for the senior’s infectious positive attitude and enthusiasm.

“Beyond their clearly identifiable academic achievements, both boys are remarkable for their intellectual curiosity as well as being decent, fun, enthusiastic people who will be good leaders because they are so easy to get along with, yet firm in their beliefs,” said Sarah Fisher, AP government teacher.

Choosing a college to attend has been not quite so easy for the easy-going friends.

Receiving the Washington Scholar award has actually made Dahlberg’s choice harder.

“I’m kind of leaning more toward the Oregon schools,” he said last week, still deliberating.

Dahlberg was accepted to several schools including the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma which is now looking tempting again with the new scholarship, but Lewis & Clark College in Portland and Willamette University in Salem, Ore. are still winning out.

Picking a major was easier, given his interest in languages and cultures.

“I would really hope to be able to study international relations,” Dahlberg said.

He already has his sights set on a career in the Wold Bank.

“The work that they do there I think is necessary and incredible,” he said.

“His passion has been clear for years,” Fisher said. “From the curiosity he showed as a sophomore for leaning about other times and places, to the enthusiasm he shows now in the comparative government course I teach him, to the references he makes constantly to news stories about other places and how they fascinate him.”

Nyquist also has a niche, though different from his friend’s. The Washington Scholar award made it easier for him to commit to Washington State University’s honors program, turning down Carnegie Mellon University, a top science research school located in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Nyquist is keeping Carnegie Mellon in the back of his mind when looking ahead to graduate school. AP physics and AP computer science teacher David Pevovar, whose daughter was an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon, hoped his student would choose to go to Pittsburgh as well, but says WSU’s strong physics department would still be a great match.

“Kris may decide on the physics and research route, medicine, mathematics, or even a vocation in the arts and humanities,” Pevovar said. “No matter what his choice, his love of learning, questioning, and willingness to take himself to the next level, through commitment and hard work, will give him success.”

Nyquist and Dahlberg were each happy to share the Washington Scholars award with a good friend. This year is even more special because budget cuts for the program, run by the Association of Washington School Principals and the Higher Education Coordinating Board, limited the recipients to two per legislative district. Usually there are three scholars in every district.

“It’s nice to be chosen,” Nyquist said. “But it’s important to recognize there are a lot of kids who are on the same (level) as you and have as great a future.”

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