Eight seniors, two from each high school

Bellingham High School

Logan Foy

Logan Foy“Bellingham Public Schools is a place that allows students to fully take control of their educational and extracurricular experiences. I was lucky enough to be a part of many student-driven efforts to make BPS an even better place. These included advocating for police reform in schools, reforming homecoming royalty to include LGBTQ+ students, changing the BHS mascot, and promoting the WE BHS inclusivity campaign.

This past school year has, in many ways, left a clean slate moving forward into future school years. I am so excited to see what Bellingham Public Schools can achieve with this unique opportunity to reimagine the school experience in a post-COVID world.

This past year, I have learned that doing work for others is more rewarding than doing it for yourself.

I want to tell future high school students that high school will fly by faster than you ever thought it would. Live it up and get involved. You won’t regret it.

Bellingham is a fantastic place, but I look forward to exploring the great big world beyond our PNW bubble.  I want to thank BPS for all of the incredible support; I would never be where I am today without it.”

Ella Gouran

Ella Gouran“I will always remember the music department at Bellingham High School, including the amazing, talented people with a passion for music that made our department so great. I will also remember the many opportunities we were provided to perform. Before the pandemic, when performances were still common, we had so many chances to showcase what we could do to not only to the local community but to many others. I am very grateful that our music was able to reach so many people.

After graduation, I am looking forward to the new people I will meet and the new connections I will make. I am excited to branch out and discover new things and expand my learning and take on the world in a new way!

My advice for incoming students this fall would be to really buy in to the high school experience. Don’t be shy about showing pride in your school and taking part in anything and everything that interests you!”

Options High School

Senior Baylee with her sonBaylee Hardenbrook

“We are living in an insane moment of history that will never be forgotten. The COVID-19 crisis has shifted reality in a way that nobody could have ever imagined. And all anyone can do, is their best. This past year has showed me the true definition of resilience. We were just learning about resiliency in my GRADS class with Meghan Dunham. Life is never easy, but I think this past year has been one of the hardest for most people.

After high school, I will remember the GRADS program and the fact that I was so lucky to have a family at school. I have been blessed to have childcare onsite, have all the resources that were provided, and have truly amazing people surrounding me throughout my first motherhood and high school experience.

I am looking forward to spending more time with my son, Michael, after graduating. It’s always rough dropping your child off at school or childcare, you just want to be there for everything.

My advice for students entering high school this fall would be… it’s not anything like what you see in the movies or on TV shows. High school can be hard at times, but with dedication, and surrounding yourself with good people… it can be a great moment in your life. High school doesn’t last forever, so TRY to enjoy it while you can.”

Sarah Sessions

Sarah Sessions senior at Options with a horse“What I will remember most about being in Bellingham Public Schools is the connection that I was able to build with the staff and how there was always someone there for me supporting me in my corner.

I am so glad Zoom gave us the opportunity to be mask-less and have a class even if it was online for a while. Being able to finally see my teacher’s faces again after months of uncertainty was a silver lining from the year.

In the past year I have grown a lot in speaking up for myself and my needs because I felt more confident to be an advocate over the screen. I have also learned that our staff struggled just as much with this pandemic and we really are a team.

My biggest advice for new students entering high school would be to show up and do the work even if you do not want to. It will help you in the long run and it can be scary as you’re coming up on the last four years but you can’t be in high school forever.

My second biggest tip would be to find your person whether that be a friend, teacher, or counselor that you feel comfortable going to when you need something, or even just to talk because having someone can make the world of a difference in your day and high school experience.

I am lucky and graduated in February so I have been able to do what I was looking forward to the most, which was going to college and working to become a teacher myself.”

Sehome High School

Izzy Jones

Izzy Jones, senior at Sehome“Ironically, being able to slow down this year has been a huge silver lining. Before the pandemic I had a bad habit of spreading myself too thin, which definitely caught up with me. Being online freed up my time so much, which gave me the ability to spend a lot more time with my family, take Running Start courses, apply to 18 colleges, and take care of myself.

This past year has changed me a great deal in many different ways, but mostly it just gave me an opportunity to grow up. I think that being isolated helped me get to know myself without the influence of my friends and the outside world which was so good for me. I learned that you have to love and take care of yourself before you can do that for anyone else. The best advice I can give to high school students is to be your authentic self, and be kind to yourself and others!

My four years as a student in the Bellingham School District have made me feel as though I was really a part of a community. Every staff member that I’ve come in contact with has been so supportive and encouraging, and it has made such an impact on my experience. Having many opportunities to give back to my community has been something I’ll never forget as well. Getting to work alongside my peers in groups like Environmental Club to plan the MAYhem clothing swap, and in Peer Centered Outreach to make sure all student voices are heard and all community needs are acknowledged has been an honor. I’m forever grateful.

My favorite time of year to be in Bellingham is definitely summer so I’m looking forward to another beautiful one with my friends and family, and I’m also really looking forward to heading to University of Redlands in the fall. It’s going to be a big change but I couldn’t be more excited.”

Warren Rose

Warren Rose a senior from Sehome“I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t missed out on much of what I expected of my senior year–but with new challenges came new opportunities. The unique schedule we all had this year was a great opportunity for pursuing alternative forms of education, be it pursuing personal projects, taking on a heavier class load or getting a job outside of school. I think Sehome students made the best of the extra free time we had at a time where we needed it the most.

My advice for incoming high schoolers is to check out as many extracurriculars as you can. Don’t be afraid to try a bunch of new things–it’s the best way to expand your horizons and find those niches you didn’t expect to love. You can always take more AP classes in later years, but finding a group or activity you love early on guarantees your high school experience will be exciting! For me, it would be tough to forget the days spent working and learning among the Seamonsters Robotics team. Like our beloved mascot Quee-Queg, we Seamonsters had a habit of not standing still. From the classic charm of our first room, to the long winter spent in an unheated cafeteria during the old Sehome’s demolition, to finally moving into our permanent new loft in the new Sehome shop (only to experience an entire season from our own homes!), our team swam around quite a lot during my time here. It was a pleasure to brave all the seas of development and competition with my fellow Seamonsters, and I wish them the best of luck in future years. Lets get Kraken!

After what I can only imagine will be a difficult farewell to so many friends and classmates, I’m psyched to head east with a couple friends for our annual trip. Untold shenanigans await us, no doubt. After that I’m looking forward to getting more involved with prototyping in my job this summer and finally heading down south to Houston to attend Rice University!”

Squalicum High School

Ian McDevitt

Ian McDevitt senior photo

“My most memorable connection to the Bellingham Public Schools is the founding of the HOSA – Future Health Professionals chapter at Squalicum which included members of Sehome High School as well. Watching our organization grow from 8 members in October 2018 to traveling with over 20 individuals to Spokane to compete at the State Leadership Conference was one of my favorite accomplishments. I look forward to seeing how the chapter excels and continues to grow after I graduate.

More than anything else, I am excited to be attending Gonzaga University in the Fall after a three-week road trip around the western United States. I am excited to prepare for college and spend quality time with my family and close friends.

It is kind of ironic to try and find positive things that came out of such a negative time. However, I am grateful for being able to safely return to in person learning for the end of my Senior year. Another silver lining is the unity that has come out of the pandemic. I hope students can come together stronger than before after the last year of division and separation.

Trust the process. I will never forget my mom’s advice when I was going into high school after having a rough end to middle school, she told me, “It’s difficult right now, and it’s probably just going to get harder”. And although it was brutally honest advice, I was able to turn it into a lesson: although high school would come with new and unprecedented challenges, I had so many resources around me to help me succeed. And if you’re going into high school this fall, remember that everyone you come across wants to see you succeed and prosper.

This past year has changed all of us. I am usually hesitant to admit the degree to which the last year has affected my relationships, motivation, and almost every other part of my life- but that is simply the way it is. I believe the last year has showed me what perseverance means and what it means to adapt to constant changes in circumstances. I hope that all of our students have been able to take something from the last year and use it to make them a stronger student and member of this community.

It’s been a swag time, BPS – go Storm and go Zags!”

Kristina Montero-Duong 

Senior Kristina from Squalicum High school

“My favorite memory with the Bellingham Public Schools was the ability to volunteer in many clubs and organizations in Bellingham and farther away. An example of this is when a few of students from Lemon Club and I went to the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle to serve meals and make blankets with the families there. It was probably one of my favorite experiences in high school and I met so many lovely people and am very thankful for the memory and the stories that they shared.

A silver lining for this school year was having a more flexible schedule to balance my needs and wants. It created more time for connecting with family and friends in my community.

I’m looking forward to going out into the real world, going to college, networking, meeting new people, and overall growing as an individual.

Some advice I would give to students is to get to the community that surrounds you. It’s such an amazing way to meet some of the best people in our district and will open lots of opportunities for you. Also, continue going strong in online or in person classes — it’s understandable how difficult the school year has been on so many, but keep pushing forward!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment