'You are role models'



Thirty of Federal Way’s outstanding high school seniors of 2003 were honored Tuesday during the Mirror’s sixth annual Students of Distinction banquet.

Ten were announced as winners of a combined $5,000 in college scholarships, but all were lauded by speakers for their achievements in education and related activities.

“You are tremendous role models,” said Billy McKinney, a professional basketball executive who was the keynote speaker for the event attended by more than 150 people at La Quinta Inn.

A male and a female in each of five categories received $500 apiece toward their higher education. They included:

• Sarah Lencer and Joshua Conklin, both of Federal Way High School, in Music and Arts.

• Lindsay Newport and Quoc-Hoan Do, both of Decatur High, in Community Service.

• Caroline Hunter of Thomas Jefferson High and Johnny Hu of Decatur in Academics.

• Katie Street and Joon Youm, both of Decatur, in Athletics.

• And Melisa Cate of Federal Way High and Cody Peeler of Decatur in Journalism.

To be eligible for Students of Distinction, nominees must excel in various combinations of personal achievement, grade point averages and leadership in their schools and communities.

Committees of community members and Mirror representatives interviewed nominees and chose the scholarship winners.

In addition to the Mirror, sponsors of Students of Distinction are Lloyd Enterprises, Woodstone Credit Union and King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer.

McKinney, executive vice president of the Seattle Supersonics and the Seattle Storm, urged the students to be grateful for their community’s support.

“When you have an opportunity to give back, think of your parents and all the other adults and the newspaper who helped you along the way. Don’t take their support for granted,” he said, adding that his career, which included time as a player in the National Basketball Association, wouldn’t have happened without the local newspaper coverage he received in his tiny hometown in Illinois.

McKinney, who also is a play-by-play analyst on radio and television broadcasts of Sonics games, gave the students some career advice: “If you like what you do, chances are you’ll succeed.”

McKinney fliled in Tuesday for Storm president Karen Bryant, the scheduled keynote speaker, after she became ill the day of the banquet.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565,

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