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'Shoot for the moon ... Have big dreams'

By JEANNE DINEHART

The Mirror

Eight graduating high school seniors in Federal Way were announced Thursday as winners of the Mirror’s Students of Distinction award.

Each of the winning students received $500 scholarships, and the recipients and all 32 nominees were honored at a gala awards presentation at Todd Beamer High School.

After being nominated by their schools, a male and female winner were chosen by selection committees in each of the four categories:

• Academics: Anisha Karnick and Sam Acuna, both of Federal Way High School.

• Music and arts: Diane Elise Arnold and Eric Taylor, both of Decatur High School.

• Journalism: Kelli Waugh and Matt Jarrell, both of Federal Way High.

• Athletics: Morgan Swanberg and C.J. Green, both of Federal Way High.

The selections were based on combinations of overall academic achievement and excellence in the students’ chosen activities.

The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Floyd Little, a former National Football League star and current owner of Pacific Coast Ford in Federal Way. Little spoke to the audience about the importance of possessing a positive attitude to succeed in life.

“Shoot for the moon, have big dreams and aim high,” said Little. “I read about the achievements of every one of the nominees and I am amazed at their dedication.”

The former Denver Broncos running back shared how he had been labeled as a slow learner when he was a child and grew up without any real hope of attending college. Little refused to believe those opinions and went on to earn 47 scholarship offers and then graduated from Syracuse University.

“I would rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt nothing and succeed,” said Little. “Remember to be in it to win it and don’t allow someone else’s opinion of you to decide your life.”

Some of Little’s advice for success included giving up negative habits and negative friends and focusing on having a positive attitude.

“Remember when you wake up

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