32 of the top of the class of 2006


The Mirror

Proud parents, siblings and friends filed into Todd Beamer High School Tuesday to celebrate the 2006 Students of Distinction.

The Mirror’s annual scholarship program awarded one male and one female senior from each of the Federal Way school district’s four high schools with $500 scholarships to use at any college or university.

The eight winners were chosen from a group of 32 nominees, each required to maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average and to excel in their academic and athletic pursuits.

“The Students of Distinction 2006 have exceeded these expectations,” Mirror publisher Debbie Kaufman told the audience at Tuesday’s event in Beamer’s multi-purpose room, where all of the finalists were honored and the winners were announced.

One by one, the nominees in four categories filed onto the stage, each introducing their family members and friends in the audience. During the introductions, a PowerPoint presentation on a large screen displayed each student’s academic and athletic achievements.

Nominees who were unable to attend the event were also applauded for their efforts.

This year’s winners were:

• Academics: Christine Ha of Federal Way High School and Aaron Greenlee of Decatur High School.

• Music: Jenny Park of Beamer and Josh Williams of Thomas Jefferson High School.

• Journalism: Emily Kwon of Jefferson and Shea Eakes of Federal Way.

• Athletics: Salena Dickerson of Federal Way and Jason Summers of Jefferson.

State Rep. Skip Priest praised all of the nominees, calling the Students of Distinction event a reflection of work done over a long period of time.

Priest gave the night’s keynote address as a last-minute replacement for school district superintendent Tom Murphy, who was unable to attend.

In addition to praising the students’ hard work, Priest also lauded their parents, calling them important partners in a students’ success.

He also discussed the competitive road ahead as more countries, including India and China, vie for top jobs.

“It’s a little daunting,” he said.

Despite the challenge, Priest said Federal Way’s students have all the assets they need to be competitive with the world, including top universities and high-tech companies such as Microsoft nearby.

Priest said he has confidence in today’s students, describing them as the vanguard of a new world and a new society.

As the scholarship winners were announced, each recipient thanked their friends and family.

Greenlee, one of the academic category winners, thanked his parents and his sisters for their support.

“They’re my life,” he said. “They’re the reason I’m here.”

Staff writer Philip Palermo: 925-5565,

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