Eastside Catholic High School (EC) has finalized its list of 2022 valedictorians. Five of the nine students awarded the honor are from Sammamish.
The students who earned this title took at least 12 honors or AP classes, while holding a 4.0 GPA throughout their high school career.
Lauren Barry, Christopher Hamdan, Alexandra Shoenstadt, Christopher Tebben, and Alivia Uribe were the Sammamish seniors who finished at the top of their class.
Barry undertook the AP Capstone Diploma, which is a program that requires the rigorous AP Seminar and AP Research classes, as well as four AP exams. In the summer of 2021, she conducted a research project with her friends on different parenting styles, which recently became approved for publication. She also spends time volunteering, and is the president of French National Honor Society.
Barry acknowledges how stressful school can become.
“Middle school and high school are busy and confusing for everyone,” she said, recommending that students reach out to their teachers and parents if they are struggling.
Barry plans to attend Santa Clara University. Although she has not picked a major yet, she likes psychology and research.
Another valedictorian, Schoenstadt, graduated from EC a semester early and now attends the University of Mississippi where she plays soccer. She hopes to eventually play soccer professionally and is majoring in biomedical engineering.
“Biomedical engineering is a way that I can make a difference,” Schoenstadt said.
Schoenstadt also played varsity soccer, track, and cross country in high school. She utilized time management to balance her education and sports schedules.
For Schoenstadt, friendships were one of the most rewarding parts of her experience, but they were sometimes a struggle. She advises incoming high schoolers to “find a friend group, but know that your freshman year friends might not be your senior year friends, and that’s okay.”
When Tebben learned he was named a valedictorian, he was both surprised and honored. Tebben leads a busy life, especially emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to his various AP and Honors classes, he is a member of the Spanish Honor Society, the International Thespian Society, and choir. He also co-captained the cross country team in the fall and recently participated in EC’s school musical. Tebben also enjoys reading and writing for fun.
Like Schoenstadt, time management was key for Tebben.
“It was all about self-motivation — and this might sound contradictory — but also knowing when to take breaks,” he said.
Tebben balanced his academic commitments, extracurriculars, and personal life by staying on top of things but also taking breaks when necessary. Keeping agendas is something Tebben recommends for high schoolers to stay organized.
Tebben plans to major in psychology at Dartmouth College and is considering law school beyond that.
Hamdan plans to go into computer science or sports management at Pepperdine University, while Uribe graduated a semester early and plans on majoring in finance at Penn State University, where she plays soccer.
“We have been blessed with an outstanding group of valedictorians and salutatorians this year, more than half of whom matriculated through our middle school,” EC’s principal Ryan Aiello said. “I am so proud of and impressed by their many accomplishments inside and outside of the classroom.”
Other valedictorians include Grace Hopkins, Sydney Kuerner, Spencer Mamula-Simons, and Ellie Sampson. There were also five salutatorians — Sophia Friedl, Sharon Huang, Kade Kaufmann, Lexi Phan, and Sydney Terry.
Christopher Hamdan and Alivia Uribe did not respond to the Sammamish Independent’s request for an interview.