Commencement for Grays Harbor College’s Class of 2013 will be held 7 p.m. next Friday, June 21. As in recent years, the ceremony will take place outdoors on the main campus in Aberdeen. A total of 345 degrees will be awarded. The graduation speaker will be Leonard Barnes, deputy executive director of the Port of Grays Harbor, Aberdeen High School boys basketball coach and an alumnus of the college.
Fourteen students lead the GHC Class of 2013, including four graduates who are tied for the top spot with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages. They are Colton Dion, Mara Harwood, Jordan Hunt and Jade Tometich. Dion, Harwood and Tometich are graduating as Running Start students, meaning they earned their high school diplomas simultaneously with their degrees from GHC. Others in the Top 14 include Rodney Cox, Drew Hollen, Kerensa Thomas, Jessica Sherman, Robert Firth, Joseph Madison, Emily Wright, Justine Blake, Benjamin Lichty and Colton Sundstrom.
A Running Start graduate of Aberdeen High School this Spring, Colton Dion plans to transfer with his Associate of Arts degree from GHC to Western Washington University as a psychology major. Son of Janice and Terry Dion, he is a member of Phi Theta Kappa scholastic honorary at the college, joined the football, swim and track teams at AHS, was swim team captain, appeared in the GHC Summer musical “Legally Blonde” and was an eight-time AHS scholar-athlete. He was named the College’s Outstanding Psychology Student. Dion also volunteered as a camp counselor, with the American Red Cross blood drive and at the Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community.
Earning her high school diploma from Ocosta High School this year, Mara Harwood will receive her Associate of Arts degree from GHC and is transferring to Mills College, Oakland Calif., to study biology and pre-medicine. She has been a tutor at the college’s Learning Center and is a fitness instructor at the Grays Harbor YMCA. She is the daughter of Jon and Laura Harwood in Westport.
Jordan Hunt, a graduate of Napavine High School in 2011 and a resident of Chehalis, is also earning his Associate in Arts degree from GHC. He hopes to become an elementary school teacher and eventually a principal; he will attend City University in the fall. He played basketball for the GHC Chokers, received the Neal A. Eddy Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement for Athletics, and is the son of Bob and Julie Hunt.
Cosmopolis resident Jade Tometich is also receiving a diploma from AHS this spring along with her Associate in Arts degree. She will transfer to the University of Washington as an architecture major. Daughter of Bob and Annette Tometich, she was a member of the college’s Tyee Service Club, hosted a career and technical education day at St. Mary’s School, participated in monthly beach clean-up events, as well as Relay for Life and the outdoor school program.
Earning an Associate of Technology degree in welding, Rodney Cox will continue to work on his pipe welding certifications this summer to gain eligibility with the Pipefitters’ Union. He was honored as the college’s outstanding welding student. A returning student from Aberdeen, he was a logger for many years and was working at Grays Harbor Paper when the mill closed and he came back to GHC for retraining. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and son of Ida Bristow of Aberdeen. During the holidays, he plays the role of Santa with the Jingle Lights display in Central Park.
A Running Start graduate from Hoquiam, Drew Hollen is earning is Associate of Science degree as a physics/engineering major. The son of Sean and Erica Hollen, he will transfer to the University of Washington as a pre-med student majoring in biophysics or another biology field. He eventually will attend medical school and plans a career as a medical missionary. Drew has tutored in the college’s Learning Center and has many faith-based volunteer activities.
Also from Hoquiam, Kerensa Thomas is receiving an Associate in Business Direct Transfer (DTA) degree and would like to continue on as an international economics major. Married to Henry Thomas and the mother of Phoenix and Apollo Green, she belongs to Phi Theta Kappa honorary and the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Her parents are Ed and Peggy Chase.
Elma resident Jessica Sherman will receive her Associate of Arts (DTA) degree and plans to transfer on to Central Washington University for a bachelors degree in early childhood, elementary and special education. She graduated from Elma High School last year and is the daughter of Brenda and Jesse Sherman. A lifelong member of 4-H, she is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa.
Robert Firth of Aberdeen earns his Associate in Applied Science Transfer in Energy Technology and plans to attend Central Washington University in the fall. A returning student who earned his GED in 1982, he is active in Phi Theta Kappa and the TriO student support program. His mother is Donna Firth.
Receiving an Associate in Technology degree in Carpentry, Joseph Madison also plans to continue his education. He attended Aberdeen High School and is the son of Sue and Epi Pacheco. He has helped build two homes for Habitat for Humanity.
Montesano High School graduate Emily Wright plans to enroll in Washington State University’s School of Nursing. She earned her Associate in Pre-Nursing DTA degree at GHC and would eventually like to become a physician’s assistant or enter the neurology field. She is the daughter of Jonathan and Amy Wright, was a Learning Center tutor, member of Jazz Choir, taught piano lessons and sang with a vocal group called D.C.
Earning her Associate in Applied Science in Accounting, Justine Blake of Tokeland graduated from Ocosta High School and plans to eventually enroll in a four-year degree program. She is the mother of two children and is married to Joel Blake.
Benjamin Lichty of Westport, was homeschooled, earning his GED in 2009. He will receive an Associate in Technology in Welding and is the son of Edgar and Lynn Lichty.
A Running Start graduate from Aberdeen, Colton Sundstrom will also receive his Associate in Arts degree from GHC. The son of Patty and Dan Sundstrom, he will transfer to California Polytechnic State University to study computer engineering. He has performed in Summer musicals at the Bishop Center, and also participated in Jazz Band and Jazz Choir, among many other high school activities.