The Graduating Class of 2010
***Summa Cum Laude (3.9 – 4.0 GPA)
Carson Garrett Baker***‡
University of Washington
Chelsea Marie Baker
Ryan T. Baldwin
The Evergreen State College
Kyle James Blankenbeckler***‡
Benjamin Aaron Brudnicki**
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Dillon Tyler Camp***
Megan Kaitlin Cheever***
Academy of Art University
Seong Hyuk Cho***
Central Washington University
Michael Walker Davisson**
Santa Clara University
Jordan Keoni Domingo‡
Joshua Blake Mark Erickson‡
Sydney Elizabeth Felker***
University of Virginia
Alexander Mackenzie Finkelson**
Henry Haebler Frantz*
University of San Diego
Jeanine Emily Gorzalski***
Grove City College
Jacob Nelson Hamilton
University of Idaho
Seattle Pacific University
University of Washington
Joy Kristine Jacobson**
University of California, Los Angeles
Rutgers–The State University of
Emily Ruth Kadeg**
Robert Michael Kelley***Hui Yong Kim*
Irwin Sun-ik Kim
University of Idaho
University of British Columbia
Bethany Rose Linnenkohl‡
Angela Rose Martucci
Brian David Matson‡
Washington State University
Jacob Andrew Matthews
University of British Columbia
Tajel Yasmin Mehta*
University of San Diego
Ashley Ann Meissner
Seattle Pacific University
James David McAyeal Meyer**
Jasmine Cole Miller
University of Pittsburgh
Sandra Joy Odom Pereira*
Texas A&M University
Daniel Coleman Probus
Seattle Pacific University
Laurie Elizabeth Robinson‡
Seattle Pacific University
Robert Saxon Ross*‡
Santa Clara University
Collette Michele Sackman***
Grove City College
Clara Jane Shands**
Joel Rodney-VanderWeyst Smith*
California Polytechnic State
University, San Luis Obispo
Andrew Joseph Tilton‡
Georgina Marie Wadhwani-Napp
Western Washington University
Anna Helen Wetter‡
Cascadia Community College
Zachary William Witt
Rocky Mountain College
Annie Christian Worman*‡
** Magna Cum Laude (3.75 – 3.89 GPA)
*Cum Laude (3.5 – 3.749 GPA)
‡ Legacy Honors (Bear Creek student from kindergarten through grade 12)
Washington State Honors Award
Top 10% of all Washington state graduates
|Emily Kadeg |
National Merit Finalist
National Merit Commended Scholars
Carson Baker, Kyle Blankenbeckler, Megan Cheever,
Daniel Probus, Collette Sackman
Excerpt from Faculty Address
First of all, I would like to thank you, Class of 2010, for the heart-stopping honor of being invited to speak to you today. Standing at this podium may seem a similar context to standing in front of you in the classroom, but I assure you, it is not.
In thinking over this request, it occurred to me that the most important bits of advice I can offer center around truths you’ve known for a very long time, perhaps even since some of you Bear Creek Lifers first set foot in Mrs. Erikson’s kindergarten class, all smiley and adorable in your pleated plaid skirts and size 6 khakis. But, though these truths are simple, our state of development and our life circumstances have a way of deepening them, making our connection to the Father clearer and our existence more profound.
The first of these truths is the importance of presence. I am sure some of you remember those one or two grade school classmates who didn’t miss a single day of school in a year. No Bear Creek senior can deny the panic of missing too much school. Getting behind is easy and catching up is tough around here. The importance of presence isn’t only important in school. Showing up as a rule for living is even more important. It is easy to miss out on vital moments, painful or joyful. The world is full of people who breathe, but are too afraid to be alive. Showing up for life is so much better! It means having an open and approachable heart; it means trusting God to protect us instead of being self-protective. When we take the risk to be light in a dark world, we can walk with our eyes wide-open, even in the valley of the shadow of death. When present, we experience pain, but, even more, we experience profound joy even in the middle of suffering. Even in grave circumstances, God’s goodness and presence are always true; thus when I am unaware of Him and my connection to Him, it is my presence that is the problem, not His. To fully benefit from our salvation, to begin to comprehend His unwavering and intentional love, we need to show up and choose to be where He is.
This leads to my second point. Showing up for life is good, but showing up and being awake are golden. Showing up isn’t a passive thing. It requires our attention, it requires we be alert to the tasks, and people, before us, but more important, it requires we listen for the Holy Spirit within us. We do need to pinch ourselves from time to time. As Christian travelers, we are headed toward God. It is an exhilarating, perilous journey, and gladly, we have the help of Christ and the Holy Spirit as we make our way. But what happens when our intended course hits turbulence? Or, we have engine trouble? Do we close our eyes, hold on, and hope for the best? Trusting God means reorienting ourselves; it means choosing a perspective of eternal truth in spite of momentary circumstances. This reorientation often happens 30 seconds at a time.
You might wonder why I say 30 seconds. It is, in fact, my unscientifically-proven theory that we really only get the next 30 seconds of this life for certain. In these increments, we are offered the choice to spend them beautifully or to squander them. Will I remain alert and in tune to the impulse of the Holy Spirit? Will I bring joy or strife? Will I offer courage or cowardice? The choice is constantly before us.
The last truth I want to emphasize is the importance of being genuine. No one has to tell any of those kindergarten girls that wearing a pleated plaid jumper means one should twirl in circles and none of Mrs. Erikson’s 6-year-old boys need lessons in getting dirty while digging up worms. Certainly, these behaviors are genuine to the little-person experience; they come naturally. As we get older, though, we become more removed from these untaught expressions of self. We scrutinize ourselves against measures of coolness, or accomplishment, or beauty. We forget how to just be. The same is true on our spiritual journey. When we first accept Christ, it seems natural to want to be where He is. But, being fallen, our attention spans are pretty short. We, like the Israelites waiting for Moses to return from the mountain, become anxious and we look for more tangible, controllable God substitutes. Some are really good things, even gifts God has given us. I have made gods of my career, my family, my church—placing the identity I took from them above my true identity in Jesus. This sort of idolatry never really works, since my creator designed me for His purposes, not my own. We can’t wholly be who we are meant to be without allowing Him His rightful place at the center of our beings. C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, reminds us that the primary reason for cultivating virtue in our own lives is so that we can remain headed toward God, the author, perfecter, and finisher. Through habitual acts of obedience, we are not subverting some key aspects of ourselves. We are, in fact, becoming more like the selves He meant for us to be before sin, even before time began. Acts of temperance, prudence, justice, and fortitude can become habitual, like skirt twirling or worm digging. And how do they become so? Thirty present, alert seconds at a time.
And so class of 2010, my prayer for you is that Christ will be lovely in each of your faces and that He will shine through your eyes as you go into the larger world, fully present, wide awake, and genuine to the core.
Excerpts from Student Speeches
Student speeches are available as videos in our online flipbook version of Modus Vivendi.
Three years ago, when I began my tenth grade year at Bear Creek, I was neither expectant nor hopeful for my future here. After moving so many times and being the “shy new girl” at many different schools, I was tired, dull, and hardened like a stone. But, unbeknownst to me, God was preparing all along to soften me and mold me, and He did it through my experience at Bear Creek.
God started chipping away at my heart right from the beginning by sawing away at all of my misconceptions about learning and about the world. After a little dose of p orbitals, Paradise Lost, polysyndetons, and z-tests of significance, I soon realized that Bear Creek academics were no laughing matter. Contrary to what many of my previous schools taught me, I was no longer able to let the textbook learn for me. I actually had to think and be “brilliant” in an impromptu speech in Rhetoric, in a philosophical discussion on the Cosmological Argument, in a mock congress in government class, and in a 40 minute in-class essay—all in one day. No biggie.
The teachers not only cared about the growth of my intellect, but also the growth of my individuality and heart. I danced in biology class, consumed loads of treats in math class, sang songs about donkeys in Spanish class, plastered my face in English class, and played baseball in my religion class. Each of my teachers was full of joy and light, which resulted in many opportunities to share laughter and talk about life, God, and growing up.
I have been guided to take ownership not only of my studies, but also of my faith. I have come to the realization that being a part of Bear Creek is not only about absorbing its benefits, but also about investing in its future. Bear Creek gave me the leadership opportunities to pour into others what my teachers and classmates have abundantly poured into me.
God knew all along that Bear Creek would be the perfect place to make His finishing touches on my high school experience. Looking into the future, I am reminded of the promise of Job 23:10, and I pray that you, my classmates, will take hold of this with me: “He knows the way that [we] take [and] when He has tested [us], [we] will come forth as gold”.
I have known these people since we used to rambunctiously play red-light green-light during childhood P.E. Eleven years we’ve been together in the same small school, the same small classes. They are not my classmates. They are my family.
Bear Creek is our first home, the place that taught us the ropes and made sure our heads are screwed on right. The ever-patient teachers have been more than just educators, and have taken the time to help us realize who we want to become. We’ll never forget the lessons and memories we are taking from this place. But, it’s up to us now to hold our own, to decide where we go from here.
Someday, when our roads and red lights and green lights lead us back into each other’s lives, we will start right where we left off, not missing a beat. But that is for later. It is time to move on, into the welcoming new fresh cold air, into the world. Though we know each other, we will surprise each other with what we do. I know without a doubt we can go far beyond the borders of this town. Our influence and our reach and our lights will spread as we grow in the values Bear Creek has taught us to cling to and uphold. What an exciting thought.
Daniel (Cole) Probus
Walking into Bear Creek for the first time was a slap of nostalgia…years of study in the Scriptorium came rushing back; the salty wind on the narrow climb to the monastery, hurrying, late again, through the arch into the garden—the monks are in Mass, my tardiness escapes notice. Work and study begins, the secret wisdom of antiquity echoing across the tiles, among the rafters—embedded, after centuries, in the masonry.
I can almost smell it again—the fading parchment, soon to be replaced by new vellum still raw from the scudding, the stabbing odor of ink. The smell of knowledge passing from one medium to the next—today the monks begin work on a new copy of Augustine’s Enchiridion, another treasure of Roman wisdom entrusted to us. Stooped over my menial chores, I drink up as much Latin as I can; Tacitus and Irenaeus, all the dignified power of a brighter age murmuring in the alcoves, the corners, so thick it can be snatched from the air.
I work the vellum furiously, pressing out the flaws while it is still malleable, but peals of Gaelic laughter from the window distract me; girls on their way down to dance a reel at the ceilih, I chat gaily with them until the stern monk’s rod comes down. Chastened, I kneel again and return to work and Latin; the vellum must be dried carefully, carefully, and Irenaeus is still waiting in the stones….
Back at Bear Creek, crawling up the stairs for first period, it strikes me that the differences of thirteen hundred years are fairly insignificant. The cries of seagulls are lost on the Irish wind, the writhing Celtic crosses are worn away, but Irenaeus has not left the stones yet. The thrum of air-conditioning only nearly drowns out those Latin whispers in the corners, and the monks still bend over their work, preparing to pass on the lessons of the past to me. This opportunity had been worth all the toil then, and the gift isn’t worth a speck of ink less today.
The essence of timid made its appearance in the form of a young redheaded 6-year-old, her long hair swept away from her face with a homemade plaid headband. Hoping to fit in, of course she thought that the occasion seemed to call for head-to-toe plaid. She walked into a cold room full of those who didn’t seem to share her same view of “appropriate” dress code for the “casual” kindergarten orientation. Suddenly her cheeks matched the red jumper that she wore so proudly, and she revealed one of the curses of being a redhead: the entire color coordination of the head when it comes to embarrassment.
Little did I know, my first experience as the little girl in plaid was only the beginning of the identity I would shape through my next thirteen years at The Bear Creek School. Oddly enough, that very desire to find my place in a family of uniformity could not have been a more accurate depiction of what would make my school experience so unique. My shy personality has always shielded me from finding my place, but not at Bear Creek.
Little did I know the day I stood out like a sore thumb in that crowd of strangers, that I would stand unique for the next thirteen years as someone whose faith has been tested as well as strengthened and whose beliefs would serve as the target of criticism to the outside world.
Classical, college prep is a label—it comes with the implication of uniforms, rigorous curriculum, and competitive students. Bear Creek is a label—a crest woven into my identity on the Lands’ End sweater. However, my preparation for the world cannot hold a label, at least not in the familiar sense of the word. I wear a label every day in the form of a girl with a different way of viewing the world, with open eyes and the fond memory of the little girl in the plaid headband.
James (Jamie) Meyer
I like to think that I do not, and never have, fit any kind of mold. Try as you might to squeeze me into the singular shape of a jock, a musician, an actor, or even (sigh) a nerd—I just won’t fit! I am the bizarre sum total of an eclectic list of parts that has never desired to be identified as just one thing. Or even “x” number of things. I have always desired to keep my windows of possibility flung wide open. If forced by society, no doubt I could make myself into a recognizable stereotype to make people comfortable. But the question then becomes, should I? Do I want to? Absolutely not on both counts. Being a predictable entity does not in the least appeal to me, neither does my God call me to be a creature of these limits.
My point is this: Bear Creek has been the site, and even catalyst, for my development in all aspects of my diverse life. Rather than restrict my interests, it has cultivated them. Rather than trying to find a mold for me to squeeze into, it has challenged me to make my own “Renaissance mold,” if you will—an organic assortment of my own choosing. I have come to love being involved in as many things as I can possibly get my hands on.
The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians instructs a serious Christian to focus on whatever is good, right, just, and worthy of praise. At Bear Creek, there were so many things that met these criteria, how could I help but choose as many as I did? It was the place where the idea of glorifying God through my words and deeds became action. I saw a goal, a concept, become reality before my very eyes. In no other circumstance would I have been able to connect these pieces in such a vivid manner. First, Bear Creek accepted, even encouraged, all of my distinct pursuits. Next, it challenged me to make all of those pursuits glorify my Lord in different ways. Now, I can look back and see that Bear Creek has truly allowed my faith to become of primary importance. How? My diverse schedule did not compartmentalize my faith; it showed me that my faith transcended the diversity.
Bear Creek has permitted us to flourish in so many ways that we will be able to bring honor to God no matter which direction our lives take.
Cheng-Hsuan (Sherry) Lin
I came from a public school in Taiwan three years ago. I still remember the first two months here; I was always catching up on homework and doing a lot of projects. It was crazy. I wondered if I had walked into a bear trap at Bear Creek. Sometimes I felt lost and lonely in this foreign country, but I found things that are unique, attractive, exciting, and lovely here.
I love Spirit Week, which showed me the impressive, strong spirit of Bear Creek. I still remember being surrounded by students dressed up in red, green, pink, and blue. I was really impressed and amused by everyone’s creative outfits. I enjoyed participating in school events, and I made friends through all kinds of activities.
The classes gave me the most challenges, but also I received lots of help from friends who gave me unforgettable memories. I appreciated my teachers’ patience and classmates’ help. Outside of classes, I was able to participate in soccer and tennis. I’m very thankful for the way people cared for me here. Their small actions often meant a lot to me. While my parents are 6,792 miles away, I found that at Bear Creek, love poured out from everyone’s heart.
I also found Christ in my life at Bear Creek. I remember seeing other students’ devotion in singing and praising God. I think the loving, cheerful, encouraging Christ-likeness that I saw in the students all came from their love for Jesus. After three years, Bear Creek has given me many wonderful memories. What I appreciate the most is the Christian environment and the faith in Christ I can carry on with me in the future. This is the best gift for me.
Michael Davisson, ASB President
I would like you to meet my extended family, the graduating class of 2010. The best way I think I can introduce you to them is to take you on a tour of our home. So follow me as we see what this class is up to.
As we pass over the threshold I hear music coming from a side hallway where the band and the choir practice. I joined choir my senior year, taking up with regulars such as Jamie, Jasmine, Robert Kelly, and Collette as we sang, cheerled, and rick-rolled like no other choir has. Returning to the main hallway, the drama room appears on our left, and I see Ashley practicing her lines for the next great performance with Cole, the voice of our class, sitting beside her. Right across the hall, Alex works on translating the entire Latin Bible in a day with Dr. Nelson. And in the room next to him, Megan sits at a table and draws her next masterpiece.
I walk up the stairs and the academic hallway looms ahead. The first classroom is that of Mr. MacKenney. I am convinced this man invented math. I see Payum, Robert Ross, Sydney, and Dillon with confused looks as he towers over them, wondering how these students didn’t learn double matrix derivatives in kindergarten. Next is the language room, where Ryan, Jake, and Clara study French—the proud three to complete French 4. Spanish was my troublesome class, but luckily I had Angela, Tajel, and Annie who put up with me as I irritated them like only a brother can. I can see Mr. Norris convincing Hank to use the dark side while simultaneously trying to tame Kyle, Joy, Ben, Sandra, and Carson—the captains of distraction.
A door appears farther down the hallway where the words “abandon all hope ye who enter here” are written in fire. As I peek around the door I find literature lovers such as Georgina and Josh absorbing Ms. Dennison’s knowledge and her delicious goodies. Mrs. Kaplowitz lives here too and is caught threatening the Kaplowitz smackdown (which is a mythical punishment) on many of us who participated in class too much like Andrew, Ben, and Joel, while she praised those like Hui, Katelyn, Jordan, and Brian who quietly wrote poetry.
Mrs. Reese’s AP Stats class is across the hallway. Chelsea and Hank punch numbers in their calculators while eating Mrs. Reese’s freshly baked treats.
The home of coffee, blacker than the night, and a grossly oversized statue of President Taft is our next classroom. Mr. Joyner discusses politics and current world events with Laurie, Irwin, Nick, and Anna at the beginning of class. Down the hall, speaking through the tears caused by the latest Mariner loss, Mr. Faris teaches Jeanine and Bethany the basics of the Bible and baseball.
In the science classrooms, Mrs. Graham, Sherry, and Joel have grins that cover their faces as they play with a flying pig, rendering a commonly used expression useless. Next door Ms. Bell teaches chemistry to Nick, Yuna, and Erica. I see them discussing the periodic table of Pokémon, and at the same time, Jacob tries to delay the start of the next test. The last of the triumvirate is Mrs. Dunn, the biology teacher. She calmly and coolly handles subjects and pictures that can be awkward at times but even with this poise Emily, Zach, and Shawn giggle and blush over the subject being taught.
This is a glimpse of my family and of our life. Here before you are 47 students who have become confident in who they are as individuals, which is something that I think is rare in high schools and I think has to do with both the faculty and our peers here. Only in a supportive and uplifting environment does one become comfortable and confident in his or her differences. We are a diverse, quirky bunch of kids. We have been leaders in our school and our communities. We have reached out to those around us with caring and giving hearts. We have made an impact on this school; one I hope will be felt for many years to come. We are about to disperse from this home and I know we will accomplish great things.