New Start High School
614 SW 120th Street Burien, WA 98146

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2020 Senior Spotlights: In Their Own Words

Meet some of our graduating seniors from the Class of 2020. We invite you to find hope and be inspired by what they have to say about their future plans, favorite teachers, memories and advice for future seniors. 

Congratulations to these seniors and all of our graduates. You did it, and we are so proud of you!

Senior Spotlights 


Senior Spotlight student photo

Jenifer Acevedo Sanchez

Tyee High School

Future Plans: I plan to attend a four-year university. I’m not sure what I will study but after graduating from college, I would like to buy my parents a house.

Favorite Teacher: I can’t pick a favorite. All teachers are good teachers!

Favorite Memory: Spending my summers in Mexico and being able to see my family! It’s always a blessing to go there to open arms.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Alfred Aguilar-Yoc

Evergreen High School

Future Plans: Nursing or business. This summer I want to work hard and save my money so I can make sure I am on track to finish my courses in University. I want a big house and a nice car but what will make me feel rich is the act of giving and helping.

Favorite Teacher: It's between Boyer and Ms. Acquino. Both taught English. Boyer supported me always and never let me down, same with Ms. Acquino. I appreciate them and thank them a lot.

Advice for Future Seniors: Please study the first year to get the best grades, and try to attend events like dances because that's what high school is about. Go to prom if you have the chance. I never did but you all can.


Jose Manuel Alvarez Guerrero, Big Picture High School, Class of 2020

Jose Manuel Alvarez Guerrero

Big Picture High School

Future Plans: Attend Seattle Pacific University and study ecology to become an environmental educator.

Favorite Internship:  All of them. It’s too hard to decide! (Jose has spent over 1600 hours at the Woodland Park Zoo and the Pacific Science Center working tirelessly to educate and inspire others.)

Favorite Memory:  Summiting the west peak of Mt. Olympus.

 


Senior Spotlight student photo

Heven Ambachew

Mount Rainier High School

Future Plans: I plan on attending Pacific Lutheran University as an Act Six scholar after high school.

Favorite Teacher: Ms. Gorr, 9th and 10th grade history. I always enjoyed the curriculum and looked forward to being in her class every day.

Favorite Memory: Black Panther movie premier with the Black Student Union. I enjoyed every moment from planning it to attending the movie premier with all my friends and mentors.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Beryl Andoh

Highline High School

Future Plans: I plan to participate in the Year Up program.

Favorite Teacher: Mr. Lavair because he helped me to love computer science and now I want to be a UX or UI designer. Mr. Williams because he listened to me and believed in me when nobody did.

Favorite Memory: My third day at school and I was bored of eating lunch alone, so I asked Ashly and Tai if I could sit with them, and they said yes, and since then we've been really good friends.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Bontu Balda

Mount Rainier High School

Future Plans: My plan for life after high school, is to study English language and literature and pursue an Education degree. But most importantly relax and be open to change.

Favorite Teacher: I had many spectacular teachers, all beautiful in their own ways. But Ms. Agatsuma was truly a fascinating person. She teaches Chemistry.

Favorite Memory: Leading a multi-cultural workshop on Expressing Yourself, and ending the lesson with a masterpiece, a scene from Kung Fu Panda.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Elijah Buenarte

Mount Rainier High School

Future Plans: I will be attending Stanford University. I plan to double major in political science and philosophy, as well as minor in dance.

Favorite Teacher: Mrs. Alison Kestle was the teacher that impacted me the most. She was my favorite because the curriculum she taught was not usually the one I necessarily gravitated towards, but it was the one that excited me the most.

Favorite Memory: Trying out for the dance team, simply because it allowed me to challenge gender roles in America. The opportunity to discover my own passions is one of the greatest rewards of high school.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Viktoria Cambas

Tyee High School

Future Plans: I promised myself that I will engage with marginalized communities especially in bridging them to healthcare and other necessities for their wellbeing.

Favorite Teacher: I don't have one favorite teacher. I'm lucky to experience an amazing set of teachers in all my three years at Tyee.

Favorite Memory: My favorite memory must be Multicultural Day which showcases and bridges the different identities at Tyee.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Diana Caliz Mendez

Tyee High School

Future Plans: My future plans are to go to college and become a real estate agent.

Favorite Teacher: My favorite teachers are Mr. Gosselin and Mr. Setter.

Favorite Memory: My favorite memory would be going to prom with my best friend.

 


Senior Spotlight student photo

Jonathan Felix-Garcia

Evergreen High School

Future Plans: I have been directly admitted to the Foster School of Business at UW, through the freshman direct program. My goal is to work for a tech company doing cybersecurity, making sure information is managed and well protected.

Favorite Teacher: Ms.Fichter, because she went above and beyond what a teacher usually does to make sure we were successful, not only in her class, but in our other classes.

Advice for Future Seniors: For those wanting to pursue business, I would encourage you to apply to the Young Executives of Color (YEOC) Program at the Foster School of Business.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Yuan Fernandez Granil

Highline High School

Future Plans:  I will be attending Saint Martin’s University as an Act Six Scholar and plan to study psychology.

Favorite Teacher:  My DECA teacher Mr. Tim Crawley helped me realize how to have fun in life and was a very good mentor to me.

Favorite Memory:  Do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Do what makes you happy and don’t double think about things. The point of being in high school is to enjoy it and not to take everything so seriously.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Mohamed Fahiye

Tyee High School

Future Plans: I plan to pursue a degree in computer science and become a computer scientist.

Favorite Teacher:  Ms. Nguyen

Favorite Memory:  My favorite memory of high school was the College Success Foundation camp trip.

 


Senior Spotlight student photo

Benjamin Franks

Puget Sound High School

Future Plans: Get a part time job while going to school for automotive repairs and design.

Favorite Teacher: All the Vital teachers are my favorite for different reasons. Ms. Lee always having a big smile on her face. Ms. Asare always made math fun and not boring. Mr. Hall always checking in and making sure I’m good.

Advice for Future Seniors: Stay on top of your school work and make it to class everyday.


Senior Spotlight photo

Anusha Gani

Raisbeck Aviation High School

Future Plans: I hope to become a software engineer and eventually have my own start up. I am currently enrolled at the University of Washington as a direct admit to the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering.

Favorite Teacher:  Nathan Gwinn (10th grade Biology)

Advice for Future Seniors:  Try your best to build up your GPA now, it'll give you a good cushion for when you are an upperclassman and taking difficult courses. Be nice to your teachers! Ask for help when you need it, don't be afraid.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Miles Gendreau

Raisbeck Aviation High School

Future Plans:  I intend to major in computer science and then seek a job programming. I plan to work over the summer to help pay for college. I'd like to help develop technology that could improve people's lives or the health of the planet.

Favorite Teacher:  Mr. Storer (Literature)

Favorite Memory:  Science Olympiad regionals as a sophomore.

 


Senior Spotlight student photo

Abdijibar Hassan

Evergreen High School

Future Plans: I want to go to UW for my bachelor's degree. And then go for my masters to get into dentistry school. I need to stay strong and study for the next 8 years to pursue my dream of helping my mother and building more dental clinics.

Favorite Teacher: Mr. Shibly and Mr. Maine. They both helped me grow as a student and always had a positive vibes towards every student. And they were both funny people.

Favorite Memory: Most of my favorite memories are hanging with my friends here at Evergreen. Even though we joke around a lot, it's nice to be around people who are welcoming and where everyone respects other people's ideas.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Jeremiah James

Evergreen High School

Future Plans:  I plan on getting my own place as soon as possible and signing up to work at NOAH. From there I'll work toward going to art college to improve my photography and start a business.

Favorite Teacher:  My favorite teachers equally are Ms. Lee, Mr. Hall and Ms. Asare from Puget Sound Skills Center. Because of them, I've never felt so loved and safe and important in my life.

Favorite Memory:  Wearing a pride flag as a cape to school for the first time and getting zero complaints about it and getting the same feedback when I wore a dress for the first time.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Emily Leos Perez

Tyee High School

Future Plans:  Before entering college I realized that my interests lay in dentistry. I plan to attend college to pursue a career as a dental assistant. 

Favorite Teacher:  Mr. Setter

Favorite Memory:  Making friends and attending assemblies.

 

 


Senior Spotlight student photo

Melissa Luong

Mount Rainier High School

Future Plans:  My plans after high school are to attend WSU and major in nursing.

Favorite Teacher:  Mr. Hepworth reminds me that everyday counts, and that I should always give it my all, and excuses should never be made because it gets us nowhere in life. He would always tell me that at the end of the day, the person that matters is the person I'm looking at in the mirror.

Favorite Memory:  My favorite memory in high school is cheer. I've never met such amazing and loving people.


Callie McFadden, CHOICE Academy, Senior Spotlight 2020 Photo

Callie McFadden

CHOICE Academy

Future Plans:  Finish my prerequisites for nursing school at Highline College, then hopefully go to a university nursing program and get my BSN. After working as a labor and delivery nurse for a few years I hope to then become a midwife!

Favorite Teacher:  Ms.Crawford taught us in such a new and exciting way. She prepared me for college classes.

Advice for Future Seniors:  It’s okay to not have your whole life figured out. There is way too much pressure on teens. It’s important to find a career you will enjoy. Don’t lose sight of your dream!


Senior Spotlight student photo

Luan Nguyen

Evergreen High School

Future Plans: I am planning to attend a 4-year university to get my bachelor in computer science.

Favorite Teacher:  Ms. Wing was so supportive and helped me through my first year in high school.

Favorite Memory:  Spring fling during my sophomore year.

 


Senior Spotlight student photo

Trang Pham

Evergreen High School

Future Plans: I'm planning to double major in Art and Design at UW, maybe minor in Japanese, find a part-time job and make new friends there.

Favorite Teacher: Ms. Lofstrand is fun and supportive. She makes class interesting.

Favorite Memory:  My favorite school memory is the flash mob dance competition in my junior year. My class spent three months practicing super hard for it, and I was in charge of making our costumes. It was extremely fun.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Davie Anne Ross

Raisbeck Aviation High School

Future Plans: I want to work in educational law to make sure student rights are met and represented. I'll be a Sullivan scholar at Seattle University.

Favorite Teacher: Novelo (Civics).

Favorite Memory: Playing Dahil Sayo at the Cultural Assembly last year.

 


Senior Spotlight student photo

Ariel Santana Herrera

Highline High School

Future Plans:  I will attend Seattle University and study physics and astronomy to then master on astrophysics. After I obtain my master’s degree, I would like to either start my own space research company or/and become an astronaut.

Favorite Teacher:  My favorite teacher is Ms. Corvino who teaches AP Physics. She made me want to learn more about it and pursue a higher level of education to finally master it.

Advice for Future Seniors:  Don't stop grinding now that you are at the top and almost done. Keep pushing yourself and show them what you are made of. Let's go Pirates!


Senior Spotlight student photo

William Stagi

Highline High School

Future Plans: I will attend UW Seattle.

Favorite Teacher:  Ms. McAllister was my favorite teacher when she taught here. She taught AP English Literature.

Favorite Memory:  My freshman year band trip.

 

 


Senior Spotlight student photo

Saiauro Tuatagaloa

Tyee High School

Future Plans:  I plan to take courses at Highline Community College before transferring to a university to pursue my career in nursing.

Favorite Teacher:  Miss Angelia Thornton, Miss Franchesca and Miss Jenn. These wonderful ladies have helped and pushed me to do better. They have continued to believe in me when I couldn’t even believe in myself.

Favorite Memory:  One of my favorite memories in high school was freshman year. I was failing three of my classes so my God Dad decided to follow me to every class for a week. I can’t explain the embarrassment I had throughout that whole week.


Senior Spotlight student photo

Nickolas Tran

Mount Rainier High School

Future Plans: My plan after high school is to go to a university and hopefully earn a bachelor's degree in Computer Science or Engineering.

Favorite Teacher:  My favorite teacher is Mr. Roth. He teaches Physics.

Favorite Memory:  Just being with friends and joining clubs was a fun experience.

 


Senior Spotlight student photo

Ashly Veliz

Tyee High School

Future Plans:  My future plans are to go to college and pursue my career goal, which is to be a social worker. I love working with kids!

Favorite Teacher:  Favorite teacher would have to be Ms. Jenn! She was my coach for basketball and during that season she showed me how much Tyee C.A.R.E.S.

Favorite Memory:  Favorite memory would be my experience with the basketball team as a JV co-captain.


Yaqqiyrah Yishmael, Big Picture High School, Class of 2020

Yaqqiyrah Yishmael

Big Picture High School

Future Plans: Attend Central Washington University in order to join the FBI and eventually the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit.

Favorite Internship:  Bassetti Architects

Favorite Memory: Trip to Eastern Washington University