Mount Si honors students get an A for hard work
June 11, 2009
By Laura Geggel
Mount Si High School valedictorian Emily Woolley and salutatorian Gillian Kenagy excel both in and out of the classroom.
The proud Wildcats, avid volunteers and engaging public speakers swept through their four years at Mount Si balancing a large plate of extracurricular activities, all while earning top grades.
Woolley earned a 3.968 grade point average, with Kenagy not far behind at 3.958.
Woolley involved herself in National Honors Society and has completed over 100 hours of community service, mostly with Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, but said 4H was her real passion.
She joined 4H eight years ago and quickly moved up the ranks on a horse named Red. In 2006, she won the Washington state 4H Equine Public Speaking Contest with a speech about soring.
“It’s prevalent in the gated horse industry when people use chemical means, so they have a more flashy gait,” Woolley said. “They put chemicals on their horse’s legs and on the bottom of the feet and add pads to the feet, so when the horses hoof hits the ground, it hurts and they lift their leg higher.”
Woolley carefully schedules her day so she can spend time with Red and finish her schoolwork. Her dedication has led her to place first at events in several horse riding world championships.
“I’m really regimented about balancing my time,” Woolley said. “After school for three hours every single day I do something that’s horse-related. Then I come home, have dinner and from 7 until 10 p.m. or however late it is, I do homework.”
“She is actually very organized and she works very hard,” her mother, Cathi Woolley said. “We just think she’s awesome.”
Two years ago, Woolley logged the second-most trail-riding hours in the Pacific Northwest.
Next year, she will attend Whitman College where she plans to major in math and eventually go to graduate school. Whitman does not have an equestrian team, but Woolley said she would find a way to ride.
“Riding is something that I plan to do for the rest of my life,” she said.
Both Woolley and Kenagy auditioned and are scheduled to give speeches independently of their titles at the 7:30 p.m. June 12 Mount Si graduation ceremony. Kenagy’s speech is titled “Dandelions,” and will take the audience through a whimsical perception of her thoughts on Mount Si.
Kenagy has much to discuss. She volunteered at the Mt. Si Senior Center, Mt Si Helping Hand Food Bank, helped organize the Special Olympics at Mount Si High School and helped spearhead the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Council. As co-president of both Key Club and the National Honors Society, Kenagy helped organize fundraisers for Camp Korey and students in Uganda. She also serves on the Natural Helpers board and as a DECA community chair, tutors, plays extreme Frisbee and does yoga.
Next year, Kenagy will attend the University of Washington Honors Program where she plans to study international and environmental studies.
“I want to just take a whole bunch of classes and see where I can use my community service and leadership skills to help others,” Kenagy said.
As a student who takes both a zero and a seventh period, she has perfected the art of cat napping and balancing her work.
Dave Humphrey, former Mount Si principal and the Kiwanis liaison for the Mount Si Key Club, had nothing but praise for Kenagy.
“Gillian is one of the most complete students I have ever met in my career,” Humphrey said. “I really don’t know how she has any time for academics. That she can be so good to be the salutatorian is mind-boggling.”
Humphrey said Key Club had many talented students in its ranks, but that Kenagy “enhances the ability they already have and just makes it better.”
Mount Si Principal Randy Taylor seconded Humphrey’s admiration for both Woolley and Kenagy.
“They’re two fine young ladies. They have tremendous accomplishment and achievement,” Taylor said. “We’re very proud of them and wish them well in the future.”
Reach reporter Laura Geggel at 392-6434 .221 or email@example.com.