West Albany High School will say goodbye to its 330 graduating seniors during a commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at Memorial Stadium.
A baccalaureate service will be at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 3, in the school gym.
The Class of 2012 has 19 valedictorians, all of whom earned a 4.0 GPA. Each will speak at graduation.
David Allen, son of Russell and Diane Allen, plans to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, to study music education K-12 with an instrumental emphasis. After a year of college he will go on a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He played goal keeper on the varsity soccer team; was a member of the a capella and Rhythmix choirs and the jazz band; was principal trombonist in the Corvallis Youth Symphony; and was selected for in the Western International Band Clinic. He was a National Honor Society delegate, Rotary Club Student of the Month and Presidential Volunteer Service Award recipient; was a member of the Band Council, Choir Council and Optimist Club; and earned his Eagle Scout.
Connor Beer is the son of Brett Beer and Laurie Dunmire-Beer. He plans to attend Linn-Benton Community College for a term and then go on a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He’ll return and attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
For three years he attended the Western International Band Clinic in Seattle. He was in National Honor Society and WAHS Leadership, served as senior class president, and performed in band for four years and jazz band for three.
Carrie Buchert, daughter of Julie and Jeff Buchert, plans to attend Portland State University as a music education major and French minor. She would like to be a high school band teacher, college music theory professor, French teacher in America or English teacher in France.
She was the principal oboist in the wind ensemble; was named French Student of the Month and Band Student of the Month; was an AP music theory aid and introduction to music student teacher; state oboe soloist for 2010 and 2011; and band council member in 2011. She was also a member of Drama Club, served as senior class treasurer; and her family hosted 10 exchange students from Japan, France, Spain and the Netherlands.
Tanner Corrado, the son of Joseph and Carrie Corrado, plans to attend Linfield College and play golf.
He played varsity golf for two years and the team took second at state both years. He was the Albany Chamber of Commerce Student of the Month in December, a part of the PEERS program at WAHS and a member of National Honor Society.
Jennifer Devin, daughter of Cindy Bennink and David Devin, plans to study bioengineering at the honors college at Oregon State University.
She was a National Merit Scholar; was named state champion in marketing and business calculation for Future Business Leaders of America; served as state president for Children of the American Revolution; and was a member of National Honor Society. She played in the wind ensemble and attended the Western International Band Clinic. She was also a FLASH freshman mentor, is involved at Faith Lutheran Church; and volunteered at SafeHaven Humane Society.
Michaela Etherton is the daughter of Cindy and Scott Etherton. She plans to study biology at Linfield College, study abroad in a Francophone country, and then attend medical school.
She was involved in competitive gymnastics with the Willamette Valley Twisters for 12 years and coached for two years. She played flute in the band for seven years, was a FLASH freshman mentor and was a member of National Honor Society.
Marita Angela Franco, daughter of Linda and Fred Franco, plans to attend Portland State University and major in speech and hearing services and minor in Spanish. The program will require two terms of American Sign Language.
She played flute in the wind ensemble, and was also involved in pep band and band solo/ensemble, and played in the parade marching band. She was on the Hi-Stepper dance team and served as team captain, was a FLASH freshman mentor, and played flute with the youth choir/band at St. Edward’s Catholic Church. She was also in National Honor Society and was named Student of the Month for Latin IV.
Sophia Freuden is the daughter of Dawn Callahan and Shawn Freuden. She plans to attend Lewis and Clark College and double major in foreign language (Chinese and Russian) and international affairs.
She was involved in National Honor Society, YMCA Youth and Government and, PEERS leadership and mediation; took Spanish for four years and French for one year; and served as Key Club secretary in 2011. She attended Oregon Girls State, and was a finalist in the Seventeen Magazine/Figment Writing Contest and winner of the Figment SMASH writing contest.
Heather Gehrett, daughter of Les and Laurie Gehrett, plans to attend Oregon State University to major in biology and minor in chemistry. She wants to go to medical school and become a pediatrician.
She played flute in the band for seven years, participated in all three choirs at WAHS and was the co-librarian for choir council, was a FLASH freshman mentor and a member of National Honor Society.
Johnathon Hesseltine is the son of Samuel and Trisha Hesseltine. He plans to major in chemical engineering in the honors college at Oregon State University.
He was a volunteer coach for Albany Mat Club; competed in varsity wrestling, football and baseball; was a member of National Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars and FBLA; and earned top score at West Albany for the American Math Competition. He also earned the Academic All-Star Award and was a National Merit Scholar qualifier.
Emily Kenyon, daughter of Rick and Jami Kenyon, plans to major in business at Oregon State University through the honors college.
She was a varsity cheerleader for four years, during which the team won three state championships in a row and she received the Tana Caputo-Burke Cheerleading Award. She played on the varsity golf team for four years and ran cross country for two. She was a volunteer at the ABC House, Boys & Girls Club of Albany and Samaritan Health; was a member of National Honor Society; and was named Student of the Month for Social Sciences and Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Student of the Month. She attended Oregon Girls State, and is currently an intern at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center.
Reid Kinser is the son of Ralph and Cara Kinser. He plans to study biology at the honors college at Oregon State University and then go on to medical school to specialize in the surgical field.
He was on the track and cross country teams, and volunteer track coach at North Albany Middle School; served as National Honor Society president and ASB school board rep; attended Oregon Boys State; and was a FLASH mentor. He was speech and debate team co-captain and a state semi-finalist. He was also involved in YMCA Youth and Government, and earned his Eagle Scout.
Kendl Leichty, daughter of Mark Leichty and Ann Detweiler, plans to study nutrition at Oregon State University.
She was the drama club co-president and participated in musicals, and was in the National Honor Society and Oregon Thespian Society. She says she couldn’t have made it through high school without doughnuts.
Nicole Lewey is the daughter of Bill and Karen Lewey. She plans to major in computer science and minor in music at Pacific University.
She was involved in all three WAHS choirs, served on the choir council, and was involved in the musicals “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Guys and Dolls.” She was a member of National Honor Society and received academic awards in social studies, music and language arts.
John Mellison, son of Mike and Melissa Mellison, plans to attend Corban University in Salem and pursue music. He hopes to get a degree in music therapy and looks forward to working with disabled kids, elderly people and adults with disabilities.
He was involved in National Honor Society and WAHS event tech, earned his Eagle Scout and was an Oregon Math Skills Finalist. He played in the wind ensemble and jazz band, sang in choir, and is an active member at Willamette Community Church.
Jolynn Meza Wynkoop, daughter of Jose Meza and Lynnette Wynkoop, plans to major in bio-engineering Oregon State University. She hopes to study abroad and participatein engineering projects in foreign countries, and then go on to medical school.
She played soccer for four years and basketball for three, and was involved in Youth and Government, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society and AIM Leadership. She was a nominee for Linn County Junior First Citizen, won the Albany Peace Award and earned First Team All League honors for soccer. She is active at her church and volunteers for a youth soccer team and the Mid-Valley Soccer Club.
Erin Pilkerton is the daughter of Steve and Wendy Pilkerton. She plans to attend Oregon State University to major in exercise and sports science. She hopes to later earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy, specializing in pediatrics or prosthetics.
She was involved with the band program for four years, playing alto sax in both the wind ensemble and jazz band. She threw javelin and shot put for three years in track, earning a letter twice, and and competed in cross country, swimming and water polo. Since the fourth grade she has been a member of Benton County 4-H, showing rabbits, market lambs and steers.
Aaron Potter, son of Michael and Mary Potter, plans to attend Brigham Young University for a year and then serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After he returns home he will finish college and attend physical therapy school.
He played football and was named first team all-league linebacker and second team all-league running back. He also participated in track and made it to state three years in a row in javelin. He was involved in National Honor Society and Leadership, earned his Eagle Scout and played piano for 13 years.
Samantha Siegner is the daughter of Mark and Tina Siegner. She plans to attend Oregon State University, where she will pursue a degree in the sciences and play basketball on scholarship.
She played on the West Albany basketball teams that placed second, third and sixth at state, and was named Mid Willamette Conference Player of the Year, First Team All Tournament and First Team All State, each for three years in a row. She was also an All American nominee. She was involved in National Honor Society, and has been involved in helping with various camps and runs in the community.