Twelve students from Monroe High School and Sky Valley Education Center graduated from Everett Community College's Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) June 20, earning both their associate degree and high school diploma.
Graduates from Monroe High School include Violet Hopkins, Ildiko Kremper, Reese Land and Alex Teschlog.
Graduates from Sky Valley Education Center include Tanner Choudhry, Gideon Chua, Lucia Maki-Fern, Ashlyn Montgomery, Venica Fiscus, River O'Connor, Elizabeth Lee and Hannah Weinrich.
Several students also earned scholarships:
From Monroe High School
- Violet Hopkins received the Western Undergraduate Exchange Scholarship to attend the University of Alaska Southeast. She also received a Leadership Award for $2,000 and $2,000 from the Youth Maritime Training Association.
- Ildiko Kremper was recognized as a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Hollings Scholar with a $24,000 award and awarded $4,000 from the Youth Maritime Training Association (Ocean Peace). She also received the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship, which provides $2,500 annually. From the Monroe Public Schools Foundation, Kremper was awarded the Charles Wickizer Memorial Scholarship worth $1,950 and the Carbonetti Family Scholarship worth $750.
- Reese Land was awarded $500 through the Monroe Schools Foundation and $250 from Snohomish Tilth. Land plans to major in animal science at Washington State University.
From Sky Valley Education Center
- Venica Ficus received four years of full tuition worth $50,000 at Washington State University as a Distinguished Regents Scholar. Ficus plans to major in Entrepreneurship/Business.
- Elizabeth Lee received $2,000 from the Youth Maritime Training Association and $3,000 from Compass Courses (renewable for four years). She will attend the University of Washington and study Environmental Studies.
- Hannah Weinrich received full tuition support at the University of Washington and was also recognized as a NASA Space Grant Scholar, worth $5,000 annually. She plans to major in Oceanography.
The students are among the class of 51 ORCA students who graduated. ORCA is an early college academy for high school students, who can earn up to two years of college credit while completing their high school education.
The program is the only early college academy of its kind in the country. ORCA uses the local marine environment as the unifying theme for all academic disciplines.
This is the 14th graduating class since ORCA was founded in 2004.
"This cohort of students maximized their research opportunities as the first group of students to receive direct support from the National Science Foundation. Faculty encourage students and provides avenues to help them tell their story through the evidence of their scholarship at ORCA," said Ardi Kveven, executive director and founder of the program.