Seniors at Yelm High School Celebrated During Awards Night

By Jacob Dimond / jake@yelmonline.com
Posted 6/14/22

Yelm High School honored the graduating class of 2022 during its annual awards night by doling out nearly $200,000 in scholarships, awards and merits.

The event was kicked off by Principal Curtis …

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Seniors at Yelm High School Celebrated During Awards Night

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Yelm High School honored the graduating class of 2022 during its annual awards night by doling out nearly $200,000 in scholarships, awards and merits.

The event was kicked off by Principal Curtis Cleveringa inside of the high school’s performing arts center on June 7. Cleveringa thanked the seniors for pushing through the adversity they faced during their four years at Yelm High School.

Award night organizer and Yelm High School counselor Nicole Mathis said she was excited to recognize and celebrate the students’ achievements.

“Through scholarships and events such as this one, it shows that our community members aren’t just supporting our students,” Mathis said. “They are investing in their futures and the future of Yelm. I am honored to be a part of this event each year and thankful for the role I get to play in the lives of our students and their families.”

Superintendent Brian Wharton said some families are intimidated by the hefty cost of post high school education, which might prevent some students from continuing their educational journey. Wharton hopes that families will continue to research options outside of loans for students. He said there are plenty of resources available outside of the high school’s Dollars for Scholars program, and other related programs.

“We have an incredible community that can raise that level of resources each year. That’s something our community needs to be proud of,” Wharton said. “We can take for granted how difficult it’s been over the last three years. It’s the first graduation back at the Tacoma Dome in three years, the first grad walk in three years. We have to be appreciative that we can bring these celebrations back for the seniors.”

Wharton was happy to see a turnout of around 110 seniors at the event. He hopes to see that number increase in the coming years.

“Both the high school and our community outreach folks did a great job of planning and implementing it. It was so wonderful engaging and interacting with the seniors,” Wharton said. “I felt so inspired by that group on Tuesday night. They didn’t have the benefit of seeing other classes go through this process. It was really good to bring that group together. They were amazing, professional, considerate and thankful.”



The soon-to-be graduates at the event received scholarships and awards from the Washington Career and Technical Sports Medicine Association, the Olympia Tumwater Foundation, the Edmund F. Maxwell Foundation, the McChord Thrift Shop, the TransAlta Scholarship, which was awarded through New Market, and I-5 Toyota.

The 13 criteria-based Dollars for Scholars scholarships were also announced at the event.

Overall, Dollars for Scholars provided a general pool of $100,000 that was awarded, as well as $24,200 that was awarded through a criteria-based selection. The Yelm Community Education Foundation also provided $37,000 in scholarships and grants, while the Rotary Club of Yelm and Public School Employee’s of Yelm each donated $1,500 to be awarded.

Twelve future college athletes were also honored at the event. They included Ashlyn Aven, Tayettin Brodzinski, Azariah Carter, Isabelle Wright-Cloran, Cooper Cleveringa, Molly Embrey, Kollin Gifford, Kendall Lawson, Israel Mendez, Jeffrey Myers, Kailei Thompson and Vivian Watts.

Cleveringa was also the recipient of the 2022 Nya Faith Legacy Scholarship. Nya Jaquez was a student in the Yelm school district who died after a battle with cancer in 2016 when she was a sophomore. Each year, her family aims to honor the life and legacy their daughter left behind through a scholarship given to a senior who embodies the strength, the courage and the kindness that she encompassed

“These past couple of days I’ve been reflecting after receiving this award,” Cleveringa said. “Winning this has made me really want to learn who (Nya) was and how she lived so I can pass her light forward and be a positive light for others.”

Yelm High School will send off its seniors during a graduation ceremony on the Tacoma Dome on Thursday, June 16. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.

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