2023 Varsity Letter in Community Service Awards
Congratulations to our 2023 Varsity Letter in Community Service recipients, who have volunteered more than 250 hours during high school. This year, nine students earned this award: Sopeara Chay, Celeste Martin, Alejandra Plascencia, and Michaela Renick of North Thurston, Maria Cassandra Claudio, Lacey Hunt, and Logan Hunt of River Ridge, and Madison Hehemann and Jenna Nguyen of Timberline!
Sopeara Chay (NTHS)
Sopeara earned the majority of her 273 community service hours at The Washington Student Association, where she educated students about the legislature, created visuals to inform others about bills that impact students, ran errands, and showed fellow students how they can get involved in the Washington government. Sopeara also completed 120 hours of community service at Chinook Middle School, where she supported teachers in the classroom, tutored, and mentored younger students. On her application, Sopeara included that “being able to bring help and give back to the education scene has been an honor.”
Celeste Martin (NTHS)
Celeste Martin completed 253 community service hours. Most of these hours were earned at the Lacey museum, where she led tours, shared the history of Lacey, kept the log book, and answered questions from guests. Celeste also volunteered with the Lacey Elementary orchestra, working with individuals and small groups to learn how to play their string instruments, and helped the teacher with grading and copying. In addition, Celeste worked at the Thurston County Food Bank moving food products, and made food bags and boxes for people in need. She also organized a blanket drive, and helped make blankets, for St. Peter's Hospital as part of her work with FCCLA, which resulted in 80 tie blankets. Celeste’s favorite part of volunteering was giving tours at the Lacey Museum, where she learned new things about the city where she has lived most of her life, and was able to share this knowledge with others.
Alejandra Plascencia (NTHS)
Alejandra Plascencia completed an impressive 830 hours of community service during her high school years! 800 hours were spent coaching soccer for little ones through the Chinqually Booters Soccer Club, touching many young lives with her faithful commitment to this club. Alejandra also volunteered with the NTHS National Honor Society, where she served as the Vice President and helped organize meetings and events. She said after coaching many seasons, she has formed a strong bond with the kids, and she wouldn’t give it up for the world.
Michaela Renick (NTHS)
Michaela completed 486 community service hours. The main agency she supported is the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, serving as a Program Aide Leader at Girl Scout Camp Juliette. Michaela also volunteered with the following organizations: Washington State Senate Page Program, Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Explorer’s Program, Corvettes de Olympia, Washington State Keepers of the Capsule, USA Roller Sports, All Kids Win, US Roller Speed Skating, and the NTHS Band and Colorguard. Michaela said that through her volunteer service, “I have learned that I can do things I didn’t previously know how to do or have the skill set for, by seeking knowledge on the subject and then simply trying my hardest.”
Maria Cassandra Claudio (RRHS)
Maria Cassandra Claudio served 610 hours, mostly at the River Ridge High School library where she learned to be creative in finding solutions to problems. Her work included helping students find materials, checking in and out books, reshelving books, and labeling new materials. She also supported the RRHS library refresh which included 10,000 new books. When asked what skills she has learned, Maria said “paying attention to detail, communication/listening, organization, teamwork, and leadership.” Her Library Award and Varsity Letter in Community Service awards were both presented by the RRHS library team.
Lacey Hunt & Logan Hunt (RRHS)
Lacey and Logan Hunt, twins, and recent graduates of RRHS, have both earned the Varsity Letter in Community Service award. Lacey earned most of her 437 hours working for Camp Juliette and the Girl Scouts of Western Washington as a Program Aide Leader. Logan earned his 385 hours completing his Eagle Scout Service Project (Nisqually Beach Nature Center Bench), and through helping fellow Eagle Scouts complete their projects as well. Both Lacey and Logan have also supported the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign by working as bell ringers. In addition, both students have donated more than 200 volunteer hours to the RRHS band, helping with band camp, loading/unloading band equipment, and supporting a variety of fundraisers and community events. Lacey said she learned people skills by volunteering, and Logan shared he became more patient after working with younger scouts.
Madison Hehemann (THS)
Madison Hehemann, a junior, volunteered 317 hours in her first three years of high school. All of Madison’s community service hours were earned by volunteering in the THS library, where she checked out books to students and staff, reshelved books, helped organize the front desk area, created decorations, and supported school projects. When asked what she learned during her volunteer service, Madison replied “seeing and meeting new students has been eye-opening for me personally. Working with students has given me great job experience for my future.”
Jenna Nguyen (THS)
Jenna Nguyen, also a junior at Timberline High School, volunteered 277 hours before the end of her junior year. The majority of Jenna’s community service hours were earned by working in the THS library, where she checked out books, materials, and Chromebooks to staff and students, reshelved books, and helped students find resources. One challenge was finding time to volunteer since she is a Running Start student. Jenna said helping made her feel useful. She also said what she enjoyed most about volunteering was “interacting with students, and bonding with staff, TAs, and other volunteers.”