11 Wa-Hi singers audition, 11 make all-state choir

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Eleven Walla Walla High School students auditioned for Washington Music Educators Association All-State Choir and all 11 made the cut for the event this February in Yakima, said Norb Rossi, Wa-Hi choir director.

"This is a first in my experience - not only is this the most we have had selected, but to have all of our students selected is pretty amazing."

Vocalists include Cougar Henderson, Symphonic Choir, tenor 2; Daisy Schoen, Treble Choir, soprano 2; Hirut Senter, Symphonic Choir, soprano 2; Merrit Filan, Treble Choir, soprano 1; Gabe Anderson, Symphonic Choir, tenor 1; John Gossett, Symphonic Choir, bass 1; Elena Janis, Treble Choir, soprano 2; Jacob Dyer, Symphonic Choir, tenor 1; Emylee Gobel, Symphonic Choir, soprano 2; Brittany Higgins, Symphonic Choir, alto 1; Christina Swanson, Treble Choir, soprano 1.

And through mp3 auditions, WA-Hi band students will perform in the WMEA All-State Ensembles.

Set to participate in the February WMEA All-State ensembles are Michelle Ruzicka, Concert Band on clarinet; Kylie Humphreys, Symphony Orchestra on french horn; Machado Mijiga, Jazz Band on alto saxophone. Machado rates special mention, as there are only two alto saxes in a jazz band and competition was intense The WMEA All-State Ensembles be Feb. 16-21 in Yakima.

Community Center for Youth's new ninth grade boys' basketball team, the CCY Legends, played in the AAU Central Washington HD Season Tip-Off Tournament at Selah in early November.

"The team trained hard to prepare for the tournament and made it to the playoffs," said Cyntia Selde, director of programs and operations. Credit was also given to teammembers' parents and grandparents who made the trip possible and who went to Selah to cheer them on.

They enjoyed meeting and visiting with other players and coaches at the tournament, and anticipate continuing as a team in the spring.

The CCY Legends members, all Walla Walla High School freshmen, are Ariel Bermudez, Stephan Cleveland, Luis Felix, Esteban Flores, Michael Gonzalez, Jose Lozano, Juan Pea, Elijah Samorano and Juan Zamora.

Their coaches are Cedric Johnson and Antonio Barbosa. To learn more about CCY, visit www.wwccy.org

Walla Walla is fortunate to have a number of organizations that unselfishly act in the public interest, said local resident Jim Willis. One of these is the Walla Walla YMCA, which although a fee membership based organization, holds several public events each year.

Jim pointed out the Y's recent Halloween party, the summer play date and various swimming events for children. "These safe and sane events offer both children and parents the opportunity to gather to have fun and to learn.

Often you'll find members from such organizations as the Walla Walla Fire and Police departments, Walla Walla County Sheriff and Walla Walla Sweet Onions baseball team on hand.

"However, I think the real story here is the dedication of the YMCA staff and volunteers to the families of our community. The hours of careful and creative preparation go well beyond paid hours. The warm and cheerful interaction with children and parents comes from the heart of individual staffers and volunteers. It is so good to have organizations such as the Walla Walla YMCA a part of our community."

The members of Walla Walla High School's Key Club orchestrated donations of 1,336 pounds of food for the Christian Aid Center food bank. The students hosted an estimated 2,000 children and families during the Trunk-or-Treat event on Halloween.

This year 15 school clubs participated and special attractions included a Haunted Barn sponsored by FFA and a Haunted Auditorium sponsored by Drama Club.

Key Club's advisor is Shelley Mann.

The offices of Dr. Dan Laizure wrapped up a candy buyback to the tune of 200 pounds of candy from 120 kids who each received a $5 gift card to Inland Octopus. The sweets are going to be part of holiday stockings sent to service members overseas, according to Amy Kate Bond of Walla Walla Dental Care.

It's an increase over last year's collection, netted 100-plus pounds of candy. Sixty-five $5 gift cards to Hastings were given to local children who gave up the goodies.

A Mosler safe up for bid to benefit the Walla Walla Gun Club brought in a final $150 for the group, which is raising funds for a new range. Beginning in 1867, Mosler Safe Company manufactured security equipment such as safes and bank vaults until it went bankrupt in 2001, according to Wikipedia. Gustave Mosler founded Mosler-Bahmann Safe Co., in Cincinnati but it outgrew the original site and moved to Hamilton in 1891, where it remained until its 2001 bankruptcy. Mosler made safes and vaults renowned for their strength and precision manufacture. For example, several Mosler vaults installed in Hiroshima's Mitsui Bank building prior to World War II survived the nuclear attack. The company went on to make missile silo doors and the vault once used to display and store the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Walla Walla Gun Club recently receive the donated Mosler Safe to be used as a fundraiser for its new shooting ground, said Robert O. "Bob" Bloch, WWGC president.

Exchange Club of Walla Walla honored Waitsburg High School seniors Zach Bartlow and Kayla Huxoll and DeSales High School seniors Claire Konen and Lauren McCaw at its Youths of the Month award recipients for November.

They are now eligible to compete for the club's Youth of the Year awards and a $1,000 college scholarship. Each student wrote essays that addressed the 2011-2012 Youth of the Year theme, "All Aboard! Today's Youth, Strengthening America One Community at a Time."

Walla Walla Public Schools Communications Director Mark Higgins is the Youth of the Month program coordinator for the Exchange Club.

The son of Lori and Jeff Bartlow, Zach has been involved in football, basketball and baseball throughout his high school years and is currently one of the captains of the football team. Zach is the current ASB president and has served on student council for four years. He is a member of Young Life, National Honor Society and LEO's Club. He currently has a 3.9 GPA, has been a band student for many years and played with the school's Pep Band. Zach would like to attend Eastern Washington University next fall. He is interested in a career focusing on the financial world as it relates to professional sports.

Kayla holds a 3.9 GPA, served on student council the past four years as a vice president and president of her class. She is a member of FFA, National Honor Society, Youth and Government and Yearbook. She's been involved in volleyball, basketball and track throughout her high school years and is currently one of the captains of the volleyball team. A band student for many years, she's played with the WP Pep Band. She has volunteered for Relay for Life and assisted with numerous community food drives. The daughter of Michaelle and Scott Huxoll, Kayla plans to attend Walla Walla Community College in the fall and is interested in the nursing program.

Claire has attended Walla Walla Catholic Schools since pre-school. With a 4.04 GPA she currently ranks No. 1 in her class. She has taken five AP classes at DeSales and is ASB treasurer. She is Campus Ministry retreat leader and a four-year officer of Girls League. She's a member of NHS and Math Team, co-captain of Knowledge Bowl; a four-year student athlete in basketball and played soccer for one year. She is also a captain on the school's tennis team and placed fifth at state her junior year. She is a statistician for the football team. She volunteers as Eucharistic Minister and helps with Coffee Call at church. She plans to continue her studies at the University of Arizona, Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount or Boise State universities and study speech pathology. Her parents are Charles and Cathy Konen of Walla Walla.

Lauren has also attended Walla Walla Catholic Schools since pre-school. She has a 3.950 GPA and has taken four AP classes. She is president of Girls League and a four-year member of the Knowledge Bowl. She is a Campus Ministry Retreat Leader, was class president for three years and is currently ASB president. She has been on the volleyball team for three years, has played basketball for two years, one year on the track team and two years as a cheerleader. A member of NHS, she's also a student leader at College Place Presbyterian Church Middle School Youth and in charge of a coffee shop. She went to Guatemala in 2010 on a mission trip and is raising funds to make the trip again in 2012. She is a Poetry Out Loud school winner. She's is active in community theater and active in music performance including vocal ensemble performing National Anthem at local sporting events. She is a part time barista at the Giddy Up and Go coffee shop. She would like to go to college at Whitworth, Gonzaga or Seattle universities or the universities of Portland, Washington or Idaho. She is undecided about her future course of study, but is interested in communications, speech therapy and business. She is the daughter of Bruce and Janice McCaw of Walla Walla.

Debate coach Jean Tobin took a group of eight Walla Walla High School students to the Central Valley Bear Brawl Nov. 18-19 in Spokane. "The students earned the privilege of attending based on their efforts preparing before the season started and their success at the Whitman tournament," she said.

The Brawl is a Tournament of Champions qualifying event. The annual TOC invites just those students who have placed at nationally competitive tournaments by earning two bids at qualifying tournaments.

"The Bear Brawl is one of the few tournaments in our area to offer a bid to the TOC in Congressional Debate so we attended hoping to earn a bid for a Wa-Hi student."

Senior Machado Mijiga was one of six students who earned a TOC bid by placing fifth in Congressional Debate. "We are not sure if Machado will attend the TOC tournament (he can petition to attend based on one bid, because we live in a region which has limited TOC qualifying tournaments) because of the cost and because he is also hoping to qualify for the National tournament," Jean said. "But it is an honor for him to have received the bid and we are very proud of him."

As a small team, it didn't receive enough points to earn a team award, but the competitors still were very successful while competing against 17 schools from the Spokane area.

In individual events: Hope Grant Herriot and Marisol Beck took fourth in Dual Interpretation; Hope, first in Oratory and Kimberly McLaughlin, sixth; Kera Parsons, fourth in Interpretive Reading and Marisol, fifth; Konor Clark, second in Humorous Interpretation; Machado, third in Editorial Commentary.

In debate: Machado, fifth in Congressional Debate; Rosa Tobin, third place speaker in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

Debate team will next travel with the full squad to a district tournament on Saturday in Wenatchee.

They will work over Christmas break preparing to compete at a large tournament on Jan. 6 and 7 at the University of Puget Sound.

Walla Walla Catholic Schools' Counselor, Kathy Ruthven, organizes the Academic Awards Assembly four times a year at DeSales High School. Understanding that academic excellence is not just limited to GPA, the faculty at DeSales takes particular care to acknowledge those students whose abilities foster a sense of commitment to community service, understand the need to assume leadership roles, and most importantly, exemplify service to others with good humor and grace. This quarter's Citizenship Award went to: Robert Kelly, Arturo Martinez, Bianca Montero, Joab Neri, Genesis Cruzaley, Reilly Roach, Nick Wales, Jesus Lara, Tim Caudill and Nathan Hermann.

Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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